Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Comment Policy

Over the last year, I've noticed that the quality of the comments section here has deteriorated significantly, with a high proportion of poorly grounded and/or disrespectful comments, typically from anonymous or semi-anonymous people.  This is the nature of the Internet I suppose-- comments sections are rowdy places.  But ultimately I do have control over this, and I intend to exert it to maintain a higher level of information quality and decorum in my corner of the Internet.

For the foreseeable future, I'll be moderating comments.  Here are my criteria for deciding whether or not a comment will be published:
  1. Value.  Comments should be well thought out, and points supported by research or at least solid logic.  Personal anecdotes are welcome as long as they aren't over-interpreted.  Thoughtful questions are also welcome, although I can't guarantee I'll answer them.  As always, anyone is free to disagree with me in a constructive manner, or simply offer a word of support.  
  2. Respect.  Comments should be respectful to me and other commenters, and composed in a concise manner.  It isn't difficult to disagree in a respectful way.
  3. On topic.  Comments should be at least somewhat relevant to the subject of the post.
  4. Full name.  Attaching your full name to a comment means taking responsibility for what you write.  I'll continue to publish anonymous comments if they add value, but I'll be more likely to publish if you include your full name in your screen name, your profile, or at the bottom of your comment.
  5. No ads.  I will not publish links to commercial sites that do not add value to the discussion, nor will I publish any other link I find objectionable.
Because I'll be moderating, I've decided to remove the captcha word authentication, which many people found difficult to use.  We'll see how that goes.  Since I have a lot on my plate, and Whole Health Source is a one-man show, I may not always moderate comments in a timely manner.  I apologize in advance for the inconvenience.  


Emily Deans said...

I've found that moderated comments over at my blog has kept things relatively civil. Best of luck!

Sara said...

I have the same problem on my blog (which gets about a 10th of the comments that your posts get): people can be so rude! I especially love the ones that have to announce they are unsubscribing or will never read again. Why does the world need to know this? How about just not reading again, then everyone's happy.

Your blog is fantastic and I really hope that the mean/rude/self-important people don't suck the fun out of it for you. Please keep blogging!

Kris said...

I think this is the right move on your behalf. The quality of the comments here has gone down drastically and a large part of them are either rude or off topic.

mark Rand said...

Stephan I agree with what you are doing, keep up the good work.

Mark Rand

jewiuqas said...

Though I am used to read blog comments with a selective eye for usable information, I think it is a good move.
I have long wanted to suggest to you that you make some improvements; I am using this occasion to do so, even if I am not quite sure if the thing is technically feasible. I reckon the site has certain limitations and you just cannot integrate any new feature you want, but maybe…
So, I think one of the big handicaps of this blog is that old posts become inactive relatively quickly and after a time has elapsed it is practically useless to comment on any older issues for chances are that no one will notice. It is understandable that your aim is to keep the latest issue in focus. Anyway, it would greatly improve the dynamics and usefulness of your site if, on your home page, any new comments added to no matter which past article were shown in (inverse) order of their publication (latest first). It could be for example on the right margin, parallel to the main blog, or at the bottom of the page “in bulk” separated from the actual subjects.
It is just a suggestion, I repeat, but perhaps you can do something about it.
I use the occasion also to thank you for the work you put into this thing. Total illiteracy in nutrition science is very common even among degree educated people. It’s a pity that because of language barriers this blog is not accessible to everyone.

George Henderson said...

The party's over folks.
Good luck Stephan.

Re: Captcha - guesses and first impressions are usually right. That's what a human would do.

Dawn said...

What a relief. I wish that many more sites, including news sites like CNN, would exert more control over the comments sections, which sometimes make me despair for the future of humanity. Thank you for not just throwing your hands up and walking away; I really enjoy this blog.

Ray Medina said...

Reading your comments section was one reason I kept moderation on when I began my blog. As you well know, writing technical posts are very time consuming. The last thing I needed was a thoughtless comment to sap my motivation.

Chris Kresser said...

Bravo Stephan.

glutenfree said...

Oops! Should say: "...writing technical posts is very time consuming"

Ah, the joy of brain farts coupled with the lack of an edit function...

Marwan Daar said...

I'm glad to see this move. I was finding myself averse to reading through the comments because of the amount of crap that was making its way through.

Richard Nikoley said...

I think this is a particularly wise move for you, Stephan. It doesn't seem to me that you ever intended for any of this to become comment entertainment, such as has been at my place for quite while.

I can easily understand how you might be conflicted but I recall back in the day—I was lucky to catch wind of your blog from day one—when you'd put very interesting stuff out there about the wisdom of native and pastoral peoples and the comment sections were just as interesting as your posts.

The descent into drama, a lot I've contributed to, was fun, but it's so 2012 now.

It's good to move on with more insight and experience and especially if you can recapture some of what may have been lost through signal/noise ratio after the last few years.

I'm rooting.

Galina L. said...

I noticed some people often leave a comment like "Love your blog, thanks, a lot of valuable information" then mention their web-site designed to sell some staff. Will you allow in your comment section such web-site promoting info unrelated to the discussed topic?

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Galina, spam fails criteria 1, 3 and 5, so I would guess not.

I'm looking forward to the increase in signal-to-noise ratio of future comments.

Dale said...

Yay! Moderation in all things, but especially in comments :-)

Unknown said...

Hey Stephan,

What do you suppose accounts for the "crash" so many people experience after a high-glycemic meal (even of whole foods such as potatoes)? I'm a nutritionist, and in my practice clients report this phenomenon all the time.