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As regular readers of our webzine have probably discovered, I’m very reluctant to ban any commenters, regardless of how many crazy or stupid things they say. Among other reasons, a tendency to ban often becomes a slippery slope, and if I banned everyone who said things I regarded as crazy or stupid I might soon be alone here, talking to myself.
Furthermore, there are numerous important beliefs that I regarded for decades as absolutely crazy and stupid, but have come to believe were indeed absolutely true, with the American government cover-up of the Vietnam War POW/MIAs being the most notable. So perhaps it is the views of the commenters whom I might condemn that are correct and my own present ones that are mistaken.
However, although I do not wish to ban commenters myself, I have done my best to make it very easy for commenters to ban each other. Near the top of every comment thread is a “Commenters to Ignore” popup button, allowing readers to provide a list of commenters whose discordant views they wish removed from their sight. This list is permanently saved in a browser-device cookie, and automatically suppresses the comments of those tainted individuals across all comment-threads, though each particular such comment may still be displayed if desired.
On a different matter, I’m very pleased to see that more and more readers are beginning to use the Agree/Disagree buttons that I recently added and enhanced, which allow readers to provide one-click comment endorsement or opposition without leaving a full comment. Since this system relies upon a commenter’s name, it is only available to those commenters who are using the “Remember My Information” option for their Name and Email information. To ensure that commenters avoid overuse of this feature, use is restricted to once per hour. In addition, a minor enhancement I recently added maintains the existing blue-tinting of new comments when these Agree/Disagree buttons are used or an actual comment left.
Given that these and many other aspects of the webzine rely so heavily upon commenters having specific “names” (i.e. handles), I very strongly urge that reasonably distinctive ones be selected and kept, with the hidden email allowing authentication and protecting commenters against being “false flagged” with damaging comments by their opponents. Since commenters may sometimes forget their invented “emails,” this is another reason to use the “Remember My Information” option. Engaging in “sock-puppetry”—namely using multiple commenter handles in order to conceal one’s identity—is regarded as a very severe offense on this webzine, and among the easiest ways to get ones comments regularly trashed or even suffer an outright ban. If commenters wish to occasionally submit comments without using their regular name, the handles “Anonymous” or “Anon” are always available and exempt from all restrictions.
There are a few cases of commenters whose names have evolved over time, apparently because they forgot their emails or discovered another commenter was using an identical handle. I am planning to resolve this confusion by consolidating those aggregate comments under what seems to be the most appropriate name used for that commenter.
Meanwhile, I’m pleased to have now republished the bulk of Eamonn Fingleton’s archives, including his more two hundred past articles and columns in Forbes, The American Conservative, The American Prospect, and numerous other publications, with a current total of a quarter-million words and more still to come. We will also be soon releasing additional pieces from the archives of Ilana Mercer and James Petras.
Although our roster of regular columnists has now reached to the two dozen mark, with further coming additions in the near future, any potential unwieldiness has been addressed via software. On the Home Page, readers may use their mouse to drag-and-drop these columnists into whatever order their choose, elevating the interesting and important ones and condemning the useless and ignorant to the basement, with each visitor making different choices in this regard, and this ordering being saved in a permanent browser-device cookie and reflected on all pages. Furthermore, I have now extended this drag-and-drop feature to touch-controlled
smartphones and tablets as well.