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Over the last couple of years, I think this website has evolved into a successful opinion webzine and discussion forum, with our traffic now eclipsing the overwhelming majority of other alternative media publications. For example, we apparently now get several times the traffic of Takimag on the Right or Counterpunch on the Left.

Our very light standards of moderation have encouraged an enormous proliferation of debate on all sorts of controversial topics, generating around 50,000 comments per month and totaling well over 4 million words. Many other websites attract long, thoughtful comments and many other websites attract huge numbers of comments. But I think we are quite rare in attracting such enormous numbers of thoughtful ones, though these may often be somewhat obscured by the 50-60% of our comments that are rather worthless.

As I previously discussed, I was recently shocked to discover just how much time many users were spending on this website, often running 20, 30, or 40+ hours per month, and in some cases even 100 hours or more. Perhaps the Google Analytics timing estimates are incorrect, but considerable numbers of users generate thousands of pageviews per month and leave many hundreds of comments, totaling tens of thousands of words. Writing 40,000 words of comments per month—the length of a short book—must require a tremendous amount of thought, time, and effort. Or at least it should.

Some of these especially active commenters are very high quality and add a great deal of value to our webzine, resulting in comment-threads that are frequently far more interesting and informative than the original article that sparked them. Other very active commenters seem entirely sincere though agitated individuals, spewing forth their views and at least providing some insight into various ideological perspectives that would rarely be set forth in the opinion pages of The New York Times.

However, I strongly believe that at least some of the commenters who seem to be spending 50 or 100 hours per week on this website are trolls and shills, probably paid ones. They are working hard to clutter up our comment-threads with endless verbosity and other nonsense, thereby obscuring the important points made by their betters and driving away more thoughtful readers. Unless they were being paid, it’s difficult to understand why individuals of their supposed views would have seemingly spent years of their lives writing their 600,000 or 700,000 words of worthless comments on this website.

Such trollish commentary is less than 10% of our total, but I think eliminating that sludge would be a desirable outcome for everyone else. Meanwhile, reducing the comments of individuals who are sincere but have little of value to say would also be beneficial, and even high-quality commenters must admit that they sometimes waste their time on insults or other remarks of little value.

I think we need to put our commenters on a strict diet, perhaps cutting our monthly total of 50,000 comments by a quarter or even a third.

 

Meanwhile, when I discovered just how much time so many people were spending on this website, I decided it would make sense for them to pay some of our costs. After all, since our bloggers all draw a salary and many of our columnists and writers are paid regular stipends as well, shouldn’t our heaviest users be required to cover some of these expenses? If someone spends 20 hours a month reading articles on a website, how can they reasonably object to paying the writers?

Many newspaper websites these days allow visitors 5 or 6 free stories a month, after which they must buy a subscription. So my initial idea had been to allow visitors perhaps 100 or 200 pageviews per month before requiring them to start paying. But people raised various objections and such software metering might also be difficult to implement in practice. Fortunately, a shrewd commenter came up with a much better suggestion:

This is exactly what I proposed (several times) to Taki’s daughter when they took the “world famous” comments behind a paywall. Let the comments remain visible (as they were great) and, if someone feels strongly enough about an issue they want to spend the time and effort to comment, they will spend perhaps a small amount of money, too.

A dollar per comment, say, would have the added benefit of improving the quality of the comments, too, I imagine. People would probably spend more time on their comments and would be more likely to refrain from posting fluff or personal attacks if it cost them a buck to do it. But if you have something substantive to add to the conversation, you’ll probably pony up….

Taki’s daughter didn’t bother responding to my suggestions as, I suspect, she was happy to get all those potentially socially awkward views safely out of sight. She lacks the appreciation Taki has for the intellectual thumb in the eye–an appreciation not in short supply here on Unz.

Now, would I pay a buck to post this? Yeah, poor as I am, I would.

I’d like to keep the initial “entry barriers” to new arrivals who stumble across this website and its freewheeling discussions as low as possible, so I would lean towards a much softer version of that proposed payment structure.

Perhaps the first ten comments every month would be entirely free of charge. After that, users could either start paying $1 per comment, or be restricted to just one free comment per day. Under this structure, even the most impoverished or stingiest reader could still publish nearly 40 comments per month without paying anything, and 40 comments per month is actually a pretty sizable number.

ORDER IT NOW

There’s also a clear difference between the commenting environment provided by our four bloggers and that of the rest of the website. By word count, our bloggers attract roughly half our commentary, but their comments typically tend to be much shorter, generally not much more than half the length of the ones left on our major articles and columns. This gives those blog post discussions much more of a casual, informal atmosphere, and charging $1 for each such comment would be completely unreasonable. Therefore, after the ten free comments are exhausted, I think a relatively low fixed monthly fee should allow an unlimited number of additional blogger comments.

I’m not sure whether anyone has previously implemented the notion of charging for comments on a webzine, but I certainly think it seems like a better idea than charging people merely for reading our articles or comment-threads.

And for quite some time, it’s been pretty obvious to me that certain individuals are organized trolls, who are not acting in the best interests of an intelligent discussion. The enormous fees that they will be charged will either drive them away or help cover the salaries of the writers whose ideas they and their paymasters so abhor.

Our comment threads are also cluttered with all sorts of nonsense produced by sincere but obsessive individuals, whose irritating verbiage is often quite repetitive. Once they’re charged for their remarks, they’re likely to become much more thoughtful or abandon this website for some other venue where they can endlessly rant free of charge to their heart’s content.

 

Meanwhile, we do attract a core of very thoughtful, knowledgeable, and interesting commenters, and their views may become a much larger fraction of our threads after much of the other clutter is removed. And someone else came up with another excellent suggestion:

“Perhaps one should make it possible to pay commenters.”

Exactly. Ron could gain renown and turn the internet on its head by arranging this site so that those commenters deemed to have made the most substantive and popular comments would be paid proportionally. This would create the most professional comment section on the net.

Perhaps every commenter who begins paying a usage fee and thereby becomes established would be allowed to provide a link to some preferred donation page or method, whether PayPal, Patreon, Bitcoin, or something else, and a “Support Me” button to that donation link would be displayed next to his name. Therefore, someone who produced particularly insightful or articulate comment could be directly rewarded by grateful readers. This might partially cushion the blow of a comment charge since it’s always possible that the $1 spent publishing a particular comment would yield $100 in resulting donations. Rather unlikely perhaps, but possible.

Anyway, these are my current ideas, substantially based upon the suggestions made on the previous comment-thread, which has now been closed.

I very much look forward to getting further feedback, whether positive or negative. However, some of those very same active trolls who have spent years cluttering up our threads with many hundreds of thousands of words naturally decided to clutter up that thread as well, pushing it over 50,000 words and rendering it unwieldy. Since I’m hoping to permanently exile them using these new methods in the near future, I’ll just trash most or all of their comments on this thread, along with other comments that seem overly off-topic.

So be warned that this particular thread will be subjected to much harsher moderation than is usually the case.

 
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  1. Biff says:

    Meanwhile, we do attract a core of very thoughtful, knowledgeable, and interesting commenters, and their views may become a much larger fraction of our threads after much of the other clutter is removed.

    Erebus, and about three others unless someone can drop some names/with examples. The gold frames really work well in capturing attention for a worthy post, considering something worthy can easily fly by and get lost in the spam.

    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
  2. Tusk says:

    Now I don’t know how exactly it works on Reddit since I don’t browse there, but my initial worry is that a comment payment system like this would be similar to Reddit/Reddit Gold, in that it facilitates a filter that pushes people to publish more widely appealing ideas in order to get recognition and money. I don’t know how free people would be with money on here but there is a chance it could devolve into some circlejerk. One criticism is that if shills already get paid to come here they could create sockpuppets to funnel money into approved comments to push the perception of what is/isn’t okay. But then again I think this tends towards more paranoiad fantasies than reality.

    On the positive side I think this is an interesting step and do think it has the possibility to work out due to many of the high quality and in-depth commentators that visit here. Perhaps instead of raw cash for comments, both submitting one and receiving income for one, it would be better to have something like ‘Unz Token’ that you have a balance of on your account that removes 1 per comment, but other people can pay you with their balance? Make a monthly subscription that removes the limit on page views over the 100 a month, and gives you like 100 Unz Tokens a month each month for your subscription. That would facilitate people planning to spend a certain amount each month on comments, but also make it easier to have a functional comment-paying system without going through the hassle of bank accounts and payment providers. This also enables people to not have to purchase comments everytime they make one because they draw from their balance, and also enables them to not have to worry about money once they’ve paid.

    My 2 cents/Unz Tokens!

    • Replies: @Svevlad
  3. gman says:

    1. I personally like the idea unlimited comments for a monthly fee structure

    2. A subscriber should be able to choose to provide a comment anonymously or with a screen name

    3. The Unz Review should have a podcast for subscribers.

    4. Is the Unz Review a 501c3 where I can contribute via a donor advised fund?

    5. I would like the Unz Review to be as ad-free as long as possible. Sites like The Hill and The American Conservative are a disaster user experience

    6. While not much of a sustainable money-maker, I do believe the Unz Review should have merchandise.

    • Disagree: CharlieSeattle
    • Replies: @Anonymous
  4. Please Ron Unz, no need to censure your awesome web comments. They’re the best reason for your blog site to exist. Consider your blog post on WWII a few months back, you cited a previous posts commentator on Turks almost getting invading by Russia before the atomic bombs dropped in 1945. It would have escaped your attention if comments were highly restricted.

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Russ
  5. FKA Max says: • Website

    Perhaps the first ten comments every month would be entirely free of charge. After that, users could either start paying $1 per comment, or be restricted to just one free comment per day. Under this structure, even the most impoverished or stingiest reader could still publish nearly 40 comments per month without paying anything, and 40 comments per month is actually a pretty sizable number.

    Good compromise.

    Godspeed!

  6. ‘…Perhaps the first ten comments every month would be entirely free of charge. After that, users could either start paying $1 per comment, or be restricted to just one free comment per day. Under this structure, even the most impoverished or stingiest reader could still publish nearly 40 comments per month without paying anything, and 40 comments per month is actually a pretty sizable number…’

    Well…I think very few people are going to pay a dollar a post.

    So it’ll be possible to model the new look of the site. Just go through the threads for, say, November, and strip out everyone’s posts that would have required payment.

    There’d be some differences, but for better or worse, that’s about what you’ll be looking at if you implement this.

  7. Currently, you only allow three posts per hour on a given thread. You could start offering to let people post again without waiting a hour…if they pay a dollar.

    That should give you some idea whether anyone’s going to go for this.

    ..or make it 24 hours or pay a dollar. If no one pays even then…

    • Agree: Mr McKenna
  8. A successful conclusion. Rewarding interesting comments and exiling the crazies who do gum up the threads, and engage in needless personal insults.
    Bravo!!

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @Fran Taubman
  9. There’s also the question of whether the goal is to limit the number of posts by people like…ummm…me or whether it is to generate revenue.

    Obviously those are two different goals, and would imply two different fee structures. In fact, if you just want people to shut up, why have fees at all? Just limit commentators to x comments per twenty four hours.

    • Replies: @Fran Taubman
  10. Miro23 says:

    Speaking personally, I wouldn’t be so interested in receiving payment for comments (and would be surprised if anyone actually wanted to pay). The Unz/income question probably has more to do with restricting time on Unz to protect paid work hours with clients.

    It is manageable. The clients get their work done and there’s the Unz place next door to check out what’s happening in the world, listen to what people are saying, and maybe contribute. It’s the variety of uncensored opinions that make it worthwhile, and the fact that in the normal Western work/social environment this freedom has died. There’s no problem at all with paying per comment to comment above a certain limit.

    Current Western social taboos make for a uniform dullness with obligatory celebration of Blacks, Gays, Transvestites, Empowered Women, victimized Jews – with the nodding approval of everything Israel, anti- White Supremacy, anti-Christian, pro Open Frontiers etc. In fact most of the people round the table don’t believe it, but are too scared of work/social penalties to make any non-PC statement. Altogether not a fun environment.

  11. Franz says:

    Perhaps the first ten comments every month would be entirely free of charge. After that, users could either start paying $1 per comment, or be restricted to just one free comment per day.

    This sounds like a superb solution.

    It would also counter another downside to the paywall thing: Sometime you just run into a “dry month” and both the articles and the comments just don’t hit any of your hot buttons. On such a month a reader might be up to a half-dozen informative posts, max. With this system the reader isn’t out anything.

    And conversely, on a busy month I seriously doubt any one of us would mind spending the fee to add whatever value we might bring to the discussion. And if we’re passionate about something we’d also take the time to make it clear, readable copy.

    Excellent in every way. I’d jump for it.

  12. anon[169] • Disclaimer says:

    Sounds fine to me. 😉

  13. What would happen if you gave the trolls who pay you a “feed me button?” I think sharing one’s thoughts should be its own reward. I disagree with the idea of implementing “Support Me” buttons.

    If the contributions of commenters are that worthwhile then they should become a paid blogger themselves. If their views are worthwhile you could give them the opportunity to write an article with aid if necessary, and publish it. It would be more enriching to read than digging through the comments section and would be more rewarding to the commenter to receive such honors. Also should their be a comment limit? Twitter is a challenge with its character count limit but it works. A person’s 40 free comments a month could be 40 novellas in size without putting word count limitations on them. There needs to be a character count limit. Perhaps have a moderated blog section for paid contributors where they can write longer essays and show a link to them at the top of the comment section of articles if it is about an article on unz.com. They can give a Tweet sized summary in the article’s comment section with a link to their own article. There could be an indicator showing the number of people who are commenting on their essay. The website is already sort of setup to do this. It would be an extra burden to moderate though.

  14. Anon[109] • Disclaimer says:

    While I would be happy to financially support the site in some way, I have serious concerns about sharing my name and contact information, which would presumably be necessary for most payment methods. I suspect a lot of people feel as I do. Given the way the political climate is evolving, it’s not totally unreasonable to worry that commenters here could be subject to some kind of hate speech penalties in the future.

    • Replies: @Wally
  15. AnonAnon says:

    I’m a Sailer groupie who has followed Steve in print and around the internet for twenty-something years, not only because of his articles but because of his excellent comment section. I have sampled a few other authors on Unz but Steve’s blog gets the bulk of my attention. My personal opinion is you will kill the golden goose if you charge fees to comment.

    As a long time iSteve reader I don’t see the problems you outline on his blog – annoying trolls and/or paid shill comments. There is one lame troll and one guy I think has a lot of time on his hands but I find it very easy to scroll on by the comments that don’t interest me. If Steve found it acceptable to approve the comment I don’t see why an added barrier of a fee is necessary. As for protecting us from insults, I believe Steve provides moderation. I don’t understand why trolls can’t be killed or throttled on a case by case basis because, if anyone is going to pay to post, it will be the shills and fanatics. In my experience paid shills tend to be brief and rather easy to spot. Moreover, I was under the impression that authors moderate the comments. Steve certainly seems to have a tiered system of fast-track users and others who take longer for their comments to show up. I would think that system could be fine tuned even more if moderation and comment quality/quantity is truly the issue.

    If revenue is the issue, I’d rather it be a monthly or yearly subscription fee, not a per comment fee. Additionally, I don’t care for the idea of monetarily rewarding commenters. Reddit has a gold system which does not improve their comment quality imo. Perhaps it’s the heavy-handed moderation and vote system that ruins Reddit but I find it full of shills and bots, and overall a very sterile experience. If a few commenters are adding such great content to Unz they’d probably like to write for the site.

    I don’t understand why you can’t just add advertising and offer an ad-free version for a fee if revenue is the primary problem.

    As for being surprised that people can spend 30-40+ hours a month on the site, just how fast do you think people can read through 200, 300, 400+ comment threads on articles? Moreover, many of the commenters on iSteve, not to mention the other authors, are academics and write fairly dense prose that takes time to sift through. I’m sure the people who like to read comment boards like this one do it as their form of entertainment and can easily spend a few hours in the evening.

    I’m still not clear on what the main issue is – moderation, revenue, or censorship. Whatever revenue system you use, bar advertising, whether it’s charging to access the site or charging per comment it’s going to radically change the comment sections, and I suspect, not for the better.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Hypnotoad666
  16. Anonymous[776] • Disclaimer says:

    Jewish magazine Tablet started charging commenters in 2015. Here’s their policy:

    COMMENTING CHARGES
    Daily rate: $2
    Monthly rate: $18
    Yearly rate: $180

    WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
    Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who’d like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

    I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
    Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at [email protected]. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

    We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

  17. Johan says:

    Commenting for me is mostly about letting writers know that their articles are appreciated, that their views are shared, at least structurally, their efforts are appreciated. The articles contain mostly more details and elaboration on a situation which at large is already known to me. Expanding and in depth analysis,stapling theory on theory does not structurally add something new.
    The articles and comments are a way to keep the awareness alive, and to provide alternative views for new comers. It is mostly about keeping up the motivation and communal sharing.
    The best work throughout history is always done for free, and even financed out of ones own pockets.

    Nevertheless, if people have their wallets drained and culture destroyed by corrupt establishments, and still have money left to donate to those alternative media who are reporting about the situation, though the situation be quite ridiculous, go for it.

    If only we could use the value creation schemes of the elites, to create value where there is none, like the climate change hoax, a billion, now drained from our wallets and created as hot air bubbles could be rerouted to the alternative media.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  18. I fall into the under 40 comments per month. I’m all for the pay as you go system as explained to eliminate paid shills, who knows, maybe their master will pony up and it becomes a revenue stream for the site owner. However, along with that, have an application process by which commenters known to the site owner as not being in the 10% can be granted continued access. Perhaps the site owner already considered this, but there’s my input.

    • Replies: @Alfred Barnes
    , @Johan
  19. @Alfred Barnes

    The question becomes would implementing such a system be worth it from a cost perspective.

  20. I search your website and read articles at least 3 times a week. I link to your articles on my blog and this should boost traffic to your site as I have thousands of page views per month. The reason I do this is because your material is thoughtful, well balanced and needful. We are living in an era of lies and propaganda (fake news ) and you provide a much needed service.

    I am a great believer that truth must be free and easily accessible.

    I tend to visit a number of alternative web sites searching for and linking to relevant material. It would be detrimental to start paying for them all (I am retired) , moreover any article links from my blog that refer to an alternative website with a paywall or other limitations would soon be ignored by my own readers. In the last few weeks I must have linked to between 5-10 articles from the Unz review. I know that many of my readers click through and read your articles as I highly recommend them. I think that if you are not careful you may drive readers away.

    Your observation about the comments is correct. Some are excellent and I always read them for the extra information that they contain. Unfortunately trolls are part of the territory and a consequence of free speech. However bad they might be perhaps we need to be reminded now and then that there are people out there with stupid, hateful etc ideas. You take the good with the bad.

    Anyway, I think it is a great website. I know you must have expenses and that it is a labor of love but I would hate to see it diminished by any payment scheme. I run my own website without adverts and pay the expenses out of my own pocket. Like I said……I believe the truth should be free and easy to access. We are living on the cusp of great changes and websites like yours are one of the drivers in keeping people informed and correcting 150 years of Anglo-Zionist revisionism. You need to reach as large an audience as possible.

    All the best.

  21. JackOH says:

    Indulge me this comment.

    Yesterday I was jaw-flapping with a woman, a former senior worker in a government office. She’d tried to sound the alarm over a corrupt official. Sex, drugs, favors, enablers, cover-up. She was forced out. He was prosecuted—eventually.

    I replied with one of my own stories. I was walking to my car. A man was inside. He seemed to be searching my car. I approached. The man exited the car and shut the door. He was a plainclothes cop I’d known for years. He said he was just closing my car door. I pretty much knew then he’d fallen under the spell of a very influential Mr. Big, whom I’d displeased with my writing. He was looking for evidence to use against me. He didn’t find any.

    That’s the America noir I–we–live in.

    Unz Review is one of the very few publications I’ve seen that portrays that America with accuracy and depth.

    I don’t quite understand all the changes Ron proposes, but I’ll try to find some way to support the monetization of UR.

    • Agree: Denis
  22. Anon[360] • Disclaimer says:

    Have you considered commercializing your commenting system as a means to offset the operating costs of the Unz review?

  23. I like those ideas. Who knows if they will work and whether they will have good or bad effects. But it’s worth experimenting with.

    It’s a form of “gamification”, which can be positive. Let’s just hope it doesn’t lead to “karma-whoring”, where people comment in the hope of getting a reward of approval from others.

    Currently, there already are two kinds of “payment” to commenters, besides the pleasure of expressing yourself in a public forum:

    1) approval (or at least reactions) from other commenters or from authors, in the form of replies, “Agree/Disagree/etc” reactions, mentions by the author, and gold boxes.

    2) access to the “Agree/Disagree/etc” features, if you comment enough. This has the good effect of limiting the use of those features. But it has the bad effect of encouraging people to keep commenting regularly, even if they have nothing to say.

    Reducing the number of comments while keeping the quality high is a worthy and important goal. So is earning some money for the web site and its contributors. Good luck, Ron!

  24. It would not be free speech.

    • LOL: Brás Cubas
    • Replies: @Durruti
  25. Rob20 says:

    I would like to present my view as a reader, not a commenter. As a rule, I refrain from providing comments because I do not feel I have the capacity to add valuable information to the readers. Some commenters are extremely well informed and excellent communicators and I look forward to reading their opinions. Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to identify the wheat from the chaff because of the sheer number of useless or harmful comments. Your creative approach is critical if you want to keep your entire site to its current standards.

    As a reader I feel I must contribute by financially supporting sites like yours that provide the best information and avenue for dialogue you have on this planet. Other sites are also extremely valuable (i.e. The Saker, South Front, Moon of Alabama, etc., etc.). On the other hand, I only have a glass of water to share and there are 100 thirsty folks out there. I must make a choice and I must divide my limited budget. When I was working, I sent larger one-time donations to some writers who were in dire need, but now lives on a more limited budget. So, what to do with this tiny glass of water? My idea so far is to send, say $5.00 a month, contribution to a few sites like yours. This leaves many in the dry, but for now I do not see a better way.

    Your comments or suggestions are welcome as they can also inspire other readers like me.

  26. Nodwink says:

    If any of these changes are to be implemented, I would think that the option of using a fictitious email address would have to be abandoned.

    For example: If a commenter were to have 25 free comments per month, but had to pay for every comment thereafter, it would be reasonable for that person to receive an email warning them that they were approaching their limit, perhaps after 20 comments (or maybe that person could be allowed to use their 25 comments, and be sent a message that they need to cough up for new comments; these are only examples, not suggestions, I am not telling you what to do!).

  27. TheJester says:

    Ron,

    I’m religious about “going dark” when surfing the Internet. I block a host of Google and other tracking sites. DISCONNECT is currently blocking 13 tracking sites on Unz.com. I have other blocking utilities in force that do the same thing. I also access the Unz Review via VPN.

    I would support paying to comment … let’s say $1.00 a comment. That would help get rid of the trolls and those who audaciously comment on an article and then comment on the comments ad nauseam. It also might pare down the presence of Hasbara. Hasbara’s presence is obvious; it comes “out of the woodwork” when bloggers broach certain subjects.

    • Replies: @Durruti
  28. Isabella says:

    I’d agree that finding a productive way to trim back some of the verbiage that clutters the comments is a very good idea, however, could I express my appreciation of your willingness to allow a limited number of free comments.
    You did make the comment that your contributors are “in receipt of income” – or words to that effect. However, many are in a very precarious financial state, such as those who, like myself, live on a poverty level retirement superannuation from a thieving Government [Australia], which stole our very rich private funds in order to toss us a less than poverty level pittance.
    I like to make comments at sites free of mindless hate based rants, as well as read at good sites. However sadly more and more are being shut off to me – and clearly those in similar straits – because they erect a pay wall we cant climb. When you are worried about how you are going to find the rent money, every dollar matters!!!
    Since I have never made too many comments here, I feel I can meet your proposed requirements – and if I can, I’m sure anyone can.
    Thank you for providing such an interesting and informative site – and being considerate enough to allow the more pecunious to be a part of it.

    • Agree: Kali
  29. Svevlad says:
    @Tusk

    To avoid reddit tier circlejerk, perhaps it should be done like this (albeit it’s labor intensive):

    instead of immediately paying, there could be votes. What comments get the most, would then be scrutinized by moderator, who decides if they deserve reward or not. Sounds like it would lead to circlejerk too?? Here’s the catch: comments that get a lot of negative attention/disagreers, get rewarded also, if they’re structured well and not low quality bait, trolling or spam

  30. I do not want to pay to comment, and if required to do so, will continue to read others comments but will stop commenting on this site.

    I read the comments on various sites , zerohedge, southfront.org, rt.com, etc., and no one is charged for commenting.

    • Agree: Durruti
    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @silviosilver
  31. Hacienda says:

    Ron,

    If your aim is for better quality, lengthier comments then the pay per comment may be a good way to go. Commentators, especially, the ones for whom a buck still means a lot, would want to max their bang per buck. But what would happen to the concise or short witty reply? The little tap on the head. Wouldn’t they disappear? A buck is a lot to pay for a comeback or short correction. I know wouldn’t do it. You would also in a short period find out who has the bucks just by seeing who posts the most short replies. This whole site could then be accused of classism- the high volume commenting haves and the few comments have nots who are forced to read and be quiet.

    A buck per short comment is quite a lot. Maybe reduce the cost of short comments, say one to 50 words, to 10c.

    And for the truly moneyless, some incentive to be rewarded for good comments. Maybe an increased allocation of comments for well-liked or outstanding comment. To be adjudicated by you or the OP or some voting system.

    • Agree: Liza
    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  32. The early free Internet was fun because it gave one the opportunity to enjoy a variety of viewpoints. It encouraged folks to reach out to find views with which they disagreed because to do so entailed no cost (other than time). I would analogize it to the “recent” periodicals room at a major university library. Back in graduate school days I allowed myself two or three mornings a month devoted to a walk around the recent periodicals room to see what was new and interesting.

    The Internet paywall has stifled thought and discussion because it forces one to ration ones Internet dollars among those spaces that seem likely to be most valuable. No longer can one (unless rich) read the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and a local newspaper much less numerous journals of opinion.

    The charm of Unz lies in the unique facts and opinions available. Some days that means thirty minutes. Some days that means two minutes to see what’s new or interesting. Some articles you read the comments, some not.

    Whatever the paywall, it will make some subset of readers ration. To that end, the Internet will continue to be less robust and useful.

    I have recently noted that in my local Chicago Tribune you find very little news. I recall the olden days when the paper regularly reported local government doings all throughout the city and suburbs. Now just a little bit. Sports section? A fragment of its former self … today for example from a quick look at the Tribune sports section I could not tell you what free agents just signed with the Yankees.

    The Virtue here at Unz is it introduces facts that inspire further searching.

    If there must be a paywall, a limited comments paywall would be the least worst option because reality is that in response to most articles no one needs to comment 5 or 8 times. Free wheeling debate is nice, but there remain good sense limits.

  33. I love the idea of limiting comments. But if one target are paid trolls, charging for multiple comments will just become a business expense and give them an advantage.

    • Agree: Mike P
  34. Durruti says:
    @ivegotrythm

    It would not be free speech.


    AGREE!

  35. Durruti says:
    @TheJester

    I would support paying to comment … let’s say $1.00 a comment. That would help get rid of the trolls and those who audaciously comment on an article and then comment on the comments ad nauseam. It also might pare down the presence of Hasbara.

    Help get rid of the Trolls? – Or would it help get rid of the majority of the honest Commenters? Hasbara have resources. have you not read any of Unz’ recent articles on who murdered JFK, or did 9/11? Hasbara-Zionist Oligarchs use $30 pieces of silver, or its Gold equivalent, to control all political discourse, censor our textbooks, and operate Hollywood, Brainwash & Mind Control – worldwide.

    The Zionist Trolls (if you wish to call them that -agents, paid agents, or just refugees from the brainwashed masses) add the important quality check for us ‘legitimate commenters.’ we are forced to defend our opinions – with facts, citations, other evidences, and Humor.

    Changing this, or any web forum to a pay site? Huh? The operational requirements – to check on all who wish to comment, (to assure they have paid), are considerable, and further infringe with their Liberty! A $pay requirement for this website will encourage & advance the power of Hasbara! It opens the door to their control.

    *Ron Unz & his friends might try the Saker’s method of raising $ (if he truly needs $ & is not looking to start up a business venture), Unz should raise money by appealing to his friends & supporters (as does the Saker). That leaves this forum -Free.

    Not wishing to shock! Ron Unz is a Human Being. As such, it is my hope that he (and his friends), will follow his/their conscience, do what is Right, and continue to operate this Forum, and run for political office – for decades to come.

