Seattle Bubble Comment Policy

In the past, we have had an extremely hands-off approach to comments here at Seattle Bubble.  The only type of comment that was moderated or deleted was blatant spam.  It was up to the participants of the discussions to keep things interesting and civil, and for the most part, that is what happened.

Unfortunately, in recent weeks a handful of people have been coming in here and leaving comments that are quite clearly intended to antagonize, anger, and upset others.  You can thank this small group of people for ruining the hands-off policy for everybody.

So, starting now and for the foreseeable future, this is the comment policy that will be enforced on Seattle Bubble.

If your comment contains any of the following, it will be either edited or deleted:

  • name-calling
  • blatant antagonism
  • swearing

Antagonism is obviously subjective, but I will probably more readily delete a comment that seems like it might be antagonistic than leave it up.

Also, from now on, no commercial links may be left in the body of the comment.  If you want to fill in your business link in the comment form where it says “website,” feel free to do that, and it will be linked to your name.  But posts with links to a business in the body of the comment will be edited or deleted.  If you want to advertise your business on Seattle Bubble, you need to pay just like everyone else.

Commenters that repeatedly choose to violate these simple rules will be banned.

Feel free to express whatever opinion you want, but find a way to express it that doesn’t come across like a jerk. I gladly welcome dissenting opinions, but I do not welcome rude and hostile trolls.  The comment section of Seattle Bubble is intended to be a place for productive discussion of the posts.  It is not some sort of internet fight club.  If you want to sling insults at people, go find some other forum.

March 4 2009 Addendum: Please keep comments on-topic relative to the post that you are commenting on. For off-topic comments, please use the provided open threads and the forums. Off-topic comments may be deleted or moved to the current open thread.

March 31 2010 Addendum: Comments relating to health care may be posted only on the Health Care Open Thread Smackdown. If you post a comment about health care somewhere else, it will be either deleted or moved to that post.

June 13 2010 Addendum: Registration is not required to comment on Seattle Bubble. That means you’re free to use whatever made-up name you want when you participate in discussion here. HOWEVER, we ask that you pick one name and stick with it. Changing names every few days or weeks is annoying to other people trying to participate in the community, and it’s more unnecessary administrative work for me. If you are found to be changing names, your comments may be deleted.

September 7 2010 Addendum: Comments relating to the global or national economy and not directly related to Seattle-area real estate may be posted only in the Global Economic Open Thread. If you post a comment about the global economy that is not directly related to Seattle real estate somewhere else, it will be either deleted or moved to that post.

February 20 2013 Addendum: Everyone gets up to 5 comments per post, then you’re done. Regular open threads have a limit of 15 and the long-running politics/economics/healthcare open threads have much higher limits. Use your comments wisely.

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    Lake Hills Renter says:


  2. 2
    Everett_Tom says:

    Ditto! While some of the “baiting” by both sides is occasionally fun to watch, it can be a real pain to have to scroll though 20 “No YOUR dumb” comments to continue to follow the discussion on the article.

  3. 3
    deejayoh says:

    I gladly welcome dissenting opinions, but I do not welcome rude and hostile trolls.

    Bravo, Tim. I believe the term that Barry Ritholz uses for these types is “asshats”. He states his position pretty well in this post.

    My favorite tidbit for those who choose not to click through:

    Trolls and Asshats:
    This may be a free country, but The Big Picture is my personal fiefdom. I rule over all as benevolent dictator. I will ban anyone whom I choose from posting comments — usually, for a damned good reason, but on rare occasions, for the exact same reason God created the platypus: because I feel like it.

  4. 4

    Thanks, Tim.
    There’s a lot of great stuff here, but constant insults and taunting don’t add to the discussion. ..And I’m sure you would have preferred not to have to have a comment policy, so you absolutely did the right thing, and hopefully we’ll continue to have spirited but civil disagreements.

  5. 5
    pragmatic says:

    no commercial links may be left in the body of the comment

    We’re all looking at you Ray Pepper!

  6. 6
    NotaBull says:

    Does this imply that mean-spirited handles are also banned? For example, if you were to call out a particular segment of society and create a handle like, umm, “homeownersarelosers” (or similar) then you would be banned or have those posts removed?

    I hope the answer is yes.

  7. 7
    The Tim says:

    NotaBull @ 6,


  8. 8
    Darby says:

    Too bad that you have to do it, but I think it’s a good decision. Lively discussion is one thing. Mean-spirited attacks are another. That’s a big reason why I subscribe to your blog but generally do not leave comments.


  9. 9
    AndySeattle says:

    Well done Tim… Good rules, and thank you for addressing the elephant in the room. It seems that recently there have been more questions on this topic… Hopefully your clarification on our rules of engagement should help clear the air.

  10. 10
    Ben says:

    I know that this was a hard decision Tim, but you at least have my support. Some people just want to cause grief, and there is no harm in pwning their comments right away.

