The Trend Of Killing News Comment Sections Because You 'Just Really Value Conversation' Stupidly Continues

from the mute-button dept

Over the last year, there has been a tidal wave of websites that have decided to close their news comment sections because the companies are no longer willing to invest time and effort into cultivating healthy on-site discussion. While that's any site's prerogative, these announcements have all too often been accompanied by amusing, disingenuous claims that the reason these sites are muting their on-site audience is because they're simply looking to build relationships or just really value conversation. Nothing says "we care about your opinions" like a shiny new muzzle, right?

And judging from this NiemanLab conversation with a lot of the sites that have chosen to shutter comments, most of the websites have no intention of looking back. After all, what's the use of a local, loyal, on-site community when you can just offload all conversation (and that traffic) to Facebook and Twitter, right? Dan Colarusso, executive editor of Reuters, for example, doesn't think comments are important because damnit people -- Reuters isn't looking to argue!
"We’re not the kind of news organization that’s about giving our ‘take’ on something. We’re not looking to start an argument; we’re looking to report the news. We felt that, since so much of the conversation around stories had gravitated toward social, that was the better place for that discourse to happen. We did keep comments on our opinion pieces, because we felt that that is where you are trying to start an argument in the best possible way."
Except comments aren't just about having arguments, they're a legitimate and transparent avenue for readers to publicly correct your errors right below the original article, which is something many of these sites likely grew tired of. Sure, poorly managed comments can devolve into a cesspool of banality, but good commenters almost always offer insights the writer or website may have missed, could have been wrong on, or never even thought of. In short, we want you to comment -- we just want you to comment privately so our errors aren't quite so painfully highlighted. For the sake of conversation, of course.

Last week On The Media was the latest to quietly kill comments on the bottom of its newsletter, informing readers that comments just don't provide the "kind of dialogue" they wanted:
"We value our listeners above all and are always keen to know what you're thinking, to hear your questions and concerns, to get feedback on what you like and dislike. So why shut down the comment section? As we hear more from listeners through Facebook and Twitter and directly through our website, we've concluded that the comment section just isn't the best way to have the kind of dialogue we want with our listeners."
By "kind of dialogue" you mean transparent and public? Over at the last bastion of website interaction known as Twitter, Mike amusingly highlighted the disjointed logic of claiming to value dialogue while dramatically reducing the number of avenues for it, and the website's response doesn't really make sense:
Of course "nobody in our writing or editorial staff wants to take the time to cultivate local on-site community" or "we don't like having our mistakes highlighted publicly right below our articles" don't make for very good explanations when it's time to save a little money and axe ye olde comment section. So what we get instead are these vague bloviations about how this is really about an evolution in conversation, and punting the problem to Facebook is really the best thing for everyone. It's really time for some new, flimsy excuses for why websites can't be bothered to value local, on-site dialogue, because "we killed a major, on-site avenue of conversation for the sake of conversation" still doesn't really sound all that convincing.

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  • icon
    Charles (profile), 23 Sep 2015 @ 11:31pm

    Wondering out loud

    I wonder if this transfer of "conversation" to social media has any relation to a enhancement of a revenue stream. As "they" so famously say: "Follow the money."

    Postscript: Please excuse my overuse of quotation marks correctly used or not. :-)

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    • icon
      Walid Damouny (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 1:02am

      Re: Wondering out loud

      Having comments on a page increases the lurkers on that page and reduces page views along with advertising impressions for the site.

      Not having comments on a page will still get those lurkers to visit those pages because they were visiting anyway and would make them click through more pages in a shorter period of time.

      Ka Ching!

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 6:21am

        Re: Re: Wondering out loud

        "because they were visiting anyway"

        But for how long without the comments?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 6:37am

          Re: Re: Re: Wondering out loud

          That!

          If I wanted news without comments, I'd watch the lamestream news, not a website.

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 6:57am

        Re: Re: Wondering out loud

        "Not having comments on a page will still get those lurkers"

        Not all of them. I lurk at most of the sites I regularly read, but if those sites stopped allowing comments, I'd stop going to them. The comments are almost always the most useful part.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2015 @ 11:34pm

    I more often than not check the reddit comments before even bothering with the news article to see if it's some bullshit clickbait, erroneous, biased or bullshit piece before reading the article. To me, the comments are more valuable than the story itself.
    It's just the evolution of news these days.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 6:23am

      Re:

      Seconded

      Could it be that these publications simply do not like being corrected and certainly not by the cretins who live in the comments section.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2015 @ 11:44pm

    Self-entitled internet journalists don't like being told they're wrong. Better to scrub away all that nasty criticis-err, I mean harassment.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 6:24am

      Re:

      Self-entitled people don't like being told they're wrong. Better to scrub away all that nasty criticis-err, I mean harassment.

      ftfy

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2015 @ 11:46pm

    Done correctly, comments can be great. And when you HAVE a space where people can point out errors right there on the page, and there usually aren't any, that actually can increase your credibility. (And if there are some inaccuracies, you can sometimes use comments to find and correct them - this site has done so, to its credit.)

    I guess one reason to force your comments to Facebook and Twitter is that those sites have more users, so you're hoping that your user's friends/followers will see their comments and check out your article? But the more likely scenario is that they won't comment at all.

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    • identicon
      tjoe, 14 Mar 2016 @ 7:44am

      Re: comments

      They don't want commenters to pollute the propaganda. Can't have dissent among the civilians, you know.

      Then there is the hired help that simply are paid to lead a conversation astray or disrupt it.

      Some good sites still have them because they care what their readers think and can contribute.

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  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 23 Sep 2015 @ 11:50pm

    See my comment on TwitBook.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 23 Sep 2015 @ 11:51pm

    How stupid do you have to be to think Facebook gives you better feedback?
    From a place where people fall for Onion headlines consistently, how do you expect your stories to get anything but fuzzy me-too likes once one of the thought leaders tells everyone they should like it?

    Or the twitters where having any sort of debate is crippled by 140 character limitations, plus the random block lists and things that can take away voices who might have something worth adding.

    It's too hard for us to have comments, which means the bosses don't want to pay anyone to deal with this crap anymore. They don't think its worthwhile, we shovel out our stories and move onto the next one... people no longer believe in deep conversations on important topics... look at the "debates" and all of the oxygen sucked out of the room talking about some porn star turned brand's ass portrait breaking the internet.

    They fed people vapid junk food content, and are SHOCKED the comments devolved. Or perhaps they are terrified that someone will launch a lawsuit if a comment gives them butthurt.

    Facebook isn't a platform to engage people, its a bunch of analytics pretending to be helpful but tells you fuckall about your actual reach. Stop thinking that likes fucking matter over everything else. Stop thinking that making them use their real names will make them be nicer, its more likely to make them not engage and soon they won't even bother with your content at all because what you do on FB have ripples that reach far and wide... or do we forget those who made comments on their FB page only to find themselves unemployed because FB stalking people for total awareness is a big thing now.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 12:04am

    Here I thought it was because they hated having someone expose when their stories were made up or had incorrect facts on purpose.

    A lot easier to be a propaganda site when your readers cannot cross check what you are telling them to believe

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  • icon
    sam1am (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 12:19am

    If I wanted a one way conversation I'd subscribe to a newspaper, if such a thing still exists. Comment sections are one of those unique and great things you get with the internet.

    I used to love The Verge and its comments section, but it completely turned upside down when they shut off comments. The site lost its charm and intrigue so I left and haven't looked back. I am really curious how many others have done the same.

    The good news is that if it weren't for shutting down the comments, I never would have been looking for new sites to follow and I wouldn't have found Tech Dirt, which very closely aligns with my way of thinking.

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    • icon
      Christopher M. Vanderwall-Brown (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 4:38am

      Re:

      And yet even those had "Letters to the Editor" as does most journals where people comment on the journal articles in question. :P

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      • icon
        jilocasin (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 7:01am

        Those were heavilly moderated comments...[Re: Re: ]

        Letters to the editor differ from a comments section in that they are heavily vetted before hand.

        You only have to publish favorably letters and you don't have to be bothered by any inconvenient opinions.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 9:08am

          Re: Those were heavilly moderated comments...[Re: Re: ]

          ...Letters to the editor differ from a comments section in that they are heavily vetted before hand...

          My local newspaper requires a phone number with all letters to the editor or they won't even consider them for publication. They will call you to verify that you are the author of that letter; this also verifies your consent to publish that letter.

          But I have never heard of them not publishing a letter that was critical of the paper or of an opinion contrary to the paper's position.

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          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 25 Sep 2015 @ 7:06am

            Re: Re: Those were heavilly moderated comments...[Re: Re: ]

            "I have never heard of them not publishing a letter that was critical of the paper or of an opinion contrary to the paper's position."

            It would be a hard thing to detect if they did. Most newspapers get a lot more letters to the editor than they can publish, so most of them never get printed. If a critical letter is omitted because it's critical, it would be difficult to say that's the reason rather than just a lack of space.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 12:23am

    When your top rated comments are always about pointing out how the article is crap/biased/full with lies, then all you can do is remove the comment section and make up a nice excuse.

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  • identicon
    Glenn, 24 Sep 2015 @ 12:35am

    Not that I visit a lot of sites, but while I do see at least a few useful comments on the sites I visit, all too many are of the "look at me! look at me!" variety. Really, is highlighting "funniest" comments useful? or just "entertaining" (for someone)?

    I don't use facebook or twitter or any of the other "comment engines" out there, but I also block them where they are used.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 10:21am

      Re:

      Really, is highlighting "funniest" comments useful? or just "entertaining" (for someone)?
      Short answer, 'Yes'. Look at TD's system:

      Funny/Insightful votes get readers to put a little extra effort into their comments (I'm a lazy exception), and can be a signal that an otherwise banal statement contains a subtlety that might be missed by a casual skimming. Spend a couple of weeks visiting on a daily basis, and you know who's the Class Clown, the Wild-Eyed Anarchist, the Voice of Reason, the Genius, the Orator. Hell, you can even recognize many Anonymous Cowards by their writing styles.*

      Comments become part of the author's original post (not just a tacked-on bonus), and the authors interact with commenters. This results in a conversation, rather than a broadcast. Places like TD feel like coffee shops or public houses rather than movie theaters.That's a community.

      _____
      * - I'm 'The AC who mentions Kurt Gödel and kitten vivisectionists way too often'.

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  • identicon
    MetArtScroll, 24 Sep 2015 @ 2:16am

    There is yet another reason to remove comments. This reason is the totally idiotic legal responsibility of site owners for on-site comments content.

    As a result, site owners either have to pay full-time moderators, or face lawsuits due to "illegal" comments not removed "in time."

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 6:36am

      Re:

      Please expound upon this so called legal responsibility.

      1) Is it imaginary?
      2) Is it civil or criminal?
      3) Is it based solely upon libel/slander statutes?

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 7:19am

      Re:

      There is yet another reason to remove comments. This reason is the totally idiotic legal responsibility of site owners for on-site comments content.

      In the US there is no such legal responsibility. Site operators are fully protected under Section 230 of the CDA.

      As a result, site owners either have to pay full-time moderators, or face lawsuits due to "illegal" comments not removed "in time."

      This is simply not true. We don't have full time moderators (or, really, any moderators). And while we occasionally receive threats, pointing them to Section 230 and telling them to buzz off has always worked to date.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 8:36am

        Re: Re:

        In the US there is no such legal responsibility.

        And yet, if sued, most businesses will hire a lawyer and that cost can become a sunk one.

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        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 8:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          And yet, if sued, most businesses will hire a lawyer and that cost can become a sunk one.


          Of all the news sites shutting down comments, can you find a single one that has been sued over comments?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2015 @ 7:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            can you find a single one that has been sued over comments?

            No idea as I'm not in their legal departments.

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          • identicon
            Sean Costello, 10 Feb 2016 @ 6:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            that would be fairly hard, considering that isn't the reason they remove comments. A fairly convenient excuse.. but in no way the cause. Most of the sites that have shut down their comments are conservative news sites where they have no desire to hear the opinions of their readers. They just want to feed them propaganda and then move on to the next line of bullshit for the day.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 12:29pm

      Re:

      I was thinking along the same line, except it was more in the way of it being easier to fire off a cease and desist letter to a major social site than to your commentors

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sean Costello, 10 Feb 2016 @ 6:10am

      Re: are you serious?

      MetArtScroll, I'm not sure where you get your "facts" from, but you can't sue any venue for comments made. In fact, we have this fancy thing called freedom of speech in America, and you can't see anyone for anything they say, unless it directly slanders another individual. Even still, you can't sue a venue because someone used that venue to make a slanderous comment, you can only sue the individual that made the comment. Try not to make up your own facts, please.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 2:33am

    This is like when your girlfriend tells you "we need to talk".

    It translates as "I do the talking, you do the apologizing".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nick Farrell, 24 Sep 2015 @ 2:59am

    It is all about spam

    Comments are fine, even mindless trolling. But there does not appear to be any filter out there for spam comments which which means they have to be deleted manually and watched like a hawk.

