Trying Some Modest Fixes on Comment Moderation

Some readers get upset about comment moderation, so it appears to be time for some remarks and reminders.

1. We have clearly stated policies (see Policies in our header bar!) and we suggest you read them. Quite a few of the complaints come from people who clearly haven’t.

2. One of the things we make clear is we get to comments in moderation when we can. We have committed ONLY to reviewing them once every 24 hours but typically we check quite a bit more frequently than that.

The mod queue is lower priority than dealing with my inbox and posting. We have said repeatedly we could come to closer to real time reviews if we got funding for it. Not a single person has written a check or made a donation for that purpose, which says readers don’t care about it that much despite the grumbling in the comments section.

3. Far too often, we get comments or e-mails accusing us of putting a particular comment in moderation. Folks, please drop your sense of persecution. All you’ve done is show you haven’t even bothered to think about how moderation works. The only way Lambert and I could intervene personally to prevent a comment from appearing is if every single comment were moderated. We clearly don’t do that; most comments appear in less than 2 minutes (we have had to implement caching, so comments do not always appear immediately).

4. Do not post a comment again if it does not go through! All you do is increase your spammer points with Akismet, which means you might find all your comments not appearing (and we are not terribly inclined to go into the spam folder to find comments, we get over 3000 spam comments a day).

And if they do wind up in the mod queue, having them show up multiple times creates more work for Lambert and me, which makes it more difficult to run the site. And it’s very discourteous given that we’ve told readers God only knows how many times NOT to do this. So we get annoyed and stressed, and that shows up in all sorts of ways, like a snippier tone when we interact with readers in comments.

Having said that, we have two known issues:

1. Some legitimate comments fail to appear anywhere. We have no clue as to why that happens and we have done a lot of investigation into this issue. The good news is it happens less often than it used to. We are sorry and we know this is very frustrating, but it is frustrating to us too. The Internet is a hostile environment. Or to quote Bloomberg, “Technology is the opposite of sex. Even when it’s great, it’s terrible.”

2. Skynet seems to be living in our backstage. We see comments we are glad to have in moderation, in that they violated house rules, yet their presence in the mod queue is a mystery to us, since they haven’t crossed any trip wires (including IP addresses). We are similarly getting comments that are OK occasionally getting thrown into the mod queue.

I spent a chunk of time time this evening deleting some of our moderation rules. This may or may not help address problem 2 (some innocuous comments winding up in moderation). I don’t expect it to be a perfect fix, but it may reduce the frequency of false positives and hence reader frustration.

The risk is even if this does help alleviate problem 2, it may also increase the level of destructive comments and trollery. I hope not, but it may well be that the Internet has devolved to the point where there is no longer a good balance between trying to implement rules that keep discourse civil and having a comments section that is relatively open.

For instance, I’d like to see more conservatives who argue in good faith like Jim Haygood and Conscience of a Conservative (to be honest, Haygood can drive me nuts occasionally, but he is good natured about being slapped around). But when newbies of differing political views wander in, too often their aim seems to be to be some combination of attacking NC readers, demonizing the site, or hijacking the thread. Or else we get the slightly less terrible version, being hectored for our ignorance, when the critics offer either no or dubious backup for their arguments (as in their position is essentially religious rather than fact based and reasoned). Both these types usually wind up being banned and they assume it’s for their views, as opposed to their communication tactics.

So we are aware of these issues. I hope we can come up with a better compromise, but the Internet may have changed to a degree that the amount of active trollery makes that impossible. Keep your fingers crossed that my concerns are overblown.

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44 comments

  1. Hayek's Heelbiter

    Thanks. And so much appreciation for your tireless efforts to shine light into the craw of the beast. (Wish it were monetary, but as one of its victims, have had to cut out subscriptions to everything, including my favorites, even to the extent of trying to go cold turkey on coffee shop double espressos).
    But since the Great Recession is over [snark], I soon expect to be rolling in dosh and a more pecuniary supporter than I have been.

  2. BillK

    Don’t forget the professional trolls and liars employed by corporations and government whose intent is to weaken the support for your site and conceal their real operations.
    Nowadays it is common practice for corporations buy hordes of sock puppets to manipulate internet opinion.