  11. 11
    Jon says:

    Bravo Tim!

  12. 12
    tarzanchuck says:

    sounds good to me. It’s impossible to have a reasonable discussion with someone if they resort to name-calling.

  13. 13
    Sorin says:

    Sad thing that you have to do this at all, but I think it is for the better. It was starting to feel like the rare occassion when a comment thread remained civil and constructive.

  14. 14
    Alan says:

    SeattleBubble just made the transition from a village to a town.

  15. 15
    softwarengineer says:


    Sometimes freedoms of others are attacked by trolls as not in their own PC realm. That is not freedom of speech when they attack the commentator that differs from their opinion by calling them a hater or other names in error….that can be legally called defimation of character and its illegal in America.

    What is good freedom of speech is offerring an opposing opinion that differs in a sane and comfortable way [preferrably with backup reference(s) as needed]; or simply saying, “we’ll have to agree to disagree” and going on to the next topic.

    Having blog rules is wise Tim and makes this process much more enjoyable for all who contribute their opinions.

  16. 16
    SeattleMoose says:

    Agree totally, it is about @#$%^% time!!!

  17. 17
    Robroy says:

    I’ve been to sites that are virtually anything goes. It really gets annoying. On the other hand, after years of staying well within the rules on all sites, I was literlly harrassed by a sites admin and when I called him on it I really learned the concept of “he who owns the ball gets to make the rules”. Add to that I quoted a simple bible scripture to make a semi-comical point and he called me on it. So I learned it is important to actually read each sites rules. Embedded in that sites rules was the line: No bible quoting.

    I told them to remove my membership and I moved on.

  18. 18
    Ray Pepper says:

    What happened? I must have missed all the excitement. It must be that RAL guy. I actually had fun reading his posts. Its much more fun to play Poker with a bunch of boisterous clowns. Someone crossed the line. I hope it wasn’t me.

    I’m walking on a thin line over at The News Tribune. I cannot capitalize anything, mention that her (Devonna) stories ARE AFFECTED by advertising and thus she will not write anything about us, and a bunch other warnings. I know I will screw up soon. ! Too much Pressure!

  19. 19
    TheHulk says:

    Hey tim, Good job laying down the law!

    Personally, I dont mind a little bit of civil banter back and forth. It gives us a chance for all of us here to say whats REALLY on our minds. The key thing is to keep it civil and contribute something worthwhile to the discussion at hand.

  20. 20
    ZombyWoof says:

    > SeattleBubble just made the transition from a village to a town.

    Wait, I thought it was already a world class city? ;-)

  21. 21
    Madrona says:

    This whole scenario reminds me of a certain Penny Arcade strip from waaay back. If you’re curious, Google “Green Blackboards (And Other Anomalies)” for John Gabriel’s theory on internet & forums.

    (I’d rather not directly link as he does use some rather strong language)

  22. 22
    Demersus says:

    SoftwareEngineer @ #15

    You have freedom of speech. If you have something to say, start your own #$%^& blog and try to entice people to read it. If you want to ride on the shirt tails of someone else, don’t complain when the flick you off.

  23. 23
    Demersus says:

    Ooops, nevermind. I didn’t read your entire post before my knee jerked. I apologize.

  24. 24

    “Its much more fun to play Poker with a bunch of boisterous clowns”

    Don’t worry Ray, there’s at least a few of us boisterous clowns left.

  25. 25
    Anonymous Coward says:

    Tim, you should instead edit these bad comments to something like: “I agree with Tim, I have always agreed with Tim, and I shall always agree with Tim.”

  26. 26
    mikal says:

    What a bunch of —kissers. So it is back to the principal of only in your bubble.

  27. 27
    The Tim says:

    So it is back to the principal of only in your bubble.

    Mikal, I don’t even know what that is supposed to mean.

    Can you honestly not see the difference between somebody posting a contrary viewpoint in a civil way (like posts by Harley Lever or Greg Perry) and somebody that is posting just to be a troll?

  28. 28
    mikal says:

    I can, but at what point could this be any different than what China is now doing to the journalists. That being said, Harley is right. If you are going to start banning the harsh EconE and What goes up have to be next if you are banning the foul language and name callers. If not you are just banning those that don’t agree with you.

  29. 29
    geon says:

    Hey, these people are angry.. they haven’t been right.

  30. 30
    Pen says:

    I welcome the change and new rules.. I read this blog almost daily to help me remain sane in this RE market. I had begun to lose interest due to some of the unpleasant comments. So now that we return to civility I am again interested.

  31. 31
    Finally says:

    I was so sick of seeing Ray Pepper’s website in the “signature” (manually typed!) of every post he writes.

  32. 32
    MLT31 says:

    What is wrong with being respectful toward others. You can have a different point of view, it’s just how you present it. I think that’s all Tim is trying to do! Good job!

