Read the Comments

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Today, we’re unveiling a new comments moderation policy and inviting those of you who maybe haven’t been hanging out there in a while to give it another try.

The policy fits in a tweet:

Toxic comments are like porn: they’re hard to define, but you know them when you see them. To safeguard comments as a space for meaningful discussion, Caracas Chronicles applies normal editorial standards to comments, deleting disruptive, disjointed or dyspeptic material.

That’s it.

Our goal is to improve the quality of the reader experience, by deleting toxic comments within a reasonable delay. 

Deleting toxic comments is not a punishment, it’s a defense mechanism for the discussion.

Isn’t that censorship? It’s not, not any more than the newspaper deciding which of the Letters to the Editor it will publish is “censorship”.

It’s normal editorial practice, aimed at making the site more interesting for everyone. 

Why are we doing this? Because the free-for-all approach had set off an adverse selection process, with terrible commenters driving insightful ones away. Our most interesting readers consistently told us they didn’t open it, and were appalled at the vile on offer when they did.

Our goal is to reverse that.

Think of our comments section as our Living Room — if you wouldn’t say it over beers in a friend’s living room, don’t write it here. If your comment doesn’t meet the minimum standard of civility reasonable people would respect in that kind of setting, we’re going to delete it. It’s not a punishment, it’s a defense mechanism for the discussion.

We want to turn our comments forum into an attractive place for smart, engaged people to dive into quality debate about Venezuela.

There’s no ideological filter here, but there is a civility filter. Disagree vehemently if you need to, but keep it civil.

So buck the trend: read the comments!

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.

111 COMMENTS

  1. Well, I’m glad to see the comments are back. I was on the verge of walking off and transferring my focus to some other Venezuelan-focused blogs (and others). And I do concede that this is indeed Your platform, to do with it whatever you so desire. Even (like the complete disabling of comments) things I view both repugnant morally and wrongfooted practically.

    But a few points:

    “Look at it this way: our platform is our Living Room,”

    Most people in the developed world don’t need to solicit donations from people entering their living room in order to keep living in said living room.

    And I’d wager it holds true for most of the underdeveloped world.

    So this isn’t your living room, amigos.

    This is a political club.

    A political club like those that popped up throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. We’re here to discuss things. Often explosive things. Like how to overthrow a tyrannical nightmare of a government in spite of our differences.

    That already makes this “living room” standard rather off.

    “Isn’t that censorship? It’s not, any more than the newspaper deciding which of the Letters to the Editor it receives it’s going to publish. ”

    Which is censorship. Albeit of a legal and traditional version. As a former Roman Re-enactor, I can freely tell you about the original Censor, and how their position was to regulate the public mores of the Roman people and were answerable only to their own consciences and the rest of the Senate for it.

    “If you write something that, if you said it face-to-face to us over beers in our living room, would be strongly inappropriate, would make us throw you out of our house or would lead us to decide not invite you again, we’re going to delete the comment. It’s not a punishment, it’s a defense mechanism for the discussion. ”

    A: I’m a teetotal, so I’m not sure about what “over beers” would be like, though it strikes me as possibly counterproductive to sober (hurr) discussion.

    B: I don’t know about you guys, but I am not sure I’d like to discuss tyrannical oppression, genocide, torture, or the ugly possibility of overthrowing a dictatorship by force over a casual chat.And I’m someone who is a history nerd, wargamer, and activist so I’d be more likely to think of such than-say- My parents.

    But this isn’t a living room. This is a political club. About the plight of Venezuelans and related cases, what is happening, and what to do.

    That’s gonna involve some very non-taboo topics.

    In any case, it is good to be back. And I cautiously look forward to see how this will be enforced.

    • Fair enough…

      Really, it’s simple: on the editorial side we exercise judgment about what to publish and what not to publish 15 times before breakfast. We’re not going to do anything especially different here. Comments are just content, and exercising editorial judgment over what to publish or not publish is the entire purpose of the organization.

      • And for certain, this is closer to a political club than a living room, but I was trying to offer up a heuristic — the same one I’ve instructed our moderator to apply. (Which is why I use “Think of it as…”)

      • In all cases the articles are editorialised.
        Editing the comments from said article is completely different, thats Marxism not journalism.
        Fair enough.
        Prey tell, why did you stop comments completely, let us know your thought process on that one.
        Fair enough?
        Censorship once you go down that alley be aware of the consequences, but then you will probably censor this.
        Oh the power oh great one.

        • Our goal is to improve the quality of the reader experience.

          When a sensible reader clicks through to comments and finds wall-to-wall bile, incitement, hate-speech and extremism, he’s going to be put off. For the most part, he’s not going to stick around. Little by little, you’re left with a comment section dominated by a tiny subset of extreme views. That’s the kind of phenomenon economists describe as Adverse Selection.

          We stopped comments for a while because we could see that this form of adverse selection had completely over-run comments. Smart, sensible readers who had something substantive to say weren’t interested in participating in a comments section overrun with extremism and incitement. The comments section was repelling the kinds of readers we’re interested in attracting. We needed a time-out to figure things out.

          We’re going to try to get a more substantive an engaging comments section going, and that’s really the only objective of this exercise. We’ll see if it works!

          • You can censor and edit your articles all you want, thats your prerogative.
            Personally i do not believe in your right to censor your public base. I have also not seen the hate speech that you allude to, debate yes, but not hate speech, well unless you mean canucklehead!
            But crack on your demise will be of your own doing.

          • I am all about a free market place of ideas, and ideally we would have a full spectrum of ideas here. However, some of us are actually living in this nightmare, and some views from afar just do not match the reality on the ground here. Things are getting really ugly and sometimes in those situations you have to call a spade a spade and not sugar coat it. And the only way around to come to the truth of the matter, even if you are utterly offended by said comment is not to censor it, but to engage with it. Other peoples thoughts should be challenged as well as your own thoughts should be challenged by what you abhor. Only through dialogue can we reach something closer to the truth about Venezuela- even if this is not what we like to hear.

            Now, if you want to set boundaries of say when people make things personal and start EXCESSIVE name calling and profanity, go ahead, delete those posts because they do not contribute to the conversation. A little banter is ok, but there is a point where it is totally distracting. Agreed.

            However if you want to police “hate speech” well you are treading a slippery slope (just like calling people “fascists” as a way to end the conversation)…so please define the boundaries in English as well as Spanish. If people know the rules, people will stay within the rules so that their comment stays apart of the discussion.

