Comments Are Disabled Until Further Notice
I apologize to most commenters….
I will have to end commenting until I can figure out how to ban them….
But there are some who just enjoy sabotage and fragging.
I don’t know how to fix it at the moment, so I’m going to possibly simply destroy the blog by letting it go dark.
But I don’t know what else to do.
Someone somewhere (I forget who or where) linked to this Volokh Conspiracy post and image from January:
In my experience, there are two basic conditions of strong comment threads. Here’s the first condition: Comments need to be relatively open and accessible to those using a pseudonym. If you make it too hard to comment, or you require real names, most will stay away. They won’t want to engage, for a range of personal and professional reasons.
And here’s the second condition: There needs to be some way to moderate threads to delete inappropriate comments or ban commenters who are out of line. For every one Internet commenter who is consistently thoughtful and interesting, there are X Internet commenters who are either inclined to be or can be coaxed into becoming abrasive and obnoxious. Consider the well-known “Greater Internet fuckwad theory” from the site Penny Arcade:
I haven’t seen it as a huge problem here, but tell me if I haven’t been paying attention (w/out naming names, please).
Update: Reopened (h/t NC Mountain Girl).
Also, I’ve noticed that blog posts about commenting get a lot of comments.
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to the full extent allowed by law.
There is virtually no problem here. LI readers obviously are the smartest, wittiest, most thoughtful, entertaining, and courteous on the internet, even when being forceful in their opinions and even when disagreeing with each other. 🙂
(I was even “chewed out” most intelligently and effectively the other day, such that I actually am rethinking some opinions. I think that’s rare in internet commentary.)
A remarkable community.
Don’t forget that this blog is environmentally friendly – it uses only recycled electrons!
Not just *any* electrons: 100% post-consumer electrons, and they’re recycled over and over again, with zero wastage. Think of LI as an “electron segregation site” 🙂
Also: no voters were harmed in the testing of this political blog.
Yes, but are they diverse, multicultural electrons? I don’t think so… in fact most of the electrons are very negative when you get right down to it.
That’s a good point. Electrons are almost completely identical and homogenous, the only natural phenomenon that is less diverse than electrons is Obama’s campaign staff.
Its a shame that a few bad ones ruin it for everyone. Some need more than a “time out” or to stand in the corner. They need a trip to the woodshed. Maybe a few trips if they don’t wise up quickly.
I hope Ace figures it out even though I rarely comment there. It is just a way for someone to censor us all by forcing the owner to shut down because of a few douchebags.
I have rarely read “Ace of Spades” (I don’t even recall a link to it from this blog in the “Blogs I Read” listing) so I am in the dark about what is going on with comments there. The remaining artifacts give evidence to the problem though…
Long ago, I briefly blogged on MySpace but found so many “GIFT”-ed, thoughtless morons inhabiting that corner of cyberspace I gave up.
Ironically, I found that I could post a comment on Ace-of-Spades just now so comments may not be as disabled as he thinks…
I know MM banned a few people over the years at her blog and I assume the Good Professor has done likewise.
It is too much of a pain to maintain accounts at too many blogs but I suppose more and more will require registration since “GIFT” isn’t likely to be disproved any time soon.
It isn’t a problem here. It’s pretty freewheeling over there, and right now Ace is concerned because he IS standing up to Brett Kimberlin. Unfortunately, Ace doesn’t have the resources to deal with the kind of problems that can bring so he’s asked people NOT to create problems for him.
Some idiot (and I insult idiots) decided to keep pushing the limits last night while he was drunk-posting and was getting cheered on by the “I live in my parent’s basement” crowd. Ace asked them to stop and he wouldn’t. Ace got upset and closed down the whole comments section because it doesn’t have a good banning system.
So, that’s what happened-
I was going to mention how 1 bad actor can ruin the comments of a blog if the blog host over-reacts emotionally..
I’m referring to Althouse–when she had a certain commenter “J”. Vile beyond belief–but, she let his/her comments stand (in the name of free speech), but would chastise others for things like not understanding her point-
Eventually, she engaged the BanHammer, and did so poorly and arbitrarily…
Many left (including myself), and now she has what she’s always had before she was popular- a small classroom clique of regulars…
And, there’s nothing wrong with that.
