Thanks to the prompt responses of over 544 members of the Naked Capitalism community, we’ve met our first target, a critical budget for site improvements and IT infrastructure support, and the second target, funding for meetups, travel, and related site coverage, at a rapid clip. We are already $2635 toward our third goal, supporting the comments section.
Your donations are a statement that you value this community and want a better debate and a better society and are willing to invest to have us do more to make Naked Capitalism an even more effective voice for you. If you haven’t had time to give yet, please visit our Tip Jar to support our efforts. Whatever you can give, whether $10 or $1000, helps us provide you with your daily diet of incisive commentary, analysis, news, and cute animal pictures, as well as a place to hang out with the like-minded.
And speaking of the like-minded…..
Last year was the first time we made support for the comments section a fundraising goal and it has paid off. We brought in Outis and later Jules, and as a result, not only are comments liberated more quickly, but they both play an essential role in adjudicating cases, which are typically discussed among all of the site admins (Lambert, Outis, Jules, and me). They also sometimes pipe up in comments to take on questionable remarks and also clean up defective links that readers have flagged.
So we hope you won’t just give them a round of applause, but will also keep funding this critical task. As a result of how temperatures have risen in the press and all across social media in the wake of Trump’s unexpected Presidential win, combined with growing economic and social rifts, it’s taken even more work to keep Naked Capitalism a refuge of sanity in a media environment where pushing hot buttons is the sport of the day.
We think this effort has paid off in both the continuing high quality of the comments in the face of higher levels of them. It used to be that 100 comments on Links was a good volume; now 200 is typical. Similarly, we’ve had many comments on posts on Brexit, trade, health care, and the right to repair.
So if you appreciate the value of comments at Naked Capitalism, feel free to skip the rest of this post, go straight to the Tip Jar which tell you how to give by check, credit or debit card. Contribute to maintaining intellectually stimulating, vigorous, informative, and often witty debates among members of the commentariat
Managing comments has always come at a cost, in the sense that Lambert and I historically took care of the process at the expense of other activities. The fact that we try to be as light-touch about it as possible doesn’t change the fact that it takes real effort. That does not mean just handling the moderation queue, setting up and tweaking the various rules (that sometimes, as you also know too well, operate in a Skynet-like manner, despite our best intent). That also means reading the comments, often multiple times a day, and wading in as necessary, sometimes to de-escalate fights, sometimes to act as referees on argumentation strategies, sometimes to clear up benign- or malign-looking mischaracterizations of what the posts or readers said. We also spend more time than you think in dealing with borderline comments. We often discuss those decisions together, and review a commenter’s history to see if he/she is just having an off day, or whether the comment under consideration is part of a not-good pattern that we’d missed, or for which we cut undue slack. And that’s before we get to trolling and non-organic drive-bys. (Skynet catches most bots, fortunately.)
This oversight cumulatively takes a lot of time but is a critical investment, since it helps keep the comments at a generally high level. Our efforts also help assure readers that they can express their views and supply important information as long as they adhere to guidelines meant to encourage not just communication but high standards of accuracy and rigor. In what is often a fog of incomplete, mis-, and dis-information, the commentariat plays a crucial role in vetting what is presented as fact and testing the logic of arguments, including those of posts (as readers hopefully know, we work hard to be accurate and timely, but even we sometimes get it wrong and welcome corrections or additional information that fills in gaps in stories).
The proof of the success of this approach is the fact that we have a real community at Naked Capitalism where many voices can and do express themselves, despite the widely-recognized deterioration of quality of discourse across the Web. Naked Capitalism is even cited in journalism courses as an example of the sort of engaged audience that major media outlets think they want to have (and which they could have, if they’d stop toeing the line of important advertisers and elite interests). So to support these efforts, please give now. Whether it’s $5, $50, or $5000, all help meet our goals.
Mind you, even what we have paid Outis does not cover the full costs of moderation, since Jules so far hs been able to volunteer. Things have gotten so intense that I’ve also been paying Lambert to do Links more often than in the past.
We have set a target of $17,500 which frankly only partly covers the cost of comments moderation. So please do your part and chip in pronto! The Tip Jar tells you how to give by check, credit or debit card. And if you do send a check, please send an e-mail to email@example.com with “Check is in the mail” in the subject line so we can include it in our running tally.
Again, please invest in the commentariat! This goal is for all of us!