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Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Comments are not content

For the same reason that book reviews are not books. Ann Althouse turns off the comment section. Instapundit readers do not approve:

"Keep it the way it is" — that is, let comments flow into new posts unmoderated and deal with problems as they come up by deleting the trolls and the spam and so forth. I like the free flow too, but unlike the rest of you, I have to continually tend to the problems, and whenever I step away from the blog to go about my life in the material world, I have background static: I wonder what's happening in the comments. Do I need to get in there and deal with a troll infestation? There was an open door to anyone in the world to make a mess of a place that I had bound myself to protect and that I had protected for 17 years.

I didn't try to skew the poll by telling you about the burden it has become for me. I just wanted to see what you thought, and it's nice to know that the majority of poll-takers were happy with the experience I had worked so hard to create. The behind-the-scenes work for me isn't something that should concern you. Quite the opposite. The backstage labor isn't part of the show. 

I was interested to see what people would say in the comments. That's the up side of comments for me. I like to read what people have to say. I'm used to the sense of seeing the readers and feeling the camaraderie. But somewhere along the way in that thread that is now up over 600 comments — many of which are from me, responding to people — I could see that there is only one answer that gives me what I'm afraid I must take for myself. And that is the end of comments. 

I've chosen the least popular option — if you don't count the "Something else," which wasn't any specific option at all. You can email me by clicking here. If you email me, you need to say if you don't want to be quoted on the blog, because I may select quotes from the email to use in updates to the blog. But the freewheeling chattiness of the comments section is gone. I'm sad to lose it. 

In that long thread yesterday, a lot of people told me that they come to my blog not for me but for the comments. They seemed to think that argued in favor of my continuing to carry the burden of moderating the comments. It cut the other way. I didn't plan for yesterday to be so momentous, but it was that argument — augmented with the threat that I would lose traffic, the all-important, precious traffic — that pushed me toward decisive action.

Althouse needn't worry. A simple survey of the ratio of pageviews to comments demonstrates that only a tiny fraction of readers on any blog comment on it, which makes it particularly amusing to hear all the commenters talking about how the reason they go to a site is for the comments. That's not true. There is a word for a site where people go just to read the comments, and that is Twitter. Except the reality is that they mostly go there to scream into the void, as most tweets are completely ignored by everyone else there.

The number of self-interested comments at Instapundit - nearly 700 - complaining about her decision are downright amusing. They appear to be mostly motivated by their sudden inability to force their Very Important Opinions on those who did not request them.

  • The point of blogging is to offer the service of commentary. Blogger's who turn off comments are forgetting why people came in the first place.
  • she discontinued comments because they almost 100% disagree with her. If a site wont let me or others comment, I dont go there. I read sites not only for what the owner says, but to gauge opinion.
  • Goodbye Althouse. No comments, no visit. The comments were the only attraction for me.
  • Not going to Ann any more. I read her and the comments. Without the comments then there is only her, which is not enough for me to go there.
  • Watch as her reader numbers decrease as her "community" becomes less interested in a one-sided interaction info/news resource that became just one more out of many. She could have easily chosen not to respond personally to comments that were always going to include voices that called her out for previous issues or disagreed with her current opinion. She is simply unwilling/unable to take that route, despite the simple fact that she herself knows and acknowledges that many of her readers come for the comments. For the interaction of other voices besides her own. Now she doesn't have to deal with any criticism that she would ever have to respond to though. And really, that is the point. Is anyone supposed to have empathy for her situation? I do not feel any.
  • Without comments you have an echo chamber.
  • I went there FOR the comments. Went, past tense.
  • Bumner. At her site in particular, the comments were as informative and entertaining as her posts- which tended to be very short. I wonder what the metrics say when a site gives up comments? I know I don't frequent many sites that don't allow comments. And my activity notably drops way off on a site that had comments and then drops them.
  • The comments were always by far the best part of Althouse's site. You didn't miss much by skipping her posts and going straight to the comments. Hasn't been much reason to go there for awhile, none now.
  • Getting rid of comments will disappear readers almost as fast as putting it behind a paywall.
The fact is that commenters are completely delusional about their impact on a blog. In addition to the pageviews/comments ratio, I've seen what has happened when I shut down the comments and was able to examine the resulting impact on the traffic, which was absolutely none at all. But that's neither here nor there, as my position on comments has not changed since 2008, although my position on being a libertarian certainly has.
What people often forget is that the commenters on a blog make up a small fraction of the readers of that same blog. A few people may read blogs for their comments, but the vast majority do not, the self-inflated fantasies of some blog commenters notwithstanding. Moreoever, a blog's commenters tend to be the most outspoken, fractious, and emotionally troubled portion of its readership. They inevitably cause problems; the notorious trolls are actually much less irritating than the revenant-stalkers who are so socially inept that they cannot refrain from showing up where they know they are not wanted. Add to this the emotionally incontinent fanboys who respond inappropriately to everything from criticism of the blogger to criticism from the blogger and you've basically got a worthless morass of wasted time in the making. It doesn't help when people feed the trolls and revenants by responding to them either.