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    • identicon
      Just Another Anonymous Troll, 24 Sep 2015 @ 5:30am

      Re: It is all about spam

      Check your facts, bro. Techdirt employs a spam filter, as do many other sites. It's the trolls that have to be deleted manually, Poe's Law would hit a troll filter so hard.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 7:21am

      Re: It is all about spam

      But there does not appear to be any filter out there for spam comments

      There are tons of spam filters. Akismet is the most popular, but there are many more. We actually use a combination of a few and run the comments through a string of them. We get somewhere between 500 and 1000 spam comments caught each day and just a small percentage of false positives (and an even smaller number of spam comments getting through). The idea that spam overwhelms sites with comments isn't true. The filters are pretty good.

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    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 11:13pm

      Re: It is all about spam

      Do you frequent CBSi-owned sites, or skim through a lot of dead personal blogs? Yeah, you'll see spam then.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      John Mayor, 16 Aug 2016 @ 3:48am

      It is all about SPAM/ Spam/ spam

      A GLOBAL DIGITAL HUMAN RIGHTS MANIFESTO: A WORK IN PROGRESS (002ND EDITION, TUESDAY, AUG 16, 2016)
      -----
      If I may!... today, I would like to bring a more concerted focus, on the Corporate Media buzzword... SPAM! As it's not what it appears to be...
      -----
      What?... dear reader!... is YOUR definition of SPAM? To YOU!... dear reader!... and for example-- and as some site owners believe!... are Comment Logs (Clogs!) on Blogs which contain LINKS to yet other sites, facilitating SPAM?... i.e., by mere virtue of the simple fact, that a link has been introduced?
      -----
      Although many sites encourage links, many others do not!... and thereby, such "denying sites", have denied-- and are denying!-- one fundamental means of communicating important information (and in contrast to the view of the said inventor of the Blog, Jorn Barger!)!!
      -----
      LINKING to another site, is a common-- and functional!-- feature, of most websites!... or the ability to link, would be abandoned as a tool of Operating Systems! Linking provides the reader with a clearer understanding of the subject one is trying to convey in a story (and why, Wikipedia-- for example!-- LINKS FOR EVERY ITEM IT DEALS WITH!)!... and!... provides a reader with a heads up on issues!... and regardless of a cited story! And re the latter... it's like someone on a street yelling to a pedestrian, "Watch out for that pole!"... to save the pedestrian from walking into it!; or yelling (or simply saying!) \"Have a good day!"... to bring a smile to some stranger! And if one is broadcasting a message to a pedestrian on the street through a hand-held device (e.g., a megaphone!... or a portable radio!)... i.e., LINKING!... is the message no less a warning!... or comforting!... because the message incorporates an "electronic mediating device"! THAT'S RIDICULOUS! And thus!... LINKING, IS NOT SPAMMING!

      But!... what linking CLEARLY has become for "CERTAIN INTERESTS ('ELITE INTERESTS', conservative websites-- and otherwise!... AND DAMN OUR CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED "DIGITAL HUMAN RIGHTS"!-- MANY OF THESE WILL ADD!)", is a THREAT to the "S-A-N-C-T-I-T-Y" of "SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION"/ SEO, and other such "DYS-I-C TECHNOMAE (i.e., BAD INFORMATION COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOMAE!)" underpinning "A-N-T-I NET NEUTRALITY" and "A-N-T-I SEARCH NEUTRALITY" "C-Y-B-E-R-O-L-I-G-A-R-C-H-O-S-O-C-I-O-P-S-Y-C-H-O-P-A-T-H-Y"! And!... MOST NOTABLY!... a D-E-S-P-A-R-A-T-E N-E-E-D on the part of these interests, TO DOMINATE THE PRESENT, AND FUTURE COURSE OF THE INTERNET! But!... and for the present time being!... let us continue our reflection on the notion, of "SPAM"!
      -----
      "SPAM (the canned "Shoulder Pork and hAM"/ "SPiced hAM" luncheon meat!... as introduced by Geo. A. Hormel & Co.)", was originally registered as a trademark in 1937... being a conflation of “SPiced hAM (which was the original name)"! The name “SPAM” was chosen from entries in a naming contest at Hormel! The name was suggested by Kenneth Daigneau (who was the brother of a then Hormel Vice president!)! He was given $100 prize for winning the naming contest! So much for the appearance of impartiality!... let alone, ACTUAL IMPARTIALITY!
      -----
      According to the official Hormel trademark guidelines, "SPAM (the food product!)", should be spelled with all capital letters! And a stipulation of the trademark, was that it should always be used as an adjective!... as in “SPAM meat”.
      -----
      Hormel was able to successfully defend their trademark of "SPAM", by limiting it to this capitalized version; and thus, the usage, and spelling (“spam”, and “Spam”!) doesn’t conflict with their trademark! The "principals" of Hormel unsuccessfully defended the variant, "Spam", as an extended use of their trademark!... and resorted, to “SPAM (i.e., the use, in capital letters only!)"!
      -----
      However!... much to the chagrin of Hormel Foods, the term "SPAM" has, today, come to mean-- FOOLISHLY!-- NETWORK ABUSE (i.e., by sundry post-SPAM pejorative accounts of the term!... and, in deference to a 1970s TV spiel that implicated Shoulder Pork and hAM/ SPiced hAM... in a can... as-- somehow!-- FAKE MEAT!)!... and, in particular, "junk E-mail", and massive "junk postings"! And the TV spiel in question, is a Monty Python Flying Circus skit, on SPAM (the meat!)!
      -----
      In this skit, menu items in a restaurant devolve into "SPAM"! And when a waitress in a restaurant repeats the word "SPAM" to two customers (though, to one, specifically!), a group of Vikings in the corner of the restaurant-- eventually!-- begin singing, “SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM... lovely SPAM!... Wonderful SPAM!”...and drowning out the objections to being offered "SPAM" by the waitress, by one of two customers (like "CERTAIN" netizens do, when these shout NO to "SPAM" at-- and about!-- other netizens' Net communications!)!... until the Vikings are finally told to, "...shut up!", by the waitress!
      -----
      While some have suggested that this hatred for "SPAM" was because "SPAM (as in the Hormel meat product!)" is sometimes satirized as “fake meat (and thus, by analogy, 'SPAM messages' are-- supposedly!-- 'FAKE MESSAGES'!)", this allegation-- while plausible enough on the surface!-- turns out to be not correct!... AT ALL!
      -----
      Exactly where this skit first translated to INTERNET MESSAGES (of varying type... such as chat messages, newsgroups, etc.!), isn’t entirely clear!... as it sort of happened (i.e., the labeling of internet messages as "SPAM"!) all over the Net! And!... in a very short span of years! It is, however, well documented, that "CERTAIN" "SPAM OBJECTING NETIZENS"... and, in each of these just cited "SPAM" categories!... have chosen the word "SPAM (consciously, or unconsciously!... knowingly, or unwittingly!... directly, and/ or indirectly!... by commission, and/ or omission!)", to refer to the 1970's Monty Python sketch! And wherein, "SPAM" is depicted as undesirable by ONE customer!... and yet!... the love of same, is drowning out... through singing by Vikings!... the conversation between the waitress, and the ONE objecting customer! And!... just like some CONSCIONABLE "viking netizens" have done-- and are doing!-- to "Spam OBJECTING NETIZENS (the Spam OBJECTING NETIZENS, having us believe, that 'L-E-G-I-T C-O-N-V-E-R-S-A-T-I-O-N-S' between "T-R-U-E N-E-T-I-Z-E-N-S (i.e., Spam OBJECTING NETIZENS!)', are being "drowned out" by "Spammers"!)! And!... and just like the skit, though "SPAM" was unwanted by ONE customer-- in particular (and... was-- nevertheless!-- popping up as a menu choice by way of the offerings of the waitress!)!-- R-I-G-H-T-F-U-L C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N-S (e.g., Comment Logs/ Clogs... and including links!), are, NONETHELESS, "popping up" all over the Net, through the offerings of countless "democratic servers", and "viking netizens"/ Comment Loggers/ Cloggers! And!... and just like the canned meat!... the "electronic product" is still edible!-- i.e., "nutritious food"!
      -----
      Some examples of these cited categories of "unsolicited/ unwanted messages" being referred to as SPAM, include:
      -----
      ◾The first ever spam email, on May 3, 1978. Gary Thuerk, a marketer for the Digital Equipment Corporation, blasted out a message to nearly 400 of the 2600 people on ARPAnet (the DARPA-funded “first Internet”-- so-called!). Naturally... he was selling something (computers!... or, more specifically, information about open houses!... where people could check out the computers!). He... as a result... annoyed a lot of people. But... he also had some success with a few recipients!... who were interested, in what he was pushing. And thus... the "electronic version" of SPAM, was born.
      -----
      Here’s the text of that glorious-- first-ever-- message (and as it was... in all caps!):
      _____

      “DIGITAL WILL BE GIVING A PRODUCT PRESENTATION OF THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY; THE DECSYSTEM-2020, 2020T, 2060, AND 2060T. THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY OF COMPUTERS HAS EVOLVED FROM THE TENEX OPERATING SYSTEM AND THE DECSYSTEM-10 COMPUTER ARCHITECTURE. BOTH THE DECSYSTEM-2060T AND 2020T OFFER FULL ARPANET SUPPORT UNDER THE TOPS-20 OPERATING SYSTEM.
      -----
      THE DECSYSTEM-2060 IS AN UPWARD EXTENSION OF THE CURRENT DECSYSTEM 2040 AND 2050 FAMILY. THE DECSYSTEM-2020 IS A NEW LOW END MEMBER OF THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY AND FULLY SOFTWARE COMPATIBLE WITH ALL OF THE OTHER DECSYSTEM-20 MODELS.
      -----
      WE INVITE YOU TO COME SEE THE 2020 AND HEAR ABOUT THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY AT THE TWO PRODUCT PRESENTATIONS WE WILL BE GIVING IN CALIFORNIA THIS MONTH. THE LOCATIONS WILL BE:
      -----
      TUESDAY, MAY 9, 1978 – 2 PM
      -----
      HYATT HOUSE (NEAR THE L.A. AIRPORT)
      -----
      LOS ANGELES, CA
      -----
      THURSDAY, MAY 11, 1978 – 2 PM
      -----
      DUNFEY’S ROYAL COACH
      -----
      SAN MATEO, CA
      -----
      (4 MILES SOUTH OF S.F. AIRPORT AT BAYSHORE, RT 101 AND RT 92)
      -----
      A 2020 WILL BE THERE FOR YOU TO VIEW. ALSO TERMINALS ON-LINE TO OTHER DECSYSTEM-20 SYSTEMS THROUGH THE ARPANET. IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT THE NEAREST DEC OFFICE FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE EXCITING DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY.
      _____

