Letter From The Editor: On Commenting Culture


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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78 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Thanks to Maribou for the immense amount of patience and work. It did help the comments immensely i think. I certainly hope we can keep this project going. While i don’t comment as much as i used to i do read almost every post and comments. There is something useful here since, as has been stated, almost all comments sections are far less than optimal. For all the conflict here at least we don’t have up and down vote buttons.


    • Avatar pillsy says:

      Yes, I also want to extend thanks to @maribou for the work she’s put into the site, and the comment section. I really do think it’s helped a great deal.Report

  2. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    Thank you Will for this post. I found myself nodding along with all of it. Looking forward to the next chapter.Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Ditto on thanks to Maribou.


  4. Avatar Maribou says:

    Hi all –
    I just wanted to note that while “It’s not you, it’s me” is a cliche, in this case it’s also quite true – or rather, it’s not even *me*, but just a bunch of life-related stuff, requiring a great deal of attention and emotional energy, that makes it nearly impossible for me to thrive in the role of moderator at present.

    I may be a bit absent in the comments for a while as I a) adjust to the shift in roles, b) deal with said life stuff, but I’m not *gone* – I mean, I’m still the managing editor of this joint. I’ll still be proofing and scheduling posts most every day, and helping out Will however he asks me to, in conjunction with the rest of our editors, of course. And if anyone who already occasionally checks in with me to let them vent or talk them down about things, website-related or otherwise, wants to email me, that’s still most welcome. Or if someone wants to talk to me about website stuff generally! I welcome those conversations.

    It’s just – I won’t be doing more than advising Will et al about moderate-y stuff, and not even much of that. Too full a plate in other ways, and most of what I felt desperately needed to be done has been done. For the most part, and not without some grievous errors, but still. I’m good.

    The rest is up to y’all.Report

    • Avatar bookdragon says:

      Coming in rather late, but thank you for all the work you’ve done here. Since I comment only sporadically based on when I have the time, I can’t imagine how you managed what seems it would be a much more than full time job, and with an amazing degree of grace.Report

  5. Avatar J_A says:

    I just want to say that, without this site, the internet, or at least the internet I care about, would be a much smaller, much colder, place. I hope I don’t get to see a day OT is not up and running.

    And for that, thanks to all Editors and Moderators, past, present, and future, from the bottom of my heartReport

  6. Avatar atomickristin says:

    Maribou – You’ve done a stunning job with the comments and I’ve learned a lot from you. Your diplomacy, grace, and thoughtfulness is truly amazing. Thank you.

    As an aside I’d like to mention that my intention is to comment more (from a conservative-ish viewpoint) because I agree with Will, too many arguments are being left unchallenged and one or two people are having to make arguments single-handedly against several comers. However, I often feel that conservative commenters on this site are manipulated into playing the role of the stooge to give a few of the more vocal liberal commentators a set up. Then they and others tag team the person into exhaustion and/or do obnoxious virtual chest bumps with each other. I don’t enjoy being on the receiving end of it, nor do I have the amount of uninterrupted time to follow up with the argument as well as I could – which is even more frustrating because I’m aware I’m not making my own case effectively. So while I do hope to comment more often I will likely not always be able to follow up on responses as thoroughly as some others because it is just too upsetting for me.Report

    • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

      @atomickristin I find your view fascinating, and perhaps evidence of the unfixable problem that the website continues moving closer toward, because whereas you see a few conservative commentators against a wave of liberal commentators, I see the opposite: a small group of conservative commenters who relentlessly troll liberal posts, chasing away more liberal writers and commenters, and generally insisting that they are owed far more respect than they are willing to give to anybody else. It is the national political crisis playing out on our extremely small stage.

      There is, perhaps, no reasonable middle ground, and maybe there never was.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        There’s some truth to each of these, and they actually sort of feed into one another. Which is to say that conservatives who like to chat find this site really daunting and it’s hard to get them to stick around.

        On the other hand, this site can be a goldmine for rightwards who specifically like to get a rise out of liberals. These are the people I am referring to when I talk about the DMZ. A couple of the worst offenders (the ones who immediately come to mind) have already gotten the boot.