  33. 33
    Mark says:

    July real estate stats are now out.

    I think we’re about to get our mojo back!
    (sarcasm off)

  34. 34
    David McManus says:

    Am I allowed to use sarcasm tags with the new comments policy?

  35. 35
    The Tim says:

    Mark @ 33:

    I know, but unfortunately the NWMLS website is down.

    David @ 34:

    I’m certainly not banning sarcasm. Just jerks.

  36. 36
    Alan says:

    Can we mock people?

  37. 37
    EconE says:

    I love it. The “harsh” EconE.

    Funny how this seemed to start with a 77 comment post, of which Harley had 23 of those comments, most of which were quite condescending and arrogant.

    Please Tim…tell me how his posts were “civil” as you say? Try re-reading all Harley’s comments Tim.

    I had 2 posts (3 if you include the one where my censored name-calling had to be re-entered)

    Yes…I had fun with my rant against Realtors that flip condos. I said what I had to say and that was that. My larger point in using the “naughty naughty” language was in order to get the reaction that I received. A bunch of people complaining about the language rather than reading the message. It just goes to show how short-sighted PC mentality can make someone.

    “He said a bad word so I can’t read anything else written and will broadly disparage any commentary from this person at all”


  38. 38
    Joel says:

    I can, but at what point could this be any different than what China is now doing to the journalists.

    You really can’t tell the difference between the Tim and a government or between and a country of over 1 billion people?

    Plus I don’t think anybody has been banned yet. There just happens to be a certain commentor whose very name is a troll and therefore his posts get whacked.

  39. 39
    The Tim says:

    Plus I don’t think anybody has been banned yet.

    Technically true, but I have already put some special automatic filters on a couple of repeat offenders.

    Alan @ 36,

    I’d have to say that mockery is one of those things that could fall under “antagonism,” but it would depend on the context.

    A) “If you believe these charts I’ve got some swampland in Florida to sell you.”
    B) “What’s the matter, can’t find a buyer for your crapshack in Ballard?”

    Comment B would be deleted, Comment A would be allowed.

  40. 40
    Rentersarelosers says:


    How can you say you haven’t banned anyone when you garbled my posts and changed my name to “troll”, including my comments on your “pricing calculator” which contained absolutely no swearing, not antagonistic, nor name calling.

    You have done this to many of my posts, posts that conform to your rules, but disagree with your opinion.

  41. 41
    Harley Lever says:

    Econ E,

    Please do not mistake my defending of RALs rights to comment as complaining about our back and forth.

    My point was that you cannot cherry pick who get’s spanked and who does not. It should be equal across the board. RAL has been extremely offensive as well as many here. I have never hidden the fact that if attacked personally, I will give it right back, minus the swearing and gutter-mouth comments.

    I explained in past posts that the reason things get so one-sided here is because of the Pro-Bubble character assassins. I challenged The Tim to create an anti-bubble online persona and asked him to see what it is like from our perspective.

    I am happy to debate on any level. I mirrored your posts and other character assassins through my responses. People that are polite and respectful, received the same back from me. Those who attacked me got it back as hard as I can give it.

    I never swore at anyone, used foul language, or tried to hide my insults or swearing through acronyms… you proved my point once again.

  42. 42
    Rentersarelosers says:

    Tim changed me to “Troll”. Posts garbled.

  43. 43
    Harley Lever says:


    I am sorry, but it is hard not to laugh hysterically at the “virtual time out” you are being put in.

    Last night we could only see glimpses of you existence in the corner… Half-phrases trying so desperately to speak and form an entire sentence. Now, you have “Virtual Duct Tape” put over your mouth.

    The Tim… PURE GENIUS!!! I literally have tears coming down my eyes this is so funny to me.

    RAL we may be of the same opinion, but it is never what you say, it is how you say it. I do hope that you are eventually allowed back, but in the same breath, I hope you can articulate your point in a respectful way. Insults cause most people to shut down… look no further than our current foreign policy to see the effects of insults, name calling, and overall ignorant behavior.

  44. 44
    Fripp says:


    He didn’t make your posts gibberish, he just deleted all your vowels. It kind of makes it a fun game if you ask me!

  45. 45
    deejayoh says:

    To those who are claiming “censorship” please see: GYOFB

  46. 46
    Alan says:

    RAL could come back immediately. He just needs a non-troll name.

  47. 47

    While I’ve disagreed with your opinions a fair amount, I will admit that most of your posts are thoughtful, coherent, intelligent, articulate, and respectful.
    Now don’t let that get to your head.

  48. 48
    Joel says:

    Maybe you can use numbers and symbols in place of vowels (like l337 sp34k) to get around the filter.

  49. 49
    Harley Lever says:



    Too late, my headphones just broke in half!