            Lastly, you have to remember that we are talking about Venezuela and some of us have lost friends and family members because of the crisis, who have lost everything, who have seen most of their friends leave the country, who live day to day in Venezuelan hell, and who have utter hate and contempt for not only the people who crated this mess, but those who are complicit with it. Do not forget that. We are not talking about a normal situation here that we can just see as a neutral debating society. Emotions are charged because a lot is at stake and any of this identity politics, politically correct mumbo jumbo coming from armchair quarterbacks sitting behind comfy offices in a real developed country is just mumbo jumbo. The only thing that matters now to any of us on the ground in Venezuela is the collapse of this communist dictatorship by any means necessary.

          • I take all of that on. Precisely because things in Venezuela are so unspeakably horrible, we’re especially in need of a forum that’s passionate, engaged, even emotional, but civil enough to be really productive.

            The reality is that even today, even in Venezuela, people aren’t short of spaces to express an extremely wide range of views online.

            Twitter’s still out there, and nobody’s going to delete anything you put up there. Noticiero Digital is out there (still!) and other places. If you hate them all, nothing stops you starting your own. It’s a big wide internet out there, and we’re just making rules for this one tiny corner of it here.

            The rules aren’t hard, really. You know it in your gut when you’re writing something online that you wouldn’t dream of saying face to face.

            So just don’t do that.

            If a comment of yours gets deleted, just write it again, minus the toxic bit.

            It’s not a punishment, it’s just to protect the discussion.

          • The point that needs to be reiterated here when talking about censorship for me is this.

            Living in Venezuela i am allready taking a risk saying the things i say, and that is from a knock on the door by the Government at 0300 in the morning for saying bad things about said Government.
            You adding censorship is no different than what the Maduro regime wishes to do in silencing us.
            This is what so many foreign contributors here just do not understand but I thought you did Toro! clearly not and that is shamefull.
            So Toro remember that with your moderation/censorship plans.

  2. Perfectly understandable… though it is indeed sort of a slippery slope. The most important recommendation I can give is to have all moderation done by someone who never ever posts or comments, so as not to let any weak ego get in the way.

    • Per how can it be “perfectly understandable” and yet “though it is indeed sort of a slippery slope”
      You can censor and edit your own article all you want, censoring your “readers comments” after reading said article if it does not fit CCs own political narrative is completely different…….well to me anyway.
      Knee jerk reactions are like spitting your dummy out to me, and i stopped doing that many years ago.

      • How can it be “perfectly understandable” and yet “though it is indeed sort of a slippery slope”? Yes, life ain’t easy!
        There are a lot of commenting out there that does not pursue trying to comment but much more sabotaging the conversation (trolls); and if the host so desires, he also has the right to expect proper language and basic respect for those conversing. That’s part of the “perfectly understandable”.
        The “does not fit CCs own political narrative” is the “slippery slope”

  3. I completely support your right to edit comments and your good sense in doing so. I have been largely absent fo a long time mostly because of the toxic and fastidious content of many comments, and because the more balanced and thoughtful commenters (Bill Bass, et al) had left in favor of others, whom I shall leave unnamed.

    I do not support the idea that a blog is a “public space”. I think you have a right “to deny service” to anyone.

    Having said that, like any good dish, a comments section needs a little spice to keep it from being too bland. I would recommend that your editing err on the side of the commenters. Let’s just say that a tie goes to the runner here.

    • Well then go back to having no comments section.
      You can not have a comments section when the comments only serve to reinforce ones own opinion. I have had comments today banned by someone unknown to me.
      I find it galling that as i live in Venezuela and comment on Venezuela, that your opinion Roy will be heard and mine not, go figure.
      Have you failed to understand the situation in Venezuela is fucking “toxic” and believe it or not time is running out for us who live it.
      So Roy you snowflake dont get too teary eyed, with all that “spice”

      • OK, as a general rule we’re not going to explain moderation decisions, just make them. In this one opening thread, due to its nature, I’ll explain.

        So Roy you snowflake dont get too teary eyed, with all that “spice”

        This is an insulting line. If I invited you to my house and you said that to another person there, I probably wouldn’t invite you again. This kind of comment is going to be deleted in future.

        I just want you to understand how this is going to work…

        • So Roy you snowflake dont get too teary eyed, with all that “spice”

          How is this insulting? i find that his calling of peoples comments as “toxic” insulting, but then i also find socialists calling people fascist insulting.
          I bet your dinner parties are full of discenting and interesting comment.
          The point is i would not censor their right to say it, and you will.

          • Please leave the comment above up so that others may educate themselves about the tightrope they will be walking once commenting here.
            The result will be a gradual erosion of commentators and readership.
            But this is your decision and you will own it.

          • Again, you don’t have to agree with our civility standard at all. If you think my dinner party sucks, you definitely don’t have to come to it. It’s your choice to make, basically.

          • Sure, I’ll leave it up for now because this comment thread is exactly to set out a new set of rules and explain how it’ll be implemented.

            Maybe you’re right, maybe this will lead to a gradual erosion of use of the comments section. I sorta doubt it, though. I’m betting on the opposite being the case. Veremos.

        • “This is an insulting line. If I invited you to my house and you said that to another person there,”

          Blatant and baseless lies and fallacies built on absurd prejudices in articles are insults too.

      • Crusader,

        Up until two months ago, I lived in Venezuela for over twelve years. I know exactly how toxic it is. That is why my wife and I made the heartbreaking decision to leave our home there. We still have properties and financial interests there as well as dear friends and family who keep us well-appraised of the ongoing nightmare. I think my opinion counts.

        • Well then Roy I originally posted this above but here you go:
          The point that needs to be reiterated here when talking about censorship for me is this.

          Living in Venezuela i am allready taking a risk saying the things i say, and that is from a knock on the door by the Government at 0300 in the morning for saying bad things about said Government.
          You adding censorship is no different than what the Maduro regime wishes to do in silencing us.
          This is what so many foreign contributors here just do not understand but I thought you did Toro! clearly not and that is shamefull.
          So Toro remember that with your moderation/censorship plans.
          Venezuela may be toxic, freedom of speech is not, it is also to me non negotiable. If other people do not like that then tough.

          • Let’s be clear about one thing: Freedom of Speech is absolutely sacrosanct to me. I won’t (and can’t) penalize you for your views. I won’t put you in jail, I won’t fine you, I won’t withhold a passport from you, I will not drop you from a CLAP distribution list or deny you a job for it.

