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Breaking – There will be no change in Legal Insurrection Comment Section

Breaking – There will be no change in Legal Insurrection Comment Section

Lola the Alaskan Sled Chihuahua is resistant to change.

Last night, for reasons unrelated to this post, I was looking back at the posts from when former Cornell undergrad Kathleen McCaffrey joined (November 2010) and then departed (May 2012) Legal Insurrection.

What I immediately noticed is how many of the commenters back then still are commenters now. That sense of continuity and community is one of the things I think sets Legal Insurrection apart.

But it wasn’t something I was going to write about.

Over the years I’ve struggled with how to handle the comment section. I’ve had to make repeated appeals to commenters to tone things down, and on occasion have had to ban people when they crossed that “you know it when you see it” line. Those appeals have met with limited success, and it troubles me that in the past couple of months I have received numerous communications from long-term readers — some who have been with us almost since the beginning — that the comment section is out of control and they don’t like reading it anymore. They are not wrong, and things seem to be getting worse this election season.

But, that said, I want our comment section to be vibrant and active.  I think it would be worse if we opened it up to third-party software like Disqus or Facebook. We would lose the sense of community, and would open ourselves up to more drive-by commenters throwing hand grenades into the comment section then moving on.

As a business reality, there’s a reason why so many of the large websites use third-party commenting functions. Drive-by commenters are page views, and page views are money. I’m convinced we would significantly increase our page views if we used a different system. There’s also a sense of growing the audience apart from monetary considerations.

So the reason I’m writing about this is that this morning I saw that Hot Air is moving to a Facebook comment system:

We have certainly enjoyed the comment section and look forward to seeing it grow and become more diverse. That is one reason why we feel it necessary to make this change. A closed, proprietary system requires far more resources to manage than we can apply to the task. As a result, we rarely have the opportunity to open the system to new commenters, which means that newer Hot Air readers have no opportunity to engage and provide their feedback to our articles. That is unfair to those new Hot Air readers, and it also deprives other readers from a broader range of views.

Also, our commenting format has been outdated for some time. The Facebook interface has comment nesting, the ability to like, and post-commenting editing capability. Rather than use resources to essentially re-invent the wheel, using what has become an Internet standard interface makes much more sense. Facebook has over a billion users and many Hot Air readers likely already have accounts, two key reasons we chose this platform for our site. Sites such as IJ Review, TechCrunch, Huffington Post, WebProNews, Inquisitr, and more have gone to Facebook comments, while almost all others have gone to some other outside platform that allows Facebook for a login, such as Disqus. Some readers may have concerns about using their real identity to comment at Hot Air, and we certainly understand that reluctance. Anonymous accounts can be created on Facebook, though, and those can be used for commenting on other websites.

Perhaps equally pertinent:

This will also allow Hot Air’s editors to put aside policing the comment sections. We get steady, and lately increasing, demands for interventions in quarrels between commenters that often requires much time and effort to unwind.

Every website has to do what’s best for it. Hot Air is in a league of its own and one of the flagships of conservative media. It competes at a different level than we do, so it seems to me that moving to a Facebook system would make sense for it.

For us, I’m not convinced it makes sense. Many of our readers don’t have Facebook accounts, in part because they don’t trust Facebook’s privacy or lack thereof. Legal Insurrection has a large and active Facebook page (give us a “Like” if you haven’t already), and I don’t notice a lot of cross-overs between the people who comment there and the people who comment here.

Also, it would be much harder to maintain anonymity, which is a long American tradition. See, The Federalist Papers.

I asked Lola the Alaskan Sled Chihuahua what she wanted to do. She’s very resistant to change. It can be a problem. Lola wants to keep the current system. And whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.

So, for now, the BREAKING NEWS is that we are keeping our current comment system.


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NC Mountain Girl | February 15, 2016 at 10:22 am

I won’t comment through Facebook.

    Neither will I. I just posted my last comment on Hot Air, where I’ve been commenting for years, because they’re going to FB. I said goodbye, and deleted Hot Air from my bookmarks. If they want to get in bed with the fascist Zuckerberg, they are free to do so, but I won’t join them.

    Neither will I use FB. Never.

    I imagine plenty of HA posters will be moving here.

    I have never trusted FB. And I’ve been vindicated at every turn.

    HotAir won’t be hearing from me, and a LOT of other people.

    I will not comment via Facebook either. Hot air has just dropped off my list of places to discuss the topics of the day.

    I am not fond of Z’s progressive stands nor his pushing censorship of conservative voices. Also, I just use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends. I consider it to be along the same lines as sitting around a virtual family gathering table. Some of my friends (few) are Obama worshippers and I know how I feel seeing that drivel on my timeline and if I respond according to what I think I will be missing a few childhood friends and nothing I say is going to wake them up.

    On a side note: someone must have Imed them about the purile politics as it is very very rare to see it anymore and the last time they took it off after about am hour.

    Hopefully, I am not one of the problems on the legal insurrection comment page. I know I can be a bit of a curmudgeon cynic at times and I try not to be but everytime I start to believe we can assume things that look to good to be true can be taken at face value (there are some good examples) another bad example crops up. Me being less of a curmudgeon is a work in progress.

    FaceBook is a bridge too far. The only reason I got a FB account was to enable reading of Sarah Palin’s FB posts.

    I have a discus acccount and have used that extensively in the past for commenting.

    I have been commenting on LI within just a few months of it going live. The professor has been a stalwart conservative for years.

    The primary reason I moved from active blogging on WordPress is the behavior of certain people in the comment section.

    It wasn’t the only reason to move to Twitter as a blogging platform but it was the main reason.

    Who in their right mind wants to deal with moderating the constant bickering and warfare everyday?