This is a real problem for many bloggers and I don't blame those, like Ross Douthat, who have decided that it's simply not worth the trouble trying to manage the unmanageable. Fortunately, it's not a problem for me, for three reasons. First, as I have repeatedly stated, most people are idiots - functionally if not literally - and that applies to most commenters here. Until you demonstrate otherwise, rest assured that I hold you in all the intellectual regard you have merited to date, which is to say none. I therefore need not concern myself with your ramblings. Second, while I definitely do care what some people think, you almost certainly aren't on that particular list. I might like you, I might find you amusing, I might even regard you as a positive mutation and a distinct step forward in the evolution of Man... but that doesn't mean that I care what you think. Third, as a libertarian down to the bone, I don't believe that it is possible to manage people for an extended period of time, so I'm not inclined to waste my time trying.

So, no one need be concerned that I'm going to ditch the comments. They are often useful, occasionally amusing, and always completely avoidable. I've even heard more than once from bloggers who envy the way in which substantive and intelligent discussions erupt here from time to time. 

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98 Comments:

Blogger Angela April 06, 2021 9:06 AM  

I can't imagine dealing with the absolute time sink of having to moderate Very Important Comments.

Blogger Harambe April 06, 2021 9:12 AM  

Pro tip: appoint 5 or 10 of your top commenters as comment moderators. problem solved.

Blogger By the crease of his pants April 06, 2021 9:14 AM  

Libertarianism seemed like a good idea to me 15 years ago. This blog has helped me understand why it is worthless. You can't sit this fight out.

Blogger Krymneth April 06, 2021 9:22 AM  

I wonder how many of the "oh no, don't remove comments" are from shills upset that they will no longer be able to dilute opinions directly on the post with their paid opposition. Some of these people may be looking at less paid work.

At the very least for any significantly sized blog, a whitelist-only approach is only sensible. Even if it's only a fraction of your platform, you don't really want to hand it out to anyone who can vaguely coherently push buttons on the Internet... or anybody who can pay others to do it. And if you have no effort to whitelist, then just nuke 'em.

No, the irony is not lost on me.

Blogger Fox Bear April 06, 2021 9:23 AM  

Blogs aren't a panel discussion, and comment sections are usually graffiti

Blogger Doktor Jeep April 06, 2021 9:27 AM  

I consider having an opinion here to be a priviledge.
Honestly, I think commenting is so weaponized in the battle space of online shilling and mass brainwashing that a movement against public commenting would take an entire weapons "system" offline in the culture and information war.
For example, on AR15 dot com site, even back in 2008, any positive comment on Ron Paul would bring in the usual flock of the usual screen names with the same detractions. Every damned time.
Thus the instant flood of "I come here for the comments" seems scriptish and template spawned.

Blogger teemac April 06, 2021 9:29 AM  

well, thats it . no more precious comments from me.

Blogger Solon April 06, 2021 9:32 AM  

The way I see it, if you can't post anything meaningful and worth reading as a blog host, then comments are worse than a "bonus feature," they're a crutch. At that point, you may as well just close up shop: the people aren't coming to read YOU, they're coming to, ostensibly, read other people's opinions, but more often, they come just so *they* can bark at the moon and pretend they're important, and you the blog host just signed yourself up for an unappreciated (and unpaid!) job as a janitor cleaning up all the vomit that travellers spew all over your once-clean floors. Good for her to turn off comments: the people that came only for the comments won't be missed.

I've never understood the desire to want to be heard, but then, I've never had the delusion that my being heard would make any difference in people's mindsets. I recognize the irony in typing that in a comment, of course.

It's a bit of a strange feeling, commenting on a blog post demeaning comments.

That said, thank you Vox and VFM, for keeping this place a nice, tidy, clean place to have discussions. You guys don't get enough appreciation for the cat-herding you signed up for. I've been there, I know, so thank you.

Blogger Pete April 06, 2021 9:32 AM  

If someone isn't paying my bills, or holding a gun to my head, why should I care what they think, or give a flying [insertion] about whether they care about my opinion?

Seems it is a hallmark trait of a gamma to worry about people caring about your personal opinions, and the louder one shrieks rhe greater the gammatude.

Blogger Constantin April 06, 2021 9:34 AM  

Is there a more over used phrase on the internet than muh "echo chamber"? It's always used by mediocre people who think their pedestrian opinions genuinely add value to any discourse they get into. Obnoxious.

Blogger travvyboy April 06, 2021 9:36 AM  

I understand your perspective as a blog writer but I find comments important in many places. I find the removal of comments sections on news websites to be a problem, I like to see if people are buying the bullshit.

Blogger Dire Badger April 06, 2021 9:40 AM  

I Blame "Ender's game". Everyone thinks they are the next Peter or Valentine Wiggin, and that their opinion will elevate them to the respect they deserve.

