In light of the recent slew of purely rude comments that detract from my desire to blog, I'm finally implementing a new comment policy: authentication is now on.
I should have done this a long time ago, but then, trolls were few and occasional. Now, I am deleting idiotic and irritating comments about my intelligence, or ones that link my writing to bodily functions and four letter words, and other general notes of ill will on a daily basis. It's really disheartening, and no matter how much people say "just ignore the trolls", the irritation adds up, and the viciousness does translate into discouragement eventually.
So, all this means, dear regular commenter, is that you have to make an account, once only, like you have to on any Wordpress blog; the only difference (and advantage!) is that this account is good for ANY Typepad site, as opposed to only this one. For example, if you are a regular commenter on say, the Marmot's Hole, you have an account with that site only; with us, it's the same thing, except that your account is good with Metropolitician and any other site running on Typepad. And if you already have a Typepad account, you're good to go.
This new way of doing things will hopefully benefit my regular readers with minimal irritation (just register once!) and maximally discourage the invisible trollers who lurk about this little drinking hole, biting those who drink from it with impunity. So it's no wonder that even with open commenting on, the vast majority of commenters are one-timers who don't know how nasty it can get, or the intrepid few regulars who will say what they want, regardless of whatever trolls there are. Hopefully, this policy will make it safer for friendly lurkers to come on out, nix the spam problem, and encourage a more honest discussion in which people have to actually be responsible for what they say, to the extent that it is linked to at least a working email address. Effectively, we've fenced in our water hole and simply required that you record your ID at the door; but once you've done that and you're a regular, you just have to nod at the bouncer -- he already knows you.
So, if you want to actually comment on something constructively, then do so. You don't have to agree with me, or even like me. But you do have to actually be saying something besides "I hate this blog and its writer." And if you violate any of the following rules, I will zap your comment and ban you, which means your authenticated ID will now be useless, at least for this blog. Here are the conditions under which I will likely zap you:
- If you make ad hominem attacks against me (although I'll probably let it stay, for the record) or another commenter (unacceptable)
- If your overall level of snark (acceptable) turns into being downright rude (unacceptable)
- If you have nothing constructive to say besides how much you hate this blog, its writer, another person, or group of people. This is troll territory, and I am the arbiter of whether or not you are trolling. This isn't the New York Times, it's a blog. And even the NYT will delete abusive comments.
To use another metaphor, remember that this is a cocktail party, and everyone here is a guest, and I'm hosting. If a guest starts getting frisky, irritating or harrassing the other guests, or even starts slapping and hitting them, they get thrown out. Act a fool, you're going out on the street. And if the host is neglectful, people will start not coming to the party.
This host is ready to start cleaning house, and the first step is get rid of the few idiots who ruin it for everyone else by killing the mood. For my far more numerous and regular readers, I encourage you to please go through the registration process by commenting on this post, and thereafter enjoy an even EASIER commenting process, since you'll no longer have to fill in the Name/Email/URL form every time you put up a comment.
And a final message to the trolls -- I could never understand why you keep coming back to a place that you yourself declare beneath your intelligence or dignity; why would you keep coming back to a place like this? If one doesn't like seeing men making out, don't go to a gay bar. If one doesn't like black people, one avoids soul food restaurants. Hate animals? Don't go to the zoo every Sunday. Yet, these people seem to just love to go to places where they dislike the people and just aren't wanted.
I never understood such people, but these pathologically abnormal types seem to congregate around my blog -- with the fundamental flaw in their psyche being that they actually think they're normal. Well, I'm no longer going to enable their anti-social tendencies, like the psycho who goes to a Latvian community event and starts harassing the patrons with how lame Latvian food is and how much s/he hate Latvians.
As a host, I've been neglecting my responsibilities for far too long, under the naive belief that a completely open system means a more actually open environment. On the Internet, quite the opposite is true, since one has to put up a few barriers and gates in order to create safe spaces.
And now, welcome to a new kind of party, where even the trolls might be forced to act civil!