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Posted by on Mar 29, 2010 in At TMV | 151 comments

Discontinuing Self-Published Reader Comments

While many of our readers publish comments that are constructive and well-mannered, we are experiencing a growing number of comments that are mean-spirited, foul-mouthed, ad hominem attacks. The frequency of the latter now requires approximately two hours every day of monitoring and mediation, in keeping with our comments policy. That’s too much time — for anyone — to spend on such activity, especially at an all-volunteer blog like this one.

Of course, we could just do away with our comments policy and ignore the bad behavior, although doing so tends to generate even more complaints and takes up even more time. Alternatively, we could ban the most persistently offensive commenters, and we have done so, on rare occasion. But lately, it seems, there’s always another offensive commenter to fill the void.

And so, after carefully considering this reality, evaluating options, reaching out to other bloggers and readers for their opinions, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue readers’ self-published comments on a three-month trial basis, starting in the late evening of Tuesday this week, March 30. After that date, TMV authors who wish to continue receiving reader comments will provide a way for readers to contact them. Here’s the approach I’ll use, as one example …

Do you have a perspective or related information to share on this topic? Email me at abel-DOT-reply-AT-gmail-DOT-com. Please write “TMV Comment” in the subject line. I won’t be able to respond to all such emails, but I will occasionally publish follow-up posts, featuring the reader feedback that I find the most germane, compelling and/or persuasive – including feedback that disagrees with my conclusions.

Thank you.

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