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More comment sections bite the dust

More comment sections bite the dust

Inside Higher Ed ends comments permanently, Yahoo temporarily while it evaluates the situation.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/2788648775/in/photolist-5fqy8i-cocwMC-5ELfDu-8SNBV6-acFzQe-kc5Esi-6z3Awb-9HurQu-drJR-bxM3Y-53Uknw-cxERz1-dvpVzo-8vFawE-dvEa8g-9Zo2WP-dvEafr-br3x1-49dhRM-dSBVA8-heXCAK-6XfjPX-acR5gw-5bgFJa-977ke2-yhDR-aHw46k-a3a62P-4fCoe-ojtUFK-ehNtoM-Ue9JS-a8asMi-4fCCS-jdjhMF-cybBXS-5rkYa-bXLc1G-49diE8-4fCCR-apmCfB-kAM5A-oKNN9s-aCkccZ-dpCsKX-6G2XVM-3ih5fh-9zxXGq-jJDCUr-8qWmR/

Inside Higher Ed provides pretty thorough and good coverage of, ahem, higher ed. I don’t visit it daily, generally when there’s some issue that pops up. I have found their comment section to be relatively sane, *relatively* being the key word.

So I was surprised when I just noticed that Inside Higher Ed shut down its comment sections as of July 1, 2020:

Inside Higher Ed has published reader comments about our articles since we launched the site in January 2005. We did so as part of our core belief that good journalism depends on building a sense of community in which readers are able to share their voices. We wanted to ensure that everyone in higher education, regardless of their position or institution, had an opportunity to contribute their perspectives.

At times, the comments have added significantly to our understanding of our readers and their views on higher education and on the various pieces we publish — positive and negative. And many readers welcome the perspectives of their peers.

In recent years, however, we have had the same challenges many other online publishers face with regard to comments. The comments sections have come to be dominated by a small number of readers. As is true of so many elements of the digital landscape, our comments reflect the coarsening of interpersonal discourse, especially when people communicate anonymously, as the majority of our commenters do. (We allowed anonymous comments to protect vulnerable adjunct professors and staff members who might legitimately fear for their jobs if they were identified.) The comments have become a deterrent for a significant number of our readers and have lost much of their value.

We have previously done our best to tame the worst elements of our comments while sustaining their original promise. Several years ago, we asked readers for feedback and imposed new rules that we hoped would deter those who mistreat others while continuing to provide an open forum for the exchange of perspectives. Unfortunately, those changes were not effective at improving the relevance and civility of comments.

We remain committed to sharing reader perspectives and are excited to announce that we are replacing comments with letters to the editor effective next week, July 1, 2020.

Ironically, the post announcing the end of comments generated over 300 comments. The comments are more interesting than the article, with some articulate explanations why comments add value. Here are some of the comments:

I stopped reading Chronicle of Higher Education after they stopped allowing comments on many articles. Often, the articles attempted to address important issues, but in an incomplete or slanted way; the comments filled in the blanks in addition to taking different perspectives. Truly, the comments were the main reason to read many articles.

It’s true that many commenters on IHE articles are on a soapbox to push a particular idea or ideology, but it’s possible to skip over them. A higher number had worthwhile things to say.

* * *

the articles are written by people who reflect the ideology of higher education in this country – overwhelmingly leftist. The comment allowed for balance. I came here because I am concerned about the demise of American higher education. The leftists who run It don’t want to hear anything that doesn’t fit the narrative. I have had comments where I have had comments deleted where I simply quote a Harvard African American Economist who states that there is no bias in deadly force by police. Pessimists and contrarians are vital to the success of any team. I have little hope.

Maybe readership will plummet and the website will reconsider their decision?

* * *

The Chronicle definitely had some annoying anonymous commenters who would make virtually the same (negative) post on multiple articles and verbally attack other posters. However, when the Chronicle banned comments, I also curtailed my reading of CHE in favor of IHE, as there was no forum to call out inaccurracies in the articles or to engage in dialogue. If it does not hurt readership, perhaps the most positive outcome is that some will continue to choose to share IHE articles and blogs to other social media (e.g. Linkedin) where comments, dialogue and exchange about the articles can occur, rather than on IHE.

* * *

This is so very disappointing. You are further propagating an echo chamber and turning your articles into propaganda.

