April 9, 2019

"We’ve relabeled 'comments' as 'conversations' to help create an environment where everyone is welcome and encouraged to share their thoughts."

From "Goodbye 'moderators,' hello 'audience voice reporters': Here’s how The Wall Street Journal is refocusing the comments to incentivize better behavior."
We decided we could do more to foster elevated discourse and to welcome broader parts of our audience to join in conversations around our articles....

We know there will inevitably be a small group of people who may not like the changes, but there is a far larger group that would like to contribute to audience conversations, if the postings became more thoughtful....

Heavy commenters are often not reading much of the articles they comment on. They go to the headline, sometimes scan a small part of the story, and skip right on down to the comment box....

[W]e have concluded that overly focusing on the small subset of users who comment frequently and want no one intervening at all in their comments is costing us the opportunity of engaging with our much larger, growing, and diversifying audience.

Indeed, when we looked at the demographics of our heavy commenters, we found they don’t represent the Journal as a whole. That led us to focus on the people who are not commenting as much. Women and younger people have been less represented among our commenters than they are among our subscribers, so we took a look at what was keeping them away. What we heard was they want to feel safe from bullying and share their comments in a forum in which they won’t be attacked....
Thanks to Leslie Graves, in last night's café, for pointing to that article. I'm giving this post my "blog commenting" tag because it relates to my experience here on the blog. Consider that a prompt for the conversation here. To me, the WSJ's observations seem pretty obvious. The trick is what to do about it. Comments are great and comments are horrible. To me, it's an endless struggle.

72 comments:

rhhardin said...

The last I looked, the WSJ loved my Thanksgiving and Christmas comments so much that they reran them every year.

A complaint about Vermont Royster's crap.

Seeing Red said...

What we heard was they want to feel safe from bullying and share their comments in a forum in which they won’t be attacked....

In short I want to stay secure in my stupidity. I don’t want to be challenged.

I think it goes with these from today at Insty:

Yglesias: Nobody likes to give themselves credit for this kind of messaging success, but progressive groups did a really good job of convincing people that Trump raised their taxes when the facts say a clear majority got a tax cut.

...It recalled in fact an e-mail conversation I had last week with a liberal journalist friend who hates to see this closing of the left’s mind. My journalist pal said that he’s seeing on the left a moralistic refusal even to consider ideas, people, and data that contradict these leftists’ moral code. Understand: it’s not that this new breed of progressives disagrees (though they do); it’s that they believe, and believe strongly, that even to confront information that contradicts what they prefer to believe is intolerable.

Said my friend: “No wonder these people are always shocked by the latest developments in politics. They refuse to see the world as it is.”


BTW: ...In other words, solar scientists are now seriously considering the possibility that we are at the start of a Grand Minimum....

CJinPA said...

Comment Sections = Twitter
Blogs = Facebook

Kind of.

I've loved & loathed comment sections/forums for 20 years. When I can find someone to engage in (somewhat) civil debate, it's a much appreciated intellectual workout. I'm currently debating Identity Politics over at Powerline, eagerly awaiting the next retort.

I can see how some of the brass knuckle tactics might discourage women from joining in. I remember years ago when a female poster challenged a comment and I responded with a firm, but polite six-inch post complete with linked citations. She responded, "I don't want to get into a debate I just wanted to share my opinion. Good bye."

That made an impression on me.

Henry said...

A couple of the proposals sound similar to the way The Athletic handles comments.

First, you have to be a paid subscriber

Second, the reporters directly engage in the comments section.

For the most part, the comments are pretty good over there.

I do not know if they moderate for trolls. I'm guessing they must.

Here's their code of conduct.

Leland said...

I respect what you are attempting to do Althouse, but my take on the WSJ article is an excuse to cull speech for which they disagree. The difference I see is the demographic comment. There is an assumption there on what the demographics are and why certain demographics aren't participating in comments. Similar assumptions have been made about voting, and the similarities are to uncanny.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

What we heard was they want to feel safe from bullying and share their comments in a forum in which they won’t be attacked....

People who want to be protected from "bullying" and being "attacked" will kill a conversation faster and deader than even the professional bores can.

If it's possible to moderate bullies out of a forum, why is it considered impossible to bounce the boring and stupid? It's not as if that would be more subjective than an "anti-bullying" policy.