Good choice – In reading Matt Drudge’s interview a few weeks ago he talked about risk of not controlling your own channel – using FB or Disqus or others opens the door for future editorial control of FB users, Twitter users, etc – to abide by FB or Tweet rules – otherwise face closure of your FB-Twitter account – by going that route LI would in effect cede control to FB, Twitter or other thought police.

E.G. like FB censoring anti-islam speech, Amazon not selling guns, Twitter deleting tweets allowed by 1A but are deemed ‘offensive’ in nature (by Twitter), or YouTube suspending Hickok45’s 1 million user account because he mentioned a Bud’s Gun shop raffle.

Please do not even consider Facebook. A while ago I signed up for a Facebook account specifically so I could participate on the Powerline blog. I used my real name and DOB. After I made one fairly non controversial post on Powerline, Facebook put a “security block” on my account and want me to provide picture identification to prove who I am.

Of course I will not do that so the account remains blocked. I think they have mindless little libs there (are there any other kind?) who, when they see a conservative comment just turn on a security block for the account.

Sites like Powerline and now Hotair are feeding the enemy by requiring people to support Suckerberg and his liberal agenda.

    I have privacy concerns with faceboo, as well, which is why I have a sincerely fake facebooo account. I’ve encounter 2 ‘security blocks’ on my account, argued with customer no service that my account was a ‘public persona’ name – akin to the gender benders in drag with fake name pages, which faceboo0 allows – and, bingo! Block removed.

Kudos for the ‘Sassy’ reference.

I like a raucous comment section. It’s the only place I’m happy. But I think facebooo is a hello kitty plot from h3ll, and so ubiquitous, I’m surprised Obama’s injustice dept. hasn’t filed anti-trust proceeding against it – ala microsoft.

When I ran a blog, I never banned anyone. Morons usually either self destruct, or the tribe would savage them into oblivion.

If you must change the comment format, is a very good choice.

I second NC Mountain Girl and Dallas Matt. Keep LI the way it is. The snowflakes will melt away. 😀

Oh, behave!

To commenting and beyond…

I second what DallasMatt said. Zuckerberg believes in helping Merkel force muslims down the throat of Germans and Europeans by removing any negative references to muslim invaders. Merkel has lost it, and Zuckerberg never had it.

It also alarms me when FB and Google participate in debates, because when they talk about what subjects are trending, amazingly ILLEGAL ALIENS AND IMMIGRATION never show up! Astonishing! Trump is winning, but no one is “googling” it!!!!!!

Professor Jacobson and Lola, I thank you for swimming (dog paddling?) against the tide, and I will join you in the swim. I just now signed up to become a commenter. I’m an avid reader but never have commented, because I just assumed your section was “macro-managed” by disqus or some other not-at-all-private system. I don’t do disqus, I don’t do facebook (I need to walk the talk with my kids, who are not permitted to have facebook pages)and I am thrilled to begin engaging on this site!

While can honestly say that some comments drive me crazy I am completely in agreement with your decision Professor. Please never change LI…and give Lola an extra scratch behind the ears from me. 🙂

Thank you for not changing the comment sections.

I ( like / value ) the discussion threads because most of it can be very educational. The “reality checks” even more so.

A comment section full of knowledgeable people is a rare find. Forums full of screaming hordes of ignorant insult flingers are common.

I never go back to those “common” forums.

Thank you for you time and patience.

P.S. ( technical note ) :
Systems that ban use of a ( word / term ), have a overkill problem.
Commonly, the word “assume” cannot be used in the comment sections.

Keep Facebook out of comments. Facebook is an evil company.

The comments are fine. The comment threads are active. The community exists. Please do not invite a SJW takeover (and eventual loss of this free speech zone) by adopting a code of conduct.

My opinion- leave comments as they are.

Great Professor Jacobson and Lola!

Don’t fix what ain’t broke.

Right answer! I love the awesome pseudonyms, from Ragspierre to the rest of them. I agree with anonymity without thinking in anyway the fed govt can’t spy on us anyway – but at least they aren’t being mined by Facebook to algorithmically change my content feed.

When I saw that hotair changed, I said to myself that’s the last comment I will ever write there,

Only LI gets my thoughts from now on.

Keep up the good work. prof, and for knowing what a real community takes.

Nothing pleases a SJW troll more than to track somebody they despise back to their Facebook account and proceed to smear poo all over their life, family, and friends.

katy the mean old lady | February 15, 2016 at 11:52 am

Thanks! Now I have another excellent site.

Glad to see you’re keeping the comment section as-is. For political commentary especially, I prefer anonymity and never consider commenting whenever FB comments are the sole option. I’m leery of Disqus too, but that could just be reflective of my suspicious nature.

Sometimes I do feel as if I need a shower after reading some of the comments here at times, but then I remind myself I’m an adult: I can consider the source and ignore the puerile peanut gallery ~

Facebook has decided that any comment critical of open borders in Europe will not be allowed. What will happen to Hot Air when Facebook decides that any comment critical of President Hillary will not be allowed?

I’m very glad Lola wants to keep the current system. That is one smart dog! Thank God for Lola and her faithful master Professor Jacobson.

Your comment section is the only one I read. I too have noticed the nastiness of the comment section of late. But, this election season tends to do that.

Most regular reader/commenters I recognize from the years I have been reading don’t bother replying to the comments that should be ignored. That is one of the many reasons I still enjoy your comment section. I consider that a reflection of you and the blog, and why it is my favorite.

Wise, wise decision.

As always, well thought out and reasonably evaluated – and Lola is indeed never to be denied! 😉 ( I love Damn Yankees!!!)