  50. 50
    EconE says:


    I never stated that there should be “cherry picking” WRT who gets banned or not. I made no mention of RAL. In fact, I miss him. His posts are so over the top that they are hard not to laugh at. When he abuses Tim, it’s a different story. This is Tim’s house…you don’t insult the host. I do miss him making fun of we “renters”…my favorite comment is the “noses pressed up against the window of homeownership”…priceless.

    Now if you’d go back to your original post that starts with “The grass is always greener” and then go to such extremes of stating that we should just pack up and move to Detroit and get a job at White Castle or move to Kansas and learn to top corn.

    Where did that come from? Was it not condescending? Why such extremes?

    I don’t see any posts before that “calling you out” nor do I see people “whining” as others seem to think.

    If you like Seattle so much…more power to you. I like Seattle too. It’s just not the end all be all place that you make it out to be, and people have different preferences, circumstances and ideas about where they might want to live.

    Try not to paint everybody with the brush that you paint yourself with…we are all different.

  51. 51
    Alan says:

    @Tim #39 Re: Mocking

    What if I were to say something like this:

    “Wah, wah, wah. I can’t understand why my house didn’t sell.”
    “Wah, wah, wah. I can’t understand why my posts are banned.”

    What do these two statements have in common?

  52. 52
    The Tim says:


    While I may find humor in such a comment, I would probably delete it, since it doesn’t really add anything to a civil discussion.

  53. 53
    Harley Lever says:


    One of the unfortunate side effects of electronic communication is the inability to pick up on the other cues (facial expressions, vocal cues, etc.) that provide meaning to what we are trying to convey.

    My post was riddled with extreme sarcasm to try and highlight what I thought to be an absurd post. The idea of leaving Seattle because the prices of housing is expensive for some people seemed way too simplistic of an answer to high housing prices. I was attempting to highlight in a funny and equally ridiculous way the trade-offs that you must consider when finding “cheap housing”.

    For the record I do not think the only job you can find in Detroit is “White Castle”. My point was Detroit is devastated by the failing of the big three and sub prime loans. Yes you can find cheap housing, but what are the trade-offs?

    I apologize if you took it the wrong way. I am sure I misconstrued some of your posts too. I guess what we should all do is start by giving one another the benefit of the doubt. If we are offended by the way information is presented, perhaps we should ask for more clarification, before passing judgment and attacking one another.

    For the record, I was a renter for over a decade and am not about to trash someone for renting. It is obvious by being here that many renters are looking to some day own a home. I try to gear my comments and my ideas to give them strategies of how they might purchase a home and what they can do to protect their investment, whether it is today or ten years from now. I do not gain personally from anyone purchasing a home.

    There are many here who swear and verbally abuse people here. I think swearing whether blatantly or through acronyms should never be tolerated. I think the verbal abuser should be eliminated.

    I look forward to the day when we can all have intelligent and meaningful conversations. I hope today is the beginning step towards that goal.

  54. 54
    Alan says:

    While I may find humor in such a comment, I would probably delete it, since it doesn’t really add anything to a civil discussion.

    If only there were some site somewhere on the internet where I could read humorous articles and make snarky comments about them.

  55. 55
    The Tim says:

    If only there were some site somewhere on the internet where I could read humorous articles and make snarky comments about them.

    Indeed… Somebody should start such a site.

  56. 56
    laxtosnoco says:

    I’m glad to see there will be tighter controls on spamming/blatant advertising. However, I didn’t really see much of a problem regarding offensive or antagonizing content. Nonsense posts are easy to ignore, so I don’t see why people are bothered by them. On the other hand, spamming takes advertising $ out of Tim’s pocket.

  57. 57
    Ray Pepper says:

    I’m still upset with ECON E. He gets no damn shirt or hot Dog. I don’t care if he wants to wear a form fitting 500 Shirt and be the envy of his neighbors. He will have to EARN it now!

  58. 58
    Harley Lever says:


    Corporations spend tons of money on their “Corporate Image”. Many would also be weary of associating their brand with a blog that has offensive content, especially the types of companies that would advertise here.

    Don’t get me wrong, Howard Stern, was an advertising cash cow, but this blog is completely different.

    Tim’s hard work on real estate data, graphs, and other useful information is diluted by swearing and abusive people who trash the blog and diminish “Seattle Bubble’s Corporate Image”.

  59. 59
    EconE says:

    LOL Ray!

    I’m not too proud to wear a $500 realty t-shirt.

    BTW…my referral to “Five-Bill-Realty” was just a take on your name. “Bill”=$100 just like “Brick” = $1,000,000.

    Are your hot-dogs Hebrew National? You do know…If a hot-dog hasn’t been blessed by a Rabbi…it’s just a “frank”.

    I still want to see pictures of your Tudor. I grew up in one so I have a bit of a fondness for them. I owned an Eichler (Mid Century Modern), but the heating bills were atrocious. It was cheaper for me to turn off the heat for a couple months in the winter and head down to Mexico.