    1. PaulArt

      I second that. I abandoned Huffington Post purely due to this kind of nonsense that BillK talks about. HP is crawling with a professional Right Wing Liar brigade who mercilessly go after people who share facts and knowledge. They also do not do this in a blatant or obvious fashion but are very subtle and VERY VERY persistent. HP has a weird ‘thread close’ policy and they have some kind of a Kangaroo Court moderator mechanism where it seems like everyone is a moderator not to mention their use of these strange badges like ‘Networker’ and other labels. For example you could find a complete Right Wing Wacko job posting Koch lovefest comments wearing a big and important badge. The Right Wing Koch Environmental Police is also out in force on HP. One of the reasons why the Right Wing propaganda machine does not bother much with NC is probably because the readership is smaller compared to the masses and NC is not overtly political or cover much of political crap that goes on. Enough reason to say Praise the Lord!

    2. Leeskyblue

      Good point about professional trolls Bill.
      Many comments to every site are being written by hirelings, and they are not just the overtly obnoxious ones.
      Collectively, we simply are not educated to the level that media manipulation has permeated our lives.
      Anyone who thinks it’s “just those bleeping right wingers” has swallowed a large one, hook, line and sinker. We are constantly being pandered to our prejudices by the Democratic Party as well as by pseudo-libertarians and Republicans..
      Our President for one, is totally a creature of media management.

      There should be courses on what now daily permeates and critically affects our lives and thinking.
      The education should start in elementary school and continue throughout our lives.

    3. hunkerdown

      I’m actually glad we haven’t got “professional moderators” (like Reddit’s bipolarbear0) making sure TINA to the Administration’s position.

  3. BillC

    If no funding has come forward to support moderation, maybe volunteer effort could fill the gap? I think you’ve addressed the problems of using volunteer admins before, but given NC’s well-defined guidelines for reader comments, perhaps this is a function that could be done by volunteers without becoming more trouble than it’s worth. It looks like NC has significant readership in European time zones and some in Asian, so perhaps three teams of maybe 5-12 volunteers each could self-organize into rotating shifts, with you and Lambert dealing only with the team leads. There may be many of us who do not feel as capable of useful comment as the regulars, but who would be capable and willing to spend a few hours 2-3 times a week to help weed out the trolls. Obviously, some internal communication among the teams and their rotating volunteers would be needed (e.g., scheduling, shift-turnover status, and moderation policy adjustment), but from prior comment, looks like there’s enough Web and IT expertise lurking here to devise something lightweight but effective without you having to invent it yourself.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      While that is a nice thought, coordinating (and in this case training/acculturating) volunteers ALSO takes time, and this task takes enough judgment I doubt it can be delegated. You have no idea how much time Lambert, Richard Smith and I spend debating borderline cases, and we’ve worked together for years and have generally very congruent views. Adding a lot of newbies to the mix means a lot more communication, and I doubt we’d come out net ahead, and we could very well come out worse.

      And the real spanner in the works: you have to have admin access to moderate comments. No way are we entrusting that to anyone we don’t know VERY VERY well.

      1. Crazy Horse

        Gday Yves & Lambert,
        First of all I want to express my gratitude for your labors in the thankless job of guiding the path of discussion on NC into civilized and productive directions. NC is almost unique in how well it accomplishes the goal of moderating economic discussion. — considering that the entire field is rife with disinformation, ideological blindness, and delusion.

        Secondly I think it is past time that I, as a fairly frequent poster, refrain from posting out of frustration with the state of affairs and carefully consider how what I am about to say will contribute to the improvement of the forum knowledge base before hitting enter.

        Perhaps a variation on BillC’s idea of crowdsource moderation would be helpful in identifying how to focus limited energy. How about a prominent link on the heading bar called TrollFighter? It would take anyone who wishes to contribute to a brief outline of NC policy and an invitation to provided details why they believe a specific post or poster is inappropriate. This would not be a public forum, but rather a back door into the editor’s office that you can make use as you see fit.

        1. hunkerdown

          Community moderation can provide a good user experience and reduce the admin workload, if one’s site caters for a fairly well-delimited ideology. On the other hand, sockpuppet troll armies could easily rearm as sockpuppet moderation armies, competing with the legitimate moderators and editors.

          If this were my site I wouldn’t want to invite *more* corner cases to adjudicate.

  4. scott

    I had (what I thought) was a relevant comment about successfully navigating a Federal website that was at least as complex as Healthcare.gov, but the whole comment was deleted. I guess I could have left out the snarky comments at the end. Would that have helped?

  5. Carla

    I think Yves and Lambert do an absolutely remarkable job of producing Naked Capitalism and moderating comments. In the occasional instance that one of my comments is thrown into moderation, I figure I must have unknowingly tripped some wire, and shrug. It almost always appears within an hour or two.