Pets to Lola :). She is one fantastically smart (and cute) sled dog!

smalltownoklahoman | February 15, 2016 at 12:09 pm

I’m fine with the current comment system as well. I like the anonymity of a user name provides as opposed to using your real name like FB and some other systems encourage. Anonymity can sometimes provide people with just that extra bit of security and confidence for some to truly speak their mind on an issue without worrying too much on whether they’ll have to be bothered by someone taking offense to what they said and giving the speaker grief in their regular everyday life. Something which has sadly become more prevalent in recent years with a lot of these social media sites.

ugottabekiddinme | February 15, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Just came here from mourning the passing of HA. I will not ever comment using FB. The only reason I even have that account is to keep up with distant family and for seeing pictures of my grandson.

Thank you for keeping to this model.

Yes, this election cycle has brought out the nastiness in people, hasn’t it? I’ve had to quit reading the comments on several blogs this time around. Even here, I’m seeing long-time posters (You know who you are) calling people “idiots” and “liars”. While that may well be true, the proper response is to just give their comments a thumbs down and then ignore them. Like Rush always says, after a few minutes of arguing with an idiot, the audience can’t tell which is which.

Longtime member, rare commenter, but I appreciate your staying as you are. I’ll be here more now that HA is dead to me.

Professor, that picture of Lola looks like she’s being forced to listen to a Hillary Clinton speech.

I tend to be a lurker rather than a commenter even though I’ve been coming here for years. Weasel Zippers is the only Disqus site I frequent but they are unique in allowing any and all words. That doesn’t bother me there. Here, I’m not sure it would fly. A different animal, the LI reader. Not better. Not worse, just different.

I’ve noticed all my local online newspapers have gone Facebook and consequently there are no contrary comments. It’s like drinking a vanilla milkshake. No variation. I don’t do Facebook (I limit myself to hosting a WP blog, Twitter, and Instagram). Facebook doesn’t appeal – maybe it’s my age? I’m 67. Is it more for the younger set?

Anyway, I’m glad you are standing pat. That means I can continue to lurk, and once in a blue moon, still comment.

Professor, thank you!

This site has the best comment section on the web. I love the up and down numbers to show that something is liked or not and by how much. The other sites that only show up do not give any clue as to how the opinions are received by the group. As to the FB issue I will not be part of a liberal entity that not only decides what can be shown but spies on it’s users. I am through with HotAir and hate to see them go but C’est la vie. I think that HA had reached the point that their commenters no longer mattered anyway and that the negative feedback to their articles was becoming an embarrassment. The Trumpets have ruined many of my favorite sites with their bullying and “My way or the highway” attitudes. This site allows discourse and most of the members have enough courtesy to respond with respect for others. Keep it the way it is Professor Jacobson.

I guess I neither hate facebook or love it, and I’m certainly not as paranoid about facebook as apparently everyone else above. So I’m not sure going to facebook would bother me. I never had any problems with the facebook commenting at powerline blog. I stopped posting there because I decided the authors very seldom had anything worth reading to post. Not because of facebook.

I think Discus doesn’t add anything to the quality of posts, and may make quality go down. I don’t think Facebook affects quality of comments the way Discus does. I’m sure everyone above disagrees with that.

All of that said, I agree that a proprietary comment section offers the opportunity for a greater feeling of community. For example, the comment section at Volokh conspiracy was far better and more informative a few years back before they went to discus comments.

So not for all of the same reasons as people above, I agree with the result that keeping proprietary comment section is a good choice.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Gary Britt. | February 16, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    For example, the comment section at Volokh conspiracy was far better and more informative a few years back before they went to discus comments.

    I used to use it.

    They also had an edit function, where you could edit your comments within five minutes of posting it. That’s probably not enough time. allows you to edit your reviews indefinitely but that’s probably not so good either, for something like this.

    Disqus and other things tgend to drop support for older computers.

    This place is not as easy to comment as some others – the software is balky and you have to register – a problem because one time when LI made some change, which was reversed, it wasn’t letting me log on – but it still is simpler.

    The nesting is pretty good. Every blog I use seems to use a different system – well except for those that use Google blogger.

To be blunt … everything about Facebook blows goats. (I’ll omit the rant about why; there’s entirely too much ranting at LI already.) I’ll use it if it’s the only game in town, but it’s probably not a game worth playing.

There is much to be said for maintaining as much control of your own site as possible. But it’s a hell of a lot of work, certainly more than I myself would care to take on again. (Of course, I always worked solo, which didn’t help.)

“… and things seem to be getting worse this election season …”

You called that one right. “Downright childish” is the phrase you want. I never wrote to you to complain about it, but rather did what I think most do; simply stop reading it … especially after I developed the mystic ability to predict the content of just about any comment page about the Republican candidates.

Your problem here, Professor, is quality. And there’s no easy way to get that. I can’t see how Facebook would be any help in that department.

Now, we go ‘way back. I’ve been following LI since the beginning; in fact one of my blogs—now asleep, RIP—was on your blogroll ‘way back when. (I used a different novelty name then; like Vladimir Ulyanov, I have piles of ’em.) A while afterwards, I notified you when it changed content radically away from a news blog so you could take if off your ‘roll, which you did, so I know you did a better job of reading your mail than I usually do.

Seen from that distant perspective, it’s clear that in the last year or so the content has definitely been heading toward wasteland territory. That’s content of the blog to some degree, but far more obviously in the comment streams. Normally if I’m going to maintain any interest in a comment section I like to see maybe one out of twenty posts present some useful information, or a cogent argument, or at least a laugh. But I’m not seeing even that level at LI nowadays. Oh, you sometimes get a good load of posts, but quantity is no substitute for […etc, etc…].

Obviously you’re aware of the problem. “… And on occasion have had to ban people when they crossed that ‘you know it when you see it’ line …” You certainly see it in a different place than I do. Well, it’s your show, you get to put the line where you want. But you know there’s a problem, and I suspect that you know where—or who—the problem is.

