Saturday, July 30, 2011

Commenting on blog comments

I've noticed a few nasty comments posted lately about particular individuals. In the dishonorable tradition of Internet comments on news sites generally, these stealth attacks are all anonymous.

I hope these will prove to be isolated incidents.

This blog allows for anonymous comments, but I strongly encourage anyone who leaves a comment to leave a name.

Moreover, if a person has such a strong opinion about someone, positive or negative, that he or she is moved to leave a comment, I would hope that that person would provide some bases for that opinion. In the law, “An expert’s opinion is no better than the facts on which it is based.” Kostecki by Kostecki v. Pavlis, 140 Ill.App.3d 176, 180, 488 N.E.2d 644 (1st Dist. 1986). See also, Wiedenbeck v. Searle, 385 Ill.App.3d 289, 293, 895 N.E.2d 1067 (1st Dist. 2008) (“[w]hile testimony grounded in ‘expert analysis of the known physical facts’ is welcomed, conclusory opinions based on sheer, unsubstantiated speculation should be considered irrelevant”). When you leave a comment, whether saying that Candidate A is paragon of virtue or that Candidate B is a bum, you are setting yourself up as an expert, compared to the rest of us, about that candidate. I would think that leaving some bases for one's opinion would be particularly important to someone who wants to persuade voters that a judge or judicial candidate is worthy or unworthy of their trust.

Incidentally, from what I've read on the subject, SHOUTING (which is what TYPING IN ALL CAPS is analogous to) is not particularly persuasive. In addition, it's more difficult to read.

Please note: I am not assuming responsibility for any content or comments on this blog except for posts or comments which I put up. Unless I make the comment, or unless I add a comment agreeing or disagreeing with a comment, the presence of a comment on this blog is not intended to be, nor should it be construed by you as, an expression of my opinion.

I reserve the right to police this site and to delete any comment that strikes me as particularly scurrilous (but only if I notice it and remember to do so). I also reserve the right to leave up nasty comments, if only to serve as horrible examples. Finally, I reserve the right to discontinue anonymous comments, to discontinue comments altogether, to institute comment moderation, or to employ any other method that I can master as I see fit. However, maintaining this blog is a hobby of mine, not a full-time gig. I will do my best; please don't do your worst.

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