    I really don’t know how you do it. It’s time to send some more nickels to NC, but not necessarily for comments moderation. Apply them wherever you see fit. IMHO, comments are working just fine.

    1. Paul Boisvert

      It’s actually much EASIER and quicker to comment on NC than on most other sites I read (and therefore don’t comment on.) I really appreciate that, and hope Yves and Lambert keep up their excellent work. NC is the single best econ blog on the web, and I can’t think of a single thing about it I’d change–other than the two duplications on the blogroll, which I assume they leave there just to irritate me, since I’m sure that’s their main goal in life… :)

  6. Patricia

    You do far more than required.

    Sometimes people forget that computers are machines and thus legalistic, literalistic, and rather stupid. To blame that on the blogger is incorrect. Of course, some bloggers are that way too, but not because of algorithm.

  7. Jackrabbit

    It can be frustrating sometimes when you don’t know WHY your comment has been moderated so you don’t know how to fix it.

    It is really really enticing to try to fix your comment so that it passes. Sometimes this is an obvious fix – like when you’ve forgotten to mask a word or phrase that will get flagged (like a curse word). But sometimes its not so obvious. Yesterday I added a bunch of links to a comment. Maybe the mod filter thought I was spamming. I COULD’ve tried to experiment by entering comments with fewer links but then I’d be ‘misbehaving’ and I couldn’t be sure that it would work – perhaps the comment was moderated for some other reason?

    Maybe this is an ‘edge case’ but there are times when more info on what the filter catches would be helpful.

    1. susan the other

      Like “Moderation Code 1, 2, or 3” or stg like that. Whenever I read trolls my radar goes off instantly if they are too smooth. That’s the mark of the beast – the propaganda beast. That kind of comment is pretty rare around here. Almost all the comments come from the heart and from experience. I’m pretty sure I always get moderated for my bigotry and/or obscenity. For which I apologize. But I will say this: bigotry and obscenity are more honorable than well phrased astroturf. So, by my own sense of the comments which I read religiously, NC is doing an absolutely excellent job of sweeping away the astroturf. Pretty amazing. Thank you all.

    2. Jackrabbit

      Also, all the links I entered were to comments within the site. It seems that the filter should ignore/be lenient such links.

      1. Winston Smith

        Make sure the links are well-formed. I think href=” link” triggers a flag. (It should be href=”link”, no space after the first quote.)

        1. TheCatSaid

          Is there a list of specific HTML codes that can be used in comments on this site? Sometimes I wanted to put in a link via text, or would like to use italics or bold.

          Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

    3. Vatch

      Hah! I just posted a message in the Links section with 2 links in it, and my message is awaiting moderation. I’ve noticed this phenomenon in the past, and your experience, plus my experience today, are evidence of the effect that links can have on the status of a comment. Oh well, I can wait.

    4. TheCatSaid

      It might be useful if refused comments generated automated refusal codes as suggested.
      That might also be useful to the heroic NC site managers, as they could quickly review a list sorted according to refusal code.

  8. Paul Niemi

    I don’t comment regularly. Like many others, I have to work for a living, and I have other interests. Generally, I will write in if something said above the comments line of a thread agrees with something that has been bugging me, or if I know something specifically about a topic. Sometimes I want to raise attention to a topic that is below the radar screen, and sometimes I feel like being humorous with a post. Nevertheless, I don’t like putting in the work to write an original paragraph, check the facts, post it, and then have a pretentious, local troll attack me, my supposed motives, and every dot and tittle, like a self-appointed gatekeeper. That turns me off, and it makes me want to use uncouth language in response. I’m able to defend what I write, to a point in time, but eventually a body will end up just saying, “screw this,” and go somewhere else. This is nothing you don’t already know, and of course it is not your fault.

    1. Murky

      Well informed discussion in a net community is often the exception rather than the rule. I see it best in professional forums where people use their real names. But on the open net, there are a gazillion brats charging into debate with their ego-politics. If their tribe is not your tribe, they can get rude, and your comments will be trashed in every possible way. Talking now only about a minority of our posting community. Anyone who is opinionated, loud, aggressive, and dismissive looks like a troll to me. Learning to disagree with good civility takes long practice, and maybe we all have an inner troll, that sometimes escapes and blurts out irresponsible content. Everybody sees the worst offenders, because they get nuked by moderators after violating posting rules. I’d prefer a broader arsenal against those who degrade the quality of discussion, but I think we’ve got the next best thing. Various people in this community will often expose overly opinionated brats, their faulty logic, and other inappropriate content. Weird thing though; I’ve had to reverse my opinion about several people I’d pegged as trolls. First they made some very poorly informed comment on a subject I knew well. Later I’d read something they’d written that was beyond good; I’d get educated from the freaking ‘troll’. So I’m not at all so sure about who the trolls are anymore.