I wouldn’t spend my time reading, let alone commenting on, a blog that didn’t have a positive, uplifting atmosphere.
The anonymity of the internet is great for being able to state your opinions openly and honestly without fear of personal and/or professional repercussions.
However; a certain percentage of people mistakenly believe that is synonymous with using that anonymity to be abusive, obnoxious, etc.
LukeHandCool (who, even after a few days of stressful cramming and test taking … still tries to comport himself with an attitude as pleasingly fresh as a daisy after a light spring rain).
Stepping outside the bounds of constructive social discourse can happen to the best of them–being human and all…
But when I do, I denounce myself publicly, and flog myself privately.
I was “outed” once and the “outer” who revealed my name actually sent complaints – the usual intolerant, hater, bigot, etc. all for holding to conservative principles that would not have raised an eyebrow twenty years ago – to several organizations that I do business with. I don’t reveal my name any more.
Saying that, you don’t do the conservative cause any good by saying Obama is a string of expletive deletives.
“Greater Internet fuckwad theory”
I generally disagree with the GIF Theory; after a good bit of reflection on it over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the a-holes I’ve ever encountered on the Internet are not simply developed by the Internet experience — a-holes are just flat-out born that way … and they will most likely stay that way until the day they die. 🙁
There is something though about the relative anonymity of the internet that encourages a certain type of person to unload on someone in a way they would never do face to face.
I’ve made it a rule for the last 15 years never to post something I wouldn’t say face to face when completely sober. That still leaves me a lot of room for a few snide and vicious comments when they are warranted.
As a courtesy, you should at least let the host blogger know who you are. The professor has enough dope on me to do a lot of damage were he of the mind to do so. I may post anonymously but the host bloggers where I post know exactly who I am, where I live, where I work, phone numbers…
Like I say elsewhere on this thread, it’s not about the commenters, it’s about the host and his loyal readers most of whom don’t post comments.
Hope Ace figures it out. Haven’t been following Ace yet perhaps the issue he’s grappling with might be a bit like that facing AA on her blog, where there are a few trolls recycling their anonymous names over and over again
and coming back as new yet the same.
However, AA’s problems do not for now seem severe but could become so as this political season progresses.
I comment on AA under the pseudonym “OldGrouchyCranky,” which pseudonym often suits my feelings about many issues, but not all.
Still, it’s much more satisfying not to hide behind that ridiculous old intertubes concept of anonymous posting. Showing my true colors is most important now, the anonymous posting never made sense yet it’s still the style for some.
So, this comment is made under my own name and the associated photo, that so-called avatar, shows what I had been doing many long years ago when Ike was my hero because he kept the peace honorably under difficult conditions. Ike well understood that peace comes only through maintaining the strength needed to defend our nation.
Oops, forgot to do something. Fixed now! 🙂
Look at ya, Douggie!
I know what you mean. I often feel a bit “OldGrouchyCranky” myself … but only because large parts of the world have gone so mad.
Thank you for your service, and I hope the young, obnoxious lefties stay the hell off your lawn!
Lukeeeeee, meet ya out back, behind de Dumpster. Me gangs stayin away, honest, trust me, I’s be alone, no knives, chains or gats, just me and my size 17-Brogans and goina stomp youse to de ground, Mr. GuyWardsBack. Ha Take dat, youse Lukeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee 🙁
You gotta translate that for me.
“OldGrouchyCranky” happens to just about everyone eventually. A couple weeks ago I caught my husband (who is 45) bellowing at a group of boys (aged 8 to 10 years) to “stay off [his] lawn!” I stood there, mouth agape. All my husband could say when he saw me was, “What? They were on the lawn. I don’t even walk on the lawn.”
Please thank him for me.
It takes a village … of cranky old men.
Completely off-topic here but how exactly do you upload an avatar here? I don’t see a way do so…
You sign up for gravatar.com and add one, and it should show up here automatically.
