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A Comment on Comments



The comments section -- analyzed. Juana Arias / The Washington Post

Over the past few weeks, a number of regular Fix readers have reached out to discuss the comments section for this blog.

As regular readers know, we have long struggled with ways to make the comments more a) on topic and b) civil.

That has been met with some success but there are still a few people who insist on repeatedly posting off topic and hijacking the conversation on a given post -- keeping out other voices that may want to chime in.

Since we think of the Fix as a community, we don't want a few bad neighbors to ruin the experience for everyone. But, at the same time, we tend to avoid outright banning people unless they are repeatedly offensive to other posters on the blog.

We continue to work through ways to make the comments section smarter and more worthwhile to the average Fixista.

One intriguing thing that we will put into place some time in the near future is a widget at the bottom of every post that pulls in comments being made on the topic on the Fix's Twitter and Facebook page. (If you haven't signed up for either or both, do it now!) Hopefully, that will raise the level of conversation across the variety of platforms through which people consume this blog.

But, in the end, the best way to ensure civility on the Fix -- or anywhere else on or off line -- is to, well, be civil to one another. So, let's give peace a chance.

Thanks, as always, for your support of the Fix.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 29, 2009; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  Fix Notes  
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Next: Morning Fix: Obama's Slipup (And Its Political Cost)

Comments

Asking an honest question is not a ground for banishment. Please re-read Mr. Cillizza's comment.

Posted by: JakeD | August 4, 2009 6:19 AM | Report abuse

Your last post is the reason you should be banned from this site.

Posted by: Gator-ron | July 31, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Obama is "de facto" President -- I've never denied that -- maybe the real "taunting" is from those who insist that he is legally President. You cannot PROVE that he was born in Hawaii any more than I can prove he was born in Kenya. Did you ever think of it that way?

Posted by: JakeD | July 31, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,

You are responsible for how people respond to you. You taunt people with the same stupid posts that Obama is not a citizen when Obama's heritage has nothing to do with the subject. I state that to you and your response is tangential. No one cares why you bring it up. Obama is president and the fact that you live in a world where he is not president makes you unsuitable for a site where facts are not in dispute, only opinions and interpretations. Your last post like everything else you write is superficially pleasant but has at its basis a hostility for anyone who does not agree with you.

Stop taunting us with your passive aggressive responses. You are not stupid, you are a social misfit.

Posted by: Gator-ron | July 31, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Gator-ron:

Thank you for your posts. Just to clarify, the only time I bring up the questions re: Obama's birthplace is when someone else claims he is "President". I cannot control how others react. Please let me know if you need any further clarification.

Posted by: JakeD | July 31, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

@Gator: he has the IQ of a grasshopper. He'll never learn, he'll never grow up, just ignore the damned idiot and wait for him to get bored and move on. If WaPo won't moderate the place then there's nothing else to do.

Calling him on his repetition and stupidity is the same as praising him.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 31, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

JakeD said

toritto:

I strongly disagree that WaPo should close the comment sections -- don't throw the baby out with the bath water -- banning "chrisfox8" and "drindl" would be enough.

You are so self righteous, you do not take any responsibility for you own behavior. You are part of the problem and you are totally oblivious to this. Their post may have gone over the top but you are a very irritating with your changing the subject. Stop worry about others and do some self examination for the first time in your life.

Posted by: Gator-ron | July 30, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

JakeD

You may a well tempered person but you publish nonsense and try to change the tread all the time. Are you suggesting that your address be blocked because of your tendency to bring up extraneous matters? I do not know how many times you have brought up the president's citizenship. Because you do that I think your opinion matters little. You are so obnoxious when you do this that I treat you with a disrespect that is unusual for me. You are full of opinions that are out of touch with reality, such as Obama's geographic location at birth. A little nonsense is fine but your incessant repetitions are off putting.

My suggestion would be to cleanse the site frequently for a period of time of posts that do not meet the criteria you want met. That would give us all an opportunity at self examination. Those who are resistant to "learning" should be banned for a period of time.

I know that if some of JakeD's were cleansed because of being off subject that I would clean up my own act just knowing his nonsense will be removed.

I enjoy coming here. I think changing the site would be deleterious but I agree that some modification is needed.

Posted by: Gator-ron | July 30, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

OK, good. I still think that things would improve significantly here if a couple IP addresses were blocked.

Posted by: JakeD | July 30, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

jaked:

I'm not recommending that WAPO close its comments board.

I'm pointing out what happened at the Yahoo boards.

:-)

Posted by: toritto | July 30, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

toritto:

I strongly disagree that WaPo should close the comment sections -- don't throw the baby out with the bath water -- banning "chrisfox8" and "drindl" would be enough.

Posted by: JakeD | July 30, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

The whitey tape! I'd completely forgotten about that rumor. I still hold that what happened is that Michelle was asked what she'd like to drink. And, of course, she responded, Why, tea, of course!

I think Wait, Wait did a nice riff on that topic.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 30, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I have a 2 word comment when it comes to the NYT... Judith Miller ! You want to whine about comments and not so much as a peep when Cheney Bush USED the NYT to post comments through a primary reporter no less, you got a whale to fry rather than worrying about anchovies that nobody eats anyway.