  9. Brooklin Bridge - will try

    Thanks very much for the reminder about double posting. It’s almost like a reflex and I imagine most folks -myself included- don’t do it out of poor intent. But it’s a perfectly reasonable request and I apologize for any frustration mine have caused.

  10. Kurt Sperry

    This is a headache I’ve had to deal with for years, trying to moderate comments and remove/prevent spam postings and trolling. Automation will only go so far, once the low hanging fruit is picked–keyword flagging Gucci, Nike, Cialis, Viagra etc. etc., known spam link characteristics and all likely variants for the commercial spammers and IP block filters etc. for the trolls who can’t or won’t bother with proxies–you are left with a labor/time intensive process that requires real judgment and coordination of the staff. I don’t know WP from a hole in the ground, but most php/sql platforms allow tiered credentialing so you can have mods with some useful editing perms without handing over the keys to the AdminCP.

  11. Leeskyblue

    Some still don’t understand what an HORRENDOUS and THANKLESS job it is to moderate, how viciously draining of one’s creative energy and life’s blood that it is.
    Our hosts are too fastidious for their own good sometimes.
    Hear the exhaustion in their tone when they broach this subject.
    We owe them a break.
    I think they need to hear that from more of us.

    As someone who is occasionally irrelevant, snarky, and narcissistic like everyone else, (as well as absolutely brilliant at other times, like everyone else) I will regard it an honor to be occasionally deleted by whatever screens our hosts choose to construct for the sake of the jewel that they have created for our benefit.

    Which also reminds me, I think I am due for another donation.

  12. OIFVet

    I also think that adding links increases the chance of a comment going into moderation. Almost all of mine that have gone there have contained at least one link. It is unfortunate but then again the lack of spam here is so refreshing. I don’t know if it is possible on NC, but perhaps Yves and Lambert could think about adding the IPs of long time and well trusted commenters (with well established history of clean comments) to a do not moderate list so to speak. I have seen it done elsewhere.

  13. Vatch

    Yves, thanks for all your efforts, and thank you for discussing these problems with us. I know I have violated some of the rules (mostly by accident) and I apologize for that.

    Months ago, I read the instructions in your Policies page, but some of it didn’t stick, so a while ago I posted a duplicate comment. After that I reread your Policies, but it was still possible for me to make mistakes. One mistake is that after a comment didn’t appear, I forgot whether I actually posted it, so I reposted it, and of course I got the message telling me that it was a duplicate. My bad. But as you point out, on rare occasions, a comment is completely lost. I think that happened to me once. So some of the bad behavior that you witness is actually just user clumsiness rather than selfishness or outright asshattery.

    One question: If a person makes a mistake (or multiple mistakes), and is given higher spam points, is that a permanent condition? Or will the spam points be reduced over time if the person stops repeating the mistakes?

    Thanks!

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Thank you, Yves and Lambert for having this blog. This is my favorite site and in my opinion, the best w.r.t. both the hosts and the quality of comments, in terms of substance and fallible-human-civility, we get.

    I have to confess I have occasionally committed violations here or there, perhaps going for the triumph of the will, or perhaps, like Vatch mentioned above, simply forgetting an earlier post.

    One thing I have learned is to remember to apply my zazen lessons to disappearing comments – like errant thoughts coming out of nowhere during meditation, I just let those vanished comments go.

    “There vanishes my comment”

    “Why? Why? Why?”

    “It’s OK – maybe it’s not meant to be. There will be another day.”

  15. JohnB

    I would almost certainly be of the opinion, that there are now paid trolls throughout the Internet, but the problem with this is: It is impossible to prove, due to the anonymity of the Internet.

    It appears to be a permanent fixture on most prominent Internet forums, particularly on economics; the problem I find, is the reasonable open-to-persuasion conservatives, can often be indistinguishable from the shills/trolls.

    Both seem to rely on many fallacious/flawed methods of argument, and evidence denial, yet the main degree of difference is whether or not that is intentional.

