Why we crack down hard

Takimag’s elimination of its comment section underlines why the moderators and I act so swiftly, and ruthlessly, to eliminate commenters who even appear to be inclined to attempt disrupting the discourse, hijacking the mic, changing the subject, or disqualifying and discrediting me.

While we would prefer to have a free and open forum for our readers, a few bad eggs seem incapable of communicating as though they were in good company and have in so doing, ruined it for the the rest of you. So in a way, yes, you can blame (((them))), or at least those who blame (((them))), for this gag.

However, many of you do have something to add, and we would like to hear from you. Please email the mailroom so that we may post a selection of letters from our readers on a weekly basis, and in so doing, perhaps raise the bar above the pale from where it fell off.

As many of you will appreciate, Takimag is run like a dictatorship, rather than a nanny state, and therefore a moderated site is not an option we are considering at this time. Up until now moderation has been ineffective and seems to only encourage the bastards who ruin the exchanges many of you enjoy and will likely miss.

At this point, we would be ever so grateful if you would kindly give the steady stream of childish threats to abandon Takimag forever a rest and be grateful we provide this platform for you and our writers, and that they have something intelligent to say week after week.

For more than a decade, we kept the comments open and anonymous while primarily focusing our moderation efforts on the trolls, of the psychologically unstable, ideological, and professional varieties, as they popped up. This approach was fairly effective, but time-consuming. However, as our understanding of the socio-sexual hierarchy has developed and deepened, we’ve come to understand that there are certain classes of commenters who will reliably, over time, become disruptive even if it is not their intention to do so. We also found the task of moderation to be increasingly Sisyphean, as the more stubborn trolls simply changed their names again and again and again. Hence my decision to lock down the comments and limit them to registered commenters.

Now, one of the strengths of this blog is the pattern recognition possessed by both me and the long-term commenters. If we haven’t seen it all before, we’ve seen an awful lot of it. So, if you’re a monomaniac, an attention seeker, or someone who is “just having fun”, the chances are that you’re not going to last long before going into the spam trap. To summarize, if you insist on creating work for me and the moderators, for any reason, then we don’t want you here. Don’t ignore or blow off a warning, because the chances are there will not be a second one. The blog was here before you started commenting and it will be here long after you stop.

Given the trouble that some commenters appear to be having with Blogger not playing nicely with their browser, I should also point out that I will always tell you that you are being spammed. If you have not been so informed, then you should assume that the issue is with your browser, not your commenting status, and that the only possible fix is on your end. So, if you are having problems commenting, please don’t ask me or inform me about it. There is literally nothing I can do for you in that regard, except tell you to try different browsers and browser settings.

It’s been two months or so since I locked down the comments and I have to say that despite a few dire predictions, the end result has been entirely satisfactory. Traffic remains strong, the number of trolls has been significantly reduced, and the amount of spam has fallen by more than 95 percent.