Just because you say something in my presence and I don’t raise an objection doesn’t mean that I agree

This is a sneaky trick that people try to pull occasionally. They'll say something while I happen to be present (either physically in person or virtually by adding me to an email conversation) and see what my reaction is. If I don't say anything, then they assume that I agree with whatever it is they said.

Just to make it official: Just because you say something in my presence and I don't raise an objection doesn't mean that I agree. I can usually tell when people are trying to pull this stunt and I refuse to play along.

I see the same trick being played in the comments of this web site. Just because somebody posted a comment and I didn't post a correction doesn't mean that the original comment is correct.

On the other hand, the incorrect comment is archived on my Web site, which for many people implies some degree of approval, and which means that when people goes searching for a solution to their problem, they are likely to find the incorrect recommendation on this Web site, by virtue of the fact that it is ranked reasonably well by many major search engines. Did I just inadvertently help steer somebody to a wrong, possibly harmful, solution? Or is that not my problem?

Comments (51)
  1. Steve says:

    You are not responsible for the comments of your readers/commenters. If people come here and read a single comment and then use it as a foundation for their ill advised adventures that is squarely on them. Anyone who is smart enough to actually use the material you provide should also be wise enough to check the full thread of discussion that follows and determine what parts are accurate and what are not. If you’re not sure post a comment yourself and get clarification.

    [Actually, I am responsible for comments (the HR department confirmed it for me). The question is how responsible. Apparently your position is “not responsible for factual errors or bad advice.” And that’s fine, but what about people who use the blog as a way to give their bad idea more visibility? E.g. “Hey, I found this undocumented flag you can pass…” They’re exploiting my site’s high ranking. -Raymond]
  2. Boris says:

    What excellent timing with the Just Because . . .  Doesn’t Mean construct. It was discussed on Language Log yesterday (http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/004743.html). This always grates on me when I hear it, but note that this is not a complaint because plenty of other people seem to be fine with it.

    [It’s clearly ungrammatical and you won’t (or shouldn’t) find it in formal writing, but a blog isn’t formal writing. I’ve been known to write sentence fragments, too. -Raymond]
  3. douchebag says:

    I am going to devote my life to attaining employment at Microsoft just so I can CC you on every little thing.  Welcome to Hell.

  4. CGomez says:

    I understand you are responsible for the comments in your blog, but to what degree?  Are you supposed to delete or respond to every bad comment?  That seems weird to me.  Comments are supposed to be for feedback from readers and a way to form community.  It seems strange to hamstring the blogger.  Everyone loses when the blogger stops writing about certain topics because the comments would be overwhelming to be responsible for.

    I suspect HR is saying here you are responsible for comments that violate company policy.  Like the idiots who ruined the Bob stories for us, those comments probably violated very reasonable policies.  Other comments might violate policies against discrimination, slander, or slurs.  But since HR can’t reasonably enumerate with perfect foresight all the things that they don’t want to happen in a blog’s comments, this sounds like a typical CYA policy.  "We have this policy so if something bad happens in your comments, we can always just blame you."

    Anyways, while it is very possible a commenter can come along and offer advice that happens to be wrong, it’s unreasonable to assume you take the time to read all of your comments.  You get hundreds on some articles.  It is actually even unreasonable to assume you read any.  You have a job and career that isn’t blogging.  Blogging is for our benefit and the wealth of knowledge you share comes from your posts.

  5. richard says:

    I never assume that silence is equivalent to tacit agreement or disagreement. To me, silence simply signals that you didn’t say anything.

    Of course, this world seems to work on multiple levels of communication (which I seem to be hopelessly blind to) and it seems to me that people waste ridiculous amounts of time trying to divine the meaning between the lines.

    I don’t think you are responsible for the comments on your blog, other than the general capacity of ensuring the comments don’t contravene any laws. Granted, I am no lawyer, so perhaps the general practice is to assume you bear personal responsibility for the comments of others on your blog, simply because you let people comment here (which I think would be really scary).