            If you want to publish the exact same content I object to on your own blog, or on twitter, or write it on a bedsheet and hang it from the side of your building, I won’t stop you. Not just because I can’t, but because I wouldn’t.

            In other words, there is no censorship here.

            But Freedom of Speech also —crucially— means you cannot force someone to say something they do not want to say, and you cannot force the owner of a private forum to express your views on his forum.

            That’s not just me saying it: recall that the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, just a year ago, was decided on freedom of speech grounds. The court ruled that forcing a private business to use its platform (in that particular case, the cake) to express a specific view (in that case, support for gay marriage) violates the platform owner’s freedom of speech.

            If it violates a baker’s free speech rights to demand to use his cake to express political views he finds abhorrent, it violates Caracas Chronicles’ free speech rights for someone to demand to use our platform to express messages we find toxic.

          • Well you got that wrong, as the main argument in that case was not about “free speech grounds” but in regards to freedom of his religious opinion.
            Writing for the majority, justice Anthony Kennedy said the CCRC showed “hostility” to Phillips’ religious beliefs in ordering him to undergo anti-discrimination training.

            “The laws and the constitution can, and in some instances must, protect gay persons and gay couples in the exercise of their civil rights,” Kennedy wrote, “but religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression.”
            “The court’s precedents make clear that the baker, in his capacity as the owner of a business serving the public, might have his right to the free exercise of religion limited by generally applicable laws,” Kennedy wrote.

            But never mind if that is the bizarre defence of your actions then so be it.
            So within your right to the free exercise of Religion you are going to limit, block and censor views on this site…..no dramas i understand, and thank you for clarifying.

          • Right you are, I remembered the specifics of the case wrong.

            The basic point stands: Freedom of speech emphatically includes freedom not to speak, and freedom of the press undoubtedly includes the freedom to exercise discretion over what is published in a given publication. There’s no reasonable basis for asserting a right to publish on a given private forum in contravention of that forum’s standards. You know these things.

            Censorship is about the use of state power to prevent you from publishing at all. If you think me deleting your shitposting constitutes censorship you’re just very deeply confused about all kinds of stuff.

            But the bottom line is that it’s not about you, chamo. It’s about preserving a space for hundreds of smart, sophisticated readers of Caracas Chronicles who would like to take part in debate, but won’t if it’s overrun with hostile posts and there’s no way to get a proper debate going…

  4. Is there a way to report comments for the moderator to check? For example, say a poet laureate left a comment in a recent post that is racist, something like saying the problem in some Latin American countries is that they have “indios leading indios”. If such a case arises, can we report it?

    • My dog ate my hamburger yesterday, can i report that?
      Do not laugh, im sure my dog is a racist……… he is a German Shepherd!

        • I’m really enjoying how you’re losing your mind over this post. Truth is 99% of people can comment on sensitive, emotional subjects (even we Venezuelans) without resorting to insults and name-calling. Judging by the fact you’re (so far) the only one really angry at comment moderation, you must be part of the other 1%.

          • Living in Venezuela i am allready taking a risk saying the things i say, and that is from a knock on the door by the Government at 0300 in the morning for saying bad things about said Government.
            You adding censorship is no different than what the Maduro regime wishes to do in silencing us.
            This is what so many foreign contributors here just do not understand but I thought you did Toro! clearly not and that is shamefull.
            So Toro remember that with your moderation/censorship plans.
            Venezuela may be toxic, freedom of speech is not, it is also to me non negotiable. If other people do not like that then tough.

            Yes i am really angry returning commenter.

  5. Celebro la vuelta de los comentarios (aunque en firefox van y vienen, tuve que cambiar de navegador para escribir esto). Los de MRubio a veces eran mejores que la entrada del día. P. Kurowski también me ha parecido razonable y me suelo parar a leerlo si aparece por aquí. Con gente como ellos o Bill Bass se podría hacer fácilmente un Caracas Chronicles 2.

    • Rafael i agree CCs 2.
      Especially as a lot of people here, myself included, will be unable to comment here.

      • Well, Francisco Toro is also a reasonable person… far from perfect but he does a good job… If you can’t comment here, we are then thinking about very different things when we say CC 2

  6. Caracas Chronicles gets a hurts feelings department. A most progressive attitude towards free speech. Pero bueno, mis hijos, como para parafrasear a Shakira, en este país de la angustia ya nos hemos mordido hasta los codos y cualquier vaina nos va.

  7. Francisco,

    I believe that “Crusader” has just successfully justified your decision to moderate comments.

    Cheers,

  8. So, us commenters have to clean up our act. No more disruptive, disjointed or dyspeptic material. I can live with that.

    But, how about the authors? Does this mean we will no longer be lectured on, “the kind of slack-jawed, knuckle-dragging, right-wing, (etc.) idiots that elected Donald Trump”, and similar incendiary tid-bits?

    What’s good for the goose……

  9. “Slack-jawed right-winger.”……… OK!

    “Snowflake.” ………………………..OH, NO!

    I think I am getting it.

  10. I think that “hiding” a message would be better than deleting them. That way is up to the comment reader whether they read it or not, and there remains some accountability on moderators’ actions.

    • Techdirt.com has what is probably the best comment policy of any site. It is for the most part reader moderated and hides low-voted messages rather than deleting them. They did need to write their own backend to get it working just the way they wanted it.

  11. Mmmm, so this was the reason my comments on the article about Bolsonaro got deleted.

    Even when they don’t contain a single insult, unless disagreeing on the Bolsonaro topic is automatically considered an insult then.

    • I saw this coming since they disabled the comments a few weeks ago, leftist are apparently hurt that after a decade of failure, corruption, rise of crime, devaluation of currency all over south america el pueblo dont love them anymore

  12. Free speech is just that. The freedom to say whatever you like even if it is not polite and does not follow the politics of whatever crowd you happen to be commenting in. Also I would like to add that in a living room full of people commenting, when one person says something that is obviously out of place, the rest of us would jump in and let that person know that what they said was unacceptable or unappreciated. I don’t thing we need mom sitting in the corner of the room slapping a hand over the mouth of the person who said it. You Toro say what you want to say and we take it or leave it. Then it’s our turn to say and talk about whatever and wherever the conversation may turn. Anything different is censorship in my humble opinion. We as the commenters will drive out anyone who is obviously just being derogatory and antisocial. Again we do not need mom in the corner gagging what she defines as unacceptable. I don’t believe I have ever been rude or racist in my comments but none the less I feel threatened and insulted and unsure as to where lines are going to be drawn and therefore I prefer to not waste my time commenting when there is a possibility that my comment will be deleted because mom doesn’t like what I have to say. That being said, this is your little corner of the Internet and I will not venture back into it again. I guess it’s like others have said above. It’s a slippery slope you have chosen to take this comments section down and the only way I can protest is by abstaining from participating. It’s a risk to write here anyway being that I live here as a Canadian with a Venezuelan wife and 3 beautiful children and most of what I say would not be considered favorable to our acting government. Why should I risk commenting on what I thought was a free speech friendly atmosphere now that you have clarified that it is absolutely not that at all, it has now just become a place for likeminded people to echo the same sediments to each other in a polite and non offensive way. The fact of the matter is you made this decision because of poeta criollo and a couple of others who we had under control and were in fact already modifying their comments to be less offensive even though they were for the most part not wrong.