Oh, and it will follow you wherever you post.
Thanks for asking! I never knew that. I have an image now. 😉
Ach, you mind-reader! My dilemma of being neutrally pictureless becomes a dilemma of do I sign up for something that will follow me around cyberspace…. I like to maintain the illusion that I can be off the grid.
Then don’t join, and let your words be your avatar.
I guess I chose my words poorly in this instance. Didn’t mean to cause offense.
“Normal Person” is a relative term and subject of endless debate.
The Internet is full of all the jackholes you’ll encounter in everyday life but just at higher concentration and frequency.
[insert obligatory stories of everyday knucklehead encounters that nobody wants to hear or cares about]
Bottomline Forrest Gump life lesson:
Sometimes, I guess there just aren’t enough rocks.
I just go away when the comments fall into the void of irredeemable crassness. I used to read Fark, but got absolutely sick of the pot-heads shrieking about the divine wonders of their beloved weed.
The other one was I Own The World. There was a regular on there who was quite frankly out of her mind. Get this: She accused me of being a troll because one time I said I had a crappy graveyard shift job and then later on I claimed to be an actor. Seriously. She thought she had caught me in a lie; that it was absurd that an actor would have a crappy job on the side! I guess all actors are millionaires like Tom Cruise or something.
Anyway, she was abusive and unhinged.
It behooves site operators to ban lunatics, ’cause I go away and don’t come back. I imagine there are others like me.
Geez, Rkae. You still holding a grudge after this long? Someone doesn’t agree with you or challenges you and you stop visiting that site? Not the attitude we need going in to November.
It’s a great big Internet. Why waste my time with lunatics? Plenty of places to go.
There are mature discourse sites like this one and PJMedia. So I tend to avoid the ones where people act like 12-year-olds. (Unbridled profanity is usually the first clue.)
When I cut loose from an ugly situation, I don’t call it a grudge, I just see it as freeing myself from abusive and toxic people.
I was just surprised that you brought up this situation after such a long time. To me, that constitutes holding a grudge. Why else would you bring this up? If you’re into “more mature sites”, I would think you would be more mature as well.
Shh! She hasn’t been around for a while. I also found her comments off-putting, if not downright repulsive and just skimmed right over the babbling.
I loved her comments. She told the truth.
You would notice if you had unruly commenters. They’re often “thread-jackers” who simply take over a thread for whatever reason, stinking up the place and alienating others who just want to hang loose. I saw that Volokh piece on Twitter this morning and it’s the announcement at the bottom, about having that thread taken over, that’s amazing. I think Ace’s blog will be better if he has a comment system like LI’s. Even Disqus would be better than before. I don’t comment over there because it wasn’t user friendly.
The anonymity of Ace’s commenters is the beauty of Ace’s comments.
It’s the by-line of the comment that makes the comment hilarious; posted by Donald Trumps hair-for example.
Whenever in the mood for a good laugh, I read the comments at Ace.
Andrew Breitbart was himself a fan.
ASHQ is a great blog with the best sock puppetry goin…glad he re-opened the comments
The Ace place is a riot. Love that site.
I read Ace but rarely comment there.
I moderate at Rantburg, and part of my duties as moderator is to remove fuckwads. We have a low tolerance for them. Rantburg is all about the War on Terror, and we have some pretty smart regular commenters. If we let the idiots comment then the regulars either leave or respond to the idiots, and that drags the whole blog down.
Different blogs are in different situations, of course, but I have no problem at all if Ace, LI, etc decide to employ the ban hammer frequently and with authority. Of course, to do that effectively even at a smaller blog you need volunteer moderators, because the owner can’t be there 24/7. We have that at Rantburg, and the Professor would need that here if he went that route.
Just a thought.
Sounds like the same mechanics of affirmative action – let the dimwits in and the next thing you know the whole place is in the toilet because of the required lowering of standards.
The problem isn’t the trolls. It’s the irresistibility of trolls to some. And that in itself is another whole level of psychology to explore.
Trolls live because they are cared for and fed by people who need them to live.
