July 8, 2013

When are the comments coming back?




Ann Althouse said...

We're on comments vacation here at Althouse.

Is this a permanent situation?

I might be!

But we're working on solutions. One thing's for sure, I have my List of Bad Faith Commenters who will not be allowed back in when the ongoing party resumes.

Too much noise!

I hope it wasn't you, but if it was, I hope you know who you are.

Meade said...

from Freeman Hunt:

You taught that dog to read?! No wonder they want you to borrow it all the time.

Then again, how would life change if dogs could read?

Meade said...

"I hope it wasn't you, but if it was, I hope you know who you are."


Ann Althouse said...

If dogs could read, what would they read?

Ann Althouse said...

If the frame were widened a smidge, you'd see the book on the table right next to his head is "What's a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man's Best Friend."

Meade said...

ill-considered offers of self-humiliation from Saint Croix:

Hey, has anybody tried bribery yet?

I will wear long pants for the rest of July!

Meade said...

from The Farmer:

"I hope it wasn't you, but if it was, I hope you know who you are."

I want it noted that I have always been a perfect gentleman, even when I disagreed with our hostess, which is almost always. I missed the sperm dust-up, wasn't interested in the posts or comments. The gay marriage thing wasn't such a big deal. The usual anti-gay morons were their usual boneheaded selves, but portraying all of us against gay marriage as bigots was inflammatory. If you bait people, sometimes they'll bite! That's the first time in almost ten years of reading Althouse that I felt she lost her cool. It was tough to watch. Yeah, a few people were dunces, but a few people are always dunces. Althouse's reaction seemed way out of proportion.

BUT, I am hoping that this new policy gets Althouse back to being provocative. It seems like that's been lost lately. It seems like it started around the time of the protests at the Capitol. There was too much commiserating with the commenters, too much "We love you, Cleveland" from the hostess (not to mention all the "New Meadia" huzzahs from the hoi polloi), and not enough of what made Althouse interesting in the first place: unique takes on a variety of subjects with no apparent regard for whether anybody liked it or not. When Althouse, a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, questions liberal orthodoxy, she's entertaining because a. she's good at it and b. people don't often have the balls to do that. When she pushes back against right-wingers it's not nearly as entertaining because a. she seems to take attacks on her views personally and b. pretty much everybody already does that (and many people do it better than her).

All that said, I am very much in favor of the jackasses getting the business end of Althouse's boot. I have suggested that she send the creeps packing several times in the past, so I'm glad to see it finally happening.

Meade said...

from harrogate:

I recently posted a version of this this on the poll discussion but thought I would try to share it here.

I know that for me, this has had some positive consequences. As John Lynch said a few comments back, anonymity can make us much worse people online, than what we aspire to be offline.

I enjoyed the comment section. I enjoyed reading them. Most everything said by the blogger and by the commenters, were at odds with my positions. And yet I did not acknowledge nearly enough how I appreciated the personalities, the gestures of humor, the moments of kindness that could flare up unexpectedly. One thing I am sad about is that there are several commenters who I was almost never in agreement with but who I came to really look forward to reading, and who now won't know it unless they lurk here. Freeman, Synova, Revenant, spinelli, yashu, Matthew Sablan all come to mind for me, but there are others.

I have thought more than a little, today, about the times I crossed lines--what I would definitely have considered lines if it were a conversation face to face-- with commenters with whom I disagree. And I am not proud of those times and I know I contributed at times to a negative tenor instead of trying to advance discussion as civilly as possible. I apologize to everyone for that. I hope the comments come back and we get a chance to do it with more class.

But the digital age is eternal at this point--the comment boards may be closed forever or just for a while, but regardless, we all can still move forward and try to make digital space better.

Thanks to Ann for a provocative and always well written blog. I'll keep reading.

Meade said...

more wackiness from Saint Croix:

My other plan while this lock-out continues was to unionize all the males and we would dress in shorts every day. Although I don't have anybody's e-mail so the unionizing is not going according to plan. So I decided to go with bribery as that's way more alpha anyway.

Meade said...

from RecChief:

I occasionally comment, but not very often. I don't always even read the comments section, unless it is something that really grabs my attention. However, for the love of all that is holy, please make up your mind. Either turn them back on or keep them shut off for an extended period. Right now, it seems like every 10th post is something related to "When are the comments coming back?". I don't know the actual spacing, didn't take the time to count them.

I also don't know what prompted it, but I can guess. I am guessing that it revolves around comments related to the back and forth posts about male sperm between Althouse and Glenn Reynolds. I never read the comments to that post, it seemed as if the post was designed to spark a nasty argument. It's impossible for me to know if that was your intent or not, and frankly, it doesn't matter to me. I saw the post, guessed at what the reaction would be, and moved on.

