Stricter Comment Policies

Geoffrey Pullum has become annoyed with a couple of common comments:

… Unable to bear any longer the tedious work of seeking out all the instances of these two comment types so I can delete them, I have decided that from now on I will hunt down the relevant commenters and kill them. …

From now on, if you are going to post either of the two sorts of comments I have just described, please supply your actual name and residential address so I or Language Log security staffpersons Luca and Enzo can track you down.

I appreciate that there may be some legal issues with this policy, and some believe that death is too harsh a punishment for Language Log writers to be handing out… But the “let-everyone-have-their-say” softies who criticize my policy have no idea just how many boring self-satisfied twits have posted almost exactly the same thing over and over again down the years. Yes, death is a severe sanction. But I think people should look at things from my point of view. It is really irritating.

Keep in mind also that both kinds of commenter think that they are being enormously clever and witty and original. This is frightening: remember, these morons are out there somewhere, ready to get seated next to you at a dinner party or on a plane and bore you senseless. …

6 thoughts on “Stricter Comment Policies”

  1. He states: “Ben Zimmer definitively refuted that misattribution years ago.”

    Reading Ben Zimmer’s analysis it is wholly based on a guess that The Strand would have attributed the remark to Churchill. There are a number of possible reasons they may not have done, the simplest being that they didn’t know who wrote it.

    It’s ironic that such a pedantic website should use the word “definitively” so loosely and in the course of a rant about other people using words loosely.

  2. If that was a website that I frequented, which fortunately it isn’t, I would have forwarded a link to that comment to the relevant authorities. Indeed, I may still do so.

    Us.legal.com seems pretty clear on the subject:

    “Under state criminal codes, which vary by state, it is an offense to knowingly utter or convey a threat to cause death or bodily harm to any person”.

    EU law looks a bit fuzzier and relies on actual intent or repeated harrassment, but in principle the police should investigate a compaint.

    I have no sense of humor whatsoever over any kind of threat to life or health, no matter how heavily couched in satire or irony. People who make such threats should always be called on them and brought to an understanding of the potential consequences, both to those they threaten and to themselves.

  3. I am all for embracing the inner Nerd but Geoffrey’s particular flavour of nerdism doesn’t do it for me I am afraid.

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