Joan: So very true. Trolls live to start flame wars and do enjoy getting other riled up.
One of the first rules of commenting needs to be followed better and that’s don’t reply to the idiots, let them stew in their own drools.
The Professor has used the banhammer here wisely and seldom, the mark of a wise person.
Of course, now LI is marked for what it is, a good intelligent blog with a great host and excellent other posters like Anne and others.
You are exactly right. As I recall there was a troll at Powerline Blog, and she made above the threshold stupid comments on every thread and then everyone spent the rest of the thread answering her. A waste of time and an enormous distraction that made the comments basically unreadable.
I have a simple philosophy over it.
I own my domain name, pay the server fees, buy the software and pay twice a year for licenses for it, so anyone that bugs me gets kicked.
fortunately not too many people bug me bad enough.
I always get a kick out of people who will hop on a persons blog/site and complain about free speech.
setup your own damn server if you want free speech, can say anything you want then 🙂
there is one person here…he posts a lot…usually writes the articles 🙂 🙂
joking of course, its good here really.
now what the heck was worth a dislike there?
someone thinking they have a right to do whatever they want on someones blog/forum ???
That was me who linked to Volokh on twitter (using the #acedark tag, and Ace RT’d me (I acutally linked to it twice but screwed up my @ mention to ace in the first one.)
FWIW, I haven’t seen any problems at LI. It’s possible teh commentariat isn’t big enough yet (or the community tight enough it sel polices.) Registration is another nice stop point. (Kerr’s entire VC post is worth reading because he discusses the balance between anonymity and moderation needed to maintain a decent comment thread.)
Ace allowed complete anonymity in his comments. Hashes were generated based on IP address (which meant that they might change every now and then) to keep people straight if they sock puppeted. Just like over at VC when the ban hammer was finally engaged the troublemaker fired up some proxy (Tor?) and went to town with the spammage.
Ace has been trying to keep people from posting stupid agressive comments about Kimberlin (for the good reason of not getting in trouble for incitement like Worthing/Walker did) and jackasses had to make it hard for him.
Ace had no choice but to pull the plug.
The poster who caused the problem appears to have an IQ of minus infinity. After yesterday’s long, impassioned post about Kimberlin the thread contained some taunting of Ace for being afraid by the usual knuckleheads. When Ace told people to knock it off the chief knucklehead raised the stakes by posting an I ain’t scared of anyone- bring it on rant that idiotically included his own name, address and phone number.
Kimberlin is dangerous. Ace is correct to be cautious. He doesn’t need to waste energy trying to babysit judgement proof knuckleheads who’ve had way too many beers.
I was in that thread last night. Didn’t comment at all, but I did notice some people were trying to taunt Ace for not showing up at the Breitbart Awards – for which I don’t blame him at all. His safety and life are at stake: at least, if some people had understood that and not taunt him like a few of them did…
I wasn’t there for long – I didn’t see when things got raunchy, but they were getting there.
There’s a big difference between cowering in a foxhole and keeping your head down during an artillery barrage. I think Ace is being wise in keeping his head down (and hopefully reloading while he’s at it).
Yeah, I have my own set of issues with ace but I thought the people coming down on him for how he’s dealing with Kimberlin were way off base. No matter what I might think of his approach, I’d never call him out on it on his blog when he’s got an obvious investment in how it turns out. I didn’t think it would end well and voila.
I would not be surprised if that pot-stirrer was none other than a Kimberlin provocateur.
Ace’s problem is technical and of, alas, his own making. The software there has evolved over t he years to be pretty much home brew. Part of that means there’s no off the shelf way of banning offenders. He’s got to get something written or retrofit something else that will work.
On the other hand, it could be a bit of transference on Ace’s part due to the monumental thud of the day of silence. Didn’t think that one through or organize it or time it correctly. Sad but predictably ineffective. He may be smarting from that.
I have to agree with the majority of posters – this blog would not be worth visiting several times a day if it wasn’t run by the wise, discerning Professor. Banning on occasion has been necessary, from what I’ve seen, usually because of trolls who try to hijack, but are quickly spotted and blocked.