        We’re fortunate, I think, to have the conservatives we do that are not in that category. I think that sometimes people don’t take enough care to distinguish one from the other. Which feeds into the above dynamic.Report

        • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

          @will-truman It would, perhaps, be easier to distinguish one from the other if there was any light between the two. It is extremely difficult these days to distinguish one from the other, given the remarkably rightward lurch of our politics. In other words, “Of course black guys publicly carrying anything deserve to get treated wildly differently than conservative white guys carrying guns!” might be genuinely felt conservative politics, but it sure looks like explicitly racist cheerleading.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            There is light, Sam. And it’s very unfortunate that you cannot see it.Report

          • Avatar Phaedros says:

            I have never seen anyone make that argument, ever.
            I don’t have to ask where you come up with such ideas.
            But I find it odd, to say the least, that you haven’t, at least, thought the matter through enough to consider other alternatives.
            There are plenty of people here to help you with that.

            Granted, I saw my best friend, a black man with an Arabic name, shot and killed by the police as I stood, helpless, some eighty feet away.
            I saw how that whole thing played out afterward.
            A big part of the reason I am on the path I am on.Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

            “Of course black guys publicly carrying anything deserve to get treated wildly differently than conservative white guys carrying guns!”

            Like Phaedros, I’ve never seen this here, either. Certainly not from any of the regulars. What I have seen, over and over, is you grossly mischaracterizing the arguments of people who disagree with you, in precisely this manner. Occasional misunderstandings are inevitable, but with you it’s a consistent and reliable pattern of behavior.

            I don’t know whether it’s intentional, or just a result of poor reading comprehension, but it’s not okay. You need to do much, much better.

            @will-truman The standards and ideals you lay out in the OP sound good, and it’s great when they work as advertised, but it’s counterproductive, and a bad look all around, when one of your regular contributors so consistently and egregiously falls short.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              One of the areas I do intend to keep a closer eye on going forward is shortering and mischaracterization, which is one of the reasons I singled it out. Here, though, Sam doesn’t actually cite anything specific nor does he name anybody. Which actually works in this case since this is a thread to talk about our commenting culture and the perception thereof, and that’s Sam’s perception. It’s also more than fair to criticize that by pointing out that, as far as we can tell, nobody has actually made that argument.Report

              • Avatar Phaedros Aletheia says:

                Sam sees as much as he is able.
                Perspective can be adjusted.
                This is about to happen in a big way.
                I am at work right now, and have to tap out comments on a phone; but I will be home later.

                Sam has an irreplaceable quality: He actually cares.
                That is what makes the endeavor worthwhile.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

                @brandon-berg @will-truman “I’ve never seen this here” and “Nobody has actually made that argument” are both interesting takes:

                Anyway, here is a regular commenter excusing Tamir Rice’s killing.

                And here is a regular commenter arguing that police shouldn’t have shot a violent, armed white suspect who was actually guilty.

                That’s one quick example.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                The “regular commenter” you quote has been banned for quite some time.Report

              • Avatar pillsy says:

                I agree with you about notme. He was a gross-ass racist and a shameless apologist for egregious police violence against people of color, and I don’t for a second believe that the two were unrelated.

                For my first year or two here, he endlessly trolled his ass off, and contributed a great deal to my negative feelings about the comment section here.

                But he was banned quite a while ago.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                In neither case is he saying what you quoted above. The first one was about Tamir Rice in particular, which is a bad opinion but not the same as carrying “anything”… and in the second case he’s saying that people who turn themselves in shouldn’t get shot, which I agree with.

                Now, if you take everything Notme has said over the course of his commenting career here, I don’t think your inference is all that wrong, which is in good part why he was eventually booted.

                (This is actually an example of what I talk about in the OP of the DMZ. He had a way of going right up to the edge and camping out there, not crossing an actionable line. That’s the sort of thing we’ve stopped tolerating.)Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                And here is Sam accusing me of being someone who explains away killings because the killer wears a badge. I don’t read any of his posts any more, which is what people should do if they don’t like the ad-hominen straw-manning. It’s an easy solution, but some people like that kind of stuff.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

                @will-truman The combination of both comments is the argument: that it is reasonable for police to kill unarmed black kids (because they thought he was armed, and perceived him to be a threat) and that it is reasonable for police to not kill armed and dangerous white men (who are armed, but are not perceived to be a threat).