  6. This is a good question: does silence presume assent?  I remember reading Robert Bolt’s "A Man for all Seasons" in high school where Sir Thomas More claims that in the precedent of the common law silence presumes assent. That being said my (very limited) understanding of contract law is that the very opposite is true: silence cannot be construed as acceptance.

  7. Raymond Chen’s blog oldnewthing is one of my favorites. My work copy of Outlook 2007 pulls down his posts

  8. Mareek says:

    While I was searchng for informations about “DirectUI”, I stumbled across a [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trident_(layout_engine)#_note-3]article on wikipedia[/url] that linked to a comment on this blog as a reference. This example is harmless, but it could be dangerous if it becomes a common practice.

    The best solution could be to turn off comment altogether. They seem to piss you off and they doesn’t bring much value to your excellent blog. If someone want to ask you questions, they can send you an e-mail. If Someone want to comment your post in public, they can post it on their blog. If some people want to chat about the subject of one of your post, they can open a topic on whatever forum available on the web.

    [Sigh. I knew it would happen eventually. Time to take down that comment, since people are assigning my credibility to things I didn’t write. (The stuff I do write already lack credibility as it is.) -Raymond]
  9. Frederic Merizen says:

    Anyone reading a comment and assuming it’s a good idea just because they found it on your blog and you didn’t debunk it fully deserves to bear the consequences of the acts they base on that assumption. Morally, I mean. I Am Not AnaL.

    [Tell that to Wikipedia. -Raymond]
  10. Good post. No, it’s not your problem. The web is littered with garbage and IMO it’s the reader’s responsibility to figure out what’s gold and what’s not.

  11. Joe Dietz says:

    Since I and most people show up here to read your blog and you seem to be spending a largish amount of timing worrying about comments people leave on your blog, why not just ditch them entirely?  I really wouldn’t miss them.  Move the discussion to a yahoo message board or something ;)


    [Feel free to start a Yahoo message board. I’ll link to it. -Raymond]
  12. Brian Schkerke says:

    I wouldn’t like the comments removed, because there are several that are humorous and serve to further the discussion in question.  Then again, I’d hate to see Raymond get in trouble because of some idiot who has too much free time.  Moderating comments usually means they should just be turned off; it’s hard enough to find time to create a meaningful post everyday, much less time to moderate the stuff folks post.

    In terms of what you’re responsible for:  I can understand your HR department’s position but, frankly, these comments are mine.  How could anyone reasonably assume responsibility for them?  Since I’m posting in the time frame I’m supposed to be coding in, does that mean you’re responsible for my outrageous work ethic?

    Grah, world needs more self responsibility.

  13. I second Joe’s idea. Comments are clearly becoming an issue for you, as you’ve mentioned in other posts. Most of the readers never read the comments, we’re here because we want to hear YOUR opinion, not that of some dingleberry who just had a brain-fart.

  14. I removed that reference from that Wikipedia article. An anonymous comment on a blog cannot be considered a reliable source (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reliable_sources).

  15. poochner says:

    Funny that you should bring this up.  I’ve been having a discussion about this topic recently with my wife, among other people.  I have a major compulsion to answer when something is said that I disagree with, even if that means interrupting someone.  It’s rude, I know, but if I let it go by I feel complicit in spreading false or misleading information.  I have no idea where this came from, but I’ve had it since I was a kid.  Correcting teachers is not a good "political move" when you’re ten.  Now I’m trying hard not to correct people, unless they ask.  Someplace there has to be a middle ground, say between, "if you do what he said, life on Earth will be obliterated" and, "if you do what he said, you will be wrong about some inconsequential piece of trivia."

    I like commas, too.  Another foible of mine.

  16. Illuminator says:

    It’s worth it for everyone to read all the comments, because it’s obvious that Raymond does and responds to them too as needed. The discussion doesn’t end with the original blog entry. and I find that to be a huge draw.

  17. Mikkin says:

    "Did I just inadvertently help steer somebody to a wrong, possibly harmful, solution?"

    Yes, inevitably. Nobody believes you have the time to research and analyze every idea posted here.

