Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Change in Commenting Policy

The other day, I got a bill for my hosting service in my email. The next email was a notice of a comment accusing me of lying and attacking my family and religion. The comment had nothing to say about the issue raised in the blog post under which it was made, beyond (I suppose) that an lying Catholic like me with a family that ought to be ashamed of me . . . such a worthless person cannot be trusted to have a valid point about city government?

When I started this blog, I was somewhat of an absolutist on freedom of commenting. I realized that dumb comments were going to come, but unless they were absolutely appallingly, beyond all limits racist or something of the sort, or illegal, I was going to allow them. Words are only words, after all, and readers can be trusted to discern the valid from the hateful. Plus, I wanted to avoid the burden of judging in the gray areas.

I've finally changed my mind. Really, really dumb and hateful comments don't advance the discourse at all, and I don't want to pay money to serve as their host anymore. I still want to host the opinions that differ from mine, and I'm more than happy to host someone who feels the need to call me a hypocrite if I'm being hypocritical, or even an idiot if I'm being idiotic, but keep it on point, and tie it to the topic (yes, I'm providing instructions on how to insult me). And the same goes to others - if you want to criticize someone, provide a reason - the pure personal attack is no longer welcome.

Personally, I've developed a thick enough skin that it doesn't really bother me. But the attacks sometimes bother others, and they serve no real purpose. Also, I had a commenter with whom I frequently disagree email on Thursday that s/he loves the debate, but it is getting harder to follow with a few commenters clogging the threads with mean and obnoxious behavior. I had to agree, so I'm going to start clearing the brush when I have a few moments.

So far, in the 5+ years I've had this blog, I haven't had to delete more than 5 or 6 comments, and I hope not to change that pace much. But two of the deletions occurred this week, and I don't want to let this blog get ruined by a few commenters without any sense of decorum.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you.

12/13/2008 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Sophia said...

Can I still use dirty words? Pretty please?

As for clearing out the trash, may I recommend ctrl+f "beth" for that poster who pulls Gottstein into everything? It's not offensive, but it has gone on so long it's creepy.

12/13/2008 10:53 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Hell yes, Sophia! You're one of the best commenters here, and I'd hate to restrict your vocabulary.

(I hope my post didn't sound too broad - I really only want to put an end to the stuff that is either totally abusive without content, or uselessly offensive. I don't intend to change my habits much.)

12/13/2008 11:03 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

I know what you mean...I had to turn on comment moderation early in my blog because of some people who just think they have the right to take over someone else's blog with racist statements or other drivel that does nothing but inflame.

Good luck with your policy.

12/13/2008 11:31 AM  
Anonymous inafunkaboutthefunk said...

Is this the reason you didn't reply to my questioning of you the other day? You are allowed to be questioned, right? You are not always right... like let's say someone like the Funk? Are you?

One of my posts you pulled down and the rest you left unanswered... and my comments were mostly related to having you answer what some other, usually respected blogger, pointed out.

And for the record, as heated as my comments can sometimes be, I don't think I have ever accused you of being a liar (delusional and reality avoiding yes) and would never criticize you or belittle you for being a Catholic first because religion is not an issue that relates to why I post comments and second because being a Catholic does make you a good or bad person meriting criticism on that ground at all or at least not for any reason I could
think of. And, using the Squid's defense... in my home, my parents would have knocked me around til my teeth chattered if I uttered/cast such a slur. Actually, they would have looked at me like I lost my mind which is how I and many others look at the Squid.

All this being said, can you prove me wrong (that you are not a duck) and respond to the comments I made about posts that were not even my own?

12/13/2008 5:04 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Honestly, Inafunk, I don't read your comments very often. I know that sounds awful assholish, and perhaps it is, but I've seen you most often trying to bait people and call people names. Stuff like calling Gloria Squitiro "Squid" - it's not what I'm interested in, and you're not paying me to do it, so why bother? It's kind of undignified to even address stuff like that.

I went back and looked at your comments calling me a "duck" - because I did not respond to a commentator on an old post while I was at work.

Of course you are welcome to question me, and I hope you understand that I get to choose whether to respond to you. If you're raising valid points and I have the time, I'd love to engage in a good discussion with you.

12/13/2008 5:29 PM  
Blogger Muddy Mo said...

A wise decision, Dan.

12/13/2008 7:59 PM  
Anonymous inafunkaboutthefunk said...

In yet another clever way, you have ducked the issue. Enjoy your day...

Oh by the way, your observation leads to another question which, I am afraid, you will duck again.

Numerous depositions seem to make me believe that Gloria Squitiro created an environment at the Mayor's Office filled with sexual innuendos. She called them innocent.. I believe that there was enough sworn testimony from people who had no vested interest in the outcome of the Bates Lawsuit to lead a reasonable person, not a duck, to believe she created an inappropriate and in my opinion hostile work environment. This confirms to me that creating a name that describes her as a vile loathsome creature is appropriate.

How do you feel about the way the sworn testimony from innocent bystanders made her out to be? Would you like your children to be raised in this type of environment? Civil enough? Worthy of a reply?

As we say... duck duck goose... you're it :)

12/13/2008 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Sophia said...

Inafunk... your posts are tiresome. I try to read them, but quickly begin to skim. I'm not entirely unsympathetic to what I gather is your point of view, but I can't think of anyone on the internet who does a shittier job of presenting that view than you do.

Just something to think about!

12/13/2008 8:21 PM  
Anonymous Porchpundit said...

