March 17, 2019

I'm thinking about a new commenting experience.

I'm not starting it yet, but I may do it soon, perhaps only — at least at first — as an experiment. UPDATE: The experiment has begun!

The idea is for all comments to go into moderation. I'll regard the comments submitted to moderation as private messages to me, and I'll only publish comments I think readers would generally enjoy reading — comments that are interesting, original, well-written, and responsive to the post.

I don't write anything in the posts that I don't think is new and worth reading. Sometimes I "front-page" comments that seem especially valuable, so this new approach to comments would be much more like front-paging, with lesser comments simply not published at all. I would still read the comments, but I wouldn't impose them on readers.

Why am I thinking of doing this?

1. There are many excellent comments, but they can get buried amongst lesser comments. With fewer comments and a guarantee that these are all chosen comments, the reader experience in the comments will be far superior. Right now, I know there are many readers who won't even look at the comments because the overall quality is too low. So, first, I want a better reader experience. You won't have to go searching for what's good.

2. When there are already a lot of comments, you might not want to take the trouble to write a comment that might actually be excellent. Who will read you? This hesitation will be especially strong where there are a lot of lesser comments or a high concentration of low-quality comments. I imagine that some of the best stuff is never written at all. In the new comments experience, you might show up hours after the post has gone up and see maybe a line of 10 really good comments. You might feel strongly motivated to contribute. What you write will be read.

3. Of course, I might not choose your comment for publication at all, but you'll know you're competing to hit my standard and that I'll at least read it. You'll see what does get published, so you'll have a chance to learn what it takes. I'm optimistic that the quality of comments will improve as commenters see what I'm saying is good. There are lots of ways to be good, and I'll be continually showing you examples.

4. It might make me better. If it doesn't, I can change back any time I want.

You might wonder what will happen to the cafés. What I can do, with the limited options Blogger gives me, is turn moderation off at the end of the day when I put up the café, and then you can write and interact spontaneously. That will also end the moderation for the other posts of that day, but I'll simply go through those posts the next morning and use deletion to get the effect I'd worked on for the day.

Doesn't this sound like a lot of trouble for me (and Meade)? We already spend a great deal of time reading comments. The idea is to use our comments-reading time to better effect. We love reading the comments. I have a way of reading and writing that flows very well for me, and I would really miss having comments. But I want better comments!

The new commenting experience has not yet begun. This is a post where you can talk about it and see your comments immediately. Feel free to try to talk me out of this. But aren't you interested in seeing what would happen?

IN THE COMMENTS: mccullough said...
I’m ready for my close-up.

Going to bring my A-game.
traditionalguy said...
Do it! We have a long way to go to reach Althousehood,but we have to start somewhere. And we might surprise you.

Will snarky baseball comments still make the grade?
CJinPA said...
More than most bloggers, you sometimes encourage readers to consider specific ideas before commenting on certain posts. It’s clear the quality of discussion generated by your writing means a lot to you. I make a conscious effort to post an original idea when I comment. I’m not always successful. This should be a worthwhile experiment. The big question: How many will stick around if their comments are never published, and what will that say about their (our) motivation for coming here?
stevew said...
Sounds like a lot of work for you and Meade, but also that you are ready, willing, and able to do that work.

I think is sounds like a fine idea, and would significantly improve the quality of the comments here. I'm one of those that doesn't come as often to the comment section lately as I once did; partly because of volume and partly because too many comments have been in the category of personal attacks.

Not sure if any of my comments will rise to level of fitting through your new filter - often I'm coming to the party after it is well underway and so don't have much to offer other than agreement with ideas already expressed - but it would be fun to try to win you over. I expect that I would spend more time thinking and composing, rather than just dashing off whatever comes into my head.

Try it for a while, you can see if it works and if you are really interested in doing the moderation work.
Kent said...
Brilliant! think it has great potential, less for limiting the dross (which is more easily done just by not reading comments) as for enhancing the gold; improving on something you've said or adding perspective you find useful. Does it carry the danger of enhancing an echo chamber? Of course. But every blog author does that by deciding what questions to tackle or how to frame them. The best antidotes are rival blogs but nothing you do with comments will limit that. Moreover, as you pointed out, it also gives commenters more incentive to add something you might find worthwhile and more assurance they won't be trolled.
Ignorance is Bliss said...
Will it be possible to come to some sort of arrangement with Meade to get our comment in, maybe as a recruited athlete?
Baelzar said...
You seem like you'd be a fair moderator. Give it a try.
Lyle Sanford, RMT said...
1) - A huge thank you for managing to write this post not using the - beaten lifeless through overuse - word "curate".
2) - I feel I should read all the comments before making one of my own, so sometimes I just move on when there are a lot.
3) - Whatever you do, the effort you put into making this blog so special makes me feel better about the world.
MayBee said...
I have low self esteem and always assume ideas like this are intended to keep me from babbling so much. So we'll see what I dare to do. I felt the same way about caller id....maybe nobody would ever answer my phone calls if they know its me? But after a few years, I got used to it.
The Last Dragon Slayer said...
I think there is a risk of you being accused of censorship and favoritism. Althouse is already unfairly accused of things. However, the person who perceives that they are being unfairly censored will never have the chance to air their grievance publicly. They might go away in a huff, I suppose, but if they are the ones who are so likely to be accusatory of Althouse and her motives, maybe that is just fine.

I disagree with Althouse on a number of points, but I find her to be quite fair in addressing issues and letting people speak and disagree. She only asks that you back it up. I totally back that approach, so I have little fear that the comments will begin to slant only toward her point of view. I think Althouse knows that the value in the blog is the debate, and censorship would kill the goose. I expect she even finds us right-wing commenters interesting, if nothing else.

Banning people is very hard to do. I've had several "personas" on this blog it is is very easy to create a new one every day if I wanted. How can she ban someone determined to be a pest?

I don't like up-voting. To be honest, I trust Althouse to be more balanced than the general audience (not saying that any given member is less honest.) Thus, with up-voting, we will get more censorship in a way since contrary views my get down-voted based on point of view rather than quality. I think Althouse will filter for quality and relevance, not point of view.

I do hope she will let the tangentials through. The old Spatula was very entertaining even if not right on topic. There have been other colorful commenters that might not always advance a debate, but they were fun to read. But then, I think this is a reaction more toward to personal attack and back and forth bickering than it is for anything else, so I still see it as low risk to the quality of the commentary.
Phil 3:14 said...
Is it possible to create a parallel comment section for those who don't make the grade so that we can wallow in our mediocrity, pettiness and name calling.

I mean, without that, is life even worth living?...

Just know that as I disappear beyond the boundary of acceptable comments I will be standing outside, face pressed against the glass shivering and hungry but somehow still warmed by the wit and humor of my bettors.

(PS, are these better comments? .....oh please, please, PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME GO!! I'LL DO BETTER, I KNOW I CAN DO BETTER.)
Meade said...
Phil, you have a typo on "bettors."

480 comments:

1 – 200 of 480   Newer›   Newest»
Rob McLean said...

There are many excellent comments, but they can get buried amongst lesser comments.

All I see these days are references to you-know-who and you-know-who-else, which apparently forces them to weigh in and call everybody idiots. Tiresome.

Meade said...

First!

FullMoon said...

That is a GREAT idea.

Cut the clutter.

Meade said...

Whoops. Oh well.

eddie willers said...

Sounds like a capital idea. Let's give it a try.
(and if I don't see this, I will know it has gone into effect)

eddie willers said...

Whoops. Oh well.

That's OK. They'll get it in the mix.

rcocean said...

This is actually a good way of doing it. However, its a lot of work and secondly, people who don't get their comments published may just give up. But its worth a try.