    I absolutely echo BillK and PaulArt in this regard: Dissemination of news/events/knowledge is now permanently moving online, and all of the paid shills that used to inhabit media/newspapers/etc., naturally enough, are now also going to permanently move online.

    They are also often extremely intelligent, at utilizing lists of logical fallacies as “how-to’s” rather than “what to avoid/look-out-for”.

    I have found, that many of them don’t care about winning any debate, what they care about is this: Making the debate unpalatable to the general public (economics is the most condescension-prone topic I’ve ever discussed), in order to spread enough FUD, to dissuade people learning/discussing certain topics (economics), and to actively make them dislike those topics.

    This is a very important topic actually (paid shills on the Internet), that could do with more light being shed upon it, as not nearly enough is known about it: It would be very interesting if NC could find a ‘whistleblower’ among these astrotrufers, learn more about it, and write about it – would be a noteable scoop; don’t know how that could be done though.

  16. Jess

    I just wish there was some way to quickly post “Your comment is awaiting moderation” or a similar notice. I don’t mind getting moderated, but it’s frustrating being unable to figure out if a comment is in the moderation queue or late in getting posted (possibly due to my crappy Time Warner ISP?), or if the comment has just disappeared.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      +1 Although if one’s comment isn’t appearing after a hard page refresh it is pretty self evidently in a moderation queue. Not everyone will get that though.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      This is admittedly a separate issue and I was remiss in not mentioning it.

      We have had to implement caching to improve performance. Controlling our own comments section runs the database hard, and that is the worst designed, most fragile part of WordPress.

      If your comment goes through, it can take as much as two minutes. That often seems like a very long time.

  17. psychohistorian

    So I posted a comment to today’s links posting 2+ hours ago and it did not tell me the comment was in moderation nor has it shown on the web site in response to a Buddhist Economics comment.

    So I just tried to repost it and it tells me that I have posted that already. These are times when I don’t know what to do as I did not think my comment was inflammatory at all…..if this comment makes it, I will reply to it with the couple sentence failure. Thanks for helping me understand what I might be doing wrong.

  18. Paul Tioxon

    It seems people are overly concerned with moderation. It isn’t personal, and if this example of Yves and Lambert bending over backwards does not convey that, well, there aren’t enough pills in CVS to help you. I think it would be good to let the disappearance of comments and even entire posts as nearly as I can tell in the wee hours of the night, be a lesson in how far we are from the technology utopia of Star Trek. Worst examples are Lambert’s favorite target, the Healthcare gov website. It is unspeakably bad from its debut and now is just nauseatingly incompetent. It is now, however, probably better than a lot of crap that is out there in different industries pretending to be state of the art. I know. I personally hear the idiocy from my relatives who work for various and sundry software providers. My favorite stories are for the pharma sector. Whether mail order houses, independent pharmacists or even insurance providers paying for prescriptions, the entire distribution of meds is under some sort of automation and it mostly stinks to high heaven. Of course, the medical system is not a system and so complex, no matter how you automate, you are automating chaos, but I digress.

    Technology in the form of telegraph, telephone, and now, the internet convergence of everything digital is not all that old. Relatively speaking, agriculture is the first great revolution in human social development when domesticated plants and animals made life a little bit easier that wandering aimlessly around looking for food and dying in the process. We still have problems with food distribution and have been at for thousands of years.

    Information technology has not achieved instantaneous Star Trek levels, meaning, the seeming omniscient and omnipotent computer that will control and prevent all risks and failure is not anywhere in sight. But, it is comforting to believe that if I type even this humble notion into the keyboard and send it to NC for posting, it will simply appear in the blink of an eye and if it does not there is a rational explanation for it not meeting or exceeding my expectations of technology, and NOT some fearful cause: Political conspiracy from the NSA. Political censorship from Yves, Lambert and/or wordpress, Or maybe the hosting service. Failing that, who knows? Maybe I am on a list of something or an other.

    Truthfully, I do not know. Stuff happens in complexity that we can not account for. As Yves tries to explain, conspiracy is not afoot. And, she and Lambert apparently have the same 24 hour day that I have and can only do so much here and have the remainder of the day to live their other life off line. Stuff just disappears simply because the internet, even in the USA in NYC, and on the entire East Coast Establishment do not have perfect technology implementation to allow people 100% success in communicating to the world via this excellent platform. And this is not kissing up. If I was kissing up, I would comment on how lovely Yves looks every time I see her on youtube and that she walks in beauty like the night or praise sage like patriarch Lambert for wisdom and compassionate empathy for the human condition. But no, fellow NC folk, I don’t do that, not at all. Instead, I blame the Tower of Babylon that is the competing artificial languages of computer code that refuse to homogenize in system integration from one server to the next, from one operating system and browser to the next and on and on and on. It is a miracle to speaking in tongues that allows us to communicate as smoothly as we do, as often as we do, whether that is 80% or 90% or 98.6% of the time, I don’t know, but we seem to communicate better and faster and farther afield than ever before and that is progress. I’ll take that any day and thank the people who make it happen and allow my place their own little glass bead game.