I love Inside Higher Ed. There are still so many articles that are flawed in a fundamental way that make it past your editors….

I read the comments to most of the articles for which I find controversial, and I’m amazed at the level of intelligence and civility that is found in your comments section. Your readers are, obviously, knowledgeable. This is not twitter.

More and more of your articles have been about diversity recently. This restriction seems to be a step back to allow a diversity of opinions to be shared. In ”Experts Consider How a New Admissions Test Could Change Higher Ed, ” there was not ONE single voice included in the article from someone talking about the benefits of the current model. The article made it seem like the judge and jury and 100% of the field had already agreed that the ACT has no benefits to students or admissions. That was mind-blowing to me that an article that had so many different people share from different perspectives without a single one giving a counter view. That is called propaganda, not journalism. It wasn’t until the comments section that counter beliefs we’re shared.

I sincerely hope you will change your decision.

Yahoo also recently announced that it was temporarily closing comments on news articles.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting. In the meantime, we welcome your feedback to help us enhance the experience.

We are not considering closing the comment section. It’s a vital part of our community. Two of our authors (Fuzzy and Branca) originally were commenters.

What we have considered, as we have in the past, is moving to a third-party comment platform. Most websites seem to use Disqus (that’s what Inside Higher Ed used). Our team recently went through that re-evaluation process when the website had some problems, part of which revealed a security issue with how our WordPress install handled comments. (That has been fixed.)

The vote among Legal Insurrection editors and authors was unanimous in rejecting a move to Disqus. There are pluses and minuses to our WordPress comment system. The minus is that it increases the load on our server and platform, and doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of third party platforms.

We have almost 800,000 comments; that may not be a lot compared to other websites, which often have more comments in a day than we have in a month. But that lower volume of comments actually is a plus.  By forcing people to register with us specifically, it helps keep down the number of drive-by grenade throwers seeking nothing other than blowing up the comment section.

There also is an impressive longevity of commenters, some of whom have been with us almost since the start, and camaraderie. One of the most interesting things at Reader Receptions is people introducing themselves using their commenter usernames.

So, after a long process of deliberation, nothing is changing. Thank you for your time reading this. It’s several minutes you’ll never get back. You cannot reclaim your time.

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Comments

Good for Inside Higher Ed! It is important to not let the unwashed heathen proles have any input.

Now if Inside Higher Ed would have the courage to rid of the articles as well, the website will finally be interesting instead of sounding like a mind-numbing meeting of the Soviet Central Committee.

    I find now that before I spend time on reading any online piece, I check to see if they allow comments. If not, then I know without wasting any more time that it’s just leftist agitprop, not meriting any further attention.

    There needs to be a new outpouring of online outlets, much like this one, where people who think can interact and exchange ideas honestly. But it looks like the Gatekeepers are shutting them all down, to try to impose Conformity of Thought.

Yahoo is on a pogrom to extinguish comments that do not meet their narrative.

I don’t know what sort of people read anything on Yahoo and attribute a moment of credibility beyond Yahoo’s affinity for freaks and similar Karadashianesque mindlessness.

    Dusty Pitts in reply to NotKennedy. | July 28, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    I have a Yahoo account around here somewhere. Can’t remember the last time I used it.

    Maybe it got mixed up with other trash and got hauled to the landfill.

    I would routinely fisk the articles Yahoo News was promoting…at least once a day. During the past month, I noticed a big increase in the number of comments mocking or deriding the press account.

Dusty Pitts | July 28, 2020 at 7:17 pm

I can’t say I’d weep if LI adopted Disqus, since I already have an account on there — but I’m glad the decision is not to go that way.

I think comment sections work better when the blog’s proprietor is, and feels, responsible for maintaining them. The current system here also requires would-be commenters to register here, while a third-party platform like Disqus really doesn’t foster that same degree of connection.

    Discus is pretty crappy.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to 4fun. | July 29, 2020 at 1:55 pm

      Not as crappy as Facebook, Twitter and others. My experience is that Disqus is not anywhere near as likely to censor with a liberal agenda.