    "Or is that not my problem?"

    Yes, that is not your problem. Nobody seriously expects you to waste time rebutting every single little bit of nonsense.

    • This message is being posted pseudonymously by a Turing machine. Unless Raymond says otherwise, he agrees that AI has achieved sentience.
  18. F5 says:

    I think it all depends on how important it is to you that comments on your site never “…steer[s] someone to a wrong, possibly harmful solution.” I don’t believe you are under legal or moral obligation to vet every comment on your blog, so only you can really judge whether or not it’s your problem.

    Incidentally this makes me think of civil suit I read about a year ago “Judge: “Bloggers Entitled to Immunity Under Communications Act” http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1149152717145 The courts opinion that is referenced in the article can be found at http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documents/opinions/06D0657P.pdf  as is about a humorous as a judgment can be (although at times quite vulgar so fair warning)

    [What if somebody posts something that I actively disapprove of and which will cause me grief in the future? E.g. “This undocumented function does what you want.” I want to delete those comments but I suspect people would feel otherwise.-Raymond]
  19. kbiel says:

    I would prefer that you kept comments, but I don’t read your blog for the comments.  I would suggest that you turn them off if you are being held responsible for other people’s asinine suggestions and factual errors.

  20. tsrblke says:

    Does the blog software not make a way for you to make comments unsearchable?  Because that would be the best.  Personally that Wikipedia thing shows some of the major flaws in wikipedia, it’s one thing to use say one of your posts as a reference (you do after all work for MS and program and tell people who you are, etc. etc.) it’s an entirely other thing to use an Annonoymous comment as a reference, hell people shouldn’t use named comments.  This obviously isn’t formal writing, or peer reviewed, but you’d be considered something along the lines of a "trained expert" so you’re a reliable source, me, I’m not (even if I had to tie my name to this, I wouldn’t be.)  If Bill Gates himself placed a non annoymous comment here (suppose it was possible to do, ignore the fact it’s not) I still don’t think it’d be a relaible source unless he wrote about it on his webpage, or gave a speech about it.  Why, simply because comments are usually done on the fly and carry an inherent amount of nature error.

    You are responsible for certian content of your comments for example, offensive content, revealing content (in the case of names etc.) and spam.  But people’s wrong information, I don’t see how that could be your problem.  Some blog authors don’t even read comments I’d imagine, so what if someone posts something wrong there.  Comments on political blogs are often skewed, whose responible there?  If people haven’t figured out now that an expert’s blog may be reliable, but the comments on said blog aren’t.  Well…then…erg…they’ve got something comming.

  21. Kip Robinson says:

    I wouldn’t miss the comments.  I never read past the first three or four anyway.  I have things to do.

    The downside you’re not seeing is that you wouldn’t be able to make posts pointing out the absurdity of past comments.

  22. Triangle says:

    Imo, if someone makes a misinformative post on your blog, you should delete/correct it without hesitation. For many it is a valuable source of windows GUI programming. People who get away with posting incorrect/undocumented information is only going to mislead those who are trying to learn (Such as me) and cause more problems in the future. Enough is enough; it may not be possible to stop the developers from getting away with bad code that earns a place in AppPatch, but you can stop them at the blog.

  23. Anony Moose says:

    I don’t care what your HR department says, you didn’t hold a gun to my head and make me comment and thus my comments are my fault and not the fault of you, your dog, or some guy you met in a bar 20 years ago.

    [I want to delete those comments but I suspect people would feel otherwise.-Raymond]

    On the internet, someone will feel otherwise if you say it’s a nice day, and no amount of nitpicker’s corners will ever do anything about that.

    Personally, given a choice between "stuff by raymond with no comments", "stuff by raymond with edited/moderated comments" and "no more stuff by raymond" I’ll take either of the first two options and not complain. I’m pretty sure many other people feel that way, as well.

    I couldn’t care less about the Bob stories – but if some interesting technical information gets canned because some idiots keep asking annoying/stupid questions then I really think that letting commenters take over your blog and dictate what you’re allowed to write is kinda silly.

