Wow! Met Our First Goal in Record Time! On to the Second: Supporting the Comments Section

Thanks to our loyal readers for such prompt and generous responses! We hit our first goal in nine hours, two hours faster than our previous best! Because Lambert, the Master of the Fundraiser Thermometers, is off the grid, our thermometer is very much behind where we are. He will get it more current when he comes back on duty.

We’ve already just shy of 300 donations towards fundraiser target of 1100 donors. It was particularly gratifying seeing donations start coming in right as the fundraiser post went live and to see such a strong response all day. And we are already $3665 towards our second goal, investing in 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.

Readers have also been sending notes of support. For example, from Sukh H:

You have no idea how valuable your site has been in regards to being a resource that confirms my understandingof how the world works, political economy and global geopolitics wise.

I love you guys.

And speaking of the like-minded…..

Thanks to Jules Dickson’s heavy lifting, not only are comments liberated more quickly, but Jules plays an essential role in adjudicating cases, which are typically discussed among all of the site admins (Lambert and me). You can also see that Jules cleans up defective links that readers have flagged and sometimes intercedes in comments.

So we hope you won’t just give Jules 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 thanks to the war over Trump, Covid-19 dislocations, protests and protests over protests, it’s taken even more work to keep Naked Capitalism a refuge of sanity in a media environment where pushing hot buttons is seen as the path to profit

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. If anything, the cost has been rising because we’ve had to impose even more mod rules, given how stressed many people are now, which sadly means more comments go into moderation. So getting to them quickly is even more important than ever.

Managing comments 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 Jules does not cover the full costs of moderation. Jules is also overstretched and we are looking to bring on a second moderator but that has not jelled yet. 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 yves@nakedcapitalism.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!

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14 comments

  1. PlutoniumKun

    It never ceases to amaze me how such a small crew has kept the comments section so productive over so many years – I’ve seen many interesting sites either abandon comments or just surrender to the trolls and nonsense. The standard on NC has always been consistently high, which keeps me coming back (and consuming far too much of my workday here, but thats another story).

    Contribution sent.

    Reply
    1. Jules Dickson

      Thanks! As Yves describes, the backstage work in keeping comments valuable, civil and interesting is time-consuming and fraught with tough decisions. But, it’s worth it to all of us at NC, since we enjoy and appreciate the ideas, feedback, and new information from our readers.

      Reply
      1. Oso_in_Oakland

        Jules, thank you for all your hard work.
        i’m going to leave a comment here then walk away because frankly it’s difficult to cope with racial microaggressions when outnumbered.
        NC is a white blog, no question. white people often see diversity where none exists so feel comfortable expressing their thoughts without the need or desire to check themselves. Some thoughts are communicated (i think) without understanding they are offensive. Others with an implied or expressed desire to flaunt what they view as being PC. NC is akin to a male blog where comments demeaning to women are taken in stride, in the sense that as long as the C word isn’t used (or the N word here) everyone is good.
        There’s no demand here for change, so i don’t expect it. nevertheless i thought this was worth a mention.

        Reply
        1. Ragabhava

          As a non-white, non-US citizen I feel pretty much micro agressed by your post as it pertains to a peculiar, almost exclusively USamerican, attitude which denies my non-USamericaness.

          Reply
        2. CoryP

          I think this is a valuable comment and sentiment even if I’m probably part of the problem in ways I don’t even know. I’m glad you still take the time to post here, Oso.

          Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    Done and dusted – donation underway via PayPal. I think that everybody appreciates the hard work that you do guys and what has been built up over the years. This place is without price as a refuge of sanity on the net.

    Reply
  3. Sutter Cane

    I missed the initial donation post but I made up for it just now! NC is one of the few websites I check daily. And reading the comments is therapeutic as it gives me a window into the thoughts of some sane and intelligent individuals who don’t just regurgitate the same media talking points seen everywhere else. Thanks to all!

    Reply
  4. barefoot charley

    I love you guys and the community you’ve created. I couldn’t be me without you! (Does this make me non-binary?) ;^]

    Reply
  5. Bazarov

    I love the comments on Naked Capitalism–they often outdo the article that’s being commented on!

    I always give to the fundraiser–usually, I’m one of the first. But I need to wait for the paycheck, this time.

    Rest assured, my contribution is forthcoming.

    Reply
  6. Big Tap

    The comments section is excellent. Many smart people here specifically about economics, science, history particularly ancient history, birds, plants, dogs, and of course cat experts. I have contributed already.

    Reply
  7. jhg

    My donation is on the way! My thanks to Yves, Lambert, Jerri-Lynn and the rest of the crew. I read the articles and the comments every day. You are a candle in the darkness. Stay strong and stay safe.
    jhg

    Reply
  8. David

    Just like to add, from the point of view of an occasional commenter, that Jules and co are to be congratulated for establishing an environment where people are happy to comment. This is more difficult than it sounds: I have largely given up commenting on other sites, because, whilst I’m all in favour of vigorous debate, I have no desire to participate in insults, name-calling and ad hominem arguments. I look at the Grauniad’s comments section from time to time (the old Letters page was always fun and interesting) and when I see the virulence and intolerance of the comments that were let through, it makes me wonder what on earth the large proportion (up to a quarter some days, I think) of those that were removed by moderators must have been like. Anyone commenting here can be confident that they may be corrected, but they won’t be insulted.

    Reply

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