17 Oct 2009

Why Are Progressive Economists So Afraid of Negative Comments?

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Believe it or not, I actually agree with Paul Krugman’s harsh assessment of Superfreakonomics. (Before you chalk this up to my evenhandedness, keep in mind that I am still jealous of the success of Freakonomics.) But what the heck? In both posts (here and here), Krugman shuts off the comments from the get-go. His explanation: “Administrative note: I’m going to block comments here, because I know it will be overwhelmed.”

So what if it’s overwhelmed? I realize that’s tough on the guy who has to moderate the comments, but then again you can always turn off the moderation.

Failing that–we wouldn’t want people to get “bad ideas” in their heads–Krugman could allow only the first 100 comments. If a cap will save the planet, why not a blog?

(BTW for those who don’t understand the title of my post, Brad DeLong is notorious for editing/deleting comments on his blog. And we’re not merely talking about jettisoning use of racial slurs. Mario Rizzo got gonged once, for crying out loud.)

Seriously, what is the deal with this? I would have expected tobacco executives and Glenn Beck to eliminate dissent on their websites, not believers in open dialog and democracy. Talking with Iran is the path to peace, but we can’t have a conversation with global warming deniers?

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