June 11, 2021

Artisanal comments.

A reader, John Henry, emails:
I was a prolific commenter, probably too prolific, previously. I was really upset when you stopped allowing comments. But now that I am getting over my withdrawal symptoms, I am kind of liking it, especially now that you are bringing back curated, artisanal, commenting via email.


Ann Althouse said...

MadisonMan writes:

"I agree with John Henry. I think this format, though taking some getting used to, works. I suspect it much less stressful for you personally. I wonder where the trolls went though."

Ann Althouse said...

Lucien writes:

"Once you started posting my emails I felt an obligation to up my game: try to keep quality high and avoid subjects where I feel I have nothing to add. Fewer whimsical messages, too — though I sometimes backslide."

Feel free to be whimsical!

Ann Althouse said...

Robert writes:

"John Henry may have been an infamous "steel-drivin' man" in America's folklore but this "curated, artisanal" comment is off the planet. The Althouse blog has not suddenly changed because content is better selected and organized, and Ann has not magically acquired presentation skills never before possessed.

"What has changed is the omission of tiresome infighting among commenters numbering in the hundreds on most of the Althouse blog posts. Accepting (and sometimes relaying) only emailed comments gives Ann and Meade total control without having to display or deal with irrelevancy and meanness."

Ann Althouse said...

Michelle writes:

"Ann, let me state for the record, and in opposition to John Henry, that I don't appreciate being part of a "curated, artisanal" anything, a comment section least of all. It is doubtless very nice to "let a thousand comments bloom," before going through the garden and deciding which are flowers and which weeds. But if you are to be editor and publisher -- as you are, and have every right to be -- I think I'd prefer to forgo the pleasure of being the edited/published matter, and go somewhere where I can write for myself."

Ann Althouse said...

To add a few words of my own, for those who are wondering about what it's like for me.

I'm finding it easier to read the email and cut and paste it into comments than to allow comments to flow in and figure out what to do about different things. Email seems to be done in a different spirit, and I'm seeing people who are really trying to be responsive to the post and who are respectful of my time. The effort of copying and pasting the comments in the post is less burdensome than dealing with posts from people who wanted to ruin this space as well as people who were putting up low-effort sniping. There were some regular commenters who really didn't appreciate what I am doing and also wanted to tell me that repeatedly. These people are not emailing me. I think the email is coming from people who really like my writing and want to contribute and expand on it. I'm really happy with this! Thanks!!

Ann Althouse said...

Joe writes:

"I think the email is coming from people who really like my writing and want to contribute and expand on it."

You have a very interesting selection of posts...things I probably wouldn't read in my daily rotation (the NYT is the devil as far as I am concerned) given that we are not exactly in sync politically.

But I try to read both right and left (although not the really nutty CNN-type left) during my daily surfing.

Speaking for myself, I like to contribute because you are doing hard work, and I believe that you are just a very nice person, regardless of politics.

That's the way people used to interact way back in the day when I was a wee lad : )

Ann Althouse said...

Ernest writes:

"I only began commenting when you switched to the email mode. I never liked the sniping back and forth between commentators and would often skip over those exchanges. I do miss some of the substantive comments, but I think this present way is better for the blog and certainly less burdensome for you."

Ann Althouse said...

My Name Goes Here writes:


For me the comments really made your blog a destination location. I miss them. I understand why you curate them now. Still, I miss them.

In conversation with my wife I was trying to say the same thing and as soon as I said "Althouse does not have comments now," she interrupted me. She said, "it was much better", and that "she liked it more", but then she paused and said "I do miss Laslo."

Then a revelation occurred to her and her face lit up and she said, "Are YOU Laslo?!"

For about 2 heartbeats I was elated that my wife could even consider the possibility that I was Laslo. If I could have poker faced it I would have let the illusion live for a few minutes, but I could not. I confessed, "I am not Laslo."

It is still one of the top twenty comments she has given me.


My Name Goes Here

Ann Althouse said...

LA_Bob writes:

Group hug for John Henry and his "recovery"!

And I always thought John Henry was one of the better commenters, too, one of a number of knowledgeable people who complemented your own blogging approach quite well.

There is definitely a "something's lost but something's gained" feel to the new regime. The interactions between some of the commenters was excellent and enlightening in many cases. I miss that. But a declining signal-to-noise ratio was the high cost.

I also find I read most of the posts more carefully now. Before I tended to read the post and immediately go to see what others thought about it. Now, sometimes so many nuances come to mind I couldn't possibly compress them into a brief, relevant, and cogent comment. Take comfort you can get me to think. And now the volume of comments on other blogs seems overwhelming.

Keep up the "artisanal" work!