That Talk…Again

Let me start out by saying that I really do appreciate all of you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this site. I couldn’t be more pleased that this site’s content has the potential to generate what are often lengthy threads. But there is a downside.

First, I have to moderate your comments and that can be time consuming. Some of you may be aware that I do things other than blog. My bigger concern, however, is that quite often lengthy threads get sidetracked by readers who wish to do little more than hijack the site for their own purposes. Their goals have nothing to do with engaging others and they often have nothing to do with the subject of my post.

This is going to change. I already have little patience for comments that are not posted under real names. Moving forward I will have even less patience. If your comment deviates in ways that I am uncomfortable with it will be deleted without notice. If if continues commenters will be banned permanently. I am also going to reign in people who insult others. There is absolutely no justification for this.

Understand that this has nothing to do with whether you tend to agree with me. I’ve said before that I prefer thoughtful and challenging comments. From an outsider’s point-of-view it might be impressive to see a post with close to 100 comments attached, but from my perspective it means little if it fails to add meaningfully to the post.

Thank you for your understanding.

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“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

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25 comments… add one
  • Andy Hall Feb 12, 2015 @ 12:12

    Pseudonyms don’t bother me so much, on their own. I have several regular commenters who use them, some of whom I know their real identity and some I don’t. What I don’t countenance is commenters who, I believe, are trolling for the sake of stirring the pot, don’t actually contribute anything constructive, or try to hijack the comments section off in another, unrelated direction. Those folks get blocked whether they use a pseudonym or not. Making that call is obviously subjective on my part, but them’s the breaks.

  • Conrad Feb 8, 2015 @ 9:46

    Lol..that’s the name that Sheldon from “The Big Bang” used when he was asked if he knew the identity of an random, unidentified and unknown individual. He reasoned that since “Muhammad” was the most common first name and “Lee” the most common surname, statistically he was more likely to guess correctly. It was very funny.

  • Muhammad E. Lee Feb 7, 2015 @ 13:58

    You might be shocked to know that this is a pseudonym. I don’t always comment, but when I do I use this one. The main reasons being that my neighborhood is afflicted by flaggers 2-3 times a week and I know they can be aggressive in real and virtual life. My professional situation might also be described as precarious at the moment. But, I understand that them’s the rules. Will continue to read and offer some local insight when and if I can.

  • Bob Farrell Feb 6, 2015 @ 15:15

    Your blog – – Your rules.. And as a reader and not one to comment often, I feel the quality of the conversation will improve greatly.

    I do believe you should identify those who will be blocked with something as :
    “XX will no longer be allowed to comment”

  • Mary Ellen Maatman Feb 6, 2015 @ 12:41

    I’ve been using my real name all along and will continue to do so. I appreciate the blog very much, and find it very useful when other people use their real names as it sometimes ends up being a great research lead to another website, or to someone’s academic writings.

  • msb Feb 5, 2015 @ 23:37

    Kevin, I think this is a fine decision, and the necessity of it indicates the importance and impact of your work. The banhammer was certainly needed as Ta-Nehisi Coates’ blog drew more and more attention. “MSB” is my actual initials; can I still use that, or would you prefer my full name? I don’t think I comment often, but I’d like to retain the privilege. Thanks again for your fine work. MSB

    • Kevin Levin Feb 6, 2015 @ 1:44

      It’s not a problem, especially for those such as yourself who post thoughtful comments. My concern is with those who commenters whose only interest is hijacking a thread, constantly troll or leave misinformation. Thanks.

  • Ira Berkowitz Feb 5, 2015 @ 17:54

    Really enjoy your blog Mr. Levin. I don’t comment on blogs often and have not commented on yours until now. Your approach is absolutely reasonable and strikes me as a welcome effort at insisting on civility. As othrs have said, thank you for taking the time to post and moderate. I can imagine how much effort and thought you invest. Its a wonderful blog and credit to you for doing it. Thank you.

  • Kristoffer Feb 5, 2015 @ 15:59

    I’m posting under my real name.

  • Jimmy Dick Feb 5, 2015 @ 15:20

    You are quite justified in setting rules for the blog, Kevin. I have toyed with the thought of setting up my own, but as we well know I have little patience for those who fail to use facts when posting. I am guilty of name calling and I really have no excuse for it. I do notice that I tend to get irritated with the people that do not use their real names and fall into the trap of arguing with them.

    So in the future I just will not respond to anyone who cannot use their real names. That alone ought to cut out about 80% of the “people.” See, I’m being nice and did not call them the word that immediately came to mind.

    And of course as you should know, you do run a very nice blog which is very useful. I recommend it to my students who are interested in Civil War history.

    • Kevin Levin Feb 5, 2015 @ 15:22

      Sounds like you sense my frustration. I do appreciate your help with providing relevant information and references for those who have gaps in their understanding of this history.

  • Pat Young Feb 5, 2015 @ 14:51

    This is entirely appropriate. It will also save a lot of us time and emotional energy. Very welcome,

    This is a terrific site and your daily readers like me appreciate your effort and hate to see it wasted.

    • Kevin Levin Feb 5, 2015 @ 14:52

      I appreciate that, Pat. So many of your comments on this site over the years deserve to be posts of their own.

  • London John Feb 5, 2015 @ 14:34

    My real name is John Wilson but I use this moniker in case it’s relevant that I’m British not American.

  • John Tucker Feb 5, 2015 @ 12:45

    I was one who used to post under the synonym of Trueism in lew of my real name. Sometimes due the HATE not HERITAGE bunch who have been known to make physical threats.

    But I WILL use my real name from now on for I am not ashamed nor afraid of the truth as some may be

    • Kevin Levin Feb 5, 2015 @ 12:46

      I appreciate that, John.

    • Keith Harris Feb 5, 2015 @ 13:17

      John – The Hate not Heritage crowd tend to hide behind Internet anonymity more than most – and it turns out that their threats are (in my experience) empty. At least no one has ever followed through and attacked me (though I did get a little nervous once…)
      Speak the truth brother!

      • Kevin Levin Feb 5, 2015 @ 13:42

        That may or may not be true. What I want to emphasize is that the inappropriate comments that I have in mind are certainly not solely attributed to that group.

    • Michael C. Williams Feb 8, 2015 @ 5:14

      Mr. Williams,

      I ask that you refrain from antagonizing other commenters and I suggest that you re-read this post. Thank you.


  • Christopher Shelley Feb 5, 2015 @ 12:31

    So noted. Thanks for taking to the time to host.

    Did that article on Coates in Longread get to you? Because it did me.

    • Kevin Levin Feb 5, 2015 @ 12:33

      Thanks, Christopher. I’ve been thinking about this over the past week, but the Coates article is worth reading. His challenge goes far beyond what I’ve experienced.

      Thank you for setting a positive example.

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