      Being on ARPAnet, that first "SPAM MESSAGE" provoked a swift crackdown from the governing authorities!... and inspired much contemplation among the tiny community on the Net, at the time! Richard Stallman is quoted as stating... and I quote him!... “Nobody should be allowed to send a message with a header that long... no matter what it is about.” Well... with all due respect to Richard Stallman... AND I DO RESPECT HIM (AND PRAY FOR HIS SOUL!)!... the CAPS notwithstanding, it is-- virtually!-- a simple message! What appears disconcerting!... TO SOME!... is that it is a "BATCH MESSAGE (i.e., a message sent to a number of people at once!)"!... and... that it smacks of a SALES PITCH! As if to suggest, that BATCH MESSAGES!... and with the hint of a SALES PITCH (like "flyers" in one's physical mailbox!)!... are not to be accepted on the Net! Well!... says who? We've all sent out physical-- and/ or electronic!-- batch messages!... and!... have tried to "pitch" some notion (like mailing out christmas cards!... or valentines greetings!)!... though, some of which, may not have been appreciated, or desired! And... if we've been informed by a recipient-- or two, or three!-- that a given batch message (like a Christmas card!... or valentine's greeting!) is unapprciated!... undesired!... then we have-- responsibly!-- discontinued sending such messages, to the affected party, or parties! But!... that doesn't mean we must be forever banned from sending out batch messages to people (e.g., visa vie, the post office!), if a soul-- or two, or three!-- has/ have expressed some disinterest in our spin/ pitch! And although a SALES PITCH may be delivered to people that the salesperson doesn't know (i.e., may not be familially related to!... or friends with!... the "salesperson"!), a salesperson has EVERY RIGHT to PITCH a product/ service (commercial, or otherwise!)! The problem arises-- however!-- when the salesperson won't receive NO for an answer!... and!... when the product/ service is of little use to anyone (or to the environment!)! And!... when the salesperson could care less to target the right audience (even if the product/ service is deemed sound!)! But!... denying a salesperson the Right-- UNDER RATIONAL CONDITIONS!-- to PITCH one's goods/ services, is to deny a person a DEMOCRATIC RIGHT to various CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS!... and, to deny people, products/ services that (and apart from any proprietary concerns!) may-- indeed!-- be useful to people!... to society!... and, to the environment!
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      ◾A documented case among Usenet users, of March 31, 1993! This case is often-- incorrectly!-- stated to be the first usage of the term "SPAM" as referring to "SPAM messages"! This first Usenet case came when Richard Depew... who had been playing with some moderation software... accidentally ended up posting around 200 duplicate messages in a row, to the news.admin.policy newsgroup! Subsequently, the SAID first person to call this "SPAM", is thought to be Joel Furr, on March 31, 1993! Depew, himself... when he apologized!... referred to his messages, as "SPAM"! Given the time frame-- at least!-- for Joel Furr's use of this expression, and Depew's ready acknowledgement of the tag offered up by Furr, it's safe to conclude that both Furr and Depew were consciously and/ or unconsciously equating the electronic messages sent out as "SPAM messages", with the 1970s Monty Python skit!... and!... the skit's incorporation of Hormel Food's luncheon meat (although, Furr-- specifically!-- had made the initial conscious and/ or unconscious erroneous informal pejorative colloquial/ slang interpolative ascription of Hormel's luncheon meat, as bad, fake, or "popping up" meat!... or a combination of these skit associations!)!
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      ◾A further “first use” of the word "SPAM" referring to certain electronic messages, comes from MUDs (for... multi-user-dungeons!)! This was a sort of real-time multi-person shared environment; a somewhat primitive version of The Sims Online, or Second Life!... and the like! In it, users could chat and interact with other people, locations, and objects, as well as create objects, and share them with the community! Basically, a really advanced chat room! The name MUD, comes from the fact that it reminded people of certain aspects of Dungeons and Dragons! In any event, "SPAMMING" was used here to refer to a few different things!... including: flooding the computer with random data (and not to be confused with batch communications!); “SPAM the database” by flooding it with new objects; and flooding a chat session with a ton of unwanted text (and... again!... not to be confused with batch communications!)!; and-- to extrapolate further!-- anything that had to do with filling other members' accounts with unwanted (but... to be sure!... HARMFUL!) electronic junk (and... once again!... not to be confused with batch communications!)! One of the earliest DOCUMENTED USES of the word "SPAM" from MUDders, arrived in 1990 (and so... predating the SAID "FIRST USE" tag, given to Joel Furr!)... when they were-- ironically enough-- discussing the origins of the word “SPAM” as referring to electronic junk messages (and so... bringing the "origins issue" of the association of "SPAM MEAT" with electronic junk messages, even farther back than 1990!)! Undocumented sources, say, that the term "SPAM" had been around quite a bit before its use among MUDders (a rational deduction!)... and evidenced, by the content of the documented message!
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      ◾Others say that the term originated on Bitnet’s Relay (a very early chat system in the 1980s!)! Anecdotally!... users would occasionally come on and annoy other users with unwanted text!... including, the actual "SPAM SONG" from the 1970 Monty Python skit! And so... bringing the junk electronic communications association with "SPAM MEAT", to the doorstep of the 1970s Monty Python skit!
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      ◾Another similar chat system (TRS-80) also reported the same phenomenon!... and also called it "SPAM"! Both of these latter two chat system origins, are not documented!... but, numerous former users of these systems have stated, that they remember this term being used commonly among users of these systems! And so... if one is to believe the "anecdotal evidence" provided by the users of the TRS-80 chat system, we have further (and I suggest "rational"!) proofs, for the Monty Python association!
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      ◾In the early days of the internet, "SPAM" was significantly more annoying than it is today! Not just because of the lack of effective filters back then, but because of the extremely slow internet connections! Even sending ASCII Art was considered "SPAM"!... as a picture sent a few times in a row, could take an enormous amount of time to download! And, with-- often!-- no real way for the end user to get around this!... except, to wait it out!... or disconnect! And so!... how is sending ASCII Art... AND COMPOUNDED BY WAY OF THE EARLY PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS OF THE NET!... to be made SYNONYMOUS with D-E-L-I-B-E-R-A-T-E H-A-R-M to our early netizen civilization? Yes!... people were frustrated!... were upset!... but, truth be told, the frustration, and upset, was-- more often, than not!-- misplaced! For!... the ASCII Art wasn't to blame!... wasn't "SPAM"!... it was the L-I-M-I-T-A-T-I-O-N-S that ALL early netizens were forced to face!
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      ◾In the early days of chat rooms, it was a common tactic among chatters to use large blocks of meaningless text to annoy other groups! For instance, Star Trek chatters would invade a Star Wars chat room, and post large amounts of random text!... making it impossible for the Star Wars people to talk! A veritable, NERD-FIGHT! But!... these were outright malicious attacks between dissenting Nerd Groups!... and should not be made SYNONYMOUS with batch communicating (in the sense as aforementioned!)!... nor, made SYNONYMOUS with an attempt to communicate some holiday greeting, or some pitch of a product/ service!
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      ◾Around the same time, the term "SPAM" became popular among Usenet groups!... and also came to be referred to as "EMAIL SPAM"! And which quickly dominated the world of "SPAM"!... and still does, to this day! Early "SPAM BOTS" simply harvested emails from Usenet newsgroup messages, which gave them extremely large email lists to work from!
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      ◾IRC (Internet Relay Chat) was named after Bitnet’s Relay, and-- no doubt!-- the members of which, were also familiar with the then emerging electronic communications buzzwords!
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      ◾The earliest documented "COMMERCIAL SPAM MESSAGE" is often-- incorrectly!-- cited as the 1994 “Green Card Spam incident"! However, the ACTUAL first documented "COMMERCIAL MESSAGE"-- as indicated earlier!-- was for a new model of Digital Equipment Corporation computers!... and was sent-- as stated-- on ARPANET, by Gary Thuerk, in 1978!
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      ◾The famed "Green Card Spam incident", was sent, April 12, 1994, by a husband and wife team of lawyers!... Laurence Canter, and Martha Siegal! They bulk posted (i.e., batch communicated!)... on Usenet newsgroups!... advertisements for immigration law services! The two would eventually defend their actions (post criticisms against same!), citing the Right to Free Speech! They also later wrote a book, titled, “How to Make a Fortune on the Information Superhighway“!... which encouraged, and demonstrated to people how to quickly, and freely reach over 30 million users on the Internet, by "Spamming"! Nevertheless... and despite their unfortunate use of the term "Spamming (and-- no doubt!-- IN REACTION!... due to the label that was imposed on them, and their work, from others!)" within their subsequent publication, their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to make a living, and to express themselves (and in a batch manner!), IS NOT DISALLOWED BY VIRTUE OF THEIR NASCENT NAIVETY ABOUT THE THEN EMERGING COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS, OF THE NET... AND-- MOST NOTABLY!... THE PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS THAT THE NET, THAT THE NET, AND PERSONAL COMPUTING, WERE HAMSTRUNG BY! And maybe!... hindsight being 20 20!... this sad history of failed Net communications, suggests our need for a new type of email technoma!... one that demarcates between, and accommodates businesses, NGO+NPOs, and bureaucracies! A "tri-email mechanism (if you will!)"!... whereby, businesses, NGO+NPOs and bureaucracies can have their own "slot" for communication!... COUPLED WITH SEVERE PENALTIES-- BOTH CIVIL/ TORTIOUS, AND CRIMINAL!-- FOR DELIBERATELY EMAILING TO THE WRONG WINDOW (AND, UNSOLICITED!)! And... maybe!... a "fourth" email slot, for family, friends-- and otherwise permitted souls!-- to communicate (and!... with the same failsafeguards, as that to be met by members of any, or all, of the previously mentioned three Primary Sectors! (Sectors!... incidentally!... into which the sum communities on planet earth, are grouped!)
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      ◾Before it was called “Spamming (i.e., unsolicited messages in a chat, or forum... or the like!)", the terms used-- generally!-- for these actions, were “flooding”, and “trashing”! And suggesting!... that the early concerns involved MALICIOUS ATTACKS against "community members"!... and not about batch processing, and spin/ pitch (e.g., the "CONTENT" referred to, in the story about Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel!)!
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      ◾Various attempts have been made-- and are being made!-- to release numbers for the origins of "SPAM" by country! However... it remains to be seen how much these stats reflect MALICIOUS ATTACKS, versus attempts by sundry, to "batch communicate" SOUND CONTENT!... and to pitch the some SOUND notion, or product!
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      ◾Of all "EMAIL SPAM", about 73%-- IT'S SAID!-- is attempting to steal the user’s identity in some way (through "phishing")!... including possible bank information, or gaining enough information to open new credit accounts from the user! But!... to include the aforementioned classes of "SPAM" with that associated with the historic reasons for "phishing", is to bend-- to the point of breaking!-- the traditional definition of the notion of "phishing (and... however unfortunate this traditional definition of the notion actually was!)"... and, of what constitutes pejorative description of "SPAM"/ "Spam"!
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      ◾Of the 90 trillion emails sent in 2009 (for example!), 81%-- IT'S SAID!-- is "SPAM"! That amounts to about-- for example!-- 200 billion "SPAM EMAILS" sent every day in 2009! But... again!... there is no clear indication of what this stat means!... and what these "SPAM EMAILS" are composed/ comprised of! And this is no less the case, today!
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      ◾Though not called "SPAM"!... at least, when the ensuing mention, emerged!... Telegraphic messages were extremely common in the 19th century... and, in the United States, in particular! Western Union allowed Telegraphic messages on its network to be sent to multiple destinations... and thus, wealthy American residents tended to get numerous messages through Telegrams... presenting unsolicited investment offers (and, the like!)! This wasn’t nearly as much of a problem in Europe!... due to the fact, that telegraphy was regulated by European post offices!
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      ◾"SPAM (i.e., 'electronic messages'!)", was first added to a major English dictionary (in the New Oxford Dictionary of English), in 1998! It defined "SPAM" as “Irrelevant, or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of newsgroups, or users.” And so... by 1998, the notion of "SPAM" had shifted from being nigh purely about batch communicating RATIONAL CONTENT, and the length/ size, and repetition of electronic messages, to being about ascribed, "MALICIOUS CONTENT (in reference to the terms, irrelevant, and inappropriate!)"!
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      Well!... W-H-O is to D-E-F-I-N-E what constitutes "I-R-R-E-L-E-V-A-N-T"?... and/ or, "I-N-A-P-P-R-O-P-R-I-A-T-E"?... and W-H-O is to determine whether PERSONAL BATCH COMMUNICATIONS should be subsumed as irrelevant and/ or inappropriate Net communications (AND THEREBY, DENYING INDIVIDUALS THEIR RESPECTIVE DEMOCRATIC, AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO FREELY EXPRESS THEMSELVES IN A RESPONSIBLE BATCH MANNER OF THEIR CHOOSING; TO COMMUNICATE MATTERS THAT MAY GO BEYOND THEIR RESPECTIVE IMMEDIATE PERSONAL CONCERNS (E.G., BATCH COMMUNICATING THE MESSAGE YOU ARE NOW READING!); AND, AT ONCE, AFFORDING ONLY "ELITE INTERESTS" WITHIN BUSINESSES, BUREAUCRACIES, AND EVEN CERTAIN NGO+NPOS, THE SOLE/ EXCLUSIVE RESERVE TO COMMUNICATE IN A BATCH MANNER!... AND, AS THESE PRIMARY SECTORS HAVE DONE, FOR GENERATIONS!)? The question to be asked concerning "SPAM/ Spam (so-called!)", is: Are "ELITE INTERESTS" now using this buzzword to "D-E-L-I-M-I-T" the FREE EXPRESSION of netizens generally, in the G-U-I-S-E of protecting the public good from "U-N-D-E-S-I-R-A-B-L-E C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N-S (e.g., like the message you are now reading!)"?
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      ◾The general term "spam (with all small letters!)"... today!... has taken another slight shift in meaning! It is now becoming common for people to refer to A-N-Y unsolicited/ unwanted advertisements, messages, or telemarketer calls, as "SPAM"/ "Spam"!... and!... even if-- and when!-- the former two means of communication, may not even be electronically based! A code, for... if we (whoever we is!) don't like your FREE EXPRESSION, we'll label it spam, Spam, or SPAM!... AND E-N-D, YOUR "FREE EXPRESSSION (and in particular, your BATCH COMMUNICATION!)"!
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      The debate over how to deal with "spam" ignores the most important issue: CENSORSHIP ON THE INTERNET IS ALREADY AN ACCEPTED AND PUBLICLY ACKNOWLEDGED POLICY!... A-N-D M-O-S-T P-E-O-P-L-E D-O-N-'-T R-E-A-L-I-Z-E T-H-A-T!