    Incidentally, many times while searching the net for info on some Windows API detail your blog pops up, which lets me know that there’s some detail probably worth checking – but I don’t immediately recall the comments (accurate or not, whether or not you replied) showing up.

  24. Dave Nickason says:

    This is similar to the phenomenon where you make a reasonable statement, then someone else says “as s/he says…,” and goes on to say something with a completely different tone or meaning.  I say “that might not be the best way to do that,” then the other person says “as Dave said, you are a moron.”

    Not sure how a reasonable reader would hold a blogger responsible for the accuracy of comments – do most bloggers even read them?

    [Bloggers probably don’t, but search engines do. -Raymond]
  25. Aaron says:

    In a way, this reminds me of the useless e-mail disclaimers that say “this e-mail may be confidential and if you are not the intended recipient then you must delete it immediately and stand on your head until you pass out and forget that you ever received it”.  Just because I read your legal mumbo-jumbo doesn’t mean I signed it.

    If the HR/legal department is really concerned about you being treated as publisher of said comments in spite of the mountain of case law that says you aren’t, can’t you just put a disclaimer that says something like “Comments are submitted anonymously by readers and do not reflect the opinions of Microsoft Corporation.  Microsoft is not liable for any death and/or dismemberment that may occur as a result of reading these comments”?

    This seems to satisfy the HR/legal teams of most corporations.  ‘Course I know nothing about Microsoft’s stance…

    [Two words: At-will employment. -Raymond]
  26. MikeC says:

    Wow! Do people not actually think that maybe "he’s asleep/not paying attention/can’t be bothered to correct someone/actually has time to pay attention to everything"?

    I feel your pain.*

    Meanwhile, I’d just like to recommend to everyone that instead of using the long, drawn-out "shut down" command from the Start bar, just pull the plug on the pc. Takes no time at all for those instances where you just can’t wait for your pc to actually shut down because you got a hankerin’ for a hot dog.**

    *metaphorically speaking.

    ** not really.***

    *** I read this blog too much. And also can’t be bothered putting proper footnote markers in.

  27. Varp and thribble..... says:

    Surely being Rymond Chen is a bit like driving about in a Ferrari? You take it to the supermarket, and some toerag, green with envy, drags their key down the side.

    Clearly I’m guessing but I’d suppose that the benefit of being Raymond Chen is that you’re not Madonna….. Ooo err. :)

    It’s not necassarily nice but certainly the way much of the world is.

    Surely, if you have any belief in Humanity, then the comments section of the blog serves for people like myself (with only just a smidge more than half a wit) to allow a relief, by which the clarity and insight of the header post can be assesed.

  28. lamer says:

    The comment section is cool as long as Norman Diamond isn’t whining ;)))

    (sorry Norman)

  29. Rebutting personal opinions and preferences is not necessary, but I would expect you to weigh in when you know a comment is factually incorrect.

    Anything less would be uncivilized.

    [Is it okay if I just say “No, that’s not right”? Or do I have to explain what’s wrong? That could take hours of research or even violate my NDA. -Raymond]
  30. shuggy says:

    I suspect that, to comply with the case law that spews forth from todays legal system, you may need the equiovalent of "This website you are about to enjoy is hot". I suggest seeing if the "Comments" in bold could have a tiny little piece of text saying "the comments are by third parties, no endorsement or disapproval should be infered" or such like IANAL, YMMV etc.

    Hell MS HR and legal should work it out for you* so you can get on with the rest of your life without having to be bothered by it.

    * They should do this as this site pure gold evidence of their regard for their customers and developers.

  31. BlueSixty says:

    Hmmm…Funny. Joel Spolsky recently posted a blog entry about commenting.


  32. lamer says:

    > [Is it okay if I just say “No, that’s not right”? Or do I have to explain what’s wrong? That could take hours of research or even violate my NDA. -Raymond]

    A “no” could also be an implicit “try again”. But IMHO it would be rediculous for you to conduct research in your spare spare time just because someone else hasn’t. So I agree with you that you shouldn’t do that.