    • It’s not really about the people who’ve been commenting.

      It’s about the 150-200 smart, passionate, engaged readers who ought to be commenting but aren’t, because a handful of voices have turned the forum hostile.

      • OH my you guys are going to be really busy trying to censor everything that reveals how retarded what you say really is. You’ve just made it very clear that you will not stand to have anyone contradict anything you have to say. So go ahead and drive away your real reader base and time will tell wether or not 150 to 200 other passionate readers will replace the ones you have now. I have been watching you delete comments from this particular entry. Totally disappointing that you can dish out criticism but you can’t take it. Grow up Toro, good luck, fuck you very much, I’m out.

  13. I support Quico’s approach. This should be an intelligent discussion about Venezuela and there is nothing intelligent about puerile personal attacks. I say this,as someone who is far more conservative than is Quico but I don’t see why we can’t all get along. For example I was struck by his unsupported fascist slur re the president elect of Brazil about whom I know nothing because Quico and so called main line press resorts to short hand phrases like “far right” , “extremistist”, and fascist without much of any explanation. This is not to say that the new president is not a fascist. I just don’t know that. So I hope that the monitoring is a two way street but it should improve the quality. By the way I just finished Gallegos’ Crude Nation and was suprised to learn that many of the ruinous financial techniques employed by the Chavistas were utilized for years prior to Chavez.

  14. What about those of us who drink whiskey in our living room, regularly and alone?

    On a serious note, this is not a free speech issue (sorry Crusader), this is a freedom of ownership issue. If you disagree with the policy or it’s implementation you can start a blog just to comment on the articles written here. Surely Quico will allow you to publish the address.

    • Waltz
      Toro owns the articles, i have no issue with that, especially as half of them are puerile.
      In my opinion he does not own the right to mine nor any one elses comments. He is very clearly a censor of opinions that do not parallel his own leftist ideology.
      As i have said, he can own it and take the consequences, then the mythical 200 can join, all of who will be smarter than me, as apparently they will all be of a socialist bearing and the echo chamber will be complete.
      Thats fine, but i after tonight will no longer feel the need to comment any more……probably a good thing for Toro.
      Venezuela is fucked.

      • Sorry you to hear that you will no longer comment, truly. As a quasi-libertarian I believe his right of ownership is greater than your claim to freedom of speech (Quico is not a government entity limiting you but a private owner). I do not know what comments of yours have been deleted at this point but you lose nothing by giving this new policy a chance. Stay safe.

      • Dude, the new rule has to do not with what you say, but with how you say it. If I am reading Quico right, you can disagree and criticize as much as you want, you just have to be civil about it.

        I for one am all in favor. It is not an offense, nor is it an imposition, to require commenters to respect one another at a basic level.

  15. Perhaps you need to apply a more tone down approach when posting controversial articles.

    In today’s Germany you can’t just say anything that can be construed as pro-nazi hate speech. Conversely, we shouldn’t have anything related that can be construed as pro-socialist, it’s just a hate speech for many Venezuelans.

    If you tone down your pro-socialist hate speech then we will see a moderate comment section with no need of being policed, just saying.

    • The problem there is the handful of extremists Quico is talking about view anything not aligned with hardcore conservative beliefs as socialists, communists, and sexually inadequate. Look at the ridiculous abuse they hurled at Canucklehead. That kind of things turned longtime readers and commenters of this terrific blog off. I’m thrilled these trolls will have their comments deleted and the site will be more like the CC we had in the not to distant past.

      Nobody is being censored. It will anger a few loudmouths that they are no longer allowed to spew hateful racist comments and ad hominem attacks. There are othe spaces on the internet better suited for other sites.

      • @Kool Aid Kid “The problem there is the handful of extremists Quico is talking about view anything not aligned with hardcore conservative beliefs as socialists, ”

        Firstly: The last several years have given us plenty of reason to doubt Quico’s ability to accurately identify such things.

        From approving an editorial supporting Petro- a man who actually went out into the jungle to commit terrorism on behalf of a totalitarian cause, and whose rhetoric mirrored Chavez-, to claiming Trump and Chavez are equivalent, to saying Bolsie is a Fascist without giving a fraction of an indication what his definition is.

        And secondly: I know there are some people like that on the comments. But far from all of us.

        “Look at the ridiculous abuse they hurled at Canucklehead. ”

        I’m sorry Kool Aid Kid, I can’t hear you over the latest itineration of Canucklehead’s “Old White Man” as an attempt to delegitimize people he can’t or won’t argue with.

        Something that combines sexism, racism, and ageism into one toxic package and which only undermines the point he tries to make to boot.

        Canucklehead can dish it out, but he can’t take it. And this should be our problem how?

        Either there will be one standard for everyone, or there will be no standard at all.

        “That kind of things turned longtime readers and commenters of this terrific blog off. ”

        Well, that and shilling for Petro, allowing toxin to flow both sides, and so on.

        “I’m thrilled these trolls will have their comments deleted and the site will be more like the CC we had in the not to distant past.”

        Again, you’re gonna have to be specific.

        “Nobody is being censored.”

        Except that is the definition of censorship.

        It is *Proper* censorship and well within Quico and CC’s bounds as a private platform and I do not oppose it. It is thus not comparable with despotic censorship by the state or powerful entities like the EITC.

        But it is censorship.

        “It will anger a few loudmouths that they are no longer allowed to spew hateful racist comments and ad hominem attacks.”

        You mean like “Old White Men”?

      • Look at the ridiculous abuse they hurled at Canucklehead.

        I agree that there have been a lot of nasty comments directed at Canucklehead. I find it hard to be sympathetic to Canucklehead, because he is both sinned against and sinning. both insulted and insulting.