    To TheJester:

    Surely you Jest.

    • Replies: @Herald
  36. HZ says:

    One thing that made unz.com stand out from other websites is how alive the community seemed. 1k comments or so on my frist unz.com article did leave an impresson on me that made me come back. Anyway, I’m a fan of the website and if you think this will make it grow I’m all for it. Maybe a try-out period of the new system should be implemented, with monthly views change being its failure/pass criteria.

    > Perhaps the first ten comments every month would be entirely free of charge. After that, users could either start paying $1 per comment,

    If that is the case then you have two conflicting goals. You can’t have a low barrier to entry and restrict trolling and shilling. The later will just delete their cookies, reset their IPs etc. In fact this could work against the website, since malicious people will just use techniques that will make their posts free, where as a normal person will just give up.

    Also please don’t forget about privacy. If the website database is breached I wouldn’t want my real name to be liked to comments I might make on some more controversial articles here. Maybe cryptocurrency is the solution here.

  37. anon[680] • Disclaimer says:

    Charge aparthied israel 3,200.00.00 per month

    • Agree: Desert Fox
  38. If it’s worth doing, then it’s worth making money off of it. So, why not.

  39. Ragno says:

    I’m no troll – been coming here for years – but lately my comments, which I take pains to keep free of profanity, personal rancor or general blasphemy, have a tendency to appear on a basis so irregular I can’t help but think that Somebody Over There Doesn’t Like Me.

    Now you’d like to charge me money to enjoy the low-grade suspense (will today’s comment ever make it out of the Moderation Gulag?; what about tomorrow’s?; and what happened to yesterday’s, I wonder?) of intermittent censorship, with no way of knowing when – or if – I’ve crossed some invisible line.

    Hmmmmm…….. let me get back to you on that one.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
    , @Jim Christian
  40. Skeptikal says:

    “Perhaps every commenter who begins paying a usage fee and thereby becomes established would be allowed to provide a link to some preferred donation page or method, whether PayPal, Patreon, Bitcoin, or something else, and a “Support Me” button to that donation link would be displayed next to his name.”

    Oh, God.
    Now Ron Unz wants to enter the “Please rate my service” world that is becoming a genuine source of annoyance and irritation. Count me out of all of these schemes. I have time to write a comment, but not to spend time then “adminsitrating” the payment for having made a comment.

    After every tech support to Verizon, visit to the USPS, the pharmacy, whether in person or online, one is besieged by requests/demands to rate the service; even fill out an online survey (whereby of course the surveyor is also collecting data to be mined). Is this to become an MO at UR?

    Up-thread: “I’m still not clear on what the main issue is – moderation, revenue, or censorship. Whatever revenue system you use, bar advertising, whether it’s charging to access the site or charging per comment it’s going to radically change the comment sections, and I suspect, not for the better.”

    Ditto.
    What is the actual problem to which these Rube Goldberg contrivances are the putative solutions?
    If you clearly state the problem, commenters can offer better feedback. Is ti too manyh comments? Too mnay trolls? People spending more time at your site than you in your wisdome think they should? Monetizing the site/comments/trolls? What is it?

    You know which commenters are the trolls you want to get rid of. So, discipline them via moderation. Obviously you are monitoring comments very closely already.

    Instead you want to create a system in which they basically self-select to reduce their presence, or just go away.

    This is a quixotic quest, and the methods to achieve it sound like a weird type of social engineering.
    The system you put in place to cause the trolls, indirectly, to disappear or fade will also affect everyone, of course. You may be surprised at who ends up fading out.

    RU: “Perhaps the first ten comments every month would be entirely free of charge. After that, users could either start paying $1 per comment, or be restricted to just one free comment per day. Under this structure, even the most impoverished or stingiest reader could still publish nearly 40 comments per month without paying anything, and 40 comments per month is actually a pretty sizable number.”

    I will not pay to comment.

    You now complain about the previous thread on this topic becoming too long. This doesn’t make sense to me.
    Surely you are able to navigate your own comment system!
    Everyone else can!
    In fact, one of the great features of your system is that it highlights new comments since the last visit.

    Or, are you simply trying to monetize comments, and see trolls as a means or a pretext to do this? I don’t see how the monetizing and troll use are connected. These seem to be two different problems.

    The recent introduction of “discipline” of limiting commenters to three comments per hour (“You are commenting too fast” or whatever the charge is) (1) feels very creepy and (2), more obviously, punishes those who read and write quickly and incentivizes longer user time at the site, as someone who wants to contribute a fourth comment must leave the page open longer.

    The point of all this is becoming more obscure, not less.

  41. If so many people read the UNZ then commercials could pay for it. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Charge the advertisers super high fees to reach a very select audience.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    , @Ron Unz
  42. Saggy says: • Website

    So, you’re willing to chance eliminating the best commenters in order to discourage the trolls? That makes absolutely no sense.

  43. Is your subconscious trying to destroy this site that your conscious has created?

    • LOL: PetrOldSack
  44. Anon[138] • Disclaimer says:

    Some of the commenters have websites, they are trying to drive traffic too. Some of those have commercial intent. Some are click farms.

    Different categories of commenters could have different charge scales, with commercial commenters having higher charges. I don’t know the proportions of commercial ones. Too few to matter? I don’t know.

  45. anonymous[225] • Disclaimer says:
    @Fran Taubman

    Fran Taubman, you are clearly one of those hasbara trolls Unz refers to. Your comments are not “interesting,” they are primarily deceitful. Your comments provide a glimpse of how dark-hearted people try and justify immorality.

    As for me, I am afraid I would qualify as one of those repetitive (but sincere) trolls, of whom our gracious host mentions too.

    • Disagree: Lot
  46. I think giving everyone 40 free comments a month and then charging $1 for each extra comment would be great. However, how would you spot Sock Puppets? Obviously the heavy users would set up several accounts and still post their usual 200 comments on a month, but they’d use 5 different accounts instead of one.

  47. Lot says:
    @Skeptikal

    1. I wouldn’t pay to comment.

    2. I indirectly pay already by sending Steve about $25 a year.

    3. Agree that short-term restrictions are annoying, as they prevent a conversation from happening. Threaded subcomments that can be collapsed are a better way to fix this if you see this as “clutter.”

    4. To the extent you want to neuter big time commenters, per month restrictions make more sense. You can also then see if you like the site better at the end of the month after the restrictions have kicked in.

    I leave about 7 a day, but usually in clumps, 20 one day and 0 or 2 the next. But the two top commenters I can think of are Reg Caesar and Colin Wright, who are both far above average in quantity and quality. You cut them down, you reduce average quality.

  48. @Fran Taubman

    Well beauty is in the eyes of the beholders. Let me quote directly from Ron:

    Well, I’d certainly never accuse you of being a paid shill. You seem exactly like the sort of agitated individual who would spend enormous amounts of time and energy commenting on this website for your own sincere reasons.

    However, I strongly suspect that some of the other very heavy commenters here may fall into a different category…

    I disagree Mr. Anonymous you sound like a troll to me, since I cannot look up any of your comments.
    WTF are you/

  49. @Colin Wright

    I think Ron’s goal is two fold:
    -To acknowledge exceptional comments which cause rethinking of the writers or other commentators and add to the overall synthesis of the conversation which at times on this site are really really interesting and historically factual. Including Ron’s Pravda series. The guy can really write.
    – To expel clearly disturbed commentators who go on and on with lengthy threads that show an unusual and gratuitous side that contributes nothing to the overall content.

    An example I know you are aware of is Truth3 comments to me about foreskins and eating accompanied by with photos aimed at just a gratuitous attack on me personally. You commented on how unappealing his suggestions were. I also had a crew of Radical Catholics posting meme after meme repeating the memes call me Satanic because I was a Jew which on its face is probably okay it was just the constant repetitiveness of it as they followed me from thread to thread, not commenting on the article but on me.
    This sit is a good news bad news situation. The good really good and the bad really bad.
    Ron is trying to accentuate the good for profit by eliminating the bad. The problem is the crazies are like a train wreck where people are drawn to the comments out of shear astonishment as in all internet comments you read things you would never see in real life. Curious to see if we see Truth 3 again.

  50. anonymous[225] • Disclaimer says:
    @Desert Fox

    will continue to read others comments but will stop commenting on this site.

    The problem with that is, sometimes there are such blatantly deceitful/hateful/hypocritical comments that it is such a heartache to let them go without responding in some way, even if those responses may be termed trolling by other more “sophisticated” commenters.

    The only avenue left for sensitive thin-skinned people (ahem!) would be to studiously ignore the comment section after consuming the undoubtedly many excellent essays here… but the urge to peek can be strong. 🙂

  51. I used to comment on businessinsider.com and then businessinsider eliminated their comments and I rarely go there any more, as it was the comments that made it interesting.

    In my opinion the reason they eliminated the comments was that some of the comments were revealing too much about how corrupt this government is and who was in control.

  52. Liza says:

    I don’t know much about these things & it could be that I am putting this comment in the wrong place, but maybe there’s just too many people writing for unz.com. How about thinning out the herd somewhat, bribe Jim Goad to come here, and see what the results are (yes, it could take time). Then decide on how to earn yourself some money. With fewer article writers/bloggers you can still maintain your “Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives“. JMO and thank you.

    • Agree: Bubba
  53. If comments are deleted in the course of moderating the threads, those comments should not be charged.

    Also the agree/disagree/troll options should be opened up to those who don’t comment frequently enough under the present to use them under the present system.

    Also, comments should be open on every article. Comment revenue should not be shared with other commenters, but a percentage of it should go to the author of the article that generates those comments. Controversial articles generate more comments and these authors should be rewarded and controversial articles that can only be read here should be incentivized in this way.

    It is better to charge less per comment and charge them all then to give away 10 for free each month and charge more per comment.

    • Replies: @Fran Taubman
  54. @ivegotrythm

    ‘If so many people read the UNZ then commercials could pay for it. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Charge the advertisers super high fees to reach a very select audience.’

    It’s possible advertising will turn out to be the worst choice — except for all the others.

    Ads seem to vary in their intrusiveness from site to site. Some places, they’re annoying, others, I can’t say they’ve bothered me. So not my field, but maybe Ron could pick a sponsor who would keep it down to a dull roar.

  55. Dykeward says:

    I have noticed that some social media companies (Minds? etc) appear to have some form of in-house credit system. Good contributions receive value tokens of one form or another. Perhaps a commenting system allied with some upvote credits that would enable people to escape the need to pay. A kind of encouragement to hit the right metrics (brevity, insightful) etc. Or maybe it would become its opposite and descend into a circle jerk of playing to the crowd. Just a thought.

  56. @Hacienda

    ‘A buck per short comment is quite a lot. Maybe reduce the cost of short comments, say one to 50 words, to 10c.’

    Tht’ll jst ld 2 irritatingly abbr. cmts.

    • LOL: Haruto Rat
    • Replies: @Highlander
    , @Miro23
  57. @Skeptikal

    Likewise, I will not pay to comment here or anywhere else.

    I also have no interest in paying other commenters or trying to attract payment from them.

    As for people who are intentionally disruptive/distracting trolls or one-note Johnnies, it seems that he can make further efforts to ban them rather than charging the rest of us. I understand that it’s a game of whack-a-mole, as they’ll ostensibly pop up with new screen names and IP addresses, but Unz has such expertise in this area that he can address that more effectively than most sites.

    For now, Unz is a wonderful place — including the content that is suppressed elsewhere (left, right, or anywhere in between), the stellar proprietary commenting system, and the tolerant moderation policy — and the fact that donations are voluntary speaks well of the owner.

    FWIW, I have encouraged a wide range of people to try this site: a guy on a plane who seemed to really want to talk and learn about things with a fairly open mind), a guy I met at our children’s weekend language class, several people at church, friends and relatives. I deliberately try to steer people to this site who are NOT conservative or nationalist or racialist or any of that — both in the hope of broadening their perspective, maybe shifting their opinions over time, and to provide a more diverse set of commenters if they decide to join the fray.

    I’ve forwarded dozens of columns to hundreds of people over the past few years and done my best to promote the site — in part because Unz generously covers the cost of the website, which many people would not do.

    I’d be disappointed if charges were introduced for commenting or anything else. But anyone who’s not kicking in even a buck or three a month can and should start doing so on Patreon. (As for privacy concerns, that’s each person’s decision, but let’s be realistic: if the government wants to know who the commenters are, it already does, even if you’re using a VPN and various different devices / IP addresses. It’s not hard for them.)

    I don’t mind static ads at all. It’s not much to put up with for a free site of this caliber and breadth of topics and viewpoints. Pop-up and playing-video ads would be worse.

    If no mandatory charges are introduced, I will continue to publicize the site and will increase my little Patreon donation as I am able to do so.

    • Replies: @JackOH
  58. @TimeTraveller

    No contributor writing articles should be allowed to block commentators if they are paying for access.

    • Agree: TimeTraveller
  59. sally says:

    Welcome to Zionism gating access to media..

    no interest to remain if not free.. see ya!

    the internet was made to be free, and it should be kept that way.

    • Agree: Desert Fox
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  60. One thing that will happen is this: Money will rule the comments, as it rules everything else in the world. Such is life.

    Think about it: The comment sections here will become like advertising, in the sense that anyone or anything willing to pay will publish what they want here. How will that be any different from TV advertsing, Google, etc? Hell, even George Soros could buy as many comments as he wants here — and pay people to write them.

    I only write this now because it seems obvious to me and because I care about and support this site. I will continue to pay the top-tier Patreon donation every month, and I will continue to donate even much more to Steve Sailer. These things will remain my level of financial support.

    Currently I am not commenting much, because I am busy with other things, about to travel on personal business, and do not have much to say. (It’s been a while since I have posted anything here that I am proud of.) But I am reading. I am impressed that Ron keeps featured books featured for lengths of time. I am still going back and reading parts of Germany’s War, and I am learning many things.

    Thank you.

  61. Ron Unz says:

    Just out of curiosity, I checked the comment statistics for November, which was probably a fairly typical month, and here’s what I found…

    We had approximately 8,000 different commenters in November, but the overwhelming majority left relatively few comments. They were the sort of light or moderate commenters who would easily fall below the proposed limit of up to 40 free comments per month, though a fraction of these would have to pay something if they grew impatient at a 1 per day limit after their first 10 free comments.

    Meanwhile, roughly 1% or about 80 commenters left over 100 comments each, and would certainly be forced to provide payment. Considering how much time most of them probably spend on this website, it’s ridiculous for them to be outraged at financially contributing to the salaries of our writers.

    Although I’m not familiar with all of those heavy commenters, glancing over their names, I’d say they fall into three categories. Perhaps 10-15% are high-quality commenters, whom I’d very much regret losing. Perhaps 10-15% are totally worthless commenters or outright trolls, whom I’d very much like to be rid of. And I think the middle 70-80% are fairly neutral in their impact, providing some positives and some negatives, but certainly adding to the clutter of our comment-threads, which obviously isn’t beneficial.

    My guess is that nearly everyone reading this thread would have had a roughly similar reaction, though they probably differ enormously on which commenters they would put into which category.

    I’m hoping my proposed system will get rid of most of the worst ones, keep almost all of the best ones, and maybe substantially trim down the ones in the middle, thereby uncluttering some of our threads. But there’s no way to be sure until we give it a try.

    Incidentally, the commenters here probably shouldn’t over-emphasize their own importance. Fewer than 1% of our monthly visitors bother to leave comments, and as far as I can tell only a very small fraction of them do more than occasionally skim a few of the comment-threads. My own guess it that there’s a close relationship between those visitors who closely read comment-threads and the ones who leave comments themselves. So a reduction of something like 20-30% in our monthly comments probably wouldn’t have much impact on our overall traffic, and might very well increase the quality of the discussions.

    Many of the commenters here are attracted to this website because it allows them to “shout out” their strong opinions on topics that are prohibited elsewhere. That’s perfectly fine, but I suspect that they derive more personal benefit from such an emotional release than do most of their readers.

  62. Ron,

    I will say this again: DO NOT DO THIS.

    Do not start charging.

    If you absolutely really have to can’t not do it charge?

    Then charge 2.50 per month or LESS to everyone.

    Do not demarcate between whoever you consider trolls!!!!

    It ain’t broke! Don’t fix it!!!!

    Ron? Do you really need the money? Really?

    You look to be on the brink of destroying something truly unique. DONT. DO. IT.

  63. @Ron Unz

    What you say sounds reasonable, of course. (When does it not?) My own thoughts are that your proposal, if implemented, will not change things much, for me — or far more importantly, for UR and its thousands of readers.

    And, if it gets rid of some trolls and forces fools like me to cut down the number of frivolous jokes and images, so much the better. You will still have a grateful customer here.

    Just be aware that there are those who have the means to pay for as much propaganda as they want to post in your comment sections. That won’t matter to me, because it will always easy to scroll past it. I would be more concerned about those who couch their deceptions inside otherwise seemingly well-informed comments. They will continue.

    • Agree: Ron Unz
  64. A123 says:

    Charging directly for comments opens the door to “virtual mugging”. In a charge per comment structure, a victim attacked by multiple Muslim extremists may not be able to defend themselves. Unlike a global charge, this could easily create a dying site where discourse is suppressed by Islamic “post for cash” operators beating down people who tell the truth.

    You could work partially past this problem by giving people the ability to respond to comments addressed to them. However, that would be more costly to build & support. And, it opens the door to the next problem… The “drive-by virtual mugging” where a poster is slandered in adjacent comments. This could eat more cash trying for a technological fix.

    The prior suggestion, allowing people to receive branding as a “site sponsors” in return for a fee is likely to be much less disruptive as it doesn’t lead to a pay-to-win effect.

    PEACE

  65. Ron Unz says:
    @Ragno

    I’m no troll – been coming here for years – but lately my comments, which I take pains to keep free of profanity, personal rancor or general blasphemy, have a tendency to appear on a basis so irregular I can’t help but think that Somebody Over There Doesn’t Like Me.

    Well, the individual bloggers moderate their own comments, so you’ll have to take your complaint up with them…

  66. David K says:

    Hi Ron,

    I’ve been reading your website ever since the saker, whose analyses I appreciate, started writing for your site. It is a wonderful oasis of free thought and free discussion, and I value the (mostly) intelligent commentary and conversation which takes place below the articles almost as much as I value the articles.

    Two quick questions on the practical implementation:

    1. Paid trolls – if they really pose a significant problem – do you think a 1$ fee would discourage them, when at the same time, somebody has the resources to pay them for their malicious activity?

    2. If anyone can open a user account without real authentication, how do you keep trolls/spammers from opening multiple accounts and use the free quota that is provided?

    In general I think there is a fine line to walk between exclusivity/quality on the one hand and accessibility and reach on the other. I actually think that you already do a good job at both. I can hardly think of a site which has a larger readership than yours which also keeps the same high quality standards, and freedom to express unconventional ideas – conversely few other publications that have the same quality are free.

    Thank you for being an oasis in the desert and fresh breeze!

    David

    • Agree: Hail
    • Replies: @Johnny F. Ive
  67. utu says:
    @Ron Unz

    {8,000 different commenters in November} & {Fewer than 1% of our monthly visitors bother to leave comments} –> More than 800,000 different visitors per month?

    {only a very small fraction of them do more than occasionally skim a few of the comment-threads} — How small?

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  68. Wait, you actually pay Fred Reed?

    I can’t think of a bigger troll anywhere. In some ways I’m impressed — an aging boomer has figured out this whole newfangled Internet thing to the point where he’s the go-to liar about Mexico, IQ and pretty much everything else.

    • Agree: Liza
    • LOL: iffen
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  69. Bravo!
    If I may, Ron, say You are most definitely ‘on the right track’.

    Yes. The ‘clutter in the comment section’ is/has become a turn-off.
    For everyone.
    And, charging for comments/article views has a very serious detrimental effect for 1 group I didn’t see mentioned in your previous –Monthly Fees for Heavy Users? • 438 Comments–, which I read about 150 of.
    Which of course is….the youth/younger generation/college & university students that can not afford it and at the same time are, in many cases lacking the ‘communicative skills’ of generations past.
    These younger individuals would greatly benefit from *The Unz Review*.
    And the ‘new commenting system’ You are leaning towards.
    A little-bit of self discipline with one’s words as well as money couldn’t hurt the majority of them, I suppose.
    This group also use the FB-fakebook & Twatter social media which could, for better or worse, give greater exposure of UR to their peers.

    Isn’t it our job as elders to help the younger generations to….Live & Learn?

    And, regarding Your-2nd Idea “paying commenters”, I think I’d like to expand on that idea.

    Please consider doing the following.
    Put your *American Pravda*-series in a hardcover book form.
    Use the *best comments* as well.
    I’m dead serious.
    This would generate income for the webzine and, leave something tangible/physical for the future.
    Believe it or not, I’m reading now that young people are actually asking for books for a Christmas present.

    So.
    Much appreciative for the way You are handling this question.
    Best Regards X-

  70. There is clearly a small group of obnoxious posters that show up in certain discussions and try to stymie the debate as a form of damage control.

    I don’t know what motivates them but I wouldn’t assume they are paid.

    Some people feel that certain discussions shouldn’t be allowed and will do whatever they can to disrupt them.

    If they are in fact paid then a small fee certainly won’t deter them. A government or non-profit that can afford to pay trolls will have no problem paying a fee. In fact the intent could backfire if it becomes too expensive for normal users to shut down trolls.

  71. Herald says:
    @Durruti

    I entirely agree with all of what you say, even that bit about Ron Unz being human.

    Also I have doubts that the gains, if any, from a payment system would be outweighed by its curtailment of freewheeling comment and witty one liners and that the nature of the forum would thus change very much for the worse.

    I wonder too, whether the bureaucracy required to run a payment system would be too unwieldy and cost consuming. As such, I strongly Durruti’s suggestion of adopting the The Saker funding system of asking for voluntary contributions, perhaps to be made on a regular basis, by those that wish to do so.

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
  72. Rebel0007 says:

    @Ron Unz,
    If it is your motive to reduce comments, paying commentors would obviously have the adverse eefect and would increase comments, if the comments were of any monetary value to anyone.

    This site has done a much better job than most as far as keeping people who are referred to as paid posters, ( I would guess.) Many sites have individuals that just seem to have a motive of inciting chaos to the site, followed by bot armies attacking legitimate non-paid posters. A commenter may post something, followed by hundreds of thoughtless bot attacks, just to move the comment out of site of readers.

    If you wonder why people such as myself spend time commenting without being paid, my rebuttal is simply why do people socialize without being paid? It is just human nature. People are not always driven by monetary motives.

  73. @Biff

    I second Erebus.

    Also nominate foolisholdman.

    There are a few more, others can chime in.

    I don’t mind paying, but as others have pointed out, payment information = giving out personal info.

    Is there a way to pay anonymously? Bitcoin type?

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  74. Anonymous[219] • Disclaimer says:

    How about free comments for less than 2,000 letters.

    Beyond that, 1 token for every additional 1000 letters.

    Sell packets for 100 tokens for $10.

    Also, ‘comment of the week’ prize worth 50 tokens.

    Also, a daily poll on topics and issues.

    • Replies: @Johan
  75. JackOH says:
    @RadicalCenter

    “FWIW, I have encouraged a wide range of people to try this site: a guy on a plane who seemed to really want to talk and learn about things with a fairly open mind), a guy I met at our children’s weekend language class, several people at church, friends and relatives. I deliberately try to steer people to this site who are NOT conservative or nationalist or racialist or any of that — both in the hope of broadening their perspective, maybe shifting their opinions over time, and to provide a more diverse set of commenters if they decide to join the fray.”

    Hat’s off, RadicalCenter. Seriously, major props.

  76. The Unz Review is a great success from my point of view. Excellent content, specifically designed to felicitate discussion in real time, no pay wall, no adds and best of all freedom of speech.

    I have the impression that you don’t mind paying for all this but you don’t want to subsidize the trolls. If that is the case I recommend that since you seem to have identified the worst of the trolls just kick them off your board and be done with it.

    If you do mind paying for all this and want help from your readers then pick a payment scheme that seems least likely to kill the golden goose. But disconnect the payment system from the troll problem. Fight trolls with moderation. Raise money with advertising and/or pay walls.

  77. Ron Unz says:
    @utu

    {8,000 different commenters in November} & {Fewer than 1% of our monthly visitors bother to leave comments} –> More than 800,000 different visitors per month?

    Good catch. We generally get close to 1.5M visits per month, but that’s obviously very different than getting 1.5M different visitors. Google claims we get around 500K different monthly users, but I suspect even that’s an overestimate, probably due to people using multiple devices, IPs, whatever. So my guess would be maybe 400K or so.

    {only a very small fraction of them do more than occasionally skim a few of the comment-threads} — How small?

    Well, according to Google, the mean time spent per page is around 3-4m. Considering the length of the individual articles, the blog pages, and the comment-threads, it’s simply impossible that more than a small fraction of the visitors are actually reading the dozens or hundreds of comments.

    Another datapoint is the total combined pageviews generated by all our 100 or so heaviest commenters is probably about 2% of our monthly total.

    Again, most of this is all very imprecise and based upon my guesswork, so take my estimates for whatever you think they’re worth.

    • Replies: @Fran Taubman
    , @Hail
  78. Johan says:
    @Alfred Barnes

    If people want democracy, which on the web means visitor opinions, you get a lot of bad quality, and trolls and shills, it comes with the open and easy participation model. It is ludicrous to make people pay for those who deliver bad quality or those who have obvious undesired intentions.
    Then change the model to aristocracy, which means to put the means of having a voice behind a wall (a measure to make participation take more effort), and start screening visitors (reputation based model).
    This talk about trolls and chills only makes the atmosphere bad because people all over the place for no good reason start to accuse others of being a troll or a shill. All over the place, as in not only here, it happens everywhere, and it is sickening.

  79. @Ron Unz

    Ron Just curious if you considered Truth3 a paid troll?

    • LOL: A123
    • Replies: @Truth3
  80. Johan says:
    @Anonymous

    “How about free comments for less than 2,000 letters. ”

    So, if people deliver an elaborate analysis or refined and nuanced opinions, they will have to start to pay, and those who just deliver farts, the usual oneliners, or two or three farts, ehh, lines.. at a time will go free. I don’t know..

    Including the quote, these are already 297 chars. Should start practicing oneliners.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  81. @sally

    Understand your sentiment, Sally, but that overstates the case quite a bit. Most website operators simply cannot afford to keep it going for free long-term.

    The owner of this site, however, is one of the few who certainly CAN afford it, but it’s his decision whether to keep subsidizing it. I think I would do so if I had that kind of money, but that’s easy for me to say when it’s actually someone else’s money in play.

    I hope that increased voluntary donations (especially by heavy users and commenters like me) can obviate the need to impose a mandatory charge for any level of access to the site — combined, if necessary, with ads for people who do not donate at all.

    Perhaps free access for non-donors, but with ads, with the ad-free version of the site costing, say, $5 per month.

    • Replies: @sally
  82. @Ron Unz

    I’m hoping my proposed system will get rid of most of the worst ones, keep almost all of the best ones, and maybe substantially trim down the ones in the middle, thereby uncluttering some of our threads. But there’s no way to be sure until we give it a try.

    Please be careful about “trimming down the middle”. Mine are still the comments of an uneducated man. But they have improved after years of infesting com boxes. Some of your “clutter” will be people climbing a learning curve. They have the most to gain from interacting with your top commenters. If they are doing no harm I urge you to tolerate them.

    • Agree: David
  83. @Ron Unz

    The excellent commenting system and layout mean that I don’t perceive hundreds of comments on one column as “clutter”.

    It’s easy to click “ignore” on a certain fairly small number of commenters, then skim or scroll by some additional comments by others.

    I derive great satisfaction, and learn a lot, even from some of the commenters whom I usually strenuously disagree with or even find personally disagreeable at times.

    FWIW, I’d guesstimate that I affirmatively value — for educational and/or entertainment purposes — or at least don’t at all mind, the comments from far more than 15-20% of the commenters. Closer to half of the commenters.

    • Replies: @Fran Taubman
  84. Leopold says:

    Keep it simple.

    Limit people to 3 comments per day. No rollover of unused capacity.

    Charging for comments is a terrible idea.

  85. anon[222] • Disclaimer says:
    @Ron Unz

    Perhaps 10-15% are totally worthless commenters or outright trolls, whom I’d very much like to be rid of.