  60. 60
    Keith says:

    Re: RAL

    Well, there you go – if you filter out “losers”, then I guess everyone’s a “winner”. So much for balance…I wonder if this will carry over into the sports world….”The Seattle Mariners were winners in 2 of the 3 games against the twins, but were non-winners in the third”. Ick.

  61. 61
    RAL 2 says:

    Done deal. We are all winners!

    Looking forward to the July stats.

  62. 62
    stephen says:

    Not sure why I feel this way, and I certainly see your point but it just chills my attitude when I know someone is filtering the comments. I certainly understand racism and profanity but you are getting into the overall tone of the discusion. I doubt it will feel the same around here anymore…

  63. 63
    Greg Perry says:

    The Tim,
    I have had many discussions here in disagreement with others, and at the end of the day both sides learned something and went away feeling good about the discussion.

    FWIW, I think there are many good and very bright minds who regularly comment on SB. Good and important ideas are discussed here. I enjoy the debate.

    I try to keep this simple principal in mind when commenting on any blog: Debate the issue or idea. Never personally attack another commenter.

    Any issue or idea can be debated with passion without offending someone else. The moment the other side is offended, you lose your point.

    So I don’t see any reason at all not to continue to debate with passion.

    I am happy to see that the name calling and baiting practices will go away.

  64. 64
    Bitterrenter says:

    Sorry to ruin your [inappropriate] of self congratulations, but a blog that censors is wrong. If you think you need to censor it’s time to scrap the blog. You’ve entered a slippery slope of censorship that goes against everything we stand for in this country. Yes, the blog owner has the power to do that but can no longer claim to be hosting a free and open discussion.

    Ironic in a region so obsessed with individual freedoms.

  65. 65
    Lake Hills Landlord says:


    I couldn’t disagree more. This isn’t a free and open chatroom. This is a commercial venture. Apple or Microsoft isn’t going to allow you to post whatever you want in their forums or corporate sites and neither will SB. If The Tim isn’t judicious in his use of filtering and banning, then he may lose many of the posters and readers who make his site successful, but that is the risk he must take to make this business venture work. His job is to find the balance between keeping his most active readers and posters happy and presenting the image and message that he wants for this site.

  66. 66

    Allow me to join the circle of congratulations, because Bitterrenter couldn’t be more wrong. This is the best move Seattle Bubble could have taken to preserve the value of the comments forums. Trolls and flamers bring nothing to the discussion and can poison an entire forum if they run wild.

    Bitterrenter, you’re absolutely mistaken that the only “free” choice is to allow anyone to post anything. This is Tim’s forum. He’s providing the hosting. Everyone who posts here is doing so because they’re using Tim’s resources. This site is like his private newspaper and meeting room; when you visit it, you are on his property.

    Freedom of speech means that anyone can say whatever they like in public, and anyone can start up their own newspaper… or website… or forum. It does NOT mean that everyone with a newspaper, or website, or forum, is obligated to republish everything that other people send them. If that were true, every newspaper / website / forum in the world would be unreadable.

    If you don’t like Tim’s moderation policy, then please go start your own uncensored forum. Have a ball. You can advertise it here! THAT’S the meaning of freedom of speech.

    I completely trust Tim to let everyone post whatever viewpoint they want — pro-bubble, anti-bubble, whatever — just so long as they’re not complete idiots about it. The “slippery slope” argument is completely bogus.

  67. 67
    The Tim says:

    For anybody who wants a place where they can leave whatever comments they want and try to be the biggest jerk in the room, I invite you to check out Slog. The comment threads are right up your alley (here’s a typical example), and the perfect example of what I don’t want Seattle Bubble to turn into.

  68. 68
    softwarengineer says:


    All the websites that I blog on recognize “softwarengineer” and know I blog civil. I never get censored by Dr. Roubini, a plethora of media sites, etc….they only censor new bloggers or one’s that break civil communications laws. Once you’re proven safe, you’re uncensored and your blogs are published immediately [innocent until proven guilty].

    If you censor 100% of the civil bloggers [or delay their inputs for quick responses and reference follow-on blogs] because of a few rotten apples; a lot of intelligent bloggers will leave SB and your readership will suffer. Think about it.

    I do have my own blog websites too, look “softwarengineer” up on any search engine; and I have never had to resort to censorship; albeit your website has more readership than mine and that may understandably cause more difficulties.

  69. 69
    tomtom says:

    I’ll add to the chorus of support for the SB Comment Policy. Popular message boards are either moderated or eventually destroyed by a few trollers.

  70. 70
    LotharBot says:

    “Freedom of speech” is a misnomer. The important principle is “free exchange of ideas”.

    Excessive antagonism, hostility, flaming, etc. detract from the free exchange of ideas. They tend to drag discussion down to a lowest-common-denominator level, which doesn’t benefit anyone. Cutting down on such things by going after the worst offenders is generally a good thing. Keeping the discussion civil means more people are encouraged to share.