But agreed, Jake D and the reight wing birthers ARE annoying, but what else do they have? When you wrecked capitalism and left two wars... all you can do is scare folks with communism or invading foreigners. I'm surprised they toned down the muzlim nonsense or the "whitey" tape.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | July 30, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I strongly support an "ignore this user" feature.

Posted by: nodebris | July 30, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Contrast the WaPo comment boards with those of the NYT. The level of vitriol, ignorance, racism, bigotry, and hate on the WaPo boards is appalling. However, if the comments were moderated here as at the NYT, it would be a lot harder for the Secret Service to keep track of the nuts.

The idea of having a thumbs up and thumbs down system, with the thumbs down comments migrating to the bottom, seems good to me. Also, a group of comments with the "editors' selection" tag as at NYT would be nice. How cool if CC merits a whole separate comment policy than the rest of the paper.

Posted by: annieb346 | July 30, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

A long time ago, comic songwriter Tom Lehrer opined (in the lead in to the song "National Brotherhood Week"), "There are those who do not love their fellow man... and I just HATE people like that!"

I've been guilty of more than a few nasty, snarky, provocative or bait-tossing comments. So I'm going to say it here: I'll do better. My blood pressure is going down already and the vein in my forehead has almost stopped twitching.

Posted by: dbitt | July 30, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I've become more of a "haunt" than a "regular."

The discourse that takes place on the comments section here... I wouldn't call civil. Off topic conversation is commonplace and the mud throwing is sickening. Partisanship -rather than rational argument- rules these pages. On topic discussion devoid of name calling and personal attacks is woefully absent.

I have moved on from participating in this rabid gnashing of teeth. It accomplishes nothing.

Posted by: trident420 | July 30, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

It wasn't too long ago that Yahoo allowed postings pertaining to its news articles.

The board got to be a pigsty. Eventually it was pointed out that "free speech" did not necessarily mean you could post anything you wanted on someone else's board. Yahoo is corporate owned and had directors and shareholders who objected to the trash showing up on Yahoo's board.

Unable to fix the problem Yahoo closed the boards.

...learn a lesson folks....

Posted by: toritto | July 30, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

And so it goes.

I would disagree with any effort to impose a germaneness (on topic) rule. Sometimes these threads go off in interesting directions. The discussion of sci fi a few weeks ago is a case in point.

A simple case of banning offensive language, including deliberate misspelingz, will do. I suspect that Zouk will find a new name to call ChrisFox8 after his posts start getting bounced. And it will be equally childish.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 30, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Any attempt to sweep the trolls away from this (or any) discussion are always overdue.

Posted by: molsonmich | July 30, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate that this issue is being addressed. There are times when there are 100 comments but 95 of them are from the same few commenters posting nasty replies to each other -- that's not fun or easy to wade through. I also don't like the idea of a ban unless the commenter is particularly egregious and prolific.

My suggestion is that the number of comments to each issue by the same poster be limited to three. This will still allow for your voice to be heard and for a good exchange (if you can't get out what you need to say on a given topic in three posts, it's likely because you are in a posting war with someone that nobody is interested in reading). A character limit could be implemented, if necessary.

My second suggestion is that the policy of removing inappropriate comments involving profanity and personal attacks be enforced with strikes -- 5 strikes and you're banned.

Posted by: jrosco3 | July 30, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Chris you are a year or so away from really learning the concept of time out. I think you should let the people who cannot be civil blog in a time out section. Once someone becomes a real problem should forced to take a timeout from blogging from the main site. Get an early start on this parenting concept with some of the really spoiled children out here.

Posted by: bradcpa | July 30, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

There have always been trolls in blogs, and there always will always be trolls in blogs. There are two main types:

1. The "true believer" troll who just can't understand why other people don't see the world the way he does, denies any evidence that contradicts his beliefs, and clings tenaciously to his cause.

2. The "stir the pot" troll who intentionally posts constroversial statements who just wants to raise the blood pressure of true believers.

All of us, at some point or another, will become troll-like in a blog. We will either post an impassioned defense of something we believe in that is seen as fanatical by someone else or we will give in to the temptation of poking one or more other behives in the community with a stick.

True trolls, however, are the people who do one or the other all the time.

And the most important lesson I learned when I was moderating online bulletin boards before HTML and the World Wide Web were invented, is: Don't feed the trolls.

Don't feed the trolls by replying to them. Ignore their posts. Don't mention them by name. It just feeds their egos and encourages them to keep posting.

Unless you want to, in which case we get what we deserve in the Fixista community.

Posted by: Gallenod | July 30, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

opp88:

I believe your post is an example of what Mr. Cillizza is saying about "off-topic" (drindl excels at that too). I will try to be civil though. This thread is about comments here at the Fix. Perhaps we can discuss "you're" typo on the relevant thread?

Posted by: JakeD | July 30, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Early on someone suggested limiting the length of posts. Sounds like a good starting point. I don't like the idea of banning someone just because they have diarrhea of the mouth.