Oso Negro said...

I am absolutely ok with this. I have been advocating for a separate Chuck and Inga blog for sometime. I agree that while it will reduce the number of comments, the quality should go up

rcocean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meade said...

Well I think that settles it. Let’s do this thing!

rehajm said...

Give it a go...

DanTheMan said...

If this approach gets rid of the back and forth name calling, then I'd support it.
If you could filter that out, that's 95% of getting to higher quality.

Of course, if I wanted to spend my time trying to write cleverly enough to please a law professor, I'd have gone to law school. :)

FullMoon said...

The mere suggestion already has the most intelligent people responding.

rehajm said...

The risk is you end up moderating like Twitter...

Meade said...

Full moon wins the thread!

Unknown said...

Althouse captured exactly why I rarely read the comments, and if I do I look for certain people to read, and also why I never comment. ....till now. Lol

I would really enjoy that new format! !

cubanbob said...

On balance, leave it as it is. If the majority of the comments weren't interesting the blog would lose a lot of its character. Occasional it gets overheated and it's easy enough to skip past those comments. Often enough even the over the top comments while not of interest in of themselves, generate rebuttal comments that are of interest. The last time moderation was on, the blog became for me a lot less interesting. Again please leave it as it is and please don't ban anyone unless the hosts find them personally offensive.

Tank said...

Even if my comments don’t get published, sure, try it. There certainly is plenty in the comments to justify it.

J. Farmer said...

I say go for it. It's a lot of work to moderate all the comments, but if you two are down for it. I just hope I can make the cut.

Leland said...

You might wonder what will happen to the cafés. What I can do, with the limited options Blogger gives me, is turn moderation off at the end of the day when I put up the café, and then you can write and interact spontaneously. That will also end the moderation for the other posts of that day, but I'll simply go through those posts the next morning and use deletion to get the effect I'd worked on for the day.

This may be a feature more than a bug. Because other posts will go back to being free-for-all; the good comments will rise to the top. The lesser comments will fall to the bottom, and allow individuals to self-evaluate what they are providing. Those who won't self-evaluate will continue to provide low quality, but may get frustrated on the limited time to post and lower visibility.

Years ago, when Althouse closed off the comments; I was one of a few very upset by it. The difficulty for me was the lack of individual feedback to understand who exactly was the problem. If I was the problem, I wanted to know what to do better. This was made wore by the loss of commentary from some very excellent individuals.

I think the solution being suggested now is a vast improvement from the previous experiences. I like it, and well aware I'm likely to have far less than half my comments pass moderation.

Daddio said...

I like this idea. I'm glad you're up for the extra labor. Hopefully the trolls don't trash the place in the evening while moderation is turned off.

Francisco D said...

I might not choose your comment for publication at all, but you'll know you're competing to hit my standard and that I'll at least read it. You'll see what does get published, so you'll have a chance to learn what it takes. I'm optimistic that the quality of comments will improve as commenters see what I'm saying is good. There are lots of ways to be good, and I'll be continually showing you examples.

It sounds like a good idea.

I am often tempted to make ad hominem comments at annoying trolls rather than ignore them. Lately, I have stopped myself from commenting much at all because of that temptation. That means I will be submitting to your discipline. OK with me.

The trick is to allow the clever, funny or simply wacky comments to go through. I don't want things to be overly serious.

pacwest said...

While there is a lot of clutter between the you know whos, I find some of it interesting. It's when it devolves into name calling that it gets tedious. Hopefully you can find a balance. Please dont cut out the back and forth. Just find a way to eliminate the slurs, not the adjectives. Dry commentary would be worse than what you have now. And remember that most of the commenters here are not going to be top flight writers. Make some allowances.

My 2 cents.

Paul McKaskle said...

Great idea. Thank you.

Khesanh 0802 said...

Censorship comes to Althouse! It's a damned shame. I think most of us are intelligent enough to decide which and whose comments are worth our time and attention. Thank you, Ann and Meade, I can make my own decisions. One of them will be not to bother with Althouse's comments.

Danno said...

This sounds like a ton of work. How about instittuting a rule saying a commenter can only chime in twice on each blog posting? You wouldn't have to be exact, but could threaten to make repeat violators persona non grata.

Amexpat said...

I think it's worth trying, but I do think it will change the nature of the comments section, for better and worse.

It would get rid of the repetitive rants or the steering of conversations to a pet peeve.

On the other hand, moderation would slow down the back and forth between commenters, which often sparks some good conversation. Also, a lot of the comments are about sharing personal experiences. That can be tedious at times, but I do think there's value in that type of sharing.

I guess it comes down to what sort of comments you would delete. Would it be just the blatantly bad ones or would you accept only the cream of the crop to curate a more cultured blog? In any event, it's your blog and we're all guests here, so no one has a right to complain if you decide to make a change.

mccullough said...

I’m ready for my close-up.

Going to bring my A-game.

traditionalguy said...

Do it! We have a long way to go to reach Althousehood,but we have to start somewhere. And we might surprise you.

Will snarky baseball comments still make the grade?

pacwest said...

Oh, and if this turns into a suck up to the hostess blog I'm outta here.

David Begley said...

Agree with this move. Continuous improvement for the blog.

Rob McLean in the first comment nails it.

CJinPA said...

More than most bloggers, you sometimes encourage readers to consider specific ideas before commenting on certain posts. It’s clear the quality of discussion generated by your writing means a lot to you. I make a conscious effort to post an original idea when I comment. I’m not always successful. This should be a worthwhile experiment. The big question: How many will stick around if their comments are never published, and what will that say about their (our) motivation for coming here?

Two-eyed Jack said...

I think a policy of welcoming the first submission by an individual to a thread and exacting review of additional comments by that individual might strike the right balance.

pacwest said...

"On the other hand, moderation would slow down the back and forth between commenters, which often sparks some good conversation. Also, a lot of the comments are about sharing personal experiences. That can be tedious at times, but I do think there's value in that type of sharing."


Very good point!

John Borell said...

Great idea as an experiment. Often when there are too many comments I stop reading and know I must be missing good ones.

Worst case is the experiment sucks and you turn it off.

That said, I’ll really miss the back and forth of the free flowing comments.

You have some of the best commenters around. For example, I like and read Ace of Spades, but his commenters suck.

I’m just glad you’re keeping comments.

Ice Nine said...

If you're going to go to all that trouble, why not just delete the ones that aren't up to your standard - which surely would include the name-calling pissing contests. Thing is I'm sure that I'm not the only one that finds frequent nuggets even in the "lower quality" posts. All in all, I'd say you will deleteriously affect the vibrant quality of the commentary. From long experience, I can tell you that moderators invariably damage good conversation. Again, take it easy on yourself and delete the ones you don't like and then let everyone decide whom to read and whom to ignore, just like they do now.

Mark said...

I'm not starting it yet, but I may do it soon, perhaps only — at least at first — as an experiment.

What do you mean you haven't started it yet?? You already did it about four years back when you got in a snit over "same-sex marriage."

Bryant said...

I think you should consider switching to a better blog hosting service that allows your readers to upvote and downvote comments. You could also highlight the comments you like best. This would outsource some of the work plus it would be interesting to see how the upvotes compare to your highlights. You could easily post to two blogs at once while you test it out.

MadTownGuy said...

I don't necessarily disagree, but...

In Soviet Blogspot, blog reads you!

etbass said...

Sometimes, posts are so far out that they provoke some comments very critical of the moderator. And sometimes that seems justified. How will such comments be handled?

Known Unknown said...

I probably won't bother to comment anymore. Oh well. No big deal.

Mark said...

The last time moderation was on, the blog became for me a lot less interesting.