    Maybe just state something like “Those who try to find out what FooBarGoof64 does or how it works are soley on their own”. Don’t even delete the trolls trying to squeeze a clue out of you through disinformation. Rather deal with them in a seperate post with several of them, pointing out the obvious flaws in their mangled sort of thought. Ofcourse it must not become a sport to get on that “post of shame”, but your spam filter catches those who are /that/ insane, right?

    [That’s actually my plan – dealing with them in a separate post, but then people get on my case for not replying fast enough, forcing me to make a quick two-sentence reply instead of a several-paragraph essay. And then I tick it off my list and never write the essay that discusses the topic more thoroughly. -Raymond]
  33. ::Wendy:: says:

    What do the people that you think should be reading your blog want and need to encourage their engagement?      

    I don’t think I’m your target readership.  I enjoy reading the comments because people are just so silly and keen to deomonstrate it,  that it makes me fall off my chiar and spill my tea.  

    I never would have known quite how silly a subsection of blog-commenting-developer-community was if they hadn’t published it on your blog.  I consider that a social service.  

  34. [Is it okay if I just say “No, that’s not right”? Or do I have to explain what’s wrong? That could take hours of research or even violate my NDA. -Raymond]

    Word to the wise:

    1) You already spend hours of your free time maintaining this blog.

    2) If refuting a comment requires hours of research, consider it a signal that you don’t fully understand that particular subject yourself, and therefore have no business refuting it.  

    3) The comments on a blog are, in part, a reflection of the tone set by its host.  Calling these people “nitpickers” (or worse) doesn’t help.  They’re a bunch of programmers: OF COURSE they are anal!

    I am usually not a fan of technical solutions to social problems, but here’s one you might enjoy.  Under the “comments” field, add a “π” box.  If anyone types in more than 6 digits, just null-route their comment.

    [The research is to fill in gaps like “In precisely which version of Windows did that behavior change?” If somebody asks you a question about rust, you can probably write intelligently about it up to a point, but you’ll have to do some research to make sure you don’t say “X doesn’t rust” instead of “X doesn’t usually rust, except under conditions Z.” Fact-checking takes time. -Raymond]
  35. Pontius Pilate says:

    This is really sad. You, the idiot masses of have decided to crucify Raymond and pardon Norman Diamond and his ilk.

    I wash my hands of this.

  36. Raymond, as a long-time reader of this blog, I suggest you simply disable comments and save yourself the trouble they’re giving you. Or, better yet, make comments invisible to everyone but yourself. (Don’t know if your blog software has a setting for this though.)

  37. Nawak says:

    I personally like to read comments most of the time. That being said, I think that it makes being nasty so easy that nastiness is _bound_ to happen.

    If you have read the article Joel Spolski linked in his last entry (something about "A group is his own enemy"), you know that most groups (like blogs) are unprepared for that.

    A website has to devote an incredible amount of energy to contain the nastiness, and that increases with popularity.

    Just try and go read slashdot… even with their complex moderation system, they can’t keep up with the trolls and idiots.

    I think that the basic improvement (yes, you’re not responsible for it, but who knows, maybe "they" are reading(*) ) would be to force registering and disallow registering for the first 10 visiting-days (for instance) and after that disallow posting for the first 10 visiting-days. It’s an idea derived from metafilter (cited in the article) and I think it would work great for most sites. It may seem  too much, but conversations really improve when people are interested.

    On top of that, since it’s such a pain to register and since you could ban anyone, it would discourage most trollers to come back.

    (And I do not consider Norman a troll… he is annoying but has *sometimes* something interesting to say (anything not SCSI on Win95))

    I realise my post is not really on-topic but it really seems that the comments are bothering you lately, so that was my opinion about it :)

    Anyway, do as you wish, I know I would miss comments, but I am not bearing the weight :)

    (*)last time I tried to submit feedback (about a posting problem) for this site, I really felt that the developpers were behind a wall and that the e-mail exchange wouldn’t give anything. And it didn’t.