Women and younger people have been less represented among our commenters than they are among our subscribers, so we took a look at what was keeping them away.

Thanks, WSJ subscriber ladies, for reinforcing the "women take everything personally and wreck conversation" stereotype.

And screw those "young people" too, though at least they have the excuse of being young and not knowing any better.

Greg Q said...

What we heard was they want to feel safe from bullying and share their comments in a forum in which they won’t be attacked....


IOW, they want mommy to hold their hand, and keep those mean Others from pointing out that they're idiots who are full of sh!t, especially when they are saying really stupid things

CJinPA said...

There is an assumption there on what the demographics are and why certain demographics aren't participating in comments. Similar assumptions have been made about voting, and the similarities are to uncanny.

Similar assumptions were made about newspapers, which is why you got "Lifestyle" sections. And the assumptions, at least in attracting female readers, turned out to be correct. The question with these things is always: at what point to you drive away male readers, and is it enough to drive down overall readership?

Greg Q said...

She responded, "I don't want to get into a debate I just wanted to share my opinion. Good bye."

No one cares about your opinion. Either you have facts, reason, and logic, or you have nothing.

Mary E. Glynn said...

Betcha THIS comment thread goes nowhere near 200... People spend a lot more time on a blog reading and responding to the longer more engaging threads...
Just sayin.

They learn more too...

Mike Sylwester said...

We need to have a national conversation about blog comments.

gahrie said...

What we heard was they want to feel safe from bullying and share their comments in a forum in which they won’t be attacked....

What they meant was they want to post assertions and not have to defend them.

narciso said...

except you need a hazmat team, we know who are the habitual offenders, yet they get away day after day, my favorite blog adopted typepad registration, which is still kind of buggy,

gahrie said...

She responded, "I don't want to get into a debate I just wanted to share my opinion. Good bye."

Was it Althouse?

Fernandistein said...

foster elevated discourse

I hope that doesn't mean they're going to require big words in their "conversations" because I have hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia so I'm afraid of big words.

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

We need to have a national conversation about blog comments.

Not elevated, so no fostering. Sorry.

And besides, blog comments are a social construct.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

CJinPA: I remember years ago when a female poster challenged a comment and I responded with a firm, but polite six-inch post complete with linked citations. She responded, "I don't want to get into a debate I just wanted to share my opinion. Good bye."

Yeah, we've had a few of those here over the years. "I just wanted to share my opinion" is dishonest back-out code for "I hold the correct opinion and was sure my dropping this hackneyed talking-point or cut-n'-paste of stuff nobody doesn't know would blow everyone's mind and they'd all see the light and agree with me. But it didn't and now I'm confused and upset".

My sis was recently telling me about a prog friend of hers with whom she enjoyed arguing. The friend had been reading some of the founders' letters, and suggested to my sister that they start a similar serious, long-form email debate on various issues they disagreed about. Sis loved the idea and dived in.

Alas, the friend quickly bailed, saying she was "frustrated" with the result. "Why?", asked sis. Response: "Because you still don't agree with me!" Adding (sis swears she's not making this up), "Because I want you to be on the right side of history!".

So it transpired that the whole point of the exercise for the prog friend was to "have a conversation(tm)", not have a conversation.

bagoh20 said...

We saw how utterly disappointed the left (and pathetically the media) was to find out that the President of the United States was not a Russian agent, even though it is undeniably great news for the whole world. Some commenters here even seemed pretty unhappy to hear it, and I think they hope it's still true. I don't understand how you could want that, but they obviously do.

I assume that even more people around the world would have a similar reaction if we found out that the Earth's climate is not in danger of overheating, or even to find out it's not our fault. I assume many would be thoroughly pissed off to hear that we are not going to suffer horrible cataclysm. If it turns out at some point that the science shows that the climate is not heating, there will be much screaming and gnashing of teeth around the globe - possibly secular prayer groups praying for armageddon.

What would happen if a scientific consensus determined that the climate is warming and that there is nothing effective we can do about it, which I think is most likely the truth? Would there still be demands for government action, cutting fossil fuels, and taxing emissions? You're damned right there would be, and we know why. It's the same reason that the most vocal climate change warriors still fly around with carbon footprints bigger than the rest of us.

Nonapod said...