Here’s a tip which I’ve found useful, and perhaps it will be for you too; though much depends on what sort of commentariat you want to attract and keep. Many years ago, in my academic days at a Big Name Boston-area institution, I noticed that I never once heard anyone declare anyone else “stupid” or anything of the sort. That wasn’t because we were preternaturally polite, it was because we had the skill, knowledge, and intelligence to offer counterarguments on the fly, demonstrating why a statement or idea was a bad one, or inaccurate, or one-sided, or unimaginative. It takes no skill, knowledge, or intelligence to simply declare that something or someone is “dumb”. Smart people don’t run around calling everyone else stupid. They may think so, but they don’t devote any effort to saying so.

If you want to filter out the loudmouths and intellectual thugs who make the place unattractive for more thoughtful or original commenters, that might be a good red line to try.

Best of luck.

2nd Ammendment Mother | February 15, 2016 at 12:41 pm

Much appreciated. FB has already been actively censoring/deleting 2nd Amendment pages and discus is a huge enough pain that I quit commenting on them and may only read them every couple of weeks or so. I do use my same “handle” across pages that I comment on, but I don’t necessarily want someone to be able to easily find everywhere I comment.

So far LI and Instapundit are the last two places that I actively comment any more.

For what it’s worth, I will not have anything to do with Facebook.
What I’ve seen on some sites using disqus does not appeal to me, as engaging in any discussion is pointless due to a lack of factual argument. Many of the comments do not adhere to the topic posted and degenerate into poorly written attacks on other commenters.
I find this site’s comments to be civil in general with the odd occasion when someone loses it. As an ‘alien’, especially from my side of the world, I find the topics of interest and enjoy partaking in the different points of view.

legacyrepublican | February 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Bless you Prof. Jacobson!

I am not on Facebook nor want to be on Facebook.

I enjoy posting here because I have a nom de flame and no one knows my real name(maybe not even me, myself, or I)!

Also, I like that my comments aren’t being broadcast or possibly censored by a website that politically tends against me like Facebook.

As Progressives become increasingly militant, anonymity is more important than ever.

I have a very small internet footprint. When my name is searched, the only information that returns is related to the company I own. That exactly the way I like it.

We get steady, and lately increasing, demands for interventions in quarrels between commenters that often requires much time and effort to unwind.

If they think going to FB for their comment section will stop the flame wars, they’re fooling themselves.

2nd Amendment Mother,

discus is a huge enough pain that I quit commenting on them…

You know, I read people complaing about Disqus on a regular basis, but I have never had a problem with it — and I’m using an antiquated browser and even more antiquated OS.

I do use my same “handle” across pages that I comment on, but I don’t necessarily want someone to be able to easily find everywhere I comment.

On Disqus, you can set your comment history to “Private”. and then no worries. I’ve been using this handle for at least 14 years, in many, many places all over the ‘net, and haven’t had any trouble. However, while I have a FB account, I don’t comment at places that use it for reader comments for that very reason, because I did once have a nitwit follow it back to my FB page to harass me.

“Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One”:
Lola wins.

Carry on, Powerman–I mean,Professor. I for one am fine with this section as it is. Editing would be great, but if it never happens, that’s also fine.

There is something to having a closed community as opposed to being connected to disqus. I do post on discus because Michelle Malkin opened her site to discus. Trolls can drive community members away and there have been some unreasonable banning of posters by moderators. Plus disqus still has technical issues and glitches.

Thank you Professor for hanging with us. Actually I just read the bit at Hot Air about the move to Facebook. Since I don’t “do” Facebook nor have any interest in doing it that means my days of posting at HA are over. Kind of sad because I believe that was one of the first political boards I ever joined.
While we may have some “spats” the posters here normally come across as more measured in their responses to others – most have outgrown the “you s*ck – you’re stupid” Still a lot of that at HA – maybe due to the size?

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to katiejane. | February 15, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Personally, I think there’s a special place in Purgatory for whiners who snivel to the good professor because a few people are slinging it at each other once in awhile pretty heavily. It’s crossed the line a few times but, really, what are your “damages”? 🙂

    Put on your big boy and big girl panties, avoid those side bar arguments and rants if they bother you, and move on to something else or another thread. Quit tattling to the professor like “Wahwahwahah, Daddy, he hit me!” The man has enough work to do associated with this blog, which is important to him and to us as a community of like-minded true conservatives.

    I’ve been posting here at least three years, maybe longer, and have had plenty of insults slung at me during that time. Not once has it ever occurred to me to snivel to the professor about it.

    Toughen up, people. Folks, they’re JUST posts. The road ahead is harder than the one behind us. We have the coming havoc obastard will wreak during the closing days of his term and the specter of another just like him taking office, be it Trump or Hillary, looming over us. The hardest thing ahead as I see it at this moment, is keeping the pressure on McConnell to stop obastard’s SCOTUS nominee.

    For those who cross the posting line regularly, try chilling a second before you hit “submit.” I’ve edited out many a cutting or cruel phrase or sentence by pausing before I submit when I’m angry or at least try to redirect the anger at the subject matter, not the poster. On the rare occasion that somebody posts a complaint to me about one of my posts, I just think, “Sheesh, they should have see it BEFORE I edited it!” 🙂

    In any case, I think we all have battle fatigue and need to reserve our strength for pushback against the Left this election season and obastard’s maneuvers. THEY are the enemy, not one another here.

      I just really don’t like the f-bomb and the c-word. I’ve never asked our kind host to ban anyone for it, I just miss the days when people didn’t use that kind of language here. It’s unnecessarily coarse and ugly, and running around replying “eff you, eff off!” to every comment one disagrees with isn’t adding much to the debate.

      I would never ask the Professor to step in and forcibly moderate people’s language, but I wish people would have enough grace and courtesy to do it themselves. Although that might be asking too much of the hardcore Trump superfans.

      “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.”

        MikeInCA in reply to Amy in FL. | February 16, 2016 at 5:09 pm

        Although that might be asking too much of the hardcore Trump superfans.