    It’s your sandbox, Ron.
    Boot ’em out (block their IPs) if you’d like to be rid of them.
    EZ PZ

    OTOH –Haven’t looked in on DailyKos in several years. It had an extensive community moderating system: a DKos member could achieve trustee status, from which he could rate down offensive comments. If enough such trustees downrated another member, that member’s account was first put on probation — i.e. ability to read comments blocked to all but trustees — then, if the abusive pattern was repeated or persisted, that commenter’s privileges were terminated. Or something like that — it became terribly juvenile and also rather easily gamed.


    By the way — if a pay system is installed, will that have an impact on Ron Unz’s ownership of comment content?

  86. @David K

    Your “two quick questions” are on the mark! It is hard to imagine there are people pathetic enough to do #2 but it is conceivable that someone out there is malicious enough and/or obsessed enough to do so. If this is the case then new users need to be treated differently from established users since it could be the same mentally ill person with multiple accounts cluttering up threads. Perhaps more heavy moderation for new accounts, fewer free monthly comments allowed, and/or their comments are collapsed to eliminate clutter until they are established. Maybe restrict what they can comment on until they are more established to make trolling more costly on topics that attract them. A disruptive troll can easily derail and clutter a comment thread with a few posts because some people are compelled to tell them they are wrong. There is nothing to gain from engaging an anonymous troll. They win.

    For #1, regarding paid trolls maybe let the bloggers decide how much to charge them individually for each comment depending how disruptive and how deep their pockets are. Perhaps allow individual bloggers to demand “real authentication” for all accounts or certain accounts like two factor authentication. I think changing the system is going to have to be played by ear until a satisfactory result is found.

  87. notsaying says:

    I will repeat something here that I said yesterday about charging for this site: Steve Sailer is kept afloat by people voluntarily paying him.

    I cannot afford to pay anything. Yet I see that many people are willing to pay. Then why not let them and see what happens?

    I think that voluntarily payments should be tried before any kind of mandatory payment for anything is tried.

    I would be very sorry to be denied access to Steve Sailer and a few of the other writers and/or denied the ability to make comments.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  88. Art says:

    The big loser in these changes is passion – passion for freedom, passion for liberty, passion for America. There is nothing more important to America (and the world for that matter) then the Jews control over our nation and culture.

    I followed ISteve to Unz.com. I found that ISteve allowed criticism of blacks and Muslims – but not so much about Jews. My none threatening comments about Jews where blocked. I started posting on the Unz side. On the threads about Jews, the contrast between the two sides was eye opening. It was like two different Americas. One was troubled by Jews – the other not so much.

    The commenters and comments on ISteve were mostly pseudo-intellectual and cynical, expressed with a superiority, and with their noses in the air. On the Unz side, many comments were written with simple passion for country and culture. These people tented to make multiple posts. Most of these multiple comments originated from ordinary middleclass Americans.

    In this fee for comment scheme, these ordinary Americans and their passion for their country will be restricted. Those of us with passion for country, and with ordinary means, will be swamped by the Jews. They will think nothing of a dollar fee. If it takes $100 to swamp Phil Giraldi’s articles with negativity they will happily do it.

    Perhaps you could declare certain article’s open to all comments.

    • Agree: Desert Fox, Iris
    • Replies: @anon
  89. Ron Unz says:
    @Astuteobservor II

    I don’t mind paying, but as others have pointed out, payment information = giving out personal info.

    Is there a way to pay anonymously? Bitcoin type?

    Well, I’d admit I’m pretty ignorant of these things, but I’ll just repeat a comment I left on the previous thread:

    Isn’t it pretty easy to buy a “disposable credit card,” maybe even using cash at some grocery store? And can’t such a CC be used to make payments online with almost perfect anonymity, or at least as much anonymity as you can get with lots of other things, including your current commenting on this website?

    My impression is that such “burner CCs” can’t be used for large amounts, like many thousands of dollars. But unless your intended commenting reaches epic proportions, that’s not what we’re talking about.

    Surely lots of the paranoids who hang around on these threads know the answer to this question.

    • Agree: Iris
  90. Ron Unz says:
    @notsaying

    I will repeat something here that I said yesterday about charging for this site: Steve Sailer is kept afloat by people voluntarily paying him.

    And I’ll repeat the answer I gave yesterday, namely that Steve Sailer is actually kept afloat by the rather substantial salary I pay him every month…though I suppose you could say I do so “voluntarily”…

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  91. @RadicalCenter

    Ron is very judgmental about the commentators but I do not know what criteria he is using to judge, writing ability, ideology. We the sane can obviously identify the absolute silckos. It is the middle group I am not sure how he is making his decisions. Some of the writers on this site are below average by some criteria. It is confusing.
    I wish he would name names so we could see where he stands and have greater understanding before we make pay for play decisions. He should grade us all with a list.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  92. sally says:
    @RadicalCenter

    I might agree to make it a for profit membership club (not a non profit too much government control). First year 2000 comments free to everyone, everyone else stockholder elect officers, set and establish rules and vote on subject matters to be published on the site, grade or rate the articles, but independent journalist write the articles on the same subject matter, without editorial input from the club, so that journalism remains independent, but the subject matter to be reported or to be written about is a club decision..one current event per day allowed but still multiple articles by different journalist format. vote on a schedule with subjects to be presented on.. allows the journalist to compete each publishing, if they wish, on the subject matter, in a given time frame, maybe all presented one time.

    That would keep the comments more focused to the topic.. and as Ron has done well research articles can be place in a side frame and indexed..

    I have great difficulty with the slant it sometimes take to write an article but cannot allow that slant if no journalist competition to the slant exist. As a stock venture or club the whole thing would or could become self funding.. could even syndicate the articles for money. Need a constitution of sorts so that no one dominates the comments or the subjects or timing of the articles but club, all members are assigned a number, for commenting, so number can hide the identity of the comments by members. and no one need identify their actual identity to be a member, club member numbers will do, Guest can be assigned a guest number, the articles, the subjects selected may keep massive money persons from biasing the commenting. Persons who want to be club members that have insufficient funds to afford the membership can be issued commenting privileges if approved in quarterly votes by the entity as has been suggested here.

    I do not know the budget of this website, but let us say its $250,000 a year, 2500 members would support it and donations could be taken.
    What I do know, is that the same people supporting the site now could probably support another 99 sites, under Unz.com as in subsite1.unz.com subsite2.unz.com at the same for little more effort, so maybe the club would consider leasing a targeted subject matter subdomain, subject to acceptance by a vote of the club membership. If those subdomains were leased out for say $1500 a year each, there would be $150,000 for the club to work with (hire a full time editor and pay website maintenance) and maybe some money to pay for articles. Subdomain owners would need to agree as a condition of the subdomain to meet certain quality and performance standards. There are many would be authors out there, and people willing to support them, so members here could branch out sub topic sites that fall within entity rules, and the commentators would have more topics to engage and comment on.. Subsite to be in accord to the rule of the entity.. For a sub website open publishing and comment platforms. these subsites would probably come and go .. but always the unz.com club site should survive and may flourish.

    I would also suggest that a style, or a set of styles, for the articles be established.. and that each paragraph be identified by author, date, name of article, and title of paragraph.. so that these things can be assembled into a collection of comments and article paragraphs and used to write summaries and even new approaches to a previously discussed article. I could see books and lots of other things coming out of the site.. and If Ron wanted to underwrite the start up of the club for a while longer I think it would catch on quickly.. I suggest to leave whatever entity is decided on to be for profit, and to file tax returns and pay taxes, because so many restrictions exist if it be a 501 non profit type entity and the for stock or membership certificate may, with proper legal advise, keep legal liability from attaching to a member or stockholder.

    The site has produced and unbelievable amount of highly valid research, but much of it, is not accessible.
    membership pricing $100 a year or $120 if paid monthly.. we need identified experts, but no expert should be allowed to be an authority.

  93. Ron Unz says:
    @ivegotrythm

    If so many people read the UNZ then commercials could pay for it. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Charge the advertisers super high fees to reach a very select audience.

    That’s an intriguing idea. There’s no easy way to discover the characteristics of our general readers, so we’d need to extrapolate from the commenters.

    Offhand, it seems like we could guarantee “a very select audience” consisting primarily of “racists,” “anti-Semites,” and “conspiracy theorists,” many of whom claim they’re too broke to ever pay anything.

    This seems an absolutely ideal audience for BMW, Tiffany, and other high-end luxury goods, who would pay “super high fees” for their ads to appear on our website…

  94. Just ban the people you think are trolls.

    This is a great site….I don’t think I’d mess with success.

    • Agree: Desert Fox, nickels
  95. Anon[300] • Disclaimer says:

    I would stop commenting if you charged a fee.

    But if you paid me for my comments, I still would not accept it. Why? I’m not interested in having anyone get hold of any private details that could identify me through a payment system. I don’t trust the left at all. They want to dox everybody they don’t agree with. Trust me on this, any links you make to personal data about commentators WILL BE HACKED. Don’t kid yourself about this. The left would love to do it.

    Just ban the trolls, for God’s sake. You know who they are.

    • Replies: @Hail
  96. Anon[300] • Disclaimer says:

    You’re not going to get rid of trolls if they’re being subsidized by a government or a special interest group with deep pockets. You’ll get a concentration of them if you cut out the normal people on this site if you charge a fee.

  97. Ruckus says:

    Why not have a thumb up/ thumbs down rating system (similar to yahoo articles) and if a comment exceeds a low threshold it gets “hidden” with the option of “unhiding” it (similar to reddit)? Conversely, “top rated” comments can get pushed to the top.

    • Disagree: RadicalCenter
  98. Hail says: • Website
    @Skeptikal

    The system you put in place to cause the trolls, indirectly, to disappear or fade will also affect everyone, of course. You may be surprised at who ends up fading out.

    See also, baby-and-bathwater problem.

    (To highlight the point, not made forcefully enough in other comments I read above).

  99. @Ron Unz

    ‘…This seems an absolutely ideal audience for BMW, Tiffany, and other high-end luxury goods, who would pay “super high fees” for their ads to appear on our website…’

    Hey. Thanks to my wife and my daughter, I’m a pretty good market for Tiffany.

    My wife’s delusions of grandeur notwithstanding, I wouldn’t say the same for BMW — but they can try.

    Porsche? I’d probably happily click on Porsche ads. And boats…and fishing resorts in exotic places.

    Also seed catalogs…

    • Replies: @Fran Taubman
  100. @Fran Taubman

    ‘… We the sane…’

    ! Umm…

  101. @Ron Unz

    ‘And I’ll repeat the answer I gave yesterday, namely that Steve Sailer is actually kept afloat by the rather substantial salary I pay him every month…though I suppose you could say I do so “voluntarily”…’

    Hah! So that’s why he never says anything about…

    Just kidding, just kidding…

    You can’t win — but keep trying. It’s fun to watch.

  102. @Colin Wright

    He is not talking about you duh?

  103. Being, the nervy type, I frequently share Unz articles on Facebook. So, shouldn’t that count for something? Like 10 free comments for every Facebook share?

    • Agree: Lot
  104. Lot says:
    @Ron Unz

    “ Isn’t it pretty easy to buy a “disposable credit card,” maybe even using cash at some grocery store?”

    This is practical for an annual fee type payment. But not for micro or monthly payments.

    The issue is there’s an initial fee to buy and activate of a few dollars, then monthly or inactivity fees designed to eat up balances. So these prepaid cards are best considered for 1 use (or used entirely and refilled)

    I also think the merchant processing fee is a little higher than with normal cards. So if someone wants to pay $100 for a year, the $3 purchase fee and .50 + 2.5% processing fee isn’t too bad. But for monthly payments the fee percentage gets higher.

    Really the best way to make anon payments is cash in the mail. I don’t think USPO workers are really risking their pensions and jail time just to maybe get lucky finding $100 in a letter.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  105. Hail says: • Website
    @Ron Unz

    If 300k to 500k monthly unique individuals have some kind of meaningful interaction with the Unz Review in a month, it might help to revisit the proposed conceptual categories you introduced in October, in quantitative terms:

    (a.) 1-3% are effectively daily regulars, depending on how one wants to define that (based on information post on Oct 25, here);
    (b.) 10-15% (perhaps) are semi-regulars (once every few days);
    (c.) 20-33% are sporadic users but ARE otherwise aware of the site;
    (d.) 50-70% people cruising in from search queries or random links, and are otherwise NOT (particularly) aware of the site. This would include those who spend just a few minutes once on a single article or blog entry, clearly a sidebar in something else they’re doing in the day; they find their desired info, take it, and leave).

    These are (proposed, for discussion) aggregates for a specific time window. Specific individuals will move up or down to/from (a.), (b.), and (c.), week by week or month by month, as their time and work/personal/etc. situation allows. Occasionally a (d.) will move into a higher category.

    (a.) and (b.) together are at 60,000 individuals (+/- 30k) as above. And it is entirely around this group that this whole “Charging for Comments” matter revolves. Note that only 0.1% of the (a.)+(b.) are current Patreon sponsors. Ron is probably right that this is far too low, but is there a solution that doesn’t constitute a “one step forward, two steps backward”?

    Occasionally a (d.) will move into a higher category.

    I would think the site aims specifically to bring (d.) individuals, people who cruise in at random, who “stumble upon” the site, into one of the higher categories — regulars to some degree. Will major changes to comments help or hurt actual and potential (d.)–>(a,b,c,) movement? I don’t have a specific answer but wanted to point it out as a question to specifically think about.

    As for people currently within (a.) or (b.) who are expressing approval at a pay-to-comment system, remember that we all started at (d.), and for some reason decided to move up the ladder (time allowing). I came with Steve Sailer. I was peripherally aware of the (early) Unz Review before his move (June 2014?) but would have put myself at more (d.) than even a (c.) at that time. Would I have entered the (a.)-(b.)-(c.) continuum if there were any kind of paywall system? Much less likely. I would dare say, No.

    The second-order effects are also important. As strong as the Unz Review commentariat is (in most sections), does it have the staying power to lose half, two thirds, or three quarters of its daily regulars and semi regulars [i.e., (a.) and (b.) above]?

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  106. Ron Unz says: • Website
    @Hail

    Those seem like reasonable estimates, though I suspect 60K is on the high side for semi-regular readers.

    Would I have entered the (a.)-(b.)-(c.) continuum if there were any kind of paywall system? Much less likely. I would dare say, No.

    That’s exactly why I’d probably be keeping the first ten comments free each month. The average casual visitor probably reads an article or two, and maybe leaves couple of comments at most. Maybe he comes back a few days later and does the same thing. So he never even realizes there’s any cost.

    My guess is he’s already left 10-15 comments and spent quite a lot of time here before he even discovers there’s any sort of paywall. So in effect, he’s already reached (c) or even perhaps (b) by then.

    • Replies: @Fran Taubman
    , @Miro23
  107. Hail says: • Website
    @Anon

    having anyone get hold of any private details that could identify me through a payment system. I don’t trust the left at all. They want to dox everybody

    I think this is likely a more common feeling among the commentariat than Mr. Unz may believe; depending on what the problem is that needs to be solved, other solutions may be called for.

    In other words, it is likely a lot less “cheapness,” as such, than what the anon there says.

  108. @Ron Unz

    Letting 10 comments for free will not stop trolls, they can do a lot of damage with 10 comments.Is that with the 3 per hour rule?
    You need to find a way to eliminate the unwanted on your own. I guess you feel like people will be challenging for free speech. Well,,,,, You can just stick to no personal attacks. If one or two personal attacks with warnings is not headed gone!!

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  109. One difficulty with free metered access (for, say, the first 10 comments) is that the trolls, being paid, have acquired dozens of accounts from which to choose. They’ll just switch accounts. Serious, well-meaning visitors are not inclined to go to all that trouble.

  110. TRM says:

    Have you looked at having commentors use the Brave browser with its BAT (blockchain token payment system) or something along those lines?

  111. Russ says:
    @Otto von Komsmark

    Takimag had the greatest commentariat going. When they ended it, I stopped reading the site, and in the aggregate their visits fell noticeably (whether they cared or not). I’m not about to pay so much as a single cent to comment here. My $0.02.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    , @ia
  112. @Ron Unz

    The advertisers will pay for a market study. Invisible hand, right?

  113. To me the commentary is often more interesting than the original article and the Unz Review commentaries are probably the best on the Internet, or at the least the best that I know of.

    Obviously I don’t agree with everything that everyone says, but find no difficulty in skipping over comments that have no value for me.

    As a frequent commentator, I regard my comments as a donation of free copy and attempt to give the readers of my comments value for money and to add value to the site. As stated above, the vast majority of people who visit the site do not comment.

    I prefer to comment under my own name, so that I am forced to hold myself accountable for not posting anything that I would later regret, but I can understand that many people who comment here are in public positions such that connection between their posts and their real names would be detrimental to their ability to post and speak honestly.

    Commentators are divided into two schools (as in schools of fish), those whose comments appear immediately, and those who are delayed, presumably so that they can be evaluated or in some cases blocked. One way to reduce the number of comments would be simply to only release comments once or twice daily, thus preventing any rapid-fire exchange of ideas between commentators. This would make it tiresome to reply to other comments, and considerably reduce the total number of comments.

    • Agree: Sean
  114. Anonymous[212] • Disclaimer says:
    @Johan

    How about this?

    If the long comment is good, readers can donate their tokens to the writer.

    Most tokens will go to writers favored by readers.

  115. @Lot

    ‘…Really the best way to make anon payments is cash in the mail. I don’t think USPO workers are really risking their pensions and jail time just to maybe get lucky finding $100 in a letter.’

    My wife mails around cash all the time. Nothing’s ever happened.

    As I’ve said, I think this paranoia’s just a form of egotism.

    No one cares about our views; we’re just not important enough.

    But if you’re really worried, just put a twenty in an envelope. You don’t even need to include a return address. After all, what’s going to happen? Instead of spending it, Ron might, umm…spend it.

    Hey, I might do that myself. No harm in taking precautions. If anyone ever does take a look at that fierce bad Colin, I don’t need to actually help them fill out the profile.

    • LOL: Fran Taubman
    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
    , @MarkinLA
  116. Hail says: • Website

    Revenue-raising ideas (two ‘carrot’ alternatives to the ‘stick’ paywall model):

    1.) Publish and sell paper/pdf anthologies of Unz Review material — articles, and even possibly blog posts, preferably including selected (best, valuable, informative, provocative, representative) comments.

    Creating such anthologies would admittedly be a very big editorial task that would require the hiring of one or more people to assemble and see such anthologies through to publication and so on (if done right). There must, though, be a market for anthologies — even though the material is all free and available online, polished, professionally-put-together paper anthologies with forewords and introductions and so on would look great and be appealing as a product. Especially if the best comments are also published; reading through lengthy comment sections can be intimidating for someone brand new, but the guiding hand of a skilled and conscientious editor, in selecting the best, would be really helpful and add value.

    I see great value in an “American Pravda” anthology specifically, something I have not otherwise seen discussed but seems an obvious idea.

    While this editor is at work, get him to finally work with Steve Sailer to publish Sailer anthologies, and possibly split the profits between the Unz Review and Steve himself. This needs to happen and Steve himself has discussed it, but appears to need some prodding on the matter, and a skilled editor would help.

    • Agree: nickels
    • Replies: @Hail
  117. @Ron Unz

    “Many of the commenters here are attracted to this website because it allows them to “shout out” their strong opinions on topics that are prohibited elsewhere. That’s perfectly fine, but I suspect that they derive more personal benefit from such an emotional release than do most of their readers.”

    Oh God. I’ve been outed. Sounds like I’m going to have to bite the bullet and pony up the dough for a actual therapist. Damn!

  118. Hail says: • Website
    @Hail

    2.) Grant some editorial input to Patreon and other donors.*

    Donors could have a closed-door ‘say’ in what sorts of topics and/or specific authors and/or specific pieces get chosen as featured articles.

    In a thirty-day month, the Unz Review publishes sixty featured articles, of which say 20 are regular articles or blog posts promoted for their relevance to current events, 20 are regular, general-interest articles that are exceptionally good and are promoted, and 20 are essentially guest articles not from regular columnists/bloggers (I am making these numbers up but they are plausible). What if donors got to directly choose (via poll) five of each category each month? That would mean 15 of the 60 featured articles per month. It need not be announced which are donor-chosen featured articles and which not.

    This could also be a way to gauge reaction to moves in new directions before they potentially ‘go live,’ and be a possibly good way to find/highlight new authors and topics. Ron already welcomes general reader input, so why not tie it to donations?

    These two ideas (selling paper anthologies and carrot-model giving of partial editorial input to donors) would likely have positive spillover effects without the negative effects many fear a paywall model would have.

    * – Also encourage snail mail donors, including those who want to go the route of the anonymous money order, recalling that Unz Review material is the 2010s/2020s-era samizdat equivalent in the US/West; the snail mail donor sending an anonymous money order would have to include a handle and/or email).

  119. @Fran Taubman

    ‘… You need to find a way to eliminate the unwanted on your own. I guess you feel like people will be challenging for free speech. Well,,,,, You can just stick to no personal attacks. If one or two personal attacks with warnings is not headed gone!!’

    In my experience, such rules just lead to endless tedious innuendoes and such.

    In any case, the ‘ignore commentator’ button is there. It works fine.

  120. Vendetta says:

    I’m not really liking this idea at all, but if you’re going to do it I think there’s one essential change you should make: allow authors to designate as many commenters as they choose as favorites for their own columns. Favorited commenters would continue to get unlimited commenting privileges. Otherwise you’re going to end up draining the baby with the bath water and losing some of those high-quality commenters you’re so proud to have.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  121. Vaterland says:
    @Ron Unz

    Regarding the general idea of charging for comments with payment information linked and ‘paranoia’:

    Firstly, I can fully understand your intent to weed out payed trolls and improve overall comment quality, encouraging ‘thinking before posting’. But if the ADL/professional “hate” industry and the J-lobby have one thing, it’s money. If you can buy presidents for millions, you can buy thousands of comments on targeted sites for a dollar each.

    Secondly, the corner stone of your site, I think, is the American Pravda series. The true “Westfernsehen” for European readers. And other controversial topics which are supplied with articulate and well researched articles on here. Topics and articles which, sometimes, could and can fall under European hate speech, revisionism and holocaust denial laws. It’s important, yet very hot terrain for many European readers.

    Additionally, you and I know perfectly well that enough of your and my fellow co-ethnics would love to see nothing more than to lock up people on the right for their views, many of whom frequent this site. You may remember a particular Jewish commentator who insisted that the jail sentence for Alain Soral wasn’t nearly high enough and your reply to the ((((pathological liar))) (your words ;)). Also groups like Hope not Hate and other Antifa et al. groups with Jewish funding go out of their way to dox people; payment information being among the prime targets for hacking as well.

    Although real anonymity on the internet is a complete illusion, especially in the age of Echelon, the Patriot Act and the NSA, a certain anonymity protects European and dissident right American readers and commentators from the rabble of the goon squads.

    Thus, suggestion: If your goal is to have an increased amount of lengthier, yet thoughtful and substantial comments and weed out actual trolls, the easiest way is to bring some reader competition options to this site as additions to major articles. For example: regarding the Understanding World War 2 or Post War Germany articles, you could ask for articles from your readers on a military or civilian victim perspectives from the German/Axis side and personally select an article or two to be published, linked to the original article itself

    Now, this wouldn’t cut down the comment sections significantly, but you would get the substantial contribution from your readers that you desire and additionally the select quality contributions are not buried in the echo chamber of a comment section which only a tiny fraction reads in the first place.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
    , @Miro23
  122. Lol says:

    Since you rant about that good comments increase the value of the site, will we get paid for good comments too then? Lmao.

  123. @Ron Unz

    Offhand, it seems like we could guarantee “a very select audience” consisting primarily of “racists,” “anti-Semites,” and “conspiracy theorists,” many of whom claim they’re too broke to ever pay anything.

    This seems an absolutely ideal audience for BMW, Tiffany, and other high-end luxury goods, who would pay “super high fees” for their ads to appear on our website…

    Of course you are correct to suppose many readers of this site are poor. Poor people gather like flies around free goodies. But I would bet there are many rich people who read it too. They would come for the rightwing writers, who outnumber the leftwing ones. Many of these readers probably never write comments. Rich people rarely engage in non-profitable activities. It’s a habit they cannot shake even after they do not need any more money than they have. As for “racists” and “anti-semites” not being interested at — or not being able to afford — luxury items, you must be living in another planet to really believe such a notion. In fact, not even that: this notion is silly in other planets as well. Take my word for it.

  124. Miggle says:

    Yet annuvvery. Sad. UR got to the top, was the best op-ed site, marvelous, virtually perfect, and is now starting down hill. Perfect, then Ron started to talk of fiddling with it, two in a week, not long after another contemplating restrictions.

    There are other sites arguably more important, because more news focused, such as SOTT and ICH, that have few comments, partly because as yet undiscovered, or in one or two cases, say ICH, a little buggy. There’s that other great news site, RT, where comments are heavily moderated and must be short, but they are many because of the importance of genuine news, rather than Western fake news.

    Here Ron is impatient with short comments. I guess it’s annoying to moderate many little ones.

    It might well be that the annoying short comments help readers. There is an impressive, wise, knowledgeable comment, needing careful reading, and then, for relief, there are a few little squabbling comments we can lightly skim over, then settle down to read the next important one. It may be that the current mixture of long learned and short dumb comments is one it the sites strengths.

    It’s too early to say goodbye to UR, but it had reached the point where it no longer needed to be fiddled with, and now the fiddling starts.

  125. Alianz says:

    Let readers vote on
    advertising VS paid

    from a business perspective, you will choose paid, since the revenue is yours, not googles.

    considering that your readership will decline, along with exposure.

  126. Kali says:

    It ocures to me that those comments which attract a lot of attention/replies might be stiffled if the original commenter, for financial or privacy reasons, cannot respond to those replies.

    I’m personally more than happy with a 10 comment per month limit. But in the unlikely event that any of my comments initiate a legtby thread, for financial and other reasons, I’d be unable to reply to subsequent responces.

    Just something you may want to bare in mind whilst making the proposed changes.

    Thanks,
    Kali.

  127. @Vaterland

    There was that crazy Anja who was threatening to report commenters to the German police and security services and demand action. Not that they don’t all already watch . It’s just a matter of whether and when they want to pick someone up to make an example of and scare others. And Americans are safe as long as they don’t travel to Europe. With US legal heavy handedness, such as for example demanding extradition of Assange, some European police services may indeed want to prosecute anonymous Americans if they step on their soil. The law is the law, nobody is exempt, the truth is no defence – you know the drill.

    • Replies: @Vaterland
    , @RadicalCenter
  128. Truth3 says:

    Start your own Cryptocurrency Ron…

    Call them “Unzies”. Peg them 1:1 with the USD. Sell them to any that want one, or more.

    Issue one free with every good post that you approve… hey, you moderate them already… no extra cost.

    Spend them with commenters that get and trade them into the economy.

    I’d take them in exchange for my services. So would others.

    Allow commenters to vaporize Troll posts for 10 Unzies.

    This could get crazy… imagine 20 million “Woke” Americans all demanding one from you.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  129. Pericles says:
    @Ron Unz

    If you want to see where you rate, dear commenters, do something like this: https://www.unz.com/comments/all/?commenterfilter=Pericles
    except with your own name, and then check the dropdown menu towards the top of the page.

    I thus see that I’m around 100 comments per month (possibly top 1% volume); raw stats apart, I would guess, qualitywise, that I rate in the middle 70% (or at least so I hope), and probably post mostly to provide my own emotional release, along with the occasional bug report.

    (One bug report of sorts is that the name ‘Pericles’ apparently was used by someone else in the past.)

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  130. Truth3 says:
    @Fran Taubman

    Frannie Linda Anon is a sock puppet that he has labeled a troll by Ron numerous times.

    Asshole123 has been named one too. So has Aaron the Bastard, FB, and Lot.

    Me? Never.

    Answer your question Bitch?

  131. I must concur with your comments, but I do appreciate the ability to express opinions that other sites consider “controversial”

    Disqus, which is used by many other sites, including some of the well known “conservative” sites , is a program that has not only excluded me from all the sites they manage, but they brag about how basically decide what thoughts to air.

    I have never written anything hateful, racist, or homophobic, but Disqus seems to have a dislike for facts, which is an area that I actually pursue.

    As a person not born here, and an admirer of the greatest human declaration ever written, I shudder to think what will happen to this incredible country if people don’t wake up.

    By the way, if you are a reader, I just finished “Permanent Record” by Snowden a masterpiece not to be missed if you want to see the depth of criminality in whats happening.

    • Replies: @Pericles
  132. Muse says:

    Ron,
    A side note from the prior discussion thread you just closed.

    You had asked me for an example of someone being targeted for expressing their beliefs.

