For the entire existence of the Chaliceblog, I had what I thought of as a “listening policy” here. Whatever people said, I listened. I kicked spam posts, discouraged namecalling, but otherwise let people post what they wanted, even anonymously. (As much as I mock anonymous posters who post insults, I can recall at least one anonymous post detailing the poster’s experience getting an abortion. That alone was worth all the insulting anonymous people who have ever posted here.)
Even when people were obnoxious, I listened.
In bar terms, you could hear a guy ranting and raving down the bar and say to yourself, “Wow. If they let Phil hang out here, then I really CAN say what I want without worrying about getting kicked out.” (Of course anyone who isn't self-employed who posts with their real name has something to fear from the internet but at least nobody had anything to fear from me.)
We’ve had some nasty fights, but hey, those can be interesting and instructive. Some threads here have run 60 comments or so long. I've read them all. I listened. You'd be amazed how thoughtful people get toward the end of a thread that starts out with harsh debate and then calms down. Or maybe you wouldn't. Maybe you were there, too.
I won’t lie to you, my favorite part of it was the principle of the thing. I really liked being able to say “I don’t edit comments that aren’t my own and I don’t close off comment threads. End of story.”
And twelve hours into the ban existing (because I made the decision last night,) I really hate it.