                The point presented was that nobody has ever made these arguments. Notme is a counter-example. If I need to find a still-active member of the commenting community who has made similar arguments – who has simultaneously justified police shootings of unarmed individuals and argued for police not visiting similar violence onto armed white individuals – we can do that too.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                On a first point I will say that we shouldn’t say it hasn’t happened because nobody sees every comment and we’ve definitely had some bad eggs around. So I’ll go with “I do not recall seeing it.”

                That said, your example isn’t an example, in my view. They were two different cases with two different sets of facts that went beyond race. Different responses there isn’t “Of course black guys publicly carrying anything deserve to get treated wildly differently than conservative white guys carrying guns!”

                That said, your example and follow-up to explain the disconnect. If you’re talking about people responding differently in one comment thread than in another comment thread to another incident… I could see that happening and it would be easy to miss.

                So going forward, next time you see someone taking different positions like that, ask them what they think the difference is. If they say something like what you wrote, or say it’s because black people are scary/scarier or that police are reasonably more scared of black people or something, then let me know because that’s a problem.Report

              • @will-truman For the record, the commenters who take those positions will not say that, just as those opposed to gay marriage will only very rarely say that they are motivated by animus toward gay people. I’m happy to point it out the next time I see it – police will, somewhere, no doubt engage in precisely the same sort of violence that they routinely do – but I should perhaps do the better, smarter thing, which is to stay out of the comments entirely.


              • On :”shortering” and mischaracterization:

                There’s usually a way to avoid these and still get one’s point across. One can say, “what you say, if taken to its logical extreme, would mean [whatever bad thing]. Do you agree with that [bad thing}? If not, what is your limiting principle?”

                I firmly believe that most of us, maybe all of us, harbors many beliefs that if taken to their logical extreme, would lead to undesirable, even horrific outcomes.

                It doesn’t have to be beliefs, either. It can be approaches. Maybe if one settles on one thing being horrid and bad, it’s possible for someone to assume too quickly that any means to combat that horrid badness is justified, even if it means short-circuiting what in normal circumstances is considered civility or common courtesy. Sometimes that’s called for. But it’s rare, and when it is indeed called for, I’d say we’ve already lost something–call it comity or respect for people as ends in themselves–important.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:


        Please allow me to translate for you here: When Sam says ‘troll’ what he actually means is that those people take positions he cannot fathom, which makes him mad, so he assumes they made him mad on purpose i.e. trolling.

        One of our old writers, Elisa Isquith, used to accuse me of the same thing. Then he and I hashed it out, he realized that sometimes people can intelligently arrive at contrary opinions without ill intent, and we got along from that point forward.Report

        • Avatar Maribou says:

          *cough* If there was ever a time when I would recommend to some participants in a subthread that they reread and ponder the *entire* OP, this would be it.

          (not you, @atomickristin, and obviously not @will-truman.)

          *maribou out*Report

          • Avatar atomickristin says:

            Augh, I’m so sorry, I did not intend to start anything. I’m simply really embarrassed that I can’t stick it out with the arguments like others can. In light of what Will had mentioned in the above post, I simply wanted to explain why I kept “hit and run” commenting. This is a tough crowd and I just can’t be taking care of little people while getting upset over ongoing internet arguments because the latter makes me cranky with the former. This is not a natural form of social interaction for me and I take things more to heart than a lot of others seem to.

            Yet I do think I have something of value to offer and so I chime in when I can. I want to continue to try because I do think we have common ground, we just need to find it and in order for that dialogue to happen, somebody has to be willing to stick their thumb out to possibly be hit by the hammer. I just have to do that in the way that I am able to, thats all.


            • Avatar Maribou says:

              @atomickristin I completely understand that and I always appreciate your comments. Maybe especially when they get me hot under the collar because I think “ok, but that’s KRISTIN saying that, she’s really thoughtful, I need to understand that people like her can think such things too, breathe already…” It’s educational for me and helps me to deal with living in a majority-red town in a more open-hearted manner. And to be completely honest, convert more of my majority-red town to my way of thinking on particular issues :D.Report

              • Avatar atomickristin says:

                That would largely be my goal – to put a human face to the right (I guess, because I really don’t consider myself “the Right” in any definition of the word.) I think most kind/thoughtful conservative people simply choose not to put themselves out there at all ever and don’t engage in cross-cultural communication. That leaves the people who enjoy conflict and trolling and stirring the pot to represent the views of an awful lot of people.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          This at least borders on “shortering”

          It is easy, however, to assume that positions that don’t make sense to you is either operating with bad motives or is trolling. There is, as you point out, a long history of it at the site.