    Now, “civil” doesn’t necessarily mean “agreeable” or “uncontroversial” or even “unoffensive” — in the case of religious debates, political debates (which often come up here when discussing taxes, lending policy, bailouts, etc.) and debates about money (very common here), you can expect people to get offended and you can expect controversy. But taking steps to keep things civil means people can challenge others with their controversial and possibly offensive views, without fear of being treated as less-than-human.

    Overall, Bravo on your new policy.

  71. 71
    Mortie says:

    Great, horrible article about trolls made the NYT this past Sunday:

  72. 72
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    “if you anti-freedom sycophants want your delicate sensibilities to be shielded ”

    Congradulations on demonstrating why we need it.

  73. 73
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    As for the definition of what is offensive/approriate, that’s simple. It’s Tim’s blog so he decides. If you do not like the line that has been drawn, which seems to be the case, then you are free to make your own blog with whatever rules you see fit and try to draw Tim’s readers away with your more liberal posting policies. Call it the free market, freedom of speech, whatever.

    Personally, I look forward to a better signal-to-noise ratio […] I want to spend my time actually talking about the issues instead of reading endless posts of “Nuh-uh, YOUR (sic) stupid!”

  74. 74
    Alan says:

    The problem is that the definition of what is offensive, off-topic or, gasp!, [inappropriate] is very subjective.

    That is a problem if a democracy is making decisions. It is a problem if there is nowhere else you can go to make your own subjective decision. It is a problem if the government is forcing those guidelines onto you.

    This is Tim’s private property. He can do what he wants. He can enforce his own subjective rules (although if he does so arbitrarily he risks damaging the value of his private property). You have the freedom to go play somewhere else if you don’t like his subjectiveness.

    If you did not have that option then I think the freedom of speech argument would be very important.

  75. 75
    bitterrenter says:

    And as long as TIm’s assessment of what is considered “offensive” agrees with yours all is well, I’m sure.

    There are bubble blogs which deem any political talk to be verboten. Of course, only the political talk that the blog owner doesn’t like is censored.

  76. 76
    Alan says:

    It is in Tim’s interest to make his moderation policy agree with as many people as possible.

  77. 77
    bitterrenter says:

    So rule by the tyranny of majority wins then, eh? How charming.

    I wonder how the censoring fans would feel if the newspaper arbitrarily edited content? Do you all love FOX News?

    I love the people who say “it’s his blog and he can do what he wants”. Sounds like the Bush adminstration.

  78. 78
    The Tim says:


    The rules are simple and straightforward. It all boils down to a very clear concept: Keep it civil.

    If you just can’t handle comment threads without name-calling, swearing, and intentional antagonism, then again, I invite you to head on over to Slog.

  79. 79
    Matthew says:

    The newspaper does arbitrarily edit content, they have these people called “editors”. Have you read the newspaper or listened to the MSM lately?

    Comparing a privately owned and operated blog to a the admin that governs our Republic… Nice analogy.

    Tim spends his time and money to run this place. You aren’t free to say whatever you want in my living room without the threat of being booted and not invited back. The same applies here.

  80. 80
    Alan says:

    So rule by the tyranny of majority wins then, eh? How charming.

    Tim’s blog is not a democracy. This is not tyranny of the majority. If anything it is tyranny of a dictator. Except that it really isn’t tyranny, in my opinion. You are free to have your own opinion that it is and you are free to not participate. You even seem to be free to complain about the policy (which is something I think you should be free to do).

  81. 81
    old timer says:

    Thank you for this site.
    Thank you for all the interesting discussions and the mass of factual and graphic information.
    I am grateful for our ability to have such a forum in an era where so much serious news is managed and delivered by the ‘controllers’.
    I view your policies on posting as no more severe than ones any parent would propose on discussions or behavior in his/her family room where children exposed to unbridled egos might pick up ‘bad habits’.
    “My house, my rules” – isn’t THAT a great part of what this country is supposed to be about?

  82. 82
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    “a better signal-to-noise ratio […] I want to spend my time”

    Whoa, I got moderated. =P

    I don’t even remember what I said. *scratches head*

  83. 83
    The Tim says:

    LHR @ 82, it was a quote from another comment that quite clearly crossed the “no name-calling” rule, and was deleted. So it made sense to delete your reference to the specific name-calling as well.

  84. 84
    Lake Hills Renter says:

    Oh right, now I remember. Better to get moderated for quoting someone else than for your own. =P

  85. 85
    Joel says:

    I always disheartened to discover yet more people that don’t understand that the first amendment applies only to the government. Ironically, it’s is much more repressive for the government to say that bloggers cannot moderate their own blogs than it is for the government to allow bloggers decide to do what they want with their blogs.

  86. 86
    Ray Pepper says:

    Dang it now I’m addicted to SLOG. Just what I needed another blog forum to suck up my time. Now I will surely miss the 11pm Family Guy Episodes.