While I dislike it when commentors resort to ad hominems against other commentors, I really don't like the idea of shutting down, silencing, or driving off commentors who maybe behave a bit aggressively from time to time. I don't mind having to deal with the occasional flame war.

That said, I know full well that there are bad actors, people who are posting in bad faith, people whose goal is to destroy the community on this blog. They purposely try to undermine fair debate by inciting conflicts. They often use armies of sock puppets. You can see the devastation they wreak in certain threads that devolve into tedious back-and-forth insult wars. I often wonder why they do it. Maybe the see this community as a threat? Maybe they're just bored and want to see what they can do? Sometimes I even wonder if they're paid professional trolls.

Unfortunately for Althouse I think it's difficult to do much about them without potentially alienating other posters with heavy handed moderation (which I suppose would accomplish the trolls goals just the same).

Fen said...

Women and younger people have been less represented among our commenters than they are among our subscribers, so we took a look at what was keeping them away. What we heard was they want to feel safe from bullying and share their comments in a forum in which they won’t be attacked....

Bullshit excuse to install PCBS. Women and young people tend to avoid commenting because they avoid conflict in general.

And I call bullshit because I know they just made up the part about "what we heard". An anonymous source who spoke with an anonymous friend of a highly placed staffer told me so.

So there. Does anyone even read the WSJ anymore? Aren't they behind a paywall? I can find a dozen writers better than their best oped columnists and read them for free.

BTW, I used to read the WSJ everyday. Noonan was my favorite, but she's spend too long in the Blue City State and gotten infected with the same PCBS we see here.

Fen said...

"What we heard was they want to feel safe from bullying and share their comments in a forum in which they won’t be attacked"

What they meant was they want to post assertions and not have to defend them.


If this was a real problem, and the WSJ (or Althouse) really wanted to address it honestly, simply ban the perps or get new software that allows those victimized by strong words to block the "bullies".

Until that happens, I'm giving this one the Civility Bullshit Tag ;)

bagoh20 said...

In the same vein I wish the pundits on TV would shut up and let the rest of us talk, but that's not how it works. The people who want to talk the most talk the most. Those who don't, just don't. There are always a few people who abuse any freedom, but if you shut down the main commenters, you don't have much blog left, and you have to assume that the people who read but don't comment must be coming for the commentents that are there. If not, they don't have to read them. I would just ban bad actors - not due to opinion, but for bad faith and abuse of the forum. That's all that's needed to keep it civil and worthy of reading. If I got banned like that, I would be fine with it. I might learn something, or not, but I'd stop ruining something for others.

Fen said...

I mean really, it's getting stupid..

Blog Admin: Gosh the room is on fire, but the water spigot is outside! What ever will I do?
If only I had ...some sort of rubber tube to pull water from the spigot and douse the fire?
But no, instead I'll order more flame retardant carpet, ban smoking, hire security to check everyone's matches and lighters at the door, ban fireworks, have all the electrical wiring checked, double down my fire insurance -

Fen: Or... go to Home Depot and buy a hose?

Blog Admin: A what? .... Where was I? Oh yes, lobby my congressman to pass a fire prevention bill, install a C02 smothering AI in the ventilation ducts, rent the spare bedroom out to that volunteer fireman, put an above ground pool in the den with 12 buckets standing by. But how will I fill it

Fen: Hint. Rhymes with hose...

Blog Admin: Llamas spit water don't they? I could rent a herd and keep them in the kitchen, just in case...

gg6 said...

If it's an "endless struggle" maybe it's because it's an aimless and hollow venture you've chosen. If you aim to satisfy those who "want to feel safe from bullying" maybe you should be a therapist or a nannie, not a journalist? But many readers might smell what such an effort really wants to do - 'regulate' free speech so it fits whatever rules you decree. Bad luck with that.

Fen said...

bagoh: The people who want to talk the most talk the most.

That's just your Rhetoric and Logic Privilege. You didn't build that Assertiveness, you had help. We're going to have to hook you up to a headset that zaps you whenever you make a strong counterpoint, so you don't abuse the Snowflake's feels.

Fen said...

What the hell happened to Free Speech Althouse? It was her most beautiful trait.

CJinPA said...

So it transpired that the whole point of the exercise for the prog friend was to "have a conversation(tm)", not have a conversation.