Ace should consider moving his blog to another blog platform, where he has more controls on the comments. I only read his pieces when others link and I see something of merit to me – which is often because Ace is considered to be a must-read to many conservative bloggers.
The crazy comes out when it’s hot – and this election year it will be hotter than Hades in more ways than one, I predict. Better to prepare…..especially with psycho-types like the BK SWAT-ting crowd lurking in the interweb bowels.
Don’t change a thing, Professor. Unless it is a burden to you, of course, then by all means bring out the ban-hammer!
If this wasn’t an election year, and particularly an election year in which we need to dump America’s first “black president”, most of this craziness wouldn’t be happening. Emboldened by obastard’s contempt and efforts to destroy all that is good in America, the loony left is fully out of the closet now and trying to burn everything in sight to keep their man in power, although some of it seems to be just childish tantrum-throwing seen when they lose various elections around the country.
Ace has a pretty rowdy group of regular commenters… and those are the conservative ones. The liberal ones… well… they’re are another problem.
I would like to recommend that the various conservative bloggers develop a common set of ‘approved’ email addresses (and the user can use whatever pseudonym they want). That way, users don’t have to register at every site, and the moderators can filter out (from checking) posts that come from the approved email addresses (unless someone from another one of the approved email addresses complains). See how some websites have ‘rings’. Have the ‘ring’ keep track of user states across all the sites (so a moderator at site B gets notified automatically of somebody at site A was blocked).
If Ace surrenders, they’ll just move on to the next target (like LI). As Ben Franklin said: “If we don’t hang together, we’ll most assuredly all hang separately”.
Hmmmmm……a blogger’s blacklist. There’s an idea with some potential.
I used to read at AoS but stopped because of the comments. Too often the comments degraded into juvenile and contests to see who could be the most outrageous – who could rail against everyone not as dedicated to the “true” cause as they were.
IMO blog owners don’t do their blog any good if they allow the loons to take over in the name of “freedom of speech.” If a blog ends up populated by posters who can’t conduct themselves with even a minimum of civility oyher posters leave. Everyone isn’t interested in crude insults 24/7.
I agree wholeheartedly. I read AOS but don’t comment any more. It gets off topic very quickly and turns into a comedy club. A lot of funny stuff, but not a good place for discussing issues. No sense in making a comment as #883 on the published article if it hasn’t been mentioned since comment #6.
I visit here several times per day for the insightful articles and opinions of the Professor and his colleagues, and enjoy the intelligent and witty comments that follow, or as one of the trolls put it the other day – the prose-like writing of the commentors. I don’t comment often, but it is one of the few places I do comment.
People here are generally nice, but I’ve noticed a nasty mean streak with a handful of Ldotters at Lucianne’s site. Things got so bad last year that Ldotters were being banned and blocked. The worst offenders were the anti-Palin people. To this day they can’t resist posting every single anti-Palin article.
As a rule, the anti-Romney Ldotters weren’t as bad, not as nasty. I was an anti-Romney person, but like the others I attacked him on the issues while those who hated Palin attacked her and her family personally. They almost never questioned her on the issues.
There’s an article in Lucianne’s Must Reads today about Santorum, which has generated a lot of the typical nastiness from the usual suspects: http://lucianne.com/thread/?artnum=684891
I can’t tolerate the meanness. I commented that Santorum is a decent guy and doesn’t deserve that. It was nice to read several people agreed.
What’s an Ldotter?
A person who posts comments and articles at Lucianne.com.
A person who dots their Ls and crosses their Rs.
Personally, I always dot my Ts and cross my eyes.
It works for me. I’ve gotten this far! Where am I?
People here are generally nice, but I’ve noticed a nasty mean streak with a handful of Ldotters at Lucianne’s site.
I’ve noticed that too, Kitty … which is why I never post there anymore.
As others on LI have said above: why feed the trolls — and Lucianne.Com is stocked to the gunnels with those particularly nasty types these days.