        And yet the most vulgar of commenters is anti-Trump.

        I guess some vulgarians are more equal than others.

          Yes, Rags can be very crude, and no, I don’t like that very much either. But what I mentioned as my particular pet peeve were the F and C words… and those seem to be mainly a Trumpkin thing. E.g.

      OH, dang, I accidentally hit the thumb down – sorry! Was just going to say I did complain about the incivility but not to the good professor. I just appealed to the posters. I don’t see the need to be rude and crude.

I don’t comment much here anymore. I haven’t since Obama got re-elected. Call me politically jaded. However, I do stop by to read.

The Professor is right, as usual, in keeping this format.

The way I see it, the recent problems in the comment section at LI is the same on every conservative blog. This GOP primary is ripping conservatives apart.

I see the same vitriol, name calling, and pompous bloviating on literally every conservative blog I visit. Something previously reserved for left-wing commenters.

I wish it would stop. It won’t. I trust it will subside, eventually. I hope.

buckeyeminuteman | February 15, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Professor, thanks for running this great blog and managing the comments in-house. With that said, I do think some of the personal attacks have been getting nasty lately. I’d like to see it get toned down. You wouldn’t talk to someone like that face-to-face, why do it online? Funny thing is, I never really noticed the nasty attacks here until Trump began his campaign…

As of 12:44 Central, there are over 2,300 comments on the Hot Air/Facebook announcement. Page count is up to 24; I’ve only read the first seven. Reaction is all-but-uniformly* negative, with the vast, vast majority of posters saying goodbye. Many are moving to other blogs (Ace of Spades, Constantinople (Not Istanbul) & Conservative Treehouse are the most often mentioned).

For all intents and purposes, Hot Air has committed suicide.

* Two, count ’em, two positive comments.

    4:31pm Central. 3,763 comments; 38 pages.

    inspectorudy in reply to Rusty Bill. | February 15, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Having been a HA member for years I have noticed the contempt that the commenters have for Allahpundit and Ed Morrisy. I think they may be dumping the comment section because most of them are negative of their articles and pieces on the political candidates. Trump’s arrival has ruined many of my favorite sites and I can no longer read them they are so vitriolic. I first noticed it when obama came into the picture and now with Trump most sites are so unpleasant that commenting on them is inviting an insult. I also like the up and down numbers so that we can see the score. Disqus has joined the “Can’t we all get along” nonsense and there can be one positive comment and ten thousand negative comments but we will never know. Keep up the integrity and maybe we will all benefit from your example Professor.

BRAVO, Professor.

Great decision for those of us who mostly read and only occasionally comment.

I REFUSE to use Facebook for the same reasons most other critics espouse.

Thank you, Professor. As rough & tumble as the comments here sometimes get, I appreciate that you’d rather err on the side of “more free speech” over “enforced silence”… and that’s a good thing over all. More Brandeis, less Zuckerberg, please and thank you!

*and yes, I’m another who refuses to use Facebook for commenting

I’m also glad that this blog doesn’t have a “report abuse” feature that automagically hides comments from view with a single anonymous click, the way Instapundit does.

That feature, at the hands of some of the more over-zealous Trump fans, has more or less made casually perusing comment threads over there too annoying to bother with anymore. It’s been happening for months now, in any Trump-related thread, that many completely non-abusive Trump-skeptic comments get falsely reported as “abuse” and it takes an extra click on each one if you want to read them anyway. That feature has been there for ages, but it’s only with the influx of Trump superfans that it has started being abused like that. Now it’s got to the point where all of the “top comments” end up being hidden as “abuse” (e.g.:

It’s the ultimate heckler’s veto. I much prefer your “uptwinkles/downtwinkles” feature which gives some sense of immediate feedback, but doesn’t let any wannabe authoritarian thugs start systematically silencing dissent.

    impeach obama in reply to Amy in FL. | February 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    PJ media has become a business no longer a serious conservative website. The original writers, rarely post anything that is thought provoking, just ‘clickbait’, I am sorry that Insty and a few others remain there. The are only a few writers there that I continue to read.

Some forums have thread collapsing and the ability to ignore comments on an individual to individual basis. I think Facebook allows it, but that’s the poorest tool for any kind of commentary on political issues – I find it hard and messy to read or follow among other things….

Yes, the election season seems to have brought forth acrimony, but generally, when it’s not election season, the comment section is respectful and thoughtful.
I appreciate that you aren’t going to change, Professor, as 1) I’m one that will not do Facebook, and 2) this format seems to work nicely.

For the most part, I think the commenters here have come from backgrounds that taught them good manners, especially in “public.” Plus, I think the folks here are slightly higher on the intellectual bandwidth, and I’ve enjoyed their knowledge.

Glad to hear it. Some of us have reasons for posting under pseudonyms and nick names, for me it is because I work in a very liberal place that I know follows their employee’s names on the net. So I post under a pseudonym to basically protect my job.

I am sad that I will no longer be able to participate in Hot Air’s community as I can’t with any site that uses facebook, since my name would automatically be attached and most likely lead to problems at work.

Like others, I live in the conservative closet. Thank you.

I comment rarely and appreciate the time and effort you put into this blog.

DisQuesting has some features that I’ve learned to like,
embedding images and media clips, BUT the additional drive by liberal harassers, as opposed to further understanding of issues has made me more and more leery of participation.

Also once the number of comments reach a critical, limit, a post should closed to additional entries, it just becomes repetitive due to people NOT reading other comments and only interested in seeing their own POV. – this may be one ;>

Once again thanks for sticking to your principles.

JackRussellTerrierist | February 15, 2016 at 5:39 pm

No doubt your post warms the hearts of the Maoists running this country now, including the corporations.

Dumped facebook years ago.

Have lurked here for two years, thank you for all the enjoyment. Driven from HotAir by the FB requirement. Will do my best to fake being intelligent in my replies.