        This is far from the first time I have brought this up, but it appears it needs to be brought up one more time. Dixit Canucklehead: I ask myself similar questions about the supporters of chavez and the supporters of the (current) republican party. Are they the beneficiaries of a corrupted system, the uneducated and manipulated, or a combination of both? Why is it so quiet around here?

        That is an outright insult to about half the population of the United States. Also recall that Canucklehead made this remark in 2012 in response to a commenter who wrote, “I can’t stand Romney.” Milquetoast, polite-to-a-fault Romney generated this invective from Canucklehead.

        Canucklehead, on a number of occasions, has stated that the level of comments went down after the election of Trump, when insults etc. increased from Trump fans. Canucklehead’s insulting remark dates from 2012.

        Recall what Quico wrote in a comment on this thread:

        This is an insulting line. If I invited you to my house and you said that to another person there, I probably wouldn’t invite you again. This kind of comment is going to be deleted in future.

        Had Canucklehead said that to me in my house, the most polite thing I would do would be to not invite him again.

        One time when Canucklehead responded to my posting the above link, he DEFENDED his comment. Not an apology, but a defense.

        As far as I am concerned , Canucklehead dishes it out as much as he receives it. Canucklehead insults, and gets insults back. What a surprise. You reap what you sow.

        Canucklehead has made insulting remarks about Gringos with Venezuelan wives or ex-wives. Canucklehead has also admitted to having Venezuelan relatives. Pot and kettle?

        • @Boludo Tejano Beautifully well said.

          But to be honest? I’d be more willing to tolerate Canucklehead’s lapses into crass prejudice if he at least showed some more willingness to stand and take the heat in a constructive fashion. Lordy knows I’ve tried.

          But the guy just won’t debate as often as not.It’s not enough that his grasp on history and politics is faulty at best, it’s that he won’t even stand up and argue why he believes he’s right.

          I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Poeta C by any stretch of the imagination (anybody who thinks this is just a problem of “Indios” hasn’t compared the almost completely “Indio” Benito Juarez to impeccably “European” Santa Ana), but at least he talked primarily about Venezuela rather than omestic politics.

  16. Will you make the comment sections censored in a leftist fashion? Your article on Bolsonaro didn’t take any account the huge defeat suffered by the Sao Paulo Forum. You simply focused on the superficial stuff with the same BS rhetoric used by Trump in a more latin-american fashion.

    If you plan to moderate the comments, I suggest you start covering the news from a more centrist and neutral plane.

    “It’s a mirage: a clumsy outcome of a childish, the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend mindset that debases those who yield to it. At the end of a slow-burn disaster, Brazil has chosen a catastrophe. Latin Americans will be living with its consequences for many years to come.”

    It’s stuff like this that makes commenters doubt your credibility in regards to a more neutral standpoint.

    Have you ever considered that some aspects of a Bolsonaro presidency might actually be better than another term by the PT?

    Are you willing to recognize the economic growths achieved under MPJ, Pinochet and Fujimori at the expense of social inclusion and atrocities that were committed?
    Are you able to recognize that those countrys are better today, in part, because of those regimens?

    I am not asking you to celebrate them or think they were necessary. I am asking you to simply recognize between both options, even if Brazil’s government goes authoritarian, there will still be a country left after he’s gone. I can’t say the same for Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

    Most of the writers of this blog have to tone down their pompous moral superiority and righteous. It stems from a place of arrogance and isn’t in accordance with the natural progression of things.

    Focus on informing and entertaining different ideas instead of being so closed minded.

    • I am alarmed at some of Bolsonaros speeches that go shamelessly agaisnt some of the basic tenets of our Liberal creeds , but Im also mindful of how they compare to the alternative which is people sweet in their proclamations of the most cherished ideals but then in practice result in policies and practices that bring ruin and tiranny into a country……, so sometimes you dont have a choice between people you can respect unconditionally because their views perfectly mirror your own views and people whose views you dont share but who might represent a degree of improvement vs those they oppose. but must decide which might represent the least bad option …….. Singapore is in many ways far from liberal in many of its policies and methods of governance and yet I would rather live there than in todays Cuba or Venezuela.

      • It’s not open mindedness to support the brutal murderers, torturers and rapists in military dictatorships of Brazil, Chile, or Peru.

        It’s not “centrist” to support the military dicatorships and those who say “Pinochet should ahve killed more people”.

        • @Credibility and open mindedness “It’s not open mindedness to support the brutal murderers, torturers and rapists in military dictatorships of Brazil, Chile, or Peru. ”

          I agree.

          So can we agree it ALSO isn’t open mindedness to support the even more brutal, prolific, and generally blood-stained military dictators in Nicaragua, Cuba, and Angola?

          Well, that’s what Lula and the leadership of PT did.

          So why the double standards?

          “It’s not “centrist” to support the military dicatorships and those who say “Pinochet should ahve killed more people”.”

          It shouldn’t.

          But let’s be brutally honest. Even Jacobo Timerman- who nobody can accuse of being overly lax about opposing military dictatorships, given how the Argentine junta had him imprisoned and tortured- supported Pinochet’s revolt against Allende.

          Firstly because he recognized what Allende was, or at least could have become given his open admiration for Castro and co.

          And secondly because he believed (naively/foolishly) that the military warlords actually would institute free elections afterwards. Which isn’t quite as unprecedented as you might think if you know coups. It’s rare but it has happened.

          To his credit, he pulled all support for Pinochet when he showed his true colors and started murdering and torturing people.

          But the fact that a firm democrat and man of the reasonable center could view a military coup was necessary to oppose a greater evil underlines how this isn’t some kind of insane or unthinkable situation.

          • But let’s be brutally honest. Even Jacobo Timerman- who nobody can accuse of being overly lax about opposing military dictatorships, given how the Argentine junta had him imprisoned and tortured- supported Pinochet’s revolt against Allende.

            Wrong coup. From the NYT obit on Timerman:Jacobo Timerman, 76, the Torture Victim Who Documented Argentina’s Shame, Dies.

            He also supported the Marxist government of Salvador Allende Gossens in Chile. After Allende’s overthrow by the military, Mr.Timerman’s denunciation of human rights violations was so intense that the Chilean press referred to him as ”public enemy No. 1.”

            I am not a Timerman expert, though I have read his Prisoner without Name, Cell without Number in both English and Spanish. I am not aware of any support Timerman gave to the Pinochet coup.