In the past I’ve seen rambunctious behavior by overly emphatic supporters of certain candidates. That isn’t a problem at the moment, but it might happen again in the future.
Also, as LI presumably continues to grow in influence, it might attract organized efforts to co-opt it, or to wreck it. For the moment trolls of either variety seem to be isolated specimens.
(I tried to express the foregoing inoffensively so as not to distract from the overriding priority of unseating Obama. But I wonder whether, heaven willing, the moment he concedes a lot of painfully maintained civility among conservatives will go right out the window… ;-))
Professor, I think you have nothing to worry about. When Anne posted her NN encounter, I went over to DU to see the reaction. They of course demeaned Anne as a Breitbart disruptor, but when LI was linked, they admitted that it’s owner, yourself, was highly intellectual and that it’s entries were well constructed. You were deemed above reproach, and the thread quickly died. For the first time ever, I agreed with DU.
As for Ace, I read that thread from last night and I suspect some type of action has been threatened upon him by the Kimberlin crowd. Before he shut down the comments, he was literally begging commenters to stop the tough guy posts, whether meant satirically or not. He seemed truly frightened.
Having witnessed blog and blog have their threads hijacked by trolls and commentors who essentially have nothing constructive to say, I have come to wonder why bloggers still allow comments at all. It would help if the host bloggers explained what it is about our comments that they find useful. Entertainment? Keeping a thumb on the pulse of the audience?
The best threads ever happened in the early days of PowerLineBlog, especially in that Forum section that was destroyed in the original “greatest internet disaster since the Great Depression”. But their new threads are no better than most others these days. Too much annoying cross talk from mindless trolls, too little thoughtful commentary. Most of the often brilliant early commentors have gone away.
It seems that over time, the regulars take over by forming a few cliques who turn the threads into a personal chat room. Boring. Many of these cliques can also launch monkey pile attacks should anyone violate that clique’s consensus opinion.
I don’t know why I comment but I only do so at blogs I support. Even when I disagree with the host on certain points, I do my best to be constructive. Every host blogger whose blog I comment on has either received an e-mail from me explaining why I comment or I posted those reasons as a comment on the blog.
My comments are written for the benefit of the host while mindful that although most readers don’t comment, it is safe to assume that they are almost certainly of the same mind of the host. To be subjected to vile and personal attacks while agreeing with the host should be cause for an automatic expulsion. The reading audience is much, much bigger and usually different in make up than those of us who comment. It’s about them, not us. Maybe what is missing is a way to gauge how different the commentors are to the general audience in terms of mind set. My bet is that the difference is huge and it would be a mistake to tailor the blog to accommodate the commentors.
Too much annoying cross talk from mindless trolls, too little thoughtful commentary. Most of the often brilliant early commentors [sic] have gone away.
Gosh! That is exactly the same malady that struck Lucianne.Com.
It just doesn’t matter whether I spell it “commentors” or “commenters”. Spell check flags it as an error.
It just doesn’t matter…
Exactly so … it just doesn’t matter; the result — most of the often brilliant early commentors [sic] have gone away — is the same.
If the word exists, it’s probably “commenter.” Maybe Spellcheck is looking for “commentator.”
I don’t know anything about Ace. However the Kimberlin thing is very real. It is the blog equivalent of going for a midday stroll in Miami & a subsequent Zombie attack.
Obviously I have not been banned by Prof though other posters have sworn at me & called me names. Hehe. The usual trend is I get a lot of dislikes early on & as the day goes on & the new (foreign ) timezones come on in then the likes go up.
But it is all ok -I just thin of you gus being one day behind! Y’all catch up.
I’ve always been a fan of yours.
Yes, there many who are liberal trolls whose only goals are to disseminate their liberal anti-American propaganda and cause, and so on.. But even so, conformity to whatever side of an issue or ideology for the sake of conversational harmony by just being a chit chat room, is not serving the internet community and purpose of real thought provoking independent enlightened thinking and discussion content, no matter what the subject and issue or platform is.
There is a typical double standard, where conservatives play fair and by the rules, but where liberal web sites and their moderators are only interested in censorship of anyone who does not tow the liberal agenda line and ban and block any dissenting opinions and views.
