New Blog Moderation Policy

There has been a lot of toxicity in the comments section of this blog. Recently, we’re having to delete more and more comments. Not just spam and off-topic comments, but also sniping and personal attacks. It’s gotten so bad that I need to do something.

My options are limited because I’m just one person, and this website is free, ad-free, and anonymous. I pay for a part-time moderator out of pocket; he isn’t able to constantly monitor comments. And I’m unwilling to require verified accounts.

So starting now, we will be pre-screening comments and letting through only those that 1) are on topic, 2) contribute to the discussion, and 3) don’t attack or insult anyone. The standard is not going to be “well, I guess this doesn’t technically quite break a rule,” but “is this actually contributing.”

Obviously, this is a subjective standard; sometimes good comments will accidentally get thrown out. And the delayed nature of the screening will result in less conversation and more disjointed comments. Those are costs, and they’re significant ones. But something has to be done, and I would like to try this before turning off all comments.

I am going to disable comments on the weekly squid posts. Topicality is too murky on an open thread, and these posts are especially hard to keep on top of.

Comments will be reviewed and published when possible, usually in the morning and evening. Sometimes it will take longer. Again, the moderator is part time, so please be patient.

I apologize to all those who have just kept commenting reasonably all along. But I’ve received three e-mails in the past couple of months about people who have given up on comments because of the toxicity.

So let’s see if this works. I’ve been able to maintain an anonymous comment section on this blog for almost twenty years. It’s kind of astounding that it’s worked as long as it has. Maybe its time is up.