More than a few of the good commenters never came back.

Leora said...

This is a good idea. I find myself not looking at the comments because they are boring.

David Begley said...

But on the other hand, maybe Althouse is trying to get rid of ME.

WhoKnew said...

I'll be interested to see how it works out, even knowing that this may be my last comment to appear on this blog.

Roger von Oech said...

Ann:

Why not simply switch to Disqus? This format enables users to upvote their favorites. I have my Disqus settings set for "BEST."

This allows me, for example, to read the very popular Instapundit OPEN THREAD (usually with 600-700 comments) in about 10 minutes in the evening (I don't bother with the lesser ranked comments). I also use this with Powerline (set to BEST).

I'd think you'd be surprised how much more traffic you'd receive (and Amazon business you'd get).

cubanbob said...

Mark said...
The last time moderation was on, the blog became for me a lot less interesting.

More than a few of the good commenters never came back."

I agree. I often find the comments about a post to be more interesting than the post itself.

Birkel said...

If this means less narciso or Laslo Spatula, then you're a fool for trying it.
There are many who avoid the pitfalls and should be auto-accepts.

rehajm said...

Why not simply switch to Disqus? This format enables users to upvote their favorites. I have my Disqus settings set for "BEST."

That’s how you get Boaty McBoatface.

Known Unknown said...

Just provide a link to Blog Comment Killfile and encourage users to use it. It enables users to hide individual comments or to completely hush commenters so they don't have to see them ever again -- unless they want to. I can hush a commenter but still reveal each of their comments if I want to see what they have to say.

Or you can waste your time moderating.

Jeff Brokaw said...

Worth a shot, definitely. The personal insults on this blog do get tiresome and I always skip over them while searching for interesting stuff.

One outcome I can foresee is that you post several things every morning and so with a slowed down back-and-forth in each post, and fewer comments overall, people might not check back as often on posts they commented on earlier. I don’t know, maybe that ends up being a feature?

Again, it’s worth trying.

JZ said...

Can I get one last insult, poopyface?

Unknown said...

Why not just ban some folks?

Personally I think the (non-abusive) back and forth is 80% of the comments' value.

I often make what I think are funny comments in response to some other comment. If it comes minutes after another comment: Funny (if you were inclined to think that in the first place), if it goes through Althouse and comes back hours later, not as funny.

Of course, I'm an "Unknown" who has never established a persona here, so take it for what it's worth.

Spaceman said...

Won't know until you give it a go. Best proof is always smoke test. In the engineering world, that translates turn the durn thing on and see if it runs or smokes (or makes awful grinding sounds, pieces fly off, or tries to walk around the room).

virgil xenophon said...

What cubanbob, Ice Nine. Kesanh 0802 and Mark said!!

Beaver7216 said...

Great idea. I read comments on c. 5% of your posts because i don't want to geo down the rabbit hole where most of the comments lead. Nice to clean up the stuff.
I will be dejected if my "sensible and logical" (IMHO) post gets rejected but that is a small price to pay.

Ice Nine said...

Althouse Blog, we hardly knew ye...

steve uhr said...

Thoughts

Sometimes bad comments can be the impetus for a thoughtful conversation

People will have hurt feelings if their comments never see light of day. May choose to use someone else’s amazon portal. And may be reluctant to comment when they do have something interesting to say. Nobody likes rejection.

Temptation moderator will censure comments comments critical of her views.

Maybe you could ease into it and just aggresively moderate 1-2 posts per day for comparison purposes.

The problem I think is too many personal attacks. Don’t throw baby out with bath water

Could have sub threads in comments or allow people to vote on comments.

Quayle said...

Fully support, even if this turns out to be my last published comment.

Joshua Barker said...

Terrible idea... moderation always leads to censorship and abuse of power and kills the energy and vibrancy of the discourse... if individuals are cluttering up the comments section with garbage, then BAN those individuals, or moderate THEM, not the rest of us... I know I come to this blog primarily for the comments and the debate... sometimes the bickering can get annoying, but sometimes it’s also entertaining, and it takes less than a second to bypass them... so please don’t do it... it will ruin your blog...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

But aren't you interested in seeing what would happen?


How will we know if all comments are moderated? I understand the frustration of dealing with those back and forth, combative and frankly boring exchanges where some few people spam or dominate the discussions. Discussions that devolve into name calling and entirely lose the point of your posts. I feel the comment section currently is one of the best as it IS a discussion area with some people that you have come to know over time.

In fact, there is an informal type of comment moderation by the commentariat when they chastise out of order, rude or repetitive persons. It just needs to be kept civil.

Some options that may happen:

1. Many commenters may just nope out feeling too controlled, censored or constricted. You lose those people.

2. Those who appreciate the comments of others and no longer see the ability to interact will also leave or diminish their contributions.

3. Those who already are spamming the comment section will continue on....some even maliciously, creating a great deal of work for the moderators. Some might do this on purpose.

When the comment section gets too long, I just ignore it feeling that anything worthy of being said has already occurred and the rest is just back and forth yada yada.

Perhaps as others have said an upvote/downvote system might be helpful in regaining control. That and the ability to ban those who are determined to be disruptive.

Amexpat said...

.... people might not check back as often on posts they commented on earlier.

If you have a google account you can choose to have new comments sent to your gmail address after you make a comment (that's how I saw your comment).

Jeff Brokaw said...

I too like the upvote/downvote idea — also, threaded replies with indents.

Dave in Tucson said...

Althouse, I think you are severely underestimating the amount of work it would be (both in terms time as well as mental strain) to review every single comment that gets submitted to your blog.

Especially when you consider that Sturgeon was an optimist when it comes to internet comments.

stevew said...

Sounds like a lot of work for you and Meade, but also that you are ready, willing, and able to do that work.

I think is sounds like a fine idea, and would significantly improve the quality of the comments here. I'm one of those that doesn't come as often to the comment section lately as I once did; partly because of volume and partly because too many comments have been in the category of personal attacks.

Not sure if any of my comments will rise to level of fitting through your new filter - often I'm coming to the party after it is well underway and so don't have much to offer other than agreement with ideas already expressed - but it would be fun to try to win you over. I expect that I would spend more time thinking and composing, rather than just dashing off whatever comes into my head.

Try it for a while, you can see if it works and if you are really interested in doing the moderation work.

wwww said...


This system will eliminate the toxic back & forth. That is a good thing.

mockturtle said...

What I object most to is the daily pas de deux or the [usually late] diatribe by one. But I hope at least some of my posts survive scrutiny. :-)

Jeff Brokaw said...

The idea of forcing only certain commenters through moderation, or outright blocking them, has tremendous merit. Not sure if Blogger allows that ... ?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I too like the upvote/downvote idea — also, threaded replies with indents.

Yes. Definitely on the threaded replies. That way those who want to have a discussion on a point in the original post can easily reply to each other without getting lost in the mass of other comments.

Threaded comments will also tend to isolate those who just want to piss all over the blog. Much easier to avoid them.

Unknown said...

I don't like threaded comments *at all*. I like to know when I'm at the bottom of the page, I've read all the comments, and if I hit refresh, all the new comments will show up below.

Kent said...

Brilliant! think it has great potential, less for limiting the dross (which is more easily done just by not reading comments) as for enhancing the gold; improving on something you've said or adding perspective you find useful. Does it carry the danger of enhancing an echo chamber? Of course. But every blog author does that by deciding what questions to tackle or how to frame them. The best antidotes are rival blogs but nothing you do with comments will limit that. Moreover, as you pointed out, it also gives commenters more incentive to add something you might find worthwhile and more assurance they won't be trolled.

FWBuff said...