    DaveGinOly in reply to badbait. | February 15, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    “Will do my best to fake being intelligent in my replies.”

    That’s not really difficult. Just think what someone smarter than you would write, and then write that. I do it all the time!

Though I haven’t commented on LI very often lately, I appreciate that you’re keeping the comment system in-house. I loathe Facebook–never had an account and never will. There are many sites that I will not comment on because they require FB accounts. Ew.

Keep on rockin’, Professor.

Good thing Lola isn’t spoiled or anything.

Cute dog!

I agree with the others who have said that they will not use Facebook. If one is employed in government or by any large corporate bureaucracy, posting conservative political material on Facebook is very, very dangerous. I wouldn’t do it.

I very much support maintaining the status quo in the comment section. In my time here, since 2011, comment section behavior has come up before, and I again reiterate my appreciation for the excellent job Professor Jacobson does moderating. Very few bans, and those all of the you-have-to sort. Very light hand to great effect.

Comments are downstream of articles, i.e., the story selection and quality of the articles are reflected in the comments, troll-fare aside. One happy problem LI has is that it’s a great blog, a great place to get reliable information on the news of the day, but also on pertinent and important side issues left out of most other political/social news blogs. One great feature is the depth of coverage on Israel and Jewish people everywhere, the BDS evil, and antisemitism. Branca’s 2A stuff is awesome, while cartoonist Branco is as good as anyone working today. What these attributes mean, of course, is that the comment section with capture and hold people for considerable lengths of time. On the internet, one year is equivalent to five years in real life, that is, for me to have posted here for five years is equivalent to have read a paper version off a magazine rack, with frequent letters to the editor, for twenty five years. That’s a captive audience that hangs with the same blog for such a long time, relative to internet scales for continuity and focus. And when the same general bunch of commenters ‘see’ each other nearly every day, well, there’s a saying about the effect of familiarity. So, animosities and running battles are to be expected, I suppose. The LI pot boils, but never over. If it ain’t broke…


I thought it might be helpful if commenters offered any tips they hold on Surviving A Political Comment Section.

Disclaimer: I already know that I don’t always practice what follows, but I do try to keep civil and to use humor whenever possible, especially when contesting an assertion. I do not say I am always successful. Anyway…

Inner Ignore Button – Way backin the day I used to frequent trivia message boards, trivia being something I’ve always been good at, never lost a game of Trivial Pursuit. Those message boards were notorious virtual fight clubs, the gen pop always at each others’ throats. The software had a simple feature, the Ignore button. Click it on any poster’s tag and their posts no longer appeared, just their name and ————. Modern comment sections don’t use these that I’m aware of. They should rethink it. To compensate the lack, I have an imaginary Ignore Button on the inside of my forehead with which I’ve mentally blocked out certain posters. If a poster regularly proves too vulgar, too consistently stupid, too repetitive, or those posters you don’t need to read, you already know what it says, or whatever the reason, I hit my mental ignore button and when I see their name I skip over the post. Some of us acquire what I call troll groupies, people who follow specific posters around just to confront their every post. I ignore ’em. Quick tap on the inside of my forehead. Try it. Even if it’s me you’ll ignore.

Living Room Attitude – I frequently have to remind myself of this one, but this is a single-owner, personal project, one-man blog, including contributors picked out by the one man. So, when I’m living free in his comment section, I try to act like I’m sitting on the couch in his living room. Indoor voice, no cussin’, and remember that every other poster is also guest of that one man whose living room this kind of is.

F-Bomb Disclaimer – Tell you what I can pledge right now. I know that the worst cuss words offend a lot of commenters. I’ve been guilty of deploying one of them semi-once-in-a-while, the other one never. I’ll pledge here and now to quit using the f-word, with my disclaimer being I might need to include it in a pertinent quote or citation of another’s words, and since I joke a lot, there might be the rare irresistable joke from me that makes it necessary, at which time I will %^&# it (f**k). There. Aren’t I nice?


Facebook and Discus are non-starters for me, don’t and won’t use them. Oh, I have a facebook page to keep up with family and friends (I have grandkids who live 1200 miles apart from one another), but I tell my fb ‘friends’ that I will unfriend anyone who gets political so as not to see the posts and not to have the inevitable arguments, regardless of liberal, conservative, etc. I compartmentalize my politics and facebook is walled off. Discus… just, no.

    Aw, ‘Enry ‘Awkins, this is why I love you! I love the living room analogy. I try to use a little humor by reminding certain folks that there are grandmothers here! You are one of the reasons I read the comments. Thank you.

annoyinglittletwerp | February 15, 2016 at 10:36 pm

Hi. I’m annoyinglittletwerp-and I’m a refugee from HA.
I started commenting there almost 9 1/2 years ago. I was told that this place might be a good next place to ‘land’.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to annoyinglittletwerp. | February 16, 2016 at 12:51 am

    The professor is too good-hearted to turn away refugees from HotAir. You shan’t be shunned or ignored – unless you become an annoying little twerp 🙂

One time something was said that really frosted my cajones and that was when someone made a comment about another’s wife. That is where the line is drawn. I have gone off the rails a few times lately and am trying hard to control that so it doesn’t happen again. My comment frequency has reduced as a result. Love this blog the way it is. I did start a FB page after years of thought and use it strictly to keep up with family. I do not use my real name and just like Mr. Henry Hawkins, do not engage in politics with family or friends.

I have asked for an edit button, but don’t want it if the price is Facebook. I started to open a Facebook account, saw how much info they wanted, and exited. The account still exists. That was years ago. No thanks.

    Estragon in reply to Valerie. | February 16, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    I started a FB account to keep track of my grandchildren. They have my real name, but still don’t know where I live – so they find some pretense for asking at least once a month. I don’t do politics on it. The left is too insane, and the Trumpkins no better.

