Monday, February 05, 2007

Blog Comments

Please note that blog moderation has been turned on here for the time being. Unfortunately, like most blogs, mine has gotten a fair number of trolls as of late that has put a damper on conversation and other commenter's willingness to participate. I apologize to those commenters who are simply trying to voice their opinion on various posts in ways that are constructive, straightforward and without malice. However, as is typical of open comments, there will always be those who try to dominate the conversation by being rude, counterproductive and just plain cowardly. I will try to approve comments as quickly as possible so that we can continue to talk more or less in real time. Of course, the troll comments will now no longer be allowed. Those persons or cowards in this case, can go start a blog of their own to discuss the injustice.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Helen:

I am so sorry that is happening.

Over and over, on other blogs, I keep running into people who bravely spew venom and profanity---all the while claiming that they are just "expressing themselves."

Well, it is "your house," ma'am. Your rules.

As I once said to one of them, "Do you use such language at home with your children? At work, to your boss? In church? At your parents' home, over dinner? If you are 'just expressing' yourself, it shouldn't matter."

What they want, of course, is to be nasty and rude without any kind of responsibility. And that is the real problem with political discourse today: the coarseness and exclusionism.

I enjoy your blog very much. Hopefully, the many interesting and polite commenters will continue to do so!

3:23 PM, February 05, 2007  
Blogger BlogDog said...

Sounds like a good idea to me.
I doubt that you'll lose any worthwhile comments by doing so.

4:48 PM, February 05, 2007  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

blogdog is correct, though I maintain that simply switching off the ability to post anonymously is a far less labor-intensive way to handle it.

6:10 PM, February 05, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Peregrine John,

Good idea--I do have to check in and approve the comments this way which is not always easy. I am not at a computer 24 hours a day--believe it or not!

6:33 PM, February 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard some wonderful viewpoints in here. Looked at things in different ways because of what has been said. Better ways. Heard some great one liners too. I have laughed out loud quite a few times. And I need to do that. When reading posts, I try to imagine people's eyebrows raised, eyes sparkle, open wide, and individuals' voice inflections as I read through.

As the above folks have said, this is a great blog. Sometimes it feels like a tie and jacket, other times, cut offs and flip flops. Just like it should.


6:50 PM, February 05, 2007  
Blogger Purple Avenger said...

My trolls have spiked a bit too. I blame it on global warming ;->

7:02 PM, February 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I vote for the nononymous option. If that doesn't work you could always require a blogger account.

Frankly I don't blame you for modifying your policy. You were getting an especially creepy obsessive variety of trolls. Gender topics seem to bring them out.

10:38 PM, February 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd second the suggestion of at least trying the route of only allowing registered users to post. At least that would save you the hassle of pre-approving each post.

Presumably, you can then simply remove posting rights from those who abuse the assumption of good will and courtesy extended of unfettered posting.

If Blogger does not have this functionality, I’d consider migrating to a blog ‘engine’ that does.

Nick Good - South Africa

3:55 AM, February 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course the "my house, my rules" principle has many limitations in the real world.

You can't assault someone living in your dwelling. You can't sexually assault someone living in your dwelling. You can't steal the property of someone living in your dwelling. You can't drug or poison someone living in your dwelling.

Some of these people really have some control issues - they sound like bratty little girls constantly trying to get mommy to punish someone. But I guess that goes hand in hand with being a totalitarian and/or statist.

4:17 AM, February 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course in the real world there are limitations to the "my house, my rules" principle.

You can't assault someone living in your dwelling. You can't sexually assault someone living in your dwelling. You can't photograph or videotape someone's private areas without their consent if they are living in your dwelling. (sexual assault in many jurisdictions) You can't drug or poison someone living in your dwelling. You can't steal someone's property if they are living in your dwelling.

Seems like some people have some control issues....

4:23 AM, February 06, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

trolls ruin it for everyone, the ones that insult others, i dont insult unless i benn insulted.

luckily i can give vent when i meet a troll (and i delete their comments and yes but if they dont like it then TOUGH). my blog is quite quiet. people think its easy to be anonymous on blogs like this and others, but all it does it make them appear to be bullies.

and i think the stopping anonymous comments would be a way to go. as most of the trolls are anonymous.

4:43 AM, February 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes, a good wrestle with a troll is kind of fun. I know I am not supposed to feed them, but I get impulsive and dive in anyway.

But, the attacks against you and Glenn were really boring and tiresome. They were repetitive and tended to get sexual which is weird! Why to the liberals go for the sexual insults?

So I understand. I think some of the trolls were orchestrated. That is one of the reasons I just photo blog, the comments are far fewer, but they tend to stay on topic!


12:08 PM, February 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The anonymous poster above makes, with all due respect, a serious mistake in defining a category. True, you don't have "the right" to assault someone living in your house.

But I view commenting on a blog as visiting someone in their house. And to come in and insult the host is unacceptable. It doesn't matter what the anonymous poster thinks about that concept---this isn't her or his blog. Dr. Helen makes the rules for her own blog.

And when I say "insult," I do not mean disagree. One of the trolls actually referred to Dr. Helen's "Jewishness" as a rationale for some of her behavior. That kind of comment is right up there with the famous comment by a Republican senator about "...New York lawyers..." or currently the comments about "monied pro-Israeli interests."

I have also seen posters use frequent profanity, and when told to tone it down, claim that they have "the right" to curse on someone else's blog. When pressed about how often they cursed while having dinner at their parents' house, or while discussing their annual job evaluation with their boss, they always claim that they "do" speak that way.


The take home message is to be polite, I think. People seem to confuse politeness with weakness, as they confuse honesty with tactlessness. None of these are equivalent, I think.

Debate, argue, disagree. But the personal stuff is unnecessary, and accomplishes nothing. Calling Professor Reynold's "tubby"? What did that do, exactly, to strengthen someone's argument?

It is juvenile and sophomoric.

Dr. Helen may even disagree with what I have written here. And you know what? This truly is "her house," and no matter what a troll might say, Dr. Helen gets to make the rules for her own metaphorical house.

Anti-semitic trolls should feel free to have their own blog, and curse and insult away there. That would be their house, after all. And more power to them, so long as I do not have to read their filth.

Sorry to go on about this. Most posters here, anonymous or otherwise, are actually very interesting. I particularly appreciate the ones with whom I disagree, because I learn a great deal from them. But insult was not part of those discussions. And I understand their positions more thoroughly as a result.

Your mileage may vary, of course.

12:56 PM, February 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I certainly am glad to see that you're not going to allow comments from trolls, anymore. I also applaud the suggestion to ban anonymous postings.

However, a troll could list a fictitious name; who would know? And as for requiring a Blogger account, please, no! I'm not a troll, and I don't like being left out!

I don't think I've seen this option on any Blogger blogs, but if you could require a valid e-mail address--not to be published--as an option to a Blogger account, that would be good. (I don't know how Typepad and others know a fake e-mail account from a real one, unless they have someone sitting at a computer clicking on the addresses to see where they go.)

Anyway, on my blog, I require a valid e-mail account, *and* I monitor comments. So, I'm a control freak. 'Course, I also don't have a lot of commenters; my friends and family send me comments by e-mail, rather than posting them. Hard to get a discussion going, that way, too!

9:21 PM, February 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, am I bad because I miss smacking down some of the trolls?


11:25 PM, February 07, 2007  
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