It’s worth a shot (for you and Meade and for us commenters)!

steve uhr said...

Also when you go on a 1/2 bike ride the comments/conversation will come to a halt.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Will it be possible to come to some sort of arrangement with Meade to get our comment in, maybe as a recruited athlete?

Bruce Hayden said...


I think it's worth trying, but I do think it will change the nature of the comments section, for better and worse.

It would get rid of the repetitive rants or the steering of conversations to a pet peeve.

On the other hand, moderation would slow down the back and forth between commenters, which often sparks some good conversation. Also, a lot of the comments are about sharing personal experiences. That can be tedious at times, but I do think there's value in that type of sharing.”

My vote (if I had one, and obviously don’t) would be to, for example, just delete the name calling, and maybe then everything that the name callers say. I typically don’t like the sort of moderating that you are proposing. For one thing I think that it would kill the spontaneity, the back and forth. A lot of it seems to happen in the middle of the night (when I am between my two sleeps of the night), several hours before you are up and blogging.

Now comes the part that might cause me to be seen with disfavor by our noble blogress. The blog entries are often interesting. Ann is very bright, fairly eclectic, and well read. But after we get over the oohing and ahwing about Ann’s brilliance, what comes next? I view Ann’s posts as beginnings of discussions, and not ends. I am constantly amazed at how smart, well read, and experienced the commentariat are here. And I learn the most when a lively discussion spontaneously erupts involving a subject, often only peripherally related to Ann’s original post, that several of the commenters here know quite a bit about. And, again, kill the spontaneity, by interrupting the time flow through moderation, and you kill the discussion. It’s the mental spoolup time. You really get into something, put out some comments, then wait a couple hours until you get a response that you can reply to. By then, your mind is on something else. If your comment got posted in the first place, which isn’t guaranteed here. Did it get booted because Ann (or Meade) is still mad at you for something you said sometime in the past? Or did they go out for dinner and got behind in their moderating?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

And I share Unknown's concern about humor that only works if it follows soon after another related comment

wholelottasplainin' said...

mockturtle said...
What I object most to is the daily pas de deux or the [usually late] diatribe by one. But I hope at least some of my posts survive scrutiny. :-)
***************************
For me, it's the daily folie à deux.

mockturtle said...

For me, it's the daily folie à deux.

la même chose.

readering said...

Sounds like a lot of work but I bet if you started with a list of 20 words, names and phrases, and deleted comments containing one from the list, you would accomplish most of what you set out to do.

Baelzar said...

You seem like you'd be a fair moderator. Give it a try.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“But aren't you interested in seeing what would happen?”

YES, indeed I am.

Jupiter said...

Terrible idea, but it's your blog. I don't understand why everybody thinks it would be so much work. If you already read the God-damned comments, how much additional work is it to delete a few of them?

gilbar said...

i really liked the way that This blog seemed to be a free Speech movement, many people would post things that wouldn't have been posted other places.

On the other hand, few people want to re-rehash the fact that many people here are obviously paid trolls.

On the other other hand; i suppose that you probably consider ME to be a troll

On the other other other hand, what about the cafes? will they still be free for alls?

Alex said...

So basically Ritmo & Inga are fucked. Good to know and I'll be sure to up my game now that we have a new regime coming!

gg6 said...

Wonderful concept - best satire of 1984 I've seen in years. Or is it just the Althouse version of "Because shut-up!"? Even Ivy League Admission practices are less subjective than this idea. You and Meade may have that much faith in yourself but I feel/experience no reason to.
As if there are NOT a number of non-censoring solutions for reducing multiple and/or mindless remarks - eg, just make an upper and lower pile in the thread with a marker as to 'recommended' and 'not recommended'. And make a posting cap/week.
btw, you really want better quality Comments? - try spending some time wondering how 'better posts/subjects/issues' might help accomplish that. If you actually seek a high-level commentariat, not merely 'hits', maybe design higher-level, more inspiring posts?? And btw will the posts from junior get an automatic pass/boost? I know, I know, you already think everything you post is "worth reading". Amazing.

Michael K said...

Lately, I have stopped myself from commenting much at all because of that temptation.

Me, too. I stopped altogether for a while because it was too tempting to respond to trolls.

There go the 300 comments threads, I suspect,

gilbar said...

Danno said...

This sounds like a ton of work. How about instittuting a rule saying a commenter can only chime in twice on each blog posting? You wouldn't have to be exact, but could threaten to make repeat violators persona non grata.



I totally agree with this!
[this is my second and thus Final post ]

Alex said...

Jupiter - after 14 years I think our mistress is entitled to an easier blogging life and if that means fully moderated comments, why not? Put more of the work on us! Up your commentating game!

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“So basically Ritmo & Inga are fucked. Good to know and I'll be sure to up my game now that we have a new regime coming!”

I don’t think so. I’ve been trying to honor Althouse’s requests and I hope everyone would try to do so too.

Ken B said...

Easier to ban 4 or so regulars.

My experience with such policies that the host moderates out criticism, disagreement, and refutation. And they all deny doing it too. You will deny doing it. But do a poll, and ask how many believe “cruel neutrality “ is really neutral.

Jupiter said...

Now, if you were actually to GRADE them, with little gold and blue stars, and red check-marks, and notes saying "Grammar! Subject doesn't agree with verb!" and "Slippery slope! Ad hominem!", I suppose that might take some effort.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

A good start would be to not call others who have opposing opinions “trolls”. I never got the impression that Althouse wanted an echo chamber.

Alex said...

Ann - I have an ever better idea if you want to foster more in-depth discussions. Don't post 12 times a week. Just post one thing every 1-2 weeks and allow the comments(moderated) to develop in that post. When you keep posting so much per week, the comments get diluted and you don't get anywhere. I'm assuming the goal is to get towards solutions?

Ken B said...

Moderation brings out the piss-ant in people. Consider the comment just above by Alex at 4:19. I bet Alex's comment wouldn’t make the cut ... on Coyne's site Alex would be permanently banned for that comment!

Alex said...

Mary... who has the money to invest in advanced blogging platforms unless you're rich like Scott Adams? Ann is doing the best she can with blogger. Fully moderated comments are the lesser of the evils. I can't stand these 300-400 comment threads where you have to evade 90% of shitposting by Ritmo/Inga and other trolls. There currently is 0 incentive to put effort into commenting. With this, at least I feel like there will be a reward.

tcrosse said...

This might prompt people to think before commenting, and proofread before publishing. It's so crazy it might work.

Alex said...

Ken... please explain how my 4:19 comment was 'pissy'? I was merely suggesting that too much posting dilutes the effort of the users here on commenting. If there are 12-15 posts a week on this site, where to put in the effort? It feels futile. But if you only had 1 post every 7-10 days, you could get some back-and-forth going during that time that felt like you could get to some new ideas. I'm going to have faith that Meade will not censor comments like that.

Drago said...

"Won't know until you give it a go. Best proof is always smoke test. In the engineering world, that translates turn the durn thing on and see if it runs or smokes (or makes awful grinding sounds, pieces fly off, or tries to walk around the room)."

Spaceman is correct.

You have a number of options at your disposal, each with its own pro's and con's.

Simply implement the options 1 at a time for specified periods of time and see which result comes closest to your vision for the blog.

There will always be conflicting opinions about how to run your blog and no one can know your mind as well as you in terms of your desired output, so just go for it on approaches and see which one "wins".....knowing there is never a perfect answer.

Unknown said...

With this, at least I feel like there will be a reward.

Will there be? If I post, say, four comments, and none of them get through, I'll probably stop making the effort.

Again, the problem is not from most commenters. Some strategic banning would stop it fairly quickly.

mandrewa said...