Posted by: pumor | July 30, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/Police%20report%20on%20Gates%20arrest.PDF

OFFICER CROWLEY’S ARRESTING POLICE REPORT ABOVE…CLICK FOR YOURSELF.

UH OHH OFFICER CROWLEY… WHY IN YOU’RE POLICE REPORT… YOU REPORTED THAT THE 911 CALLER ‘LUCIA WHALEN’, AT THE SCENE DESCRIBED TO YOU THAT THERE WERE TWO BLACK MEN WITH BACKPACKS?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN THIS TYPO IN YOU’RE POLICE REPORT?

IS THIS THE CAUSE OF THE RACE CARD BEING PLAYED?

Posted by: opp88 | July 30, 2009 2:14 AM | Report abuse

"I ain't cleanin' that up"
-- Benson (Robert Guillaume) "Soap"

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 30, 2009 1:47 AM | Report abuse

As anyone can see, "chrisfox8" and "drindl" have been "repeatedly offensive to other posters on the blog." It is time to ban both of them.

Posted by: JakeD | July 30, 2009 1:39 AM | Report abuse

Since we think of the Fix as a community, we don't want a few bad neighbors to ruin the experience for everyone. But, at the same time, we tend to avoid outright banning people unless they are repeatedly offensive to other posters on the blog.

==

This actually is something of a community, there are numerous "regulars" who know each others' style and passions.

Your opening paragraph speaks of members reaching out, I presume that's a euphemism for sending email to you, and I bet my other shirt that most of those emails had something to do with cracking down around here in some way, doing something about the tone and the topic drift. And I bet *quite* a few of those emails were polite request strident demands to ban some of the uh frequent posters here.

Am I right?

Now about that repeatedly offensive thing.

Chris, do you mind if I call you Chris since that's my name too and I feel we share a bond and a burden, do you read these comments?

What exactly kind of line does someone have to cross to qualify as repeatedly offensive? Hello?

How many "moonbats" does it take to count as "repeated?" How much sexually explicit name-mangling does it take to count as "offensive?"

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 30, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

For the record, I see cleverness in king_of_zouk's posts.

Posted by: JakeD | July 30, 2009 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Mike, my 9:46 post had not a shred of humor.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 30, 2009 1:22 AM | Report abuse

If king_of_zouk is 14 years old, I will stop posting here. It is "chrisfox8" and "drindl" who should be banned.

Posted by: JakeD | July 30, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

@BB: all this reminds me of "Being There."

I didn't think the movie was very funny.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 30, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

ChicagoIndependEnt: that would mess up the chronology.

We all know who the trolls are, and we all know that the reason they post here has nothing to do with discussion. I say ban them.

Mike and Margaret: truly I am flabberghasted. I can only conclude that you both set an exceptionally low bar for humor. I will never see "Obimbo" and that sort of stuff as anything but childish. I had zouk figured to be about fourteen years old for a long time, and no I'm not trying to cast a backdoor insult by saying so, that was my honest belief.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 30, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

The funniest thing is that on a thread devoted to civility, KoZook tries to twist the knife even deeper. It's kind of like kicking Rodney King right after he says can't we all get along. So, I'll concede there's a bit of black, South Park style humor to it.

Wait! That's it! Either KoZook is a writer for South Park or, maybe even he's actually someone posting in character. It's actually kind of like what you'd expect Cartman to post when he's older.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 29, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

ChicagoIndependant - great idea! It wouldn't be all that difficult to allow for two views - one with the thumbs up/down and another for conversational thread. In terms of coding and forum administration this would be a lot easier than any of the other proposals I have seen. Great idea, ChicagoIndependant.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 29, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I'd recommend a simple thumbs up thumbs down for comments with the most recommended being pushed to the top. That way any trolls would end up being down the bottom and would be easy to skip

Posted by: ChicagoIndependant | July 29, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox8 _ I can never tell whether you mean to do it, but your post at 9:46 is hilarious. My wife cracked up! And, KOZ's at 10:00 was a riot, too. I simply cannot understand how two people, even coming from completely opposite points of view, maybe loathing each other, but both flat out riots, cannot appreciate each other... at least in some cynical sort of way. I don't think here is a person here who doesn't think the both of you are two of the most talented humorists writing for this rag.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 29, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/Police%20report%20on%20Gates%20arrest.PDF

OFFICER CROWLEY’S ARRESTING POLICE REPORT ABOVE…CLICK FOR YOURSELF.

UH OHH OFFICER CROWLEY… WHY IN YOU’RE POLICE REPORT… YOU REPORTED THAT THE 911 CALLER ‘LUCIA WHALEN’, AT THE SCENE DESCRIBED TO YOU THAT THERE WERE TWO BLACK MEN WITH BACKPACKS?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN THIS TYPO IN YOU’RE POLICE REPORT?

IS THIS THE CAUSE OF THE RACE CARD BEING PLAYED?

