Jeffrey LewisComments

I am thinking over the whole “comments” policy. Comments on the topic of comments are welcome.


  1. Bill Robinson (History)

    What exactly is your comments policy? Discovered your site a week or two ago, by the way, and greatly appreciate it. Thanks for the work you put into it.
    – Bill

  2. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    In a word, inchoate.

    I’d like people to post corrections, questions and helpful links. I do not want folks to be rude or, frankly, share just any old opinion that comes along.

    Funny is alright, as long as the comment actually is funny.

  3. Pavel Podvig (History)

    It’s easy then – just screen the comments.

  4. Greg (History)

    so you’re not really looking for comments noting your bizarre overuse of the word “inchoate” or your irrational fear of bold text?

  5. moonbiter (History)

    I’m like comments and the community participation they can provide, but on the other hand you may be setting yourself up for a world of pain. Personally, I’d rather you spend your time on your good work writing about the issues than dealing with issues like comment spam, trolls, etc. So I’m not going to get too upset if you don’t.

    I don’t doubt other folks would understand as well.

  6. moonbiter (History)
  7. Anders Widebrant (History)

    I read for the content, not the comments. Were I in your place, I’d turn them off and hope that anyone with a significant correction or addition (or joke) would send me an e-mail.

    That way, I wouldn’t have to worry about losing the deliciously insane comments, either.

  8. Mark Gubrud (History)

    Comments are not visible on the main page. You have to click on “comment” just to see what’s there. Anyone who does so must have too much time on their hands.

    Most of your articles don’t get commented on. If one does get a lot of comments, that’s an indication that there is some significant level of dissent or concern about something. Of course, one individual could post a zillion comments on an article to attract attention. You can defeat that by consolidating them, as you seem to have done (this could in principle be automated).

    Here is a suggested policy:

    (1) Comments that are clearly intended to be offensive or vulgar or that have no discernable relationship to the subject of the original post are not allowed and may be removed entirely or in part.

    (2) Comments that express anger or disgust at a post or its subject are allowed, but are subject to the language provisions of (1), and should at least (but are not required to) indicate some reason(s) for the reaction.

    (3) Comments will not be edited, except to delete sections in violation of (1), with an indication, e.g. [deleted by moderator].

    (4) Anyone is allowed to comment, but you reserve the right to block people (by identity or IP) who repeatedly post in violation of (1).

  9. dan (History)

    Having posted the world’s best comment ever a few months ago, I think comments should be shut down. No one will ever top it; why bother trying? You’re just setting the nice people up for failure.

    And incidentally, this was posted at 9:54, not 8:54.

  10. praktike (History)

    As a lurker who rarely comments, I suggest you ditch ‘em altogether and rely on trackbacks for feedback. People don’t troll so much via trackback because they feel responsible for the quality of their own site, and if someone has an important fact or correction they can just email you. Otherwise, you will need to occassionally waste your time on policing your comments section.

  11. Sherri (History)

    I can’t really say about your site, since I just subbed to it when you began guest-blogging for Defense Tech. But in general, I prefer comments being available.

    I only comment every once in a while, but if I’m interested enough in an excerpt to click on it, there’s a good chance I’ll read the comments (at least skimming over them).

    I don’t mind having to use those graphic numbers to prove I’m not a bot, or the lag-time for screening. I realize that’s necessary to prevent spam and trolls.

    Anyway, I’m enjoying your articles so far.