Yup. Every time a leftist uses that term (and it's almost always a leftist,) it means, "Let's all start saying what I believe."

CJinPA said...

But many readers might smell what such an effort really wants to do - 'regulate' free speech so it fits whatever rules you decree.

I don't think that's fair. There is a huge chasm between wanting to prevent "HEY LIBTARDS, TRUMP WON GET OVER IT!/OH YEAH TELL DRUMPH PUTIN HAS MORE MARCHING ORDERS!" and ideological censorship.

Of course there has to be rules for discourse, if you want it to be useful in any way. Even governments set rules for speaking at public meetings.

John Lynch said...

I got the WSJ email about their new policy. My reaction was, wait, what, they allowed non-subscribers to comment? Why? They can't even read the article. Also, I've noticed any gatekeeping, any at all, reduces the number of jerks. Simply requiring commenters to subscribe is going to cut out 90% of the trash. In addition, the WSJ has their payment info, so comments aren't anonymous as far as the paper goes. Fine with me. I don't like anonymous commenting, for the most part, because it encourages the idea people have to hide their beliefs and cedes the public forum to the loudest people who don't. There are few opinions you should have to hide, and it's not like it's hard to identify a commenter anyway.

Fen said...

I don't like anonymous commenting, for the most part, because it encourages the idea people have to hide their beliefs and cedes the public forum to the loudest people who don't. There are few opinions you should have to hide, and it's not like it's hard to identify a commenter anyway.

James Damore.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

John Lynch: I don't like anonymous commenting, for the most part, because it encourages the idea people have to hide their beliefs...

I think you've got the chain of causation backwards here.

mccullough said...

You have to pay for the WSJ. So let the commenters vent. It’s money in the bank.

John Lynch said...

James Damore thought he was anonymous but wasn't. If anonymous posts had not been allowed, he would have had a more accurate sense of what was going to happen. If you say something which really resonates, anonymity isn't going to last.

As for Damore, we all know who he is now, don't we? He seems to be doing fine for himself. If he'd remained anonymous, he'd be sitting in Google wondering when they'd find him.

Ice Nine said...

So what happened to the 'experiment' here? For the last few days my posts have been posting immediately - that annoying moderation lag seems to be gone. Was the experiment dumped?

John Lynch said...

I'll head over to Fen's blog to see how he handles commenters.

Oh.

Yancey Ward said...

If I could institute one rule and one rule only it would be that for any given blog post, you get X number of comments to make, and X less than or equal to 4.

I do actively try to limit my comments to less than 4 per post, even when I have more I want to say or respond to. I occasionally overstep that, but it is almost always by accident- I lose count.

Yancey Ward said...

And part of that is that I read the post, and make my first comment, then I read the comments if they are under 40 or so. Usually by 40-50 in, I have nothing unique to add.

Henry said...

If this was a real problem, and the WSJ (or Althouse) really wanted to address it honestly, simply ban the perps or get new software that allows those victimized by strong words to block the "bullies".

Ah, the magical software solution.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

...and it's not like it's hard to identify a commenter anyway.

It's easy enough to identify people posting with nicknames on Blogger and other commenting software, true. (Which is why the insistence on posting as one of dozens of "Anonymous"es on some blogs is as ridiculous as it is annoying, and why thinking that using a pseudonym here will provide even the flimsiest protection is just dumb.)

But not everybody has opinions anodyne or conventional enough to be able to ignore the serious consequences of arousing the wrath of the roving mutaween. Being aware of that doesn't make one a coward; people have damned good reason to take effective measures to post anonymously.

Henry said...

You can ban IP addresses, but who has a fixed IP address?

You can ban user accounts, but you can't stop people from making a new account.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

John Lynch @11:18: All for the best in the best of all possible worlds, eh? No honest wrongthinker out there for whom, say, losing his job or his access to credit (or other financial instruments necessary to run his business) could be anything more than a minor trip and blip? Hey, Damore apparently landed on his feet, what's the problem?

Are you some schmuck crimethinker who really needs to keep his job, whose employment and social milieux are highly hostile to people who think like you (and would be for your kids, if your views were known)? Or, say, whose business requires access to PayPal or social media? Then you should have the sense to STFU. Anyway, it's only because people like you are such cowards that services that should fall under "public accomodation" rules can get away with shutting you down.