Posted by: opp88 | July 29, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Here is what I learned today:

obimbo knows better about running car companies
obimbo knows better about removing tonsils
obimbo knows better about policing burglers

cc knows exactly what is on everyones mind

chrisuxcox knows what is funny

ddawd knows what everyone reads

clearly all we need is one of these giants of intellect to make all our decisions for us. What's for lunch?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 29, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Chrisfox8, KofZ can be very funny. He's always wrong and usually nasty, but he sees the black-hearted humor in politics. Luckily, it's his short posts that are funny so you can just scroll past the long ones and not miss a thing, even a larff.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 29, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it funny that the so-called open minded libs want to shut down anyone that disagrees with them. No mention of shutting up the moonbat drivl or the misogynist chrisuxcox.

Are your views and policies so weak they stand no scrutiny?

You accuse jaked of racism yet your leaders side automatically against white cops and with Latin criminals. Now what is a racist?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 29, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

ceflynline ...but still, FUNNY!

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 29, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

KOZ can go from being so funny he could write for a television comedy to being mean and nasty.

==

You've said this before; I've never read a single line by zouk I thought was the smallest bit clever. Nor has anyone but you ever claimed to see cleverness in his posts.

All jokes and insults aside, I do believe zouk is posting from a PC in a mental institution. I think his posts are far too stupid and enraged to be funny, and he's not interesting at all. Sometimes a psychosis can be intriguing, but not zouk's. Just tiresome.

What does he write you think is clever?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 29, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

"Axisofstupidity1 - re:"...the Smithsonian called...." *VERY GOOD! Hysterically funny. Where have YOU been? Posted by: mibrooks27"

Except he called it an Underwood Five.

That is obviously an electric, possibly a Royal, or the keyboard to a mag writer or wheelwriter.

Underwood's keyboards eventually got to be as gnarley as the typists hands.

Oh for an old Underwood Eleven Mill, and Reuters Wire Service at 24 WPM in Morse!

Posted by: ceflynline | July 29, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

dcgrasso1 _ if you want to see forums with policing and huge audiences, surf on over to USA-today. It's the intellectual equivalent of cream of wheat, and about as interesting. I honestly like things the way they are. Anyone so thin skinned as to be offended by the clever exchange of insults we sometimes see here can go elsewhere and "thank you". Sure, sometimes posters get carried away. KOZ can go from being so funny he could write for a television comedy to being mean and nasty. I sometimes have been downright mean and nasty, too. But you're going to get that with people who are passionate and intelligent. Usually we are trying to be clever and it flops. Big deal. Again, don't try and fix what ain't broke.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 29, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

dcgrasso1:

KOZ IS right. Volume of posts will drop by the column miles he, Jaked, and the rest of the CB mentality hijackers fill up with the obstructions we have to navigate past to find commentators worth cogitating. And ignoring them does no good, because THEY can read their own posts and self validate. Thus the request that we be able to filter them out at our discretion. There are times when I just give up and go away, or head for bed.

ON the kanto plain I once played in a duplicate bridge game that had inadvertently been moved to a large room also filled with very noisy cub scouts. We got the game in, but learned our lesson.

Jake D and his fellow jabberers are infinitely worse than those cub scouts, who at least were acting their ages.

Build in the filters, PLEASE!

Posted by: ceflynline | July 29, 2009 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Axisofstupidity1 - re:"...the Smithsonian called...." *VERY GOOD! Hysterically funny. Where have YOU been?

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 29, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I like the free wheeling nature of wide open debate. Yes, the Birthers are a drip, drip, drip but it also tags them. I'm a regular but can skip though the nonsense in a mental flash. I don't read anything the Birthers have to say. I know who usually has good comments, a perspective I respect and I read them. As for you... Cazilla, I wish YOU would tone down the yackity yack about your family. Backstories complicate the point, which would mean you have one, which you don't [as a journalista). Anywaze, embrace the madness, the Jake D's and the Jake D shadows. And I do enjoy your Twitter drizzle, the Sanford pressor put us right there sharing the shock and awe.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | July 29, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

@DDAWD: around here we have these people on the roads who think it's really cool to drive 25 on one-lane roads where the speed limit is 40. They're not cautious drivers, you can see them looking in the mirror and smiling at the frustration they cause.

I see Jake as the blog equivalent of those people. I think his routines ("in a civil matter," "let me know," etc.) are deliberately annoying. I picture a guy with chronic headaches and low intelligence who just enjoys being a nuisance.

It's a sad fact of life that there are people in this world who enjoy being annoying. I don't think we should tolerate them in any way.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 29, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

"I predict a massive drop in traffic."
Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 29, 2009 8:29 PM

To the contrary, Zouk. If people were more civil, traffic would RISE. Nobody objects to hearing different opinions-- in fact, I would RATHER read an article or post that challenges my opinions, than one that simply validates my own thoughts. I have no patience for name-calling, however, and I know quite a few others who agree with me.

Posted by: dcgrasso1 | July 29, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

"But I get your point, consider me on board.

I agree, it looks better when the sh|t remains on the floor where shat, and untouched."

Awesome.

The funny thing is that people generally ignore zook, but not jaked. The former is really moronic, but jaked touches a nerve with his overt racism. On the other hand, zook is just spectacularly wrong about everything.

Also, I don't think many people really bother to read his long-winded cut and paste jobs.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 29, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

"MSNBC's Donny ("The Big Idea") Deutsch is over at DailyKos calling for a boycott of the corporate sponsors of Glenn Beck's show after his "Obama hates white people" meltdown this week.