I'm actually ambivalent about the comments section. It's your blog, do what you want. The only one I take issue with was the passive aggressive, "No one said they were sorry" post. I'll take your work for it that you didn't see that such a post would cause emotions to run high, but it's a bit unbelievable to me that such is the case. Having been shown that, you either need to own it or let it go. Have the courage of your convictions to post all comments no matter how much they hurt your feelings, or shut them off completely. Just my .02 worth, censoring, or 'licensing' a handful of commenters would make the whole enterprise worthless. Have the intestinal fortitude to face up to the consequences of such a post, you put it out there, now own it. That is what I tell my troops and my children: "Don't be afraid to make a decision, no matter how unpopular, and take a stand, no matter how unpopular. Just be ready to accept the consequences."

Best of luck to you. I've really enjoyed your blog to this point. It's usually thought provoking.



Meade said...

from Jason:

What would a dog read if it could read? That's easy! "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woof"

The Lovely Bones!

Hop on Pup!

Ruffing It

The Golden Bow-Wow!

Two by two in the bark of the ache of it.

Anything by Bark Twain

How to Pick Up Bitches

White Fang

Meade said...

from TD:

We’ll make our own damned comments!

The Open Cover

Lem’s Learning Levity

This is America, dagnabit, we’ll just do it ourselves!

Meade said...

from JMcG:

I subscribe to the slum theory of Blogging. Consider a neighborhood that starts out with civil and considerate neighbors with well-kept homes. But over time, suppose this neighborhood is invaded by one or two individuals who neglect their homes, throw garbage in their front yards, and verbally insult anyone who comes their way. If these reprobates continue to hang around, it doesn’t take long for the entire neighborhood to devolve to their level.

It’s the same with a blog. When one or two intruders regularly charge into a serious conversation with ad hominem attacks and vicious insults, it doesn’t take very long for a rational discussion to descend into a bar fight. And that’s what has happened here. The dilemma for Ann is to either permanently ban the ad hominists and their insults (and we all know who they are), or continue to have Meade review all comments. The downside to the latter will likely be a serious drop-off in comments, not to mention a threat to Mead’s sanity. I don’t see any downside to the former.

Meade said...

from KA:

I pretty much never, ever posted. I lurked. Almost every day. But I knew someone would eventually post what would be mostly a reflection of my views - synova, freeman, dbq come to mind. And I knew they would express themselves, and *my* point of view , in way that was much better than I would be able to do myself.

If the comments do come back, I will be saddened by the loss of commenters such as those I mentioned and several others if they choose not to return, and there are many I'll not miss one wit.

But I have to say there are those commenters with whom I disagreed but would also hope to see back.
See - Harrogate. That was classy, harrogate. Would that others would display the same. And I say that as someone who read your comments and pretty much disagreed with most of your positions. But I appreciate someone with whom I disagree when they show themselves to be a class act.

Meade said...

from David:

"Good dog! Very good dog."

Meade said...

from Henry:

@Farmer -- I can understand where you're coming from when you object to being lumped in with the bigots. BagoH20 made a similar comment in one of the earlier comments-be-gone threads. Both of you are commenters I like to read even when I disagree with you. I don't even disagree with you all that much.

But on gay marriage I do disagree with you, very much so. From my point of view, Althouse's "inflammatory" post was a strong and long overdue corrective. Increasingly posts on gay marriage and abortion (about which my views are far more conflicted) were inundated by hostile commenters who took advantage of the open forum to attack the hostess and other non-conservative targets. Garage Mahal, for example, might be brought up and trashed even if he never commented on the thread. Inga was repeatedly targeted. The one time I emailed Meade about abuse was when Freeman Hunt was smeared for expressing a fairly level-headed and moderate opinion (this was a month or two before her heroic smackdown captured in the 9 things Freeman Hunt said post). The misogyny was relentless.

Given that context, I was surprised by the number of good faith conservative commenters who chose to take offense when Althouse pushed back.

But I'll add another thing. BagoH2O wrote something to the effect of "maybe I could have pushed back more" that has caused me to reflect. If a thread went poisonous I stopped reading. Don't feed the trolls, they say. But maybe some pushback could have helped -- in which case I could have done more.

* * *

p.s. What would a dog read if a dog could read? Not Wycliffe's Bible, certainly. Dogge, indeed.

Meade said...

from Traditional Guy:

Seriously wondering about the commenter riots of late, and wish that it had never happened.

In earlier times there seemed to be Elders of Commenters who took it on themselves to discipline new trouble makers. Sometimes that was all it took and many became good commenters. And sometimes we all agreed to run one off. The Professor then had to defend some of them from us, and then all was well.

The best advice That I remember was to always read your own comment and take out the crazier absolutes in your thoughts and any accusing attacks...or if you could not, then just don't send it.

I believe the recent riots of attacks partly escalated from a lack of Elder Commenter discipline...many of them were in on it. My apologies for not being a better Watch Dog and barking better. The Professor was exceedingly patient, but we left her on her own.

Peace be with you. Trad Guy.