            However, back in the day, I read plenty of material that indicated Timerman had supported the March 1976 coup against Isabel Peron- such as Timerman’s book! The NYT is circumspect about this:

            When Juan Domingo Peron returned from exile in 1973 and was re-elected president, the anti-fascist Mr. Timerman supported him. But his Peronist allegiance ended in 1974 after the death of Peron and the assumption of his office by his third wife, Isabel Martinez de Peron.

            Who could rid Argentina of Isabel? Could it be the Montoneros/ERP, or the military? The NYT doesn’t specifically say whom Timerman championed to get rid of the incompetent Isabel , but it does point out that Timerman’s La Opinion was initially not against the coup.

            He backed the junta’s pledges of economic reconstruction, national unity and the eventual return to constitutional processes.

            In Preso sin Nombre, Celda sin Numero,, Timerman is much more forthright than the NYT in stating where he stood in relation to the coup. (my copy)

            La revolución contra la presidencia de Isabel Perón encontró en La Opinión a su principal abanderado, ya que el diario insistía en la necesidad de cubrir el vacío en que vivía el país .
            The revolution against the presidency of Isabel Perón found in La Opinión its main standard bearer, since the newspaper insisted on the need to fill in the void in which the country lived.

            Timerman expected to military junta to act in a fairly lawful manner in ridding the country of the violence from both sides.
            When Timerman reported disappearances in his paper, problems arose, which eventually led to his detention, torture, and deportation.

            The junta in Argentina was much less targeted in its killings. An Argentine told me the military would pick up a suspected terrorist and kill anyone in his address book. I imagine that for the most part, such innocents were those whom Timerman’s paper reported on.

          • @Boludo tejano Yup. My mistake. I screwed up. Thansk for the correction.

            But the point is: it isn’t completely insane for people to believe that sometimes, if a regime is so evil and utterly brutal it cannot be tolerated and cannot be reasoned out of power, the only possible way is to meet force with force.

            And an illegal regime cannot complain about breaking the law to do so.

    • It’s not open mindedness to support the brutal murderers, torturers and rapists in military dictatorships of Brazil, Chile, or Peru.

      It’s not “centrist” to support the military dicatorships and those who say “Pinochet should ahve killed more people”.

      • Double post. I already replied to your argument (or the incredibly weak structure that passes for it) above.

  17. I am surprised, with so much belief in the inherent wisdom of unregulated markets here – private individuals exercising their individual liberties without outside interference and compulsion, and all of that- that the idea of a person publishing the comments he wants to, or not, on a website he created, is so controversial.

    This is not a censorship issue.

    We’re all here at Quico’s absolute discretion as to what he wants to do with the thing he and his team have created. This isn’t a political society or club. There are no terms of membership or ownership interests. There are no rights of natural justice or procedural fairness. There is no obligation to give reasons.

    It’s pretty simple, how this actually works. The last few days before the comments went back on were instructive that way.

  18. What flustered me was some were using the comments box as a platform for their own rants, having little to do with understanding the issues pertinent to a given article or topic. With so much going on in Venezuela, and with perspectives increasingly skewed by insanity, it’s hard to unpack seemingly simple matters. Some of the vitrol only made it a shit show. Like political gansterism.

  19. I think you could close the comments anyway, really. But whatever you guys decide is best.

    I love this site, I contribute a very small donation (not precisely swimming in money here) because I really want to support something that creates a good resource to share with friends and interested people that know not a lot about Venezuela and I want to have them understand and in any measure help.

    And the comment section is the #1 reason I dont do it. Because I always have to write something like “read the article, forget about the garbage in the comments section”.

    So, whatever it is best. But this site has a staff, and a vision, and a voice. One I’m happy to support. It doesnt have the duty to give any random idiot on the internet the same, specially ones that go against it.

    You want that, set up your own site.

  20. I am glad of the new policy , high time it was adopted , there was too much cantankerous obnoxious puerile commentary that really contributed nothing to any serious discussion of the topics and instead made it less appealing to have any discussion at all……..I always thought that many of these commentators were regime supported trolls bent on sabotaging the page . My own take is that if you hate the way the people who run the page run it then the correct attitude is to stop visiting the page and search for another page with a content which is more congenial to your own views ………thats the way free speech works , If you dont like Fox news then just visit a different news network !!……..I am a reader from way back when those obnoxious commentators were more open about their trolling intent…….and I remember making naughty comments that went agaisnt the page keepers favoured views without being silenced …….
    I too reciprocate Roys generous opinion of some of my comments because I too liked much of what he commented , he always brought a good dollop of fine commentary that I coulld appreciate and idntify with.
    There were others whose contribution I liked even if their views differed from mine but who could argue well their own opinions ……or who brought interesting information into the blog .
    I do have an observation for Francisco that has to do with the content of the page and it is that altough rich in its chronicling of events and regime missdeeds its become less analytical and deep in inviting us to think about the root causes and probable solutions to our problems , I like it when Franciscos training in politcal thought and economic ideas shows in his journalism ………., I would like it to be more than factual a tad more intellectual in his composition of these pages . Loved it when he brought discussion of Briceno Guerreros ideas to these pages……., Ilike the content but pine for heavier intellectual fare ……!! But hey maybe its just me …..!!

  21. I’m glad to see the comments return. As for what constitutes permitted/unpermitted speech, I certainly see the value of unfettered speech as a fundamental right.

    By the same token, how one uses that right serves to not only define a part of who we are, but, most tellingly how others perceive us.

    I am in the camp that believes, to paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes, that the right to swing my fist ends at the tip of the other fellows nose.

    I’ve been around this blog since 2005 and have seen the ups and downs of comment quality. Flame wars, ad hominems rose and fell. This isn’t the first time Quico has tried some form of “poner orden en la pea”. Voting comments up and down, hiding less popular ones. Editorial interference. It’s all been tried.

    When the editor of a site with comments decides to call the policy Living Room/To your face, the that is what it is.

    Quite frankly, I had adopted a policy of just glazing over certain commenters posts. Like ads for online colleges in The Seychelles or how if I live in my zip code I can unlock hidden mortgage shit that banks don’t want me to know about.

    If I post something that gets deleted, I trust the folks moderating my comments. I know they have the feeling of what constitutes a righteous statement vs. an ad hominem that adds little value.