I'm not vulnerable to any of those things, so I can post under my real name or a transparent pseudonym and call you a schmuck and a coward.

Paco Wové said...

John Lynch, I'd just like to say I find your 11:18 comment utterly incomprehensible. As in, "WTF, dude?"

FullMoon said...

John Lynch, I'd just like to say I find your 11:18 comment utterly incomprehensible. As in, "WTF, dude?"

All right, I was gonna pile on also until I realized John is an educator in Portland and is wearing a MAGA hat. That takes guts.

Gregg said...

What is the latest (ever-evolving) comments policy at Althouse? "May publish immediately, but sometimes...moderated" ???

How vague. Are we to assume the great comments moderation experiment was a bust?

Rick said...

Are we to assume the great comments moderation experiment was a bust?

Better to conclude it worked at least somewhat and the restrictiveness is being held in reserve to address any recurrence.

Yancey Ward said...

I don't think it was a bust- certain commenters did vanish and haven't seemed to return. Probably won't last, but, still a certain level of success.

John Lynch said...

I'm a writer in Portland. I need to update my blogger profile.

Seriously, people are too damn scared to be conservative. When you let liberal politics dominate every public space you accede to the illusion only losers who have no job or hicks in the backwoods are conservative (no offense to backwood hicks- came from there). Can't tell you how many times I'm included in conversations where the assumption is we're all liberals.

You also let down other conservatives. When they look around and don't see anyone like them, they think they are alone. Statistics say they aren't, but when liberals speak freely in every space and the conservatives hide underground it gives the illusion liberals outnumber every other viewpoint. They don't. Even in Portland, it's much more, ahem, nuanced than they'd like.

johnllynch.com is my author blog. It's about my sci fi books, not politics.

John Lynch said...

I don't go around waving my politics, but I don't pretend I am what I'm not, either. It's a balance.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

John Lynch: You also let down other conservatives. When they look around and don't see anyone like them, they think they are alone. Statistics say they aren't, but when liberals speak freely in every space and the conservatives hide underground it gives the illusion liberals outnumber every other viewpoint.

That's true as far as it goes - there are plenty of times and places where people will "let it go" among libs when there's no reason for it, and no real risk. But that's not the situations people were talking about when expressing annoyance with your glib criticism of anonymous posting. The response to the Damore example was more than glib - as Paco said, it was downright "wtf".

Rick said...

when liberals speak freely in every space and the conservatives hide underground it gives the illusion liberals outnumber every other viewpoint. They don't. Even in Portland, it's much more, ahem, nuanced than they'd like.

Correcting "liberals" to "leftists" it doesn't matter whether they outnumber everyone. What matter is that some portion will try to get you fired. This is an intrinsic part of their ideology now: it is for this specific reason they began arguing other political opinions make them "unsafe". You may be in a position to ignore their vindictiveness, good for you! But judging others for not risking their livelihoods is just dickish.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

Liberals are not commenting here in the numbers and frequency they once did, not because of the new commenting policy that failed, but because this place had become so extreme in it’s Trump Cultism and conspiracy theories, one feels they are no longer addressing normal people. I know I’ve called some folks here nuts, but it appears it’s no longer just hyperbole.

Jim at said...

When everybody else is 'nuts' ... maybe - just maybe - it's not them.

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

The trick is what to do about it. Comments are great and comments are horrible. To me, it's an endless struggle.

Pretty simple. Ban all the people I don't like.
Maybe several cafes a day where the she ape bully can get it off her chest and argue with the normals.

Rick said...

Liberals are not commenting here in the numbers and frequency they once did,

Almost no liberals have ever commented here. Leftists who believe everyone who disagrees with them is racist and/or that Republicans are trying to implement The Handmaid's Tale were common. Since these were worthless though their loss isn't to be regretted.

KheSanh 0802 said...

I guess I'll have to rethink my opinion that going to moderation was Althouse alone's movement toward censorship. Now that the WSJ is making the same commitment it is clear that many feel the need to have the power of Facebook, or Google, to remove commenters or thoughts that may make them uncomfortable or do not conform to some mode of behavior or opinion dictated, or favored, by themselves.