    Eric Ferguson and some other less prominent individuals had their property damaged in Indiana recently. I consider smashed windows and blood & nails thrown on a driveway to be a threat and retaliation for speaking your beliefs.

    https://www.idsnews.com/article/2019/12/schooner-creek-farm-eric-rasmusen-others-hit-by-overnight-vandalism

    This is exactly why I believe anonymity is necessary. You can become a target in an instant.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  133. Pericles says:
    @Common sense Giuseppe

    Disqus brags about all the various ways it can exclude deplorables from the conversation and, presumably, will discreetly store all comments for its own use and abuse too. Disqus also had a big, fat, embarrassing external security breach that they apparently didn’t mind much. I guess it just affected little people. Not a great solution IMO.

    (Even worse for them, Unz has superior comment threading.)

  134. druid55 says:

    well, it’s been nice!

  135. Vaterland says:
    @Commentator Mike

    There was that crazy Anja who was threatening to report commenters to the German police and security services and demand action.

    To be clear, it’s not illegal to read The Unz Review in any way. And unless you comment holocaust denial/revision or “antisemitic conspiracy theories” yourself, there is hardly grounds for action for German authorities. I am not even sure, if i.e. the Verfassungsschutz would invest personnel to analyze comments on here. Some European countries, for instance the Netherlands, have a better situation regarding free speech than my own nation.

    Additionally the comments become property of the Unz review, which is hosted on US servers afaik. I suppose it would be a question for lawyers, if that means that your comments are subject to US law and they therefore fall under US First Amendment free-speech even made by a European citizen (unlikely); or that your comment in question is rated as producing and sharing material that falls under European hate speech laws (very bad, but also rather unlikely).

    Either way, I’d strongly advice any European commentator to never say anything regarding revisionism on any place on the internet. The same is increasingly true for Jewish control of the media, Holly Wood, or US foreign policy. It’s a legal grey zone, for now, but more and more measures are undertaken by the likes of Alan Dershowitz, Trump himself, Ronald Lauder and others to “fight the hate”. And while nothing of Gilad Atzmon’s writing is legally hate speech, not even in the UK, we know how he is actually being persecuted nonetheless for daring to criticize the identity politics of ‘Jewishness’ and the Israel lobby. The same is true for Philip Giraldi.

    The main threat for Europeans on the right, or even moderate left – if they are declared “Nazis” (Glenn Greenwald, Tulsi Gabbard and Carl Bernstein might come to mind), comes from antifa et al acquiring personal information and ID lists which they have used in the past to get people fired or to even physically attack them in a few cases. Stasi like tactics are often used, including Zersetzung – the case of the Institut für politische Schönheit and Björn Höcke(AfD) – threats of violence and arson against restaurants and other public places where the targeted person frequents or wants to organize and assemble and thus to unperson them. And there is also a blurry over crossing into German left-wing journalism, especially of the state media, and even into state institutions. Violence against political members of the AfD was and is particularly common. Thus, precaution is justified and not paranoia.

    Especially Germany is in a state of spiritual civil war which sometimes felt like going hot and we have had political murders and murder attempts on both sides. Publications like the Unz Review are so important to break the information filter of the new soft totalitarianism of this reincarnation of the GDR in its neo-liberal rebranding by the trans-Atlantic establishment with digital samizdat.

    However Facebook, and Twitter are more convenient targets where personal data is usually more readily available. The Amadeu Antonio Stiftung, an ADL similar NGO in Germany, has regularly scanned it for Germans with “illegal opinions”. It’s headed by Anetta Kahane (Cohen). A former actual Stasi informant. A communist. And Jewish. Who is very known for her regular comments about the problematic nature of East Germany’s whiteness.

    Her ‘hate speech expert’ is Julia Schramm, former pirate party and now Die Linke party member: the rebranded PDS/SED communist party of the GDR. She is a virulent Morgenthau and Bomber Harris fan girl who has given colorful expression to her joyful opinions about butchered “Kartoffeln” (“potatoes”, slur for ethnic Germans). Which of course is not rated as hate speech. Just as a court in Hamburg had already determined that you cannot be racist against ethnic Germans… We also know quite clearly where Angela Merkel stands, or Heiko Maas with his NetzDG and many, many other German politicians.

    It’s all very dystopian and a nice collection of “tropes” and “canards”.

    • Agree: Hail
  136. Ron Unz says:
    @Pericles

    I thus see that I’m around 100 comments per month (possibly top 1% volume); raw stats apart, I would guess, qualitywise, that I rate in the middle 70% (or at least so I hope), and probably post mostly to provide my own emotional release, along with the occasional bug report.

    That’s an admirable degree of self-awareness, which I find sadly lacking in most of the other commenters…

    Take, for example, “RadicalCenter,” whose attitude I find extremely irritating. He claims to spend a gigantic amount of time on this website every month and he leaves twice as many comments as you do, with the overwhelming majority of his remarks being non-substantive, basically amounting to right-wing rants against immigrants and various other personal complaints.

    Okay, that’s fine, and unlike most other websites, we don’t censor that sort of thing. But although he claims he earns a very good income, he’s totally outraged at the notion of paying anything to support the salaries of the writers we have.

    I think his comments do provide some interesting insight into the views of right-wing anti-immigrant activists. But we also have many, many other commenters who fall into exactly that same category, so if he disappears, I’m not sure we’d lose all that much except a lot of “commenting clutter.”

    Frankly, his rather obnoxious attitude is exactly the sort of thing that reaffirms my belief in the value of charging for comments. So I think his commenting will be diminished by at least 80-90% in the near future, and he’ll shift his ranting to Facebook or various other free venues.

    And I separated out that handful of very old comments by the other “Pericles” fellow, which will be reflected the next time your archive is refreshed.

  137. Skeptikal says:
    @Ron Unz

    “Isn’t it pretty easy to buy a “disposable credit card,” maybe even using cash at some grocery store? And can’t such a CC be used to make payments online with almost perfect anonymity, or at least as much anonymity as you can get with lots of other things, including your current commenting on this website?”

    Do you seriously think any normal person with a life is going to go to such lengths just to comment at UR?

    Hut ab!

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  138. Ron Unz says:
    @Muse

    You had asked me for an example of someone being targeted for expressing their beliefs.

    Eric Ferguson and some other less prominent individuals had their property damaged in Indiana recently. I consider smashed windows and blood & nails thrown on a driveway to be a threat and retaliation for speaking your beliefs.

    I think “Muse” is a perfect example of one of the “low quality” commenters who would hardly be missed.

    The professor’s name is “Eric Rasmusen” not “Eric Ferguson.”

    He sent out a Tweet under his own name quoting and linking an article denouncing the presence of women in academia. Feminist-activists on Twitter became outraged and launched a firestorm of attacks.

    If you’re a prominent professor at a university, Tweeting out very controversial things under your own name is very different than leaving anonymous comments on some website somewhere.

  139. @Russ

    I haven’t returned to Takimag since then either.

  140. Ron Unz says:
    @Skeptikal

    “Isn’t it pretty easy to buy a “disposable credit card,” maybe even using cash at some grocery store? And can’t such a CC be used to make payments online with almost perfect anonymity, or at least as much anonymity as you can get with lots of other things, including your current commenting on this website?”

    Do you seriously think any normal person with a life is going to go to such lengths just to comment at UR?

    Absolutely not! Normal people will just pay with their own credit card since nobody cares. However, paranoid people, perhaps including you, do have that other option…

    • Replies: @Skeptikal
  141. Skeptikal says:
    @Ron Unz

    ““racists,” “anti-Semites,” and “conspiracy theorists,” ”

    Why the scare quos?

    They imply that this is how others label your readers.

    Is this your assumption?

    Anyhow, why not let Google do the analytics and see what they offer.

    That use (and results) of Google Analytics would probably also be of considerable interest to your reaaders—another longish essay!

  142. @Colin Wright

    I’m not a powerful or “important” person by any means, but there is little doubt that I would be called on the carpet by my employers if they associated me with my comments here.

    I would be deliberately humiliated, shunned, blocked from advancement, and micro-managed and surveilled until they could find “cause” for disciplining me. Ask any non-multiculti straight white man who works in L.A. or like environments whether this is realistic; if they are not embarrassingly naïve, they will confirm.

    The employer would follow progressive discipline until they could terminate me “for reasons having nothing to do with my political, social, and religious views”, of course. Then it would be very difficult to get a similar job.

    This would be devastating to our sizeable and growing family, especially since we don’t yet have the savings and investments to do without a substantial salary for very long.

    There’s nothing irrationally paranoid about some of us not wanting to be identified, and we need not be “important” for that concern to be valid.

    • Agree: Meretricious
    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    , @JackOH
  143. @Commentator Mike

    We should not be confident that Americans will remain even “legally” free to comment on “third-rail” topics and “favored peoples” without government sanction much longer, no matter who wins the presidency in 2020.

    On quite a related note, Trump is making no effort to stop the DHS from introducing mandatory photographing and use of facial-recognition software on all international travelers, including U.S. citizens. This will be extended to domestic air travel, as well, before too long, then to domestic rail and bus travel. (Apparently China already has denied “permission” to board airplanes and trains to people with unduly low “social credit” scores, much of which has nothing to do with harming or threatening to harm other people.)

    Next will be the addition of information about our online activities and “red flag” political comments to the chips on our passports and those shiny new “secure” REAL ID driver’s licenses. If that hasn’t been done already, that is, for how would we know?

    • Agree: Meretricious
  144. @Ron Unz

    Just out of interest, can you give some examples of “top commenters”, whose contributions you regard as valuable? It would be nice to know your criteria.

    • Agree: Meretricious, reiner Tor
  145. Truth3 says:

    Run for President Ron… on an Independent Ticket. Pick Phil Giraldi as your running mate. Or Vladimir Putin. I’d vote your ticket either way.

    Every one of us not part of the Frannie-AaronB-Lot Axis of Evil Jews would donate to you in a heartbeat.

    Employ your writers on your campaign staff. Turn Unz.com into your Campaign HQ.

    We need a choice in 2020. Trump sure as shit didn’t keep his promises to us… he attempted to put his fat ass on the “I Love the Jews More than Hagee” chair, and they still are impeaching him anyway… no matter how many Jewish children he has.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  146. anonymous[422] • Disclaimer says:

    Look, if there are great commenters who help make the site what it is then you should incentivize them. That means you don’t charge them unless they want to do so voluntarily. I suggest a tiered system where commenters are graded based on a combo of quality with perhaps volume. Above a certain level, it’s free with perks for the higher levels like a special designation label and we average peasants should be able to subscribe to these curated commenters and block others if we want. I know you have a basic function for this but it’s not adequate. Below a certain level, the trolls and the other useless commenters, they are charged with increasingly punitive costs. People who just read the articles shouldn’t be charged. The whole point is to disseminate information to as many people as possible.

    I don’t want to see a wholesale change like a subscription website. When Taki changed, I pretty much stopped going there for a long time. Now I just sporadically go there if Sailer points to an article of his. I know some thought the comments were over the top, it depends on your tolerance I guess. I thought of it as entertaining snarky brawls.

    Perhaps a combo of charging the trolls/the currently useless, perking the valuable, implementing the commenter subscription/blocks, and allowing unobtrusive ads might be a good start that doesn’t impinge on the majority of us.

    • Agree: mark green
  147. @Ron Unz

    I’m sorry that you feel that way, Ron, because somehow I do still care about your opinion even if you don’t respect me and mine. I sent you a response with more personal details by e-mail.

    As for your frustration that I can’t give more now despite having a good income, my wife and I have numerous children, pay exorbitant rent in downtown L.A., and help to support an elderly parent. A contextually tiny contribution to Unz.com or other political outlet won’t at all change the big picture, of course, we’re just struggling now and trying to be careful down to that level.

    Your idea of how much income it takes to be comfortable and donate more in this locale and in our particular circumstances, may differ from ours. I’ve never pled poverty, just said that this is a rough time. Things will very likely improve over the next year or two, for reasons noted in my e-mail to you.

    If you want to bore yourself with the details of additional medical and other issues that impair my ability to contribute much now despite a good income, I’ll tell you directly myself. You have my e-mail address and I think I previously gave you my home address here in California.

    Please take care not to downplay my substantive comments, including recent ones about things like the disposition of the presidential race in the event of an electoral-college tie; comments about how to fund a Universal Basic Income with revenue we are now squandering on less productive and less humane purposes (and how to raise additional revenue through new fed excise taxes that do not fall on the great majority of U.S. Citizens).

    How about today’s well-reasoned and quite personal pair of responses to someone who attacked me for marrying an Asian woman.

    I no longer use Facebook because, unlike your site, I distrust the owners/operators there. I resent their efforts to manipulate public opinion by controlling what people read and hear rather than by persuasion.

    As for “racist ranting”, it doesn’t seem logical or fair to build a big audience in part by allowing people to say very controversial and unpopular things and then mock us for doing just that.

    As for “racism” itself, I’m married to someone of a different race, and our children are immersed (primarily at my instance) in Chinese culture due to their immersion study of Mandarin from a young age. How do the other, less “irritating” commenters compare in this regard?

    Again as to my personal racial views,

    (1) they are based on long experience, not some random desire to hate, and I wish they could realistically be otherwise;

    (2) I have commented here and elsewhere that slavery is a repulsive practice, that it was utterly unnecessary and unjustifiable for people to go out of their way to “buy” people from Africa and bring them here to suffer and be used worse than animals — how many of the vehemently “racist” commenters here say that?

    (3) I readily understand the equally harsh generalizations that non-white people (such as my close Af-Am friend of 25 years’ standing) may draw based on their own experiences with people who have been unfair or needlessly cruel to them — what’s good for the goose is good for the gander;

    (4) I make exceptions to those generalizations where individuals show that they simply don’t apply; otherwise I wouldn’t have the wife and friends that I do. I’ve mentioned the perhaps-surprising presence of so many people close to my heart who are not white, not Christian, not nationalist, and so forth, recently in a humorous recounting of the diverse groomsmen at my wedding —

    Almost anyone will have inconsistencies or at least tensions in their thoughts and emotions. I would that an “inconsistency” that leads me to be open to friendship and love with people of different races and religions would be something you see as commendable.

    (5) I pray for groups that don’t seem to get along peacefully on a systematic basis with each other, to separate (politically and otherwise) instead of resorting to violence in any direction;

    Reducing me to nothing more than “a racist” is about as accurate and nuanced as the Wikipedia swine summarizing your entire noble endeavor here at unz.com as “known to the ADL for anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.”

    Lastly, look at the comments where I express sadness and disappointment at all of humanity — including my racial and cultural “groups” — for being chronically unable to find a way to get along and not be vicious and aggressive.

    FWIW, I did vote for you in the Republican primary last time around and I’d do so again whether you decide to keep disliking me or not.

    Good luck to you in preserving what makes this site so unique and valuable.
    I hope you will reconsider your assessment.

    No sarcasm intended in this sign-off, Ron:
    if you celebrate Chanukkah, then Happy Chanukkah,
    and from our deplorable Eurasian family to your family, Merry Christmas!

  148. @Truth3

    Seconded. I have nobody to vote for in the election next year.

    Since Cali is a slam-dunk Dem State, we don’t have to consider the “lesser of two evils” rationale as an excuse to vote Trump (and that rationale seems to be weakening, if it was ever as strong as we thought in the first place).

    For now, it looks like a write-in vote for president that I doubt will even be counted.

    Would there still be time to get RU or someone else on the ballot here?

  149. Skeptikal says:
    @Ron Unz

    “perhaps including you, ”

    Huh???
    My own comment certainly would not lead to this inference.

  150. Wally says:
    @Anon

    Indeed:

    Official list of Revisionist scholars persecuted / imprisoned for questioning the “Holocaust”:
    https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=12642

  151. Wally says:

    Software issue.

    Ron, there is often no confirmation of my comments being received, or a chance to edit them after I press ‘publish comment’.

    • Agree: res
    • Replies: @Truth3
    , @Ron Unz
  152. @Ron Unz

    Herr Unz,

    what you need are superchats, like they exist on Youtube.

    Let people give you money, and in return, read out their chat message in front of an audience.
    Just like youtubers do/did.

    In written form, that could just be implemented on a regular base 24 hours after publishing, so it would be basically a payed heavy user circle jerk, but with added value through the additional interaction.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  153. Truth3 says:
    @Wally

    It’s because he dumps them. Sometimes (probably) because you get too far in front of the Comfort Zone (no Mossad Hit Team on the way) … and he protects you from it.

    Whoops… Frannie will be calling Herzliya 911 when she reads this one.

    Run Wally. Run.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  154. Blake says:

    Personally don’t agree with this and it may chase people away so in the long run it could be detrimental to the growth of your website.

    • Agree: Hail
  155. Ron Unz says:
    @Wally

    Ron, there is often no confirmation of my comments being received, or a chance to edit them after I press ‘publish comment’.

    Your website cookies have probably gotten clogged up, so if you clear them it will probably start working again.

    Just test things on another device/browser, and you’ll see it will probably work.

  156. Ron Unz says:
    @Fuerchtegott

    what you need are superchats, like they exist on Youtube.

    Let people give you money, and in return, read out their chat message in front of an audience.
    Just like youtubers do/did.

    Excellent idea!!!

    But since this is a text-oriented website, the “superchat messages” should probably be in written form. However, I’ll price them all very reasonably, say $1 each.

    Let’s call them “comments”…

    • LOL: Truth3, Blinky Bill
  157. Old Jew says:

    Dear Mr. Unz.

    I am good to pay!

    because:

    Many commenters on Steve Sailer’s blog are extremely sharp and educated. It provides me joy and learning.
    …..
    ……

    For relief or just to reassure myself that I still control the world, I read the Giraldi team.

    Whatever they lack in understanding they make up in fervor and devotion to their teacher and shining beacon: Philip Giraldi.

    sf

  158. Ask commenters to identify trolls and shills and somehow charge them , also charge commenters who insist on making ad hominem attacks , as most commenters ,regardless of their views , add value to the site perhaps they should be paid!

  159. @RadicalCenter

    ‘…There’s nothing irrationally paranoid about some of us not wanting to be identified, and we need not be “important” for that concern to be valid.’

    I suppose you’re right. I’m retired, so while it’s not impossible to arrange a necktie party with me as the featured guest, it would be a bit of a project.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  160. @Vendetta

    ‘I’m not really liking this idea at all, but if you’re going to do it I think there’s one essential change you should make: allow authors to designate as many commenters as they choose as favorites for their own columns. Favorited commenters would continue to get unlimited commenting privileges…’

    That sounds like it would lead to the equivalent of what I used to call the ‘preach it Brother Krugman chorus.’ It wasn’t structured that way, but the comments on Paul Krugman’s economics column at the New York Times used to read that way. Everyone seemed to be all agog at the sheer genius of Krugman’s latest economic justification for some part of the progressive agenda.

    It was pretty tedious. I stopped bothering to look at the comments. I don’t fault anyone for it, but this place gets to be enough of an echo chamber as it is. We shouldn’t seek to enhance the effect.

    • Agree: Dissident
  161. @Truth3

    ‘It’s because he dumps them. Sometimes (probably) because you get too far in front of the Comfort Zone (no Mossad Hit Team on the way) … and he protects you from it.

    Whoops… Frannie will be calling Herzliya 911 when she reads this one.

    Run Wally. Run. ‘

    Interestingly, I suspect Wally’s pretty safe. Fran et al seem to be disproportionately interested in policing fellow Jews. She always promptly posts when Gilad Atzmon writes something, for example.

  162. JackOH says:
    @RadicalCenter

    “I would be deliberately humiliated, shunned, blocked from advancement, and micro-managed and surveilled until they could find “cause” for disciplining me. Ask any non-multiculti straight white man who works in L.A. or like environments whether this is realistic; if they are not embarrassingly naïve, they will confirm.”

    “The employer would follow progressive discipline until they could terminate me “for reasons having nothing to do with my political, social, and religious views”, of course. Then it would be very difficult to get a similar job.”

    Exactly.

    • Agree: Bubba, Hail
    • Replies: @Vaterland
  163. I came across UR by clicking on a link on a comment section on another alt news site. I like UR’s intelligent, unorthodox approach to news, history and politics, and though I don’t agree with alot of the writers or commentators, its refreshing to see so many alternative viewpoints expressed herein. It’s a shame some of the commentators can’t present facts to support their arguments, rather than just express irrational hatred of difference (race, gender, etc) and moderate their language accordingly. That said, I would still rather have a free, open comment section as free speech, even where it is hate speech, is priceless.

    The Information Age which we are fortunate enough to live in, allows us access to an unprecedented amount of knowledge and to build a clearer understanding of our world than has ever been possible. UR provides an excellent platform for adding to the canon of human knowledge. It would be a shame to require payment of accessing or commenting on this site as it may dissuade those who have meaningful contributions to make from doing so. The trolls, paid or otherwise, who unfortunately frequent this site can be easily ignored or perhaps moderated where possible without limiting free speech.

    I appreciate that this site is expensive to run (maintaining servers, cyber security, etc) and to pay for writers who otherwise may not be able to devote themselves to their craft and the research required for mastery of their subject matter. It seems reasonable that those who benefit from this site should pay for it, and the financial burden should not fall on one person, Ron Unz, as wealthy as he may be. If I was working I’d be happy to pay to access and/or comment on UR, but wouldn’t have time to read as much as I do now. However as I’m currently unemployed, I’m not in a position to pay so would look elsewhere for my news etc. (IMHO paying for timed access (e.g. $1/hr) is strange since if I buy a newspaper etc I have unlimited access). I’d be happy to put up with ads if it helps keep this site free to access and comment on as again they can be easily ignored.

  164. I’ve never ordered a genius entree that didn’t come with a side of crazy.

  165. SafeNow says:

    I would like to add the word “pub” to the comments. This website is my pub — a place where I can hang-out with like-minded friends at the end of a day. Hear interesting, thoughtful, informative, witty stories and ideas, contribute a few of my own, and have some laughs. I am now regarded as a deplorable person by family and friends, but here, I feel at home. I would happily pay, just as I would pay for pints at a pub. Voluntary cash in an envelope?

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  166. @Colin Wright

    Thanks, Colin. Yes, being retired or still working but somewhat wealthy sure do help in this regard.

  167. @Truth3

    ‘…Issue one free with every good post that you approve… hey, you moderate them already… no extra cost…’

    I certainly appreciate Ron’s commitment to free speech — and I’ll even grant he may well be more open-minded than average.

    However, I really don’t think even Ron can distinguish perfectly between posts that are objectively good and posts he merely happens to agree with.

    …so having Ron decide ‘what’s a good post’ will inevitably lead to a site where those who are encouraged to post are those who agree with Ron.

    That’ll be dull.

  168. Ron Unz says:
    @SafeNow

    This website is my pub — a place where I can hang-out with like-minded friends at the end of a day. Hear interesting, thoughtful, informative, witty stories and ideas, contribute a few of my own, and have some laughs. I am now regarded as a deplorable person by family and friends, but here, I feel at home. I would happily pay, just as I would pay for pints at a pub.

    That’s not a bad analogy, especially given that this pub offers you five free drinks every month, but then makes you pay something for your remaining ones…

    • Agree: Biff
    • Replies: @utu
  169. MarkinLA says:
    @Bragadocious

    Now would you pay a dollar to make that little (but incredibly profound) joke to entertain the rest of us?

    • Replies: @Bragadocious
  170. DaveE says:

    For whatever it (isn’t) worth, I read he comments largely FOR the trolls, hasbarists and obviously paid commenters.

    This website is one of the few that combine the highest-quality authors with the “noise” that gives amazing insight into the thinking of the “enemy”. I say that only with “love”, of course!

    If you succeed in chasing off all the Aaron B’s and so on, you will have lost a major part of the appeal, for me at least. I like to know what I’m dealing with, in this struggle for truth and justice. Knowing what the liars are trying to sell me is a huge part of that battle.

    Frankly, I think even the quality of the trolls here is WAAAY above average, from what I’ve seen. They know they’re not dealing with idiots, so they seem to try a lot harder……!

    Thanks again for a great website, whatever you decide.

    • Replies: @Fran Taubman
  171. MarkinLA says:
    @Colin Wright

    Just like when you buy a gun from somebody on the Internet, like Gunbroker, pay with US Postal Money Orders. It adds a small amount to the cost but you have anonymity. Nobody can steal it and if they do you can get your money back.

  172. MarkinLA says:

    It may seem like I spend too much time here, but that is because, other than on-line banking, I don’t spend any time on the internet anywhere else. This is the only place one can see this wide variety of articles and be able to see other peoples responses that are not the typical echo chamber the other sites have degenerated into.

    However, I didn’t realize all my comments were supposed to be important contributions to humanity. I mostly comment for my own entertainment. Sometimes it is to be be snarky and sometimes I have a little tiny bit to add or challenge. Hopefully, it isn’t completely idiotic, but how would I know unless somebody can show me what is wrong?

    I do contribute through Patreon but that is the limit of my support. I stopped my subscription at American Conservative when they moderated the hell out of my comments and came here. Hopefully, I won’t have to leave here.

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
  173. utu says:
    @Ron Unz

    “…but then makes you pay something for your remaining ones…” – Providing that one is not charged for the drinks that do not arrive, meaning that comments are charged only after they are approved by the author/moderator. And perhaps you could charge a penalty to the authors for the loss of revenue if they reject comments tagged as ‘payment pending’. And what about Steve Sailer’s practice of holding some comments in ‘purgatory’ until they can be overlooked? Would so delayed comments be worth one dollar to the commenter?

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  174. @DaveE

    I would love for someone Ron anyone to clue me into who the paid commentators are.
    Just asking. I cannot imagine a Jewish NGO paying a commentator on this site. The paid commentators are for college campuses and Facebook. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Not this stuff.
    Just give me a hint an initial, a tiny tiny way I can evaluate for myself. I maintain I do not think there are paid commentators on this site.

  175. anonymous[327] • Disclaimer says:

    Add back the block ads.

  176. Sounds like you have it figured out pretty well Mr. Travis. Although I think your choice of topics and writers is certain to attract the Wall St and CIA sock puppets. Identity poitics, race baiting, red baiting, IQ supremacists, manifest destiny types who believe they’re smarter than everyone and therefore have the right to plunder and enslave everyone else. Like I’ve said before having writers like P Kersey feeds their divide and rule agenda, so you can only expect to draw in these obvious sock puppets. Some real people no doubt enjoy it, but its going to drive away many semi normal people.

    Honestly I’d feel comfortable saying at least 50% of the commenters here are sock puppets. They spend literally all day red baiting people, pushing the establishment talking points, defending billionaires, turning everything into a Jewish or communist plot. But they’re always just a “retired” old fart with nothing better to do than push the CIA agenda. Well, I for one know exactly -0- retired people who troll the web all day. Most would prefer to spend time with the grandkids, go to the country club, work in the shop, carpentry or go fishing, hiking or some other outdoor hobby. But these “retired” trolls are everywhere online it seems. I gave up arguing with them long ago. Its sad that big money can corrupt everything in our society, even the internet.

    I read your last comment fee article too Randy. I really don’t understand why so many would be concerned with upsetting the authorities with their comments. The govt. and their right wing billionaire owners very much appreciate your racism. The Zionists consider the “antisemites” to be their greatest allies. They want American Jews to be fearful for their lives, they need them in “Israel” to replace the Palestinian population. The best way to protect their own privilege and wealth is to keep the slaves at each others throats. Identity politics is the go to weapon, especially in times like this, next economic collapse, polarization among the races, sexes, religions is going to be very important to keep the working class from coming for their scalps. All the while their class is united, Pelosi, obama, Soros, Trump, Adelson, Schumer, Bush, Oprah, Bloomberg, Biden will all be giggling, drinking champagne while the slaves kill each other.

    So keep the racism and identity poitics flowing folks. No fear. Don’t forget it was the obama regime that helped right wing fascists and neo-Nazis overthrow the Ukrainian govt, along with help from Israel. Same in Bolivia. CIA helps fascists and Nazis, they don’t jail them! Hell, if we ever did elect a real left wing/socialist prez. they would be paying the commenters here to start a civil war to overthrow him! Make no mistake, US is a right wing fascist dictatorship, the mask just hasn’t slipped far enough yet for most folks to see. It will, soon I think.

    Anywoo, didn’t mean to get far off topic, just wanted to respond to the paranoid ones here. Good idea Mr. Travis. I would agree with the comment idea you have, maybe free up the place for some different views. You’re still asking for it with some of your writers though. Just muh opinion! Peace!

    • Replies: @FB
  177. @MarkinLA

    I might!

    But truthfully, I’ll only hang around if Tiny Duck does too. He’s the straw that stirs the drink.