          Which is another reason to clear people from the DMZ. It’s harder to blame people when there are people who are actually trolling, which we have had our fair share of.Report

      • Avatar atomickristin says:

        I personally refuse to believe that liberals and conservatives can’t find common ground.

        I was under the impression that this site was non-partisan in its conception. I was invited to take part in it because I did lean conservative/libertarian and it seemed my viewpoint would be an addition, not a detriment. If that has changed over the past year or so then I think that’s a crying shame.

        Wishing everyone the best of luck with regulating the comments in the face of the complexities of modern politics.Report

        • Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

          @atomickristin It has not changed. Nor is your contribution a detriment. I certainly never intended to imply otherwise, and do apologize if I did.Report

        • Avatar Maribou says:

          @atomickristin That absolutely hasn’t changed, and if anything Will will be even carefuller about that than I have been, because I grew up in a country where different matters aren’t political any more than what’s still political here, and because where I’m fiercely, personally protective of many of our writers (of all political stripes) who have left the site or greatly dialed their participation back because of people being truly, bitterly awful (there really have been a lot of them!!), which sometimes clouds my perspective … Will cares about those folks just as much, but he has a lot more equanimity than I am capable of. Also, he is much closer to the right than I am on almost every measurement, and holds many conservative positions himself.

          Hopefully the OP gave you a clear idea of the vision for the site. I think it did since it encouraged you to mention you were planning to comment more.

          We’re all both writers and commenters here, including those of us in some sense “in charge” — and sometimes it can be confusing to distinguish editors’ personal opinions from site-wide policy…Report

          • Avatar Phaedros says:

            One thing that is sure to be different–
            Maribou was very careful with the incisions, a plastic surgeon.
            Will is much more likely to amputate.Report

          • Avatar atomickristin says:

            Yes, it did, and I felt encouraged. I often have to go away for several weeks between commenting because I find it so upsetting, even though I really like the concept of the site and many of the people here. I hope to work myself up to actually writing again in time, maybe even. 🙂Report

        • Avatar Phaedros Aletheia says:

          I’m glad you’re here.
          You have spice.Report

        • Avatar KenB says:

          An interesting thing about this site is that the principal division isn’t really along the lines of ideological content but more between epistemic certainty and epistemic humility. Nearly all of the commenters on the “certainty” side are on the left, and most of the commenters who are categorized as libertarian or maybe conservative on the political spectrum aren’t ideological members of those groups but just generally more skeptical about the correctness of liberal views.

          Probably the discussions would be less contentious if the folks on each side mostly just talked with their nearer neighbors — it’s usually no more fruitful trying to have conversations from opposite sides of the certainty spectrum than from opposite sides of the political spectrum.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            This is a really interesting observation.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Holy cow, this is a take that never occurred to me. (And while I hem and haw and object and whatabout for a couple of names… it’s a really good take.)Report

          • Avatar InMD says:

            I’ve often assumed that the more bitter disagreements on here reflect the narcissism of small differences more than unbridgeable divides. I’m an optimist though, despite my best efforts.

            Anyway, cheers, and thanks @maribou
            for all the bloody work in the trenches, you’ve been great at it.Report

          • That rings true to me, @kenb . The only caveat I’d bring is that I bet most of us probably see ourselves as “epistemologically humble” and yet are not as humble as we think. I like to view myself that way, but I sometimes find that I become stubbornly certain on things about which I oughtn’t. And there are undoubtedly times when I don’t recognize how “certain” I’m being even while I profess humility.Report

            • Avatar Maribou says:

              @gabriel-conroy Personally, even at my most self-aware, I think of myself as being epistemologically humble on SOME things and righteously, unquestionably certain about OTHER things. An epistemological mixed state I guess ;).

              (Seriously, @kenb, while I might quibble with your analysis around the edges, that is a really interesting way of looking at things.)Report

              • Avatar KenB says:

                I might quibble too — I started having doubts about my thesis right after the Edit timer expired on the comment box. Luckily I included the weasel words “most”, “nearly all”, etc. And it’s true that on any given issue we could be on very different locations on the certainty spectrum.