I think it's a bad idea. The least insightful comments are sometimes the most representative. That is however much one might dislike them they may represent millions. Not that millions read this blog, but you get the point.

I especially dislike the idea that good comments, from my perspective, might be censured. I would worry about what I was not seeing. In other words it's less of a concern to me seeing what I perceive as the dumb things, than the suspicion I'm seeing a censured reality. Also I don't read this blog just for what Ann has to say, interesting though those thoughts may be, but for some of the other voices that have consistently shown up here.

There's also the question of how people react to being censured. My suspicion is that some very good commenters will react to being blocked by going away and never coming back.

Now this is Ann's blog. She's puts this staggering amount of effort into doing this. Of course it belongs to her and she do whatever she wants.

But I do have an idea. I don't know if addresses what Ann is trying to change, but maybe.

What if everyone is limited to say five comments per the topic? I suspect the thing Ann is most frustrated about is people having repetitive arguments that repeat the same thing over and over again across many comments and topics. If people faced that restriction, much of the repetition would disappear.

I don't know whether the code for Blogger is modifiable, but if it is there are more than enough programmers here that could make that counting automatic.

The downside, and there is always a downside, is that there will always be some subjects where people who have significant and new things to say that will only occur to them as the conversation evolves. And then also there are some commenters who make many very short comments, some of which are quite perceptive.

Drago said...

"A good start would be to not call others who have opposing opinions “trolls”."

Yep. Just stick with calling them Russian-trained "propagandists".

LOL

But seriously Althouse, just methodically roll out the different options and see what happens.

Get some real empirical data gathering going.

Alex said...

tcrosse - indeed! This mentality that has developed that people are entitled to shitpost however much they want on somebody else's platform is just the height of arrogance and it has no place IF the goal is civilized discussion. I admit I've engaged in plenty of shitposting, but that has to do with the idea that I'm not really interested in investing in creating quality content for a sewer. If this new policy gets us OUT of the sewer and into a nice forest grove, that will be incentive enough. I don't think the likes of Ritmo & Inga have the ability to suppress their hatred to create quality content that will get through moderation.

Rory said...

This won't be good for my postimpotence.

walter said...

So..no specific criteria...just, you'll see by what gets nixed...and you'll need to wait to know that.
Strikes me as potentially more heavy handed than what Chuck (sometimes with reason) has been griping about.
Kinda takes me back to grade school where the teacher would punish the whole class because of a few bad seeds.

JarGill said...

I think it's a bad idea for the simple reason that Althouse's primary free speech argument is that MORE speech is better than preventing speech you don't like. I would however be in favor of a rating system where better comments could be upvoted and trolls could be downvoted. But I'm not sure if that sort of thing is possible on blogger. In other words, if there's a problem with the way things are, solve it with technology and innovation, rather than silencing people.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“If there are 12-15 posts a week on this site, where to put in the effort? It feels futile. But if you only had 1 post every 7-10 days, you could get some back-and-forth going during that time that felt like you could get to some new ideas. I'm going to have faith that Meade will not censor comments like that.”

Althouse posts far more than 12-15 posts a week. If she posted one post every 7 to 10 days the comments wouldn’t stay on topic for more than 24 hours, if that long and the longer a thread gets, well we all know it veers off course, sometimes in good ways but often not.

Drago said...

"I would however be in favor of a rating system where better comments could be upvoted and trolls could be downvoted."

On other sites we have seen troll-armies swarm in to upvote their partisan comments and downvote the other sides.

Needless to say, we know which side performs these larger troll operations.

The good news is that is a "known" risk and if Althouse saw that it was happening she could take steps to disable that feature.

Henry said...

I imagine a kind of Voldemorte algorithm. If you mention the name of another commenter, who hasn't yet commented on a particular thread, the other person is summoned and automatically wins.

But blogger is limited.

Roger Sweeny said...

I trust you.

Alex said...

Mary - you are referring to Disqus? It definitely has more tools, like the ability to ban users, moderated comments, nested threads. However, while it's free to use, it costs money to create a brand new web site that incorporates it. Again, you'd be asking Ann to invest $50K to create a whole new web site. Not going to happen.

Greg Hlatky said...

My own view would be to have [CENSORED].

Henry said...

An algorithm that can identify paranoid self-pity is probably impossible to program.

Bruce Hayden said...

“A good start would be to not call others who have opposing opinions “trolls”. I never got the impression that Althouse wanted an echo chamber.”

I think that you have to look more closely there. Or be more discriminating. I consider those who duck in here, drop comments, and scoot to be the trolls. And we clearly have had some paid trolls through the summer and fall leading up to the last two elections. And at least one here who has dive bombed the comments here for a decade, at least. But I don’t consider mere disagreement, if it appears fairly honest, to be trollish behavior. I think that you, personally, spend way too much time here to be much of a troll. And, you seem to take the attacks on you much too personally. I would suggest that one of the reasons that you are attacked personally more than almost anyone here, is that, by now, most of the regulars know how to get under your skin, and some routinely do.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“I don't think the likes of Ritmo & Inga have the ability to suppress their hatred to create quality content that will get through moderation.”

You claim to not want shitposting, yet here you are doing it. Somehow I doubt your sincerity.

Alex said...

Inga... well that means we need a better class of users on Ann's site. I personally would be able to participate in a discussion for months, much less weeks about serious topics. But unfortunately there are no web sites where the owner encourages that.

Illuninati said...

The main reason I've been commenting on Althouse blog occasionally is because I like the mix of commenters here. I especially enjoy talking and debating with people who strongly disagree - like Inga. I never feel like I've thoroughly investigated an idea until I test it against someone with a different viewpoint. Whether other people reading my comments like them or not is not something I think about much. So to the question at hand, if the chance for live discussions goes away, then I will have no reason to comment.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“I personally would be able to participate in a discussion for months, much less weeks about serious topics.”

With all due respect, I don’t think your suggestions are serious.

Alex said...

Ok Inga.. prove us all wrong and show that you can stop the insults and actually provide dispassionate intellectual observations under the new regime.

jaydub said...

Seems like a convoluted process to weed out the assholes that you want to target. I think you post excellent articles, but I don't comment for your approval but to communicate with other commenters. I would not go to the trouble of offering my opinion on something to only have it not make your cut, whatever that means, because I would never know what specifically caused me to come up short. So, I won't play, which I'm sure will be a great disappointment. Toodles.

Drago said...

"Is meade's work here "paid"? How much is deducted as "business expenses"?"

Personally, I find Meade's expensing of his floral purchases for Althouse endearing.

Mike Sylwester said...

I think it's a bad idea.

Just delete more comments.

Virgil Hilts said...

I support this. The disqus approach doesn't work. I used to make it a goal, if I could post early enough, to be the most upvoted comment on Instapundit and many times would win (if I was one of the first 15 comments), by coming up with snarkiest/cleverest comment, but that's distorting, encourages snark, exaggerates importance of earliest comments and doesn't lead to good debate. If I am late seeing a post of Ann's and have something (I think is) great to add, but there are already 182 comments, I will probably not post. OTOH, I love the back and forth that occurs on some posts and have learned a lot from those. Suggestion - try this on every third post - Call each an "Experiment X" post, and see how it works out.

Sebastian said...

You are retired. You enjoy writing. You enjoy reading. You don't need needless work.

The good comments are already there, and reasonably astute regulars know to get to them efficiently. Editing is just as likely to turn away good commenters, as happened before, as it is to raise the level of the "the best" comments.

Some of the best threads take the post in a different direction. I know you sometimes prefer commenters to stick to "the topic," but, flame wars aside, I think that is often a mistake. Spontaneity in regular contributors makes this blog more valuable.

