As much as the comments section is a significant part of the value added of this enterprise, and many of you have come to know and enjoy the various personalities that hold forth, that situation holds true only when the discussions are informative and civil.
Several times in the history of this site, we have had to shut down comments for a period of more than a week, in one case several weeks, because the level of gratuitous nastiness, bad faith arguments, and Making Shit Up had gotten out of hand.
That is happening again. Because by default, most comments post automatically, our comments DJ Jules is finding too many dicey remarks are getting through, which then leads to, as Jules puts it:
They create a waterfall of protests which then lead to some major unpleasantness. So, I have to carefully read every comment, look at their sources and make some decisions (including snipping bad threads carefully instead of ripping). If I go more than 2 hours without looking at it then it can get quite ugly.
We warned you that Jules is burning out. The fact that you readers can’t behave yourselves for two hours says the situation is out of control.
We can’t have just anyone moderate comments and we have not yet found anyone we trust both to give they keys to our backstage and to perform the task well. So if you do not shape up and pronto, we will suspend comments entirely.
As a stopgap, Jules will take the day off tomorrow. That means comments will be liberated when Lambert or I get around to it. We both work similar odd hours, which pretty much guarantees that some comments that wind up in moderation will sit 10 hours or more. Please note that our written site Policies provide that we will free moderated comments once a day, so even this delay is faster than we officially provide for.
Anyone who bitches about their comments being moderated is subject to blacklisting.
And do not e-mail me privately to complain or kvetch on a post where we have left comments open either. It will not speed how quickly the site admins deal with them and thus wastes our extremely scarce time, and impedes both our handling comments and Lambert and I generating new posts.
Pestering me or making comments that amount to complaints or appeals further establishes that you have not bothered to read our written site Policies. They warn readers not to harass the site admins about comments in moderation. Those who ignore these warnings will find that they will rapidly accumulate troll points.
I would very much rather not take this step, but we have too often found that we need to in order to demonstrate to the miscreants that we are deadly serious about preserving the quality of the comments section. We are already at our limits. For the sake of this community, do not test us.