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Your comment held? We are trying to fix that.

Some of you have been posting brilliant comments on this blog and, instead of kudos from grateful readers, getting this chilly message:

"Class Struggle
Jay Mathews' Education Blog
Thank you for commenting.
Your comment has been received and held for approval by the blog owner.
Return to the original entry."

I know this for a fact because I have gotten the same message a couple of times when I tried to post an insightful response to your thoughtful contribution. Needless to say, I am not happy about it. I have appealed to the Post's blog high command, and just heard from someone who actually knows what is going on and tells me we are working to make this better.

The young woman who called me agreed that a message saying the "blog owner" had to approve a comment made it sound like I was the culprit, when in fact I have nothing to do with this process. I protest my innocence. I am very happy with the relationships that have blossomed on this blog, both friendly and contentious, and would never condone killing a comment unless it failed our standards of taste and language. That does not seem to be the problem with the posts that have been held.

They may be too long. They may have too many links. That isn't clear yet. But they are looking at whatever they look at and trying to create a better system. I was told that when someone hits the icon that allows readers to complain about taste and language in a comment, those messages often go nowhere. Nobody is seeing them. We need to fix that too.

I almost wrote please be patient, but I think that is exactly the wrong message. Please continue to be impatient and let me know, via, if your comment has been held or some other injustice has occurred. I will look into it.

NEWS FLASH: Within an hour after my conversation with energetic Webmaster Erica Pytlovany, she reported she had deleted that irksome "by the blog owner" language. She said "It's still a bad message and an ugly template that people should not be seeing, but I'll keep working on that one."

LATE BREAKING NEWS FLASH: Pytlovany has located the problem. It is not me, of course. It's you. I like the way she described the situation in an email: "We moderate any posts over 3000 characters and any posts with 4 or more hyperlinks.  You have a number of people posting intelligent, well-thought out comments with links to back up their sources, and they are running afoul of those two rules." Pytlovany shares my view that we want you to keep doing that. She said she will see "what we can do to loosen the policies without loosening them so much that we get hit with spam.  I’ll keep you updated."

Read Jay's blog every day at
Follow all the Post's Education coverage on Twitter, Facebook and our Education web page,

By Jay Mathews  | June 9, 2010; 4:26 PM ET
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  Jay is blameless, Post blog high command is working on it, blog comments wrongly held, please continue to be IMpatient  
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Hey, Jay, that's what I told you it was!

Suggestion: What's really frustrating about the message is that it has already eaten the post and you can't get it back.

How about flagging any post that violates the 3000/more than four links rule and bringing it back up in Preview mode with a note saying "Hey, edit this post to be less than 3000 characters or remove the links." That way we can chunk it up into two or more posts.

Posted by: Cal_Lanier | June 10, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I've got a better idea; how about just writing shorter posts? I, for one, am not particularly interested in several thousand missives from readers. I've not the time or patience for your bloviating attempts to correct Jay or to back
jay on this or that point. Shorten things up. Brief comments that make a point or two are fine. 3,000 word posts are ridiculous. If you have that much to say - and 3,000 words is longer than the typical post Op/Ed piece - than submit your piece to some magazine. You will still make your point and might earn some nice change.
Yeah, right.

Posted by: LoveIB | June 11, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I've got a better idea, LoveIB - instead of dictating how others should write, just skip over the posts that you think are too long.

Posted by: efavorite | June 11, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse


It's 3000 characters, not 3000 words. About 400 words, give or take. And of course, it can be very short if it just has 4 links.

Righteous indignation is so much more satisfying when you get your facts right. Try it some time.

3000 words, by the way, is not just longer than the typical op-ed piece. It is four times longer than the required submission length of 750 words.

Why do I know this? Because I did, in fact, submit an op ed piece to the Washington Post. And it got accepted. Lord knows when it will be published, though. They gave me two different dates and blew past both of them. Not that I'm complaining. Jay warned me.

In any event, drink a big cup of shut up until you get your facts right. Or at least close to right.

Posted by: Cal_Lanier | June 11, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

It is easier to read short posts. However, some of the longer ones are excellent. I'm glad that people care enough to post.

Posted by: celestun100 | June 11, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

It didn't take you long to notice that Erica is energetic. :-)

Posted by: TrishF | June 11, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for being willing to read and react to the comments posted on your blog. I haven't seen many others adopt your position. The two way conversation is one of the reasons I keep your column bookmarked.

Posted by: tfp_wnc | June 13, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

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