Everybody Hates Comments-via-Email

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One reader puts the boot right in:

You have achieved to make “CC” as boring as “Venezuelan politics and Human Rights“.

Ouch!

Another is more cognizant of the inevitable tradeoffs involved,

In my view, what you are experimenting with regarding the comments is a two edged sword that in the end is the “remedio que es peor que la enfermedad”. There, I have thoroughly mixed two metaphors in two languages!!

Seriously though, while comments via email can help to combat trolls, weed out fluff comments and personal attacks on other forum participants it also takes away the immediacy of instant commenting. It also will impact the free flow of ideas and convert you, the bloggers, into de facto editors. Not that you do not exert editorial control with a comments section, but now you will exert even more control.

You must also add in the time it will take you to wade through each email, digest it and decide whether or not any part of the email “deserves” to be posted. Should it be the case that you have a method for this, great! But I predict that after a couple of weeks you’ll regret it.

Perhaps your intent is to try this before things really get hot in Venz. Lord knows the trolling has gotten worse lately and will probably get even worse the closer we get to Oct. 7, maybe this is a factor in your decision.

I am going to still follow your blog,of course, and am curious to see how this pans out. I hope that whatever happens your readership increases, the blog gets better, the readership increases, your reputations go upwards more and that better opportunities find you all, Lord knows you three deserve them.

Another,

I personally like the previous comment section. It doesn’t always generate good discussions but quite often you could find a good one. Good discussions are dynamic and tend to evolve around a specific point. I think that the new comment format messes up with these two elements. Sometimes you simply want to make a specific point regarding a previous comment. Maybe that simple and brief comment moves the discussion forward and/or takes it in some other interesting direction. Well, the new format destroys that.

I don’t really know why this format works for Andrew Sullivan but I think it won’t work for CC, or at least it will take away one of the best features of your blog.

Another, along the same lines,

Readers participate in comments sections to interact not just with the writer, but with each other. By appointing yourself as gatekeeper, you’re introducing an unnecessary middleman, essentially slowing or even stopping the flow of information. From now on, it won’t be enough for a reader to submit a comment, the comment will need to be approved by management, and only then may it be published… Either as a standalone choice comment, or as a part of a “narrative” weaved by the gatekeeper, but never again as part of an open discussion. I understand the appeal, but  considering that CC’s worst troll orgy is still tame compared to the general internet, I don’t see the benefit. And the lazier element might just give up on commenting altogether, which may sound fine at first blush, but “lazy” and “uninteresting” don’t always go together.

Another,

How does the new format differ from simply being more trigger happy about deleting comments that are not up to par from the comment section?

Another (who’s getting warmer)

Somehow, to send an e-mail, it feels like there is more pressure to say something truly intelligent and relevant. Maybe that is a good thing. Recently, I have seen the level of debate on Caracas Chronicles dropping due to a flurry of trolls and due to some childish infighting between some of the regular commenters. Maybe this is the answer. I guess we shall see… However, it is that spontaneous one line reaction that often takes the debate off in an unexpected direction that makes it interesting.

For the real obsessives this is, of course, a bummer:

This is a very bad idea, I read ’em all the good, bad, crazy and mine.

I’m not surprised everybody hates it – another thing I’ve learned in 10 years of blogging is that readers hate change, any kind of change. I’ll just ask everyone to give it a couple of weeks, then check back in.