    1. Murky

      “Information technology has not achieved instantaneous Star Trek levels”

      Well, it would not be that hard to code blogware that recognizes named individuals as trustworthy. Implementation? Simple keyboard entry of names by moderators. Once someone becomes established in the NC community, why not let their posts go through? This is like having security badges to gain entry into a building. And those who abuse posting rules can live with machine censorship. There is only one minor problem to this kind of solution… Such blogware does not seem to be available. Yet.

      By the way, the various incarnations of Star Trek cover a time-line from mid 23rd to late 24th century. Do we really have to wait 250+ years for user friendly blogware?

      1. Paul Tioxon

        How long will we have to wait for electricity and fiber cable to stop being strung on splintered popsicle sticks strung together like tangled twine? Let’s see, telephone poles going up around the Civil War Era, 1860s til today, 2014, that’s about 150 years, maybe 250 for blogware is reasonable.

  19. JTFaraday

    I think most of the time I have a post disappear into the blue ether, it’s because I made the mistake of saying the word “sta*ist.”

    Could be someone out there thinks it’s a dirty word.

  20. Thure

    Well – I’ve never commented on this blog, which I enjoy every day due the high quality of posts about the issues that concern me as well.

    I congratulate you on the care you take, the civil tone and restraint in moderation and would like to remind all of you who feel slighted when your comments aren’t published, that this is not about you personally, but simply how information flow in the internet age works.

    It’s not a public debate or a logged trading session, just a friendly discussion hosted by by some smart and dedicated folks. Try being an author and getting published officially for a tasty comparison.

    Thanks for all the great work and don’t let the trolls and other critters get you down.

  21. washunate

    Thanks for your continued support and tweaking of the site. I think those of us that comment love it (are addicted to it?) precisely because we can get into in-depth discussion that happens in few other digital places.

    ***

    A couple quibbles/additions/my two cents:

    1) “We have clearly stated policies (see Policies in our header bar!) and we suggest you read them.”

    This line from the policies I think could be used to greater extent: “If you are a borderline case, you increase your odds of not being put into moderation by providing a real, current email address so we can give you a warning via email rather than throwing you in moderation.”

    As someone who was in moderation for a little bit of time (ie, not just impatient for 24 hours), such a warning email would have been greatly appreciated. It’s the lack of communication that can get confusing, particularly since one of the great features of the NC layout is the request for an email address.

    2) ” Not a single person has written a check or made a donation for that purpose, which says readers don’t care about it that much despite the grumbling in the comments section.”

    In general, it’s bad form to grumble about somebody else’s party, so I think primarily the attempt from people with good intentions is to just not talk about it (I mean, in the scheme of things, it’s just not that big a deal). Personally, I wouldn’t want privileges like commenting to be dependent upon funding (unless there was ever a desire to switch to a member only site, which would be an interesting model), and I wouldn’t even really want to know who donates and who doesn’t. But if it’s useful background for this topic, I personally have donated to the site. What I have not done is link it to any specific desires. As someone who has worked for a handful of nonprofit orgs over the years, I know designated funds (as opposed to unrestricted revenue) can be a pain.

    Also, commenters do support the site more generally – via advertising. It’s the very first section of the Policies. Finally, the donation quip assumes a philosophy where money is the answer. Are there things that regular readers can donate other than money? For example, time to help sift through questionable accounts? We want you writing and speaking, not worrying about comments!

  22. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

    As someone who leaves, like, one comment every six months or so – and never goes back to check – I am uncanined in this matter. But given that my daily checks are generally just to see what kind of fun and useful stuff the site has assembled for me I don’t really spend much time in the comments section, as much fun as it would be to toss in a libertarian POV now and then. I’ll just add a “thanks for the work you do!” to the fine admins here and will be sure to toss $$ in the hat next time it comes around as well. I may not agree with the evaluations, but the writing is *always* worth the price of admission here!

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