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      Not to long ago, America On Line announced its intention to start charging people a "license fee" to send bulk email to AOL subscribers!
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      The resulting shiver traveling up the spines of mailing list managers, and Internet providers all over the world, quickly morphed into an A-L-L T-O-O R-A-R-E "quasi-collective outcry", that actually forced AOL into a "half-step" backwards! Upon reconsideration, the Internet giant announced it would CONTINUE to offer the "license"!... but, for those who don't want the "license", it would also CONTINUE to treat bulk email as it had up to that point!
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      Whatever sighs of relief one might have discerned, are-- in reflection!-- the sounds of an Internet community THREATENED with a deadly "kick to the head"!... and relieved that it only had to cope with a "boot on its throat"!... AND!... W-I-T-H N-O L-E-G-A-L J-U-S-T-I-F-I-C-A-T-I-O-N F-O-R I-T-S A-C-T-I-O-N-S (and in particular, N-O C-O-N-S-T-U-T-I-O-N-A-L J-U-S-T-I-F-I-C-A-T-I-O-N!)!
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      In fact, the entire debate over the potential harm in AOL's once "plan", overshadows the fact that large commercial providers' response to the problem of "spam" already represents A D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S A-N-D P-O-T-E-N-T-I-A-L-L-Y C-R-I-P-P-L-I-N-G A-T-T-A-C-K O-N T-H-E C-U-L-T-U-R-E A-N-D F-U-N-C-T-I-O-N-I-N-G O-F T-H-E I-N-T-E-R-N-E-T A-S A V-E-H-I-C-L-E O-F F-R-E-E S-P-E-E-C-H!
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      Now let's be clear: email is in crisis because of the huge amount of unwanted bulk email we all receive!... and like-- as I've said!-- the physical letters received at our respective front doors!
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      The issue, here, isn't that the large providers have finally RECOGNIZED THE PROBLEM!... and are trying to deal with "IT"! Trying to DEHUMIDIFY the house when it's already FLOODED, shows a lack of vision!... to say the least!
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      The problem is their RESPONSE! And!... at its root (and always a good place to start!)... it comes down to their D-E-F-I-N-I-T-I-O-N (if S-U-C-H, should be ALLOWED the luxury!) of "SPAM"/ Spam"/ "spam"!... AND!... R-E-G-A-R-D-L-E-S-S O-F T-H-E-I-R D-E-F-I-N-I-T-I-O-N!... WHETHER BATCH COMMUNICATION SHOULD BE "CAUGHT" WITHIN T-H-E-I-R "FILTER OF JUSTICE"!
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      Most people have a pretty simple definition of latest "SPAM" variant, "spam": it's bulk email, we don't want!
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      And we then go back to a similar "popular definition" that flows from the "unwanted bulk email" definition: "spam", is bulk email sent without a reasonable expectation that the people receiving it would be interested in it!
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      And that corollary definition developed, because most of the "spam" one receives is sent by people who have simply acquired, or purchased, huge lists of email addresses!... and, with no reasonable expectation-- as I've stated!-- that the people on these respective lists WOULD WANT TO READ WHAT THEY'VE BEEN SENT IN THE WAY OF A "BATCH COMMUNICATION"! It's "shotgun marketing"!... in its crudest form! So!... the recipient's "REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF INTEREST", is a pretty important component!
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      BUT!... the "COMMERCIAL INTERNET" ignores that! INSTEAD!... the LARGE PROVIDERS (groups that we're A-L-L supposed to allow to do their thing!) define "SPAM"/ "Spam"/ "spam" as A-N-Y "unsolicited bulk email": email sent to more than a small handful of people (and S-O-M-E of whom-- of course!-- may not want it!)! And such smaller bulk emailers might do that, because they have no idea of what one might want!... or be interested in! And!... such bulk email distributors, and senders of such bulk emailings, have-- yet!-- to develop a method, of figuring that out!
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      And so... the "COMMERCIAL INTERNET (and, its 'ELITE INTERESTS'!)" has declared a W-A-R against almost all bulk email!... making the terms "SPAM"/ "Spam"/ "spam" useless (i.e., redundant!)!... and making EMAIL CENSORSHIP an "O-B-L-I-G-A-T-O-R-Y P-U-B-L-I-C C-Y-B-E-R V-A-C-C-I-N-A-T-I-O-N P-O-L-I-C-Y"! In other words, do as T-H-E-Y SAY!... BUT!... NOT AS THEY D-O!
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      THESE, have "TAGGED" A-N-Y bulk email the moment "someone" complains (AND MAYBE!... FROM A ELITE CORPORATE BOARDROOM!... OR OTHER, "TACTICAL BUNKER"!)! And!... THESE make it S-O-O-O E-A-S-Y to complain!... that people can just push the "COMPLAINT BUTTON (AND WITHOUT KNOWING THE DIGITAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS RAMIFICATIONS OF THEIR 'PUSH'!)"! If there are a number of "complaints"!... and usually three, or four, are good enough!... THESE (AND THEIR AGENTS!) will block the issuer, of that email! THEY (AND THEIR AGENTS!) monitor "emailers" who are sending the SAME EMAIL to more than a handful of people, and "list" "SPAMMERS/ Spammers/ spammers" who have had "CONVENIENT AND TACTICAL" "complaints" lodged against them (like those depicted in Ray Bradbury's book... and eventual film!... Fahrenheit 451!), so those with a "complaint history" can be MORE QUICKLY blocked! And!... this has now extended to the Copying and Pasting by such "TARGETED INDIVIDUALS", of "R-O-G-U-E, B-U-L-K C-O-M-M-E-N-T L-O-G-S/ C-L-O-G-S" on multiple websites, in the way of CLOGS on Blogging stories (and!... even without one's use of a "personal" Email App, and/ or "personal" email address!... e.g., using the email address of an agreeing third party, to enable/ facilitate acceptance of a Clog, in a given site!)!
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      What's M-O-S-T D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S, is that THEY keep "records" of the "TARGETED'S" IP address, and the numeric address of the server, the "TARGETED" uses (e.g., through the efforts of groups covertly and overtly "ALGORITHMICALLY EMBEDDED" within websites... such as the group at, http://projecthoneypot.org/!... and bodies such as SPAMHAUS, and STOPFORUMSPAM!)!
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      Project Honey Pot is a web-based "honeypot network", which uses software embedded in web sites (IF YOU CAN IMAGINE CONSCIONABLE WEBSITES ALLOWING THIS!) to collect information about IP addresses used when harvesting e-mail addresses for "SPAM"/ "Spam"/ "spam (but now!... also including those who have avoided 'personal' 'email App/ address deployment'!)", or other similar purposes, such as bulk mailing and "email fraud"! The "project" also solicits the "donation" of unused "MX entries" from domain owners!
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      In 2007 the "Project" began a number of NEW INITIATIVES!... including a "QuickLinks program" that makes it easier for more people to "p-a-r-t-i-c-i-p-a-t-e"!... as well as a system to track "COMMENT LOG/ CLOG SPAM"! The Project has also launched a free new service called http:BL, which leverages the data to allow website administrators to keep "malicious web robots" off their sites! CODE, for!... let's keep any "PRYING EYES" from getting a "HANDLE" of what we're R-E-A-L-L-Y D-O-I-N-G!... AND!... HOW "P-O-L-I-T-I-C-A-L-L-Y A-N-D S-O-C-I-A-L-L-Y S-T-A-N-K-Y, OUR S-T-U-F-F ACTUALLY S-T-I-N-K-S!
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      In addition to collecting information which is made available on a "top 25 list" at periodic intervals, the project organizers also "help" various "l-a-w e-n-f-o-r-c-e-m-e-n-t" agencies combat private and commercial unsolicited "BULK EMAILING O-F-F-E-N-C-E-S"! And!... overall!... work to "help" reduce the amount of "SPAM"/ Spam"/ "spam" being sent and received on the Internet (POOR NETIZENS!)! The information collected is also used in "research and development" of NEWER VERSIONS of the software, to further "I-M-P-R-O-V-E" the efforts of the group as a whole! But!... and in my view!... this is all just CODE, for... THE ELITE WILL CONTROL THE FLOW OF INFORMATION ON THE NET, AND "WE (THESE S-T-A-N-K P-O-W-E-R-S THAT BE!)" WILL PROMULGATE THE INSTIGATION OF CRYS AGAINST "SPAM"/ Spam"/ "spam (AND IF NEED BE!... FROM THEIR VERY BOARDROOMS, AND OTHER TACTICAL BUNKERS!-- BEFORE LUNCH!)", AND WILL PROMOTE THE MANIPULATION OF IP ADDRESSES (AND!... ANYTHING ELSE THESE CAN MANIPULATE!-- TO "WIN THE DAY"! AND!... DAMN ANYONE, THAT GETS IN THEIR WAY!)!
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      Project Honey Pot was founded, and is managed by Unspam Technologies, Inc.... and in addition to "working" with various "law enforcement" agencies (A SAD JEST!... TO SAY THE LEAST!), the group "affiliates" with the "Internet Law Group", and ViaWest!
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      I-- personally!-- have a different rationale for wanting to block (AND NOT JUST MERELY BLOCK!) a website, when a website communicates "HAZARDOUS CONTENT!... i.e., when a website den(ys) my access to ITS COMMENTS CONTENT by stealing (through ITS EMBEDDED SUBVERSIVE CONTENT!) my IP address, and then uses this to BLACKLIST me! Then!... I want to be able to BLACKLIST such a site from ITS USE of the Net!... AND NOT JUST FROM "MY" PC! And if "I" shouldn't be allowed to use such a measure/ technoma, THEN I DEMAND THAT SUCH A MEASURE BE INVOKED BY A DIGITAL HUMAN RIGHTS SUPPORTING GROUP M-A-N-D-A-T-E-D TO DO SO!... AND THAT THE ICON FOR SUCH A GROUP, BE AFFIXED ON MY-- AND EVERYONE ELSE'S!-- RESPECTIVE PC'S TASKBAR!
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      NO WEBSITE OWNER... NOR TECHNOMA IN THE CONTROL OF A SITE OWNER!... SHOULD BE ABLE TO CAPTURE AN IP ADDRESS OF A USER!... LET ALONE, TO USE SAME, TO BLOCK A USER FROM ACCESSING ONE'S SITE! AND USERS SHOULD BE MADE I-M-M-E-D-I-A-T-E-L-Y A-W-A-R-E OF WHO AND/ OR WHAT HAS MADE OFF WITH THEIR RESPECTIVE IP ADDRESS, THROUGH AN A-U-T-O-M-A-T-I-C, A-U-T-H-O-R-I-Z-E-D (I.E., A M-A-N-D-A-T-E-D!) T-R-A-N-S-P-A-R-E-N-T, R-E-A-L T-I-M-E, R-E-M-O-T-E, D-I-G-I-T-A-L H-U-M-A-N R-I-G-H-T-S S-E-C-U-R-I-T-Y I-N-T-E-R-M-E-D-I-A-R-Y "WEBSITE INTERFACE TECHNOMA"! AND!... AFTERUPON A USER'S CONFIRMATION OF WHO, AND/ OR WHAT HAS ABSCONDED WITH ONE'S IP ADDRESS, SUCH A NETIZEN SHOULD BE AFFORDED AN A-U-T-O-M-A-T-I-C, A-U-T-H-O-R-I-Z-E-D (I.E., A M-A-N-D-A-T-E-D!) T-R-A-N-S-P-A-R-E-N-T, R-E-A-L T-I-M-E, R-E-M-O-T-E, D-I-G-I-T-A-L H-U-M-A-N R-I-G-H-T-S S-E-C-U-R-I-T-Y I-N-T-E-R-M-E-D-I-A-R-Y TECHNOMA/ MECHANISM, TO INTERVENE IN THE MITIGATION/ END OF A-N-Y A-N-D A-L-L R-E-A-L AND I-M-M-I-N-E-N-T THREATS TO A USER'S RESPECTIVE SITE ACCESS!... AND RESULTANTLY, TO A NETIZEN'S DIGITAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS! FOR!... TO LEAVE THE ACTUAL INTERVENTION RE A SITE OWNER'S BREACHES IN THE HANDS OF RESPECTIVE NETIZENS WHO ARE POTENTIALLY ILL-EQUIPPED TO TACKLE THE TECHNOMA WITH WHICH USERS MAY BE CONFRONTED, IS TO--BY DEFAULT!-- ENABLE THOSE MORE EQUIPPED, AND SKILLED, TO UNDERMINE THE WEBSITE ACCESS OF NETIZENS!... AND, THEIR RESPECTIVE DIGITAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS! FOR!... SOME OF THE BREACHES AGAINST USERS CURRENTLY IN PLAY, ARE BY WAY OF "P-R-O-F-E-S-S-I-O-N-A-L I-N-T-E-R-N-E-T G-A-T-E-K-E-E-P-E-R-S/ P-L-A-Y-E-R-S", P-O-S-S-E-S-S-I-N-G S-O-P-H-I-S-T-I-C-A-T-E-D, A-N-D I-N-C-O-M-P-R-E-H-E-S-I-B-L-E A-L-G-O-R-I-T-H-M-S!
      -----
      However!... if a holder of an IP address poses an I-L-L-E-G-A-L software/ hardware threat to a site, then the most appropriate security measure for a website owner, is to invoke an A-U-T-O-M-A-T-I-C, A-U-T-H-O-R-I-Z-E-D (I.E., A M-A-N-D-A-T-E-D!) T-R-A-N-S-P-A-R-E-N-T, R-E-A-L T-I-M-E, R-E-M-O-T-E, D-I-G-I-T-A-L H-U-M-A-N R-I-G-H-T-S S-E-C-U-R-I-T-Y I-N-T-E-R-M-E-D-I-A-R-Y MECHANISM, TO INTERVENE IN THE MITIGATION/ CESSATION OF A-N-Y A-N-D A-L-L R-E-A-L A-N-D I-M-M-I-N-E-N-T T-H-R-E-A-T-S TO ONE'S RESPECTIVE "USER- ACCESSED" SITE!... AND!... TO ONE'S DIGITAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS! AND OWNERS SHOULD BE MADE I-M-M-E-D-I-A-T-E-L-Y A-W-A-R-E OF WHO AND/ OR WHAT HAS I-L-L-E-G-A-L-L-Y POSED A SOFTWARE/ HARDWARE THREAT TO ONE'S SITE, THROUGH THE APPROPRIATE REMOTE DIGITAL HUMAN RIGHTS INTERMEDIARY'S WEBSITE INTERFACE TECHNOMA! FOR!... TO LEAVE THE INTERVENTION RE USER-BASED BREACHES IN THE HANDS OF RESPECTIVE SITE OWNERS, RATHER THAN AN A-U-T-H-O-R-I-Z-E-D D-I-G-I-T-A-L H-U-M-A-N R-I-G-H-T-S I-N-T-E-R-M-E-D-I-A-R-Y, IS TO INVITE THE POTENTIAL A-R-B-I-T-R-A-R-Y D-E-N-I-A-L OF WEBSITE ACCESS TO USERS!... AND THEREBY, TO POTENTIAL VIOLATIONS OF THE DIGITAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS OF WEBSITE USERS!
      -----
      AND SO!... EVERY STATE OF THE ART (S.O.T.A.) SECURITY MEASURE AVAILABLE MUST BE INVOKED, THAT WOULD PREVENT A USER'S IP ADDRESS FROM BEING STOLEN!... AND IN ORDER TO UPHOLD A USER'S FREE ACCESS TO PUBLIC SITES, AND TO PROTECT THE DIGITAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS AFFORDED NETIZENS! AND!... CONVERSELY!... EVERY SOTA SECURITY MEASURE AVAILABLE MUST BE INVOKED, THAT WOULD PROTECT AN OWNER'S SITE FROM A USER'S I-L-L-E-G-A-L R-E-A-L A-N-D I-M-M-I-N-E-N-T T-H-R-E-A-T-S TO OWNERS' SITE OPERATIONS! AND!... IF THERE IS TO BE A-N-Y A-U-T-H-O-R-I-Z-E-D (I.E., M-A-N-D-A-T-E-D!) T-R-A-N-S-P-A-R-E-N-T, R-E-A-L T-I-M-E WEBSITE OWNER CONTROLLED, AND SITE-USER CONTROLLED O-F-F-T-H-E-S-H-E-L-F, S-T-A-N-D-A-L-O-N-E TECHNOMAE/ MECHANISMS TO INTERVENE IN THE MITIGATION/ END OF R-E-A-L A-N-D I-M-M-I-N-E-N-T T-H-R-E-A-T-S ON EITHER SIDE OF THE PROVERBIAL FENCE, THEN LET BOTH OWNERS AND USERS BE U-T-T-E-R-L-Y A-W-A-R-E OF THEIR RESPECTIVE (M-A-N-D-A-T-E-D) M-U-T-U-A-L O-B-L-I-G-A-T-I-O-N TO IMPLEMENT ONLY A-U-T-H-O-R-I-Z-E-D/ M-A-N-D-A-T-E-D TECHNOMAE/ MECHANISMS!... OR, SUCH SUFFER THE CIVIL AND/ OR CRIMINAL REPERCUSSIONS/ CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR USE OF A-N-Y A-N-D A-L-L U-N-A-U-T-H-O-R-I-Z-E-D TECHNOMAE/ MECHANISMS (AND!... REPERCUSSIONS/ CONSEQUENCES, BY WAY OF THE TASKBAR ICON-- AND AUTHORITY!-- AS AFOREMENTIONED!)!
      -----
      And therefore!... the technoma, and practice, discussed at Goog result, "IP address blocking - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia"... poses a FUNDAMENTAL THREAT to a user's Right to Access a given site!... to RESPONSIBLE AND CONSCIONABLE FREE EXPRESSION on a given site (HOWEVER POLITICALLY, AND/ OR SOCIALLY "PROBLEMATIC"!)!... and, thereby, to a user's Digital Human Rights! And thus!... the information at Goog result, "Block a specific IP address from accessing your website - Media"... should not only be disallowed on the Net!... the site itself, should be S-H-U-T D-O-W-N!-- AND, EVERY SITE LIKE IT! For!... the threat possed at this just mentioned site, and similar sites, is as much of a threat to the day-to-day FREE EXPRESSION of netizens, as any Government-based commissions and/ or omissions (directly, and/ or indirectly evidenced!)!
      -----
      In fact!... my recent "CYBEREPHIPHANY", and "CYBEREURIKA MOMENT", re a method for RESPONSIBLY RANKING Search Engine search results, is as follows...
      -----
      IT IS MY POSITION, THAT ALL SEARCH RESULTS (REGARDLESS OF THE SEARCH ENGINE BEING USED!) SHOULD BE "M-A-N-D-A-T-E-D" TO BE "WEIGHTED" IN FAVOUR OF RESULTS THAT ALLOW FOR PUBLIC COMMENTARY (AND THUS, REQUIRING A COMMENTS SECTION TO BE PRESENT WITHIN SITES, IN ORDER FOR A WEBSITE TO BE GIVEN "PREFERENTIAL RANKING" WITHIN A-N-Y SEARCH ENGINE!)! AND THUSLY!... ELIMINATING THE CURRENT PRACTICE OF SEARCH ENGINES, AND/ OR "CERTAIN" THIRD-PARTY "ELITE INTERESTS", FROM INDIVIDUALLY, OR JOINTLY, "M-A-N-I-P-U-L-A-T-I-N-G" "POLITICALLY CHARGED", OR "LEANING" COMMENTARY AWAY FROM "TOP BILLING (THROUGH 'SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION'/ SEO ALGORITHMS!... AND/ OR OTHER 'A-N-T-I SEARCH NEUTRALITY' AND 'A-N-T-I NET NEUTRALITY' ALGORITHMS!)"!... AND!... SIMPLY BECAUSE, SEARCH ENGINES, AND/ OR "CERTAIN" THIRD-PARTY INTERESTS FEEL, THAT THESE ARE DIRECTLY AND/ OR INDIRECTLY ADVERSELY "POLITICALLY/ SOCIALLY IMPACTED (BY COMMISSION, AND/ OR OMISSION!... DIRECTLY AND/ OR INDIRECTLY EVIDENCED!)" BY THE OTHERWISE A-L-L-O-W-E-D "POSITIONAL RANKING" OF SUCH "POLITICALLY CHARGED", OR "LEANING" COMMENTARY! AND THUSLY!... NO "NEUTRAL WEBSITE (I.E., ONE HAVING N-O COMMENTS SECTION!)" SHOULD BE ALLOWED AT THE TOP OF SEARCH RESULTS RANKINGS! UNLESS!... N-O C-O-M-M-E-N-T-S HAVE BEEN EXPRESSED WITHIN THE SUM NUMBER OF THE "THEN" "COMMENTS FACILITATING SITES" LISTED WITHIN A SEARCH ENGINE'S SEARCH RESULTS (RESPECTIVE OF A GIVEN SEARCH EXPRESSION USED!)!... OR!... THE SITE DOES NOT LEND ITSELF TO PUBLIC COMMENTARY (I.E., THE NATURE OF THE WEBSITE, "LOGICALLY PRECLUDES" FACILITATING PUBLIC DISCUSSION!)! THIS WILL THEN MEAN, THAT F-R-E-E D-E-M-O-C-R-A-T-I-C E-X-P-R-E-S-S-I-O-N WILL "HOLD SWAY" OVER ANY AND ALL OTHER "RANKING CONSIDERATIONS", RE THE RANKING OF SEARCH ENGINE SEARCH RESULTS! THE NEXT STEP, WOULD BE TO ADDRESS THE DIGITAL HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS INHERE WITHIN THE VERY DESIGN (OR FAILED DESIGN!) OF THE COMMENTS SECTION WITHIN RESPECTIVE WEBSITES!... AND, IN ADDITION, TO PUTTING A STOP TO IP ADDRESS THEFT, AND MANIPULATION!