    InEssence in reply to Dusty Pitts. | July 28, 2020 at 11:09 pm

    I have been censored on Disqus more than 10 times. But most of the time they allow my comments. I have never been censored on LI which only one other website, PJ Media, can claim. I don’t know what is wrong with those 2 sites; maybe they don’t monitor the comments.

      dmacleo in reply to InEssence. | July 29, 2020 at 7:42 am

      website admins can easily edit the disqus bad word filter if they choose to.

        InEssence in reply to dmacleo. | July 29, 2020 at 3:42 pm

        It usually gets censored on a sensitive subject (not bad words). For example, the last one was on the mosque attack in New Zealand, where I asked, “How about the 52 Christians killed in Nigeria on the same day when the Muslims attacked their churches?” Now maybe “killed” or “Muslims” is a bad word. Who knows? As far as I can tell, some subjects are censored hard, and others are not censored much.

        And it wasn’t just the comment censored; I wasn’t allowed to post on Disqus, on any website, for about 2 weeks. But Disqus never complained.

    henrybowman in reply to Dusty Pitts. | July 29, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    I guess I’d like to understand people’s objections to Disqus. My only bad experiences with it have been on one site (ABC, of all places) that routinely slags everything I post as “spam” without exception, and on a few sites (but not all), including any URL in a posting gets your post assigned to “moderation purgatory” and the moderator never bothers to release it. In all cases I have encountered, the problems appear to be specific to how a particular site uses and/or configures Disqus, and not with Disqus itself, which I find very non-judgmental.

MoeHowardwasright | July 28, 2020 at 7:26 pm

It seems to me, that when a provider stops comments. It’s because the comments are generally 180’ out of phase with the stories posted. See Yahoo. They post stories, the comments are not in phase with the story. Same reason MSN stopped allowing comments. You can’t control the narrative if the the “unwashed” won’t go along.

    CorkyAgain in reply to MoeHowardwasright. | July 28, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    Yep. The MyNorthwest site stopped accepting comments when it had become a meeting place for people (like me) who disagreed with our local leftwing politicians and the site’s fawning articles about them. Their excuse for deleting the commenting feature was that they no longer had the time to properly “moderate” the discussion.

    If there’s a still a media outlet in the Pacific Northwest where Washingtonians can voice their displeasure with Gov. Inslee and the rest of the cretins in Olympia, I’ve yet to find it.

      patriot077 in reply to CorkyAgain. | July 30, 2020 at 12:22 am

      I learned more from the comments at mynorthwest than from any of the articles posted.
      I think it was accurate information about the Covid being posted that caused them to silence us. I haven’t been able to find a PNW replacement either.

    TheOldZombie in reply to MoeHowardwasright. | July 28, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    Yep. Whenever you see a comments section disappear it’s often because the owners of the site know that the comment section knows they the owners are full of it. It being whatever poop they write on their website.

    The Atlantic did that a couple of years ago as did The Week I believe.

    National Review still has their comments section, but you have to subcribe to the magazine. It isn’t terribly expensive, but high enough that it weeds out a lot of the shills who just want to throw stuff at the wall to see what sticks. It is possible to have a discussion.

      ID5791 in reply to cgg. | July 30, 2020 at 4:04 am

      National Review was once a must-read for me. Now I rarely visit. They gambled big with their “Never-Trump” stance…and lost big.

    No, no, no. It’s because their goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect. Uh huh. There’s maybe 1 worthwhile article in the feed in a week, based on my morning check after signing out of my email.

I rarely encounter an unhinged or irrelevant comment on this site. What it make lack in quantity more than compensates with quality.

    snopercod in reply to technerd. | July 28, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    You rarely see unhinged comments any more because Rags was banned. You’re next, Millhouse!

      Forgot all about that guy!

      daniel_ream in reply to snopercod. | July 29, 2020 at 12:04 am

      Ban Milhouse and I’ll leave.

      You don’t like Milhouse because he consistently points out what the law actually says, as opposed to what you would like it to say. That’s precisely why I look for his comments on any given article; I’m here at a legal blog to understand the relevant aspects of the law surrounding events in the news.

        Candid in reply to daniel_ream. | July 29, 2020 at 12:43 am

        Regarding Milhouse, a few years past he was irrascible and mean spirited, and could not read his posts after the first sentences, but here lately,

        have read in the comments which included his posts but did not know it, until I checked the poster, and it was Milhouse, a wonderful suprise at his cogent and helpful comments.

        Hope the change lasts.

