Neighbors and friends, excuse me please while I grumble a bit.
I have three main concerns about comments on the blog.
- Posting in a thread using multiple names (aka Sockpuppetry). This is a real peeve of mine that I have mentioned here and there before in comments. I don’t like it when a user posts multiple comments under one post using multiple names. One comment might say, “Joe Smith is a great candidate.” The next might say, “Other candidates like Bob Brown don’t have the experience necessary.” And while they are posted using different screen names, they come from the same person.
I ask that in the comments to a post you pick one screen name and stick with it. You are able to leave 20 comments or more under a post, but it is reasonable that the rest of us know that it is one person leaving those 20 comments, not 20 people.
- Plain ol’ meanness. Political and policy disagreements are to be expected, but let’s be civil about it. I simply don’t like it when this blog gives one person the venue to call another an idiot, a moron, what-have-you.
People are passionate about political campaigns that are heating up, and I understand that. However that is not a license to be mean.
- Unfounded and/or irrelevant allegations. The comments section here is not the place to ask if so-and-so had an affair or ever got over the drinking problem. Well-meaning folks may be trying to get to the bottom of a traveling rumor, perhaps to put it to rest. But it’s just as easy for someone malicious to start such a rumor by posting a comment like that.
Sometimes people are trying to find out more about a situation and have emailed me to ask if I have heard anything. I am willing to share what I know, and that is nicer than jump-starting a rumor that may not be true by posting it in the comments section.
Several readers have suggested that it is time to require readers to register with a valid email address before they may comment. For now, I prefer not to do that. I invite you to make the case for or against that in the comments section below.
I like for the Political Parlor – including the comments – to inform, illuminate, challenge, amuse… to bring out the best in us, not the worst. I learn a lot here and am grateful for that opportunity. I hope this really will be more like a political parlor and less like a middle school lunchroom table.
If you are unable to be mindful of the three concerns above, you may find that your attempts to post comments will go into a moderation queue to be approved (or not) before they are posted.
Most folks here could not be more pleasant. But with campaign passions and readership both on the rise, I feel like the atmosphere in the comments was beginning a slow, downward spiral that I wanted to intercept.
If you feel like you are somehow being stifled and that I am trying to create an environment that does not appeal to you, then feel free to start your own blog. I’ll even help you if I can.
And if you feel like any of this is unreasonable, I’m glad to hear that too.
As I said, I was feeling grumble-y. Carry on.