Here are the sponsors:
General Motors
Campbell Soup
Chrysler
Proctor & Gamble
Pfizer
Kellogg
Walmart
Kraft Foods
Nestle"

Wow, and I just bought some Campbell's soup and Kraft mac+cheese today. (my car is in the shop, so I do my grocery shopping at a drug store). I'll go back to my normal routine of never buying this crap soon enough, though.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 29, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Well, civility lasted a bit longer than I expected. I would argue for the spiking of obscene posts. And that inckloods obveeus mepselinz.

DD

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 29, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

One man's troll is another man's freedom fighter.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 29, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

moonbats like Chrissuxcox come by to annoy everyone and litter the terrain with spite and hate. the topic is irrelevant. don't you get it by now? you run a lefty hate blog that occasionally tolerates some intelligent moderates. relish your success.

Posted by: king_of_zouk

please keep religion out of these comments

Posted by: chrisuxcox

If I could predict the stock market like I could predict the idiocy of Libs, I would be filthy rich.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 29, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

you mess with the market, you lose.

==

please keep religion out of these comments

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 29, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

CC - I hate to rain on your arrogant parade about seeming to know exactly what your audience is hoping to discuss. the free flow of ideas and topics is exactly what makes your blog interesting. the rigid topics idea you are hoping for will reduce your traffic to null. do you really think you have the pulse of the nation on your speed dial? Despite the ignorance of drivl and chrisuxcox, they are the life's blood of your blog. without them you are a dry toast of an empty idea generating dessert cactus, hoping for some intelligent soul to wander by and bless us with their wisdom.

good luck with that. you really think all those smart people want to blog about Sarah Palin three times a day every day?

Get over yourself.

I predict a massive drop in traffic. Just like the central government Libs, you mess with the market, you lose.

most days drivl beats you to the topic and then leaves. you limp by a few hours later with a weak grammatically feeble attempt at generating interest. then the moonbats like Chrissuxcox come by to annoy everyone and litter the terrain with spite and hate. the topic is irrelevant. don't you get it by now? you run a lefty hate blog that occasionally tolerates some intelligent moderates. relish your success.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | July 29, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone need to read Jake's birth certificate thing any more times?

Jake, if you actually care about civil discussion, you'll stop posting this. I don't think you do care, so I expect to see one thread after another disrupted by this nonsense.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 29, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

cmon people now, smile on ur brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now!

Posted by: juster1 | July 29, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

There should be, in my opinion, the bare minimum restrictions on freedom of speech in internet blogs, forums, comments sections, etc.

==

I don't think anyone disagrees with this, but let's not be starry-eyed about it. Some people only show up to enjoy wasting others' time, and if you try to pretend that there are only differences of opinion then you'll get all your time wasted and discussion will be rare breaks from the trolls.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 29, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

There should be, in my opinion, the bare minimum restrictions on freedom of speech in internet blogs, forums, comments sections, etc. Obama criticized the Chinese the other day for their government restricting people's right to say what they want. Yet in much of the internet there is censorship, in the form of "moderators" who must approve of comments before they are allowed.

People should be reasonably civil to each other. The comments to this blog are overall remarkably civil compared to AOL political chat rooms I would occasionally visit in past years, where some people were incredibly rude, verbally abusive and not itnerested in dissenting opinions from their own.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | July 29, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Okay - the photo....?

Seriously, Chris, the Smithsonian called. They want their Underwood Five back.

Posted by: Axisofstupidity1 | July 29, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Who turned out the lights?

Hey, Jake!
AsperGirl!
King!
Dianne72!
37thandO!

Where did you go?

Where are you?

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 29, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Since most of the left-leaners on the board just regurgetate material from the dailykos and Huffington Post, you could save a lot of space in the comments by just posting links to dailykos...."

Posted by: dbw1 | July 29, 2009 4:25 PM
____________
Since you decided to go there... :)

MSNBC's Donny ("The Big Idea") Deutsch is over at DailyKos calling for a boycott of the corporate sponsors of Glenn Beck's show after his "Obama hates white people" meltdown this week.

Here are the sponsors:
General Motors
Campbell Soup
Chrysler
Proctor & Gamble
Pfizer
Kellogg
Walmart
Kraft Foods
Nestle

The contact information for each sponsor is at Daily Kos at:

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/7/29/759352/-MSNBCs-Donnie-Deutsch-Calls-for-Glenn-Beck-Adverstiser-BoycottUPDATED-w-Contact-Info

Media Matters and some progressive groups are also putting pressure on CNN to get rid of Dobbs, who even O'Reilly went after this week.

Please support our democracy. Let's purge the hate from cable TV.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 29, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

A word from someone with over a decade of experience in managing message boards.

The only way to get rid of trolls is to ban them. They won't be shamed away, they won't be insulted away, your can't refute their lies and expect them to stop repeating the same lies. They like negative attention as much as they like admiration, if not more.

It's a weakness of the left to be determined to remain open-minded, a refusal to recognize that some people are intrinsically malicious, and that some ideas are just stupid. The right has no such concerns. I've read enough hand-wringing about the morality of banning people, free speech and blah blah blah.

