Shall I delete Steve’s comments?

It sure is tempting. (Steve’s comments, not Stephen’s.)

Everyone who has a blog has to have his own rules, and I try to be democratic. Where I draw the line is people using my site to advocate deranged ideologies / philosophies like Nazism, Maoism, anti-Semitism, racism, etc. If someone wants to sing Hitler’s or Mao’s praises it’s certainly their right, but do I have to give them a platform to do so?

I’ll think about it a bit longer.

The Discussion: 23 Comments

His comments tend to discredit themselves. On the other hand, this site is like your house and if someone takes a dump in the living room, you don’t need to keep all that s*** there just to remind yourself that it smells bad…sorry, I’m on my second glass of Beaujolais…I know that doesn’t make sense, but you know what I mean.

January 10, 2004 @ 12:47 pm | Comment

Great analogy, Mark, if a bit gross. I’m thinking of giving him one chance, now that I’ve laid out the groundrules.

It’s an interesting question, when if ever it’s appropriate to delete comments. Is a blog a public forum or our own sandbox, even our own plutocracy? I think I go for the latter. After all, many blogs don’t have comments at all; it’s strictly a courtesy some bloggers offer their readers….

January 10, 2004 @ 12:52 pm | Comment

I’m with Mark. The guy is demonstrating his stupidity through his comments, but it’s your blog, not a newspaper. You don’t pretend to be a public forum where “freedom of speech” comes into play. It’s your website, your time, your money, your rules.

It seems clear this guy is a Mao-believer and no demonstration of the facts will change his mind. I wouldn’t bother wasting too much more brain time on it.

January 10, 2004 @ 1:28 pm | Comment

Hmm you’d think there’d be a website devoted to this topic.

After doing a bit of searching around, it seems there is quite a bit of stuff on dealing with trolls, they’ve been a problem for a long time.

January 10, 2004 @ 3:46 pm | Comment


I delete comments all the time, my sole criteria being, since I’m buying the band width, is the comment something I want to be paying to publish.

Personally, I think, by treating pro-Mao comments exactly the way you would treat pro-Hitler comments, you are making a clear moral point and doing a service.

January 10, 2004 @ 4:10 pm | Comment

On the other hand, you may be doing a moral service, but it’s always nice to be able to look back and see what has been written.

When someone erases comments that are offensive, you miss that “history”.

It’s rare that a comment will burn me enough to want to erase it.

January 10, 2004 @ 5:25 pm | Comment

I’m glad to get these different viewpoints. Aside from resident troll and village idiot “George” (regulars all know who he is), I only deleted one other set of comments, and that was when the commenter threw a fit because I put Mao in the same boat as Hitler.

Looks like Steve saw he wasn’t going to win on this site and took off. I’ll leave the comments as examples of how foolish we look when we stop thinking and surrender to personality cults and myths.

January 10, 2004 @ 5:53 pm | Comment


There is an alternative I’ve been thinking about since I started my blog.

Why don’t you just set up a site in you blog and move all that material there?

You sustain the commitment to free speech and preserve the sanctity of you ‘living room.’

Strange as it may seem, you might like to quote him someday.

Frankly, I’d love to have the guy visit my site regularly as I live in a ‘mean and nasty’ land.

We could debate the abosute number of missles pointing at me.

It would just do wonders for my site stats!

January 10, 2004 @ 6:18 pm | Comment

Michael, I love the name of your site! Start posting daily, and once it’s a bit more filled out I promise to link to it.

January 10, 2004 @ 6:28 pm | Comment

Richard, Obviously your site, your rules.

However, I’d suggest not deleting (assuming you think he’s for real, and not just a troll): after all, the article is about how Mao is still venerated by a large proportion of mainland China – Steve brilliantly proves that point (a lot more emphatically than the original article!).

I don’t think comparisons to Nazi apologists are quite correct. A Nazi is pretty clearly a loony-tunes weirdo whose opinions can happily be ignored; however I suspect there are millions of intelligent, well-educated, otherwise likeable Chinese who hold similar views to Steve. Do you want to ignore them, or address them?

Finally, I don’t think his comments are likely to make anyone think “Wow, Mao was a good guy after all!”, but more likely “Wow, people really do still like & try to defend Mao”.

January 10, 2004 @ 6:33 pm | Comment

David, I really want to believe that you are wrong, that the Mao worship is almost entirely CCP-generated and dismissed by most Chinese citizens as nonsense. Most of my friends in Beijing told me that’s how they see it, as just more propaganda that the government forced on them. Maybe millions of Chinese really do revere Mao, but if so they’d have to be utterly ignorant of the Cultural Revolution and its horrors. Can so many have forgotten something that was so recent? I sure hope not.

January 10, 2004 @ 7:40 pm | Comment

No, Richard, I believe it was you who flipped out when you deleted my comments. As I seemed to remember, you kept calling me ‘Mao Mao,’ thinking that calling me childish names would give you that winning edge.

While we had differing opinions, I thought it was a reasonable difference in opinions and that deleting my comments and the name-calling (which I did not stoop to) was unwarranted. As you said, it is your blog, so you have the right to call anyone you want ‘Mao Mao’ or any other clever name you can think of. But don’t pretend that you were acting calmly and rationally during that regrettable (for both of us) spat.

January 11, 2004 @ 12:21 am | Comment

I would say Steve’s view is quite popular among Chinese, including those who are lucky enough to have advanced education in the US and worked in the US for a few years. To be honest, I am very surprised you ever thought about deleting Steve’s comments.