Dan the comments have gotten worse on your blog in direct relationship to your unrealistic and fawning defense of Funkhouser and Squitiro ... among others.

Cause and Effect.

12/13/2008 10:25 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Dan, what the fuck is with this new commenting policy?


12/13/2008 10:31 PM  
Anonymous inafunkaboutthefunk said...

Sorry to disappoint you, Sophia. I comment on what I observe and call out those who drift into fantasy land. People who duck the truth are no friends of the blog world. Although, at the same time, they are entitled to their point of view.

Other than this, sorry I won't change my presentation to accommodate you... I may get carried away with the names I make up for the various miscreants and my adjectives may at times speak to loudly but all in all I think I present a truthful realistic version of the events and people I comment on.

I can't say that for some of the other people who post comments. Maybe are clever and sneaky... or think they are. Some are okay and have good intentions. The rest are JUST PLAIN STUPID.

12/14/2008 2:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sophia 10:53 a.m.:

Agreed. Thank you.

12/14/2008 2:36 AM  
Blogger Mrs Flam said...

I agree with your choice , there has been a huge increase of such attacks across the biosphere lately. I would do just the same.

Thank you for you forwardness and explanation of this change in a personal post. Some people just cut it off quickly without notice and then get angry when you ask .

I apreciate your honesty.

12/14/2008 10:03 AM  
Anonymous Lance said...

Great idea, Dan. It is, after all, your blog. Trimming out garbage will make the comments easier to read.

Have you considered allowing munificent readers to help pay for your hosting or just to buy you a beer, so to speak? I think you should. Or does that create an ethical issue in your mind?

Sophia's 8:21 comment is right on - I had just decided to skip over inafunk's second post.

Inafunk: Good points easily get lost in long comments. Also, they are dismissed by those whom they are intended to persuade when they are laden with invective.

12/15/2008 11:31 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

When will it stop, Dan?

Am I going to have to switch to pig latin as I was forced to do on Prime Buzz?

And Lance, it will be a cold day in ellhay before I pay for this uckinfay idicuolusray ogblay.

I for one will continue to say whatever the uckfay I want. Got that?


12/15/2008 1:47 PM  
Anonymous inafunkaboutthefunk said...

Good points easily get lost in long comments.

Lance, do you want to make this into a dating site for Dan? Are you suggesting that the average Gone Blogger gets lost after a sentence or two? Yeech!

As to my usual invective laced comments... sorry you can't stand the heat I feel. I just HATE when either the Funk lies or spews out one of his fantasies. And I have the same feeling when a blogger does it. I just CAN'T STAND people like this... alas, sometimes Dan himself included.

Meanwhile, I don't use sexual innuendo, profanity, I rarely if ever accuse someone of being something they are not (being human, I am sure on occasion I err) and I think that evading the truth is not a civil practice in general and on a blog. Especially when the blogger is portraying him or herself as being open minded and truthful.

So that's it... sorry if you are offended.

12/15/2008 6:39 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Have I ever lied on this blog, Ina?

12/15/2008 7:18 PM  
Anonymous inafunkaboutthefunk said...

Actually Dan, in the most civil way possible, my previous post wasn't directed only towards you :)

That being said, you sort of just got caught fibbing a touch. You stated that you don't read my posts very often. And yet this one you jumped all over... perhaps because you thought I was calling you out as a liar.

Well, Dan, other than the fib above, I don't think you post direct lies very often if at all. And I wouldn't call you a liar. There are many other bloggers who post on Gone Mild who just outright make stuff up or throw things out that they know are not true (or at least a reasonable person would know isn't true).

What gets me about you is that you are a truth evader. And, as I wrote, I don't thin k that is CIVIL behavior. In the Midwest, this passes for that so I suppose here you are within your own kind and safe to behave the way you do...

And I will say it again, I don't use sexual innuendo, profanity, I rarely if ever accuse someone of being something they are not (being human, I am sure on occasion I err) . And if someone would take issue with a "fact" that I go off on, I am more than happy to back up what I say and think... even if it means I have to wrote to much and spend too much time on the endeavor.

And, last but not least, when the Municipal Nightmare ends, and Mark Funkhouser is no more you won't here from me again.

That's why I picked the name inafunkaboutthefunk and type it out every time so there will be no confusion as to what my issue is.

Luckily, I have other things to occupy my time and that I care about. I just don't see any reason or opening to share them with Gone Mild. Maybe one day I will... or something will come up that I care about that is on Gone Mild.

12/15/2008 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have no comments about various Councilpeople appeared lately, or have you deleted such comments?

12/16/2008 3:12 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous - I haven't deleted any of those comments, so I suppose the author has stopped posting them.

12/16/2008 5:54 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Lance - I'm blessed with a wonderful spouse who doesn't object to the few bucks I blow on this hobby, though she prefers my beer to my blog. Also, I would be afraid of unconsciously skewing my writing toward profitability if I started reaping rewards. I fear unleashing my inner whore!

12/16/2008 6:42 AM  
Anonymous inafunkaboutthefunk said...

"Inner whore," Dan? I guess there goes your mantle of Midwestern appropriateness. You are from the Midwest, aren't you?

Okay enough focusing on you today... seems like I can leave that to others. As I mentioned, you are not my issue.

12/16/2008 4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank goodness.

Beth is a great Councilwoman, and people should just contact her directly if they want to.

12/17/2008 5:54 AM  

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