  22. In my view there is a difference between a radical political view and how one presents their view in the comments section. I don’t always agree with some of the radial views expressed in the comments but I do find them to be food for thought. I am totally against the viscous attacks and profane verbal abuse of posters in the comments section as they detract from the discussion. They are not necessary to express ones view. Healthy and logical discussions of ideas presented in the comments add significantly to the understanding of the issue at hand. I think Francisco and his team are fully justified in editing or removing comments that contain and promote these viscous and profane verbal attacks.

  23. I think this is a welcome change! I’m curious if y’all would consider moving comments over to another system (for example, reddit)? It’d be nice for this to be a community that could discuss articles as they come out, but also other issues. To me, it seems like a huge missed opportunity…especially if I fall behind a couple days on the blog and sort of lose the chance to get in on the conversation while it is hot. Using a separate forum system (such as reddit), those conversations would have their own space where they could stick around or disappear with the flow of conversation. And of course, you could enforce the same moderation policies.

  24. I am somewhat confused here.
    It appears some of my comments have been deleted.
    I have never been anything but respectful in my comments.
    However, I have called out CC for their “hatred” for all things Trump, from time to time.
    Can someone address this or will this post be deleted, as well?

  25. Caracas Chronicles is a private property. They have the right to edit the comments in whatever way they see fit.

    Don’t like it? There’s Twitter, Reddit, and many other sites.

    I’m surprised the shutdown of comments here wasn’t longer.

    I want to see regime change happen as fast in Vzla as the others do.

    But I also want to see _constructive_ discussion about the future reconstruction. There will be enormous efforts needed to repair the water supply, health, and oil production systems.

    Commenters need to be talking about stuff like that rather than making some of the remarks I’ve seen on here.

  26. FT, your new Comments Policy is surely just, within your right, and is actually sorely needed, given the pre-ban comments sections, which in some Commenter cases had become overly-insulting/vitriolic/even scatological That said, I don’t believe your intent is to politically-profile Comment censorship, and I hope that valuable Commenters like Marc/Crusader/MRubio do not abandon their valuable efforts at commenting.

    • I agree, i think it is abhorrent that it appears that 3 commentators on this site, WHO ALL SEEM TO LIVE IN VENEZUELA,
      Marc, Crusader and MRubio.
      All seem to have left this site.
      What the hell is going on, i have only ever commentated 3 times on this site, but this is so wrong. I have never observed the vitriol described by others here, but i have seen strong opinions.
      I am not here to view opinions of people who are only expats, but to get real time opinions from people in Venezuela.
      My husband and I are dismayed by the current editorial position here.

      • We do not share Mr. Toro’s political opinion and have our own minds and therefore our comments are being erased. I have never been disruptive or slanderous or called anyone any names which by Mr. Toro’s own mouth are the prerequisite to having a comment censored but it has evolved beyond that. I’m very seldom even off topic but again its apparently not about that either, really not even sure what exactly will get my comments erased so I have opted to refrain. Thank you for your support, the only reason I return to comment again. In this blog alone there have been 40 or 50 comments erased which were not rude or distracting and were very much on topic but as I pointed out earlier they seem to clash with Mr. Toro’s opinion and since this is his web site he has censored them. It’s his party, and he will cry if he wants to. He can dish it out just fine but he can’t take it. Watch carefully as this comment gets torn down as well. Don’t worry Mr. Toro I won’t insist.

        • Marc, I have never, in the years you have posted, read a (n allowed) comment of yours that was offensive (nor comments of Crusader/MRubio, either). My points are that FT hopefully will not censor according to his political views (and, at least in my case, he never has–and I believe him when he speaks of fairness/freedom of speech within civilized limits/etc.), and that I/many of CC readers would urge you/Crusader/MR to keep commenting, not only for your insights, but because you provide an indispensable “you are there” feel/understanding, as do Guacharaca, et. al.

          • Thank you net. There you have it Mr toro why did you censor at least 5 of my comments and several others from ira, turtler and crusader yesterday evening? Tell us why so we can avoid doing whatever it is you don’t approve of in a hypothetical future?

        • I’ve had comments deleted. Just about 100% deservedly because what I wrote was done in a fit of anger and quite frankly in hindsight were downright offensive.

          What I have observed when having a comment deleted is usually a note, or in some cases an email, saying why the comment was deleted. Sometimes not.

          There was a period a few months ago when the comments were being swallowed up by the system, not the editors. Then you’d see double posts sometimes too; more comment system fails.

          There were times when none of my comments went through, period. But I never felt it was from moderating, just from a sucky comments system.

          I like to read comments opposing the author or the editors viewpoint. I enjoy seeing the different sides argue and defend their views.

          But when these opinions come laced with language and intent that attack a person and not the argument, well that’s like listening to la loca de la esquina. Don’t really care for it and I prefer not to even have to scroll by them.

          I too hope whoever’s been here before keeps coming back. Except for one.

          • My comments were not swallowed. They were torn down because we were disappointed by the censorship and expressed it. They appeared and were then promptly deleted. I think we deserve an explanation at least. Perhaps it was just a temper tantrum in the heat of the moment? We’re all human, I don’t expect an apology, only an explanation.

          • “Except for one.” Exactly. And we all know who that is. I honestly can’t think of a single second poster at all that was really that offensive, repetitive, or obnoxious. (Unless of course it was under one of his earlier names.) All of this because of one poster. Ridiculous! Just block/ban the SOB, and you’re done! I don’t even mind the trolls. Reading Judilynn is usually good for a few laughs.
            This is soooo easy. Some old commenters may return with just that one commenter gone. But many may not. If fewer people are commenting & reading, I think there’s a good chance it may be because of the increasing leftist slant of the blog. It’s probably not a coincidence that your “golden age of commenters” was when you had Juan as a moderating influence. Your remaining readers/commenters now tend to be ones that really care about Venezuela. In the US, that is mainly conservative and libertarian Rebublicans, who also tend to really dislike communism/socialism. Sen. Bob Menendez is really the exception. Venezuela is really low on the priority list of a lot of liberal Democrats. Just look at Obama. I think we all hope this new effort is truly to eliminate rude/racist and garbage comments. If it is used instead to eliminate opposing views (& a few mild insults like snowflake), the blog will suffer. But it is your blog.

  27. I support this change Francisco!

    Many times in the past, I have been saddened by the racism displayed in the comments section of this website. I stopped reading them a long time ago. Hopefully new voices will begin to participate now!

    As an aside, I wanted to suggest a small software change to help guide people towards writing useful comments: instead of providing a blank box with the title “Leave a Reply”, maybe you could provide a template with some general pointers that help people write with empathy. Just and idea!