  178. Anonymous[210] • Disclaimer says:

    Howzabout “twitter-izing” comments: setting a maximum number of words/characters allowed per post (at least for unpaid ones)?

    That might lead to “pithing” in the wind…making thoughts more Hemingway-terse and/or Strunk & White-like. To wit: shorter, more cogent, informative, and impactful.

    Such restrictions would almost force “rewriting.” On-the-fly comments could still be, er, vomited on the page without limit. However, thereafter…when hitting PUBLISH COMMENT…a notice (maybe in red) could alert the commenter that s/he needs to cull x-numbers of words.

    Additionally, if someone wanted to post their Dickens-like full-monty comment, they could be charged per word. They might be notified thusly: “You have exceeded the site’s 350-word comment limit. To post your entire comment as-is, please pay $4.75”

    Just some thoughts.

    PS. I think Takimag made a huge mistake by burying comments behind a paywall. Readers’ posts were often clever, informative, factual, and funny. Now? Meh. The site lost a lot of its appeal.

    Plus, not for nothing, but: has David Cole EVER written a piece that wasn’t pro/anti-Jew? He seems little interested in things not “muh-judaism.” He’s a fine writer, like Fred Reed. But just like I tire of Fred’s Mexicophilia, I weary of David’s endless Tribalism.

  179. Ron Unz says:
    @utu

    Providing that one is not charged for the drinks that do not arrive, meaning that comments are charged only after they are approved by the author/moderator.

    Absolutely. You’d only be paying for approved comments.

    But this raises another point I’ve been trying to emphasize to people…

    Suppose you spend 20m preparing and then writing a pretty detailed comment to e.g. Steve Sailer’s blog, and he trashes it. If your regular work pays you $10/hour, then that trashed comment has effectively cost you over $3, far more than any $1 publication fee. And if you’re a highly-educated or skilled professional, you probably earn many times more than $10/hour. So the publication fees I’m proposing seem pretty negligible compared to the opportunity-cost you’re experiencing when you write your comments, or the total loss you suffer if your comment is trashed, either here or on some other website at which you’re commenting.

    That’s also why I’m rather suspicious of some of those individuals who are writing as much as 30,000-40,000 words of pretty worthless comments each month. It seems plausible that someone is paying them just to clutter up our comment threads with such verbiage and thereby make discussions of “controversial” topics much less effective. What’s also interesting is that some of these likely trolls use a paragraph/writing style that maximizes the vertical space occupied by their already lengthy comments, which renders threads much less readable, at least for the large number of visitors who don’t know or use the “Ignore” button.

  180. Anonymous[210] • Disclaimer says:
    @gman

    Merch!

    The site could raise money by selling coffee mugs and tees/hoodies for sure.

    Maybe do a column soliciting merch ideas.

    Like selling tees with “Join the smart Unz” on it.

    Or, “Intelligent folks? They do Ron, Ron!”

    Or, “For Unzurpassed convos, visit Unz.com

    • LOL: gman
    • Replies: @gman
  181. Anonymous[354] • Disclaimer says:
    @Johan

    >”The best work throughout history is always done for free, and even financed out of ones own pockets.”

    Tell that to Michelangelo and others who had/needed patrons to “follow their bliss.”

    • Replies: @Johan
  182. @Ron Unz

    ‘… Suppose you spend 20m preparing and then writing a pretty detailed comment to e.g. Steve Sailer’s blog, and he trashes it. If your regular work pays you $10/hour, then that trashed comment has effectively cost you over $3, far more than any $1 publication fee…’

    This assumes that writing the comment is ‘work’ — i.e., something you only do because you are paid.

    Obviously, that’s nonsense. I don’t simply sit around inert if I’m not making money. I do something. So I write this comment — not because the time spent has monetary value, but because I’d rather do this than look at a You Tube video, or read, or go shopping for interesting radish seeds, or learn about field dressing deer, or trim my toenails, or whatever. I no more expect to be paid for this post — or to pay for it — than I expect to be paid for reading about the merits of French breakfast radishes.

    Of course, I have some hope of the comment being published — else I wouldn’t bother. However, it is not work, and it does not have the same monetary value. As you can readily see, you can get me to compose these comments for free. If you want to me to ‘work’ in some way — say, do your taxes — well, how about $40 an hour?

    The two activities cannot be equated. What I am willing to work for has nothing to do with what I am willing to engage in activities of my own choice for. I’ll happily post — but I’m certainly not prepared to pay per post for the privilege. Perhaps a monthly subscription fee…

    • Replies: @Miro23
  183. utu says:
    @Ron Unz

    It is not about money. Your sole objective is to increase the quality and reduce the quantity of comments. The latter will be easy to measure after you implement the change but the former will be much harder. Perhaps you will have to assign some quality ranking to commenters and see whether after the change the loss of quantity among bad commenters would be higher than among good commenters.

    If you are concerned about the space affecting loading and scrolling perhaps all comments longer than Nmax words should be automatically folded (insert MORE tag). And while comments with paragraphs are easier to read and help to organize thoughts so they are less likely to be rambling rants you could fold them after the first paragraph if you are concerned with the space.

    I think you should implement the pay-for-comment change, however I am skeptical about its effectiveness. The best quality is to be achieved by aggressive moderation which would be costly and subjective to moderators that may not necessarily reflect your intentions, so I can see why you want to try a technocratic hands off solution that most importantly would avoid the unpleasantness of confrontations with commenters where earnest good faith commenters getting offended and leaving for good while trolls being impervious to reprimands and censoring particularly the ones with the high chutzpah trait.

    Anyway, I will hang around to see the impact of the changes. How I would respond to the change I still do not know. But certainly I would be less likely to engage commenters who I dislike, whose comments I find wrong or offensive. Perhaps you could consider an open “see something say something” thread to address and ameliorate lack of fairness, lack of good faith and other inter-commenter issues.

    • Replies: @Elsewhere
    , @Miro23
  184. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    Perhaps every commenter who begins paying a usage fee and thereby becomes established would be allowed to provide a link to some preferred donation page or method, whether PayPal, Patreon, Bitcoin, or something else, and a “Support Me” button to that donation link would be displayed next to his name.

    Ron,

    You’re on the right track, but see my comment on your previous thread here: https://www.unz.com/announcement/monthly-fees-for-heavy-users/#comment-3595865

    You’re better off streamlining this: having the same method for paying you as paying commenters, instead of several different payment methods. Call your tokens UnzCoins or whatever you like, and let them fly around between commenters.

    • Replies: @Elsewhere
  185. FB says: • Website

    Well…I’ve been back and forth on whether to comment on this or not…but here goes…

    Mr Unz says that half the commenting traffic is on the four bloggers…I personally don’t even read those bloggers, after sampling a few articles and some of the idiotic comments…there is nothing there for intelligent people…

    Yet UNZ pays these guys a salary…and this probably takes a good chunk of the overall expenses for this site…

    So now he wants to charge commenters so he can keep subsidizing this dead wood…I will add here that especially irksome to me is Munchhausen Karlin…who makes up completely bogus ‘statistics’ out of whole cloth on a regular basis…

    That is simply not kosher…I proved that recently and exposed his method of perfidy…which caused him to block me from commenting…[which is no sweat, since I don’t think I have left more than maybe a dozen comments on his assinine ‘content’ anyway…and also affirms that he chose to ‘tap out’ rather than debate me on the facts]…

    But this bush-league nonsense is a blot on this so-called webzine…every serious outfit must have some standards…presenting completely fabricated numbers as ‘statistics’ and pretending to link to sources that don’t actually support that…and in fact say the opposite, is just digging your own grave…

    As for this Kersey fellow…I mean this is just red meat for racists…the comments are uniformly deranged…Sailer is a nothingburger…the other one ‘Epigone’ or whatever his handle is I haven’t even bothered to check out…

    Best thing to do would be to cut these useless eaters adrift…barring that, they and their commenters should pay their own way…that way Mr Unz’s financial problems will be addressed to some extent…

    As for trolls and shills…yes there are some of those and they are bothersome…one in particular that puts up reams of garbage like infographics from completely discredited MSM sources…these same trolls often tirelessly push discredited mainstream propaganda talking points that are exactly the bullshit that honest writers here are working to debunk…

    I don’t know how to tackle this troll problem…but I doubt charging a fee for commenting will solve that, since these people are likely being funded by deep pockets, so it will be just another operating expense…

    In the end…the trolls and shills are like the annoying mosquitoes when you’re enjoying the outdoors…they’re part and parcel of the ecosystem…I’m not sure if there is really any way to effectively eliminate either…individuals simply have to adjust and not let them get in the way of being able to at least skim through the comments…

    There is no reason to use the ‘block’ feature, as even a total idiot can sometimes say something worth noting…

    Much more problematic are those who endlessly repeat the same memes…and those who really have nothing worthwhile to say…or say really stupid things…again, better judgement is really the only defense…

    As for Mr. Unz’s contention that many [perhaps a majority of] readers don’t bother with the comments, and that it’s mostly a playground for the commenters themselves…I would find that hard to believe…

    I would say exactly the opposite…that READERS are in fact attracted by the comments…and do in fact read them extensively [without necessarily joining in…]I have personally seen a lot of lurkers come out of the woodwork after having read a comment that inspired them…

    In the end, Mr Unz should realize that talk is cheap…and that includes chat rooms like this and webzines of all kinds…as well as the corporate media…only a tiny percentage is going to pay for the ‘privilege’ of commenting here…

    OTOH…I also think that what is driving people to participate here is the loose moderation, which gives many [even the hopelessly useless] a chance to be heard…once you start putting limits on that, the whole equation changes…

    Youtube is a much more interesting medium where there is also lots of commenting…and it can actually generate impressive revenue…although I doubt that Mr Unz is going to be able to produce any compelling content with the people he has now…personality and on-camera presence and charisma is required…do any of the writers here have that…would Mr Unz or some potential collaborators be able to produce compelling youtube content…?

    Considering that there is already a large readership, such a leap to a powerful new medium would have a head start…but only if it is able to deliver the compelling content…

    The bottom line is that very few are going to pay for content like this…or the privilege of commenting…but certainly Mr. Unz is free to experiment as he wishes…and see where it leads…

    Why not simply try to get some financial backers who see the same kind of promise that Mr Unz sees in this project…?…or some of regular financial supporters among ordinary folks who would do something like a monthly patreon fee…or PCR’s quarterly appeal to supporters…?

    But again…first get rid of the dead wood…a lot of which makes this website look bad on many levels to thinking folks…

  186. Dissident says:
    @Ron Unz

    the individual bloggers moderate their own comments,

    Is this true only for those categorized as “bloggers” or for all of the authors featured here?

  187. @Ron Unz

    One or two of your most prominent bloggers already stand accused of implementing a ‘pay for play’ scheme with respect to comment approvals. Just FWIW, mind you.

    Separately, have you considered that some number of commenters are semi-public figures and/or well-published in other venues? With good reason, such people may well resist supplying their actual names and private info, no matter what assurances of security are offered.

    It’s hard to contribute funds to any cause without revealing yourself, save by cash through the mail, which I’ve done and don’t like. Meanwhile I did see your note about ‘burner’ credit/debit cards which I suppose supply an additional level of difficulty for anyone who’s hacked (or requisitioned) the UNZ.COM contributor list, but such people (not to mention government agencies) often have considerable time, money, and computing power at their disposal.

  188. @Ron Unz

    Can you please give an example:

    Paid troll

    • Replies: @Truth3
  189. Johan says:
    @Anonymous

    The best work is never funded by the people.

    “There is this to be said in favour of the despot, that he, being an individual, may have culture, while the mob, being a monster, has none. One who is an Emperor and King may stoop down to pick up a brush for a painter, but when the democracy stoops down it is merely to throw mud.” Oscar Wilde

  190. In the spirit of Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence, you could sell a few moderator hats. Get some cash and improve the site, a win-win.

    However, perhaps those hats should have limited powers (e.g. it would take a number of mods agreeing to delete something) to limit the risk of vandalism.

  191. Vaterland says:
    @JackOH

    As i have detailed: the only people who would have something somewhat realistically to fear even for anonymous comments are commentators from certain European countries, primarily Germany and the UK, on specific topics as holocaust revisionism and “the JQ”, especially in inflammatory form. A small fraction of this site’s visitors. And the interior secret services are very unlikely to operate here. For mass targeting by antifa, you’d need centrally stored personal information lists and I am only aware of one case, even in Germany, where such an operation was not directly related to targeting actual members of right-wing parties.

    Regarding corporate employment policy for political views: you are commentating anonymously and I suspect are mostly not persons of public interests. Charging for quality content is common today and the Unz Review is a quality publication; a dollar per comment is modest; and as Americans with a first amendment you have nothing to fear. Although I do think Ron Unz shouldn’t underestimate the explosive character of some content of his site in certain European countries, it is still an American site after all.

    • Replies: @JackOH
    , @MarkinLA
  192. Truth3 says:
    @FB

    That is simply not kosher…

    Who gives a shit whether the Jew FB thinks something is ‘Kosher’.

  193. Truth3 says:
    @Fran Taubman

    You.

    Sockpuppetry is a strong indicator.

    By the way… pay for Hasbarites comes in various forms. Can be cash but doesn’t have to be. Shekels. Backslaps at Jewish functions. Foreskins.

    You probably get the one foreskin per post allowance. Chew on that Frannie-Linda-Anon.

    • Replies: @Fran Taubman
  194. Truth3 says:

    When you are breaking new ground, it’s good to see how others in similar situations handled the challenge.

  195. JackOH says:
    @Vaterland

    ” . . . [A]s Americans with a first amendment you have nothing to fear.”

    See my comment #21 above.

    When Ron monetizes UR, I’ll try to find a way to support it. I’ve already made small contributions to UR and Sailer.

  196. Arioch says:

    > Perhaps every commenter who begins paying a usage fee and thereby becomes
    > established would be allowed to provide a link to some preferred donation page or method,
    > whether PayPal, Patreon, Bitcoin, or something else, and a “Support Me” button to that
    > donation link would be displayed next to his name.

    That would not do. Paying (Actually – gifting tips) is an impulse, it should be made immediately and without “turning brains on”.
    The minute later impulse is gone and you won’t do.

    All those “freemium” online games know it. So do casino and “three caps” games.
    They make players excited and off the tip a but, then provide with an easy and instant way to pay.

    So, i think there is only two ways it can be done, actually.

    [MORE]

    1. UNZ.com establishes full-scale accounts for users, with wallets. So, every user “charges” those wallets in advance. Then he spends his account by small and instantaneous actions, like posting (10+n)th comment, or tipping someone else’s comments. Until he flushes his wallet so he would need to refill it.

    Notice, the very acto of payment should be as easy and instant as possible, preventing a person in heat of emotions to start thinking. If one can not pay by reflexes, if paying process is any bit more complex than than, then person will start think, ergo will start doubt and hesitate, esgo may decide gainst paying.

    2. The opposite approach, but it will only cover gifting tips, not posting comments.
    When a reader “tips” someone else’s comments – he does not actually pay. He only records his appreciation. He may press “tip” button 2,3 and more times, if he really likes the comment a lot.

    Then once a month UNZ.com presents a summary for every user showing them how often they “liked” this or that person.
    And offers a ONE TIME no hassle total payment, of any arbitrary term at user’s discretion (see how Humble Bundle site does it, having array of “standard tips” payments from $1 to $20 and an editbox to enter any other user-selectable amount).

    After user pays, UNZ uses some distribution function, to spread that accumulated payment through those commenters. So that the more likes a comenter has – the larger is his share. But that even one-time-liked commenters get something above zero, too.

    This way UNZ.com would get much less money, as it is made once a month an the impulse is long evaporated. However, it still would “lower entry barrier” for two reasons:
    a) the very payment, with associated doubts, buyer remorse, all the boring hastle to jump through PayPal or bank card hoops, etc – it all will only be made once a month, rather than dozen times a day
    b) people would probably easier press “tip comment” button, knowing there will be no immediate punishment for that. Thus, making that button “cheaper”. Thus, providing for more fine-grained liking of comments.
    b)

  197. Elsewhere says:
    @utu

    If you are concerned about the space affecting loading and scrolling perhaps all comments longer than Nmax words should be automatically folded (insert MORE tag). And while comments with paragraphs are easier to read and help to organize thoughts so they are less likely to be rambling rants you could fold them after the first paragraph if you are concerned with the space.

    This is a variation on what I suggested in another thread, where I suggested that novice commenters would have their comments folded under a MORE tag. I also like your variation of breaking at the first paragraph for longer posts. I think it would be fine to apply this to everyone, with the exceptions below.

    I think that any positively endorsed comments could be shown in full to everyone. (I think any marked DISAGREE or TROLL should be folded and have those tags visible.) Perhaps some would want DISAGREE to expand it for them.

    Also, could there be an option to automatically expand comments that have replies? If someone replies, then it is likely more interesting than the average comment, and one’s personal block list for trolls would automatically prevent those from being expanded.

    Finally, if possible, it would be best if it were easier to expand a shortened comment. Instead of clicking a MORE tag. could the whole text box be clickable to expand it?

  198. Elsewhere says:
    @Dave Pinsen

    This is also a good idea, but I don’t think it would be possible to draw money out of the Unz bank. They would stay virtual currency. Providing donation links would allow commenters to receive actual cash.

    I like the UnzCoin idea better. I don’t think commenters would ever earn much, and it would be a hassle to contribute for a good post. UnzCoins would be a more “frictionless” method of giving kudos.

    Ron could implement subscriptions with this. Donations turn into UnzCoins, which could be used to either buy comments, or perhaps a positive balance would be needed to give comments, and the balance would decrease over time. For giving kudos, perhaps one “like” would cost $0.50, but deliver $0.40 to the recipient.

  199. @Ragno

    but lately my comments, which I take pains to keep free of profanity, personal rancor or general blasphemy, have a tendency to appear on a basis so irregular I can’t help but think that Somebody Over There Doesn’t Like Me

    No, please don’t think that. It isn’t just ‘somebody’. It’s everybody.. Join the club, get in the long line of the next commenter that someone doesn’t like. I had a bunch disappear on the blog where the White chicks got the shit kicked outta them outside the bar in NYC by around a dozen Blacks, including bouncers, remember that one? Pretty much, my comment was, who cares what happens in Blue States that were designed to encourage such things? I may also mentioned that those chicks were lousy tippers. Oh, and how their beatings were actually an improvement to broads that had already hit The Wall long ago.

    Yeah, that one might have done it. But I was respectful and polite. And deleted.

  200. bjondo says:

    Too complicated and will ruin your site.

    MLB, NFL have ruined themselves with complications.

    Return to ads:

    SPLC, ADL, CAMERA, Bloomberg, Israel, more,

    will gladly pay to be prominently displayed

    and to openly defend the indefensible.

    Your account will overflow.

    And I can continue sharing my wisdom.

    5ds

  201. Mr. Unz: As much as I appreciate your many thousands of hours of hard work in building your software business and now this excellent website, I must vent my uncontrollable rage that you have the gall to turn this divinely voluntary charity into something more sustainable.

    Notwithstanding all of YOUR hard efforts in the past, this website now belongs to US, the loyal readers who will abandon you in a heartbeat if your ever try to take our Free Goodies away.

    As much as I really do like most of what you’ve accomplished so far, if you ever charge for Heavy Users or High-Frequency Commenters, those of US who really OWN this site will hate you forever!

    …phew, I feel better now. Since more than a few commenters are launching into wild theatrics, I figured I’d give it my best shot at kabuki theater of Bedwetting SJW Afraid of Losing Free Stuff.

    Overall, it seems like you’re on the right path. My advice would be: perhaps consult with a few “wise elders” in your sphere, then stick to your instincts. Once you’ve demonstrated the real value of a paid and well-moderated Comments section, the angry malcontents will see your wisdom… then tell everyone—I knew it all along.

    • LOL: Ron Unz
  202. gregor says:

    In my opinion, the best funding model for a site like this is probably voluntary donations. Sailer solicits donations on his blog, but I haven’t seen much fundraising for the site at large. I have seen the Patreon button, but that’s about it. Set a fundraising goal, publicize it a bit, keep a running tally of the donations, and let’s see how it goes.

    Regarding comments, I think your stated comments policy on the About page is very sensible.

    The Unz Review intends to moderate comments with a relatively light hand, believing that knowledge is best obtained through the open clash of conflicting ideas. However, comments and commentators that focus on topics unrelated to the article in question, who substantially indulge in profanities or personal attacks, or whose grammar or spelling constitutes an embarrassment may see their comments trashed; and advocating illegal activity is prohibited. Individuals should also avoid cluttering up threads with repetitious or completely non-substantive remarks; craft your comments carefully. Please avoid multiple, successive remarks on a given thread. Spending a bit more time and thought in order to produce a single, more comprehensive comment is much better for everyone.

    In practice, I would say the moderation is considerably more lax than stated above. I don’t think it’s too severe of a problem at present except on certain articles like the American Pravda articles with 2,000 comments. But it will likely become a bigger problem as the site grows. If at some point, every article is getting a thousand plus sub-par comments, you will have to decide what you want out of the site: Do you want a more “popular” platform with “high engagement”? Or do you want an intentionally smaller, more serious publication?

    • Agree: Dissident
  203. @FB

    I don’t know how to tackle this troll problem…but I doubt charging a fee for commenting will solve that, since these people are likely being funded by deep pockets, so it will be just another operating expense…

    My dear fellow commenter, do not underestimate Ron Unz’s intelligence. He has got everything figured out. On a first step, he will get rid of everyone who is NOT “funded by deep pockets”. As an immediate consequence of that, he will get to KNOW who is, because they will be the ones who will pay.

    Get it yet?

    P.S. Mr. Unz I think I am getting there fast. You see, when you are entitled to a certain amount of free goodies, you better consume them fast, because if the world ends before that, you will have squandered them. Or at least that’s how my mind works.

    • LOL: FB
  204. anon[394] • Disclaimer says:
    @Art

    I’ve been following Steve Sailor since the mid 1990s< Followed him from Vdare to UNZ.

  205. MarkinLA says:
    @Vaterland

    This isn’t really true. If you remember, there was some psychotic a few years ago that had a website where he was doxing people on the web deemed to be badwhites. He had his cheering section of leftist clowns making him some kind of mini-celebrity. The reality is that there are enough pathetic computer literate people with no lives who, if they want to make the effort, can find out who some commenters are. I would not dismiss the concerns of people working in government or for companies heavily dependent on government or making products that depend on mass advertising.

  206. @Truth3

    Yeah I am amazed you have not been axed as Ron said this thread would be heavily censured.
    You seem like a paid commentator posting solely to interrupt the flow of discussions with personal profanity.
    You add nothing to the discussion or articles but vulgarity and personal attacks.
    Why do you think you should be allowed to post profanities to anyone commenting?
    You are a useless POS like a child and thinks it is cool to call people Bitch.
    Moderator help me out on this clown. Why is Truth 3 to post? Sounds like a paid troll to me.

    • Agree: Charles
    • Replies: @Truth3
  207. Anon[272] • Disclaimer says:

    While I empathize with the thought behind the proposal, introducing a level of complexity (especially one involving the steps involved in paying money) to the quasi-community here is a good way to risk it going to close to zero. Like Takis has.

    It would be a mistake to underestimate the fragility of the precise conditions that can lead to overwhelming participation as well as the wide variety of conditions that do lead to negligible participation on the internet.

    I agree with Ron’s sentiments (though, I’d be interested in knowing which type of posts he views as effluvium and which he does not).

    In a perfect World, I’d agree with his proposal. For the World that we inhabit, I think that its an unreasonable risk for not enough potential gain. Besides, whose to say that the statistical percentage of higher quality posts is not a function of a certain number of lower quality posts being published rather than an independent variable. Then again, its not my website.

  208. gman says:
    @Anonymous

    For babies, an “Unzie”

  209. FB says: • Website
    @redmudhooch

    Wow…what a gem of a comment, Hooch…

    You practically nailed ‘er down to the floorboards…

    I will just add one more thing…this site obviously caters to nuts that are obsessed with Jews…and the equally nutty Nazi fanboys…

    And to top this off there is Mr. Unz’s ‘historiography’…which is not only ridiculously ahistorical and comically pro-Nazi…but in fact perfectly in alignment with the mainstream project to to put the Soviet Union on the same level as Nazism, in terms of responsibility for the Second World War…

    Very curious that…

    For instance, the EU ‘parliament’ and other such official ‘organs’ have made many statements to that effect lately, and this revisionist ‘campaign’ has been gathering steam…this has naturally raised eyebrows in Russia at the highest level…just recently VVP gathered his entire government, plus members of civil society [including representatives of the Jewish community]…for a round-table discussion…this historical revisionism of WW2 is a big issue in Russia…have a look at this…

    Whether knowingly or not…this ‘alternative’ website is actually promoting the same agenda as the supposedly hated and ‘liberal’ EU…

    Again, very curious…this on top of the other obvious facets you have already brought out [sowing divisions along ideological and racial lines] where the tilt here is in obvious alignment with the plutocracy and their insipid agenda…

    I will add that the author Fred Reed’s latest piece here is a breath of fresh air…maybe this good ol’ boy just got tired of all the Nazi fetishism here and felt he had to speak out…good for him…

    But check out the yowls of protest and abuse from the UNZian midgets…LOL

    A very good barometer of the commentariat here really…

    Still, like I suggested earlier…maybe the solution to Mr Unz’s dilemma about money is not that far away…what’s Pierre Omidyar’s number…LOL

  210. FKA Max says: • Website
    @FB

    You are, by far, the worst commenter on this entire site and I am sooooo looking forward to either having fewer of your trashy, toxic comments be published or having Sailer, et al. be subsidized by you.

    Ever since you started commenting here regularly the the quality of the comments threads has gone down the toilet (pun intended considering your obsession with bowel movements).

    Bring it on, Mr. Unz!

    • Agree: silviosilver
    • Replies: @FB
    , @FKA Max
  211. Charles says:
    @Ron Unz

    Ron, you should display your sense of humor more often. That’s some good sarcasm!

  212. Truth3 says:
    @Fran Taubman

    [Too many off-topic personal insults on this thread.]

    • Agree: Fran Taubman
  213. FB says: • Website
    @FKA Max

    Hey MaxiPad…why so hot and bothered all of a sudden…?

    Don’t you know sensible girls don’t swim with the sharks…?

    Btw…what is it you do again…?

    For a living I mean…?

    I know you mentioned you ‘work’ at home…LOL

    • Replies: @FKA Max
    , @Ron Unz
  214. FKA Max says: • Website

    By the way,

    great new placement of the Patreon banner on the UR front page!

    [MORE]

    Mr. Unz,

    I think your site will receive more financial support and patrons if you have a permanent link to the Unz Review Patreon page on/in the sidebar, maybe underneath the “Follow Us” buttons/options?

    https://www.unz.com/announcement/expanding-our-coverage/#comment-2615158

  215. FKA Max says: • Website
    @FKA Max

    I think I changed my mind.

    Maybe just free 10 comments a month is the way to go.

    That would reduce “FB”‘s free comments to just 120 annually.

    With the more generous commenting approach:

    Perhaps the first ten comments every month would be entirely free of charge. After that, users could either start paying $1 per comment, or be restricted to just one free comment per day. Under this structure, even the most impoverished or stingiest reader could still publish nearly 40 comments per month without paying anything, and 40 comments per month is actually a pretty sizable number.

    he could still comment up to 480 free comments of his toxic sludge per annum.

    It’s simply not worth it.

    “FB” is the worst thing that ever happened to the Unz Review, in my humble opinion.

  216. @Ron Unz

    The “Wall of Text” is a well know troll tactic. I’ve seen this done on other – more sophisticated sites – where someone will write 3 paragraphs of well written but empty verbiage, his “friend” will respond with 3 paragraphs of well written verbiage, he will respond to that with another 3 paragraphs, and so on, until almost the entire thread is unreadable.

    Nobody writes that way, unless they’re getting paid or they’re trying to derail the conversation.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  217. FKA Max says: • Website
    @FB

    It’s called FIRE, you dunce.

    These early retirees bought a Montana house with cash

    [MORE]

  218. Skeptikal says:
    @Ron Unz

    I am surprised at Ron’s lack of imagination in his reduction of all the mental activity manifested here to a value based on cramped calculations of $$/hour.

    Perhaps Ron is spending too much time obsessing about metrics and too little time appreciating the actual spirit of the site and of many who take the time and make the effort to comment here. Ron seems to have a rather low opinion of us peon commenters. More and more I am getting this vibe from his own comments on this topic.

    I am still confused as to whether his goal is to increase or reduce comments. Introducing fees will IMO inevitably reduce the number of comments and possible viewers. Perhaps that is Ron’s goal.