To be fair, though, Takimag closing the comments drove home how boring most of it's writers actually were, including Taki himself.

Blogger Jeff aka Orville April 06, 2021 9:40 AM  

I suspect many of those bloggers are living in a self-imposed virtual ghetto. Closed off from human interaction, the threat of not being able to vent their stream-of-consciousness bilge is just too much for them.

VD, if you ever change your mind on comments, I'll still come for the content.

Blogger VD April 06, 2021 9:40 AM  

Yes, I wasn't even thinking about the whole "paid shill" phenomenon. That's a serious problem on some sites.

Blogger Balam April 06, 2021 9:46 AM  

Yes, most of those bullet points are commenters claiming to be more important than the blogger. Just modify to account for gamma solipsism
"
-The point of blogging is to offer MY commentary. Blogger's who turn off MY comments are forgetting why people came in the first place.
-she discontinued comments because I almost 100% disagree with her. If a site wont let me comment, I dont go there. I read sites not only for what the owner says, but to show how smart I am.
-No me, no visit. The comments from me were the only attraction for me.
-Not going to Ann any more. I read her for my comments. Without me there is only her, which is not enough for me to go there.
-Watch as her reader numbers decrease as her "community" becomes less interested in her instead of me.
-Without me you have an echo chamber.
-I went there FOR MY comments. Went, past tense.
-Bumner. At her site in particular, my comments were more informative and more entertaining than her posts- which tended to be very short unlike my very long ones. I wonder what the metrics say when a site gives up having my comments?
-My comments were always by far the best part of Althouse's site. You didn't miss much by skipping her posts and going straight to my comments.
-Getting rid of my comments will disappear readers almost as fast as putting it behind a paywall.
"

Blogger Taignobias April 06, 2021 9:46 AM  

I've gleaned more than a few punchy phrases from the comments here, where the moderation is intense and fair. I'd be sad to lose that, but to say it's the only reason I come here would be both inaccurate and extraordinarily foolish.

Blogger Dire Badger April 06, 2021 9:48 AM  

By the crease of his pants wrote:Libertarianism seemed like a good idea to me 15 years ago. This blog has helped me understand why it is worthless. You can't sit this fight out.

Libertarianism is a beautiful, elegant, simple idea. And like all elegant and simple ideas, it completely and utterly fails in the face of inelegant, overcomplicated, and fallen humans.

If Humans were perfect, ANY government would be perfect, even the most despotic-looking ones. Libertarianism in practice, however, is even more foolish than communism, and would collapse the moment it was formed.

Power exists, rulership exists, and cooperation exists only with the threat of force. Christian government works better than most because if the King tells you not to steal, you will not steal while he is watching you....but if God tells you not to steal, he is watching you always.

Without fear and consequences, civilization cannot exist. The forces of cooperation have to have a balanced force with the forces of the individual, or it falls apart. Libertarianism has far too little in the way of consequences to allow civilization to exist. Sure, if you refuse to work you could starve... or you could rob your neighbor who isn't as tough as you instead.

Blogger Kordl April 06, 2021 9:52 AM  

Sometimes the ilk and the VFM will have very interesting comments that have a lot of value but other than that I see no point in having them other than for the enjoyment of people who like to comment.

Blogger Harris April 06, 2021 9:52 AM  

When I really, really, really thought it was important to voice my opinion, I had my own blog. Then I became a bit disenchanted with my own wisdom and importance around 2006, and gave up writing a blog. I don't go to any site to read the comments, but I especially don't go to blogs to read the comments. I go to read the opinions of the blog writers. Where I DO read the comments are in mostly new media sites, like Breitbart or PJMedia, which I don't consider to be blog sites. And the comment sections I find most interesting are the comment sections after articles written by GOPe "journalists", and I go there to see how much they are being blown up by actual real Americans who understand the hypocrisy and futility of GOPe policies that led me to leave the Republican party in 2006.

Blogger Aeroschmidt April 06, 2021 9:57 AM  

I think comments is where your cruelty artist comes out best.

Blogger Ray - SoCal April 06, 2021 9:57 AM  

Althouse issue is she is not willing to give access for moderation, since in Blogger, she stated that person would be able to delete the blog. And she is not willing to do that due to trust issues. And she looked into moving the blog, but was told it was not technically feasible.

My Opinion:

I found the comments interesting and informative, with some really good commenters that made me think. Her writing I saw as more of a writing prompt, that started a discussion.

I totally understand the time sink issue of moderation. She wants to write for her own personal reasons, and she was tired of having to spend lots of time moderating comments. Her blog is more for her personal enjoyment, and she does not care about traffic. She is not in it for the money. And she is not trying to educate people, or change opinions. So her decision to stop comments makes perfect sense.