      -----
      For example, how is the nonsense at, https://help.disqus.com/customer/portal/articles/466223-who-deleted-or-removed-my-comment-, allowed to go on anywhere in the free western world?... let alone, in North America!
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      No Blog Hosting Service should be allowed to ban a netizen across multiple sites because "I-T" "feels" that a netizen is issuing "SPAM"/ "Spam"/ "spam"! First of all, we're talking about SEPARATE WEBSITES here!... and second, it's been traditionally up to a site (although, this is deemed a F-U-N-D-A-M-E-N-T-A-L V-I-O-L-A-T-I-O-N of Digital Human Rights!) to make a "judgement call" re a user's continued use of a given site! It's not for a Blog Hosting Service... and based on one or two "complaints" offered up (or not!) re "spam"!... to then deny access to ALL SITES that that Blog Hosting Service services! And with regard to Disqus-- specifically!-- its site information indicates that it's NOT INVOLVED in the issues involving CONTENT!... and, that such issues must be addressed by a Site's "Moderator", and "Site Community"! But!... even such a determination by "Site Moderators", and "Site Communities", is the "slippery slope" to entrenching "CYBER GATED COMMUNITIES"!... AND THEREFORE, SUCH AN EVIL SHOULD NOT BE TOLERATED ANYWHERE ON THE NET! And one additional NASTY REVELATION re Disqus!... AND A C-L-E-A-R I-N-D-I-C-A-T-I-O-N that attempts are being made to eliminate A-N-Y F-O-R-M of Net BATCH COMMUNICATION (although, in this instance, it's merely repeating a message at different sites!)!... is a notice I've received at various sites afterupon "Sending" a comment, that the sent message was "flagged" as a "Duplicate message"! In other words, despite being on an entirely different site!... and, in most instances, never having used the site before!... and!... Disqus is S-A-I-D to be "UNINVOLVED" with the CONTENT on a site!... Disqus is AUTOMATICALLY flagging content that has appeared on another Disqus operated site! And although I have-- for now!-- technically overcome this A-P-P-A-L-L-Y-I-N-G B-R-E-A-C-H of Digital Human Rights (and!... as well!... their denial of the ability to Copy and Paste larger segments of prepared text!)!... their very ability to even invoke such Digital Human Rights denying technoma, indicates a S-H-O-C-K-I-N-G L-A-C-K on the part of our N-E-T G-A-T-E-K-E-E-P-E-R-S (both L-E-G-I-T-I-M-A-T-E, and I-L-L-I-G-I-T-I-M-A-T-E!) to "C-H-E-C-K" this "I-N-T-E-R-N-E-T S-C-O-U-R-G-E/ B-L-I-G-H-T"! And so!... if someone is anxious to "spread the word" regarding a deemed NECESSARY MESSAGE for the PUBLIC GOOD, Disqus (and other such Blog Hosting Services!) will "E-N-S-U-R-E" that that message will be limited to an "originating site"! WELL!... NOT ON MY WATCH!
      -----
      Many "INTERNET GATEKEEPERS" have come out over the years claiming that allowing ANONYMITY to flourish on the Net, is a threat to "c-u-s-t-o-m-e-r s-e-c-u-r-i-t-y"!... and should be stopped at all costs! And so, some sites have set up sophisticated hurdles for would-be participants, so that the CLIQUE "CYBER GATED CUSTOMER COMMUNITY CLIENTELE" of the site, can communicate amongst themselves!... minus those annoying/ pesky "ANONYMOUS LIBERAL CYBER GATECRASHERS"!
      -----
      But!... lo!... and behold!... these very same S-E-L-F_A-P-P-O-I-N-T-E-D and hypocritical "INTERNET GATEKEEPERS" have been instrumental in allowing local TV, Radio, and Newspapers to disappear from communities!... and, thereby, allowing corporate, political, and "pseudo-social special interests" to run local communities as these see fit (I.E., I-N T-H-E B-O-O-T-H!... I-N T-H-E B-A-C-K!... I-N T-H-E C-O-R-N-E-R!... I-N T-H-E D-A-R-K!)! And without local TV, Radio, or Newspapers looking over the shoulders of corporate, political, and "pseudo-social special interests", there's no telling what these interests are up to! And... for all we know!... such could be up to theft, rape, child abuse!... and even murder! And how would we know otherwise?... who's holding them to account?
      -----
      And so... what's to be done? How are we to hold corporate, political, and "pseudo-social special interests" to account, when all local corporate media coverage is absent from local communities? While!... all the while!... corporate, political, and "pseudo-social special interests"-- AND THEIR SUPPORTERS!-- would compel netizens to sign up, sign on, sign in, log in, log on, register, become a member, secure an account, give one's name, give one's physical address, give one's email, and otherwise receive their "BEASTLY MARK", in order tO "SHARE" in their "GATED COMMUNICATION"! A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G!
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      The answer, is... obviously!... TO REMOVE CORPORATE, POLITICAL, AND PSEUDO-SOCIAL SPECIAL INTEREST CONTROL OVER INFORMATION COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY WORLDWIDE! AND!... TO MANDATE THAT ICT (HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE!) BE MADE W-H-O-L-L-Y D-E-M-O-C-R-A-T-I-C!... AND!... THAT N-O I-N-T-E-R-E-S-T WILL BE ALLOWED TO BREACH THE DEMOCRATIC DIGITAL HUMAN RIGHTS OF NETIZENS (DIRECTLY AND/ OR INDIRECTLY!... BY COMMISSION AND/ OR OMISSION!)!
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      These efforts re "SPAM"/ "Spam"/ spam, and IP manipulation, are supported by a mini "industry" of "spam detection companies"!... the "CORPORATE INTERNET'S" version, of the "VIGILANTE (something akin to the Conservative 'TEAPARTY MOVEMENT'!)"!... who conduct similar "monitoring" tactics as the LARGE PLAYERS invoke!... and publish "BLACKLISTS" of suspected "SPAMMERS"/ "Spammers"/ "spammers", and hosts of "SPAMMERS"/ "Spammers"/ spammers"!
      -----
      So... to return to AOL!... to have your email that's been sent to a subscriber of these "providers" blocked, you don't even have to send bulk email!... all you need do, is to SHARE A SERVER with people who've been "LISTED"!... and almost all of us, share servers! How conveniently UNDEMOCRATIC!... AND A-N-T-I SOCIAL!
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      Bringing the D-A-N-G-E-R of all this into relief!... some companies take "short-cuts" that effectively stop communications!-- "SPAM"/ "Spam"/ "spam", or not! AOL routinely blocked, hindered, or delayed emails with the SAME CONTENT sent to more than a threshold number of AOL subscribers! Many Internet workers thought the "threshold" was about 50, to 100! AOL wasn't saying! But the interference happened!... and it made no difference if these people had signed on to the email list, or not!
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      In general... short-cut, or not!... if you were a subscriber of a major commercial provider, there was a good possibility you didn't receive all of the legitimate email that was sent to you!... including messages from a list to which you've subscribed! And the same is true today!... and on sundry platforms!
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      You'd never know it, unless you noticed something wrong: they don't tell you that they've HIJACKED your email! The people who send it to you, won't be informed! They don't tell the provider either! That I know!... from personal experience! We find out if someone tells us that recipients of their email are mysteriously not receiving it! Then we inquire with the provider of that recipient!... and... to remove the "block"!... we must engage in a "Kafkaesque process" that consumes time, and energy-- and, which must often be repeated, periodically!
      -----
      While blocking and destroying your email is clearly an attack on the First Amendment in America, the timing and political import shouldn't be lost on ANYONE! Just at the time when CARING MOVEMENTS are starting to use the Internet effectively, such are faced with measures that could drive these voices into silence!
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      All of the major, successful Internet campaigns run by progressive activists (from impeachment, to health care, to anti-war, to "Katrina-like events"!) use UNSOLICITED EMAIL! HOW COULD IT BE DONE OTHERWISE? How in the world do you communicate with people to get them information they don't have, IF YOU ONLY EMAIL TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE TOLD YOU THEY WANT IT! ONE COULD NEVER BUILD A CAMPAIGN!... LET ALONE, EXPAND IT!
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      Our traditional tools have always included leaflets in the mail!... flyers handed out!... public speeches, and phone calls! And now!... we have this powerful tool!... the Internet! We've been able to use historic tools, because... for a century!... we have fought tooth, and nail, to protect and expand our CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT (AND AROUND THE WORLD!) TO PROTECT "F-R-E-E" SPEECH!
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      Sure!... and once again!... unwanted email can be a pain! And the same... again!... is true of bulk postal mail, and leaflets!... and also!... with live events shoved in one's face during a rally!... and when street organizers INSIST in promoting a message that such feel "should require" minutes of one's valuable time, to listen to!
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      But few of us would ask the post office to stop any of our mail, or ask the police to arrest a street organizer (save, for an instance of OVERT ABUSE!)! Most THINKING SOULS understand... that in the end!... these "inconvenient incursions" benefit us all!... and!... sometimes!... give us information, WE NEED! And THINKING SOULS understand, that REPRESSION of these activities, would create FAR GREATER PROBLEMS, than the ones such "democratic activities"-- supposedly!-- represent!
      -----
      And!... there's NO DOUBT, that our "social need" to communicate will become even greater!... because our movements (and due to the unique benefits of the Net!) are continuously expanding, and we're emailing to many more people, than ever before! This, though!... then!... as a consequence-- AND UNFORTUNATELY!-- means greater "ELITE MONITORING"!... higher numbers of UNPROVOKED BLOCKING (whether of emails, or Comments Sections in websites!... if sites even facilitate the latter!), and further "campaigns of complaints"!
      -----
      What's most painfully ironic about this COMMERCIAL RESPONSE to "SPAM"/ Spam"/ "spam", is that it punishes CARING MOVEMENTS for something "SOMEONE ELSE" is doing! CARING MOVEMENTS don't email to large lists these know NOTHING about! Such can't afford it!... and... these don't organize in that way! CARING MOVEMENT bulk email is sent to carefully developed lists!... usually shared!... organization to organization!... and based on recipients' demonstrated interest, in the issue/ s that the CARING have emailed them about!
      -----
      That's not "SPAM"/ Spam"/ "spam"!... by any reasonable definition of the PERVERSE EXPRESSIONS! Although!... and oddly enough!... IT DOES APPLY TO OUR "COMMERCIAL BULK EMAIL PROVIDERS"! How quaint!
      -----
      So!... what's the answer to "SPAM"/ "Spam"/ "spam" to be? Allowing our "ELITE INTERESTS"... with the aid of those THESE have managed to con into "BARRICADING THE CYBER GATES" of the "CYBER CITY"!... to P-R-O-T-E-C-T U-S! I don't think so! And I don't think CONSCIONABLE and RESPONSIBLE netizens would want such I-N-T-E-R-E-S-T-S to run the "CYBER SHOW"! After all!... THE NET DOESN'T BELONG TO "T-H-E-M"!
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      The "COMMERCIAL INTERNET" is not going to come up with the R-I-G-H-T S-O-L-U-T-I-O-N-S unless the people who use the Internet C-O-M-P-E-L it to do so! And the first step in empowering the "P-E-O-P-L-E", is for our CONSCIONABLE and RESPONSIBLE CARING MOVEMENTS to enter into the debate over Digital Human Rights!... and to C-O-M-P-E-L the debate, beyond the limited terms, "SPAM"/ "Spam"/ "spam"! And!... make the C-O-N-S-T-I-T-U-T-I-O-N-A-L P-R-O-T-E-C-T-I-O-N of our GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS, and ORGANIZING, as high of a priority on our SOCIAL AND POLITICAL AGENDAS, A-S A-N-Y B-E-I-N-G B-R-O-U-G-H-T T-O O-U-R A-T-T-E-N-T-I-O-N B-Y E-L-I-T-E I-N-T-E-R-E-S-T-S!
      -----
      To sum up... what we need, is a unique Icon on our respective taskbars, that... when tapped!... WILL SUMMON A GLOBAL COALITION OF CYBER ADVOCACY INTERESTS (THE LIKES OF WHICH, HAVE NEVER BEEN AMASSED ON PLANET EARTH TILL NOW!)!... THAT WILL EFFICIENTLY, AND EFFECTIVELY END THE SCURRILOUS SCOURGE OF "ELISTIST PRICKISM", AND WILL BRING THE WHOLE OF THE NET INTO "GLOBAL CONSTITUTIONALLY COMPLIANT" DIGITAL HUMAN RIGHTS HARMONY! P-E-R-I-O-D!
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      Please!... no emails!
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      P.S.: Some trivia concerning "SPAM (i.e., the luncheon meat!)", "Spam", and "spam (i.e., electronic communications!)", follows...
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      ◾Other "backronyms" like "Spam" associated with "SPAM", are: “Something Posing As Meat”; “Specially Processed Artificial Meat”; “Stuff, Pork and Ham”; “Spare Parts Animal Meat”; and “Special Product of Austin Minnesota”!
      -----
      ◾"Backronyms" associated with "INTERNET SPAM/ Spam/ spam" include: “stupid pointless annoying messages”, and “shit posing as mail”! But the ULTIMATE LIST of such "backronyms"-- I'm sure!-- is longer than netizens have time to read!... and-- probably-- a tad more convoluted!
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      ◾When the US offered the UK citizens affected by WWII, SPAM... while the UK struggled to rebuild their agricultural base!... the British citizens assumed it was an acronym!... and they "backronymed" it to, “Specially Processed American Meats”!
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      ◾"SPAM" is a precooked meat product originally made of ham!... but-- now!-- is made from a variety of available meats! And, similar to "Spam"!... that was once composed of a clearly defined (though unfortunate!) notion of electronic communication!... but!... now!... is composed of a variety of available definitions, by ELITE INTERESTS, AND PSEUDO-SOCIAL SPAM OBJECTING NETIZENS!
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      ◾Austin, Minnesota, is known as “SPAM town, USA” (and hence the previously cited "backronym"..."Special Product of Austin Minnesota"!)!... and not for INTERNET SPAM!... but, for the fact, that the town produces all of the food product sold in North America, South America, and Australia! "SPAM" sold in the UK, is produced in Denmark!... by the company, "Tulip"!... with which, Hormel has "farmed out" its product... and production!
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      ◾Billions of cans of "SPAM", have been sold!
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      ◾In the United States, Hawaii, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, eat the most "SPAM" per capita!... with an average of about 16 tins per person, per year!
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      ◾Hawaii, Guam, and CNMI, all have McDonald’s restaurants that serve SPAM! Burger Kings in Hawaii also serve SPAM!... since 2007!... to better compete with the McDonalds there! And just like Internet Cafes!... which become the breeding ground, for the electronic counterpart!
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      ◾Due to the extreme popularity of "SPAM" in Hawaii, Hawaiians have nicknamed "SPAM", “The Hawaiian Steak”! And no!... I don't know whether Barack Obama!... or his family!... like SPAM (i.e., the meat!)!