I understand the temptation to make "the blog" "better" as an aesthetic performance, to approximate an Althousian Gesamtkunstwerk, but to my mind that is not what is best about it. Besides finding the right outlet for your own musings, you have spawned a somewhat unruly community of commenters, collectively one of the best still around online. The combination ain't really broke.

I also understand the annoyance. I suggest selective editing by deleting comments as a way to get rid of misbehavior, reducing noise, increasing the average information content, without hurting the fun interaction or creating an undue workload at Meadehouse.

Paco Wové said...

It's a tough problem, especially if you don't have a lot of technical options available. The big drawback of moderating the comments before they appear is that either (a) the moderator is shackled to the blog all the time, or (b) the comment threads lose all spontaneity.

I've been trying to figure out just what Scott Alexander's moderation policy is. People seem to be able to post whatever they want (retaining a rapid back-and-forth), but if it crosses certain lines, they get banned for some period of time. Being a fanatical free-speech extremist, I don't care for the idea, and I think there are multiple people involved in policing the comments (so it's a lot of effort), but I do have to admit that the discussions there are frequently much better than the discussions here.

Michael K said...

Disqus is weird. I can only comment with Chrome, not with Safari. As others sites have adopted it, like Powerline, I rarely comment and then have to open Chrome to do so.

stever said...

In the early days - no comments - and for a few years I was able to comment frequently. Not so much these days but I read the blog a lot. I'm ok with whatever keeps it going.

Alex said...

The one downside of Disqus is it encourages the fragmentation of the conversation, which doesn't happen on Blogger because it's just one thread all the way through.

Also let's not pretend we're a bunch of PhD academics rigorously debating the BIG issues of the day. This whole thing to me has been a fun diversion and I suspect it's been that way for most here.

Meaning I don't take myself very seriously in this context and nobody else should either.

Drago said...

Look, as long as Althouse keeps up her weekly NFL predictions, she can do whatever else she wants.

Alex said...

Sebastian... you miss the point about mdoeration vs deletion. I suspect it's psychologically easier to simply not approve troll-ish comments then to see the shit smeared publicly and have to remove it. So no, it's not the same and you can blame the Ritmos for destroying this site.

madAsHell said...

but they can get buried amongst lesser comments.

Aren't all comments equal??

Mattman26 said...

Put me down as ambivalent, but it’s your blog and I’m grateful you put it together for us every day. (“Meade, give mattman two kiss-ass points.”)

I certainly would not miss the “You’re a fucking moron.” “No, you’re a fucking moron” stuff.

But I hope the range of attributes that count as “quality” will be broad. Many commenters here post some very funny stuff. Sometimes those funny things are a sly contribution to the intended discussion at hand, and sometimes they’re just silly but still fun. (I’m still laughing about William H Macy not getting charged because he fled the interview.)

Be said...

Doesn't seem like a bad idea at all, though it might make more work for you.

I do really appreciate your highlighting particularly interesting comments in your posts; First efforts are to relook. About the best to date was (I Think?) Left Bank of the Charles's "Fast Fish / Loose Fish" from a post I don't even remember anymore! We were reading "Moby Dick" in our little den hidden away between the Charles and the Mystic, when your edit highlighting that chapter showed up. It gave me a chance to introduce the housemate to you and Laurie Anderson (a cite from Chapter 89 figures in the lyric notes for "Strange Angels."). It also's inspired the urge to read further into Melville's works.

Whatever you do that you feel is best for you, will still follow. I garner a lot from your work.

Jupiter said...

JarGill said...
"I think it's a bad idea for the simple reason that Althouse's primary free speech argument is that MORE speech is better than preventing speech you don't like."

Hear him!

whitney said...

The post before this one had 83 comments and Inga is 12 of them that's 15%. In this post there a hundred and twenty-eight so far and Inga only ommented six so that's much less. But yeah the comments are mostly heavy Inga and it just becomes tedious

M Jordan said...

If this gets rid of the Inga/Chuck “ripostes” God bless you, Ann. I really hate trying to filter those things out.

mockturtle said...

Limiting a commenter to three posts per thread would accomplish a lot and eliminate subjectivity.

Henry said...

Maybe Althouse could have a series of Survivor posts where all the other commenters get to vote someone off the island.

Unknown said...

Maybe Althouse could have a series of Survivor posts where all the other commenters get to vote someone off the island.

Then we would all band together to vote Laslo off, to save a sure seat for one of us..

Gregg said...

Grisly Scenario: You end up doing more posts, with less comments. Why? Because the people that you pick to go forward know what you are looking for. You're bound to see the same familiar few show up repeatedly. The rejects will not keep trying---and you've now created a power struggle. You cannot ask people for more than they are able to give. Rejection does not breed improvement. Social engineering---you want to cherry-pick who comes thru the door. It's an illusion. You can never really orchestrate who walks thru, or what they do once they get there. Better to let the chips fall where they may, and hope the creme rises to the top.

Krumhorn said...

My vote is to leave it alone. I know whose posts I want to read, and it’s easy to scroll past the rest with a glance to see if anything interesting pops up. The personal back and forth is easy to avoid when it gets ridiculous. When Ritmo takes over, I move on.

- Krumhorn

Jonathan Graehl said...

I don't comment much or read the comments much (when I do I usually just search for M.K. and buya.)

Downsides to heavily curating comments: less *positive* back-and-forth, more a feeling of 'comments aimed to please the curator', costs your time.

What you really want is something not offered by blogger: a set of promoted comments and an optional raw feed.

Jonathan Graehl said...

The most valuable kind of comment is one that effectively skewers the OP (Althouse), even when she might not agree. Granted, these are exceptional, but I hope we don't lose those.

whitney said...

After reading all the comments I've changed my mind. It's probably best just to leave it as it is

Phunctor said...

how many chucks would a killfile chuck if akillfile could chuck chucks?

Phunctor said...

how many chucks would a killfile chuck if a killfile could chuck chucks?

Joe Blow said...

I rarely comment. I read the first few, then skip to an Althouse comment to see what previous comment is worth reading. I think few bloggers could pull this off, but Anne can.

Amadeus 48 said...

The landlord owns the doorknobs.

REI said...

You should do it.

rcocean said...

"la même chose."

Hey, if you want to speak Mexican - go somewhere else.

john said...

I think a lot of the comments to this post clearly speak to why the professor wants to do this. I recommend one or more of the following:

1 Individual comments limited to 2 (or 3?) per post.
2 Periodically or as the mood strikes, delete trolling/repetitive/obnoxious comments. Ritmo, Cookie, Laslo, should not get deleted, as they provide alternative, provocative and entertaining riffs. Nor Titus, the court jester.
3 My preference: delete any comment where it is evident the commenter has not read the article linked in the original post.

It's gonna be a lot of work.

andy karas said...

I visit your blog primarily for the comments. Sometimes your chosen subjects interest me, often they do not, however, regardless, the commentators always make the visit worthwhile. Your plan to arbitrate the comments will, in my opinion, lead to a loss of readership. We know, generally, what your opinion is from the introduction you write to each selection. Your occasional comments in response to a commentator further amplify your positions. Censorship, essentially what you are proposing, serves no purpose but to stifle discourse. The very few trolls that visit your site, again in my opinion, do not detract, rather they add spice to the dialogs which ensue. Hope you choose wisely.

cold pizza said...

I have embraced the majestic mystery of the "scroll" option to skim past the content-free smoldering embers of uncivil discourse.

My general response is, "oh, they're at *it* again." I don't need to visit the cage of poo flinging chimps because there's usually so much more to visit at the Althouse zoo. Still, the fact we have poo flinging chimps doesn't necessarily warrant a moderator. Most of us regulars know who is here to contribute and build, and who would rather fling poo.