    Thanks Tim

    (btw I got sensored by Tim. My word Damn turned into golly–it was funny)

  87. 87
    deejayoh says:

    Well, if everyone would have stopped feeding the trolls, Tim wouldn’t have had to cut off their food supply!

  88. 88
    WestSideBilly says:

    I can’t believe that so many of you are up in arms about this. It’s a civility policy, not a censoring of ideas or opinions. I’ve moderated a handful of forums that, in terms of membership are about 1000 times bigger than SB, and it comes down to this:

    “I think you’re wrong, and this is why” is OK.
    “You’re wrong, you must be stupid” is not.

    The former is beneficial to all who read this site (including the ~30 or so regular posters as well as the thousands who skim or get linked here). The latter degrades the forum for everyone except the regular readers who realize what that person is. This blog wouldn’t be very interesting without fresh ideas and comments.

  89. 89
    TJ_98370 says:

    Reference post #88

    “I think you’re wrong, and this is why” is OK.
    “You’re wrong, you must be stupid” is not.

    Very concise and well put WestSideBilly.

    Can an analogy be made with today’s politics? Does this lack of tolerance for a perspective other than our own say something about our society?

    To me it’s a matter of respect for the “individual”. Intolerance for contrary opinion indicates a major lack of maturity and / or awareness IMO.

  90. 90
    Alan says:

    Intolerance for contrary opinion indicates a major lack of maturity and / or awareness IMO.

    You really should be more tolerant and accepting of other people’s intolerance.

    Just kidding.

  91. 91
    stephen says:

    Wow, everyone who dared not wholeheartedly endorse the new censor policy got promptly trashed and invited to leave. I hope he can make a living with the Cliff types that are left posting…

  92. 92
    b says:

    While I agree that this is Tim’s blog and he can do what he wants, from a purely business standpoint censoring is a bad idea unless its spam or is driving people away. As far as I could tell, RAL’s posts infuriated people to the point of posting more and generating more page views.

  93. 93
    Keith says:

    >> As far as I could tell, RAL’s posts infuriated people to the point of posting more and generating more page views

    Exactly, and the reason that Howard Coselll was worth so much to ABC – because listening to him got you so pissed off, you just couldn’t turn away.

    To be clear, I’m in favor of censoring out personal attacks. But I don’t believe that RAL’s moniker (in particular) is a personal attack.

  94. 94
    TJ_98370 says:

    stephen –

    Just curious, what’s a “Cliff type”?

  95. 95
    stephen says:

    Cliff from the TV show Cheers (I’m showing my age :-)

  96. 96
    Scotsman says:

    “I don’t believe that RAL’s moniker (in particular) is a personal attack.”

    You’re right, it’s not, unless you’re a renter. Home owners are exempt.

    Tim’s rules seem pretty easy going to me: “Feel free to express whatever opinion you want, but find a way to express it that doesn’t come across like a jerk.” It’s pretty hard to seriously defend RAL, or his moniker, when that’s the criteria.

    It’s not censorship any more than the lines on the highway- go where ever you want, but stay on your side so everyone else gets to their destination safely.

  97. 97
    Alan says:

    My comments could probably be interpreted as inviting people to leave. That wasn’t my intent. People equate the moderation here with a freedom of speech violation. It isn’t. I hope everyone stays (even RAL — maybe he could use his other handle “A Normal Person”). If you don’t like the way the moderation is being done then convince Tim to change it, but don’t go crying wolf over the first amendment.

  98. 98
    WestSideBilly says:

    As far as I could tell, RAL’s posts infuriated people to the point of posting more and generating more page views.

    It also is likely to scare away potential commenters and long time visitors, who deal with enough vitriol in their daily lives and don’t care to be mocked and ridiculed by an internet troll/e-thug.

  99. 99
    Keith says:

    Keith: “I don’t believe that RAL’s moniker (in particular) is a personal attack.”

    Scottsman: “You’re right, it’s not, unless you’re a renter. Home owners are exempt.”

    No, I’m right because “renters” is a collective noun – by definition it does not apply to an individual person – thus it could not possibly be a “personal attack”.

    Regardless of that, I think that most people on this blog would agree that, with the new HoHo Bill, homeowners are the (intended) “winners” and – by contrast – renters would be the “non-winners, a.k.a. “losers”. So there you go – it can be read as an opinion of fact which, depending on the context (not explicitly stated) you would even likely agree with.

    Censorship is a multi-edged sword – one should be alert for the unintended consequences.

  100. 100
    Orion says:

    Making an attack on a collective doesn’t mean it’s not jerk-like behavior. For example, suppose there were posters with names like (parentheses are mine, not censored):
    (Your racial identity here)AreScumbags

    Imagine a blog filled with monikers like that. Not a nice place.