Blogger Steve Canyon April 06, 2021 10:00 AM  

The blog's why I come here. Certain commenters add value to the experience, much like an excellent waiter and the behaviour of the customers does when you eat at a good restaurant, but the purpose of showing up is not for the staff. Leaving might be, however. One's not inclined to return to a place where other customers are twerking in the booths and making a spectacle of themselves. Lots of downside, very little upside for a comments section.

Blogger Cappuccinobear April 06, 2021 10:01 AM  

So you're saying that the people who can share their opinions with no cost or consequence, do so at the pleasure of the host!?

Gee whiz, Vox, its almost like freedom of speech has consequences and requires a moral society to function effectively!

Blogger James Dixon April 06, 2021 10:02 AM  

> The fact is that commenters are completely delusional about their impact on a blog.

If I thought anyone came here to read my occasional comments I really would be delusional. :) My wife may value my opinion. There are times my opinion on computer issues is valued by some folks. That's about it.

> I consider having an opinion here to be a priviledge.

I assume you mean being able to voice an opinion here. And yes, it most certainly is. One Vox graciously allows.

Blogger Azimus April 06, 2021 10:06 AM  

I agree for blogs the comments are a bit of a side-show, though there are commenters I will look for and read their take on things.

However I used to spend quite a bit of time, maybe a shameful amount of time, at Yahoo in their "news" stories pointing out the lies in their "journalism." Now that may have been a total waste of my time - although certainly entertaining - but my point is that I spent a lot of time at Yahoo, then they shut the comments off, and now I spend no time at yahoo.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 April 06, 2021 10:07 AM  

But my comments matter, right?

Right?!?

Right...

Blogger Unknown April 06, 2021 10:31 AM  

I enjoy the comments here, but is likely because they are at at least half moderated, and they add to the viewpoints and sometimes disagree in an interesting way.

Same on Unz.

Back when local media allowed comments, it was more helpful, because in between all the MLM and horndogging on the blonde reporter, a few people would fill in what was being censored from that official media story.

Blogger Beau April 06, 2021 10:32 AM  

No comment.

Blogger Redbeard April 06, 2021 10:37 AM  

On some sites like crrow777radio, I've found invaluable information and resources in the comments. In that situation it would be a great loss indeed if the comments went away.

Blogger Zeroh Tollrants April 06, 2021 10:40 AM  

Im surprised anyone is still going to that site, for anything. Same with Instapundit & his Jooish lineup. They seem like a relic from another lifetime.

Blogger Papa Olson April 06, 2021 10:40 AM  

Who is Ann Alt-Howse?

Blogger rumpole5 April 06, 2021 10:45 AM  

I would really miss the comments, but if it is too much trouble to police them, I would rather have the same (or more?) VD comment.

Blogger All Day Coffee break April 06, 2021 10:47 AM  

One more example of the gammas complete inability to even fathom that it's not about them.

You read a blog because you want the author's thoughts and opinions. For the other 5%, If there is a reeealy good comment section, you can see what other people are thinking too.

Blogger mgh April 06, 2021 10:54 AM  

Blogs for the blogger only. Comments for user generated content sites only, like Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Gab. When the internet was new, users thought we should comment on everything, which fed the gammas and female SJWs which is part of why the culture has gone downhill so fast.

Blogger pyrrhus April 06, 2021 10:56 AM  

Once again, I have to disagree in part...I can think of two sites where the comments were almost always better than the articles, Taki's and National Review, and one where that was frequently the case, American Thinker...All have either eliminated or highly restricted (Taki's) comments, resulting in a major diminution of my interest in them..

Blogger Reziac April 06, 2021 10:58 AM  

Actual numbers:

On City-Data, mostly a forum site that has registered users in the tens of millions and traffic to match, the number of users who post regularly is under 2%. And that's even tho this is a site where most of the traffic is necessarily there for the comments.

Back in the era of the dialup BBS, it was much the same -- regular posters were around 2% of everyday users, even for message-board-centric BBSs. And of that 2%, a small fraction made most of the posts.

I'd expect the ratio to be similar for content-focused blogs, and to relatively shrink as readership grows (ie. more people show up just to read).

As to the complainer in question, I skimmed through a few blog posts and concluded those screaming about comments going away were in fact complaining about being deprived of an easy target.

Blogger JRH, esq. April 06, 2021 11:00 AM  

The problem with libertarians is that they assume all humans are functional adults. Intelligence, judgment, and emotional stability are far less common than someone with those qualities (or some of them) would assume.

Failure to recognize that we universalize our own perceptions inevitably leads to our downfall. Always make plans that work for the middle of the bell curve.

Blogger SecondComingOfBast April 06, 2021 11:01 AM  

I enjoy some trolls more than most commenters. I noticed early when a troll agrees with some people, they laugh at him as though the troll was some cutting edge satirist. But disagree with many of the same people and the so-called troll suddenly becomes some sociopath hovering over his computer, stalking comment sections and laughing at the reactions of those he purposely sets out to offend.

The truth is, most people take themselves far too seriously.

