Comments on this blog are moderated, if only to preserve a sense of order.
Nothing is forever, but for now I have a simple rule. Anything civilized is OK. Anything else must have some social redeeming value to pass.
Hence, as a practical matter:
1. Ad hominem comments will not be approved. There is enough garbage and bile in the blogosphere.
2. If a comment is long or contains interesting points as well as irrelevant and offensive material, the commentator should know that he always has the right to set up his own soapbox (blog) and say what he wants. That is Freedom of Expression, and he cannot complain that his freedom has been abridged in any way. I will not take time to delete offensive content.
3. Those who verify their identities (what economists call a “brand name”) are presumed to have redeeming social value. But a “lurker” is almost the same as a “stalker,” and advertises his bad faith. On occasion I will email the commenter to verify identity, and I will presume from a no-reply that the email address was bogus, and the writer the same.
4. Anonymous comments can have great redeeming value, but the proof of such must be shown on the face of the comment itself. There is nothing wrong with pseudonyms, particularly with dissent in a free society, but there is a line between free expression and drivel.