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“The comment section is open, but I’m not going to read them”

That’s Tyler Cowen’s policy. I read almost all the comments here. I’m glad I read them, I think. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of interesting things from the comments. Sometimes, though, I wish I hadn’t bothered. Cowen gets about 10 times as many comments as I do, so I think in his case it makes sense to just ignore them. If he read (or, even worse, responded to) them, he’d have no time for anything else.


  1. Andreas Baumann says:

    I think that comment only referred to that post in particular (due to the touchy nature of the topic). I’ve seen Cowen respond to comments on some posts, but – come to think of it, those might have been his traveling/foodie posts.

  2. Rahul says:

    I think he meant only that particular post.

  3. Rahul says:

    Was there a reason comments were off for the previous post? Just curious.

  4. Brent Buckner says:

    You wrote: “If he read (or, even worse, responded to) them, he’d have no time for anything else.”

    At Tyler Cowen’s reading speed I’m sure he could blaze through them; I concur with Andreas Baumann and Rahul above.

  5. C Ryan King says:

    MR comments are very different from what you get. Have you read them? It’s mean and kind of silly down there.

    • Rahul says:

      There’s a lot of gems hidden in the noise. With its large reader base its amazing how often someone with an insiders view comments on even the most esoteric or technical post.

      • Ashok Rao says:

        Absolutely. I’ve learned a lot about finance (specifically HFT) and similarly technical areas – and how they work in practice – from MR comments.

        But naturally a more open and popular (in the literal sense of crowd) blog like MR has more noise than this.

  6. Tyler Cowen says:

    Keep in mind that was my policy *for that one post*. Usually I do read the comments, I would say 90% of the time, not always if I am traveling, or not after the first day has passed.

  7. Bystander says:

    Well, you wasted your time reading this one :-/

  8. Max says:

    I came here to comment that Tyler probably reads a day’s worth of comments in the time it takes me to read a single tweet, but somebody already beat me to it. Regarding what others said about the MR comments having some gems, that is true, but the amount of crap you have to wade through makes it annoying. MR should consider implementing a comments ranking system (a la Disqus). For a blog that’s about econ/markets, you’d think they’d embrace such a system with open arms.

    • Rahul says:

      Noooo. Please, I home MR never embraces the monstrosity that is Disqus. It takes an irritatingly long while to load and has tons of irrelevant cruft.

      I love the plaintext simple comment feature of MR and even here.

      • Max says:

        OK Disqus leaves a fair amount to be desired, but the system itself is a good idea, and I’ve seen less annoying versions with less “irrelevant cruft.”

        • Rahul says:

          Fair enough. OTOH opinions that appeal to a majority isn’t the sort of thing one goes to MR to read. Indeed, a lot of the comment gems might get quite a low vote on a strictly democratic up-voting system. Some populist witty statement probably wins out.

          I would love a plugin that allows me to block certain commentators though. There are always a few annoying ones with priors so strong that they are guaranteed to add only noise to the discussion.

  9. Mike says:

    I suppose I made a rather blunt comment on your previous post, but again, your books are clear and easy to read. Write some more books please.

  10. Steve Sailer says:

    Tyler largely reads his comments. He’s lost a lot of arguments with his commenters over the years, and that has effects on what he writes subsequently. Generally, he learns to avoid saying things where he knows he’ll lose the argument.

  11. Pseudonymous says:

    Tyler has some of the worst commenters on the economics blogosphere, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he never really read comments (although apparently he does!). Would you want to feel obligated to read paragraphs and paragraphs of Greg Ransom?

    Of course, MR gave us the infamous “inside baseball” comment, so it’s hard to say I’d rather live in a world without it…

  12. Eli Rabett says:

    Cowen is the master of the provocative if pigs were horses cows would fly school of writing and he can get called on that fairly often (e.g. if you accept a bunch of far fetched assumptions then it computes). Curiously the first time Eli ever saw this described was a comment about an Economist article, where someone pointed out don’t bother with the argument, look at the assumptions, they always suck.