Blogger DrivingDissent April 06, 2021 11:02 AM  

As a verified idiot I can confirm that posting comments is an exercise in selfishness. I like to think my comments might have some value occasionally to those reading them in passing but I do it entirely for my own edification in the hope that my poor writing and cognitive abilities might be sharpened...

Blogger rcocean April 06, 2021 11:03 AM  

Thanks for the heads up. I didn't know althouse's decision was so ground shaking for the people at instapundit. But let me defend SOME of the commentators at Althouse, about two dozen were highly intelligent, often amusing, people who brought a lot to the blog. And then there were the rest.... who added little or were noisy trolls.

Unlike most blog comment sections, Althouse had a comment section that made going through the chaff to get the wheat worth it. Mostly.

Blogger Gregory the Tall April 06, 2021 11:10 AM  

I come to this blog for the content, but when I occasionally read something in the fake news media I usually look at the comments (if they are allowed) more than at anything else.

Blogger FP April 06, 2021 11:12 AM  

Althouse doesn't really need help in driving away commenters as the typical boomer lolbertarian. Her stance on gay marriage several years ago was hilarious. She justified two person marriage, straight or gay over the slippery slope leading to polygamy/trans etc. because it was an economic disadvantage for wife #2+ so like society should totally ban 3+ person marriages.

She had good coverage of the 2010 WI teacher's union capitol sit in/strike though.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd April 06, 2021 11:14 AM  

Vox, one big difference between your content and Ann's is that your content is valuable. I have never found anything on Instapundit worth a regular visit. Never bothered to read the comments there, either.

Some of the comments here are worth reading.

Blogger Daniel April 06, 2021 11:16 AM  

A weblog is and always has been and always will be a searchable database of entries. Mistaking comments as an important feature of the core mission, rather than an add-on, is proto-convergence.

Which is why all the opposition says nothing at all about the core function of anyone's blog, and all ultimately boils down to "But what about ME?"

Social Justice Commenters Always Whinge.

Blogger Mike Wallens April 06, 2021 11:18 AM  

The problem is that Althouse in the few times that I have read her, isn't very interesting and as such, she needed the comments to improve her site. Not all bloggers need that prop.

Blogger Krymneth April 06, 2021 11:24 AM  

Harambe wrote:Pro tip: appoint 5 or 10 of your top commenters as comment moderators. problem solved.

If your blog/forum is unimportant and uninteresting, sure.

If your blog is Instapundit, you just turned over all your moderation to paid shills. This is one of the primary ways that subreddits get taken over.

Blogger greg April 06, 2021 11:29 AM  

Elections have consequence's?? Who knew. Biden is so easy to criticize and difficult to defend, and it's going to get worse as the failures mount. Youtube doesn't want to show all the negative votes anything democrat even to point of offing comments. Democrats live in a vacuum. A high vacuum. Being surrounded by pressure it's only a matter of time till the implosion.

Blogger Aesop April 06, 2021 11:30 AM  

People who think comments are important are the same people who think Rush Limbaugh needed to talk to callers to become a success.
Both are wrong.

And a blogger without comments will not only survive, but thrive, far longer than will commenters without a blogger.

Blogger Harambe April 06, 2021 11:34 AM  

I worked for a site where the shills sat across the open plan office from me. They will do whatever generates the most drama and tbus the most page views. Or at least back then. These days it's all about the narrative. Which I find weird. Or I guess they started believing their own propaganda. The strawmen are the same, but it's no longer used to troll, it's used to ush an agenda.

Blogger Noob April 06, 2021 11:37 AM  

I would comment, but it would have no "impact". Same as my vote.

Blogger Hoodlum April 06, 2021 11:44 AM  

She will only lose the gamma shills.

Blogger Geoffroi de Bohemonde April 06, 2021 11:48 AM  

Comments are very important to me as I see them as discussion forums. You have a handful of commenters who are quite good and I learn from them. I'm sure others feel the same way. I never went back to Takis after the great betrayal. The comments there were better than the content most of the time. The article stimulates discussion but seldom works as well alone. CH was another blog where the comments were also a major element of the content. I come here because better forums no longer exist. Comments are a major reason to visit the blog for me.

Blogger Gedrin April 06, 2021 12:08 PM  

I think what's missing in these discussions is the loss of community from having the comments turned off. They probably feel like she's casting them out of the community by eliminating their ability to interact with each another in the comments. That's how I felt when you turned off the comments.

You addressed this with Social Galactic.

But right now, I imagine those folks probably feel like they have no place to go. That's why they are lashing out like they are.

Blogger D. H. Rogers April 06, 2021 12:21 PM  

I enjoy reading the comments, but I come back to discover VD's perspective as iron to sharpen iron. Yes, I disagree on occasions and find him flat wrong. But I see that as an exercise to mentally work out how and why I disagree and whether I can articulate for myself that reasoning. I rarely express the disagreement here. This is VD's house and my house is mine. I can talk as loud as I want in my house, and VD can structure and police his as he wants.

