My good opinion, once lost
At Larvatus Prodeo, and at Catallaxy, they’re debating the question of whether you can dismiss an author based on ‘a brief skimming’, which I’ll take, along with some participant in the discussion, to mean five minutes of reading.
My answer to this question, which has arisen before now on this blog is “Absolutely”. At skimming or fast reading speed, five minutes gives you 5000 words, which is more than enough to conclude that a writer is guilty of gross logical or factual errors, pretentious or illiterate prose, repetition of tired and long-refuted arguments, or simple inanity. The idea, commonly put forward in defence of various indefensible types, that you can’t criticise someone unless you have read every word they have ever written is simple nonsense. It’s true that there are people who produce the odd pearl among an output more generally fit for swine. But in such cases, it’s up to their defenders to point out the gems: the volume of words is so great, and the average quality so low, that a demand to read everything is simply impossible.
I should concede that, on one or two occasions, I’ve got into trouble through misreading someone in the first five minutes, after which pride and prejudice does the rest. But in general, five minutes is enough to form a well-founded negative judgement in a great many cases.