Anyone beside me remember NetSlaves? TERRIFIC message board, now gone, thanks to one (1) prolific troll.

It's like the sculptor who puts 20 years of his life into a piece of work compared to the jerkoff with a hammer who turns it into rubble in two seconds.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 29, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, get a little tougher, folks!

I mean, what would Tim Riggins say about y'all?

Posted by: stephengatsby | July 29, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

What's that old saying about the pot and the kettle?

Really, guys -- don't you think Chris Cillizza knows the DEAL? Real-ly...

http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-fusion-center-spying-pretext-harass-and-censor

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 29, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I do think that jaked will go away if people just ignore him

==

As long as two don't, he'll stay.

But I get your point, consider me on board.

I agree, it looks better when the sh|t remains on the floor where shat, and untouched.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 29, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

"OK, so I know so and so is actually posting from his parent's basement and this other person is actually living IN A VAN, DOWN BY THE RIVER (props to Chris Farley). Who cares? Make your points."

Yeah, if someone sees a poster is a buffoon, then the rest of us are probably aware of this as well. This nonsense does nothing for the posters who want to have an interesting discussion and does everything for the trolls who want to disrupt things. Why do you think jaked peppers every single comment section with his birth certificate stuff? Not because he actually cares about the issue, but because he knows that some people are going to jump on it and make a bad situation worse. And its always the same few people doing this. We KNOW jaked is a racist fool. It doesn't need to be pointed out.

I do think that jaked will go away if people just ignore him, but even if he doesn't, the board will still be a lot more tolerable without the "mom's basement" stuff.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 29, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

For my part, the name calling amongst some posters is irritating. [Whenever we get into a ChrisFox vs. Zouk moment, I tune out.] Even in a thread such as this, a few posters can't resist using the opportunity to get in a few digs. OK, so I know so and so is actually posting from his parent's basement and this other person is actually living IN A VAN, DOWN BY THE RIVER (props to Chris Farley). Who cares? Make your points.

That much having been said, I don't think the forum should change. I've enjoyed my exchanges with folks on both ends of the spectrum and even made a few friends.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | July 29, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

The ability to jump to a particular post, so that coming back and continuing from wherever you last read would be easier, the ability to mark posts as non-germane, and the ability to locally drop posters one finds annoying. That way those who find ceflynline annoying could bar me from appearing on their screens.

==

This would be a good idea. I can think of three posters who would never be read again.

As for regurgitating canned opinions, funny how each side thinks the other is guilty of that. Only one of them is right.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 29, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Why can't we all get along just like Barack, the cop and the professor? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X7Y8SARSmU

Posted by: Patriot3 | July 29, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

"I'm sure there are all kinds of restrictions you can use to "clean up" the comments section, but I don't think it's worth it."

I think all that's really needed is better responsiveness to complaints. There are only like one or two people who really ought to be banned. If you have someone with good judgment to respond to complaints, that should be good enough.

Also, why the hell isn't judgment spelled judgEment?? I always screw that word up.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 29, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

In the interests of brevity, how about we feature drivel as representing the left, JadeD the right, and scrivener as the independent vote? The rest of us merely get buttons to press - "agree", "disagree", "they are deranged". CC could award them tinfoil hats for the most outlandish comment of the day. Sort of like CNN's vote of the day, only even more worthless.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 29, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

There is something to be said for posting delays. The ones that come with editorial comment approval, anyway.

With only a scant few regular posters who clutter the comments section with off-topic posts and trollery, we've got it pretty good here at The Fix. But if the comments degenerate into flame wars full of unsubstantiated accusations -- and I've seen it happen -- a comments section can turn into a liability for an entity like the New York Times. Mind you, I don't spend much time on the Times' Web site, so I'm not familiar with the problem, but it's possible that they've had some problems with that in the past and had to take a more hard-line stance.

The Topix discussion board for one of the communities near where I live has degenerated so far that there's been a guy going around accusing someone of murder and posting his personal information for all to see. Topix is largely unmoderated, so nobody cares, but you can probably imagine the maelstrom that would follow something like that sitting on the Times' Web site for a few days.

Not that I think we really need any significant degree comment moderation here thanks to the comparatively civil tone of discourse, but I can understand why some other comment sections don't do things quite the same way.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | July 29, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

NYT COMMENTS MODERATION USED AS A PRETEXT TO CENSOR?

Gee, and I thought the "30 minutes to two hours" it sometimes takes for a comment to post to the NYT was to give surveillance program operatives -- who apparently insert "spoofed", or faked, pages into the data streams of "targeted" persons -- sufficient time to impose censorship or prior restraint upon unsuspecting media outlets and their readers.

For evidence of same, see my link below in this thread (assuming that entry hasn't been purged from the 'net).

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 29, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse


I'm all for free speech, and indeed it is pretty easy to scroll past the trolls. I used to be guilty of arguing with them, but no more.

I'm sure there are all kinds of restrictions you can use to "clean up" the comments section, but I don't think it's worth it.

