I only became a methodical Moldbug reader in 2011, so I cannot pretend to have followed the degeneration of the Unqualified Reservations comments section in real time. What I did see, making my way back through this blog, was the rapid collapse of its comment threads into an open cultural gutter of no conceivable interest to anybody with a three digit IQ — a situation that hit nadir and remained there. We are talking about what — even inactive — remains arguably the most important blog in the history of the medium. If anyone wants to suggest that its accrued commentary is a model to be emulated, they are encouraged to make the case, for the entertainment value alone.
At the other extreme of cognitive ambition, is 4chan/pol/, a veritable sewer of senselessness, where the idea of an intelligent conversation is an absurdity from the start. This is a discussion forum that revels in its own crass vulgarity. It too is a negative model, to be deeply appreciated for the lesson in degeneracy it provides.
My default assumption is that everything tends to ruin, unless actively tended. UR shows what a naked laissez-faire policy leads to, if crudely interpreted as confidence in self-correcting bohemianism. Spontaneous order requires dynamic entropy dissipation merely to survive.
This blog is not a commons. It welcomes visitors who add value, tolerates those who do no harm, and ejects agents of degradation. Up to this point, policing here has been very light, but there is no firm principle behind that. If it becomes necessary, the full panoply of police powers will be exercised without the slightest liberal qualm, and these are potentially considerable. Insofar as the space of this blog itself are concerned, they are in fact effectively unlimited. Occasional demented goblins seem to derive great satisfaction from provoking crack-downs. If these individuals are deluded enough to think that inciting such responses represents some kind of cognitive dissonance here, by driving a departure from the generally tolerant policy in place, they are very much mistaken. The only rigid principle here is absolute (local) authority. Gibbeting goblins poses no ideological contradiction whatsoever. There should probably be a great deal more of it, the more random and graphically brutal the better, just to make this point. (This auto-suggestion is being taken under advisement.)
A more difficult problem is posed by the right vulgarians, at least superficially. Their intentions are not, it appears, disruptive. They merely seek to crank down the general tone of commentary here to a more popular level, with direct rhetorical offensiveness to progressive sensibilities considered a positive factor. I have to confess to finding some of these visitors likable, but their objectives will not be tolerated. With the conclusion of this discussion — at the latest — the desired tone here will be imposed, by whatever mixture of selection, editing, and scolding is required. This is not a negotiable matter.
The first Chaos Patch here drew an analogy between a blog and a virtual micro-state. Considered at a sufficient level of abstraction, the principles of governance are basically identical. Authority is absolutely concentrated, guided by the incentive to maximize the value of an estate, which only subsequently introduces pragmatic policies of extreme laissez-faire tolerance, since freedom maximizes productivity. People here are basically free to say whatever they like, with the understanding that scum will be ejected without apology or reservation. Anyone tempted to explore the limits of tolerated scumminess has profoundly misunderstood what is going on here. Once again, this is not disputable beyond the norms of tolerated disputation. Scum have no rights here, whatsoever, and the only definition of scum behavior that matters is that decided by the government or local sovereign power (and that’s me).
So what counts as scum behavior? Basically: classlessness or incivility. There are absolutely no limits being set on the ideas that can be promoted by visitors here, as long as they are presented with some minimum of decorum. Vulgarity, slurs, abuse, snark, and scum rhetoric in general, on the other hand, is not acceptable. Intelligent or humorous comments that cross some of these lines will not be suppressed, if their transgressions plausibly serve a higher cultural purpose. Sovereign Admin alone decides each problematic case with absolute discretion, perhaps drawing upon advice from other respected commentors where appropriate. Yes, this is an elitist dictatorship (duh!).