How much freedom can you handle?

Image by wmfawmfa/Flickr Creative Commons

I‘m setting you free today.

After a month of moderated comments, I’m removing the shackles. Can you handle it?

But before I get into the details, here are a few really important announcements that, in a roundabout way, have something to do with freedom, too.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal. Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Freedom from bad lists. My 2013 buyer’s guide, which I’m calling Elliott’s List, is in gathering serious momentum. It’s going to be a major part of next year’s site, so please cast your votes now and participate. This week’s list is on the best travel Twitter personalities.

A new lineup. I’m shaking up the regular features for 2013. I’m rebooting my videos and turning them into a regular podcast, instead of randomly attaching them to posts. At least one column, the Tuesday feature I’ve called, “That’s Ridiculous!” is wrapping up at the end of December, but there will be even more changes. Big changes. I’m going to ask for your feedback on this important issue soon.

A total redesign. I’ve designed this site using Thesis since 2009. But the newest version of Thesis is so deeply flawed that I’ve made the difficult decision to abandon it in favor of another content-management system that works within WordPress. That means this site will get a radically new look. By the way, if you have any suggestions on systems, please let me know.

OK, so here’s what happened with the comments and why we’ve decided to take this step — and when I say we I mean my team of moderators and I.

In September, the comments on this blog were becoming so unruly that they had Emily Post spinning in her grave. Seriously. There was name-calling, baiting, ad hominem attacks and all the unpleasantness you’d expect from a FlyerTalk discussion (if that can be called a discussion).

A brave group of readers volunteered to act as moderators. We read every comment before approving it. And we feel that now, after a month of vetting the discussion, real change has taken place. The comments are more civil and on-topic.

We don’t want to hold back the discussion any longer. Even with the most attentive team, there’s a delay in posting comments. So as of right now, that ends. Instead, the moderators will patrol the discussion, stepping in only when necessary.

By the way, you’ll recognize a moderator by the green “M” next to their name. Think of them as cops on the beat. Please be nice to them. If you disregard their suggestions, your comment could be deleted or worse, your account could be one of those flagged to have all comments moderated.

Thank you for your support of the consumer advocacy on this site. You are making the world a better place.