    My reaction to the takeover of comment sections by the rabid anti-GOP nuts generally has been to read them and comment less. Invariably that leads, eventually, to reading fewer main posts on the site, too. I still have LI as a home tab, but Hot Air & Ace are long gone.

      As a proud and rabid anti-GOPe commenter, (the democrats get it worse from me) I don’t know how you don’t see what we see. Nonetheless, you aren’t a leftist, so we,still share the same values, just not trusting them same people to further them.

JoAnne made a comment in the post debate thread about the lack of civility, and I wanted to reply but decided not to. Now I feel compelled to.

This whole thing about FB or Discus or whatever is just one big smoke screen to hide the real facts.

The problem with the site is not the comment system but the moderation system.
But it is not just the moderation system. I have noticed that some of your authors, in the last few weeks, couldn’t resist putting up stories whose sole purpose seemed to be to start flamewars.

In the post debate thread, I asked a question about Ted Cruz robo-calls. I asked the question because Trump made an accusation. A couple of people replied straightforwardly, but a couple instantly came with insults. Is that the way you want the blog to run? A person tries to check some facts and they get insulted?

And that tone is getting nastier and nastier. I don’t know much about HotAir, but I doubt very many are going to stay here after seeing some of the threads.

Many people like Gary restrict the nastiness to political threads. They also don’t start out their subthreads with insults. However, one person spread his insults out over all the threads. He doesn’t wait to start a flamewar, he starts insulting people immediately. He even insults people when they agree with him. The fact is that he is worse then what people accuse Trump of being.

This being a legal blog I would expect the decorum of a classroom discussion or a court room. Of course above person has already said he does not have to comport him self the way he does in court. Don’t you think it says a lot about what low regard he has for this blog? Oh and his behavior seems to have attracted a pure troll in the form of jennifer johnson a new poster whose post seem to only contain trolls.

It doesn’t take much to moderate the blog, some basic statements suggesting civility. You don’t have to permanently ban anyone just a short respite will do.

The basic fact is:
LegalInsurrection has become a cesspool because you want it to be a cesspool.

Now you are just trying to assuage your conscience and mollify those complaining with talk about how you don’t want to use FB.

All I ask of you is that you let us know what the rules are. Are you going to let all of us insult each other? Or are you going to act like a lefty and only let those that agree with you insult others. I really do want to know, because I’ve been trying to be moderate. But if you are going to allow people to just insult each other willy-nilly, then I am ready to hit back hard.

PS: I don’t like Zuckerburg anymore then other people here. But I don’t think that is a good enough reason to not use Facebook. Just as Brandon Eich’s personal views are not a good enough reason to dismiss him as CEO of Mozilla.
You should not choose FB to do comments for the more basic and pure reason that it is not very good.

Thank you!

I generally don’t comment using facebook because it’s too easy to backtrack to the real me. I use facebook because it is the best site for interaction with widespread family and friends. I’ve been defriended by 2 liberals. One because I wouldn’t agree that him being able to marry his boyfriend was a good and just decision fully justified in the Constitution.

Disqus, for a while, was deleting any comment I made at any site within seconds of making it. I emailed all the site owners, and Disqus, and that stopped. Never got a reply from anyone about how or why it happened or why it suddenly stopped… Commenting systems seen deliberately to be quite opaque in their operation.

I try to use the same user name and password in all the opinion and news sites. But it’s really a pain to comment on a site that you read a lot, but only comment once in a blue moon, and have to remember a username and password.

Many thanks, professor Jacobsen, for not giving in to Facebook. I had a page with that “outfit” for three weeks, was deluged with old buddies and it took threatening the site with legal action to remove my account, photo and information.

Powerline, a popular semi-conservative blog, shut down its comment section a few years ago without any prior warning whatsoever. At least the sellouts running Hot Air had the decency to give advance warning.

The sentiment over at HA is to totally bail. The best reason given is that Facebook leans left and has used its immense power to censure conservative thought and speech. Further, the TOS clearly state that you are not to post anonymously, stoking fears of a backlash against conservatives.

So go ahead, HA. Let your commenters be part of commie Zuckerberg’s pro-progressive, NSA friendly, data mining death star. I’ll be happy to park it right here at LI where this lowly redneck with a law degree can post without fear of censure, banning or outing.

Thanks, Professor.

Most of the time, I decide it’s not worth bothering to comment here. The comment threads have gotten unreadable and a few commenters here behave detestably with personal attacks. As for Facebook, it is what it is, we all detest Zucky, I have a lot of friends who have been suspended over their posts. I find it hard to believe mine haven’t gotten me suspended, and I do frequent Breitbart (where the threads are full of nuts of all stripes but some good folks, too).

Civility is all but dead. Moderating is a thankless job, but I like comment sections that are moderated more than ones that are not. Personal attacks here really have gotten extremely off-putting. But I respect your decision to keep things the same. I’m just not around much (but I do get the daily emails and check in usually).

    amwick in reply to peg_c. | February 16, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Civility is not dead, I do think it is on the back burner. Emotions, and passion all seem to be amplified with this election cycle. I also enjoy a more moderated comment section, but this is easy to say since I don’t have to do it, nor do I have a clear understanding how much time it takes. I am really happy that LI is not changing, since I don’t have a facebook or even a twitter account. This is Professor Jacobson’s house, and I do consider myself a guest. I also understand that I take away far more than I am able to contribute, so I am grateful for it.

Insufficiently Sensitive | February 16, 2016 at 9:12 am

Many of our readers don’t have Facebook accounts, in part because they don’t trust Facebook’s privacy or lack thereof.

And those of us who do, but write blog comments under handles for good reason, would have to attend LI as passive observers only. That’s still a good thing – this blog is a place to learn things which are rare elsewhere – but mere cheering or jeering at the screen is a distant second to pitching in a comment or wisecrack from time to time.