But there other part of this equation dilemma of blocking and banning of internet users via the commenting systems, which are varied, and is a sore issue with me.
You Mr Jacobson here on legalinsurrection does not use disqus thank goodness, as I despise and loathe disqus with a passion. You Mr Jacobcon actually moderate your own web site with your own commenting system and you use actual discretion and thinking, whereas most, not all of the internet bloggersphere web sites use diqus, which is an interconnected website censorship program that works like a blacklist program indiscriminately, or some moderators use it as a tool to ban anyone views and opinions they dislike, everywhere disqus is used.
The internet is unfortunately not a real Free Speech zone, as with many areas of public life, where people of good intention want to express that free speech and say what they want to say, but are not allowed to, via bannishment or blockage of all types. Unless of course you only blog and comment on your own web site, which is not reality.
This is an ongoing war of the liberal left, and the RINO right, and anyone else who is determined to silence any and all dissenting opinions and views of a particular person, which is the deliberate attempt to silence the messenger they dislike with whatever tools and means that are at their disposal.
That’s pretty much the case in all matters across the political spectrum. Conservatives respect the rule of law and the concepts of fair play and giving their word as a promise and matter of dignity and integrity. The left desecrates all that is fair and harmonious in the world with corruption, trickery, double-dealing and double-standards.
It is the classic struggle of good vs. evil that has been written about countless times over the eons.
Ace has reopened comments with a post that reminds me of one of my very favorite quotes
“The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.”
Years ago I belonged to a tech website, one for folks who built their own PC’s and needed help/advice. As the 2000 election came on, some really nasty political comments started to become common in the tech threads… insipid things like “You only think that 133mhz memory is fast because you’re an idiot Liberal!”. No, really. That bad.
We started a special forum section called “The Lightning Round” where we moved all of those threads… and encouraged all ’emotionally charged subjects’ to be posted. My job as a Co-moderator was to let them get out of hand, identify the worst, and ban them.
My co-moderator and I did something different: We engaged the idiot posters who were posting hate and stupidity, and we offered them some very simple rules. We moderated the forum, and edited out their worst, and then WE EDUCATED THEM ON HOW TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES.
What we found, was that techies did not have great communication skills… nothing above “Oh yeah? Well YOU’RE a POOPYHEAD!” Sure we had to suspend the 1% who were there to troll and would not play nice now and again… and occasionally we had to ban someone. But most of em?
Most of ’em actually learned how to express an opinion, read an OPPOSING opinion, and respond intelligently. They learned that sometimes you say something, the next guy disagrees, and even though you aren’t convinced, you don’t have to insult him about it. We found very quickly that these guys started to get promotions at work because of their newfound communication skills, and we had some amazingly cool discussions.
It’s a lot of work. I mean, we monitored EVERY comment. I moderated that forum for over a year, my Co-mod for longer. [Coincidentally, While I’ve never met him in person, and he lives on the opposite side of the US… we both post here at LI. Hey Jim! ;)]
You can have a lively conversation with people in comments… but you have to ‘have an adult in the room’, clearly stated rules and strict non-biased enforcement. Waiting until it is too late doesn’t work… at least I’ve never seen it.
Now, if it were my blog… (which I don’t have…) I’d read all the comments and replies people sent me. But I’d only post those I found interesting, or useful to the subject. This election year is going to be messy, and the Bloggers are going to have to decide if they WANT to host a 4chan lite, or a relevant review of ideas. Sadly, I don’t believe there will be much middle ground online.
Hi, MrMichael, I really like your comment.
I wanted to click “like,” but the very last sentence made it difficult.
I’m hoping that one place we WILL find middle ground in the upcoming election is the internet.
The internet is like a miracle of communication, allowing me to read the thoughts of my fellows, away from the gatekeepers of the MSM. So much hope for this great experiment of self-government. This open communication is so wonderful that I can hardly believe my good fortune to be alive at this exciting time.