                Oh, and let me add my voice to the chorus — thanks much for all your hard moderating work! I may have chafed at it a bit initially but it definitely reduced the level of vitriol here.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I’m glad to see you admitting some quibbles. I’d say that epistemic certainty is seen in equal measure between people who hold obviously false beliefs and people who rely on evidence to justify (what they view as) obviously true beliefs. Epistemic certainty may be problematic in a community constructed on dialogue and a free exchange of ideas, but its a fully general problem irrespective of what’s being argued or discussed.

                I mean, like Wittgenstein, I’m *certain* that 2+2=4. But what the hell does that mean?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Add: just a little shout-out to LVW’s book On Certainty.Report

          • Avatar atomickristin says:

            I’ll have to think about that, it’s an interesting lens through which to view not only this site but lots of other interactions as well. Thanks!Report

          • Avatar mr.joem says:

            It seems to me this is likely a byproduct of the ideological skew, human nature, combined with relative costs. In discussions with significant skew the minority parties usually must show significant allowance of the legitimacy of the majority position. Taking a stance of certainty or absolutes as the minority often gets ignored or drummed out of the conversation. Taking a stance of certainty or absolutes as the majority usually just gets ignored or tut-tuted.

            Many folks here push back against those results. This seems part of why there is still are minority views and it has not devolved into a complete echo chamber.Report

  7. Avatar Sam Wilkinson says:

    @maribou You have done thankless work for not enough money. Here’s hoping you, at the very minimum, win the Powerball.Report

  8. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    All disputes should be decided by pies at ten paces!!!Report

  9. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    Thank you thank you thank you @maribou ! Both for the amazing work you’ve done here in the past months, and for your willingness to continue supporting the site at a somewhat greater remove. Thank you especially for the times you have called me out. I will try to retain and enact those lessons.Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:

      @dragonfrog FWIW, at least in your particular case but definitely in a few others, if I didn’t think you were so great in the first place I wouldn’t bother to challenge you on things. Now that I’m not moderating you can be even *more* sure of that :).Report

  10. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    Add my most generous “Thank You!” to the pile of thanks to @maribou


  11. Avatar Jaybird says:

    That’s what I mean when I say she saved the site.

    Thank you for saving the site, Maribou!Report

  12. Avatar mr.joem says:

    Thank you @maribou for taking the job of head cat herder. It has clearly been no easy task.

    Thank you to everyone who makes this place happen @will-truman, all the great writers and editors, folks who show up and participate. This site has been net additive to my life and almost certainly to the internet and the world.Report

  13. Avatar Freeman says:

    Long time reader, but I don’t comment much unless I feel I can add something useful to the conversation, and the commentariat here usually has my view on things well-covered. And while that is the case today, I gotta add my kudos to all of the others. Comment moderation with tactful respect for those being called out is a rare skill at which Maribou obviously excels, always careful to emphasize that it’s the way it is expressed, and not the difference of opinion, that is causing issues. You have my admiration and respect for a job very well done.

    This site has always had (since way back into the LoOG era) and continues to have the most well-behaved and courteous open comment section on the internet in my experience. That’s not to say there haven’t been problems – after all, besting the average blog at comment courtesy is a low bar to clear. But the problems that have arisen have consistently been dealt with, often in highly positive ways, always cautious not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I’ve seen other blogs (that desperately needed moderating) moderate away all dissent and it has completely ruined them for me – echo-chambers are for intellectual cowards. It’s a hard balance to strike but this site consistently does it far better than any other blog I’ve frequented. I’m only now starting to realize just how much hard work goes on behind the scenes to make it so, which of course causes me to appreciate it all the more. Many, many thanks to everyone on the OT team.Report

  14. Avatar jason says:

    +100 to all the positive comments. This site is a great place. You will never find a more wonderful hive of discussion and decency.Report

  15. I’ll join everyone else in thanking @maribou for the under-thanked works she does, and both her public and private support of me and many others as we contribute and participate.

    I was one of those that Will pitched the commenting section too, and before contributing I did quite a bit of lurking and reading of the comments to get a feel for the site and the people involved. I do not comment as much as I like, and join @atomickristin and others in intending to do more of it in the future as time permits. But with what Will shared here I will add one thought.

