Happy new year everyone!
Today I’m going to blog a boring administrative thing. But later this week I’ll put up something a little more interesting.
With my move now to Freethought Blogs the number of comments my entries are generating within a week has shot up fivefold or more. Which is great, except that it means I have to revisit the way I handle comments. There are now so many of them coming so quickly, it’s overwhelming me. As I announced in my inaugural post, “I will be experimenting with different methods of handling comments (active moderation, etc.) until I know what works best here,” and I’ve come to a conclusion I don’t like but have to implement. I’ve changed the settings so that all comments go to moderation. On the one hand this means I am committing myself to being much more Johnny-on-the-spot moderating comments so they don’t languish for weeks as many still are (I’ll be spending the rest of this week getting through all those, now that I’ve finished the paid work that has taken me away from blogging these last two weeks). But on the other hand this means everyone will have to wait at least a day or two before their comments appear (and just so you know, I don’t usually work weekends; I reserve those to spend time with my wife, since we don’t have much time together during the week, so “day or two” means business days).
This makes it a lot easier for me to keep up with checking comments, and in their actual order no less, but above all it’s just more fair to new posters, who right now have to wait for their posts to log while established posters blow past them posting comments galore. I don’t like that. So to put everyone on equal footing, now everyone waits, and their comments get posted in the actual order they are submitted.
If your comments aren’t up within a week, then they didn’t get approved. There are two possible reasons for that: you violated the rules I set out in my inaugural post (and many commentators have been doing that, some so consistently it’s really astonishing), or you got flagged as spam by my robot. On my old blog I got so little actual spam I was able to weed through the spam folder and rescue mis-flagged posts, but now I am getting hundreds of spam comments a week (!), which makes it impossible for me to even check that folder anymore (although I did one check recently and it does indeed appear to be all spam, but I still couldn’t check everything so I can’t be 100% sure). Which means if your comment gets ditched by my antispambot I’ll never know it. If you honestly can’t think of any reason why your comment would run afoul of my posting rules, then feel free to email me, explain the sitch, and tell me what email address you used to post your comment with, so I can go in to the spam folder and see if you got in there by accident (or otherwise tell you what happened). I will likely clear the spam folder every thirty days, though, so keep that in mind.
Last but not least, the huge number of approved comments is already so large that I know I won’t be able to respond to them all anymore. I used to reply to everyone. But on some posts I have gotten as many as 160 posts, and even after vetting out violators, in one case there is nearly 100 (many still waiting moderation). I just can’t handle that much traffic. So I will allow comments to post even if I never respond to them. And I might respond only to a few.
So I would be most pleased if informed and passionate people who have the time bulldog for me and respond to everything that warrants a response. That would ensure every comment gets answered, by division of labor. That doesn’t excuse you from still conforming to my rules, though. Even people on my side should follow my lead as much as possible. Basically, stick to facts and logic, cut to the chase, and don’t be pointlessly abusive, but educational and informative, and just call out errors, or acknowledge points worth adding to or qualifying my original post. I may weigh in from time to time. But good commentators can save me a lot of time and make my blog better.