I love your story. I think people can learn to communicate. Who said that if we could truly understand each other, enemies would fall into each other’s arms, weeping with joy and friendship…? Thanks for the inspiration.
Hope Change, the middle ground I was referring to was between the comment sections filled with thoughtless trash talking and the ones filled with thoughtful… uh, posts. 😉 I really hope I’m wrong, but once a forum like Ace’s place encourages outrageous comments, there will be a push to find where the limits are.
As far as our experience, we had an amazing ride… I was more proud of how that forum turned out than most things in my life; BUT… I was not alone. We had a core of great debaters, and I had an amazing Co-mod in JimZinSoCal! Cannot give him enough praise.
I think Ace has a unique situation with literally thousands of commentators and difficulty in banning a few trouble makers. I thought Ace’s Friday post was great (like really great). So I thank him for that.
With all the comments, I’m sure I’m repeating others, but once the Alinsky method became understood, there’s no choice but for both sides to execute it. It’s sad and I hope those on the side of truth, as opposed to Marxism, don’t have to take the scortched earth policy, but I see the reason for doing so. Please though, let’s use Bret Kimberlin as a “do not cross this line” message.
There should be no ethical problem for the right using the Alinsky method as long as truth is used as the battering ram instead of lies, as practiced by the left.
Great discussion… this thread has helped flesh-out the LI culture for me.
This certainly ain’t your daddy’s old blog, either… uhhhh, you know, metaphorically speakin’.
A classic, right up there with Audobon: Flame Warriors.
Grisham’s Law of Bloggers. Bad Bloggers crowd out Good ones.
I read LI on a daily basis, but have never previously commented. One thing I have noticed here is that comments are generally civil and actually make a contribution overall. Professor Jacobson does a fine job of content management here at LI.
It is one of the few blogs that I bother reading comments.
Partly because the issue here lies solely with our host (“Too much advantage, your dojo”, as Mr. Miyagi says) as to who to ban, and on what predicates,
and partly because I really held no opinion on the matter, I’ve watched, quietly, in the corner.
I have some observations now—
Free speech: I’m fer it. I think “banning” an absolutely miserable idea generally. There are, of course, exceptions on the “dirty, nasty, no contribution” fringe.
Trolls: I think can serve a very useful purpose, depending on their character. If they are expressing the hateful, warped perspective of the Collective (using acceptable language), that can be useful. They can be used as foils. They provide a very illuminating exposition of the view from the Collective, which I have used to good effect by collecting their posts and showing them to my friends, neighbors, family, etc. Think Breitbart.
Not everyone coming here with an opposing view would rightfully be a “troll”.
Conflict: I once subscribed to the idea that conflict is bad, as is anger. That is silly. Anger is no more or less a positive force than is love. It all depends on how it is used. I think it makes us stronger, in the main.
Criticism: Not pretending to speak for our host, or anyone here, but “Friends don’t let friends say stupid stuff”. I will vigorously bump heads with people here I generally like and agree with. That includes our worthy host. Speaking only for myself, there are very few things I would abhor more than having a bunch of sycophantic followers who mawkishly hung on my words and NEVER thought critically of what I had to say. Anyone I consider a friend knows they can…and are expected to…challenge me when I say indefensible stuff. I hope Prof. Bill would, on meeting me, consider me his friend. He could count on me showing him courageous support when he’s right, and gnawing on his head when I think he’s wrong.
Culture: Different blogs have different cultures. That is interesting and to be expected. This blog’s commentary is appreciably more feminine than some on which I comment. That is neither good or bad. It is what it is, but that makes for a decided intolerance of conflict (see above).
GroupThink: It is a “human nature” thing. Every group tends to engage in it, and it has to be avoided at great cost. It is alive and well here (we being human), and some attempt to rigorously enforce it, using the time-worn tools of their ilk. Again, I hope the last thing Prof. Bill wants here is a little echo-chamber for dominant views that PRETEND to match his own.
what I find interesting is that THIS conversation has been EXTREMELY civil, non-confrontational in any replky, yet someone has taken the time to go through and do dislikes on so many of them.