Archive for the ‘Economic Blogs’ Category

Ape man's guide to the Internet: Marginal Revolution

Friday, January 19th, 2007

I know that most people have already heard of the Marginal Revolution. But I figured that if I was going to review all the sites that I keep tabs on for my Apeman’s guide to the Internet page, I might as well start with a site that everyone knows. That way, they can get a feel for how my reviews stack up against their perception of reality before I start in on the more obscure sites.

If you want to see what a comment section on a blog should look like, you need to check out the Marginal Revolution if you have not already done so. It has the best comment section I have ever seen on any blog regardless of subject matter. If all blogs had a comment section half as good as the Marginal Revolution, the World Wide Web would be a much better place.

What makes the comment section of the Marginal Revolution such an exemplary example to the rest of the world?

It would be easier to enumerate what the comment section lacks than what it has. Fact is, the only major deficiency that I can think of off the top of my head would be a lack of intelligent commenters who are strongly religious (Yes, doubters, such people do exist.) Other than that, the Marginal Revolution’s comment section pretty much has it all.

After all, at the Marginal Revolution you will find a lot of big name commenters who represent a broad spectrum of ideological views such as Brad DeLong, Barkley Rosser, Steve Sailer, and Jane Galt, to name just a few. Even the commenters who are not as well known are intelligent and broadly representative of the ideological spectrum (though libertarians are a little over represented).

Better yet, everyone is reasonably respectful of each other and there are no perennial trolls like you will find on most other active blogs. Nor is there an overabundance of fan boys (though you will occasionally find a few of these). Most of the time, whenever some one comments on the Marginal Revolution it is because they have something worthwhile to say. If only commenters on other big name blogs would be so restrained.

The net result of this intelligent, diverse, and respectful group of commenters is a comment section that is worth its weight in gold. I often read what the commenters have to say before I even bother reading the post.

Without the comment section, I probably would not check the Marginal Revolution all that often.

I don’t mean to say that actual blog posts themselves are bad. In fact, I would say that Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok run a good mix of thought-provoking pieces and interesting links. But when you get right down to it, they are not particularly original. A lot of times they are just picking up a ball that another blog has gotten rolling. Nor would you go to Marginal Revolution to find fine writing (which is something I particularly value).

Bottom line: My time is scarce and there are a lot of interesting blogs in the world. Without the comment section, there is nothing to make the Marginal Revolution stand out from a crowd of excellent blogs.