I COME HERE FOR THE CONTENT. Comments are an aperitif that I might or might not choose to enjoy, but I do not get the type of comment nor these types of links at other sites that I visit.

Comments here are not particularly convenient, and it is harder to actually get into a conversation with someone here. Which is fine – that should be a cause toward making one’s comment complete and succinct on the first try.

And always bearing in mind that the best error finder known to man is the “submit” button.

Thanks for posting this article. I think it’s important to be able to comment. When Popular Science stopped allowing comments, I stopped going to their website. Disqus is an okay way to make comments, and you can create an account that’s independent from all your other accounts. This provides anonymity if that’s what you need. Like user Gospace, above, I was globally banned by Disqus from replying to comments for no reason I (or they) could determine (it may have been because I posted two hyperlinks in a single comment). When they finally unbanned me and responded to my support email, they said they would be reevaluating their automatic ban software. One nice thing about Disqus, as I understand it, is that you can set up trusted members of your user community to moderate the discussions, which frees up your own employees to write articles. I use Facebook every day, but I wouldn’t want to use my account to comment on articles outside Facebook. Just my 2 cents.

I seldom comment because I really don’t want a fight – I want a discussion. I don’t know where you go to find that anymore.

Okay, I don’t comment here as often as I ought, but THANK YOU for NOT changing the platform for the Commentariat here… I wasn’t onboard with HA from the beginning, but long enough to witness the sad, slow decline since before Salem bought the place from the Boss Emeritus.

For L.I. to follow all the other sites in pursuit of the almighty click-o-meter would be a sad day indeed, and I’m equally certain it would lead long-time Commenters to depart, just as we have from the boards there at HA. ☹️

Ahh, the Good Olde Days… *sigh* ????

Breitbartforever | February 16, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Thank you. Privacy is a Constitutional right.

You run your comment sections better than you interpret the Constitution, Perfesser. You might consider posting a set of rules or guidelines for commenting, rather than relying on the “you know it when you read it” standard. It is nice to not have speech stridently policed, and for that I praise you.

I complained about the incivility I’ve been seeing here if late but don’t want you change anything, Prof. Jacobson. I was simply appealing to the posters. There is no need for name calling. Use your big kid words! I really enjoy the free exchange of ideas, even ideas that sometimes appall me but it always makes me think.

Thank you all for an excellent blog. I enjoy every post. Well, almost every post!

As of 1143MST today, 17 Feb, I note the incredible dropoff in comments made at Hot Air on recent posts. As in, zero. I wonder if Ed Morrissey is thinking twice about that Facebook comment move.

    There are actually comments on some of them, which I only just discovered after I temporarily disabled Ad Block and Ghostery for that site. Of course, the mere act of disabling Ghostery on that site allowed it to load 74 (count ’em, 74!) trackers… which reminded me why I started using Ad Block and Ghostery on that site in the first place.

    Re-enabling my blockers for that site hid the comments again. Big loss – not. I’m off to go clear my cache now. I have no idea what I just allowed them to load up. Ugh.

I, Mr. Applegate, think that, while Lola is pretty much able to dictate her agenda, she’s not the “boss”, and she is, in fact, subservient to me and subject to adhering to my policies and dictates…….

Prof. Jacobson made a comment including the phrase “whatever Lola wants, Lola gets”. That’s a line from a song in the musical “Damn Yankees”, where a character named Lola (played by Gwen Verdon; somewhat of a “siren/Mata Hari”) is boasting of her ability to charm men into doing whatever she wants.

“Damn Yankees” is somewhat of an esoteric reference, and one which is very dated – it was best known during the 50’s-60’s. It’s unfair to make such references without explaining them to readers who were born 30 years after the heyday of the musical.

This is a sore point with me, as is quoting lines in foreign languages; such as: 1 – “caveat emptor”; 2 – “Honi soit qui mal y pense”; 3 – “Mis Luftchüssiboot isch volle Aal” without giving the English equivalent.

(Note: “Mr. Applegate” [played by Ray Walston, aka “Uncle Martin…” ]is the name which the Devil/Satan/Beelzebub/Lucifer/etc. goes by in “Damn Yankees”)

ps – lest I be guilty of what I criticize,

1) “buyer beware”

2) “shame on he who thinks badly of it”

3) “my Hovercraft is full of eels” (ok, there’s an “in” joke that goes with this one [Google it] – so sue me for wanting to add some extra humor, and including a “Useful Swiss/German phrase” from

Of all the options available, Facebook is a no-no – simply because there are many readers who will not touch go near the social networks and that includes Twitter.

When PowerLine went Facebook, I took that to be an insult so those good writers get far less attention from me. I don’t consider that they care much or that my visiting their blog is important – but I would miss you guys and I have to be able to comment.

Go to Disqus if you want to do another venue.

No facecrook or twatter for me!

I waste too much time as it is…

Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me.

That is the reason I don’t have a FB account. Also, when you seek employment, they look (especially my current employer .. who will remain nameless).

yeah, the dog doesn’t look real interested. Possibly not the best one to be trifled with.
I had a Facebook account for a while, but the darned thing took on a life of it’s own, and I just can’t swim in that stuff anymore. I had no control over it.
When thiss election passes, it will probably calm back down a bit.
Thanks for sticking, and I really do very much enjoy the site.

Speaking of the comment section…why are there pieces where it appears closed, e.g., “Laquan McDonald Video Not Dispositive of Police Criminal Misconduct”?

Is there an expiration date on commenting or, am I not navigating the site correctly? Sorry, new here. 🙂

Ahh, thanks William. 😉

riverlife_callie | February 28, 2016 at 10:03 pm

Thanks for keeping the comments as is, Professor. I seldom comment, but read the blog daily. While some comments and/or commentors may go off the rails from time to time, I generally enjoy the comments as well. I think it adds greatly to understanding the issues.