The post title describes some of The Secret supporters who have been posting comments here. In the just over two years this blog has been going, I have received over 5,000 comments – many critical of my posts and many blunt in their criticism. However, in just six weeks, supporters of The Secret have posted by far the most immature, gratuitously offensive and content-free comments of them all. And that’s saying something.
One example of this was someone signing his or her posts “Kat”. His or her last post (a 1,700 word freestyle rant) was so vitriolic, content-free and uncivil in nature that I deleted it, and instigated comment moderation for a day. (Incidentally, apologies to Tom Foss who took the time to write a detailed rebuttal that was also caught by the moderation system.) Funnily enough, I think it was this commenter who then set up a parody site called Skeptical Lunacy. Funny, but probably not in the way its author intended. Anyone appreciating irony would note that this site – complaining how I would not allow one of his or her comments – does not allow comments. Hilarious. I encourage everyone to visit Skeptical Lunacy. Just keep in mind the phrase “pot-kettle; kettle-pot”. And decide for yourself if “Skeptical Lunacy” provides any rational reason for you to accept what The Secret is selling.
Another example was an Australian twit calling himself “What-The?” His posts degenerated to being purely insulting, while ignoring counterpoints made and questions asked. A week ago I told him to stop posting here. I also informed him that if he did post any more comments I would have to instigate comment moderation, which would be an inconvenience to anyone else who wanted to post a comment here, slowing down the free exchange of ideas. Unfortunately this twit thinks his silly games are more important than everyone else’s freedom to comment, and last night (between about 8 and 10pm Saturday night his time – the middle of Friday night for me), he posted a series of offensive, vulgar and (surprise) content-free posts, including several where he posted with the names of regular commenters here, including me. Obviously I deleted these comments. Unfortunately, because this little child thinks this kind of behavior is funny, and because he will not respond to reasonable requests to grow up, I have had to instigate comment moderation again, and this time it will have to stay on. I apologize for this inconvenience.
The purpose of the comments is to allow further discussion and exploration of issues raised in the original post. If I write a post critical of, say, The Secret, people can read my original post and (if they want to explore the issues more), they can read the comments – some of which will express opposing views. I hope that comments backed by evidence would be taken more seriously by readers, but ultimately people will make up their own mind whether they accept my arguments or not. However, if the comments are a series of content-free insults, and if the language gets too gratuitously vulgar, people will be put off reading them at all and will go away without properly considering the points raised and without making an informed decision. Comments posted with sock-puppet names confuse the issue further. I have been specifically told that some of the excessive vitriol in the comments has driven people away before they can fully consider the issues, and this is obviously something I want to avoid. Right now, this means that comment moderation has to be on.
Perhaps it’s time I wrote some comment guidelines. Not that it would stop the teenage scribblers, but at least it would make things clear to the majority. I don’t really have time now, but I will say that comments will not be disallowed merely because they disagree with my posts. In fact, a brief perusal of the comments will show that dissenting voices are allowed without a moment’s hesitation. However, comments that are purely insulting, full of playground insults, or with gratuitous bad or vulgar language will be deleted. Off topic posts will be deleted. Multiple comments posted with sock puppet names will be deleted. You can still disagree, and disagree vigorously if you wish, but not in such a way that it puts people off reading further. In other words, you can disagree but don’t be a jerk.
And to anyone who comes here truly interested in finding out if The Secret makes any sense or not, I ask you to read the comments to my various Secret posts. Consider that the really immature, vulgar and content-free pro-Secret comments have been deleted. Consider that the pro-Secret comments that remain are the very best the proponents of The Secret have to offer. And make your mind up about whether you think The Secret is backed by any rational evidence or not.