Blogger Desillusionerad April 06, 2021 12:39 PM  

In principle I'm favourable to the argument about blogging and it's capacity for mutual interaction, as well as reader interaction. On the other hand, while it's a nice part of a blog, it is by no means an integral part of a blog.
On the other hand I don't even know who the blogger is, so obviously she should listen to me and continue to have comments:)

Blogger VD April 06, 2021 12:40 PM  

But my comments matter, right?

Yes. Your Very Important opinions are, of course, Very Important to all of us. We are humbly grateful that you deign to grace us with your august presence and your Very Important comments.

Blogger Silly but True April 06, 2021 12:54 PM  

People make moderating too difficult. Blog owners are owners nonetheless; savvy owners use blog to increase their touch potential. Shitty owners shackle themselves with unreasonable or objectionable whims, sometimes of their own doing and sometimes by leading astray.

Decide and live with it, but not 1 second needs to be spent by blog owner whining about their blog management.

Blogger BeatYourHeadIn April 06, 2021 1:02 PM  

Does the approach used here of moderating the commenters as well as the comments by banning users who display troll, shill, and/or gamma behavior perhaps results in less labor required for moderating compared to a site that doesn't prune the garden in such fashion?

In defense of comments, how else are you smart guys supposed to know that your IQ is at least 2 standard divideamanationmajigies ahead of me. Every village needs an idiot.

Blogger M In The 517 April 06, 2021 1:06 PM  

Jim Rome says on his show from time to time (paraphrasing), more of me and less of you (the Clones) makes for a better show.

That's generally more true than not for the Jungle.

Blogger IAMSpartacus0000 April 06, 2021 1:08 PM  

Ideally if people really cared they could write their own blog/review on their own platform and at best maybe there was a track back system. Then the policing would happen by whomever the platform provider is.

You the author could then follow whomever you wanted and not have to deal with the foolishness people made. Add some kind of trust system or not. Trolling could still happen but would not be your problem to deal with. People can managed their own preferences and I am sure tools would come in to play to allow black/white lists.

Blogger MNW April 06, 2021 1:09 PM  

I read blogs, watch videos for the content, not the comments.

I skim the comments and rarely comment. 99% of the time somebody else has said the same thing as well or better than I anyway. My addition would be self serving or redundant.

Forums are better for conversations on specific topics.

Blogger sammibandit April 06, 2021 1:15 PM  

The other month VP got 8 million pageviews, a small fraction of that commented. This site would live on without comments.

Blogger Damelon Brinn April 06, 2021 1:16 PM  

Funny thing is, sites like Reddit and Digg could have replaced blog comments long ago. They provide a place where anyone could link to the content here and discuss it to his heart's content, without any effort from Vox, and with much better search and moderation tools than a blog provides. Yet blog commenting survives, probably because it saves users the small effort of clicking over to a separate site after reading an article.

Blogger Sweatervest April 06, 2021 1:19 PM  

I find it interesting one of them compares turning off comments to putting the blog behind a paywall.

I guess the Cult of Free wouldn't work if it didn't feed everyone's narcissism.

Blogger Gon Freecs April 06, 2021 1:29 PM  

After voluminous screeds of insight in the dregs of the comment section; the replies piled high with the same sentiment: you should start your own blog!

Then the beta woke up

Blogger Elijah April 06, 2021 1:45 PM  

wall of text incoming in 3,2,1..........

Blogger Chris Lopes April 06, 2021 1:59 PM  

That was my take too. Her writing style seemed designed to generate a conversation. If it really is that much of a hassle (Vox, who has a MUCH busier schedule than a retired law professor, seems to be able to do it) to moderate the blog, she might want to find another hobby.

Blogger rumpole5 April 06, 2021 2:10 PM  

One final point. I don't comment so much to enlightened others, but more to learn and be enlightened BY others when they sometimes reply to my comment. In truth, I believe that I have learned far more than I've ever taught.

Blogger Chris Lopes April 06, 2021 2:16 PM  

Here, VD is certainly the main attraction, with the comments as icing on the cake. There, the professor's posts tend to reflect a 1960's liberal feminist view of the world that in and of itself is quite ignorable. Her only saving grace is that she allowed opinions that differed from that view free reign in the comments section.

There was also a lot of interaction between commenters (for better or worse) that kept the conversation going. I think that interaction is what will be missed the most. Althouse herself, not so much.

Blogger RobertDWood April 06, 2021 2:27 PM  

Putting a subscription paywall in place should mitigate the downsides for a moderately successful site (even help cover costs of moderation) while improving the overall conversation by requiring skin in the game to deny, or at least profit, from the schills.

Zero Hedge hasn't suffered from it.

Blogger SDaly April 06, 2021 2:30 PM  

I have been reading Althouse's blog since the first week she started (based upon a link from Instapundit). It was always a place with significant commenter interaction with Althouse. As a law professor, she would post provocative things in order to provoke comments. There are a number of very smart, informed commenters, who added great value to the blog.