  101. 101
    The Tim says:

    I don’t understand how the discussion of “personal attacks” even relates to the new policy. None of the three guidelines require a comment to be a personal attack to be deleted.

    It doesn’t matter whether the name-calling, antagonism, or swearing is directed at an individual or a group of people, I’ll be deleting it either way.

  102. 102
    NotaBull says:

    No, I’m right because “renters” is a collective noun – by definition it does not apply to an individual person – thus it could not possibly be a “personal attack”.

    And I suppose I could change my handle to Keithsarelosers because that’s not an individual attack either. I’m referring to *all* Keiths, so it’s not personal at all. Oh no.

  103. 103
    Keith says:

    Tim: I don’t understand how the discussion of “personal attacks” even relates to the new policy.

    Uh, “name-calling” is a form of “personal attack”…or did you mean something else by that? I don’t know, maybe I’m just not clear on the value of these “guidelines”. I didn’t realize there was a true problem that needed addressing in that fashion.

    Speaking as a reader who actually contributed in a minor way to the PayPal fundraising, I am disappointed in the application of this new policy (though I’m loving the non-commercialization restrictions!).

  104. 104
    stephen says:

    I guess what is troubling to me is that Tim seems to be charged up about the stepped up review policy and is not planning on using it as sparingly as possible. If he was he could just have quietly removed the over the top post and told that person to knock it off. If called on it on the board I don’t think it would have created much of a stir if he posted saying he had to delete a comment that was over the top. He certainly would not have invited people to leave that objected and assumed the worse about them based on that objection.

    This post and the resulting discussion has put the community he has built over the past couple of years on notice to self censor or be prepared to be censored by him. By throwing in ‘being a jerk’ , that censoring becomes extremely subjective and therefore very arbitrary.

    That’s what I meant by it’s just kinda changes the tone and may well make it less interesting and compelling.

    The rebuttal to my argument has basically been that if I object I must want to be able to post those types of remarks. That’s kinda like saying if I object to an unreasonable search of my home I must have something to hide. I have learned over the years that if you feel that way it is really a total waste of my time to try to convince you otherwise.

    Bottom line, it’s his board and and his business. I do wish him luck with it and I hope he finds the right balance. Whether he and the regulars like it or not, many bloggers drift away from sites when they start feeling like they are being monitored. That while obscene, racist or over the top attacks are deleted is probably accepted by most as just understood, if it feels like the whole thing is being conditioned it will lose a lot of appeal. Most of us are here because we like reading or having open and frank discussions about the main subject, real estate, and too a lessor extent finance’s and personal approaches to such.

    Anyway, I just felt I need to explain myself a little more, I am not trying to antagonize anyone :-)

  105. 105
    mikal says:

    Stepehen you are spot on. It already seems that way. RAL contributed in his own way. He must have hit a real chord to contribute to what happened.

  106. 106
    The Tim says:


    If you want to know why the disemvoweling filter was thrown onto RAL, just take a gander at some of his posts. Top-notch trolling, and frankly, it got old.

  107. 107
    mikal says:

    I do see your point.

  108. 108
    Keith says:

    FWIW, the latest Morgan Stanley “Technology Trends” report ( highlights “Wisdom of Crowds / Self-Supervising Communities” (on slide 13).

  109. 109
  110. 110

    […] Happy Labor Day. For whatever few people happen to be hanging around here today, here’s an open thread to talk about whatever you feel like (within the bounds of the comment policy). […]

  111. 111
    Tomi says:

    Shoddy construction is widespread and the “builders” get away with it.
    Visit Homeowners for Better Building ( and Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings ( These are 2 national non-profits made up of volunteers who are vicitms of shoddy work.
    We have no laws to protect potential homebuyers when purchasing new construction.
    I have seen people foreclose and loose so much at the hands of a builder who walked away free and clear.

  112. 112
    Jan says:

    Here in Australia over the years too many people got stuck with badly constructed new homes and poorly renovated homes. Now in most states (still not too certain of WA) that all builders are required to take out an insurance policy to cover the likeliehood of unacceptable/bad construction. Also we have building inspections at set times for all new buildings and they have to be signed off on before any progress payments are made.

    Many builders complain about over regulation here but since these policies were implemented, it now is an unusual occurence when a builder goes belly up that people get stuck.

  113. 113
    softwarengineer says:

    RE: Jan @ 112

    GREETINGS June from Australia :-)

    You’re right, absurd uncontrolled population growth with concurrent “slapping more glueboard shacks together” creates national debt crisis and subpar construction, especially using unskilled [undocumented] workers “on the cheap”. A lesson America mostly refuses to learn, even though it’s as clear in America as the nose on your face.

    Kudos for your new Prime Minister’s backbone on controlling your country’s population growth….America desparately could use a real leader in demography planning like Australia’s. But alas, I can only dream [or perhaps immigrate out of this soon to be 3rd world country, to Australia?….LOL].

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