    Yet Ron uses the growing number of users metric as obvious evidence of the success of UR.

    And, surely Ron grasps that more comments = more pairs of eyes for sale = more money from Google Ads.

    • Agree: Desert Fox
    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  219. Ron Unz says:
    @Honesthughgrant

    The “Wall of Text” is a well know troll tactic. I’ve seen this done on other – more sophisticated sites – where someone will write 3 paragraphs of well written but empty verbiage, his “friend” will respond with 3 paragraphs of well written verbiage, he will respond to that with another 3 paragraphs, and so on, until almost the entire thread is unreadable.

    Actually, this commenting system contains some means of mitigating that tactic, given that replies are dynamically-linked to the comments they address, threads can be filtered, and such trolls put on an Ignore list.

    The problem is that I’m just not sure how many of the typical readers are aware of those powerful tools…

  220. Ron Unz says:
    @FB

    Hey MaxiPad…why so hot and bothered all of a sudden…?

    Don’t you know sensible girls don’t swim with the sharks…?

    I think all the casual back-and-forth insults on this and other threads tends to demonstrate the benefits of a $1 per comment fee…

    Either such insults would become far fewer in number, or our website would benefit from a copious infusion of funds.

    And to the extent that the quarrelsome commenters all appreciate the website just as much as they detest each other, they would be able to feel confident that their (slightly expensive) insults were being made in a good cause.

    • Agree: Fran Taubman, FKA Max
    • LOL: FB
    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  221. Ron Unz says:
    @Skeptikal

    Perhaps Ron is spending too much time obsessing about metrics and too little time appreciating the actual spirit of the site and of many who take the time and make the effort to comment here. Ron seems to have a rather low opinion of us peon commenters. More and more I am getting this vibe from his own comments on this topic.

    Well, I have a high regard for some commenters but a low regard for many others…

    I recall you were very recently celebrating JFK as the greatest, most perfect humanitarian-idol who’d ever walked the face of the earth and who would have established worldwide peace if not for his cruel martyrdom. I’m hardly a great JFK expert, but there seems a massive quantity of solid evidence on the other side, not least the fact that everyone agrees that we came closest to global nuclear war under his administration.

    But just out of curiosity, I clicked on your Commenter Archive, and noticed that you had just seemed to endorse the 9/11 theories of Dr. Judy Wood, who claims that the WTC was destroyed by a totally mysterious directed-energy weapon, perhaps borrowed from the Martians. I think about 99% of the leading 9/11 Truthers regard her as a total lunatic, and perhaps even an agent of disinformation.

    So if I implement my proposal and you refuse to pay anything, you’d be limited to 40 or fewer comments per month…and I’d say that’s perfectly fine with me.

    • Replies: @Desert Fox
    , @Skeptikal
  222. @Ron Unz

    ‘I think all the casual back-and-forth insults on this and other threads tends to demonstrate the benefits of a $1 per comment fee…’

    Meh. First off, there is the ‘ignore commentator’ button. I find that quite handy myself.

    Second, there’s nothing wrong with a casual, not particular substantial interjection. It’s part of ordinary conversation. But even as it is, I find myself avoiding them now; there goes one of my three comments.

    If it’s going to come off my forty comments a month quota, well…

    So much for conversation. Each thread will be followed by a few mini-essays, usually not related to each other at all.

    It’d help if we were clear on what you wanted here. Do you want some of us to post less? Do you want revenue? What?

    I can tell you right now. No one is going to pay a dollar a post. You might as well just declare a forty post a month limit, because that’s what’ll it amount to.

    • Replies: @FB
  223. Anon[361] • Disclaimer says:

    Ron,

    Are members of the Hasbara Crew generally Good Commentators or Bad Commentators?

    Are members of the the Nazi Crew generally Good Commentators or Bad Commentators?

    Is middle-of-the-road political commentary generally seen as favorable in comparison,

    is pure concision favorable, and/or is

    any meaningful content favorable no matter the length?

    Genuinely curious for any/all.

    Given the controversy that unfavorable commentary has caused, I see these as fair questions.

    Last, what’s your personal political orientation for the Jew/Gentile conflict? I believe that this question also has clarifying value in terms of the perceived value of comments here. To wit, if some commentators knew your explicitly stated views, apart from your articles, then perhaps some self editing would take place.

    Extrapolated commentary is welcome.

  224. FB says: • Website
    @Colin Wright

    Mr Unz sounds a little cranky…perhaps he’s been reading too many comments…LOL

    Which would be kind of ironic, since ‘no one reads the comments’…according to Mr Unz [except, of course Mr Unz…who seems to have read all forty billion of them]…

    Who really knows what he wants…or if even he knows what he wants…

    But I look forward to occasionally scanning this site under this goofy new ‘regime’ and taking in the wreckage of it all…

    I recall the last time Mr Unz got into a silly little tussle with a commenter…it was about the trivial fact that this guy was posting too enthusiastically…in a particular spurt of activity the moderators stepped in and told him he was being put on a ‘diet’ of only so many comments per hour…

    Later Mr Unz codified this into law…and this poor fellow [Jacques Sheepe]…who was in fact an interesting conversationalist, left in huff…swearing he would never be back…and he’s been true to his word…a loss for the commenting section and for Mr Unz…[but surely not for the esteemed Monsieur Sheepe…]

    But then who really knows what Mr Unz’s real aims and objectives are…his extreme anxiety now curiously reminds of one Dr Frankenstein, who quickly became quite disenchanted with his triumphant creation…

  225. @Colin Wright

    Fran Taubmann has a sense of humour.
    Who’d a’ thunk so.

  226. I wholeheartedly support this idea, to charge for comments. It would eliminate the Russian, Asian and domestic government trolls, while greatly improving the quality of the discussions here.

    I would be willing to pay anything less than $5.01 per comment, and I think comments with pictures should pay a mandatory minimum of $10 for images sized 640×480 or smaller, just because of how annoying it is to see the page cluttered with images, often in extremely poor taste. Comments with multiple pictures should exponentially increase in surcharge; i.e. 2 pictures is $30, 3 pictures is $90, etc.

    • LOL: Ron Unz, mark green
  227. @FB

    who makes up completely bogus ‘statistics’ out of whole cloth on a regular basis…

    FTR, here is the context for anyone interested: https://www.unz.com/akarlin/russia-fertility-trends/#comment-3593645

    You can lead the horse to water…

    • Replies: @FB
  228. Wade says:

    Think these are excellent suggestions. I would *hate* to find these articles, especially the American Pravda series behind a paywall one day. Charging for comments would be much better. And just before I read the paragraph suggesting a method of remuneration be offered for valuable commenters, the following method occurred to me to mitigate against the risk losing their comments as a result of having to pay:

    You could use your “agree” feature (which is already limited and regulated) as an indicator of whether or not a comment should be charged at all. If there are 1 or more “agrees” (or perhaps 2 or more), it doesn’t get charged. Of course if the person’s comment had already been charged, credit could be offered that user’s account for their next comment.

    I might not opt to pay commenters directly. However, I would be careful to reserve my allotted “agrees” for commenters who I very much like in general to help them out.

    • Replies: @Wade
  229. An increase in the comment area’s quality and focus will bring with it some increased attractivity to the site, and a consequent increase in readership. Also, it might make the site more advertiser-friendly.

    Some people derive a website’s evaluation from the evaluation of its most conspicuous readers. If it is possible to curb in some manner some of the less brilliant, or less disciplined, commenters who gather at a website, that will contribute to an improvement of that website’s image, as well as that of its individual writers.

    • Agree: Fran Taubman
  230. Wade says:
    @Wade

    …of course, offering credit to users for their comments where users “agreed” could be utilized no matter what the payment scheme happened to be.

  231. @Ron Unz

    Dr. Judy Woods DEW theory is not mysterious and has been used by the deep state in other ways in the ZUS and the real disinformation is coming from people who trash her research.

  232. FB says: • Website
    @Anatoly Karlin

    The so-called ‘source’ you linked to on the Russian government statistics site only goes to 2017…but you claimed it showed results for 2018 and 2019…which it doesn’t…so you are blatantly lying…I can post screenshots to prove it…as well as the links…

    Why don’t you go ahead and take this opportunity here to try to clear your name…it would be very simple just go ahead and point to the Russian data on births from 2018 and 2019 from that Russian statistics website you linked to…

    Go ahead…make my day…

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
  233. You can’t win.

    In the face of Mr. Unz’s sphinx-like failure to say exactly what it is he wants, the assumption would have to be that we’re to slug it out until a consensus emerges.

    The difficulty with that is that one only has a say if one keeps posting. So while it would be nice if one could state one’s opinion and just go to other things, that’s not how i’s going to work.

    The ‘consensus’ will be created by those who repeat themselves. Fine, I’ll repeat myself. I think charging per post is a bad idea — and somewhat hypocritical, as at least for most people, it’ll simply create a limit on posts. Few are going to pay to post. I also can’t see the objection to ‘too many posts.’ To take an extreme example, Wally’s repetitious denunciations of ‘Holocaust acceptance’ don’t bother me. I just screen them out. Hopefully, imitators won’t appear, but it’s really not a big deal.

    As to what I’d prefer, here are my preferences, more or less in order.

    1. Limited ads. Ads don’t have to be intrusive. See ‘Dave’s Garden’ (a website I also frequent, in one of my other avatars.) I had to go check to see if it had ads. It does; it’s just that I’d never noticed them.

    2. Limited free access – like ten visits to articles and comment columns per month. Then a flat fee for access past that point.

    • Agree: Fran Taubman
    • Disagree: Sam Coulton
  234. Skeptikal says:
    @Ron Unz

    “you were very recently celebrating JFK as the greatest, most perfect humanitarian-idol who’d ever walked the face of the earth and who would have established worldwide peace if not for his cruel martyrdom. ”

    This snarky paraphrase is obviously intended to ridicule me and what I actually wrote. At the time I protested your twisting of what I wrote, and taking it out of context. Quite apart from the fact that there is strong evidence that JFK wanted to end the Cold War, which I cited. So, bottom line is that this is a point for debate. But your snarky-paraphrase style is not a debate style. It is an attack style.

    “just seemed to endorse the 9/11 theories of Dr. Judy Wood,”

    I did not “endorse” her theories, and you know it. Hence you insert “seemed.”
    I said that I had always been skeptical or her but had been “dumbfounded” by what she presented on her video.

    Your paraphrases of what I actually wrote are pure snark.
    Your points would be made more convincingly if you actually quoted instead of paraphrasing to produce snark, exaggerations, and distortions. This is akin to running down a point of view by crying “conspiracy theory” instead of actually debating the merits, which you also do.
    Shortcuts with obvious rhetorical intent.
    However, you are not trying to make any substantive points on the subject matter. Your “postitions” are a priori. You are using your control post to put me down.
    Obviously people you disagree with, or think you disagree with, get the snark treatment.
    My comments on this thread do seem to be getting your goat!

    • Agree: Dissident
    • Replies: @Desert Fox
  235. Skeptikal says:
    @Colin Wright

    “You can’t win.”

    IMO Mr Unz is playing a little “Panopticon” game.

  236. @Skeptikal

    JFK was going to remove all advisors from Vietnam and told this to Mike Mansfield senator from my state of Montana, this was stopped by his assassination. JFK was going to bypass the zionist owned FED by his executive order 11110 which is still on the books, but again his assassination ended this.

    JFK was the last patriot Potus, and America has never been the same since his assassination.

  237. @Colin Wright

    People will pay to make comments. It will be irresistible, like an addict’s need for a fix. Let’s face it, the amount of time people spend here is indicative of dopamine addiction, and the extreme hostility and obsessiveness from people like FB indicates a deep seated emotional investment in making your disagreements heard. The “pay per comment” policy puts a temporary “block” on your serotonin reuptake, acting like a form of withdrawal, forcing you to pay to make sure your opponents don’t get to control the narrative, and your sense of wellbeing restored. I guarantee everybody will pay. They will pay big. And those who can’t, such as government trolls like FB, will crash and burn hard, possibly resorting to prostitution as a source of cash.

    • Agree: AaronB
    • LOL: FKA Max
    • Replies: @German_reader
  238. @Sam Coulton

    And those who can’t, such as government trolls like FB

    Why would a “government troll” (I suppose that means one of those “paid trolls” of Ron Unz’ imagination) be unable to pay? If any government agency takes to trouble to launch an organized troll operation on Unz review (which I very much doubt), it surely would be trivial for them to come up with the necessary funds.
    Making commenters pay for comments will however drive away other users, who are unable or unwilling to spend money on Unz review. So if “paid trolls” do indeed exist, they could actually become more dominant in the comments sections.

  239. My wife wants me to stop commenting on this site , as she believes that it led to me getting the dreaded “SSSS” printed on my boarding pass ( for the second consecutive time )and thus an enhanced security screening before flying from Zurich to the US , even though I am an American citizen .

  240. Ron Unz says:
    @Colin Wright

    As to what I’d prefer, here are my preferences, more or less in order…

    2. Limited free access – like ten visits to articles and comment columns per month. Then a flat fee for access past that point.

    Well, I can’t entirely say whether my comment-charging proposal will work, but I think your suggestion is an *appallingly* bad idea by comparison…

    Here are a few simple facts:

    (1) Only something like 2% of the monthly visitors to the website leave any comments at all.

    (2) Based on a 10+1 per day free comment limit, I’d estimate that only about 0.1% of our monthly visitors would ever be impacted. The rest wouldn’t even be aware that anything had changed.

    (3) Even if the tiny number of impacted heavy commenters became angry and cut their readership of the website by 50%, I doubt our total traffic would drop by more than 1-2%.

    (4) By contrast, if we charged readers rather than commenters and set up a paywall for anyone who looks at more than 10 articles per month, I wouldn’t be surprised if our traffic dropped by 20-30%. After all, we’d be massively impacting the 99.9% of non-heavy commenters, and that surely would have a major impact.

    (5) Personally, I enjoy reading comments, taking a break now and then during the day to browse some of them. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I read more comments each day than 99% of our visitors, perhaps closer to 99.9%. But even that only amounts to a pretty small fraction of the total comments.

    (6) Only about 5% of our heaviest commenters would be impacted at all by a 10+1/day rule, so I’d be rather surprised if it reduced the total number of comments by more than about 20-30%, with most of the losses coming from the less valuable ones (e.g. stupid insults). But even if the total volume of the comments I regard as so-so or worthless dropped by 40-50%, I don’t see why I’d mind, and perhaps the threads would even be improved. That’s just a sample of one, but I’d suspect it would match the reaction of a good fraction of the 98% of readers who don’t leave comments.

    (7) Various prominent people over the years have sometimes complained to me about the comments on this website. I’m reluctant to censor them, but if some of those badly-behaving commenters are such incredible cheapskates that they refuse to pay a modest fee after getting up to 40 free comments each month, I’d say they’re just censoring themselves…

  241. @German_reader

    Are you kidding me?

    5 US dollars is a massive amount, especually for foreigners. Those comments add up. Troll armies operate on very limited funds; it’s essentially a glorified form of welfare.

    • Replies: @German_reader
  242. Art says:

    A compromise.

    There are maybe five new articles every day posted on anz.com. If people get only one free comment a day, then the other four authors will not get the attention they deserve.

    The proposal is that every article be allowed two free comments from everyone. After the individuals initial commentaries, all further comments on the article – will cost.

    This would be fair to the article authors and their different subjects. The first comment can make a statement and the second can correct, embellish, and answer retorts. Most comments that come after the initial remarks – turn into a quarrelsome dog fight, that offers little of substance.

  243. stevecel says:

    Paid trolls will have their fees subsidized. Perhaps Ron can do some detective work and trace these payments back to their masters, but why bother?

    The other point Ron puts forward about this site being too big and too bad for the powers that be to take on is… well, think for yourself.

    I’m still looking for the smart fraction of whites that aren’t too busy gorging themselves on the feeding frenzy of modern American empire and have the moral and intellectual balls to take a stand. If what is proffered here on Unz is representative of that fraction, however, there is no hope.

  244. @Ron Unz

    Perhaps. However, is your goal to raise money or to limit comments?

    If the latter, obviously a simple forty comments per month rule would meet the case.

    If the former, I suspect very few are going to pay; I wouldn’t anyway. Those who do pay may indeed be solely the fabled paid trolls; after all, the added costs would be modest compared to their salaries.

    I could be wrong about this last — and you can certainly try things out and see. However, presumably you don’t want to raise a thousand dollars a month at the cost of letting the Zionists (or whoever) ride high, wide, and handsome across the threads.

    I frankly don’t see the problem with too many posts. Of course, being one of the worst offenders, I wouldn’t. However, none of the other prolific posters really bother me anyway — anyone who does, I set them to ‘ignore’ — and voila.

    They go away. Problem solved.

    I guess my point boils to (a) I want to be able to post all I want to for free, and (b) if the idea is to raise money, my prediction is that charging per post won’t work.

    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @silviosilver
    , @Ron Unz
  245. Skeptikal says:

    A factoid that I find *thought-provoking* is that Mr. Unz is cogitating on ways to charge users of his blog, whweas in the past he ran a campaign for a seat on the Harvard University board of overseers on a platform of free tuition for all Harvard students.

    For more on “Harvard Should Be Free for All Student”:
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/12100959/Harvard-should-be-free-for-all-students-says-businessman-campaigning-for-board.html

    Mr. Unz argumed that Harvard can afford free tuition for all , and that those who rejected this view —because uses of most of the $38 billion endowment and the income it generates plus new annual fundraising was earmarked by the endowers— were talking “nonsense.” Mr. Unz averred that making tuition free for all would improve the quality of the Harvard student body.

    Mr. Unz stated that Harvard minus the students was basically just a hedge fund.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
    , @Skeptikal
  246. @FB

    Your inability to make a couple of mouse clicks (as described) is not my problem.

    • Replies: @FB
  247. @Sam Coulton

    5 Dollars per comment?
    Lol, why not just close all of the comments sections down, would be more honest.
    And actually I’d say, anyone willing to pay 5 Dollars per comment would have to be a “paid troll”, because who in his right mind would be willing to spend so much of his own money for the “privilege” of writing a comment here? One would either have to be a masochist nutcase who enjoys throwing money away or be able to spend someone else’s money, as “paid trolls” supposedly are.
    Anyway, I think this is all a very bad idea and will destroy the best aspects of Unz review, but since Ron Unz seems to regard most commenters as unwashed proles and a nuisance, there’s probably nothing to be done about it.

  248. FB says: • Website
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Oh I can make mouseclicks alright…but the fact remains you are full of shit…

    Like I said…go to that link and pull up the data for 2018 and 2019, which you claim is there…then take a screenshot…

    Or shall I do it for you…?

    Your ‘problem’ is of an entirely different sort…making up ‘statistics’ and hiding behind foreign language links that don’t say what you claim is not what real writers do…

    You’re pathetic…

  249. @Ron Unz

    No matter how hard you try Ron, you are going to have to square up and censure the insulting, vulgar and deranged.
    Those people bring the site down and and stop intelligent debate. level. If you want to advance the quality of your site they have to go.
    If you want (and I am not sure about how you feel) want commenters to agree with your point of view, like PG. who has banned pro Zionist commentators. The comments depress into alll WN, some incoherent an mixed with a Brother Nathaniel love feast. Uh

    • Replies: @Anon
  250. The poorer commenters can pull themselves up by their bootstraps. It’s the American way.

  251. FKA Max says: • Website
    3609801

    The new commenting policy won’t eliminate them, imo, but at least they (the paid/government or NGO (ADL,etc.) established trolls) will have to pay or UR will be flooded by new and anonymous commenters that take full advantage of the free monthly comments.

    A way to prevent this from happening could be that anonymous commenters are only allowed 10 free (or maybe even fewer) comments per month, while “registered” commenters are given the 10 free + 1 free daily comments per month option.

    Mr. Unz should also consider giving special, customized exemptions/dispensations of maybe 75 or 100 free monthly comments to commenters he personally likes and deems high-quality.

    Nobody would know who he chose, because commenters who were to comment 40+ times a month could be paying for the privilege.

  252. @Ron Unz

    I honestly don’t mind if I can pay with those anon prepaid cc. Even if couple of hundred per year.

    Only true free place on the net IMO. If I can help in anyway, sure.

  253. anon[113] • Disclaimer says:
    @AnonAnon

    Great comment, especially this:

    I don’t understand why you can’t just add advertising and offer an ad-free version for a fee if revenue is the primary problem.

    By confusing revenue with the moderation problem, Ron has proposed a compromise that serves both questions poorly. I’ve never understood his penchant for “longer, nuanced” posts. As said above, let those writers post their own article, if they deserve it. Otherwise, limiting comments by number will curtail meaningful exchanges.

    Recently there were some ads, laced into the comment threads. An experiment? There must have been some protest, b/c they soon stopped. The initial surprise was a little jarring, but they weren’t so bad. You just needed to scroll by them, (like Wally’s comments). Ron should try some discreet ads in the articles, like the insets for books. (Do the authors pay to have their books plugged in their articles?)

    As to the moderation, as someone stated, Unz doesn’t enforce the rules they already have, and I believe that policy comes from the top. Many writers would police their threads more sternly – if they were allowed. Remember the much maligned Razib Khan? His subject wasn’t of interest to me, but he ran an admirably tight ship. It meant people who had anything pertinent to add could do so, uncluttered.

  254. Miro23 says:
    @Ron Unz

    Would I have entered the (a.)-(b.)-(c.) continuum if there were any kind of paywall system? Much less likely. I would dare say, No.

    That’s exactly why I’d probably be keeping the first ten comments free each month. The average casual visitor probably reads an article or two, and maybe leaves couple of comments at most. Maybe he comes back a few days later and does the same thing. So he never even realizes there’s any cost.
    My guess is he’s already left 10-15 comments and spent quite a lot of time here before he even discovers there’s any sort of paywall. So in effect, he’s already reached (c) or even perhaps (b) by then.

    Good system.

  255. Miro23 says:
    @Vaterland

    … the easiest way is to bring some reader competition options to this site as additions to major articles. For example: regarding the Understanding World War 2 or Post War Germany articles, you could ask for articles from your readers on a military or civilian victim perspectives from the German/Axis side and personally select an article or two to be published, linked to the original article itself.

    I don’t think that this is necessary. The WW2 series attracted loads of comments from every POV without the need for formalization.

    Personally, I don’t have many doubts that Barbarossa was part of Hitler’s Eastern race based Imperial lebensraum project – with a restricted time window due to Russian industrial development – but the articles and plenty of commenters here would disagree – which is OK and makes for interesting reading.

  256. JackOH says:

    Saw that Patreon emblem. I’ll send something.

    Unz Review‘s literary merit. Compelling, iconoclastic theses. Ron at his best is a deft stylist with difficult material. Sailer’s “noticings” point to a wobbly, absurd America.

    The best comments throw a spotlight on subject matter with examples derived from personal experience or personal expertise. A few comments are soul-searing at a human level, and seem to me cries for political relief. Some few comments are aphoristic gems.

    Maybe an enterprising English lit person could profitably look at Unz Review.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  257. Miro23 says:
    @Colin Wright

    I don’t simply sit around inert if I’m not making money. I do something. So I write this comment — not because the time spent has monetary value, but because I’d rather do this than look at a You Tube video, or read, or go shopping for interesting radish seeds, or learn about field dressing deer, or trim my toenails, or whatever. I no more expect to be paid for this post — or to pay for it — than I expect to be paid for reading about the merits of French breakfast radishes.

    Yes, but I suppose that you are willing to pay for some leisure activities. There are whole industries based on paid for leisure activities.

  258. Miro23 says:
    @utu

    It is not about money. Your sole objective is to increase the quality and reduce the quantity of comments.

    It may not be all about money – but a pub does have some running costs – and the right to exclude people who bother other visitors. Ron’s proposed system isapparently to allow anyone to come in and only charge them for their repeat discourses, which is quite generous since they get their first discourses (drinks) free.

    If you can’t afford a drink, don’t visit to the pub.

  259. @Desert Fox

    I do not want to pay to comment, and if required to do so, will continue to read others comments but will stop commenting on this site.

    See, Ron? Your plan to rid the site of trollish, obsessive types is working before it’s even implemented.

    (“The wicked flee when no man pursueth…”)

    • Agree: Ron Unz
    • Replies: @Desert Fox
  260. “Please be gentle. It’s my first time.” Anon

    There seems to be enough support to prevent free speech that prevents fair speech.

    The proposed pay to play system have the disadvantages of the hassle of payment administration for both users and site, the risk and fear regarding privacy, and mainly, the aversion that many cheapskates, poor or the principled have, to pay for the privilege of being brainwashed or for brainwashing others. Furthermore, the effect of payment can be grossly unequal for players, as well as counterproductive, penalizing the sincere commenters more than the sponsored or committed saboteurs, as others have already pointed out.

    A penalty system that avoids the above disadvantages is to expose the transgressors internally. Simply publish a commenter’s factual record next to its name at each post, containing the information which you consider pertinent to out the culprit: A “reputation score”. For example,

    Commenter 7/20/500 – where 7 indicates its number of comments for that thread, 20 for comments per time period, and 500 total comments per year or since inception. Or whatever you consider pertinent information, which you expect will empower the “discerning” users of your site to protect themselves against the evil and enable them to kindly prod the culprit to desist, since hogging the conversations and minds of men is naughty.

    Also, add the tags of “Deviation”, and “Repetition” for comments that are mainly of that nature – where “Repetition” also means repeating others’ points – not to mention ones own! Then, perhaps, also add that to the reputation score on those important issues, rather than the silly “Agree” or “Disagree” tags, which is about as debate informative as “Lol”. Lol. For my money, the exclusion of repetitive and deviating comments will benefit and shorten the comments section more than excluding the trolls or trash. This threat is a case in point.

    It requires some programming, but then it is over to the readers to protect themselves and to some commenters to justify their undesirable behaviour by a process reminiscent of democracy, which also empowers the dumb**** mob to “Release Barabbas!” Lol. No, I am not crying – yet.

    Good luck and thanks for your chivalrous attempt at fairer speech for all.

  261. Ron Unz says:
    @Skeptikal

    A factoid that I find *thought-provoking* is that Mr. Unz is cogitating on ways to charge users of his blog, whweas in the past he ran a campaign for a seat on the Harvard University board of overseers on a platform of free tuition for all Harvard students….Mr. Unz argumed that Harvard can afford free tuition for all , and that those who rejected this view —because uses of most of the $38 billion endowment and the income it generates plus new annual fundraising was earmarked by the endowers— were talking “nonsense.”

    Sure. And if I were proposing to charge commenters $50,000 per year despite this webzine having a $38 billion endowment, your point would make perfect sense…

  262. Ron Unz says:
    @JackOH

    Saw that Patreon emblem.

    Yes. We actually added a Patreon option about a year ago, with the links at the bottom of every article, but apparently few people noticed it. Someone who hadn’t been aware of it suggested a few days ago that I should make it much more visible on the Sidebar, so I did.

  263. @Colin Wright

    I frankly don’t see the problem with too many posts. Of course, being one of the worst offenders, I wouldn’t.

    Colin, I would like to inform you that, based on my use of the search tool linked above, as of this posting you are sitting in second place as the most prolific poster on Unz.com for 2019, only 71 posts behind first placed Jack D (out of all the regular commenter names I could think to check). Just six posts a day a more than your average this year and you can claim first place. Come on man, do it for Team Goy!

  264. Skeptikal says:
    @Skeptikal

    Obviously, UR is not a $38 billion-dollar corporation.
    My main point in this context—and I believe Ron Unz’s in his free tuition proposal for Harvard and other unis–is his assertion that free tuition would increase the quality of the student body. Quality of commenters and comments seems to be one of RU’s preoccupations.

    However, the exact problem to solve is still not clear. In order to find a solution to a problem through experimentation, one must isolate the problem to be solved.

    If the problem is financial, present a budget and a goal for fundraising, run a fundraiser, and see if enough $$ come in that way.

    If the problem is quality of comments, either moderate, or keep it free and [see above]. In fact, if the absolute number of comments and commenters is increasing, presumably the number of good-quality comments will also increase along with the volume, even though there will also be more trash, since there is no moderation (as in university admissions).

  265. @silviosilver

    Telling the truth in a world of deceit is a revolutionary act – George Orwell

  266. It does seem awfully cheap to refuse to pay a measly buck, but I guess us humans are just funny that way. I have been in countries that charged to use public rest rooms. It was much less than 1 euro per use, but there was something about having to pay that bugged me out of all proportion to the cost involved. That reaction is particularly weird considering I only ever found myself in a situation where I had to pay that charge perhaps three or four times at most – ie it’s not something I was forking out for daily.