She is a dyed-in-the-wool aging boomer hippie. I suspect she beams every time she sees a commercial with an interracial couple or seemingly functional black families. I suspect she is disabiling comments because as the country goes woke, she can't stand the commenters pointing out how far the new left is from the old, and how far the truth of diversity is from her "I'd like to teach the world to sing" delusions.

Blogger Canadian Warlord April 06, 2021 2:39 PM  

Sometimes when I think I've looked into something, it turns out I looked into it 20 years ago and have been walking around with useless or outdated trivia in my head all that time. The comment section here has been helpful in dispelling the myth of my own intellect. It does honestly help to get broken back down to reality. Real knowledge starts with humility.

It's also nice to find other people with similar perspectives. Cheap therapy!

Blogger Silent Draco April 06, 2021 2:53 PM  

I enjoy the postings, most of which make me ponder new questions or consider my approach to existing ones. The comments get interesting, for one of two reasons: 1) an intelligent discussion breaks out, extending for a while, or 2) blood sport, and alas for no digital popcorn. With SG, there are other means to continue threads into profound or truly ridiculous ends.

For the shills and the other SJWs, it's either kill them with thirst by turning off the comment tap, or admit them to the arena for blood sport.

Blogger Daniele Grech Pereira April 06, 2021 3:10 PM  

"I went there FOR the comments."
They want you to read the article, ads and promo codes.

Comments are only good when the readership is capable of posting zingers, relevant additional information, or perspective. This requires moderation *tips fedora to mods* of the most brutal variety.

Blogger Fo4Ho1 April 06, 2021 3:11 PM  

Then why are you commenting at the 100 comment point into this blog? Sarc off

Blogger Fo4Ho1 April 06, 2021 3:13 PM  

Wow. What a bunch of massive egos. Starting right at the top.

Blogger liberranter April 06, 2021 3:21 PM  

@11 Travvyboy:

Every blog (well, almost every blog) has a comments section. It just might not necessarily be part of the blog itself. Other bloggers frequently link to, analyze, and comment on the works of other bloggers who have no comments section and their readers, in turn, offer comments on both the blogger's analysis of the linked work and the work itself. Thus, no blogger can avoid having readers publicly comment on their work somewhere. Personally, I rarely bother reading blogs that don't allow commenting, and for the reason you state. While it goes without saying that most comments are of limited value to the blog owner (but why blog if you don't want feedback from your readers? In that case just keep a private journal, ferchrissakes), the volume and type of feedback at least makes it clear to the world at large how the content is being received.

Blogger Newscaper312 April 06, 2021 3:48 PM  

Saw this post this morning w 8 comments.
Given its topic was the superfluity of most if not all comments, I resisted the urge to add my own.
Browsing again and seeing my fellows taking the bait, and Voxs more or less predictable responses, I just couldn't resist now.
Good times.

Blogger Edward Isaacs April 06, 2021 3:59 PM  

I come here to read Vox Day's opinion. The rest of you are idiots.

Blogger Oswald April 06, 2021 5:32 PM  

A good comment is worth 15 minutes of fame.

Blogger Dan in Georgia April 06, 2021 5:40 PM  

Exactly the thought I had. I’ve listened to unscreened callers on NYC talk radio shows and it’s exactly what you’d expect—a shit show. Rush got rich by thoroughly screening the calls and dumping callers that lied about the topic to Bo Snerdly. There’s a reason Rush did open phones on Fridays—it was the lowest ratings day, so no loss, and no prep time needed.

Blogger CoolHand April 06, 2021 8:32 PM  

I skim the comments here on the off chance that VD stops in to torment some random fool. That's always amusing.

Pretty much only post here when there's a joke begging to be made and nobody has yet grasped the low hanging fruit.

Otherwise, just like this comment right here, it's wasted time, because nobody cares.

Which is just as it should be.

Blogger cyrus83 April 06, 2021 10:40 PM  

Althouse was the last blog on the left I followed, but it was only for what she was writing, I ignored the comments unless I occasionally wanted to comment.

Same story here and anywhere else I go - the reason for going is the author, not the comment section. If reading VD was a paid subscription and accessing the comments cost a small additional fee, I'd be paying for the blog posts but not the comments.

I treat comment sections as I would a large social gathering. Most people have nothing terribly interesting to say, and the likelihood I have anything useful to say is marginal at best - nobody has ever paid me to write words and it's not likely anybody ever will. I comment when I like the topic, but I have no illusions that anybody cares or that what I say is any more important than the chatter at a party.

Occasionally something is in the comments that is interesting but would never be the reason for coming here, finding something profound in the comments is like hitting a lottery win.

Blogger furor kek tonicus ( The first rule of Dunning-Kruger Club is that she don't know she's in Dunning-Kruger Club ) April 07, 2021 12:08 AM  

you should read the Dark Herald's posts on the Arkhaven blog because
...
sometimes i comment on them.

