Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Forgoing Sabernomics

I blog that I used to read (and used to link to) was Sabernomics. It's not a bad baseball blog and he's done some interesting work, but it's been going downhill of late and I'm giving up on it. He's got a comments policy that, in and of itself, isn't a bad one. (I know that post comes after what I'm about to link to, but he's posted it earlier and it was easier to just find the latest reposting of the policy.)

But he doesn't apply that policy fairly. See this string of comments on a post where he says he isn't for or against Clemens, but sceptical about the evidence on offer. (I believe that to be true even if I do give greater weight to some evidence than he does.) I commented myself, I'm #7 and I use my customary nickname "Bob", the same one I use here and I provide a link back to this blog to allow people to see that I am a real person and do have a fair bit invested in this online representation; it's not just a alias of convenience that will shrivel up and blow away when that particular argument is over.

JC (who runs Sabernomics) responds to me directly in #10. I'll be honest; I didn't like what I perceived to be his tone, but that is a touchy thing on the internet where so often that can be misconstrued since all we perceive is the written word. So I responded again, saying that I thought I was right, (I don't have the text, so I paraphrase) emphasizing that to draw a distinction between "higher" and "better" was disingenuous and that false modesty is still false.

And then, because I thought he patronized me with his link even though there wasn't any evidence that I had misunderstood the unrelated point about Type I and Type II errors, I linked a dictionary definition of "higher" for him. You know, just in case he didn't believe me or understand the connection between "better" and "higher". (That last sentence was sarcasm, like the link itself was.)

Unfortunately, this seems somehow to have run afoul of the comments policy even though:

1. I was never impolite. I stated a fact without rancor and was careful to compliment him on the rest of his statement. I would have no qualms about making the same statements to his face and I would not think it rude for someone else to tell me when I'm being dishonest, if they supported their assertion with facts the way I did.

2. I read his post through carefully more than once. My critique was specific, narrow, and accurate. His response seemed to be lacking in this regard. There was no reason to preach to me about Type I and Type II errors. I understand them just fine and, more importantly, they had nothing to do with my comment.

His third comment criteria clearly did not apply and I don't think it played into this scenario at all. In my second comment, I did nothing but restate my point in a different way in an attempt to make it clearer and I did nothing he did not do in his own comments. So when he did not allow my second comment, I think he allowed his personal dissatisfaction at being caught out in a (very small) bit of dishonesty to lead him to acting like a hypocrite. Sauce for the goose, etc.

It's disappointing. My own comments policy is that I run my blog like a Communist dictator. Keep it clean, play nice, but I reserve the right to make any comment disappear at any time. I'm not getting tied down by legalism and letting comments through loopholes. JC probably shouldn't have set a standard he couldn't keep.

Listening to: Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band - Trouble Is... - 09 - King's Highway
via FoxyTunes