A great thing about blogging is that you can get instant feedback on your ideas, and engage in interesting conversations and arguments with your readers. Unfortunately, some people seem to interpret comment forms on blogs as a general invitation to spout off their pre-existing opinions on any related topic. (Random Googlers are especially likely to vent once and disappear, hence my reference to 'drive-by commenting'. But there can be repeat offenders too, which are even more annoying -- I had to delete a half dozen irrelevant comments by one guy today.) So let me explicitly reiterate that my policy is to delete comments that don't engage with the specific topic at hand.
If my posting on some issue prompts you to have thoughts of your own, that's great. Go post them to your own blog, citing my post as your proximate inspiration, and I'll be thrilled. But please don't hijack my comment threads to use as your own private soapbox. Get your own -- there are plenty to go around. We're trying to have a conversation here, and while newcomers are always welcome to join in, it's insufferably rude for a stranger to change the topic or otherwise try to take over. The comments here are for responding to the specific issues raised in the post; if you can't pin down a particular quote or section of my post that you're responding to, this may be a sign that your comment doesn't actually engage with what I've written.
[I should note that this warning is just for newcomers. Friends and trusted (regular) commenters are of course welcome to suggest fruitful tangents for further discussion (perhaps in a new post) -- I don't mean to deter that. You guys rock.]
As a general rule, I abide by the principle that dialectical progress is only possible in small steps. So my posts (and subsequent discussion threads) tend to be quite focused, ideally addressing one particular question or argument each. Such focus may be unfamiliar to non-philosophers (cf. problem #2), but if you would like to make some broader, more sweeping criticism of my posts, please do so in my open thread on fundamental disagreements instead. Thanks.