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    TC (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 3:01am

    Speaking For Myself....

    I run a network of small entertainment based websites, and speaking for myself, comments are impossible. Using Wordpress and trying to combat the mountains of spam that gets posted was just ridiculous. I was spending two to three hours a day just getting rid of shit that had nothing to do with the posts and comments on the sites.

    I didn't want to get rid of the comments, but when you're a one person operation that has but a few hundred loyal readers, it's hard to justify keeping it when 90% of the comments were the generic "I love what you wrote" bullshit just trying to get a free link back to their spam sites, as opposed to a reader or listener making a legit comment.

    I see the same thing happening on sites I follow in the entertainment industry also. When Variety and Hollywood Reporter can't be bothered to clean out spam posts, who else is going to bother either?

    When a site is able to find the time to care - IndieWire for one - things are always better. But the volume of comments that are legitimate to the ones that are either spam or trolls is usually so low, at least in my experience, that it's a wonder anyone still has comment sections or worse yet, bulletin boards where trolling and flaming reigns.

    I also have to agree with MetArtScroll - I worry about being held accountable for something stupid, or even libelous, that a commenter might post, even though I have limited control over it. With more and more courts shoving their heads up their asses and allowing people to blame the messenger and not the actual message writer, I don't want to have to deal with that as well.

    Just my two cents...

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 4:18am

      Re: Speaking For Myself....

      Removing comments due to being unable to deal with the flood of spam thanks to low resources is one thing, and though sites are fairly safe from liability for comments posted by visitors, 'fairly' safe isn't 'totally', and court isn't cheap, so that's understandable as well.

      What people are pointing out as ridiculous is the large sites removing their comment sections and then claiming that they are doing so in order to enhance the discussion, which is beyond absurd. It's like cutting down a forest and claiming you did so to enable people to 'better appreciate the trees'. In both cases it's a lie, and a lousy one at that.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 5:07am

      Re: Speaking For Myself....

      "I didn't want to get rid of the comments, but when you're a one person operation that has but a few hundred loyal readers, it's hard to justify keeping it when 90% of the comments were the generic "I love what you wrote" bullshit just trying to get a free link back to their spam sites, as opposed to a reader or listener making a legit comment."

      There are some excellent plugins for wordpress to help with this. I'm one person running a couple of websites with more than a few hundred readers, and maybe two spam comments a month slip through and require my personal attention.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 8:29am

      Re: Speaking For Myself....

      comments are impossible. ... I was spending two to three hours a day

      This is why many places shut down comments after X days on an article because you can find the spam comments YEARS after the original post was made.

      I worry about being held accountable for something stupid, or even libelous,

      This is also a trueism. Few of us have the stomach for a legal fight.

      My understanding of Google's newer SEO policies are they give comment-posting sites a higher searchrank so there is an incentive to keep comments.

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  • identicon
    Ron Don Volante, 24 Sep 2015 @ 3:02am

    You know, even though I'm of the opinion that a well moderated comment section is better than no comment section, I can't say I blame news orgs from banning comments if they don't have the time/money/staffing to moderate them. I used to be a frequent commenter(sp?) at my local paper's site but after constantly opening up article after article and seeing the top comment as a troll and the comments to that troll be OTHER trolls over and over and over again (and often the same half dozen people) I gave up. Of course the reasons for trolls taking over have been debated endlessly so I won't go into them here.

    From the newspaper's perspective they can either have their comment section usually descend into a wretched hive of scum and villainy, pay somebody to moderate it (in an era of do more with less especially in journalism), or just do away with it all. Frankly, I'd rather have my newspaper have an extra person on fact checking than working to ban troll after troll that wanders into their comment section.

