Our hosted comments are back. Did you miss them?
I know some of you did. You told me the hosted comments below each story were the best part of this site, and that you looked forward to reading them every day.
I hear you.
But I also heard from even more readers who said it was about time we shut down the chatter below each post, and were relieved when we paused our user-generated comments on Feb. 1. You said you’d grown tired of the snark and toxins that had infested the site.
And you were right, too.
So why are we bringing the comments back today? Wrong question. It’s not why, but how.
Our writers and moderators agree that intelligent and polite comments have a place on this site, and although we don’t think we’re required to have them, we want to.
But not like they were before. Never again.
So here’s what we’ve done:
New, site-wide comment policy
In early February, we went back to this site’s directors — my inner circle — to review our comment policies. One of the things we discovered was that it lacked consistency, which is to say, you could say something on our forums that you couldn’t in the comments. We decided to rewrite our comment policy to include every aspect of our site, including our forums and moderated social media.
100 percent moderation
Our new hosted comments will be 100 percent moderated — no exceptions. Every comment will be read by a moderator. If it doesn’t make a meaningful contribution to the story, it will not be approved. I’ve given the moderation team a far broader license to moderate, too. They will no longer be responding to requests such as, “Why wasn’t my comment approved?” Also, there may be a delay between the time you post a comment and that comment’s approval. Better get used to it.
Some stories won’t have comments
Sensitive stories, such as articles that mention politics, people with disabilities, comfort animals and breastfeeding, might have the comments turned off entirely. Again, I’ve asked the moderation team to not answer the question, “Why?” If you have to ask, you’re probably visiting the wrong site.
No more trolls — ever
In early February, a small group of regular commenters threatened to leave this site unless the comments were returned immediately. I don’t respond well to threats, and neither do my team of advocates. We wished these commenters well, and have assumed that they actually did what they said they would do. By the way, I loved the ones who predicted a traffic apocalypse if the comments weren’t switched back on right away. Our traffic is actually up since February. Anyway, we have zero tolerance for entitled trolls who believe they have an unlimited right to free speech on this site. They don’t. They have a right to leave, and I invite them to do so now.
Have you seen our Facebook page? I’m there.
I don’t answer or participate in our hosted comments, for a variety of reasons. That’s not going to change. But I’ve been chatting with you on our Facebook page since our comments paused, and I’ll continue to do that. There’s something about Facebook that’s more conducive to a conversation. If you want to talk to me, that’s where I’ll be.
So there you go — our comments are back effective immediately. As always, there are limits, but with these new policies in place, I believe that you’ll see compelling, insightful and helpful information when you scroll down.
And if you don’t, please let me know immediately. Because the next comments “pause” might be permanent.
(*some restrictions apply)