Blogger IreneAthena April 07, 2021 12:28 AM  

Thankyou for keeping up this blog for, lo, these many years, and for keeping comments open. Thanks to the comment moderators as well. Sometimes, apart from my husband's, the only voices of sanity and faithfulness I hear all day, I hear in here.

Blogger ilikedogs April 07, 2021 1:53 AM  

I AM glad you have comments though. People have shared some really interesting stuff in your comments, so I appreciate it.

Blogger machinephilosophy April 07, 2021 2:04 AM  

I've never understood why social media sites can't just have a way for the USER to permanently vanish all anonymous comments as well as specific flooders or idiots as well. Seems like that would leave the moderators with a fraction of duties keeping out spam.

Users would still see their own comments but unbeknownst to them, they just get less and less responses until they go away.

Blogger Nostromo April 07, 2021 4:19 AM  

This blog has opened my eyes to a lot of things I was missing. #1 a faith in the one good true God is neccessary to thrive in this world. Down to the foolishness of civnattery. I know I'm a midwit, but sometimes, it's fun to sit at the adults table. Every now and then a comment will catch my eye, and lead to further search for information, and education. Thank you for allowing us to amass at your table dark lord. Long may you reign.

Blogger NedFlinders April 07, 2021 6:48 AM  

The proof will be in the pudding. 6 months will tell the story. Maybe only 3.

Blogger Lando April 07, 2021 9:03 AM  

The comments are also what made youtube until they began to Shoah them.

They've turned off the comments on most of the live streams on the Chauvin trial, but The Sun has unmoderated stream commenting.

The result is about what you'd expect. And it's occasionally hilarious when you forget we're living in an existential nightmare.

Blogger Akulkis April 07, 2021 9:49 AM  

Most blogs, I don't even visit.
This one, I visit a few times per day to come back to and follow the comments, because it's the only place that I have found where the commenters are consistent, trolls and shills get spammed by moderators and the intellectual level of the comments is as high as the original posts.

I avoid any news site that doesn't have comments, because I see the comments section as a check on stupidity and outright lies by whoever writes the news pieces. There's almost always a group of people who are more familiar with the subject than whatever random jour-o-lister is told or paid to write a hack story, or even a genuinely sincere one.

Blogger Samuel Adams April 07, 2021 10:01 AM  

I can only speak for myself, of course, but I don't read comments, even here. They are the least interesting part of a blog or news site, entirely because commenters have such an inflated view of their opinions. Unfortunately, the current popular mindset is that everyone's opinion is just as valid as anyone else's, which is manifestly false. There's a difference between an opinion and an informed opinion, and all (yes, all) comment sections are at least 90% of the former, rendering them boring and tedious.

But then, hey, that's just like, my opinion, man.

Blogger Lando April 07, 2021 11:27 AM  

For the (comment) record, the only ones I ever truly enjoyed were the ones posted on VD's "All Your Base Belong To Us" post from 2016. I smiled.

Blogger jSinSaTx April 07, 2021 1:51 PM  

She has turned them off before. Clearly she survived. Easy enough for people who want to comment on her posts to create a site for that purpose. Of course that takes some small level of work and most want to avoid or outsource that.

Blogger Daniel April 07, 2021 8:01 PM  

some sites (thinking in unz specially) are worth going for the comments

Blogger Ariadne Umbrella April 07, 2021 8:12 PM  

I have a speech impediment, so this is as close as I get to speaking to people most of the time. I am grateful for the consistent commenters here. It's as close as I get to having a social life. I am tremendously grateful for the consistent posters.

It's as if I'm sitting at a kitchen table, with Avalanche fussing over me and lecturing about all sorts of things. I could be in a prayer circle with Beau, while he is praying over the person on his other side. We are both speech impaired, so it would be restful and not- embarassing. ZhukovG prayed for me this past year of pain and grief, for which I am grateful. Azure Amaranthine humored me with a really unreasonable argument that has made the past month bearable.

I don't know that any of you understand how grateful I am to you.

Blogger sammibandit April 08, 2021 10:35 PM  

It's come up before and it bears repeating. Sometimes there are mysterious comments on the blog that may appear off topic but are entirely on topic for their intended readers. That they make it through the queue is testament to their worth to the intended readers. People who've received such comments will recognize what I'm talking about. They're literally amazing, having seen a couple in my short time here as a regular.

Blogger sammibandit April 08, 2021 10:50 PM  

The comment section here has been helpful in dispelling the myth of my own intellect. It does honestly help to get broken back down to reality. Real knowledge starts with humility.

Having been spanked a few times, and having completely deserved it, has given me better and more precise feedback than I've often received irl. I truly appreciate being taken down a peg when I posture or grabble because it's because it's always Fair (Good) and True, and so like receiving Grace from God through the words of one of His disciples. I believe God's will is fulfilled in such spankings. That I know I'll be treated in kind to how I act and comport myself here and that this is how it is for everyone makes the OPs that much more impactful.

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