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  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 3:25am

    Sure, poorly managed comments can devolve into a cesspool of banality...
    Pay someone to moderate a comment section? Think of the profits, damn it!

    I sit in the minority who appreciate the removal of comments from news sites. I'm with Reuters: just report the news and tell everyone to shut their damn mouth about it.

    I just got sick and tired of "banal" being the primary reason people post. Trying to wade through that shit to find the one or two decent comments isn't anyone's definition of "a pleasant experience".

    I will say this is one of the reasons I appreciate Techdirt. The staff just doesn't report the news, but relates it to different arenas, which is definitely reason to spark a discussion.

    You're never going to get clickbait-headline grabbing news sites to value their own content. The "If it bleeds, it leads" gives zero room for conversation as the primer for pushing the discussion into one direction has already been set.

    Man kills self with firework on head? Primer set for "Darwin award for natural selection".

    Black person killed by police? Primer set for race baiting.

    "Cat saved by fireman" Primer set for "daaaw, wooky da widdle kiddy".

    In fact, it would be better if sites who want to continue having comments just have a programmer write the scripts to produce them, since they won't change.

    If I recall, didn't Techdirt once have an article noting how the tone of the first few comments sets the tone for most of them?

    That is "social communication". Thanks, but no thanks.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 3:41am

      Re:

      The problem is that when those sites that only report the news see that people go to other sites where they can discuss things, they start talking about Google News stealing their money and other bullshit.

      People want to comment on the news. We did have done so since long time ago when reading the newspaper or the news on the TV/radio, and it's silly not to be able to do so on the internet.

      Even if the comments sound banal, or are just "oh, I like this" or even trolls, they are feedback that should be taken into consideration, not only by the news site, but also by the other readers. And there is also the insightful comment that is a jewel of information.


      Sometimes you just need to know that you aren't alone in what you think. That there are other people that think like you, even if they try to silence them.

      I think that thanks to being able to know what other people thought on Twitter, or on sites like Techdirt, is what got other people to reject things like ACTA or SOPA more actively.

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    • icon
      Beta (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 4:29am

      Re:

      'I sit in the minority who appreciate the removal of comments from news sites... Trying to wade through that shit to find the one or two decent comments isn't anyone's definition of "a pleasant experience".'

      I don't understand. You'd prefer not to read the comments at all? Then why not... refrain from reading the comments at all? If you prefer to read the article and not the comments, you can do just that regardless of whether there's a comment section down at the bottom or not.

      I understand if you just can't help but dive into the comment section-- really, I do. But wouldn't it be better to have a browser setting, or a separate page, to remove that temptation while still allowing discussion for those who want it?

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      • icon
        Violynne (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 10:33am

        Re: Re:

        Many news sites are designed to force users to scroll down a page or two to read the entire article. By the time you get to the bottom, bam, there are the comments, if even a handful are visible.

        I will say this, though: some sites have taken a better approach to have their cake and eat it too by hiding comments until a user actively engages to view them.

        This is the better solution, but the reality is most sites are just tired of the garbage being posted. It's easier to clean this up by just preventing a place for the garbage to be thrown.

        That's why I'm in the minority. I'm okay with that. :)

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    • icon
      Ed (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 7:49am

      Re:

      Exactly. You can almost guess what 90% of the comments will be simply by the subject of the article being commented upon. Each site has a handful of the same people who spew garbage and ad hominem like projectile vomit. Wading through comments on sites like Yahoo News is the equivalent of watching some of the worst dregs of reality TV. Good riddance.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 4:03am

    Comments adds value, more opinions then one, and every now and again someone posts something interesting or usefull that adds that value i was talking about way back when

    A news site without comments is like a website without ...substance

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  • icon
    Chris ODonnell (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 5:16am

    I get most of tech news from Hacker News. I usually read the first few comments first, and from that decide if the headline link is worth clicking on. Without comments at Hacker News, I would probably remove the site from the feed reader.

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  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 5:48am

    The meaning of Conversation

    I think it is us, TechDirt readers who are confused about the meaning of conversation.

    Conversation is when the news sites tell us sheeple what we are supposed to think.

    Once you understand that, there is no problem.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 6:12am

    Not everyone has a community like TechDirt. The comment section of my local news media is littered with racist, bigoted, ignorant garbage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jilocasin (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 6:23am

    Anyone can 'report' the news these days....

    Anyone can report the news these days. Once the first article is published, it's just a copy/paste cycle from the rest of the internet. What keeps sites valuable, and people returning (in my opinion) is the particular spin an author adds [if she bothers to] and the tenor of the comments.

    Reddit, Stackoverflow, heck even Slashdot are all about the comments. While a headline or a good story may bring users to a site, it's the comments that keeps them there.

    Personally, I don't do Facebook. I am more likely to post comments at sites where I can post anonymously, or pseudo-anonymously without registering [ like here on Techdirt ;) ]. Occasionally I'll bother to create an account on a site, but that's typically a comment heavy site like Slashdot.

    Sites that don't allow anonymous posting, or worse ones that require you to use your Facebook or Discus credentials (I really detest forcing you to log in with an account that facilitates cross site tracking.) are like magazines you flip through at the dentists office while waiting for your appointment. If you are bored, you flip through a few pages now and again. There's no brand affinity or loyalty.

    If a website operator can't be bothered to maintain a comments section he's saying that he can't be bothered with maintaining a clientele. That website is telling their readers they just don't care enough to bother.

    It's like the republican party having told women they belong in the kitchen, latinos they belong back in Mexico, and calling all african-americans stupid, poor, and criminals and yet still then expecting them to vote for the republican presidential candidate. You don't think it could happen? Then you weren't paying attention to the 2012 presidential election.

    News is cheap to reproduce and your competitor is just a click away. If you don't care enough about your audience to at least allow comments, then you shouldn't expect your audience to care about you.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 6:41am

      Re: Anyone can 'report' the news these days....

      "Once the first article is published, it's just a copy/paste cycle from the rest of the internet."

      - I call bullshit

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      • icon
        jilocasin (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 7:09am

        Re: Re: Anyone can 'report' the news these days....

        So you are saying, that once one web site publishes an article, it's impossible for any other site to:

        copy/paste that article directly into their website?

        write another article based on the same facts exposed by the original article?

        something else entirely?

        Or do you just like calling things bullshit?

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  • icon
    bc (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 7:01am

    I blame the dumbed down public for this.
    From the comments I have read on numerous news sites, it looks to me like there is no intelligent conversation taking place anyway. It's often a cluster of back biting, snarking, and off topic arguments that would completely derail any intelligent discourse... particularly if the topic is controversial. If I had a publication, I'd close the comment section too. Too many idiots with free time, trolling to make themselves feel impotent... eh, important.
    Either get a moderator so we're not subjected to the angry trolls with a keyboard, or close the comments.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 10:42am

      Re:

      Either get a moderator so we're not subjected to the angry trolls with a keyboard, or close the comments.
      Getting rid of comments is like giving your car away because it's too much trouble to change a flat tire.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 11:11am

      Re:

      "Either get a moderator so we're not subjected to the angry trolls with a keyboard, or close the comments."

      It's not really your decision is it.

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  • identicon
    Thrudd, 24 Sep 2015 @ 7:47am

    moderating

    So far all I have read is - it's too much work - and - we have to pay someone.

    What total unabashed short sighted fully blundered tosh.

    I peruse a number of one man shows. .. Er sites and most have two things going for them despite some having absolute dorks clogging their comment sections.

    They have content people like, they have an actual fan base that like them
    The second is where you get your core team of fan moderators.
    They cost nothing but a hello once in a while and the occasional feedback to the comments at large.

    People actually like volunteering for stuff they like or care about even if it is just a community of fans with nothing else in common.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 10:50am

      Re: moderating

      So far all I have read is - it's too much work - and - we have to pay someone.
      Hey, big news sites are businesses. It's not their job to pay employees to do work.

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  • icon
    shane (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 8:06am

    Income and Outflow

    It's funny, true, but the issue is quite simply that it costs money to have good moderation, and without it comments sections devolve into filth, especially on heated topics.

    Seen it time and time again.

    Always impressed, in fact, by moderation at TechDirt. Perhaps you should publish your model? It can also be the result of the target audience I imagine.

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  • icon
    Monday (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Trolls are funny.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 9:03am

    Doublespeak?

    Again, I fell the need to point out, 1984 was supposed to be a warning, not a manual.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Cowherd, 24 Sep 2015 @ 9:07am

    Well what do you know, stupidity really is contaqious.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Monday (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 9:32am

    OK. I wanted to read everything again just to be sure. Dropping the comment section, because it might be laborious for many, is also beneficial for DHS, NSA, etc because comments can no longer be made anonymously. You have to have an identity to make comments on Twitter, or Facebook - the two main alleged venues for comments, cited here.
    I have stated this before that I am not PC. I think PC is Gay! Nevertheless, I occasionally enjoy making the anonymous comment. Facebook and Twitter doesn't allow this to happen. If the comment is so offensive, it generally ends with the account's deletion, eventually meaning or resulting in no harm, no foul; ending any neutrality in the process.

    I don't believe any website is responsible for an individual's comments, but eliminating a comment section is, as well pointed out, excising your loyal followers from having any kind of discourse... be it constructive, or inflammatory.

    Personally, I like a good laugh now and then, and I find what might offend some people, really funny, and I can get beyond those comments and suss out the true dialogue. What I don't enjoy is when the conversation gets so off topic, it becomes disruptive to the flow of the article's intention. Most of these types of comments are their own satire.

    However, I do believe major sites eliminating the comment section is unproductive, but there’s a deeper reasoning behind the move – eliminating anonymity.

    I fully understand the sole proprietor, mom / pop operations etc., getting rid of them because of the time constraint placed upon the web owner. I have noticed, a relatively decent percentage of sites I follow, never had a comment section to begin with. I also follow their Facebook and Twitter pages, and I have had to make my comments to them through DM / PM‘ing them. I resorted to this earlier this week, and was amazed that I received a response – even flattered! Because, if you think about it, it actually required as much if not more, time, to read my comment and make the reply. This sacrifice was made in lieu of having my comment either debated on, or deleted.

    Anonymity, just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean that they are not out to get you. 1984 is a walk in the park compared to today. I’m just saying…

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2015 @ 7:20pm

      Re:

      You have to have an identity to make comments on Twitter, or Facebook

      No, you don't.

      Twitter/Facebook may delete/deactivate the account, but fake twitter/facebook is enough of a thing governments PAY for software to manage fake accounts.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 10:58am

    There’s a reason, after all, that the refrain “don’t read the comments” has become ubiquitous among journalists. But if we’re not to read them, why have them at all?
    Jessica Valenti on Reader Comments. The article is hilarious:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/10/end-online-comments

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 7:43pm

      Re:

      an extract from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/10/end-online-comments
      Comments sections also give the impression that all thoughts are created equal when, well, they’re not. When Popular Science stopped publishing comments, for example, it was because “everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again...scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to ‘debate’”. When will we see the humanity and dignity of women as a fact, rather than an opinion?
      A philosophical comment on her comment and Popular Science's.

      If "evolution" is not up for grabs and is "demonstratively" true then the logical conclusion is that we cannot/will not ever see humanity and the dignity of women as a "fact". The underlying logical consequence, if you take "evolution" as a fact, is that the lessor members of any species are to be thrown to the wolves, so to speak. So, in the case of primates, et al, the females are the property of the dominant males. Since, according to the general view of evolutionist, human beings are primates then it is only appropriate that the females be accorded the status of property.

      I posit a simple challenge to all evolutionists to demonstratively prove that transition forms exist today. Not just a possibility but demonstratively provable. Because if you can't actually quantitatively prove it, then mayhaps, the entire idea is invalid and the logical consequence of following that idea is also invalid and that other ideas are more valid.

      It is interesting to note the following. For those who actually investigate the originator of Christianity, Jesus Christ and for his first generation disciples, women were regarded highly and to be honoured no less than any man. In point of fact, the strong were to defend, provide for and protect the weaker members whether women, children or other defenceless members.

      I know that there are many who call themselves "Christian" and consider women and children and anyone not like themselves as second class or third class people. These people are not disciples of Jesus Christ. I may hate the actions of people but I don't hate the people because but for the grace of God, there go I. I am no better than anyone else, I just have the opportunity to be a disciple.

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  • identicon
    Kalean, 24 Sep 2015 @ 11:37am

    This is happening elsewhere, too.

    Wizards of the Coast is shutting down their forums as well, though they had the kindness to give plenty of advanced notice so that the massive userbase could migrate outward.

    This isn't a journalism company, but the excuses given are similar. At least that catchphrase 'we really value conversation' isn't being thrown out.

    But we all know the real reason for each. "We don't want to pay moderators and support staff any longer".

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 2:09pm

    If I were to create a new news site or blog these days, I wouldn't place a comments section to begin with. The reason being is I'd want nothing to do with policing the thing from all the spammers, trolls, and misogynists that flock to such forums.

