Ever since I started this site five and a half years ago, I’ve struggled with the issue of what to do about public comments. I used to allow them — because it seemed like the obvious thing which almost every website does — but I was frustrated with the level of discourse.
I’ve had many interesting and useful comments from people — not all of which I even agree with, but which I found useful to the discussion — but a ridiculous percentage of comments have come from angry people who are simply anonymous cowards causing trouble by screaming at people on the Internet.
Some of the worst offenders have been people I’ve generally liked and even agreed with, but something about anonymous online commenting leads a lot of people to become nasty in ways they’d never be in real life.
For a long time, I put up with that, thinking it was a tradeoff I was willing to make. I slowly became more and more uncomfortable with that tradeoff, though.
Since I’m rarely writing about politics these days, my articles don’t attract the fairly regular vitriol they once did, but I’ve simply reached the point I’m not willing to tolerate any of it. (And, of course, I have also spent a ridiculous amount of time deleting spam comments which you guys have never even seen.)
Last week, I turned the comments off. Earlier today, I realized something odd had happened which temporarily allowed them again, but I think the settings are correct now. It’s possible I could change my mind about this again, but I don’t anticipate that right now. It’s even possible that I’ll open comments on certain rare articles for specific reasons. But for the most part, comments aren’t allowed now.
You’re still very welcome to email me any comments you’d like to make — as long as they’re polite and reasonable, of course. I respond if I have time and the subject requires a response. (But I don’t have time anymore for relationship questions. Seriously. I can’t even find the right love for myself. I’m unlikely to be able to help you.)
I’m sorry trolls ruin what could be a fruitful exchange between people who treat each other politely and respectfully. Online culture seems to dictate that sort of behavior is normal, but I just can’t allow it here anymore. I don’t have the stomach for it and I don’t have the energy or desire to police it. I hope you understand.