Maybe, just a thought here, alongside the cafe, you can set up a poo-flinging thread where those who want to vent their bile can do so to their wizened, dried out, blackened hearts' content.

Ah, who am I kidding? I've made my salient point in favor of free and open expression, even if that means the monkeys get to scream and chitter.

I favor warnings (3 strikes or so), a 30-day ban on commenting, and ultimately expulsion (banned) from the comments for egregious violations of civil discourse. It is Ann's house and we are just the visitors. -CP

buster said...

I haven't read the thread, so forgive me if I'm repeating someone else's view.

I think the main problem with the new approach (apart from less spontaneity and repartee) is that only Althouse and Meade will be deciding which comments are interesting. I'm sure they will be open minded and the comments tbey choose will in fact be interesting. But a comment will only be chosen if it is interesting *to Althouse or Meade*. Some (or many) comments that other participants would find interesting and worthy of response will not be chosen because they do not strike the interest of A and M. This will inevitably make the threads less rich: they will reflect the interests of A & M, but not necessarily the interests--at least some of the interests of others.

Anyway, best of luck with the new regime. I'm a longtime reader and won't stop now.

FullMoon said...

Many the time I have had intelligent, insightful, humorous, literate and thought provoking comments on the tip of my tongue.

Only to become distracted by LLR lawyers, retired psych nurses, "creationist biologists" etc. attacking me for no discernible reason.

As others have shared, I welcome the opportunity to unleash my heretofore...

Nevermind, lost my train of thought.


rcocean said...

Disquis (sic) threads are awful - they become so confusing its impossible to figure out who is responding to who. Further, you can respond to X, and later other people will respond - people will respond to them - and YOUR comment ends up at the bottom somewhere. It encourages trolls to derail conversations.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, @Meade, I know the two of you are retired, but I predict this will occupy a lot of your time.

Krumhorn said...

Then we would all band together to vote Laslo off, to save a sure seat for one of us

Exhibit A, your honor. If I miss a single post from Laslo Spatula or Freeman Hunt, or Mockturtle, or Young Hegelian, Quaestor, Dust Bunny, buwaya, Vermont Tim, and many more, I’m much poorer for it.

- Krumhorn

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

1) - A huge thank you for managing to write this post not using the - beaten lifeless through overuse - word "curate".
2) - I feel I should read all the comments before making one of my own, so sometimes I just move on when there are a lot.
3) - Whatever you do, the effort you put into making this blog so special makes me feel better about the world.

tcrosse said...

A small problem is that we will have no way of knowing what didn't make the cut. Each of us will just have to comment by trial and error to see what makes it over the fence and what doesn't.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I'm not worthy.

AllenS said...

Question --

Will you moderate comments, or commentators?

Guildofcannonballs said...

My hope was to wait until everybody went on and then pontificate.

I was going to do a Buckley special by highlighting 3 or more terms from his dictionary starting with A and ending with Z.

This wall Althouse has built is needed and worthy.

Gregg said...

Children learn right and wrong from their peer group, not from micro-managing Mommy.

If I make an idiotic comment, let the Commentariat slap me down. Part of this is letting fellow Commentors correct each other. If all we are going to see is the very best comments, then those Best Commenters have lost the opportunity to provide guidance and instruction to the Lesser Commenters.

We take the good with the bad. The bitter with the sweet---it's what we call variety.

A contrived, orchestrated, specific grouping is not what I come here for. It doesn't take much energy to scroll.

Why can't Commenters do their own filtering?

rhhardin said...

Two rules get rid of the clutter

1. Treat Chuck and Inga well. They supply the left.

2. Never respond to an insult.

I confidently predict moderation will not work well. Basically the commenters disappear for other pastures. Instapundit say, or Lem's place which is still running from last time comments were moderated. Chip posts there every day.

Henry said...

krumhorn wrote... Exhibit A, your honor. If I miss a single post from Laslo Spatula or Freeman Hunt, or Mockturtle, or Young Hegelian, Quaestor, Dust Bunny, buwaya, Vermont Tim, and many more, I’m much poorer for it.

Maybe the Island should be vote on.

Phunctor said...

now. i would pay a dollar to never again be gaslighted by some ineducable moron.
--kill files worked well on Usenet, before the Endless September;
now by reporting what the kill files had in them to the blog owner they could work even better
The matter of ...fluid... identity could be be handled by "block thisIP"

drive-by popup disruptors? My personal threshold would be set to not see comments from X until a week after zir's first appearance here.

(now at last i can be fairly called a not-see sympathizer!!)

Aggregating and publishing these files could allow useful feedback to the perpetrators.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Tom Brokaw.

Peter Jennings.

Dan Rather.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

One especially obnoxious and disruptive paractice is to go back years in the commenting threads and copy and paste repeated quotes from other commenters which have absolutely NOTHING to do with do with the blog’s subject matter. This seems to be a way to completely destroy the thread because there are commenters participating that this person doesn’t approve of. Then this same person deletes his multiple quotes from others, leaving behind the targets comments, which then make no sense.

PJ said...

1. You didn't get cataract surgery so you could spend more time at the computer. Do something that makes this job easier, not harder. Would this current proposal really not make your job harder? If you want to put more effort into the blog, I'd rather you give us more photographs.

2. I trust you and Meade to judge wisely, but I agree with the commenters who've noted that the loss of immediacy will change things, and I think that change would be negative.

3. The whole idea of moderating good stuff in rather than moderating bad stuff out strikes me as unAlthousian. There are many commenters here who have shown that they can be trusted with the keys. If technologically possible, whitelist them. They will keep the conversation going to entertain the rest of us while you are out doing this and that.

4. I like the idea of everybody getting 1 or 2 comments per post without moderation, again if it's technologically possible. That would make the blog more welcoming to newcomers and infrequent commenters than an everything-moderated policy.

5. I would not object to reducing the 2-day moderation rule to a 1-day rule if that would help.

Charlie Eklund said...

I think this is a fantastic idea. The comments setion was once much more interesting than it is now and I hope and pray that this new moderation scheme can bring a little of that back. Thank you, Althouse, for being willing to spend the time necessary to do this!

Bob Boyd said...

"In the new comments experience, you might show up hours after the post has gone up"

This seems like the biggest downside from the commenter perspective.
I'm wondering if comments on comments will be allowed or back and forth discussion between commenters? Sometimes that stuff can be interesting and worthwhile even though it's clearly one of the big problems right now.

Guildofcannonballs said...

If I were a better writer I would try to convey it's more about respect than disrespect.

Juvenile antics seem sparked by the need for such, as an amusement.

rhhardin said...

As Trump said of some dictator or other, I take him at his word. It's a strategy, not a belief.

If insulted, respond to what was said outside the misdeed.

As gamesmanship even, that puts you one up.

Gahrie said...

Your proposed policy will destroy this blog and turn it into just another Leftwing desert.

Fen said...

Meh. It sounds like an interesting experiment, but as an Althouse regular who knows the old history here, I can predict how it will fail.

1) Fen's Law was created on this blog. Amid the rhythm and back and forth, cultivated from input from other commenters and then refined down with their input into something useful. That would not have possible under the proposed system.

2) I do find it odd that you have orphaned Fen's Law, only mentioned once with some snotty remarks, while it's been discovered and discussed on a dozen other blogs, including Insty and AceofSpades. And then spotlighted on Rush Limbaugh. It's as if you were loathe to recognize one of your own children. For me it was a fun ride, to find myself being quoted on blogs I had never read but people I didn't know. I would have enjoyed sharing the 15 mins of fame back here but its like you were afraid I would get a big head or you thought it was a competition, I don't know. But something was off and out of character for you. So when you talk about ideas and quality being paramount here, I have to then ask myself why you would shun an idea created on your blog that Insty, Ace and Rush appreciated? So I am not expecting a fair
shake under the new format.