Kumbaya.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | July 29, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

"With the NYT, you register a comment and then from 30 minutes to 2 hours later, your comment may or may not appear. There is an editorial process, but no one knows what it is."

Yeah, the 30 minute thing is pretty bad. Hard to get any kind of discussion going. A lot of the most interesting stuff on here are stream of conscious segues that tangent off from the original post. I remember a few weeks back there was a discussion on the merits of the theory of gravity. That was pretty cool.

With the 30 minute delay, you lose the interaction between posters.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 29, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD, I think Milbrooks agreed with me, somehow.

With the NYT, you register a comment and then from 30 minutes to 2 hours later, your comment may or may not appear. There is an editorial process, but no one knows what it is.

The delay is crucial, because you don't usually bother, thinking many people are going to make the same point - and they do.

The editors select pedantic remarks. It is really boring to read the same thing over and over.

As an aside, I like being on the same pages with people who run autistic reality programs in their minds(schizophrenia) and people who are obsessed with reality, who are mortified by being even a little bit wrong.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 29, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

I don't understand why there are different kinds of comments on WaPo.

Hax, for example, has a "recommend" button and a "report abuse" button. It also automatically paginates every 20 posts, which really reduces the "refresh" time.

Why don't all WaPo comments sections have these features?

Posted by: mikeinmidland | July 29, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

All I know is today has been remarkably congenial, with minimal nonsense. Find a way to keep that going & I'll be happy.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 29, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

The "comments" sections of political blogs such as yours are among the last bastions of free speech and opinion in America.

So it's no surprise to me that your blog is under constant assault from "disinfo" trolls.

If the U.S. government enforced the anti-propaganda laws -- which * should * prohibit "blog spamming" by disinformation agents paid on the public's dime to pollute political discourse in America -- the number of superfluous posts would drop precipitously, I believe.

But I'm not holding my breath.

Meanwhile, apparent government prior restraint and outright censorship appear to be imposed upon the personal telecommunications of many unjustly "targeted" Americans -- perhaps as part of the same "program" that apparently funds "blog-spamming."

My evidence is enumerated in the "comments" section of this ACLU blog thread:

http://blog.aclu.org/2009/01/26/internet-filters-voluntary-ok-not-government-mandate

I wouldn't be surprised if the publication of some of the opinions expressed here has resulted in political pressure upon you and your editors from powerful forces.

My compliments in advance for resisting such pressures.

Members of Congress: Please investigate the possible misuse of government funds to conduct media propaganda campaigns. We need another round of "Church Committee"- type hearings, STAT.

Posted by: scrivener50 | July 29, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 - No, what the New York Times an CNN do is *censor* letters and opinions that they disagree with. In several studies, it has been shown that they publish fewer than 10% of comments that disagree with their stand and, worse, those they do pick have a tendency to reflect the most extreme (and embarrassing) comments. Sort of like rush Limbaugh, when he interrupts whatever rant he is on and talks with a paranoid and delussional nutball, claiming this is reflective of all liberals.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 29, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"The way the New York Times does it is the worst. Learning from cross talk in real time is the internet revolution."

Speaking of learning from Fix posters, can you elaborate on what the NYT does?

Posted by: DDAWD | July 29, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

It is true that I was attracted to Fix comments because of the 'yo mamma joke style of political insult and argument.

Then I was repulsed and bored.
But lately, I don't care about the insults, PgUp works fine.

Now, for example, the remarks behind your new post on the KBH resignation are how I get my "news". That mark in austin guy is really smart. We learn to trust strangers as we see their thought patterns and their knowledge base.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 29, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

The way the New York Times does it is the worst. Learning from cross talk in real time is the internet revolution.

Still, there is a problem. We have all enjoyed smart repartee and we have all seen...'nuff said.

I like learning from smart Fix people.
The problem is, there would be more of them if there were some intellectual space.

Chris, if you solve this problem, you will be very famous.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 29, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Let's have a group hug! What CC calls "uncivil" is often hilarious insults being tossed back and forth like a medicine ball. In particular KOZ and chrisfox are masters and I point out the better ones to my wife and friends.

Most people here are thoughtful and intelligent, at least most of the time, and with a few notable exceptions, most are among the more intelligent people I have encountered.

DON'T FIX WHAT DON' NEED FIXING.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 29, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

We believe the most logical solution to this 'comment crisis' would be to create a GOCC (Government Office of Comment Credibility), headed of course by an unelected czar.

The czar and the legions employed by his bureaucracy can then decide which comments should or shouldn't be posted on these boards!

Yours,
Liberals who believe most people are incapable of managing their own lives

p.s. would this be an example of going 'off topic'?

Posted by: dbw1 | July 29, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

On second thought, a post ranking system doesn't work for a site like this. Those systems are normally used on sites where you need to click on a comment to read it. Here, all comments appear on a single page. And the average topic becomes inactive after a day or two, so there's not much time to rank posts. Rankings don't help those of us who refresh constantly throughout the day.

I like DDAWD's idea of a Facebook-style "Read more" button. Rather than a strict character limit, make it so only a certain number of lines are displayed. As long as the button expands the post without actually refreshing the page, it's a convenient way to skip long posts.

