What is cowardice?

“Chuckles1″ has a post on Kos bashing ScienceBlogs’ Dr. Charles for disallowing comments on a blog post critical of Jon Edwards.

That’s all fine. Ideally, Dr. Charles should be willing to accept comments on his own blog. But he seems to be getting plenty of criticism elsewhere. For example, Chuckles1 suggests the following:

I’m asking all readers of Science Blogs to delete their bookmarks and RSS feeds until this coward either deletes his post or opens up the comments for discussion….

Take a minute to email the Science Blog company Seed Media and tell them to give this whippersnapper a good spanking.

Now here’s the thing: Seed has no editorial authority over our content. None. That’s part of the deal, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Plenty of the other ScienceBloggers say things I disagree with — happens all the time. Each blog has its own commenting policy, too — that’s because some of us are busier than others and can’t handle the volume of spam comments might generate.

Furthermore, most of Dr. Charles’ post in this case simply quotes the WSJ (no comments) and Wikipedia (comments allowed, but banished to a little-viewed back channel). Why doesn’t Chuckles1 ask readers to tell Wikipedia and WSJ what’s what?

I do agree that it’s a little sketchy of Charles to suspend comments on this one post while allowing comments on others, but again, he may just not want to deal with the volume of shit that’s inevitably going to be generated by the post. Chuckles1 may not like it, but there are plenty of other public forums (like Kos) where he can complain about it. But Chuckles1 shouldn’t go whining to Seed to deal with Dr. Charles. It’s called free speech, Chuckles!

Funny, I would have told him in his comments section, but guess what? You have to register in order to comment, and in any case, you can’t comment for at least 24 hours after you register (even that function appears to be broken). So non-regulars can’t comment on a post there before it’s doomed to blogging obscurity. Who’s the coward now?

Certainly it isn’t Seed. They’re the ones who’ve given all ScienceBloggers the freedom to say whatever we want.

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8 Responses to What is cowardice?

  1. Robert P. says:

    you can tell me now.

    It isn’t sketchy of “Charles” it is pathetic. He has the right to post right-wing talking points without giving people the ability to put him in his place, and I as a reader of Science Blogs have the right to ask he be booted, or that I will quit reading the many quality posters there. As I have.

    I doubt Seed would allow ScienceBloggers to say “whatever we want”. Try throwing some hate speech out there and see where it lands you. It’s a matter of principle that if you are going to attack someone, you should give them a chance to defend themselves.

    Also, I don’t see the WSJ or Wikipedia quoted as saying “The trial lawyers like John Edwards will oppose this idea because they make fortunes suing doctors and distorting facts. Just look at that piss-poor excuse for a presidential candidate John Edwards.”

    Also, isn’t it interesting that in his response, just posted, he finishes with “Here’s to electing a different kind of man, named Barack Obama.”

    Which, pretty much, makes his original post even more of a biased hit piece only now with political overtones and not just doctor/lawyer bias.

    Dr. Charles opens up for commenting and I delete my posts. Simple as that.

  2. Robert P. says:

    Just to clarify. Dr. Charles blogs on the best Science blog site on the web. His post this morning was front-paged on Science blogs (maybe it is an aggregator, but it was there). He blogs as an “expert” on medical issues and as an active physician. When he attacks John Edwards it is taken as an “expert” opinion on John Edwards as it relates to medicine. The problem is when he cuts off comments so his readers, who might not be as politically engaged, don’t see that he is wrong. See here for example.

    He compounds it by updating the post to make it clear he is heavily vested in an opposing candidate, Barack Obama, information he did not make clear when posting his first attack on Edwards and which would have made it more obvious that his point of view was that of a political opponent and not a medical expert.

  3. dave says:

    Update: looks like charles has opened the post for comments, and Chuckles1 has removed his.

    And PZ Myers linked this post. Hello, Pharyngulans!

    Robert: As I said, you’re free to disagree with Charles (as I do in this case); my gripe was with asking Seed to give him a “spanking,” and claiming he was a “coward” when there was any number of reasons to close comments on a post. I do it from time to time when spammers or nutjobs get out of hand, or just when I know I’m not going to be around to monitor things.

  4. Orac says:

    Just to clarify. Dr. Charles blogs on the best Science blog site on the web. His post this morning was front-paged on Science blogs (maybe it is an aggregator, but it was there). He blogs as an “expert” on medical issues and as an active physician. When he attacks John Edwards it is taken as an “expert” opinion on John Edwards as it relates to medicine. The problem is when he cuts off comments so his readers, who might not be as politically engaged, don’t see that he is wrong

    Give me a friggin’ break. You must really think people are stupid not to recognize that the posts on ScienceBlogs represent the opinions of no one other than the individual bloggers themselves. Do you automatically assume that a physician is an expert on the malpractice crisis, just because he’s a physician? He may or may not be, but you appear to be mighty easily impressed by authority. In any case, calling Charles a “coward” was an asshole thing to do. Period. So was urging people to delink ScienceBlogs I was going to post on this little kerfluffle myself, but fortunately you removed your post originally at: http://www.bluenc.com/coward-in-our-blogging-midst. If you don’t apologize for what you did, I view you as the pathetic one, here, not Dr. Charles.

    Oh, and although I think it’s inappropriate to blame Edwards for representing his clients I viewing the system as being screwed up rather than Edwards), I do view Edwards as a terrible candidate, a representative of that very screwed up system. He is unlikely to be one to do anything to fix the problem.

  5. Robert P. says:

    Orac, I could really care less about your feelings. Attacking a candidate for political reasons and hiding behind your white coat is cowardly, period.

  6. Orac says:

    And I couldn’t care less about yours. You aren’t worthy to clean Dr. Charle’s medical waste bin.

  7. dave says:

    I’m not sure I’d go as far as Orac, but I’d have to agree that deleting posts is probably worse than closing comments.

    And Robert: “Attacking a candidate for political reasons”? What other reasons are there?

  8. TW says:

    When he attacks John Edwards it is taken as an “expert” opinion on John Edwards as it relates to medicine.

    It might just be me, but this makes no sense. Is John Edwards a disease or other illness which can have a medical opinion passed on it?

    Having said that, I must admit the whole issue makes no sense to me. Why does any one care what Dr Charles’ political opinions are?

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