        JusticeDelivered in reply to daniel_ream. | July 29, 2020 at 2:37 pm

        “he consistently points out what the law actually says”

        I agree, while I am not a lawyer, I have been joined at the hip to lawyers most of my life. One learns a few things. I have not seen Milhouse make any errors of fact regarding law. I also suspect that several people like to downvote Milhouse of personal reason, not because what he says is wrong.

        My background is science, engineering, management & entrepreneur. I often had major battles with big companies, and I used a broad spectrum of tactics to to prevail. For that I depended on legal advice. The way things went was I would ask a lawyer a series of questions, and fine tune my approach to making some SOB sorry.

        It was common for CEOs and other upper management to think that they were untouchable. I educated them. And my methods were quite effective.

        Of course, it is important to not leave an opening for them to sue me.

          I’ve seen him make a few – primarily arguing what “reality” is versus what the law actually says (or what common law has said for centuries). But he is usually engageable and I have learned from him.

        DSHornet in reply to daniel_ream. | July 31, 2020 at 5:19 pm

        Daniel, if Milhouse is banned I’ll leave with you.

        Yes, his (I assume) presentation can be focused to the point of annoyance, but so what? He has the right to be here with all of us. No matter the usually high quality of his posts, there is always someone with an ax to grind who automatically downvotes him just because it’s Milhouse. It just goes to show some grow up, others just grow older.

        The ones who need to leave are those who habitually attack others for the flimsiest of reasons. For example, downvoting someone simply when they notice who’s posting.

        IMO, of course. (Off my soap box.)
        .

        Sternverbs in reply to daniel_ream. | August 3, 2020 at 7:17 am

        Perhaps we’d all do well if Milhouse would use his talents and point out the law, as written, to the Supreme Court…

    rabid wombat in reply to technerd. | July 28, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    Challenge accepted…I will try harder!

Yahoo was one of the last liberal sites to have a comments section: CNN, NBC, Daily Beast, MSN “News,” National Journal, The Week, Christian Science Monitor, Time, USA Today have all discontinued comments, likely because comments often illustrate “wrong-think.”

    Massinsanity in reply to bw222. | July 28, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    I would rather they eliminate the comment section than employ tactics like shadow banning which Boston.com does to any comment that strays even slightly from the narrative.

I recall PJ Media switching to disquss, and they pretty quickly got their comments section taken over by hostile trolls, much like the Federalist, before they nuked their comments section. Hotair too took a dive after they switched to Facebook comments.

Avoiding getting caught in the mono-culture seems to me to be a good reason to stay with site specific comments sections. Most of the interesting and worth reading comments have been on sites that have their own, separate comments sections and local log-ins. Going to one of the plug-in comment managers just seems to produce much sounds and fury signifying nothing.

    Many commenters abandoned Hot Air because they had no intention of opening a FakeBook account just to comment there. Many of them were long-time, active commenters, too. I was one of ’em.

    dmacleo in reply to Voyager. | July 29, 2020 at 7:46 am

    pjm runs disqus now has for long time.
    hotair been running disqus for (iirc) about 6-8 months now? FB comments was a real stupid move.

    Menachem in reply to Voyager. | July 31, 2020 at 3:07 am

    I did some of my best writing on PJM. Once they switched to Disqus most of my posts were banned. I found this current website only recently. So far so good.

I wonder how the growing number of sites deleting the comments section will affect behavior. There will always be a group of people who are compelled to vent, comment, opine and/or pontificate. What other avenues will they take to do that? Will they go back to blogging? Writing letters to the editor? Will a new ability to comment not yet invented take over? Will people just grow apathetic and less engaged in the news since they can’t have that interaction anymore? It will be interesting to see what happens.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Guardian79. | July 28, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    Methinks they have taken to writing comments in the streets and super-highways…….

      I find the empty newspaper boxes to be an excellent forum. I am still shocked that “White Marxist Lives Matter” (formerly known as blm) lasted almost 16 hrs. Maybe they didn’t get it and figured anything with blm was untouchable.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Guardian79. | July 29, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    When media was still still operating under traditional journalistic standards, I wrote hundreds of letters to the editor, which were published. What is interesting, is that my views on many issues evolved to be much like those I opposed earlier in life.

One comment per post, and one reply to a comment. That should suffice. Would like to see that experiment. Serial commenters are a plague.