  38. Kuwanger says:

    ‘I remember reading Robert Bolt’s “A Man for all Seasons” in high school where Sir Thomas More claims that in the precedent of the common law silence presumes assent. That being said my (very limited) understanding of contract law is that the very opposite is true: silence cannot be construed as acceptance.’

    That’s a matter of degree as well.  Consider verbal contracts, for instance.  It can very quickly be the case that a lack of objection to a comment made can be construed as agreement.  Of course, that all really comes down to what the judge/jury decide.

    More on topic of the comment area itself, it’s something of a double-edged sword.

    In general, people don’t link to Slashdot as a reliable source of information–exception being when it’s a known user, by account.  However, Raymond’s blog isn’t visited/commented on by as large of a group, so there is more assumption made that Raymond spends adequate time to correct mistakes.

    At the same time, as already mentioned, Wikipedia considers *no* blog as a reliable source.  In truth, that’s the most accurate stance to take given the nature of blogs.  No matter how often it is the case that Raymond chimes in to respond, it’s still unreasonable to expect every last possibly wrong comment to be either commented on, deleted, or whatever.

    Having said that, HR realizes quite well that judges and juries aren’t always reasonable.  Any commenting/editing of *some* posts can be seen as tactile assent of other posts (one has to look no further than the long-winded history of Prodigy and AOL with their forums/chatrooms).  Of course, one can probably assume more lenience in any case, given the lack of revenue involved with this blog.

    But, I’m no lawyer.  I just know that IRL, silence is often taken as assent because it implies that one is either to apathetic to fight against the doctrine that one person expounds or that one is too weak/tired/unwilling to chance such a fight.  Consider how voting in the US, for example, doesn’t lead to empty offices (given there’s more people that don’t vote that could than those who vote for any candidate).  Anyways…

    [“Wikipedia considers *no* blog as a reliable source.” Well, perhaps that’s their policy, but it’s not like people stick to it. -Raymond]
  39. Sam says:

    See, thats why most popular blogs disable comments nowadays.

    And rightfully so – I think comments should be allowed when there is a way to track them back to their owner, so the writer of the comment has to take responsibility for his words himself.

  40. arun.philip says:

    My suggestion is don’t delete the comment, but put in your note in
    the yellow box that “you don’t endorse this suggestion / you haven’t
    tested this suggestion. Reader to try this at their own risk. Smoking
    causes cancer”

    Don’t think too much on whatever is suggested. If it feels “odd” or like a hack, stick in the above note.

    [In other words, “If you say something in my presence and I don’t object, then I approve.” -Raymond]
  41. James Risto says:

    Whew, I see clearer now the bind you are in between posting as a MS-employee and open-to-the-masses comments. So thinking about the comments, I read them for other Windows-history knowledgeable responses, and to see your counter-responses. So, perhaps you need 2 integrity levels of comments; MS-employees (makes sure responses are under the same restrictions as your posts), and non-. Prob too complex to do, however.

  42. Andrey Tarantsov says:

    Actually I don’t believe that comments add any additional value to your posts. If you turned them off, you wouldn’t have to write a Nitpicker’s Corner and care about improper advices from readers. Those who really have something to say would send an e-mail. In case some valueable feedback arrives, you could summarize it in a next post (which you seem to occasionally do anyway).

  43. Kuwanger says:

    ["Wikipedia considers *no* blog as a reliable source." Well, perhaps that’s their policy, but it’s not like people stick to it. -Raymond]

    Um, consider that this whole discussion is about how unreasonable it is to have to preemptive exclude comments/content "made in the presence" of someone/something because silence is taken as assent, it’s funny that you don’t hold Wikipedia to the same standard.

    Wikipedia isn’t very different to your blog.  On the one hand, it allows people to include absolute junk.  On the other hand, they can contribute significantly to the positive.  To some extent, but not an absolute extent, silently allowing content to remain is seen as assent.  But given enough "bad press", such seeming assent can be corrected.  The only options to remove any ambiguity (if that’s your chief concern) are to affirm or deny every piece of content posted, after the fact; only allow content to be posted after it has been affirmed; or to block the adding of any content.

