The Future of Comments at Civil War Memory

I truly appreciate that so many of you not only take the time to read this blog, but leave comments as well.  You leave a lot of comments.  All comments are moderated by me and I do my best to approve them as quickly as possible.  I also do my best to respond to as many as possible.  I may not go into great detail with my responses, but it is important to me to acknowledge your contribution to the site.  Fortunately, I spend most of my day in front of the computer, but over the past few weeks I have been bombarded with comments.  Something has to give.

While many of the threads function as a natural extension of the post more and more are moving much too far beyond the content of the post and in some cases involve nothing more than the hurling of mild insults back and forth.  I am even growing impatient with certain contributors and I don’t like how it feels.  I think what I need to do is find a happy medium between letting go of the discussion and directing it through the moderating tools that I have at my disposal.  Don’t be surprised if I disable the comments feature every once in a while on individual posts and don’t expect that your comments will be approved right away if things begin to deteriorate between individual contributors.  Perhaps a cooling off period will help.

Like I said, I thoroughly enjoy taking the time to read your comments.  Thanks for your understanding.

CraterThanks for reading this post. Scroll down, leave a comment and join the conversation if you are so inclined. Follow me on Twitter and join the Civil War Memory Facebook group for continuous updates and additional links to newsworthy items from around the interwebs. Stay up to date by subscribing to this blog’s feed. You can also check out my recently published book, Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder.

11 comments… add one

  • Arleigh Birchler Dec 12, 2011

    Well said. When I was moderating a few discussions about issues related to the War my cousin, Marc Ferguson, told me that the only fault he found with the way I did it was that I let some people get too extreme, and did not challenge them enough. Your discussion group belongs to you, to be run how you want it and in a way that conforms to your own needs.

  • TF Smith Dec 12, 2011

    TN Coates seems to do a pretty solid job of keeping things on track. I think he may have help, of course, but from a policy angle, he seems to have it down pretty well.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 13, 2011

      He does do a good job. The Atlantic uses Disqus to format their comments, which I believe includes more sophisticated moderating tools. I don’t think I want to go back to that as it puts a huge strain on the blog in terms of load time.

  • Margaret D. Blough Dec 12, 2011

    I know of a lot of blog owners who disable comments on each post after a reasonable length of time. I also know of more than a few who have blocked individuals who refuse to conform to blog rules in their comments. You’ll find what works for you. I agree with Arleigh and Marc. It’s your blog and you’ll find a balance that works for you.with the support of many of us.

    • Kevin Levin Dec 13, 2011

      I already ban certain users, but I still have to do it by trashing individual comments. Perhaps I can find a plugin to help with this. Thanks.

  • Doug didier Dec 13, 2011

    One comment is enough..

    Spend some thought composing …

    • Kevin Levin Dec 13, 2011

      Not sure what this means.

      • Arleigh Birchler Dec 13, 2011

        Think of it as advice to Arleigh. If I took that time to clearly say what I mean the first time, I would not feel compelled to try to clarify so much.

  • Doug didier Dec 13, 2011

    Unless the moderator askes for clarification..

    A comment should stand on its own..

    What I see happening here..

    Is little persistence..

    In the back and forth comments..

    I.e. A reply is based on previous reply..

    Thus converging to uninteresting dribble..

    • Kevin Levin Dec 13, 2011

      Thanks for the follow-up, Doug. I agree and I am guilty of it as well.

    • Arleigh Birchler Dec 13, 2011

      I agree, Doug. I am guilty of it also, so I am not just blaming others. I was noticing a whole lot over the last few days how a thread takes on a life of its own, and gets way off the topic of the main blog article. I know that I generally feel that people have misinterpreted what I said, putting me in the enemy camp, and I feel compelled to clarify. It never does any good, and things just snowball. Perhaps I am just egotistical and like to read what I have written of Kevin’s blog.

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