    Thank you for your team’s great work!

      • Googling for the definition of “empathy” gives the following result:

        “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”

        For me personally, empathy means putting yourself in the shoes of somebody else, to understand where their opinion comes from. I think that doing that leads to more interesting discussions.

  28. The comments policy has driven away one of the best contributors, MRubio
    I think that this is an absolute shame. “Making Venezuela make sense”, should not be the “sense” that the editors want it to make. It should be the truth. That includes the opinions and observations of the people that have intimate knowledge of the people and the culture. Warts included.
    Here is what MRubio has to say regarding Caracas Chronicles.

    “…as you’re aware, I’ve long felt that I risk my personal freedom and safety by posting there because I provide a lot of clues about myself and my location, and more importantly because I just tell the unvarnished truth about what’s going on here in Venezuela. Despite the personal risk, I decided it was worth it because so many people seemed to appreciate my on-the-ground reports even though my observations are limited to only my immediate area as I no longer travel extensively.

    However, Quico’s recent decision to censor the comments section (and he can call it all the names he wishes, it’s still censorship), were too much for me. Why should I risk my safety and well-being, and that of my woman, to contribute to a site that is doing exactly what this regime does, only to some lesser extent? I simply cannot support with Caracas Chronicles what I oppose so vehemently everywhere else so I won’t be posting there again.

    If during the normal course of conversation anyone asks if you’ve heard from me, tell them the truth, that I’m fine, healthy for the moment, and working hard as always. Feel free to quote any of my words above if it makes it easier for you to explain my decision to those who wish to know what happened to me.”

    • That is sad to read, MRubio is a fantastic guy. But in the end it helps explain the spirit of current Venezuela, the people are not very fond to hear things they disagree with, change must occur inside them before it happens in society.

      The day Venezuela becomes a vibrant society again, its blogs will be like that too.

      Good luck to all of you still in Venezuela. I was the Brazilian guy commenting from Rio.

      Signing off.

      (Delete this comment, dear NPC)

    • Dear M Rubio, I coment here for the same reasons as yours expressed above, run the same/greater risks as you, and feel your/our comments are essential to those outside Venezuela understanding what’s going on in Venezuela. FT’s “censorship” is, in my opinion, due to really excessive/insulting posts by only a very few Commenters, who toward the end were dominating the Comments section, and, even though mostly of what they said was true, it was done in an excessively repetitive/bellicose manner; none of your posts could ever have been characterized as being excessive/insulting. I urge you to keep posting so as to inform all readers the truth of what’s happening in Venezuela, unless personal safety is risked by doing so. I do not believe the new moderation policy will affect any of your posts, which have never been excessive/bellicose/insulting. Best regards, and please keep trucking. NET.

    • John, I couldn’t agree more. I would never want MRubio, Marc, and the other “insiders” to place themselves and their loved ones in danger by posting comments that are critical of the Chavistas. I also understand that there was one commenter who posted on a daily basis that continously posted remarks that were especially critical of indigenous populations in Venezuela. While some of the accusations made may have been technically correct, it was the way the language of the accusations was framed that seemed most offensive. And yes, some grenades we’re lobbed back an forth from both the left and right. That’s just a reflection of how polarized society itself has become.

      In losing the voices of the insiders the comments section becomes very bland, colorless , without taste or texture, diversity of perspective is lost. I wish the very best for MRubio, Marc, Crusader, and all the other insiders who were willing to share their street level perspectives and observations with the rest of us. Thank you so much and I hope that Venezuela will somehow become a better place for you and your loved ones as time goes by.

  29. I support the decision to moderate comments. CC became a Branch of Infowars for a bit, and comments usually veered off topic and sometimes turned outright racist or homophobic. CC is a private enterprise and should do what it wants, if you don’t like it, there’s always Gab or Twitter.

  30. I apologize.

    As a follower and occasional commenter for over 15 years I have appreciated the contributors and comments on CC, who could share the despair of the decline of venezuela, the damage to our families both in and out of country. The discourse both political and social on so many sides. Not always nice or PC, but respectful of free speech, and nearly 100% Venezuela focused. There were many trolls, and when sighted some would be dismissed, sometimes flamed, but someone almost always would jump in with a “don’t feed the troll” and it would fade away, for awhile.

    But something happened in the past year or two, where the comments were often completely unrelated to Venezuela and her problems. An increasing number became personal attacks on some commenters political views, as shout downs in an apparent attempt (to me) to get some to stop posting and contributing to this community. That was not supportive of free speech. Others seemed cut and paste, repeated xenophobic and racial attacks about corruption ignorance with no proposed solution that dominated the discussion. And then there were the personal attacks, some involving sex acts, which as Quico noted would not be permitted conversation in most persons homes, or public forums.

    So I was one who allowed myself to be dragged into the mud, didn’t like it, but felt the degradation of discussion was too severe, and becoming one sided, drowning out the voice of more thoughtful discourse . If I contributed to the shutdown of the comments section, good then. The return with moderation is welcome, in my opinion. The proof is a nearly 100 comment post, with participation of the editor (should be more frequent) and little vitriolic or bruised feelings.

    If some decide their freedom of speech is infringed I hope they find a better place to vent. I hope MRubio is not commenting because of lack of internet connection and not disagreement with the new CC policy, as he, his family and neighbors have all benefited from the relationship forged on this website (an example, there are many others), and we have all benefitted from his insightful comments.

    So again, I apologize for my venting. But believe this will be a better community going forward, to share and discuss Venezuela’s future.

  31. I want to thank you Quico, and others who were behind this decision. I have been a long time reader and commenter on this site. I learned much from the published articles, but also much from the wide range of experiences and wisdom relayed through the comments section. There was always diversity of viewpoint, even back when actual Chavistas/marxists would show up to argue, and it was usually respectful or at least civil. People were and remain passionate about what was happening to their country, what the regime was doing, etc.

    However, over the last year or so the comments on this website changed significantly. It became full of vitriol, repetitive nonsense, childish name calling, and the like. Often the same people were saying the same things in getting into the same arguments (often that had nothing to do with Venezuela) over and over.

    Over time there were also far fewer voices involved and contributing, which I think was driven (and then further contributed to) the decline in comments section. I know that, personally, one of the main reasons I visit the site much less often than I used to is the degradation of the comments.

    So, I say thanks Quico for taking this step. I know it’s not an easy decision and I know it’s not what you ever intended, but quite frankly it was effecting the overall quality of your site and even its “brand”. Good luck with the moderations.

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