    It’s not enough to say "silence doesn’t mean I agree" because people will still set unreasonable standards on things that can be vandalized.  I mean, would you trust your money to a bank who facade was graffitied on a near daily basis (given that for most banks, it’s not a common occurrence)?  But to what extent does a bank have power over people intent on putting graffiti on their building?

  44. Miles Archer says:

    Can you keep search engines from indexing the comments?

    I must take this opportunity to abuse the comments myself –

    Elvis is alive and lives in hiding near Tupolo, Miss.

    The Apollo Moon Landings were faked in a sound stage by Stanley Kubrik.

    Paris Hilton is a space alien.

  45. DewiMorgan says:

    Despite your very liberal moderation, sometimes I wonder if my comments has been deleted. I go back to a threads to which I thought I’d replied, and don’t see it. But it could just be because I often read my comments before posting, decide that they’re not as insightful/funny/original as I’d thought, and don’t submit them.

    I would say that deleting stuff you don’t agree with is fine. I never feel bad if I think you might’ve deleted my post: I feel glad you probably stopped my embarrassing myself. I cheer when you actually post to say you’ve deleted someone’s post.

    I see the dilemma between commenting bad posts and leaving them uncommented. The middle ground is maybe worse: adding a comment "While I don’t necessarily agree with posts I don’t reply to, this one stood out for me as requiring a clear stamp to mark it as ‘utter gibberish’." – that doesn’t imply support for other posts, just denigration of that specific one.

    poochner: I like commas too, and was often heard to say "you cannot have too many commas". But then I found the "Ministry of Dreams" site (google it, though you may need to use the cached entry, or the wayback machine). My favourite quote: "lib,ra,ry". An awesome flow-of-consciousness glimpse into a comma-delimited mind.

  46. Bob says:

    If you’re concerned about responsibility and the HR department, then
    why not move your (=Microsoft’s) blog to your own server external to

    [That doesn’t change anything. Doesn’t matter
    where I violate company policy, be it on this Web site, in an article
    in the New York Times, or in a village in Germany, Microsoft can still
    fire me. -Raymond
  47. AndyB says:

    Surely a big issue here is that comments are moderated, so its not
    your silence that sees them posted, you click ok (or whatever) to
    accept them into your comment list.

    [Comments aren’t moderated. If I do nothing, then
    the comment gets posted (unless the blog software thinks it’s spam).
    But if people think they’re moderated,
    then maybe I need to switch to moderation since that’s what people
    assume is happening anyway. -Raymond
  48. Cooney says:

    Yeah, for some real comment related fun, look at Bill OReilly vs. dailykos – it basically proves that in a forum of any size, which this is, you can’t control everything.

  49. Chris Moorhouse says:

    This sign is posted on the beach at which Raymond is a lifeguard: "This way to Rocky Riptide Beach! ->".

    Is this the lifeguard’s fault or problem? No. Is it the city’s fault or problem? No.

    Should the city be allowed to take down the sign if they feel it’s inappropriate? Yes! Can they tell Raymond, the lifeguard, to do so and fire him if he doesn’t? Yes!

    Is taking down all the signs on the beach, on the grounds that verfying the safety of every swimming destination and providing lifeguards at every one is a poor use of resources, a reasonable policy? I’d say so.

    Post no bills, except that Raymond is in the enviable position of being able to enforce it.

    I still think people need to learn to swim, though.

  50. ulric says:

    Raymond, I don’t necessary think you should hesitate to delete comments that you don’t like (like point ing out an undocumented function)

    It’s to be expected that this could occur.  It happens in other place, and most people will never notice it.   (Especially if it’s not on the latest blog entry.)

    Although I don’t agree with the conclusion of Joel’s blog entry about comments, I think the ultimate point it makes is that you don’t have to please absolutely everyone.  You can loose the anonymous posters, You’d still have thousands of readers.  Joel makes the point that he cares more about these readers than the others.

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