    That makes discussion almost impossible

    tom_swift in reply to oldschooltwentysix. | July 28, 2020 at 8:32 pm

    Serial commenters are a plague.

    They’re also easy to skip. The name at the top of the post, rather than the bottom, is a great convenience for that.

    healthguyfsu in reply to oldschooltwentysix. | July 28, 2020 at 8:44 pm

    Yeah, this isn’t the best idea either.

    A 1 minute posting limit is sometimes used, but legit discussion can proceed faster than that.

    They just don’t want to moderate and think their articles are more valuable than the perspectives of many academics from a wide variety. The comments, are, in essence, diversity of though, but that is not en vogue right now. However, as other readers pointed out, the comments are often more valuable than the original article. Both co-exist greatly when it works, as the original piece provides the stimulus for thoughtful commentary and discourse.

    MajorWood in reply to oldschooltwentysix. | July 29, 2020 at 1:54 am

    Not a fan of a discussion, I see.

Sometimes the original post and several comments merit responses, hence “serial comments”.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Rusty Bill. | July 29, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    Actual discussion invites serial posting. Sometimes I see a running discussion between just two commentators. Nothing wrong with that.

    I’ve said before and will say here again – LI gets my regular attention because of the comment section. It’s the only site at which I read every comment to every story I read. I expect the comment section to be as good, or better than, the story, and am rarely disappointed.

    Everyone may now give themselves a slap on the back, or a participation trophy!

      I expect the comment section to be as good, or better than, the story, and am rarely disappointed.
      I know what you’re trying to say, but OUCH to the authors!

Colonel Travis | July 28, 2020 at 8:12 pm

Thanks for the insight on comments at LI.

stevewhitemd | July 28, 2020 at 8:15 pm

As someone who has commented here for a while, we’d be remiss if we didn’t recall some of the flame wars in the LI comments. One person in particular whose handle I won’t mention, out of fear he’ll return…

I helped Fred Pruitt at Rantburg for a time; one of the responsibilities was moderating comments. I don’t think there is much substitute for this for a smaller blog. I don’t know of any other way to keep things civil than to remind those who aren’t civil that they don’t have an automatic right to comment.

I don’t know how one can do that with Disqus. I do know that quantity ≠ quality.

If Inside Higher Ed were to allow people to disagree (or agree) with the articles, they would attract more readers. If they banned comments but posted articles from a variety of different viewpoints, they would also attract more readers. But no comments, and articles representing only the fringe Left viewpoint? Well, let’s say their appeal is about to become more ….. selective (read: smaller).

Which is fine with me, since it is their choice. But as a teacher with over twenty years teaching experience in a variety of settings I found their articles singularly unhelpful and mostly divorced from reality. Imagine a “Karen” leading an antiracism workshop by droning on about some dreary, obscure point about Marxist theory. That’s Inside Higher Ed.

The limited nesting depth for replies to replies is a major limitation here. What’s available works well and is easy to sort out, but there’s just not enough of it.

And, of course, the lack of preview or edit functions are long-term annoyances.

My last visit to Inside Higher Ed was on June 30, the last day comments were allowed. I work in higher ed and appreciated seeing what the inmates running the asylum were kvetching about, but also appreciated the chance to comment, frequently to correct an outright error in an article.

I won’t be back. They can now sing to the choir.

Boy (Comments Section): Emporer News Article has no clothes!!!

Emporer News Article: (((Have that boy killed))).

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | July 28, 2020 at 9:18 pm

“Walter Williams Blasts The Despicable Behavior Of Today’s Academicians

The Michigan State University administration pressured professor Stephen Hsu to resign from his position as vice president of research and innovation because he touted research that found police are not more likely to shoot black Americans. The study found:

“The race of a police officer did not predict the race of the citizen shot. In other words, black officers were just as likely to shoot black citizens as white officers were.”

For political reasons, the authors of the study sought its retraction.”
……

https://www.zerohedge.com/political/walter-williams-blasts-despicable-behavior-todays-academicians

    Interesting you linked a Zero Hedge story. ZH is perhaps the only site I frequent more than LI. I find it to be a remarkable blend of often deep financial news/analysis plus good coverage of national news.

