by J J Cohen
It has been a while since we have spoken about the blog's comment moderation policy, so I thought it would be useful to remind readers of how it works.
In the Middle is a moderated blog that encourages comments from readers. We publish the vast majority of comments submitted to the blog. Anonymous advertisements and other kinds of spam are never published. We are always happy to feature notices of new books in the field, to promote conferences, and to help our readership garner contributions or attention for their projects; do not hesitate to approach any of the blog co-authors for assistance. The comment threads thrive on generosity and respectful disagreement. We do not publish ad hominem attacks, and we do our best to ensure that tone remains civil -- ideally, as it would be at the Q&A of a vigorous conference session. We do not abet trolling. Moderation is not the same as eliminating disagreement. The internet too often fosters drive-by snide and brief but dismissive remarks; check out the comment threads of any major newspaper (or even Inside Higher Ed, or The Chronicle of Higher Education) and you will witness ample, succinct disdain. ITM is a space for thoughtful commentary that advances conversation. Comments aimed at shutting conversation down, that make accusations rather than advance dialogue, or that stubbornly repeat points already made without elaboration are unlikely to be published. Very few such comments are in fact submitted, but we have found them to be stultifying if published. Each of the blog's four co-authors has the power to decide not to allow a comment (though we typically confer before making a decision). We also recognize that there will often be readers who will disagree with our judgments.
We did not come to the decision to moderate capriciously. Fortunately the internet is wide and offers many, many spaces for conversations of various kinds. We cherish the community that you as a reader have helped us to build here at ITM, and we are dedicated to its continued thriving.