Let’s talk commenting

This week, I’ve started heavier moderating of comments in an effort to rid the comments sections of disruptors who are not so much interested in an exchange of ideas on an intellectual basis (go ahead, call me elitist) as they are satisfying some personal needs to set fire to the space and watch it burn.

As I’ve done this, I’ve discovered a number of people are posting under multiple accounts, and of course, people who have been previously blocked from commenting, returning under new names and accounts. These latter accounts aren’t hard to spot and figure out. Everyone has their own style of writing and it tends to be fairly recognizable.

Still, we do end up spending far too much time playing “whack a troll.”

I want to reiterate a couple of existing policies on commenting here, first outlined in this post earlier this year.

If a comment doesn’t add value and individual perspective and knowledge, it will be deleted. If you don’t understand what constitutes value and individual perspective, might I suggest reading the comments on this post.

If the goal of a commenter is merely and obviously to inflame, it will be deleted. If the comment merely says how much you don’t care about the topic of the post, it will be deleted. If it calls names, it will be deleted. And of course, the ignorant, racist, sexist, threatening, or otherwise worthless comments get the delete-key treatment.

To preserve the integrity of the NewsCut comments section, I am taking several additional approaches.

First, I am asking you to inspect your own comments. Are they adding value or are they belittling the individual with whom you should be having a more adult conversation? If they’re the latter, they will be deleted. And I when I delete a comment now for violations, the account holder also will be suspended for 24 hours.

Please do not attempt to be the moderator. That’s my job. There is a function in Disqus to “flag” comments you think I should look at. Please do not abuse this function. A person holding a different and informed opinion isn’t a reason to flag a comment.

If you don’t want to read comments from an individual, it is possible in Disqus to block that person’s comments from appearing in your feed. While that seems counter to what we want NewsCut comments to accomplish, it’s an option for some of you.

Second, I am considering closing the comments section to people posting on “guest” accounts. Many people who are doing this now are posting under phony email addresses. A Disqus account automatically checks the validity of an email. From time to time, I need to contact commenters directly and complete anonymity (your email addresses are not shown to other commenters) prevents this.

I realize this may inconvenience some of you who post as guests and who do so honorably and provide additional value. I’m willing to entertain reasons why the “guest” function should continue.

Let’s talk about this in the comments section.