    However, the comments section of ZH is a sewer. Overrun with seriously disturbed anti-semites and wild conspiracy theorists. It is a shame that the comments have been taken over by a fringe element over there.

      ThePrimordialOrderedPair in reply to Massinsanity. | July 29, 2020 at 5:29 am

      This is Yahoo’s second (or more) instance of closing and rejiggering their comments. Yahoo used to have the web’s most open and free comment section. Nothing was barred. I mean NOTHING. It was a total free for all. It was one of the funniest and greatest comment sections, ever. It was also gigantic. Comments used to fly by like crazy. If you were offended by any comment within 20 seconds that comment was already 4 pages back and long gone in a matter of a minute. It was great. But Yahoo killed that some years back (15, maybe? .. I really can’t recall), stopped comments for a while on news articles, and then started up some milquetoast commenting scheme. Coincidentally, that was one of several major screw-ups by Yahoo that took that company from the top to the bottom in record time.

        ThePrimordialOrderedPair in reply to ThePrimordialOrderedPair. | July 29, 2020 at 5:32 am

        Oops. That wasn’t supposed to be a reply but a new comment. I was going to reply to you about ZeroHedge but I was just agreeing with everything you said so I figured, “What’s the point?” and then left the reply box up by mistake.

Comment sections are 90% of the reason I visit most sites.

It’s highly illuminating visiting the comment section to see who the actual readership is.

Which is why all the liberal sites have been disabling them – they simply can’t control the unbelievable hate their base glories in, and they can’t control the narrative when the top comments are calmly and logically demonstrating what a joke they are. Hence their war on comment sections. YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO QUESTION THE NARRATIVE.

And also is why I outright refuse to revisit TheFederalist until they reinstate their comment section. They bowed to the outrage mob by removing it, so I will not be back until they put it back.

    MajorWood in reply to Olinser. | July 29, 2020 at 1:25 am

    Nothing beats the comments in /r/whatcouldgowrong 😉 Political Karen’s are rank amateurs compared to the WCGW pros.

    Comments are basically “peer review” by the public. Eliminate the comments, and it is a one way ticket to the perma-bubble.

    datapath in reply to Olinser. | July 29, 2020 at 9:30 am

    Spot on!

I used to spend a a great deal of time on Advance Media’s collection of sites and made more posts than I care to admit. Once they removed comments from their sites my visits dropped by over 90$. I have stopped at Oregonlive a few times to watch them defend the rioters.
Traffic does drop when the comments go away.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to buck61. | July 29, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    I seriously considered creating a website to make fun of Advance Media and their publications. Today, hey are really bush league.

    My Washington, DC office was right across the road from their DC bureau, and I often had lunch or dinner with their reporters. Of course, as their publications became less relevant, they closed that office.

    Advance was knee deep in pushing the Flint, MI water scam. Flint collected water system fees for decades, they squandered all that money. They allowed the system to deteriorate, and that is why they had water system problems. It was their fault.

filiusdextris | July 29, 2020 at 12:38 am

Thanks for keeping the lights on!

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | July 29, 2020 at 3:51 am

Several years ago, we asked readers for feedback and imposed new rules that we hoped would deter those who mistreat others while continuing to provide an open forum for the exchange of perspectives. Unfortunately, those changes were not effective at improving the relevance and civility of comments.

So .. basically you’re saying that the only people interested enough in your blog to bother commenting are a bunch of savages who do not meet up to your standards. That says more about your blog than about the commenters.

For most blogs and news sites on the internet, the comments are the funnest part. On some they are more informative than the posts but on others they are just funny. Blogs without comments don’t really last that long, I don’t think, and people who don’t like the comments have no problems reading the posts and leaving it at that.

caseoftheblues | July 29, 2020 at 4:10 am

The word salad that Inside Higher Education put out about no longer allowing comments…well I wonder if they were trying to convince readers or themselves that their actions weren’t actually about silencing all diversity of thought and opinion…either way epic fail

felixrigidus | July 29, 2020 at 5:45 am

Isn’t that the actual goal of the leftist push for defund and deplatform? If they can shut down the comment section by economic pressure they shut down free speech.
Obviously it is The Federalist that is – very likely illegally – pressured into shutting down its comment section, not any number of vile terrorist supporting leftist sites. And maybe the leftists are aware that this is a win-win for them, if they can get away with that kind of blackmail: either they hurt the economic viability of their target at once, or they reduce interaction by having their target “voluntarily” shut down interaction with their audience.
There might be a good reason to shut down some comment section but that must be the free decision of the one to do it. The Federalist shutting down the comments is as free as a victim of the mob paying protection money.

