May 29, 2004

About that comments function....

I've had a week or so of experience with the new Blogger comments function, so let me pause and assess and explain. At first, there were too many zeroes, which looked so lonely. Then, commenters started showing up--during a week when I was getting a lot more traffic on the website generally. I was impressed by how smart and well-thought-out nearly all the comments were, which was great, especially since I allowed anonymous comments, with no registration required. But ... the last couple days I've been getting a fair number of comments that were getting abusive and repetitious, and I was not enjoying having to monitor these. Since nearly every commenter was Anonymous, I couldn't tell if it was just one overenthusiastic poster or several people, but I got tired--in the last 24 hours--of getting dragged over to the comments pages just to keep things from looking ugly. I'm certainly not blogging so I can spend my time writing out thoughtful answers to an anonymous person who is being abusive.

Here's a list of things people who were not being reasonable were saying about me:
1. I claim to be a moderate, but I'm only posing as a moderate for some nefarious reason.

2. I think I'm so great because I'm a moderate, and I keep showing off by doing this whole "I'm a reasonable person" routine--which is obviously a manipulative trick.

3. I am outrageously right wing, and this is especially bad because my parents served in the military during or just after WWII.

4. I'm showing off by writing about legal matters, and I think I'm so great because I know more than other people about such things, and I'm taking unfair advantage by resorting to the use of this knowledge.

5. It's bad of me to indulge in humor if I'm writing anything that tinges on the Iraq war.

6. I shouldn't express outrage about art unless I first express outrage about things that are more outrageous--chiefly the war.

7. I shouldn't be writing about whatever I'm writing about because I should be expressing outrage about the war.

8. I don't know anything about country music because I heard Shania Twain and thought it was Melissa Etheridge.
I can't be running over to the comments page every few minutes to respond to this sort of thing. I'm going to keep the comments function, because most people are really great about comments. For all I know, there was just one person who decided to sandbag my blog. To him I say: get your own blog. (And to the charming person who asked if my (now deceased) parents got married two weeks after they met because my mother got pregnant, I say: do you know anything about the menstrual cycle?) To the rest of you, keep commenting, I do appreciate it, but now you've got to register, because I want to be able to bar posters that I decide are wasting my time and annoying me.
"Oh, so you think I'm annoying you, you right winger? You think it's all about you, don't you? Oh, boo hoo hoo, you're annoyed. Our soldiers in Iraq are being killed every day! Why don't you write about that!"
UPDATE: I thought I could delete individual commenters if I used the registered commenters setting. If I can figure out how to do it, I'll put the comments back. The comments already written still exist, and I can redisplay them. Sorry for the many excellent commenters I've undisplayed. If you comment on my posts in your blog and link to me, I will try to respond (to reasonable things), but I can't handle comments here unless I have a way to bar the people who aren't willing to live up to my standards. It's not a matter of excluding viewpoints--I love good debate--it's entirely about the form of expression and the personal remarks, and, especially, the intolerable remarks that were made about my dead mother.


Ann Althouse said...
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Ann Althouse said...

I just deleted a response to this (along with my two responses to it). It was another example of a person writing in an unreasonable, abusive way, that I just can't spend my time responding to. The person misread my post, not understanding that the indented part at the end was a parody of the kinds of posts I was deleting and accused me of "censoring" people who don't agree with me, when I am obviously talking about form of expression and not viewpoint. And the person referred to me as "oh righteous one."

The comments section is for respectful, reasonable discussion, not assessments of my personality or hostile rants. Humor is fine, but I'm not accepting abuse just because it can also be called a joke.

Derve said...
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