Frequently Asked Questions XV

It’s been a few years since I’ve done one of these. It’s probably high time.

Why don’t you manage your comment section more thoroughly?
I work a day job, a couple side hustles, I try to have some semblance of a life outside of all of them…

…and, call me pollyannaish, but I wonder why I should have to? And I know, I know – we’re all grownups, but we’re really not all grownups, either. Such is the nature of online forums – they bring out the worst in some people.

What’s your comment policy?
I still have one of those. I always tried to keep things simple. I summed it up in one of these FAQ pieces a while back. All I ask is:

  1. Don’t write something that’ll get me in legal trouble
  2. If your entire reason for being on the blog is to personally bash me – not an article, or my reasoning, but me, personally, over and over and over – then it’s not me, it’s you, and you and this blog will be parting company.

Perhaps I’ve gotten spoiled – I haven’t had a lot of problems since about 2010. But there you go.

Hey, you removed a comment of mine, even though (fill in name) regularly says things that are far worse. What gives?
Posting a comment doesn’t connote agreement. What do you think I am, Sally Jo Sorenson? But I give a lot more leeway to people I know, and have met personally. I know where they live, at least, figuratively. I know that they aren’t going to “Swat” me, start blogs to publicize “dirt” on me (well, try to.. There really isn’t a whole lot), or start poking at my kids.

With anonymous commenters – people I’ve never met, and likely never will – it’s a little different. I allow anonymous and pseudonymous commenters, and nd pointedly respect their pseudonymity – until the behavior swerves to the wrong side of the risk/reward line.

But what about threadjacking?
Yeah, I’ll whack the occasional threadjack, if it’s obnoxious enough.

But hey – you knew “Dog Gone”. You allowed her increasingly dissociative ranting for about a decade. And then, poof , she was gone. Doesn’t that contradict what you wrote above?
Hardly. I tolerated DG because it was fun watching her narrative – that conservative commenters were a bunch of idiots – get pummeled like the New York Generals. For about a decade, it was a perfect metaphor for modern society – a “progressive” with no particular visible expertise in anything, getting factually rumbled by a comment section that includes lawyers, MDs, a literal rocket scientist, engineers and generally well-read polymaths mirrors the modern social debate pretty perfectly.

Then she started using the fact that she had met me, and did know my kids (when they were 1 and 3, anyway), and took a creepy turn…

…and she got flushed like a gas station burrito and tequila, the morning after.

Does a commenter violate the “Hands Off” principle? Dog Gone did. Other commenters who are the subject of occasional complaints never have, and I suspect never will.

That’s pretty much it.

So that’s it? It’s all about you?
Well, in a sense, duh. The whole blog is about me, if you think about it. I’m the only (regular) writer.

I loathe echo chambers – as a personal matter, and a practical one. Intellectually, I’m still pollyanna enough to think in terms of political and social engagement as a “debate”, rather than mobilizing support to “own” or destroy “the enemy”.

Glad we could chat.

13 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions XV

  1. Althouse in just the last couple weeks shut off comments on her blog. She got tired of the time sink policing a throng of petulant adolescents had become. Now she posts her opinion/commentary and if you feel to compelled to comment she provides an email address so you send your comment to her. If she finds your email interesting enough she appends it to her post.

  2. Mitch, it’s the Washington Generals, not New York, that were the foil to the Harlem Globetrotters. Appreciate what you do, gracious host.

  3. If I say something that is borderline “you might get me in trouble” let me know.

  4. Thanks for the explanation Mitch- not that I’ve ever gotten close to breaking the rules, it’s good to know what they are. Blogs are kinda weird in the general aspect that I have been reading/visiting here for about 2 years, but have only commented a handful of times. I feel like I know Mitch and the peanut gallery fairly well, but they don’t know me. I have to keep that one-way familiarity in mind anytime I comment. Good to know your rule basis and glad you are not vehemently policing the comments!

  5. Althouse […] got tired of the time sink policing a throng of petulant adolescents

    I don’t know if things had recently gotten worse at Althouse’s blog, but she would typically draw a few hundred comments for almost every post. That number would take a lot of time to police. If any post at SITD hits 50 – without JK’s help – that’s a lot.

    I would add however, that some of Althouse’s commenters were quite good.

  6. jdm-
    While Althouse routinely had posts tht garnered 100+ comments, I suspect that she did not have hundreds of commenters. There were a lot of comments using similar language that may have been made by one person using different nicknames.

  7. It is a well-known fact that MBerg’s comment section is literally killing POC and LGBTQ people.
    Literally killing them.

  8. Pingback: In The Mailbox: 04.16.21 (Evening Edition) : The Other McCain

  9. Allow me to add my appreciation to the chorus and add that I enjoy reading and contributing to the comments section – but the food fights do get old and boring.

  10. “here were a lot of comments using similar language that may have been made by one person using different nicknames.”

    It’s kind of amazing how written “Tells” can tip you off about who is writing something.

    One of my old stalkers used to create endless parades of pseudonyms on comments and even two-post miniblogs – but you could always tell is was “him” because the “style” – as hamfisted and infantile as his “art” – never, ever changed.

  11. I guess I understand the power or the allure of anonymity (I use an alias, based on my old blog) but its a stalker filter more than license to spew. I think anyone raised properly knows that you don’t go up to somebody else’s table at a restaurant and fart and run away, and the same should apply to blog commenting. Make a habit of doing that at Mucci’s, and soon enough you’ll get banned from the place, and a place that lets everyone fart isn’t going to appeal to many for very long.

    I do miss Althouse’s comments section a bit. There were people on the right and left on there, and most were pretty good. It was a good place to see and consider arguments outlined from both sides. Some abused that freedom, but you could usually identify which comments to skip within the first half dozen words or so (if not by the alias), and with a couple hundred comments per post to choose from there was no point in dwelling on the uncultured. Pretty much the same filter I apply here.

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