As I have mentioned before, each and every comment that is posted to Seattle Bubble arrives in my inbox. This is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I can read every single comment as it comes in, and a curse because I can read every single comment as it comes in. As Seattle Bubble has grown (now reaching nearly 1,000 visitors per day), the comments have grown as well. This has resulted in a growing volume of insightful and interesting comments by a host of new users, but it has also unfortunately resulted in a growing volume of emotionally-charged, petty, and just plain rude comments. Up to now, my comment policy has been almost 100% permissive. However, because of the rapid increase in the number of comments, I feel that it is time for that policy to change.
No one comes to Seattle Bubble to see anonymous people hurling insults back and forth. The “forum full of children trying to one-up each other” market is a pretty saturated one on the internet, and I have no desire to compete there. Therefore, in order to form a more perfect Seattle Bubble, it’s time to make some improvements around here. Here are the new rules for commenting:
- No personal attacks.
- No intentional antagonism.
- No excessive swearing.
To start, I will enforce these rules by deleting posts that are in violation. Keep in mind that this is a dictatorship, not a democracy. It is solely at my discretion whether a comment is in violation of these rules. I also reserve the right to add to these rules at any time. I am not opposed to people offering different viewpoints, in fact I highly encourage it, but I am getting just as tired as you all are of the incessant bickering. If petty emotional comments continue to be posted on a regular basis, I will be forced to move to a pre-approval moderation system, where comments do not post to the site until after I have specifically approved them. I don’t want to go to that extreme (since it would slow down the pace of discussions and also be more work for me), but if that’s what I have to do to provide an interesting and engaging comments space, I will.
In addition to the hard rules, I would like to outline a few strong suggestions:
- No “anonymous” posting. [Update 09.24.2006: This is now a hard rule.]
- Keep comments on the subject of the post.
I understand that people don’t want to post under their real name, and that they may not want to sign up for a Blogger account. Just do us all a favor and instead of clicking “Anonymous,” click “Other” and choose some sort of nickname. It will make the discussions a lot easier to follow. As far as keeping comments on-topic, I’m going to start making an “open thread” post every morning. If you want to post your own links or talk about something random, post it in there, not in the specific news posts.
Lastly, I’ve been pondering the idea of inviting some of the more insightful commenters to be “team members” of this blog, allowing them to make posts to the main page. This would not only highlight a greater diversity of writing, but it would also allow the blog to remain interesting when I’m out on vacation or whatnot. If you’re interested in perhaps becoming a team member, email me (be sure to include the name that you use when you post in the comments, so I have some idea who you are).
I want Seattle Bubble to be a useful, interesting, and insightful resource for anyone interested in its subject matter. Hopefully these changes will bring us closer to that idea.