Despite the fact that this is a personal blog and I have absolutely no obligation to provide readers with a forum for free expression, my approach from Day One has been to welcome dissent here so long as it is civilly expressed. And in almost two years of blogging I have had to censor, at most, two or three comments which violated that policy.
But in the last few days, as the beef industry’s PR counteroffensive regarding LFTB has heated up, comments here on The Lunch Tray have also gotten more heated, regularly crossing that line between the passionate defense of ideas to ugly, ad hominem attacks against me and/or other commenters. Nevertheless, despite the fact that I have every right to delete such comments, I’ve relaxed my standards and allowed a lot of them in.
But no longer.
The Lunch Tray is, in effect, my home, my own little corner of the Internet created from nothing, and in which I have invested almost two years of unpaid labor. Its hallmark from the beginning has been that it is a safe and respectful place in which to air all sorts of views related to the “kids and food” issues I write about. I intend to keep it so.
From here on out, I am tightening up my moderation policy. Accordingly, here are some tips for those who wish to comment on the LFTB issue and actually see their comments appear:
1. Before leaving a comment, please read the entire comment thread on the post. If the sentiment you are expressing is virtually identical to that expressed by a previous commenter, especially if it’s no more than “beef is beef,” or urging me to look at the industry website, beefisbeef.com, I will not be inclined to post it.
2. In case you don’t understand what I mean by a “civil tone,” it is exactly the tone I am employing right now in addressing you. Polite, respectful — and in no way personal.
3. Comments which mix valid points with ad hominem attacks or other nastiness will be lost to my trash folder, and that’s a shame, because I welcome any information which adds depth to this discussion. By way of example, if you’re knowledgable about chemistry and write a long, technical disquisition about the role of ammonia in beef processing — but then you feel the need to sign off by calling another commenter an obnoxious name — sadly, I will have to delete the entire comment.
4. Unlike attacks on my readers, attacks on me personally might make it through if they raise even remotely valid concerns about my potential biases related to LFTB. But attacks which are outside that narrow parameter will also be deleted.
But before moving on from that point, for the many inquiring minds who’ve written and speculated about me in recent days, here are some answers to your questions:
- I have never hired professional models to pose as my kids, but they’ll be flattered to know you thought so.
- Your interest in my sex life might just raise more questions about you than me.
- Though I’ve probably written over a million words on TLT to date, I make no profit from blogging. My expenses – the purchase of stock photos, giveaway items and the rest – vastly exceed the $100 I made from Google ads last year.
- Sadly, I have no special red phone that connects me with my former Harvard Law School classmate, President Barack Obama. If I did, though, we might have an interesting conversation about labeling LFTB.