3) I think even without whatever bias or animus you may have against certain regulars, the quality of comments will but improve short term but fall off quickly as people grow frustrated with perceived favortism, hoop jumping and (from their perspective) censorship. Especially if after all this, Inga's insult that "you're just an extremist white nationalist!" makes it through moderation and their civil polite response does not.

4) It amazes me that all your guests want is for the bouncer to toss 2 people out, and instead you propose to build a new patio entrance and guest bar that STILL lets those 2 malcontents on the premises to abuse everyone else. It doesn't make sense.

4) And the problem could still be fixed under the proposed system if yoh worked from the other direction. Instead of screening for the best quality comments, screen out the worst. Again, I have taken great interest in sleuthing out why you are resistant to squelching the 2 trolls that have your guests in uproar, and without the input I've asked you provide countless times, the only thing that makes sense is that those 2 are you and Meade.

We'll see. But I predict you will lose regulars who find the new system boring or too frustrated, and that the new commenters won't be as committed to coming here as they promised. And, doubling down, the 2 trolls will conveiently remain.

Crazy World said...

Just do it! Sometimes my brain hurts here.

Guildofcannonballs said...

There's a reason my friend Ricky Hardy doesn't have a blog like this blog was.

Sad.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Big Mike said...
@Althouse, @Meade, I know the two of you are retired, but I predict this will occupy a lot of your time.

Which raises another question; what will happen when Althouse and Meade go on one of their road trips?

MayBee said...

I have low self esteem and always assume ideas like this are intended to keep me from babbling so much. So we'll see what I dare to do. I felt the same way about caller id....maybe nobody would ever answer my phone calls if they know its me? But after a few years, I got used to it.

Rusthawk said...

I've never met a liberal who wasn't gung-ho to manipulate or change other's behavior.

Laissez faire - try it sometimes.

Gahrie said...

My experience with such policies that the host moderates out criticism, disagreement, and refutation. And they all deny doing it too.

That's already happened.

Rabel said...

You could consult a moderation-indecision therapist.

Moderation will be a lot of work if you do it well. Too much work, too much time, I think.

You could half-ass it, but that could make a pretty big mess pretty quickly. The umpire is always the most unpopular gal in the ballpark.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Of all the extreme amount of changes 2018 brought, I always knew I could abuse Althouse's decency up until today, in 2019.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

Crimey, Fen, I'd vote you off the Island just for self-promotion.

I'm surprised you think there's just 2 people to bounce. My list is minimum 4-1/2. The half is the hard one.

The Godfather said...

This is your blog @Althouse, so do what you want. But since you've asked for our opinions . . . .

I agree with Cubanbob (3:22pm), Bruce Hayden (4:04 pm), and Sebastian (4:41 pm), and here are a couple of reasons I suggest you NOT adopt this moderation proposal.

1. If you moderate (except on very narrow grounds, such as personal attacks, foul language, and the like), then you will inevitably be perceived to endorse the comments that you choose to publish, unless you expressly disagree with them.

2. Because of the inevitable delay entailed in reviewing comments, comments responsive to comments will become extinct. Sure, we'll all be happy not to see so many [Name of commenter] is-a-doofus, No-I'm-not, you-are comments, but there are some very interesting and knowledgeable commenters on this blog, and the back and forth between or among them can be excellent. But when you decide whether to publish comment A you can't know whether, if published, it would result in comment B.

Gregg said...

In life, "if at first you don't succeed, try try again" is a fallacy. (Bar Exam notwithstanding)

85% percent of Althouse Commenters never read the posts, they are here only for the comments, but unfortunately, you are not going to change that by pruning the deadwood. I think you'll end up alienating those who were already on the periphery. If this is all about Quality vs Quanity, then I say go for the big numbers, particularly if you want to be picked up by the media and linked by other (heavily traffic-ed) Bloggers---The biggest Blogs on the Internet are not doing heavily sanitized comments.

steve uhr said...

After reading all the comments I think for now you should simply enforce the rules you have. No back and forth insults. That would make the comment section less a cesspool

rhhardin said...

You are all white supremacist racists.

Why would anybody respond to that seriously. Standing alone, it marks the insulter as an idiot. Don't spoil the effect by spreading it out to yourself.

You might mock it if it can be done cleverly, say as a word game. Change one letter and alter the meaning, or something. Mary Ann Madded used to have that as a contest, in New York Magazine.

Easter airlines, the wings of rabbit.

With a thousand eyes looking for amusement, there could be amusement.

mike c said...

Ann! It would help a lot if comments were restricted to just two per poster. Why isn't this obvious to you!

As an add on to the above, you could charge $.50/post. i don't know how this would work out but it might be interesting since the poster would have to expose their credit card to post.

Why don't you try it for a week just to see what happens.

chuck said...

Sounds like a good idea if you can afford the time. I just scroll past a lot of the back and forth comments because they are so repetitive, it's like visiting a old couple who bicker all the time. A drawback will be the delay before the comments are posted, but maybe that will have a good effect all by itself.

heyboom said...

I don't think moderation is worth the trouble. It is simple enough to skip over comments I don't want to read. I actually like the back and forth because it is mostly informative and always entertaining. And because I tend to come in at the end of comment threads (that West Coast thing) I usually have a lot of comments to take in, and I enjoy kicking back and reading them over a late night snack.

rhhardin said...

I never comment on things I agree with.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

Excellent idea. Make us put as much thought into comments as you put into your posts. Exigez le meilleur! Make us be better than nothing!

ALP said...

Yes. Yes. Yes. See #4 on your list - it isn't cutting off limb. Not permanent. You can always go back to the old way. I am on board with 'less is more'.

I only ask that you announce the start of it and remind us several times. We long-time commentors need time to change habits.

Laslo Spatula said...

What are they gonna say about him? He was a kind man? He was a wise man? He had plans? He had wisdom? Bull shit man! And am I gonna be the one that's gonna set them straight? Look at me! Look at me! Wrong!

Mark said...

Moderation will not take that much time. Because the number of comments submitted will plummet for the reasons others have stated.

People are not going to waste their time drafting comments, much less thoughtful ones, only to then cross their fingers and hope that it meets with approval and will appear online at some unknown period in the future. And among those that are wont to comment, if it is that much trouble, then they won't bother to read the AA post in the first place.

The Last Dragon Slayer said...

Sometimes less is more. Too many dragon hunters and they all trip over each other. Plus it makes it easy for dragon fire to burn en masse.

1. I have found many times that I will abandon a thread because there as too much bickering that did not advance the point.

2. I have, at many times, chosen not to participate because I lost my opportunity as the tread has diverged too far.

I do expect that this will be better for the quality of the comments, but I am sad that you will need to moderate.

If it at all can be done, I would prefer a different captcha system. Sometimes I am dissuaded from participating because of how much captcha it can take to get posted. Maybe I'm just too stupid to do it right as I can get 6 or more cycles before being authorized. Some pictures are hard to make out and I can't tell if it is a store front. I think the worst, though is the traffic lights. Am I supposed to choose the pole too or just the actual light? It never lets me through after a traffic light captcha. I seem to do ok with fire hydrants.

rhhardin said...

One trouble is that the right, like the left, is represented today by a mindless mob, which is how chuck and inga can ruin the comments without doing it themselves. They go for the resident right mob response to them.

Their originals are just entertaining left boilerplate and useful to have somewhere in the discussion.

Henry said...

Make everyone pay a dollar every time they use a cliche.

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