  267. I’m still unsure what the reason for the proposed payment scheme would be. I don’t think many people will pay for the privilege of commenting, I certainly won’t. Not because I’m a cheapskate (though maybe I am), but because I (and I assume most heavy commenters) visited the sites mostly as a discussion forum, reading other comments and reacting to them. I considered my comments relatively valuable (not all of them, of course), at least in terms of attracting similar commenters (I’m not sure if anyone else but the heavy commenters read most of my comments – are there people regularly reading comments who don’t comment themselves..?), and I’d find it frivolous to pay to the website for the privilege of providing content for it. (Not to mention, the vast majority of my commenting activity was under just a couple authors, in recent years almost exclusively the Karlin blog, and before that, the Sailer blog. Though I consider some other authors good as well, I would certainly not be willing to pay for the majority of the authors, whom I hardly ever read. And I have already supported and will continue to support these two authors.) As you’ve pointed out, heavy commenters already spend a lot of time and effort at creating content for the site, having to pay for it would be a step too far. I think I have already spent way too much time at this site, so it would just be an incentive to reduce my presence. One reason for that is that I suspect most other heavy commenters will do likewise, and so the website will be accordingly less interesting.

    Regarding income for the site in general. (I’m not very familiar with how internet companies generate revenues, so maybe I’m hopelessly naive of just plain wrong on some of my proposals, for which I ask for forgiveness.)

    I asked Ron Unz some time ago how I could support the site, and he told me to support the writers directly, which I had already done and have continued to do. As the fact I asked the question indicates, I was open to contribute to it (including operating costs for the sites, not just the writers), but such a scheme is something I wouldn’t support out of principle. Since, as I wrote, I’m mostly here for the other comments, I wouldn’t want to participate in a scheme which punishes them. I happen to know of at least one commenter who couldn’t afford to spend any money on the site (having problems paying his bills anyway).

    However, setting up a PayPal account for the site might cost next to nothing, and perhaps you’d receive some income from there. (Probably meagre, but then again, the expected revenue from the pay-for-comment scheme will also be meagre anyway.) I just noticed there’s a Patreon link next to each article (I guess they aren’t available from the mobile site, which is like over 95% of my usage), though I don’t have a Patreon account, and I’d wait to set up one until this pay for comment issue is sorted out.

    One obvious way to generate some income would be to sell the commenting software (it’s genuinely the best commenting system out there, which is one reason I’m baffled by this proposal), but you mentioned some time ago that it’s totally intermingled with the rest of the code, so there’s no way this could be done. (Though it shows that the site was developed without having in mind a possible future income stream.)

    Another, even more obvious, is to simply have ads. I don’t really understand why they were discontinued. They were slightly annoying, but not very much.

    Once you have ads, you can sell membership for an adfree view. Membership could have a few other perks, like unlimited (or practically unlimited, like 10 per hour) agree buttons. It could have an optional badge – though it’s against Christian principles, some people are willing to support the community more if they can advertise it within the community. (For privacy reasons, some might abstain from it here, though.)

    I would certainly consider such a model not only acceptable, but something which would harm no-one, while generating probably at least as much revenue as the pay-per-comment scheme.

    But it’s obviously called the Unz Review and not the reiner Tor Review for a reason, so I guess it’s not me who is making the decisions.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @Hail
    , @Elsewhere
  268. Skeptikal says:
    @silviosilver

    Well, I agree with (most of ) Colin’s comments.
    He seems to be animated by a spirit of common sense.

  269. @silviosilver

    Though I don’t agree with JackD on many issues (not only the JQ), he also has many quality comments. I would certainly consider it a loss to any blog if he was lost as a commenter.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  270. utu says:
    @reiner Tor

    “…One obvious way to generate some income would be to sell the commenting software (it’s genuinely the best commenting system out there…” – Agree. This occurred ago some time ago when I came to similar conclusion that this indeed is the best commenting system I have encountered.

  271. Hail says: • Website
    @reiner Tor

    are there people regularly reading comments who don’t comment themselves..?

    I recall from discussion forums in the 2000s, administrators found the usual ratio to be a minimum of 10-to-1 — that is, 10 regular/active readers who never posted, for every 1 person who ever posted. If a forum had 500 people somewhat regularly posting, that meant a minimum of 5,000 people doing regular, heavy reading but otherwise quiet (lurking).

    This hypothetical 5,000 figure does not even include the many thousands who, over time, eventually read a given post, having surfed in from searches or links looking for something specific. The core community of regular readers will have at least that 90% lurker rate. This was true of the old discussion forums, and I don’t see why it would be so different fundamentally for this venue, large parts of which resemble (as you say) a discussion forum. Some of Steve Sailer’s posts are literally one line, or even just one word (“Thoughts?”), and these can elicit hundreds of replies, at least dozens of which are genuinely insightful.

    [pay-to-comment] would just be an incentive to reduce my presence. … I suspect most other heavy commenters will do likewise, and so the website will be accordingly less interesting

    It’s also worth saying here that while the heaviest commenters, who would reduce their presence under the proposed new regime, are a very small number, the content they collectively contribute may be attracting a much larger number of lurkers, keeping them coming back, and so if total commenter activity is reduced by a third or whatever it is, it may cause a lot of comment-reading lurkers (i.e., high-engagement readers) to also drop away, in time. In other words, the proposed new regime may not only affect the heaviest commenters, but have a “multiplier” effect — of unknown magnitude. I think this point has been made in various ways in this thread, by others, but here it is again anyway.

    People “lurk” for their own reasons — all different kinds of reasons. Since we don’t hear from lurkers, it’s hard to know what they’re thinking, but the above speculations seem on the better side of possible, to me.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  272. Elsewhere says:
    @reiner Tor

    are there people regularly reading comments who don’t comment themselves..?)

    Yes. I read most of the comments on Sailer’s blog and some on select posts of others, if the thread is not too long. I hardly comment because usually others get in first with what I might say and do a better job of it. Another commenter talked about the same lurking strategy, so I think it’s common.

    I don’t regularly read the columns that don’t allow comments. It’s a reason why I don’t read VDare much — no comments allowed. I like the idea that on Unz I could comment, and I like to read what others think.

  273. Ron Unz says:
    @Hail

    I recall from discussion forums in the 2000s, administrators found the usual ratio to be a minimum of 10-to-1 — that is, 10 regular/active readers who never posted, for every 1 person who ever posted. If a forum had 500 people somewhat regularly posting, that meant a minimum of 5,000 people doing regular, heavy reading but otherwise quiet (lurking).

    Actually, I provided some approximate statistics upthread, which suggest the ratios on this website are far more skewed than that:

    https://www.unz.com/announcement/charging-for-comments/#comment-3609432

    During a given month, only about 2% of visitors leave even a single comment. More importantly, only about 0.1% of visitors leave enough comments to be impacted by the payment policies I’m proposing.

    Since that 0.1% of visitors use this website far more intensely and differently than the others, they would seem the most appropriate group to target for contributing to the cost of paying salaries to our writers and other expenses. After all, if the website seems to absorb 10, 20, or 40+ of their monthly hours, it’s apparent that it’s worth something to them and they should contribute to its support, especially since up to 40 comments per month should still be free.

    Explicitly or implicitly (i.e. advertising) charging people for merely reading our content would probably be more contrary to our stated mission, and if advertising revenue became substantial I’d suspect that the ADL or whomever would demand increasing censorship of articles and comments for it to continue. Anyway, ads annoy me and lots of other people.

    As far as I can tell, only a very small slice of our readers spend any significant time looking at our comments, though heavy commenters may naturally believe otherwise. After all, they are a 0.1% sub-sample with sharply different characteristics.

    Anyway, we now get almost 50,000 comments per month. Suppose the a new policy reduced that to 40,000, while somewhat improving the quality by substantially reducing some of the worst and most repetitive ones. Would the subset of readers who enjoy comments be so unhappy that they’d sharply reduce their visits to the website?

    Obviously, my analysis is largely speculative, and I won’t really know until we try things out and see what happens…

    • Troll: iffen
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    , @reiner Tor
    , @nsa
  274. Anon[199] • Disclaimer says:
    @Fran Taubman

    Disagree, because the quality of Ron’s website is a function of the quality of Ron’s articles, (and to a lesser extent, the quality of other articles posted) not a function of comments.

    Ron’s articles are high ranking in my opinion, and that makes his website high ranking, high quality.

    Commenters of poor taste do not bring Ron’s outstanding high quality down in any way.

  275. @Ron Unz

    Anyway, we now get almost 50,000 comments per month. Suppose the a new policy reduced that to 40,000, while somewhat improving the quality

    What makes you think that heavy commenters are of worse quality than low volume commenters? I have seen no evidence of this. I would have guessed the opposite, but now that I think about it, I’m aware of a number of infrequent, yet high quality, commenters, so I just don’t know. But probably neither do you or anyone else.

    As far as I can tell, only a very small slice of our readers spend any significant time looking at our comments, though heavy commenters may naturally believe otherwise. After all, they are a 0.1% sub-sample with sharply different characteristics.

    I don’t normally assume that many people will read my comments (I have something like 5-10 readers in mind, but sometimes, especially when writing into a 400+ large comment thread, I assume it’s only the few commenters still making comments there who read it, often probably just the one commenter I’m replying to), but some people here made the point that on comment boards it’s usually several times the commenters (at least 10 times, and perhaps more), so maybe hundreds of people read any one of my comments. In other words, if that is true, then I’m actually a content provider for your site (and not just for my, also heavy commenter, interlocutors), in which case it stands to reason that I could expect a salary for you. Of course, probably less than your authors, who attract a way larger readership, but maybe something like $0.01 per comment.

    if the website seems to absorb 10, 20, or 40+ of their monthly hours, it’s apparent that it’s worth something to them and they should contribute to its support, especially since up to 40 comments per month should still be free.

    As I’ve already wrote, heavy commenters will reply to other heavy commenters. Especially with Karlin’s Open Threads and Sailer’s one-sentence posts (or just one word, “Thoughts?”), it’s obvious that the commenters are content providers. Both Sailer and Karlin occasionally incorporate comments into their posts, or even make posts based on comments (it has happened to a couple of my comments already), the issue is, if heavy commenters provide content for the authors, as well as for each other, then they might actually pay for the extra expense of hosting somewhat more content.

    Since heavy commenting only makes sense if others are also participating in the discussions, it’s obvious that the new scheme will immediately reduce the value of commenting. So the end result will be less commenting.

    But as I wrote, it’s your website, your decision. I’ve recently spent more time reading books, and I’m not sure I’d be totally unhappy if, due to these changes, the temptation to get back to comment board addiction would be that much easier to control.

    • Agree: Hail
    • Replies: @AP
    , @Dumb4asterisks
  276. @Ron Unz

    By the way your reasons for the Final Solution to the Heavy Commenter Question are still unclear to me. I just suspect you won’t see much money from it, but maybe I’m wrong. It’s also strange that you haven’t thought about other ways to get money, like a fundraiser.

    Anyway, thanks for the site.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  277. @silviosilver

    ‘… Come on man, do it for Team Goy!’

    Here’s one more…

  278. Anon[109] • Disclaimer says:

    I understand Ron’s goals but share some of reiner Tor’s concerns. The site is thriving right now, but the system’s dynamics are probably complex and not entirely understood by anyone, even Ron. This could be quite fragile. I hope that any changes are introduced in a tentative and experimental way, so that negative affects are identified and curtailed before they do too much damage. Maybe changes could be tried on certain portions of the site first.

    I agree that the commenting format here is the best I’ve found on the web. Even if the specific code couldn’t be compartmentalized, perhaps the format itself could be recreated with different code and licensed to compete with Disqus.

    Of course, as Steve Sailer has pointed out, media outlets increasingly see robust comment sections as bugs rather than features. What’s the point of owning a massive megaphone if the peons can shout right back at you? It’s not a coincidence that the site with the most technically sophisticated comment sections is one that features articles about Holocaust revisionism and Pizzagate.

    • Replies: @Dissident
  279. nsa says:
    @Ron Unz

    “while somewhat improving the quality by substantially reducing some of the worst and most repetitive ones”
    Ron, A suggestion from humble nsa. Start a new column entitled “Censored….er Moderated Comments”. Unusual and censored ideas are often more entertaining than the usual “earnest” on topic comments by “informed” readers. About half your writers routinely censor comments….several even brag about it. So why not publish ALL of these censored…er moderated comments in a single separate column so everyone can judge for themselves as to the merits of the censored….er moderated ideas. Venture a guess this new column would prove to be very popular. It would also prove to be more respectful of the 1st Amendment and unusual thoughts. Even political conventions offer “free speech zones”…usually blocks away and behind chain link.

  280. Ron Unz says:
    @reiner Tor

    By the way your reasons for the Final Solution to the Heavy Commenter Question are still unclear to me. I just suspect you won’t see much money from it, but maybe I’m wrong. It’s also strange that you haven’t thought about other ways to get money, like a fundraiser.

    Well, perhaps that might raise some funds, but it wouldn’t really help in reducing the mindless clutter on many comment-threads.

    As a personal example of what I’m talking about, all five of our most heavily commented articles are my own, all but one from the American Pravda series, with each getting over 1600 comments and two of them over 2300.

    Many of the comments were excellent, but a larger number were pretty worthless, often being from the same small handful of obsessives and crackpots. As a result, the pages got so enormously large they became difficult to load and I had to close them to new comments. Moreover, those threads are still probably quite cumbersome for people to read, which is unfortunate.

    I suppose I could have just “censored” 60-70% of the comments, but this new solution would probably have worked just as well instead of “censorship.”

    I do think the commenting-system I’ve built is much better able to handle enormously long threads than anything else out there, but even it has limits.

    • Agree: Blinky Bill
    • Troll: iffen
    • Replies: @silviosilver
    , @reiner Tor
  281. @reiner Tor

    He’s quite mild mannered for a Jew-first type. I can’t help resenting his obstinate refusal to grant legitimacy to even the most reasonable critiques of Jewish behavior though. His mild manners are just the thing to beguile a nice guy like Sailer into thinking such people are his friends. I don’t think Sailer’s some total sucker or anything, but I think he lacks a killer instinct and people like that can be manipulated through an “understanding” attitude.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  282. @Ron Unz

    I think you already know who the problem posters are, so why not just outright ban them? I know they can theoretically return under a different guise, but you seem to be willing to accept something less than a perfect solution, so even if only some of them permanently stay away, you still come out ahead. If this were my site, I know I would try that before I tried a pay-per-comment approach. (You wouldn’t even have to announce it. You could just clandestinely ban them and then see if you’re satisfied with the results.)

    • Agree: iffen
    • Replies: @anon
    , @Biff
  283. anon[113] • Disclaimer says:
    @silviosilver

    “NO VALUE ADDED”

    [Not you, Silvio. This should be the moderator’s rejection message!]

    Most of these longest threads are repetitious, many posters probably not even reading what’s already been said. A simple AGREE where appropriate (and why must this option be so restricted?), only adding genuinely new material.

    Unlike Ron, I’m not a fan of long-winded bloviations.

  284. Biff says:
    @silviosilver

    I think you already know who the problem posters are, so why not just outright ban them?

    And be accused of censorship – which leads to every other kind of accusation including lying?

    • Agree: iffen
    • Replies: @silviosilver
  285. Dissident says:
    @Anon

    It’s not a coincidence that the site with the most technically sophisticated comment sections is one that features articles about Holocaust revisionism and Pizzagate.

    Not a coincidence, perhaps, but unfortunate– and downright embarrassing— nonetheless. The conventional narrative in the two areas you alluded-to may not– at least not in all cases– be unassailable. But said narrative is still, on the whole, considerably more in-touch with reality than the fringe alternatives (or at least a considerable portion thereof) that are promoted, endorsed and even directly espoused and articulated not only by any number of featured writers at this site but even by Mr. Unz himself.

    • Disagree: TimeTraveller
  286. Ron Unz says:
    @Colin Wright

    I frankly don’t see the problem with too many posts. Of course, being one of the worst offenders, I wouldn’t. However, none of the other prolific posters really bother me anyway — anyone who does, I set them to ‘ignore’ — and voila.

    Well, you seem to be one of the strongest critics of any comment-charging scheme, outraged that you’d have to pay anything for your enormous output of supposedly valuable remarks on this website. So just out of curiosity, I checked your archive and discovered something interesting…

    Just in the last day or so, you and “Fran Taubman” have exchanged around 25(!) comments arguing about Israel and “anti-Semitism” on a couple of Gilad Atzmon’s threads. While I wouldn’t say the comments are totally worthless, I don’t think they’re not particularly valuable and some of them almost degenerate into the “Is Not!”…”Is So!”…”Is Not!” category.

    I’d say that 25 back-and-forth comments in one day is really quite a lot. Indeed, after a similar but much shorter exchange a week or two ago, I think I remember seeing one of our most ultra-suspicious commenters suggest that “Colin Wright” and “Fran Taubman” might actually be a pair of trolls working together as a team to clutter up all the threads dealing with Israel.

    It seems to me that an effective means of reducing such “clutter” is to force the people to pay for it…

  287. @Ron Unz

    ‘… Well, you seem to be one of the strongest critics of any comment-charging scheme, outraged that you’d have to pay anything for your enormous output of supposedly valuable remarks on this website…’

    I love you too, Ron.

    Seriously, I’m not outraged by your scheme at all. It’s your site; ban comments entirely if you want to.

    I’m merely aware of how I will respond to it — and my guess is others will respond the same way as well.

    • Agree: Desert Fox
  288. @Biff

    That’s why I suggested it be done clandestinely. Even if accusations surface, if they’re coming from the kook types most likely to be banned, are you going to really care?

    • Troll: iffen
  289. @silviosilver

    That’s true, but it has nothing to do with limiting the amount of comments. I found his comments about things like technology (including internal combustion engines etc.) to be interesting and high quality. I don’t think the problem of mild-mannered broadly right-wing Jews will go away even if you outright ban them from this venue. (What does Steve Sailer think of the Heavy Commenter Question, by the way..?) There are lots of them IRL, lots of Based Jews or Based Israelis making enough noises that those so inclined might at first use them as a kind of defense against charges of anti-Semitism, and then starting to believe it.

    On the other hand, by limiting the number of comments, you will limit mild-mannered and not so mild-mannered people of all stripes and colors. I think no one has yet shown that by limiting such commenters, JackD types will be disproportionately affected, especially relative to low-volume commenters. And then, these people might cut out the quality comments more. Or they might compress lots of content into single comments (answering multiple people in just one comment, an annoying habit, which will now find a justification, and which will defeat one very good feature of comments, that it’s easy to follow threads without disrupting the time order and thus the natural flow of comments).

    And anyway, mild-mannered Jews producing lots of quality comments sprinkled with mild-mannered Jewish ethnocentrism has never been the issue cited by Ron Unz in the first place, and reducing such content might still be a net loss to the site – presumably, most readers can think for themselves, can’t they? After all, they came here, to a “Holocaust-denying extremist” or whatever site. Meanwhile, they can learn from the quality comments on self-driving cars or whatever. (I think I wasn’t in full agreement with his views there either, but obviously you don’t need to agree with a point of view to see its exposition as high-quality, and for a lively discussion, you need advocates for all points of views, otherwise the discussion will be incomplete. Well, the benefits of free speech.)

    So it’s pretty unrelated to the issue at hand.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  290. @Ron Unz

    You can perhaps introduce page breaks into the comments – no need to load all 1687 comments, just the most recent 500. Maybe there could even be options to loading the comments, like only showing some comments, or showing all. When showing new comments only, there could also be maybe two or three options – new comments only, recent comments only with new comments highlighted, or all comments, with new comments highlighted? Or you can apply the restrictions to only some of the articles, like the ones generating the most interest.

    I remember the WW3 Karlin thread (The Road to World War III), which was very long, with mostly just a handful of commenters present throughout the thread (this might still be a dozen or so), and a few people dropping by occasionally to add their thoughts. As the news developed, we could react, and even on some only tangentially related topics some drive-by commenters made a few valuable comments (an example would be Dave Pinsen at #1044 – he’s a heavy commenter, by the way, making some 50-100 comments per month, and a year ago he was regularly making over 100 comments per month, even reaching and exceeding 200 on occasion; also, his comment was in reaction to German_reader’s #726 – no heavy commenting allowed, no #726, no #1044), to which the regulars could still react. Maybe it’s not very valuable, but maybe it is. I certainly found the thread mostly interesting (of course, many short and relatively less valuable comments, which were easy to scroll through).

    Another issue is sharing news. I came to your site in part to check the news – many commenters, myself included, shared news stories as soon as it came to their attention. After I left Twitter, this was an important news source for me. (Would I pay for Twitter? Definitely not if everyone was forced to do so, as it would no longer be an interesting place. Anyway, I left it because of rampant censorship.) Sharing news stories in the comments (especially before one could develop one’s thoughts on it, i.e. without commentary) is not a very wise usage of a limited commenting opportunity, so this will make comment threads less valuable still.

    Again, it’s your site, so you can change it the way you like.

  291. I’ll pay you Mr Unz.

    I apologise for long turgid comments. I’ll dial it waaaay back. I know I can be a bit Gamma.

    I think I’m adding value though. Like on Chisala’s piece, he genuinely just hadn’t read a whole lot of material on Flynn that actually now completely reshapes the contours of the IQ debate. Like, dismantles where it was and resets it. That was worth some persistance wasn’t it?

    In real life we can’t say a thing. If any protected attribute says the most egregiously stupid nonsense, we have to take it. Not here.

    I also think him and a few other British posters got an understanding of a well of white feeling they didn’t understand before. Like it’s clear that British Blacks think that they live in a perfect racial harmony and only louts and thugs have any contentions with their presence, and the oceans of rape and blood are just conspiracy theories that don’t exist, because it’s illegal to talk about them.

    The reason you get young guys spending time is because most of the education we get that is sociopolitical is fubar trash. It’s dross garbage schiezer. Your site is like water in the desert. Everywhere else is deplatformed and/or Stasi monitored to death, and now heaps of guys can literally smell the agitprop and falsities etc. You seem to be telling the truth as best you understand it.

    Same on E Jones’ piece. Like I think I’m showing people that Catholicism is a valid vehicle for western nationalism, both with memes and dialectic.

    But yeah, your site, your rules.

    One thing I would say is that if we have to pay a lot we might miss out on the socratic chain.

    Like in Chisalas’ piece we got to a conclusion through a series of comments and thinking out loud. Now Whites suddenly understand they have IQ parity with Jews and Asians, and that culture is really important and they can actually compete if they apply themselves.

    But whatever, you don’t need us lol.

  292. Skeptikal says:

    The comment threads about charging for commenting have been quite revealing.
    ( The first, longer, one has been taken down.)

    It is quite likely that these threads alone have already had an effect on commenting behavior.

  293. While I wouldn’t say the comments are totally worthless, I don’t think they’re not particularly valuable and some of them almost degenerate into the “Is Not!”…”Is So!”…”Is Not!” category.

    I am familiar with “Is not!”… “Is too!”.

    Also, the ‘not’ before ‘particularly’ shouldn’t exist.

  294. @Colin Wright

    He said a short number of words, not short words.

  295. AP says:
    @reiner Tor

    I agree strongly with this. Some of us enjoy the back and forth with educated people and do a little research while providing our comments. I have gotten some interesting and valuable information from commenters such as reiner tor, and inclusion of some things I have found in articles suggests that that my “work” has been found to be of some value also. I wouldn’t expect to get paid for what is essentially a hobby but I should hope not to pay for it. Hopefully there is another way.

    • Agree: Hail
  296. Bumpkin says:
    @Ron Unz

    Hello Mr. Unz, I discovered this site a couple months ago, when someone linked some post from here in the comments of an econ blog that I frequent, and I’ve become a regular reader since, mostly of your writing and Sailer’s but I sample others like Giraldi and the old banned books too. I would gladly pay for this site, both for your time and their salaries, but I think there are better ways to go about it than charging for comments.

    I think you should simply charge for the articles instead, but do it so that one pays you a flat deposit, say $5-10, and then take out money from that deposit for every article that they read, say $3 for one of your long, highly-researched American Pravda pieces (split it up into 10 pages and charge 30 cents per page for those who don’t want to spend the entire amount up front) or 20 cents for one of Sailer’s single-page blog posts. Once I use up my $5-10 deposit, I have to deposit another $10 to keep paying for more articles, but if I don’t use all of it, my remaining deposit stays there available to me to use later.

    Always keep 25-35% of the site’s posts available for free, so that new arrivals have a chance to sample the content before deciding to pony up a deposit, perhaps cycling much of the paid content through the free window for the truly indigent fans. Another great aspect of this model is that it charges most those who use the site the most, as is only fair.

    I believe this is the best business model for content creation online and have said so for years, but it is particularly useful for a site like yours, that features such divergent content. I’d be leery of simply donating a lump sum or paying for a monthly subscription to this site, because while I highly value a lot of the content, there’s also economically leftist or sometimes outright racist material that I wouldn’t want to support (I have no problem with racial fingerprinting/stereotyping and am glad even the racists can use your platform, as I’m against censorship, but I certainly wouldn’t want my money going to those posts). I’m sure you’d try to match any lump sum of money coming in to paying out the writers they’re generally reading, but my per-article system would be much more precise and transparent about it.

    Charging for comments instead would disincentivize comments, which I’ve spent many hours reading on this site, much more than the time spent reading articles. I’m likely in the small minority that does that, but why not charge directly for the value provided, ie the readers pay for the main post writers’ stipends and perhaps later for comments too?

    I realize you have a dual mandate for this site, of both spreading these ideas and getting the writers paid, and an emphasis on the former is why you’re focusing on keeping the posts themselves free. While any revenue generation model you choose will affect the former, I’d much prefer this paywalled model that still allows sampling and keeps costs down for light users.

    I have written a handful of content creators and bloggers with most of these ideas over the years, and while some seemed to contemplate it, nobody has implemented it, perhaps because they lacked the technical ability to do so.

    Add me to the list of readers who require anonymous payment options, some of the crypto-currencies like Bitcoin Cash or Ether should do. With a market cap hovering around $200 billion these days, they’re certainly a payment option worth taking seriously. You can integrate this site with a crypto-payments company like Coinbase or Bitpay and start handling such payments easily.

    I use a valid email alias for this account, so feel free to email me if you want to discuss any of these business or technical issues further in private.

  297. utu says:
    @Ron Unz

    Colin Wright himself is not unaware of the cluttering issue

    https://www.unz.com/article/against-david-irvings-view-of-hitler/#comment-2376838
    The Holocaust deniers have taken over.

    I wouldn’t want to block them from posting, but perhaps they could be metered? Only one out of every ten posts can deny the Holocaust?

    ‘Your Holocaust denial post is number 37 in the queue. It is expected that it will be posted in two weeks. Meanwhile, feel free to respond to the actual thesis of the article at any time.’

    Well, maybe not. But what is the solution?

    but I do not think he is working in tandem with Fran or AaronB even though he excessively feeds them and sustains them.

    • Agree: Fran Taubman
    • LOL: Ron Unz
  298. Nodwink says:

    I was thinking the other day about the large increase in traffic here, and whether it was some entity monitoring the site. Then, suddenly, I remembered this: https://www.timesofisrael.com/diaspora-ministry-unveils-system-for-tracking-online-anti-semitism/

    I would be interested if this spike in traffic started around the same time as your holocaust & Judaism articles were published.

  299. @Ron Unz

    I agree Colin really regresses with his comments to me. They are worthless and never address what I say it is like getting a comment about punctuation and spelling. I am clueless why he waste his comments like that. I just stop responding to his “did you mean this” or what is an anti-semite, and you sentence makes no sense. If it makes no sense move on!!!

  300. ia says:
    @Russ

    “Takimag had the greatest commentariat going.”

    I thought they were terrible, and so did Taki.

    I’ve noticed that websites and authors tend to attract like-minded people for whatever reason. Then, certain commenters begin to feel a proprietary sense of belonging to a core group and banter back and forth. These become the cool kids or, more likely, old codgers hanging out at the coffee shop. Next, they form a kind of herd-like mentality and seek safety in the middle and openly show aggression to any newcomer who doesn’t conform. You see statements like “You’re new here” or other expressions to bring the group safely back into the comfort zone in the middle of the herd.

    I have seen this on every single website that has “regulars,” especially when the blogger or author encourages certain individuals. Or, in the case of Takimag, even when the blogger writes a column telling them they’re awful and to please shut up.

