Earlier today, someone calling himself (?) Baishui submitted this comment on Victor Mair's post Burlesque Matinée at the Max Planck Gesellschaft:
My comments were deleted twice here. Apparently, someone is offended by me saying 'this incident shows how ignorant the West (and its academics) are of the non-Western world'. What pettiness!
I deleted this comment, just as I had deleted the same individual's first attempt, which consisted only of a one-sentence indictment of Western academics, and the second attempt, which added the accusation of censorship.
In an attempt to maintain a reasonable signal-to-noise ratio in the comments section, I'll continue to be skeptical of comments that lack specific and relevant content. To put this skepticism into context, though, you need to understand something about how comments work in a standard WordPress blog.
The first time that a comment is registered from a given email address, it's held up for moderation — it won't appear until and unless one of the blog contributors approves it. After that, any comments from the same email address will appear immediately, without moderation, though contributors can delete them after the fact.
My own policy as a moderator of first comments is to reject those that seem to me to lack content, whether I agree with them or not. Therefore I reject "Me too" comments, unless the context is a poll of opinions; and likewise "This is disgusting", "I disagree", and "Bravo!". Similarly, I tend to reject first comments that simply restate some aspect of the post, or a previous comment, without adding any content. This is partly because such comments are often spam or near-spam, but mostly because, well, they're intellectually empty. Other LL contributors have more — or mostly less — tolerance for vacuity.
I rarely delete comments that have not been held up for moderation, unless they're gratuitously off topic, offensively contentless, or contentlessly offensive. If someone has shown that they have interesting things to say, an occasional "me too" or "oh come on" is fine, especially because I don't want to spend time editing our comments section, since this would cut intolerably into the hour a day or so that I can devote to blogging. Again, other contributors have somewhat different standards, mostly in the direction of preferring not to deal with comments at all.
In the case under discussion, Victor's post explained in detail one instance of ignorance of written Chinese. In my opinion, Baishui's comment added nothing except for an unsupported generalization about "the West". And Victor himself is one of the millions of Westerners, and tens of thousands of Western academics, who are not ignorant in any of the relevant ways, so that the comment seemed especially unhelpful in that context.
If Baishui had (for example) written something like "Western academic journals display a shocking ignorance of China, as shown by X, Y, and Z", I would happily have allowed the comment, even if I disagreed with the analysis or the conclusion. If he'd linked to his (as far I know non-existent) blog posts on the subject, and invited us to read them, I'd have been even happier. If he proposed to start a discussion of whether Western academics are more ignorant of China than Chinese academics are of the West, that would be fine with me as well.
As it is, his contribution struck me as below the threshold. If he'd like to explain his ideas on the subject in a more contentful way, comments are open.