I say keep things the way they are here. Discus would be a big mistake. I stopped commenting on Breitbart when they started deleting my comments as spam. Plus, having thousands of mindless comments on every article every day is pointless.

It has been a mystery to me how these threads remain civil. Whatever the reason is, don’t change anything.

I notice that Legal Insurrection now has a very annoying advertising popup at the bottom of the screen. A popup with absolute coordinates that can cover content.

If someone wanted to sabotage your site, its brilliant.

MRC suddenly and with no warnings dumped comments sections on all their sites.
I stopped visiting any MRC site.

I’ve had the LI tab as my first tab on my iPad since the days when your page background was yellow/orange and Scott Brown was running the first time.
Keep up the superb work and don’t fix what ain’t broke!

Iain Sanders | July 29, 2020 at 9:37 am

Takimag ended comments on the free site some years ago – pity.

Just a couple thoughts, for what little they’re worth:

1) It was amazing to see how fast Hotair’s comments plummeted to posts getting hundreds or even thousands of comments to near zero across the board pretty much overnight after the Facebook move.

2) IMO, certain websites dumping comments sections can also be partially blamed on the Drudge Report. I know that a number of people, including myself, have quit going there or only do the occasional check-in after it went off the rails and also became so filled with links it’s pretty much unreadable. But if you read a story that’s made Drudge, you can often tell about the time when it was linked based on the comments.

2nd Ammendment Mother | July 29, 2020 at 11:56 am

As one of the folks who’ve been here since the beginning, I appreciate not having to give up this site due to the disqus issue. I tried it for one week many years ago and right away, I found myself stalked across several sites by one particularly aggressive person. Obviously, I have very strong 2nd Amendment leanings but I do keep them to the appropriate place and time. This guy showed up on a Catholic site I frequented at that time and started bashing me with irrelevant replies to comments there. That was it for me.
Once a site adopts disqus, I’ve noticed the content tends to go downhill. I can’t even think of the number of sites I’ve given up on over that issue. The one that hurt the worst was Instapundit who I thoroughly enjoyed and who had wonderfully witty commentary.
As for Drudge, once it was obvious the ownership had shifted, I’ve never gone back. After doing that job since the Clinton administration, I get that it was likely getting old. However, I thought it was pretty crappy for him to take the buyout and then leave readers to figure it out.
There, I’ve made a nicely tossed word salad of my own…. now to find my tin hat to serve it up.

    2nd Ammendment Mother in reply to 2nd Ammendment Mother. | July 29, 2020 at 11:59 am

    I do have to admit…. my biggest thrill as a commenter here was when Drudge picked up a story in which the Prof had used information I had forwarded to him. The link was my quote… talk about cool!

Well I think that…
GRENADE!

It’s OK. I was one of my own. Just fell off my LBE and still had the pin in it.

Now where was I?

It’s been years and I still can’t write about the cancellation of Powerline’s comment section without some bitterness. The comments were informative, interesting and humorous. Our little community had become as close as anonymous strangers on the net could be. Overnight, the powers that be at Powerline cancelled the comment section without notice and more importantly, without the chance to reconnect at another blog site. It was nothing short of a miracle that we found each other, then started our own political comment blog with our own internet provider. (Feel free to drop in and read the history thread: it’s a hoot. See Itsaboutliberty.com)

I personally believe the elimination of comment systems is part of a deliberate strategy to squelch right-of-center views contrarian to progressive orthodoxy, embarked upon right after the 2016 election. The first one was IMDd. Many newspapers have done so too. This is a strategy to try to keep pro-Trump messages silenced in the run-up to the election.

BierceAmbrose | July 29, 2020 at 3:47 pm

Disqus does some level of *idea* content-based filtering.

As a service used across multiple sites Disqus can, and does, assemble cross-site profiles of “users” finding associations by source IP address (often unique, sometimes just likely), browser configurations (good enough to form a strong unique fingerprint; stronger when platform, or IP is included.) Etc.

Of course there’s leakage between uses n users with or without full-blown side-channel attcks.