Posted by: Blarg | July 29, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if you serve us all a beer.....

Posted by: JJFAHL | July 29, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Can't we all get along?

Posted by: vbhoomes | July 29, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about character limits, dbw1. Sure, it might cut down on the excessive copying-and-pasting practiced by some posters, but it would also directly affect those of us who use waaaaaaaay more words than we actually need to make a point.

On principle, I don't mind copying-and-pasting so much; my problem is with the off-topic copy-and-paste jobs that are almost always led off with, "Look, the crazy (Democrats/Republicans/liberals/conservatives) are at it again!" and don't relate in the slightest to the topic in question. The up-or-down rating system seen elsewhere, as Hawaiiexpat suggested, might be a solution; I'm concerned that it might be abused by ideologues who'll rate down any political opinion they don't agree with, but it would be a useful tool for cutting down on off-topic posts.

Though I do have to say, it's pretty easy to tell when a post is just an off-topic copy-and-paste job, and scrolling past it takes all of two seconds.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | July 29, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"Seriously, though, maybe they could at least put a character limit on posts. "

On facebook, when someone like Howard Kurtz posts his tweets, there are a lot of comments that follow. Most of them are shorter than four lines. The ones that are longer are truncated with a "read more" button. If you click it, the box stretches out to reveal the whole thing.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 29, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

How about eliminating comments? Who really cares what anonymous people think?

Posted by: whitemule70 | July 29, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

dbw1, I agree that quotes of more than several lines should be replaced by links, instead as a matter of courtesy.

However -

I do not know how our regurgitators - left, center, and right - can be further limited. I do believe the WaPo has imposed line limits since the heyday of StreetCorner and the poster with the nom de plume "Che".

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 29, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Nice post, CC.

My dos centavos is that I hate to see anyone banned - I think that any commenter who is waaay off base gets corrected by the weight of public opinion in terms of replies from other posters.

I *would*, though, like you to explore with the tech guys the ability to rate (up or down) comments. Other boards have this feature.

If I see that some comment has 40 thumbs down ratings and zero thumbs up ratings, I know to save my time by passing said comment up without reading.

Posted by: Hawaiiexpat | July 29, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, though, maybe they could at least put a character limit on posts.

I don't mind someone copying-and-pasting a sentence or short paragraph from another site to help back up a point they are making, but my pet peeve is seeing a post take up 3 screens...and finding out it's just some long and lengthy article someone copied and pasted off a blog somewhere.

And a couple of my fellow right-leaners are as bad at this as any left-leaners I've seen on the board. I put this forth as a truly bipartisan proposal!

If someone still wanted to paste these lengthy diatribes, they could, but at least they would have to take the time to split it up over multiple posts....perhaps discouraging this practice when it's not as quick and easy any more.

Posted by: dbw1 | July 29, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Since most of the left-leaners on the board just regurgetate material from the dailykos and Huffington Post, you could save a lot of space in the comments by just posting links to dailykos and Huff at the bottom of each article, block any other liberals from posting, and only allow comments from the much more reasoned and logical conservative readers.

Easy left-wingers...I'm just messing with you.

Posted by: dbw1 | July 29, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

A good point, Blarg, and well made.

I'm glad to see that the clamoring call for the banning of certain posters won't be heeded. There are a few regular posters here whose posts generally make me roll my eyes -- and two in particular whom I skip entirely upon spotting their user IDs -- but there's no sense booting these people off the blog just because some people don't agree with the way they think. The better way to deal with such posters, as Blarg suggested, is to not encourage them. While I doubt that's going to stop anyone from posting, I imagine it will eventually push some to be less inciteful and make better contributions to the discussion.

Moreover, I would suggest that it's worthwhile to read the posts of people with whom you don't agree as long as they're not deliberately inciteful. If they're, politically speaking, your enemy, isn't it better for you to understand how they think?

Posted by: GJonahJameson | July 29, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I'll second ceflynline's suggestion about being able to block posters I know I don't want to read and currently just scroll past. Even better would be to have the ability to highlight (locally) particular posters that we especially like reading.

Posted by: mnteng | July 29, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad you're aware of this issue. Ideally, the comment system would include the ability to rate posts or ignore users, to filter out the worthless posts from the actual discussion. But I know that you don't have control over the technical side of the blog. The comments are still better than they used to be; registering users makes a big difference.

I think the real problem isn't the trolls, but the people who keep responding to them. Trolls are annoying because that's their goal, and there's no use trying to reason with them. But there are some seemingly intelligent people here who keep replying, even though they should know better. If someone's looking for attention, and you reply to their every post complaining about how much you dislike them, you're giving them the attention they want. Just stop.

Posted by: Blarg | July 29, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps there are three additions you might add to the blog:

The ability to jump to a particular post, so that coming back and continuing from wherever you last read would be easier, the ability to mark posts as non-germane, and the ability to locally drop posters one finds annoying. That way those who find ceflynline annoying could bar me from appearing on their screens.

Slightly more challenging would be for the Post to indicate that I had been so blocked on some screens.

But that is just a challenge for your IT people.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 29, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Good idea.

Posted by: brownm1 | July 29, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

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