I hate the name calling and vituperation that occasionally flare up in comments sections. However, being an adult, I can easily choose to ignore them and look for the comments I think are worthwhile. I have been "lurking" on this site since the moderation was turned on and my opinion is that even in some of the best columns the comments are sluggish, lazy, or incomplete compared with the past. The comment author now knows that he must write to please Ann and Meade, not to freely express what he/she thinks or knows about a topic. In addition one must wait for approval of what he/she may have worked quite hard on before there is any response. That is a sure way to dull down and reduce the value of the comments on this blog. If that was the hostess' wish she has been successful.

Michael K said...

I quit the WSJ a year ago after 356 or 40 years. Not worth my time. It had gotten to the point that all I read was Kim Strassel's columns.

Michael K said...

Only 35, not 356,.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

The Althouse blog has become an open forum for extremists, conspiracy theorists and Trump Cultists, every blogposts comments sections no matter what the topic.

John Lynch said...

356 years is a long, long, time to be reading Peggy Noonan. That would be Hell. A weird, bizarrely optimistic Hell.

Douglas said...

I read the WSJ every day and comment on it frequently. I’ve hardly ever seen the kind of nastiness that is common at the Washington Post, for example. So in my opinion, the WSJ is fixing something that wasn’t broken. The cost of that fix is that the WSJ now only allows comments on a few, selected articles in each edition. I guess that’s because it’s too expensive to hire moderators for every article, column and letter to the editor. Bottom line: they have reduced the value of the paper to me at least and probably to a lot of other people.

Yancey Ward said...

It just seemed that long.

wildswan said...

Moderation being on for awhile did get rid of insult trains which was good. However, I really prefer thinking I am reading people's unrestricted thoughts in real time. Furthermore based on how up to date I am with opinion around the country, this blog represents a spectrum of opinion. If something is said only once it catches my attention because it is new. By rules of propaganda something has to be said 42 thousand times to drive it home. But it may be that repetition turns one against what is being repeated. Neubauer lost to Hagedorn in Wisconsin despite having hundreds more ads. The flood of ads made it plain she had dark money and was being deceitful about her positions so that then her own ads testified against her.

Fen said...

356 years is a long, long, time to be reading Peggy Noonan. That would be Hell. A weird, bizarrely optimistic Hell.

Haha. (hat tip) But she had her moments

Fen said...

The Althouse blog has become an open forum for extremists, conspiracy theorists and Trump Cultists, every blogposts comments sections no matter what the topic.

Either all that OR we just have one very ironic commenter who's off her meds.

Fen said...

I'll head over to Fen's blog to see how he handles commenters.

What a cheap shot. It's obvious I don't have a blog. Never have. For reasons that are not your business.

It's a cheap shot that's out of character for someone who supposedly teaches in Portland wearing a Maga Hat. You would be dealing with the hassle and grief (and danger) every day, and would not look down upon those "lesser" people who chose not to endure what you have. But those traits are absent in you. You are starting to smell like a poser - akin to the Big Tough Gun Rights Guy who promises that the day the police come to grab his guns... And everyone knows he's just thumping his chest. At best. At worst, he is giving bad advice that he doesn't have the guts to follow up on himself, and potentially influencing naive readers to risk their lives. All so he can appear cool to strangers on the internet.

My point was that Damore lost his job, not over some racist sexist rant, but over facts that should not be in dispute. I didn't deserve a personal attack for that. You should apologize, Tough Guy.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“You should apologize, Tough Guy.”

What a snowflake, oh the outrage!

readering said...

The Wall Street Journal is looking to promote comments that are interesting and would encourage readership. The comments it was getting under the existing system weren't sufficiently interesting. They were too often folks just sounding off.

Michael K said...

I’ve hardly ever seen the kind of nastiness that is common at the Washington Post, for example.

I used to do the same. The WSJ went from requiring subscribers only to all comers. There were a few trolls, sort of like a couple here but mostly OK. The Facebook WSJ site is over run with nuts,

Gahrie said...

I don't like anonymous commenting, for the most part

I use this handle as a variation of my real first name (Gary) because there are quite a few semi famous people who have the same name as me.

Fen said...

“You should apologize, Tough Guy.”

Inga: What a snowflake, oh the outrage!

Not for my sake Inga, for his own. It's a sin against himself - his integrity, his character.
You wouldn't understand. It would be like explaining Virtue to a Crack Whore, while she debases herself.