The term of art for multiple, disjoint users n uses on a common infrastructure is “multi-tenanting.” It’s hard to do — check out Atlassian’s — a company — story of making their hosted apps truly multi-tenant. Disqus, slack, and the like have little incentive to strongly isolate your use from anybody else’s, and considerable incentive to track you, n aggregate uses.

They’re all very cagy about what they actually do — lawyerly objections to find a crack in your word choice, and similar to why their use is permitted.

Think of an EULA as an “undulating lie” — with a colloquial read, a typical reader thinks it says *this*, while with the spinniest interpretation of the find print, it says *that*, at least when that’s usefult to whoever did the talking. Google, for example, doesn’t aggregate, analyze, or mine your content on their platform, BUT, they can aggregate, analyze, mine, n even excerpt your content to improve their business operations and service offerings. “Improve”, “operations”, and “offerings” are whatever they say they are.

The platforms for internal corporate info-wrangling are relatively secure and less leaky. Their terms of use as I have seen so far are a bit cagy about using their products to host an external presence. The content platforms for external presence are both weak technically, and their terms (again what I’ve dug into) are … not what you’d want.

BierceAmbrose | July 29, 2020 at 3:52 pm

Related-ish…

Under a related topic after I went off about personal e-privacy, one of the commentariat asked about what’s a non-techie to do. I’m working to boil my response down into something digestable, usable, n effective which is taking some work.

I’ve wanted to write something on that for a while. The comment asd motivated me to take another whack. If I’m successful, I’ll look for a way to get that to the asker.

When we manage to rid this great nation that is the USA of the communist filth that has infested it since the 1880’s and the third world filth that likes to swing a communist purse in lieu of an honest argument, then comment sections will change for the better. Not before. As long as communist continue to infiltrate or worse, found, news and commentary sites the comment battles will continue. Bolsheviks don’t quit. They must be defeated. Sadly the only way to defeat a communist is to kill it. They will never cease their destructuve ways even unto brainwashing their own children and grandchildren to pick up the cause at some point in the future when ‘the time is right.’ Then you know, you have to kill them too.

I knew the comment section at Yahoo was not long for the world. At least 85% of the comments there were red-pilled. That can’t be tolerated in our new “tolerant” age. It is much harder to efficiently peddle propaganda to the masses when the masses can challenge the propaganda right on the same page.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to ID5791. | August 2, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    They’ve been having occaional WrongThink articles lately too.

    Still OrangeManBad, n Deplorables – er – deplorable, but sometimes factoids like “Yale actual professor guy says The Drug Which Must Not Be Named is a thing.” And worse.

No comments, no read.

I don’t know how many who read LI are old enough to remember the threaded email readers we all used to use. But they had a universal feature that allowed each user to block any other user that they found not worth the time to read. It should not be too hard to do that for comments. Just store the list on the user’s storage instead of the site’s.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to ray. | August 2, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Oh, we know exactly how to make comments, fora, n so on several kinds of better: both what it should do, and several implementations.

    Literally every single problem n spasm that’s occurred on Reddit, for example, reflects something already knows from newegroups, w/ work arounds and experience with the limits of various solutions.

    Reddit is just a bad version of NewsGroups, hosted in one place, that you get at with your browser. It’s better because it’s centrally controlled; thus righteously policed. (When the investor-rep on the board is more interested in having only the right stuff on their platform than the value of the service they provide you get, well … Reddit is headed in a different diretion than it might have.)

    Caring about Those People doing That Stuff you don’t approve of is different from having it spewed at you. The folks who object to the newsgroup model solution don’t really object to being exposed to That Stuff. They object to letting you be exposed to That Stuff, or worse thinking or saying it.

    If you never go find 4Chan you never have to know what they’re doing, let alone get any on you. That’s not good enough for them. They can’t stand *you* getting some 4Chan on you, even if you like it. (I thought we didn’t judge?)

    Now that people download “apps” for everydamnthing, the old, fake “barrier” of installing a newsgroup-ish app to alow that curation and access model is gone. Indeed Twit, FaceSpace, and various GoogGoo all require “apps”, at least for “full function”; “full” meaning they get to wander around your info-life n install whatever else they like — “full access” for them, to you. What you didn’t think you were the customer, did you?

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