    I rather like the pushback and intelligent level of the folks here. While things can get heated at times, by internet standards it is still fairly restrained. Like @kenb points out, I tend to engage more when there is a closeness or at least an opportunity to bridge a gap. I don’t feel a need to fight every battle or defend every position, especially if it falls on the “heat” side of Will’s “heat vs light” scale. The goes for both provoking and being provoked. I worry far more about truth and doing the right things than which side those might fall on and under what labels it all neatly fits. I enjoy this place and hope to continue to do so, and thank you all for being what it is, and look forward to what it will be in the future.Report

  16. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    From the lunatic (but non-Trump) catholic fringe… thanks for a fair shake.Report

  17. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    Being a comment-moderator sucks. Moderating boards sucks. I know, I’ve done it, I gave it up one place I used to do it because it stressed me out so much (and one person tended to attack me if I called them on being rude to other posters, even after they drove a poster away)

    So, thanks, Maribou, and I hope we can keep this place going without you watching out for us putting our figurative feet in our figurative mouths. I would miss not being able to comment even if my comments are never very substantive.Report

  18. Avatar Damon says:


    Sorry to see you go. I second or third all the positive comments to you. I’ve always enjoyed this site since finding it. The intelligence and rationality in arguments were always better than anywhere else I visited. I don’t post much anymore since I cannot access the site during work hours and frankly, even this site has been way more Trump than I want. I get enough of that from the daily news on my commute.

    Best of luck to you with all that “life stuff”.Report

  19. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Thank you @maribou for your work as a moderator.

    The ideological journey of Ordinary Gentleman/Times has been one of the more fascinating in blog history. It started off with a mainly conservative/right-libertarian reader base along with a few leftist contributors and commentators like Freddie De Boer or Chris. Reading most of the early and mid-years is really like reading another blog when it comes to the comments and ideas expressed. It slowly started to shift to a more mainstream liberal position, losing both the most conservative posters and the far leftist posters too. Right now most of the posters are well within the mainstream of Democratic thought along with a few libertarians and conservative posters. I’m not sure if any of the original commentators or contributors are even around anymore.

    Mixed ideological blogs are hard to maintain. The earlier incarnations of Ordinary Gentleman might have seemed like a more congenital place because while the conservatives, right libertarians, and leftists disagreed with each other, they could all agree on not liking the Democratic Party at all. When more posters who like the Democratic Party started to join, the blog got more heated.Report

  20. Avatar j r says:

    @maribou, I join the chorus of thank you. You have helped me to think more about where the line is and try to keep on the right side of it as well as making it much easier for me to step back across on those occasions that I have crossed it.Report

  21. Avatar James K says:

    Let me add my appreciation to the chorus for all of your hard work Maribou. Your tireless efforts have made the comments threads here a lot more pleasant to read.Report

  22. I’ll join, if belatedly, the others congratulating and thanking Maribou. The sheer amount of work and time that was necessary in order to do what she has done and do it well is astounding.

    As with Will, there have been with me numerous times where I almost said something and stopped because I knew it was something Maribou might (rightly) call out. So thank you.Report

  23. Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

    I’ll join the chorus in thanking @maribou for her labors. I’ve met her in person (and really hope I get the chance again!), and she’d just as interesting in the flesh.

    I didn’t always agree with her moderation, and, at least to me, the discussion doesn’t seem as freewheeling as it once was, but I’ll take Will’s word for it that it was a necessary function. I remain deeply conflicted about whether the role should even exist, but my skin is pretty thick, and I can easily pass over the more bothersome stuff without a second thought. I’ve never thought any discussion got too derailed when the comments were a bit less than civil, and it was great entertainment.

    I’ll remain an avid reader.Report

    • Avatar Phaedros says:

      I’ve never thought any discussion got too derailed when the comments were a bit less than civil, and it was great entertainment.

      This expresses my own thoughts on most discussions, even the heated BlaiseP / Prof. Hanley debates of old.
      In that case, it was not the comments section, but how it affected the participants, which was the real problem. Unfortunately, our acts are limited in such cases.Report

  24. Avatar Dark Matter says:

    Thanks @maribou , you’ve been Great!Report