    • Agree: utu, Fran Taubman, AaronB
  301. @ia

    Freedom of expression is a hard for people. They do not like to hear opposing views, this is especially true with group think on web sites. It is an exclusive back and forth like you said the cool kids.
    I do not mind it. I do however mind vulgarities and personal attacks. That should be eliminated and Ron has been really slow to come to the rescue. I have been hounded by crazy people.

    • LOL: Colin Wright, Iris
  302. Miggle says:
    @Ron Unz

    Okay, Ron, “Is Not!”…”Is So!”…”Is Not!” category.

    But reasoned exchanges with Fran Taubman are useful to further expose the evil of Judaism. She can be ripped to shreds. I haven’t checked all the exchanges between her and Colin Wright, but it think he helps, and that those screams mostly come from her.

  303. Truth3 says:
    @Ron Unz

    Fran Taubman is a sock puppet also known as Linda Rice and Anon, as well perhaps of other handles. An obvious candidate for paid hasbara troll.

    Ron Unz could have just banned her by her IP address, he did not. He could have banned her by comment oversight and approval, he didn’t do that either. Speaks volumes.

    Now Unz uses the “let’s stop the paid trolls by introducing a revenue method” argument to change his comment site.

    He can do anything he wants. He owns it. He runs it. As far as any can tell, he has no bosses.

    But he doesn’t simply ban Frannie the Bitch. And yes, she is a Bitch… a lying Bitch… Just look at her disgusting trail of lies.

    Now, Occam’s Razor can be used to parse this mysterious combo…

    What are the likely possibilities here?

    A… Ron Unz likes Frannie posting, but has to use maskirovka techniques because she is so obnoxious that anyone thinking this would leave this site… Probability? Currently unknown, until I see RU reaction to this comment. Simplicity? Somewhat.

    B… Ron doesn’t know how to track and block IP’s… Probability? Zero. He’s a coder. Simplicity? Irrelevant.

    C… Ron and Frannie work for the same Colossus… Probability? Faint. But the ramifications are immense. If so… I’ll just repeat… Run Wally Run. Simplicity? Wow, a tough one there.

    D. Ron doesn’t give a shit what the comments look like, he just needs to raise revenue… Probability? Quite probable. Everyone thought he was a rich dude wanting to highlight Truth, but hey, who knows. Simplicity? Very.

    If you know what Occam’s Razor means, you should be able to parse the situation pretty well.

    As for me, I pretty much figured it out already. You’ll have to do it on your own from here forward.

    I’m betting this post doesn’t see the light of day. If so, my own conjecture as to the root causes here is proven. Or not… if Ron wants to give us the Case E.

    • Replies: @Truth3
    , @anon
  304. Truth3 says:
    @Truth3

    Wow. Fastest post ever approved… less than 5 seconds after the countdown finished.

  305. Can’t the empty space to the right of the comments thread be used for adverts rather than having them in the thread as tried before?

    • Replies: @anon
  306. @ia

    That’s all true. The clique of regulars there became insufferable towards the end. But there were definitely some great comment threads there. Funny thing is, even though I largely stopped commenting there near the end, as soon as commenting was ended, I quickly stopped visiting the site. Stupid and irrational of me, yeah, I guess, but that’s what happened.

    • Replies: @ia
  307. Miggle says:
    @Ron Unz

    Well, the individual bloggers moderate their own comments, so you’ll have to take your complaint up with them…

    Ron, thanks for being explicit that “individual bloggers moderate their own comments”. I never really knew.

    Now I know it was E. Michael J. who didn’t allow a comment of mine to his “chubby lesbian kike” article to appear. It’s a relief to know that now. He is a warrior for his sect, Papal rule, and my comment pointed out out that the Popes of Rome and their minions had martyred more Christians than all the Roman emperors from Nero onward put together, giving one reference, Foxe, and pointing out that he was a genuine and careful historian, even though writing in the 16th Century. I mentioned also the Netherlands under the Spanish King Philip II (incidentally, the husband of Bloody Mary, and that nickname has a reason) where the number of Protestants who died simply as martyrs was astronomical. (I now see on Wikipedia that Phil lived “with the hope of destroying the French Calvinists”. and elsewhere he’s described as “champion of the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation.” A warrior for his sect.) Warrior E. Michael couldn’t allow such proof of the nature of his sect to appear.

  308. @reiner Tor

    Well, I wasn’t actually calling for him to be banned. I just felt like explaining why I resent him, despite the fact that if he was my real life neighbor, I would probably get along with him perfectly well (obviously, I’d conceal my real beliefs from him irl, just as I already do with people like him – quite successfully, I might add lol).

  309. anon[113] • Disclaimer says:
    @ia

    ….certain commenters begin to feel a proprietary sense of belonging to a core group and banter back and forth. These become the cool kids or, more likely, old codgers hanging out at the coffee shop. Next, they form a kind of herd-like mentality and seek safety in the middle and openly show aggression to any newcomer who doesn’t conform. You see statements like “You’re new here” or other expressions to bring the group safely back into the comfort zone in the middle of the herd.

    OMG, yes, you stated that so well. It’s very true at Phil Giraldi’s column, and I suspect at others’ with regular followers, though I’m not familiar with those people. BTW, these herds have their own mentality, not necessarily coincident with the writer they follow.

  310. anon[113] • Disclaimer says:
    @Truth3

    Fran Taubman is a sock puppet also known as Linda Rice and Anon…..

    What’s your proof of these allegations? Fran seems to be an hysterical fanatic. The lies are part of the myths to which she fervently clings. OTOH, if you want a calculating liar, look at A123.

    • Replies: @Fran Taubman
    , @Truth3
  311. ia says:
    @silviosilver

    I still go there myself. Personal preference.

  312. @anon

    What he is referring to is I was banned from PG page in the middle of a debate. So I took on another identity. But not secretly I admitted it. It was in the heat of the moment.
    If you want to see hysterical look no further then Truth 3 with his foreskin chewing bitch hysteria. Can’t handle the argument so he becomes hysterical bitch bitch bitch.
    Get it!! Bitch

    • Replies: @Truth3
  313. anon[113] • Disclaimer says:
    @Commentator Mike

    Can’t the empty space to the right of the comments thread be used for adverts…..

    Great idea. Plus, the longer the thread, the more ads. But it seems Ron’s mind is made up, and since his reasoning is questionable, will we ever know his real motives?

    [BTW, I tried to post this an hour ago, but was told “too fast.” I thought we were still allowed 3 comments. It just happened there were 3 commenters I wanted to reply to. Apparently, this is what Ron wants to restrict.]

    • Agree: Commentator Mike
    • Replies: @Skeptikal
  314. niceland says:

    I am starting to like this idea. Reducing the social media/pub feeling in the comment section for the articles. The threshold, 10 free comments per month can be fine tuned as the experiment goes on in order to keep the thought provoking, insightful and educational comments rolling and most of the clutter out. In any case it will be interesting to see how it works.

    Somewhere someone mentioned it would be nice to have brief abstract at the beginning of long articles. I agree, sometimes it takes quite some time to figure out if the 5K+ word article at hand is interesting or not or even what it’s about. Case in point; current article about Sam Francis.

    Ps
    I still miss a simple paypal-donation button for the U.R. I would be surprised if one wouldn’t create some revenue from all the people visiting. It’s as simple as it gets and I suspect vast majority of visitors have nothing to worry about using it. Why not?

    • Agree: Fran Taubman
    • Replies: @Dumb4asterisks
  315. Dan Hayes says:

    I sincerely hope that these proposed changes are not motivated by Ron’s finances (or its deficiencies)!

  316. Truth3 says:
    @anon

    I’ve called Asshole123 a liar, because he is.

    Proof of Frannie being a sock puppet is there if you want to look. Linda Rice was one of her ACKNOWLEDGED sock puppet ID’s… and suspect ID’s also have her toxic fingerprints all over them.

    She’s a lying Bitch. Easy to see where she used false flag tactics. Look it up… I gave you one of the names.

  317. Truth3 says:
    @Fran Taubman

    See… she admits it now. Can’t handle being banned (rightfully so), so the Bitch does what any hasbarite would do.

    She sure denied it back when she was doing it though. Liar that she is, just one more of her lies.

    She also cannot stand the Truth (about herself).

    As to handling the argument… look up hysteria in the dictionary of hasbarites… she’s pictured right there…

  318. @niceland

    I am starting to like this idea. – – – The threshold, 10 free comments per month can be fine tuned as the experiment goes on in order to keep the thought provoking, insightful and educational comments rolling and most of the clutter out. In any case it will be interesting to see how it works.

    I now agree. My previous opposition to charging was based on my ignorant mistake that its charging disadvantages would impact likewise on low volume commenters.

  319. @reiner Tor

    What makes you think that heavy commenters are of worse quality than low volume commenters? I have seen no evidence of this. I would have guessed the opposite, but now that I think about it, I’m aware of a number of infrequent, yet high quality, commenters, so I just don’t know. But probably neither do you or anyone else.

    I agree that it would be difficult and controversial to determine the quality of comments according to quantity by commenter.

    However, the quality of comments is not really the issue with high frequency comments driving out low frequency comments, but the driving out itself is. We all know how the mass media drive out the alternative media impact – not necessarily because of quality, but because of quantity.
    The greater the percentage exposure for frequent commenters, the less percentage is left for the rest – resulting in a skewed overexposure for high frequency commenters, since readers’ time and endeavor are limited. Perhaps a historical example could illustrate the morality of the principle:

    It is reported that when Alexander the Great enquired from an aged philosopher on a cold morning if there was something he could do for him, the reply was, “If the Emperor would just stand aside a bit, the sun can shine on me too.”

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  320. Anon[925] • Disclaimer says:

    Hosts who ran a successful salon in the 1700s and 1800s weren’t dumb and crass enough to charge their guests for the privilege of providing the glittering conversation. Nobody would have shown up. It is dumb, crass, and tacky to do it. By the way, I use tacky the way an old-line WASP would use it. If you want to charge people to provide interesting conversation for you, you just don’t measure up, socially speaking. You’re being insulting to your guests.

    Hosts back then knew the financial burden was on them if they wanted to gather the interesting company around them and make their home the Place To Be. It was a basic and inevitable cost of making their home the Place To Be. They couldn’t avoid it. They did, however, screen their guests and only allowed the good conversationalists to enter.

  321. It’s my impression that many readers/commenters here are no longer working and presumably on fixed limited incomes. For the various shills, if someone is paying them to comment already, there’s obviously a deep font of money and for just a few shekels more they could pretty easily overwhelm and subsume the legitimate (ie unpaid) folks and more or less co-opt your editorial preferences for a (relative) pittance.

    I completely understand the annoyance that huge site traffic and engagement without compensation must cause. A damn bunch of freeloaders! Do they know how much it costs to operate this thing while they treat it like a graffiti wall in Mexico? On the other hand, there are all too few platforms that propagate ideas that you feel are important to discuss. If not you Ron, then whom?

    Someone mentioned merch as a possible revenue source, but I had another idea. How about building an Unz VPN? Many readers/commenters are already paying someone else for VPN service and I suspect even more would pony up for a reliable provider in whom they have some degree of trust or otherwise support ideologically.

    Weeding the garden is harder without a wall, but your “commenters to ignore” worked well for a time (although I built several long lists and each time they mysteriously vanished leaving me to begin anew before I finally gave up on it). A two tiered system of paid subscribers/commenters and free readers/commenters might create more sock-puppetry without generating any revenue. And, I’ll leave you with this thought, isn’t this entire thread essentially an admission to the trolls and shills that they’re “winning”? “HaHa! We’re making Unz stifle those degenerate evil racists, Nazis, and capitalists. Keep up the pressure kids, a big bonus check for anyone who pushes him over the edge..”

  322. In my past life in the corporate world we had a very effective team.

    Our approach was just trying one of the options in serious contention and then give it a little time and see if it met the objectives.

    The key was to avoid agonizing over what the “best” solution is, when there really was no way to know until we saw what happened. Usually the first approach had issues, but by the second or third iteration (changes made based on what we learned) we were in good shape. Later adjustments beyond those usually made no major improvement, and sometimes made it worse.

    Ron: My suggestion is just pick one approach, give it a month or so, monitor the impact, and see if it is working. Then adjust as needed.

    Best wishes.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  323. I would bet a large sum of money that there are no paid trolls on this site. No NGO is going to pay anyone to come on UR.
    You would have to prove it for me to think otherwise.

    • LOL: Iris
    • Replies: @Anon
  324. RE: Long comments Ron favours:

    – I suspect some of the long comments are just copied and pasted from other sources without using the block quote or referencing the source, perhaps with minimal editing to give the appearance that the commenter is more knowledgeable and erudite than is actually the case.

    – I think some of the commenters post the same long comments on other sites without consideration of copyright.

    – Some are prolix.

    – The purpose of the MORE tag is to hide the long comments, excepts perhaps for the first paragraph.

    • Replies: @anon
  325. @Dumb4asterisks

    Now that’s an actual argument, even if I think it’s wrong.

    First, it’s not at all analogous to the MSM. The MSM (the Leftist Media-Entertainment Complex) is large because it has a large readership/viewership, which is because it monopolizes certain channels of communications (TV, Hollywood, etc.), and also because people will actively seek it out even where no such monopoly exists, for two reasons: name recognition (i.e. a function of monopolies) and the previous brainwashing at school and in higher education (which, again, is a monopoly). If such “crowding out” effects are harmful, then certainly Ron ought to restrict Steve Sailer from crowding out Anatoly Karlin or James Thompson. Certainly the result would be just a quantitative restriction on content, but neither quality nor “diversity” of views would improve in any meaningful way.

    • Replies: @Dumb4asterisks
  326. @Justvisiting

    agonizing over what the “best” solution is

    But even the problem is far from clear. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, it’s difficult to even think about a solution.

  327. @Ron Unz

    Hi Ron.
    I believe the 4 of the 5 repliers here can be best described as, the *3 Stooges & Shemp* and luckily, a Voice-of-Reason.
    🙂 Cheers X-
    note: https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/repliers

  328. I missed the earlier version of this thread, but having now perused most of it I’ll amend my comment above. It’s apparent that you know who your trolls and shills are (the most prolific of them anyway), but I still don’t see how monetizing will end the infection. A working “commenters to ignore” and some discipline among the other reader/commenters to adhere to “don’t feed the trolls” seems like the only thing that works. Ignore them, deny them the attention they crave, and even if they don’t leave they become irrelevant.

    My second thought is that there are a good number of commenters flogging their own blogs here. I have scrupulously avoided all of them after clicking just one and discovering nothing but peak stupidity (heh). Perhaps you could charge them for promoting their wares on your site? It makes no sense for you to absorb the cost for their self-promotion.

    Last, you’ve piqued my curiosity about my own time spent here. I know I’ve contributed a lot of throw away verbiage but hope that one or two of my comments have been worth the cost. How much of a burden, relative to the worst offenders, am I?

    Post script: perhaps you could devise a means for those of us deadbeats with time and no money to help support your effort in a non-financial way? Anonymity matters to me for family, not for self. You, Sailer, and several others already know who I am, so you could similarly vet other such broke deadbeats and assess whether they could be used perhaps to help babysit the trolls and shills. Of course the risk there is that the babysitters would impose their own ideology and destroy the free exchange of ideas (no matter how stupid) found here. So maybe not the best idea, but I’d like to help however I may and encourage you to give it some thought.

  329. anon[113] • Disclaimer says:
    @Commentator Mike

    – Some are prolix.
    using or containing too many words; tediously lengthy

    Yes, many. Most of longer ones. Have you ever wondered WHY Ron prefers longer comments? Put on your tinniest hat and play devil’s advocate while you ruminate. What are the worst reasons he might want [anybody] to spend more time reading and writing here? And are you now so hooked on it that you’ll pay for the privilege?

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  330. Wade says:
    @Ron Unz

    Ron,

    I’d like to make a small suggestion. But before I do, Steve Sailer once highlighted one of my comments and you even gave one of my comments an “agree” (I just wanted to point out my stellar commenting credentials before I proceed, lol…)

    Colin does have a bit of a point. If there really are paid trolls I’m sure it would be no big deal for their sponsors to cover the costs of making continued posts whereas everyone else might start to avoid commenting altogether. And while I like the idea of commenters potentially receiving remuneration for their efforts, I would imagine only a very small handful actually getting sponsors.

    A way to mitigate this might be to use your “agree” feature as something that grants the commenter a credit to make a future post for free. 1 Agree received = 1 Free Comment granted.

    Given that the agree feature is already regulated based on the number of approved comments, and that comments will actually now cost money, I doubt such a feature would defeat your effort to take in funds (if so, the constraints on the agree feature could be made tougher). And for those of us who’ve earned the right to an “agree”, we’d be careful to reserve it for those commenters we like the most so they can make another free comment.

    I support whatever decision you make here. Thanks for the great website!

    • Replies: @Johnny F. Ive
  331. @Wade

    “A way to mitigate this might be to use your “agree” feature as something that grants the commenter a credit to make a future post for free. 1 Agree received = 1 Free Comment granted.” Wouldn’t they just “agree” with each other to receive their “1 Free Comment?”

    The replies to comments at least need to be nested somewhere else with information regarding participants who are replying to the original comment and number of comments if nothing else. I really dislike how it is one huge thread with a bunch of @s. I like the @s feature, it is fact that it is one huge page which I dislike. Ideally people could leave one comment in a thread and comment on someone else’s comment somewhere that is linked to the initial comment. I’m too lazy to learn who is who to block people. This post I made right here (if it goes through) adds clutter to the readability of this comments thread when it could have been nested with an indication that I have made a reply to someone else’s comment at the bottom of their comment.

    • Replies: @Ron Unz
  332. Ron Unz says:
    @Johnny F. Ive

    The replies to comments at least need to be nested somewhere else with information regarding participants who are replying to the original comment and number of comments if nothing else.

    Actually, the system provides fairly convenient “nesting” implemented via Javascript.

    Just click on the “This Thread” button, and only the comments on that particular thread will remain visible. You can then easily undo that operation by clicking the “Display All Comments” button.

    I think the “nesting” system used on most websites has major disadvantages when threads become reasonably long, and this approach works much better.

    • Agree: Blinky Bill
    • Replies: @Johnny F. Ive
    , @anon
  333. @Ron Unz

    I would like it if the system automatically hid replies to original comments and allowed people to use “THIS THREAD,” or “Display All Comments” to show more if they want to follow a conversation while severally limiting how many original comments they can make. People just need one post to respond to an article. If they had more to say about an article they could respond to themselves which would be hidden unless people sought it out by pressing “THIS THREAD.” That would be my ideal system.

    • Replies: @Elsewhere
  334. anon[113] • Disclaimer says:
    @Ron Unz

    That F.Ive would complain is hilarious. You have the best comment system anywhere. It’s also why you have so many commenters, good and bad. There are excellent writers at Consortium News, and readers leave good comments, links, etc., but the [nesting] system isn’t hospitable to extended discussion. From your point of view (i.e. an apparent desire to reduce comment volume), that might be a feature, not a bug. Ironic, eh?

  335. @AnonAnon

    Quality control and revenue generation are two separate issues and I don’t think they can be addressed with the same tool — i.e., some form of pay-to-play comment policy.

    Comment Quality Control
    The pay-to-play idea seems entirely self-defeating because it will simply suppress all commentary — which is valuable content that is currently generated for free. The biggest problem is that people don’t like to pay online generally and they don’t want to be on record as supporting a controversial site if and when an SJW purge comes down.

    Junk commentary should just be quashed (although, I haven’t frankly noticed that as a big problem). On the other hand, especially insightful and valuable commentary could be promoted through any number of means. Maybe certain prolific (quality) commenters could be “certified” and earn some sort of official designation or special access. (As Napoleon noted: “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.”)

    Or maybe you could experiment with pulling out and highlighting especially interesting comment threads in some sort of “best of” feature. I’m just spit-balling here, but the possibilities are endless.

    Revenue Generation
    The difficulty in monetizing online information content is, of course, the bane of the entire industry. If I knew the answer, I’d probably be rich myself. But I would err on the side of just patiently building Unz’s market share and brand, and figuring out how to cash in on the eyeballs later. That strategy has worked for a lot of brands.

    Just like in the MSM, there may be a shakeout in the “alternative media” space, in which the survivor’s (like the NYT) reap the rewards of being “last man standing” as their competitors shrivel behind pay walls.

    • Agree: Hail
    • Replies: @niceland
  336. goobler says:

    I knew it.

    The Jooz put you up to this, didn’t they, Ron? They want it make it harder for good Americans like me to stick anti-semitic jokes in the comments of blogs, and you’re letting them get away with it,

  337. @anon

    I don’t know if it’s intentional; most academic types tend to be longwinded, it’s their preferred style. But spending too much time on UR prevents me doing much IRL. Yes, I’m addicted to it but not enough to pay to feed this addiction. Most of the heavyweight authors here also publish on other sites and on some of them you can even comment on PCR’s articles.

  338. Anon[143] • Disclaimer says:
    @Fran Taubman

    And just where would paid trolls go? To high volume alternative sites? Like UR perhaps?

    Not a proof, of course. But seriously, if there are paid trolls anywhere, they are going to go to higher volume sites. Like UR. They would be trying to influence opinions. Leverage, you know.

    • Replies: @Fran Taubman
  339. anon[113] • Disclaimer says:

    …spending too much time on UR prevents me doing much IRL.

    Bingo. That’s a verifiable fact, after which you can speculate about thinkgs like tracking radicals, dissidents, etc.

  340. Elsewhere says:
    @Johnny F. Ive

    I really like this idea. It should hide everything about replies except for the stuff in blue, who it’s in reply to, who replied to it, and what reactions it got. The entire content, excepting perhaps a few lines should be hidden behind a SHOW REPLY tag. If the system grayed out when it was read via hover, then it would be perfect.

    It’s frustrating to read a bunch of replies in the queue where the context is not clear.

    Ron could even limit the number of comments at the top level very severely, such as one per post per day, but then be more lax with replies, as they would do less to clutter things up.

    I like the idea of replying to yourself as a way to keep thoughts in one place, although sometimes a commenter might want to start a new top-level comment if it’s a substantially different idea.

  341. @Anon

    Paid trolls are not supper intellectual types. They are young and paid on be on run of the mill social media, mostly on college campuses and news letters, and on FB. But organized for young people. Fighting SJW on college campuses.

    They are paid to report back and give pro formula responses like sending people to canned pro Israeli pro Jewish web sites to try and convince.

    No one is paying for this stuff. Not I repeat not possible. My responses are not canned and on the fly and about many different thoughts globally.
    I just do not see it. Ron would have to show me proof.

  342. Skeptikal says:
    @anon

    ” since his reasoning is questionable, will we ever know his real motives?”

    Spot on.

  343. @reiner Tor

    We agreed that the quality of a comment cannot be determined from the frequency of comments by a commenter. So, let us suppose that each comment on average is of equal value.

    Let us further suppose you and I comment the only 100 comments to a thread, and we reduce the frequent commenter’s comments so that the total now is 50. Your argument seems to be that thereby the total value of comments for the thread will have halved. I agree.

    I can understand that you are against any reduction of comments in order to retain full total value.

    My argument is that if 99 of those comments are mine, and 1 is yours, your comment will be driven/drowned out to having a 1/100 chance of being read – if one out of hundred comments are being read per visitor – which could roughly be the reader/visitor ratio for Ron’s site. If my comments are then reduced to 49, your chance for being read will improve to 1/50, and even to 1/2 if mine is reduced to 1 comment.

    It is not only the total quality of comments that gives value to readers and commenters, but also the chance of a comment being read. No reader, no value – to commenter or visitor.

    You are concerned about the reduction in potential total value of comments for readers. I am concerned about the practical reduction of exposure of an infrequent commenter’s comment drowned in a sea of frequent commenters’ comments, which is bad for both the infrequent commenters and their potential readers, because it reduces diversity of commenters being read and skews exposure to the high frequency commenters. Granted, such flooding of the competition is good for the frequent commenters. And let’s face it, it is also good for the shills and trolls who thrive on unlimited commenting. But I think it is unfair, as did that Greek philosopher.

    Maybe we both have a point.

  344. niceland says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    Junk commentary should just be quashed (although, I haven’t frankly noticed that as a big problem). On the other hand, especially insightful and valuable commentary could be promoted through any number of means. Maybe certain prolific (quality) commenters could be “certified” and earn some sort of official designation or special access. (As Napoleon noted: “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.”)

    Junk commentary is quashed here already, at least I don’t see many ads from porn sites, scammers or the 12 year old discovering their puberty in a slug fest of profanity. Judging by what’s published – this is where the moderators for the articles draw the line since we have wide range of comments of all sorts for the articles.

    So after the coarse junk filter has been applied;
    Who is going to decide what is junk, valuable or insightful and certify quality commenters? Given the mission statement here and wide range of ideological spectrum of articles published this is difficult to do. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

    The most straightforward and perhaps the usual way to do this is for the site owner or his (like minded) moderators to do the job. Here the funny thing is, Ron is at odds with wast majority of his commenters on certain issues. Just read his articles about Hispanic crime statistics and following comments and you get the picture. Thankfully for great many commenters he doesn’t use this method.

    I think Ron is trying to tackle this problem with his proposed system. After filtering out the obvious junk steaming from bots and the overflowing web-trash he is trying to find a way to limit the clutter without interference based on his or his moderators opinions.

    10 free comments per month – I think this number is close enough for the most knowledgeable, insightful people commenting on this site to publish their views. And it would improve the content vs clutter ratio considerably for the articles. The blogs are different for obvious reasons.

  345. anonymous[349] • Disclaimer says:
    @German_reader

    In the early 1950s, there were jokes in the USA, probably founded in some measure on reality, that FBI and other government infiltrators into the Communist Party were the only ones able to afford the membership dues, so they were always in good standing to attend Party meetings and events.

  346. Jay Queue says:

    I very much look forward to getting further feedback, whether positive or negative.

    I will not pay to comment.

    I will not pay to read TUR.

    This pay to comment is a scam. It is simply a dishonest way whereby you think that you can censor certain comments and commenters without overtly showing that you are censoring.

  347. Those well-written heavy commenters are your faithful followers. People who spend hours every month supporting you and your site for free – – – – don’t you think you should be paying them for all the work they put in for you?

    But no, now you want to make them pay you to support (hey – face it – to work for you) you?!
    Not enough for you that they did all this for you for free – now you want to screw them too.
    For shame, you money-grubber.

  348. @Ron Unz

    “a very select audience” consisting primarily of “racists,” “anti-Semites,” and “conspiracy theorists,” many of whom claim they’re too broke to ever pay anything.

    It seems unlikely, but you must not be reading the same Unz.com comments that I read. Unz.com (at least the iSteve-Audacious-Karlin axis) has a critical mass of heavyweight comments from heavyweight, presumably high net worth, individuals: professionals, scientists, entrepreneurs, aristo-scions. It is flattering—and humbling—to have their attention.

    If advertisers don’t want their attention, that’s their loss. (To be fair, the SJW’s successful use of boycotts, twitter outrage and state and quasi-state censure has made business hazardous for any enterprise less than obsequiously toadying to their agenda, so advertisers probably face a much higher effective cost threshold when engaging with a site like Unz.com.)

    That being said, is anyone besides Google actually making money on web advertising? I seem to recall the question being kicked around at iSteve a year or so ago and the conclusion seemed unavoidable that only big intermediaries (Google, FB, ad agencies) were actually profiting on the brave new world of web ads, and much of that was by harvesting your formerly private data.

  349. comments are already paid for–most of the comments that get early approval are comments written by donors…at least that is the case for comments on steve sailer’s blogs

  350. Miro23 says:
    @Colin Wright

    ‘A buck per short comment is quite a lot. Maybe reduce the cost of short comments, say one to 50 words, to 10c.’

    Tht’ll jst ld 2 irritatingly abbr. cmts.

    Just increase the fluff. A whole page of 50 word comments (value for money).

  351. Okechukwu says:

    I would never pay even one cent to support the bloggers that you are paying to write total and complete garbage. But the confirmation from you that they’re being paid speaks volumes. Someone like Linh Dihn churns out the most unsophisticated brain-dead racist invective, which I’m now sure he is doing for financial reasons in light of the audience here. He is not alone. Anatoly Karlin and many others seem also to be writing whatever they need to write in order to get paid. So you are not getting the honest opinions of people who are truly committed to a certain point of view. What you are getting are mercenaries and grifters who will write whatever they think the readership wants to see. If by some miracle any of your bloggers were hired by HuffPost, I bet they’d suddenly transform into anti-racist SJW’s.

    In searching for paid shills and trolls look to your own featured writer, and you are the paymaster. I’m convinced most of them don’t even believe what they publish (they can’t be that dumb; no one is). Rather they are doing it for a paycheck.

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