We've hit a couple of impasses on comments policy at this site in the last two years. Now we're at another. As the site has grown more popular, we've gotten more enthusiastic debate, but also more invective, profanity, and racism and anti-Semitism, all of which drive off reasonable people. We bounced a couple of commenters in the last week, and we're going to be doing more policing in days to come.
Also, we want to knock down the number of trolls at the site and have adjusted our comments policy to reflect that concern. Wikipedia defines trolling as "someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response," and while that means making judgments about someone's intentions, the definition is good enough for us. We hope our comment section can feature an engaged and free flowing debate, but we are not interested in commenters whose only aim is to disrupt or sabotage the discussion.
And maybe you noticed, but right now everyone's comments are being moderated, as we try to figure this out. Needless to say, neither of us regards moderating comments as the best use of our time. But right now we don't know what the alternative is.