Reminder: Keep It Civil!

The intended purpose of this blog plus some operational guidelines are available here.

I would ask all those making contributions to maintain a civil tone. While it is sometimes tempting, it distracts from the usefulness of the site if commenters are sidetracked into ‘playing the man, not the ball’  (even if provoked!).  Also, any posts using unparliamentary language will be deleted.

Thanks, Philip.

20 replies on “Reminder: Keep It Civil!”

If cleanliness is next to Godliness, then surely civility is next to cleanliness.
Please harken to Mr. Lane’s wise words.
Please also harken to the following:

N.B. If you a public servant and reading this please remember the following:

1. Brian Lenihan has attacked critics of Nama by saying that they are attacking the public service.
2. He just made a speech saying that public servants should take more responsibility (and get more credit. But I doubt that is how he is thinking).
3. When Nama fails he won’t be taking the blame.

My suggestion, and I am making it purely in a personal capacity, is that you should pass on any information you have to Fintan O’Toole, whom you can trust to use it responsibly.

Remember, when this fails Lenihan will blame the public servants. And it will wreck the country for a decade.

P.S. I am not Fintan O’Toole.

From time to time, comments on the Irish economy – here, in pubs or even at DEW in Kenmare – will surely reflect Keynes comment that
“Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking”


At the risk of sparking another jesuitical rant, let me say the following

(1) we cannot run history again without DMcW article. therefore you will always be able to argue, however implausibly, that an opinion piece has done permanent long-term damage to the market for irish debt

(2) the emu break-up probability increased because of reckless and stupid actions in the irish financial services industry. emu breakup would not have been a meaningful possibility but for the biblical scale of stupidity in the irish financial industry.

(3) placing blame for wider spreads on commentators is a lame attempt to distract and intimidate

(4) my views on this matter are based on seven years experience running very large interest rate risk positions in european markets at a (still solvent) us bank. nothing to do with college, all my knowlege of markets is first hand. it is obvious to me that you do not have any comparable experience managing risk.

I don’t know if there is a polite way to put it is in line with site policy. Is it rude to suggest that a significant discount factor needs to applied to many of eoin’s bonds statements?


It is of course rude “to suggest that a significant discount factor needs to applied to many of eoin’s bonds statements”. I also think it is rude to refer to him as “Eoin Bond” as some have taken to doing though I note eoin has taken it in good humour. Playing the man and not the ball and all that.

“While it is sometimes tempting, it distracts from the usefulness of the site if commenters are sidetracked into ‘playing the man, not the ball’ (even if provoked!).”

It might be difficult to find “he without sin” but let’s try to keep it kosher as requested.

@ bg

super irony in throwing out personal slurs on the “Remember: keep it civil!” blog thread. Incorrect slurs i might add, but i dont feel a need to justify who i work for or what i do. Do you want a shiny prize or something?

But here is a question?

If someone keeps making a repeated point repeatedly!!!
AKA holding the ball

Is there justification, full or partial, in addressing that?
AKA taking the ball off the man

Sometimes the man and the ball need to be seperated…
I suppose the question is the distance between said man and ball?
The distinction probably needs to be made between this type of tackle and a blatant kick in the balls!!

Murdering my metaphors!!!

I have to say that I think that this site has now been invaded by people who post aggressively on other sites and a lot of good has gone from here. When I first started reading it there was lots of information which was relevant but it has now been dragged down to a pretty low level. It seems that a pro stance on the Irish Economy is not to be tolerated anymore.

Etiquette has fallen by roughly 60% on this site so far, but it could overshoot to the downside and hit 80% of peak (Jan 09). Humour levels are at all time lows and grouchyness is surely peaking. Don’t even wanna guess what the LTEV is, but hopefully its somewhere far North of…

Perhaps the one blog in the country that Govt would love to moderate!!
Because Academics wont criticise each other in Ireland…
Might be funded thru the nama bill


Agreed. I’ve been following this site for some months and have always found it informative and educational, speaking as one not involved in economics/business, but from an academic background. Recently, however, the blog seems to have been invaded by posters from who seem intent on dragging it to that blog’s sometimes purile (but always entertaining!) level. As a non-specialist, I forbear from commenting on economic and business matters, but few others appear to. is for ascerbic political comment; this, I would hope, is for informative economic debate.

Yes, ruthless moderation is necessary. Troll overload can kill a forum more surely than any official censorship!

As a non-economist, I am grateful to the professionals sharing their opinions on this site, and would hate to see their content drowned in noise.

@ Philip,

These are really wise words, and as someone once guilty of calling eoin “Eoin Bond”, I feel they apply to me and I humbly accept the criticism. If this blog is worth anything more than, it must preserve its high standards of civility and code of debate.

I will endeavour to apply these to any future contributions I post.


You wrote:

“If cleanliness is next to Godliness, then surely civility is next to cleanliness.”

I would agree. Unfortunately for me, cleanliness isn’t next to Godliness, it’s next to impossible.

Sigh. Hopefully I won’t smudge the comments section too much.




Me too. This site is a gift and I used to hesitate before commenting so I wouldn’t sully the quality of the conversation with my rookie questions. I shall return to my earlier restraint and curse my propensity to mention the blog so often publicly and thus expose it to the trolls (who drove me off my blog in the end).

Why not change the name and go into hiding somewhere on d’nternet? Irish

I’ll go back to my lurking.

The performance of the academic economists on Nama has made them one of the few groups in Irish public life to enhance their credibility during this crisis. I hope that those critical of Nama will not be driven off the scene by pro-Nama voices – many with little credibility – who are arguing:
(A) the critics are unrepresentative of academic economists as a whole.
(B) talking about the possible extent of Nama’s losses is reckless and unpatriotic.

It would be tragic if experts in the field who know the costs of Nama feel that it is unseemly or partisan to tell the public this. Retreating from the public square at this crucial time is what will bring academic economists into disrepute, not telling the truth.

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”.

Oh I don’t know, I thought civility had gone up a touch since the “Spirit of Ireland” series 🙂

Like it or not, BLenihan’s original attack on the 46 has turned a wonkish blog into a politics blog. If he had responded to the 46 by getting some of the Silent Majority of Concerned Economists to step forward and put their point of view rather than putting his size 12s in, it might still be a wonkish blog.

Agree with Philip’s point in the rules that this blog is a lot better with comments than if it was a comment-free blog on balance. All good economcs blogs eventually find an equilibrium with respect to the comments. Some (e.g. Mankiw) just dont bother and turn them off. Others (like becker-posner) maintain a very light comment policy replying the odd time if someone says something particularly interesting. One of the best economics bloggers John Quiggin thrives off the comments even partly developing his books through them but he moderates strictly. The best equilibrium here is for the blog to continue as a forum led by economists but with a lot of interaction from a diverse group of commenters. Sometimes the comment section in a post becomes massively sidetracked or overheated but sometimes the debate adds enormously to the original intention of the post. Everyone commenting and posting should be trying to produce as much of the latter as possible.

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