January 11, 2004 @ 12:45 am | Comment

Wayne, when I compared Mao to Hitler, you wrote, and I quote, “are you nuts???” That’s when I lost my patience with you. Then you wrote, and this is almost an exact quote, “If I wanted to make fun of you because you are gay or Jewish, I could.” Do you remember that one, Wayne? It was only with those words that I started deleting. I admit it, and while I don’t regret the deletions, I am sorry the discussion deteriorated. That was like 6 months ago; do you want to dwell on it again or move on? I never deleted your comments after that, even if I disagree with them, and I never called you Mao Mao again, and I added you to my blogroll because I know you are intelligent. I admit it was a very passionate argument on all sides, and I’m sorry about it.

Yang, it isn’t Steve’s comments on Mao per se that made me consider deleting him, but his suggestion that the US and Israel were the breeding grounds of all terrorism. The Mao nonsense was secondary. I have spoken with many Chinese in Beijing and Shanghai and they all had the same things to say about Mao, as I’ve recorded: Mao veneration, like that of Lei Feng, are necessary evils in China; you just get used to it and essentially ignore it. Obviously there are many other viewpoints, and some Chinese people definitely long for a hero, so Mao has been made the official choice.

January 11, 2004 @ 9:08 am | Comment

One country, many voices:)

I grew up in China, currently living in the US. I understand you may not agree with Steve, but I think it is a bit too much to delete him. I read his comments here, as well as those he left on Adam’s blog site regarding the Taiwan issue. I see him as a well educated, talented, articulate and respectable person. It’s interesting to notice that Adam was disappointed to see Hailey go. Well, I hope Steve can find his voice on Adam’s site. I think David said it well. If you like to have a better understanding of China and Chinese, you may want to engage with people like Steve.

hey, interested in having another interview with your colleague who surprised you with his view on 6.4? Who knows, your friends in beijing and shanghai might just have given you a polite answer! ’cause they knew that’s what you were looking for (kidding). I would guess, if you would like to have a serious discussion with the Chinese, the majority of them has a mixed feeling on Mao.

January 11, 2004 @ 11:13 am | Comment

Yang, thanks for the comments. And please note, I DID NOT delete his comments. I agree with you on that. (But if he presents his “America and Israel are the source of all world terrorism” shit again, I will reconsider.)

I knew many people in China on different levels, from colleagues, personal friends, co-students, language tutors, neighbors and taxi drivers. I wasn’t looking for a single answer, I really wanted to gain insight, and in many ways I do understand the Mao phenomenon. But, like the China expert and author of the article cited in mye earlier post “Happy Anniversary, Mao” I do and always will find something intriguing and rather inexplicable about it. After all, few in history have more blood on their hands than the good Chairman. I guess it’s like the Holocaust: I understand it on an intellectual and historical level, but I can never stop wondering about it and asking how it could have happened. A source of unending fascination.

January 11, 2004 @ 11:22 am | Comment

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Richard. You mean “I DID NOT delete his comments (for his Mao’s nonsense, but for his terrorism comments)? or he actually removed it himself? I saw one from Steve (ending with his “Korean” arguments) right below my first post. Anyway, since you can never stop wondering about it, people like steve can just provide you with a useful perspective.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

January 11, 2004 @ 12:12 pm | Comment

Yang, correct. If you follow the thread from the beginning, you’ll see I tried the engagement tactic. But when all I get is a stream of “you westerners humiliated us in the opium wars and Mao gave China its spine and Mao was a great leader” I admit I lose my patience. I tried to address his points, but he ignored mine about the Culturql Revolution and the Great Leap Forward. Still, I didn’t consider deletion until he touched on certain areas that are taboo under the rules of my plutocracy. Ownership has its priviliges, though I aomost never invoke them. (I also deleted one of George’s posts today, but only because he planted the same comment three different times on my site! I did not delete the original.)

January 11, 2004 @ 12:25 pm | Comment

Personally, I’d leave everything that isn’t spam up. Comments like steve’s will only make most people roll their eyes, so leaving them up’s no harm, and on the other side of things, it also prevents people from claiming that you exercise owner powers to avoid having to deal with arguments. Obviously this would be a specious claim, but if I (just as an example) hadn’t seen the comments, how would I know that?

I’m not saying you don’t have the right to delete comments such as these, of course. Just that it might be more prudent not to.

January 11, 2004 @ 1:16 pm | Comment

They’re all here, Nicholas, untouched except for one where he got way inappropriate on terrorism and how the US is the root of it all. And now I’m sorry I deleted it — it was just so obvious he was trying to push my buttons, and I let him do it.

Oh, and Nicholas, I just checked out your blog — it is great! Thanks for commenting here so I could find out about Metastasis.

January 11, 2004 @ 1:25 pm | Comment

Yeah, I got that you left most of it up. I’ve never been able to figure button-pushers out–there’s something perverse and a little sad about making it one’s objective to get a rise out of someone. Wanting to devastate them utterly I can grok, but wanting to only piss them off. . . ? It’s just not much of an achievment.

Thanks for the compliment! I only just rediscovered yours myself–I think the first time I read it was when I followed a link from Adri’s blog, and that was when I was just realising that there are actually people blogging in these parts, and everything I read everywhere just sort of headswimmingly blended together. Now I’m not sure how I could’ve confused your site design, for one, with anyone else’s. Heh.

January 11, 2004 @ 1:59 pm | Comment

Well … I’d just like to weigh in on the side of Steve … not to say that I agree with his opinions, but I don’t think they contain anything worthy of deletion … he hasn’t resorted to personal abuse, and he seems willing to engage others in debate and discuss his points … I don’t think being right or wrong in your opinions should be grounds for deletion of comments.

January 14, 2004 @ 1:52 pm | Comment

Li En, I would never delete a comment based on someone having a contrary point of view. So we are in agreement. Now let’s put this thread to sleep.

January 14, 2004 @ 2:07 pm | Comment

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