    If you do stand on one foot and squint in the proper way, the "wanting to facilitate conversation" explanations do actually work. First of all, traditional news generally is all one way, journalist to public. Second, if you're trying to facilitate that in an efficient means, you don't want to clutter that dissemination with noise (comments). Third, online forums have become cliche with the amount of rancor, backstabbing, hate spewing, spam, trolls, and other comments that do not facilitate responsible debates. Editorial staffs are rightfully fed up and throwing their hands up in disgust. Jettison the whole thing because there's no fix to the situation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 7:37pm

      Re:

      I beg to disagree.

      It's not that such people flock to online forums or comments sections.


      It's that when people argue or discuss things, they do it that way. Check out a discussion IRL next time. Or next 10 times.


      Trolling, hate spewing, rancor, backstabbing, misogynism, insults... aren't something that the internet brought magically, as many people claim. They were already included with the human nature since ancient times.

      What the internet did was to allow people to speak without such limiters, like a truth serum. The internet just brought up the real nature of Humanity; on the internet, we are less hypocrites than IRL.


      And the fact that we are some rude, uneducated bastards that don't know how to hold a discussion without insulting or disrespecting the other part.

      If you want to know how someone really thinks, check out how he argues on the internet and his thoughts. And even then, it doesn't work with all the people nor in all circumsntances.


      So yeah, if you want to hold more educated arguments on the internet; the solution isn't closing it, but giving people a proper education, for starters.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Whatever (profile), 24 Sep 2015 @ 9:11pm

      Re:

      I agree with you fully. Comment sections are generally packed with all the things a news organization doesn't want particularly spammers and racist / sexist people looking to get a rise out of people.

      Most organizations aren't willing to hire a half a dozen people to act as moderators full time. A comment section that is updated only once a day is almost meaningless (no real ability to have a discussion) so if you want to do it right, then you have to do it near about real time. Delaying a comment even 24 hours generally ends the discussion as people move on - and reflects one of the more amusing ways that Techdirt deals with people they don't desire to comment on their site.

      I would also say that using Facebook or Twitter is a much better idea for many of them. It's classic Web 3.0 mentality, shift the responsibility to someone else and enjoy the majority of the benefits. Facebook comment sections on sites are a great idea, it generally requires people to use their real names and associate themselves with their comments, this makes the comments mostly self policing.

      In the end, the idea of "starting a discussion" may not appeal to everyone. Not every site and every page has to be interactive. Not everything has to become a grand social experiment in shared thinking, it can just be news and information.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2015 @ 10:31pm

        Re: Re:

        The problem isn't what they do with their own sites.

        But then, if people go away from those sites that don't let them comment to sites where they can comment, they are the first ones to complain and start talking about real journalism and about other excuses.

        That's when they don't request a Google Tax (that doesn't even tax Google) because, you know, linking to their sites and then commenting the news on another site is copyright infringement (you know, you are linking to their sites, visits go to them and that).

        The purpose of those taxes isn't copyright or whatever, but to take away competition from them by generating legal insecurity over the sites.


        And also, using Twitter is neat, yeah. Or Disqus. Mainly because it doesn't require you to use your real name (in case you didn't notice). Facebook is a bit different and even then are having issues with their real name policy and some people (like LGBT).


        Btw, regarding self policing, you are missing a point.

        People always think about "self policing" and they think of people being less rude, no trolls, no harassment, and taking responsibility for their own comments or actions.

        That, of course, won't protect you from snarky comments, sarcasm and other ways of making your life a pain in the rear without actually breaking any laws. There are plenty of ways of being a polite jerk. And you don't have to seem a jerk to make someone's life miserable.


        Now you see, you're missing a small detail: nowadays you face consequences from comments that shouldn't have consequences.

        It's widely known that when you go to a job interview, the prospective employer does a pair of searches related to your name to see what they can scoop. That's when they don't ask for your FB password (is illegal, or it should be).

        Now, you see, let's say that you have religious, political or sexual views that don't go along with the views of your prospective employer. Let's say you're gay, or that you belong to a different religion (or to none at all), or that maybe you're left wing oriented and your company is a conservative one. Or that you are an advocate for workers' rights, something that companies tend to dislike a lot.

        I'm not sure if you remember the part about discrimination in Human Rights, but google it. And yeah, it's illegal to discriminate based on what I've posted above.

        Yeah, if you have to post using your name it means that you can be discriminated either by:

        - Not being able to exercise your freedom of speech by having to self censor your political, religious, sexual or other views to adjust them to a majority.
        - Facing consequences for having expressed yourself freely, even if it shouldn't have any.

        So yeah, your "self policing" in many cases means "censorship", because you aren't free to express your views without facing consequences that you shouldn't face and that are no-one's business.

        And what I say about a job it could apply to a lot of things in your life, not only to a prospective job search. Views that are contrary to the government's can get you flagged or profiled at least, and maybe even investigated, depending on the country.

        So yeah, while you take away trolls, rudeness and other stuff, by requiring the use of real names, you also take away speech from the people.

        One of the greatest things of the internet, and specially, of anonymity is that it gave us more freedom without, as you say, having to take responsibility.


        Apart from what I mentioned above, not facing the consequences of your actions means that you won't threatened for them either.

        You see, you make a comment that someone doesn't like: it was a polite one, properly reasoned and that, but some guy didn't like what you said. Now he goes, he gets your name and starts sending you threatening calls or emails (anonymizing himself). Or he starts threatening your family.

        Political dissidents often face such things (they express their opinions using their name), usually from government sponsored sources, and that happens even in "democratic" countries. That, of course, when a death squad doesn't go to their homes and kills them or threatens their family. Or just beats them up.


        You know, I prefer the (not so) anonymous internet. At least I know what people really think, without them having to hide behind a facade of falsehood. And I (when I say "I" I mean my persona, me, not a nick) won't get insulted or threatened for expressing my opinions.

        Trolls, racism, insults... I don't like them, but I've learned to ignore them. They are bad, but not bad enough so that I would sacrifice my freedom of speech because someone is insulting my nick.


        It's like with encryption. Criminals will take measures not to get caught whether you put backdoors or make them illegal or not.

        Widely spread encryption makes you safer from their efforts to mess with you, because they don't know who you are and who to target.

        It's the same with anonymity.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2015 @ 9:56am

    I suspect that some of them simply dont want their supporters to see anything that contradicts their opinion or a narrative

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2015 @ 7:38am

    Good,

    I'm hoping that most of these forums end up getting back-ended to a distributed torrent style system.

    There WERE really good features of the usenet. The problem was that backend administration was extremely expensive, which is why it is all but dead now.

    Backending web forums to a torrent style database, perhaps with bitcoin style blockchain for the posts and usenet style moderation would allow web sites to run forums cheaply, externalize content liability, ensure anonymity, and confound censorship.

    The real challenge of the port, is in writing a DBI type hook that will integrate easily with most CMS's. I don't have time for it, but hopefully somebody will do it, if it isn't already out there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    InYoFace, 13 Nov 2015 @ 4:37pm

    Fox news and cnn news suck

    The only way ro teach these assholes a lesson in censorship is to simply never visit their site again. Let them starve for traffic. Just watch the news and only go to websites that allow comments. I stopped a while back when I started to see this bullshit trend. FOX NEWS and CNN NEWS are major offenders.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    William Martin, 12 Jan 2016 @ 4:47pm

    Comments to news articles

    Comment sections are being banned because news agency's are acting like Pravda before the wall came down (the wall to keep people in, not the one to keep undesirables out).
    It was very enlightening how intelligently and varied many of the opinions are expressed in the comments sections. Differing view points may sway opinion and improve our overall grasp of current situations. "They" must have been worried that their political or moral slant was being undermined by those opinions considered undesirable.

    It must be that the propaganda Czars want only their opinions to be viewed and not the common or uncommon citizenry. Especially opinions opposed to crooked thinking news reporting.
    My Dear friend is from a formerly communist Eastern European nation. She said that all the people knew that the news articles, reports, and editors opinions were falsehoods.
    The people are not stupid. The people are quite well informed even at the lowest levels in a society where news is censored. This is because when news is censored the people begin to spread the truth.
    All these calls for ending comments will someday backfire and the citizens of the world will be informed of truth and will stand against this oppression.
    The oppressors will be destroyed by their meddling.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Augustine Thomas, 8 Jul 2016 @ 5:51am

    Snowflakes

    Snowflakes are afraid of ideas so comments scare them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Mayor, 22 Jul 2016 @ 1:22pm

    COMMENT LOG (CLOG) WINDOWS

    To what extent does Digital Human Rights "factor in" to a site's creation of a site's Forum Comments Window? And for example, should a site (any site!) possess the power to arbitrarily remove a netizen's clog (comment log!)? Or!... should site owners be "obliged" to adhere to a globally mandated "Digital Human Rights Protocol (e.g., mandating the inclusion of an embedded 'Digital Human Rights Software Package'!)", when setting up a site Clog Window within one's site (like mandating airbags, and seatbelts for cars!... i.e., if sites even provide a Clog Window!)!?
    -----
    It is my position, that, ALL SEARCH RESULTS (regardles of the Search Engine being used!) SHOULD BE MANDATED TO BE W-E-I-G-H-T-E-D I-N-F-A-V-O-R-O-F R-E-S-U-L-T-S T-H-A-T A-L-L-O-W F-O-R P-U-B-L-I-C C-O-M-M-E-N-T-A-R-Y (and thus, compelling website owners to include a Clog/ Section window within respective sites, in order for a website to be given "preferential ranking" within a Search Engine!... S-E-A-R-C-H E-N-G-I-N-E O-P-T-I-M-I-Z-A-T-I-O-N B-E D-A-M-N-E-D!!)! And also, we should eliminate the current practice of Search Engines, and/ or "CERTAIN" third-party "ELITE INTERESTS" from individually, or jointly "manipulating" "politically charged"/ "socially charged" commentary AWAY from "top billing (e.g., through 'Search Engine Optimization'/ SEO algorithms!... and/ or, through other 'Anti Search Neutrality' and/ or 'Anti Net Neutrality' algorithms!)"! And!... simply because!... Search Engines, and/ or "CERTAIN" third-party "ELITE INTERESTS" feel, that "SUCH INTERESTS" are directly and/ or indirectly "adversely" politically/ socially impacted (by commission, and/ or omission!... directly and/ or indirectly evidenced!) by the otherwise "SEARCH ENGINE/ THIRD-PARTY ELITE INTEREST PERMITTED" "positional ranking" of such politically/ socially charged commentary! And thusly!... no "NEUTRAL SITE (i.e., a website having NO Comments Section!)" should be allowed at the top of Search Engine search results rankings (E.G., CORPORATE MEDIA OUTLETS!)! UNLESS!... no comments have been MANIFESTLY PROVEN to have been made within the total number of the (then) "comments facilitating sites" listed within a given Search Engine's search results (respective of a given search expression used!)!... OR!... the site does not lend itself to Public Commentary (i.e., the inherent nature of the website "LOGICALLY PRECLUDES" facilitating public discussion!)! This!... then!... will mean, that FREE DEMOCRATIC EXPRESSION will "hold sway" over any and all other "RANKING CONSIDERATIONS", re the top ranking of Search Engine search results (AGAIN!... SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION MANIPULATION BE DAMNED!!)! The next step, would be to address the Digital Human Rights violations inhere within the very design (or failed design!) of respective site Comment log/ Clog windows (E.G., DENYING NETIZENS THE R-I-G-H-T TO COPY AND PASTE, AND TO L-I-N-K!... AGAIN, SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION MANIPULATION NEEDS BE DAMNED!)!... and, in addition, to putting a stop to IP address theft, and manipulation (such as website and/ or Blog Hosting "Blacklisting/ Blacklists"!... A-N-D B-Y S-I-T-E E-M-B-E-D-D-E-D G-R-O-U-P-S S-U-C-H A-S S-P-A-M-H-A-U-S, H-O-N-E-Y-P-O-T, A-N-D S-T-O-P-F-O-R-U-M-S-P-A-M!!... A-N-D, E-T-C.!!)!
    -----
    Please!... no emails!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dghjgfd, 5 Aug 2016 @ 2:21am

    kate

    swingging on board

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      John Mayor, 16 Aug 2016 @ 12:18am

      dghjgfd

      dghjgfd!... I'm confused!... what does, "swingging on board", mean? And!... did you mean, "swinging on board"?
      .
      Please!... no emails!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sortinghat, 22 Aug 2016 @ 7:59am

    Throttle opening up

    The big corporations since the Bush era have really gone full open with the global agenda throttle and are really pushing it mostly suckering in the smart phone people with micro payments and flashy stuff.



    It's not just the comments section but in the PC market (or whatever is left of it anyways) you can't own any software anymore and everything is monthly subscriptions using the (phone model) of micro payments including business software not just stupid video games.


    We have all downgraded back to Windows 7 and XP offline in the living room and it is a world of difference in what legacy software you can use and editing abilities especially if you have the older Creative X-Fi card that comes with free stuff!

    Windows 8 and 10 is very hard if not impossible to do movie edits as a lot of things were discontinued or removed but on 7 and XP it isn't hard to find the right software to do things you need to do.


    Nobody wants an operating system just for an operating system they want it for the software. Apps are not replacements for installing and owning your software you bought and paid for giving you the right to keep it forever on your PC or however many they allow at at time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Matt, 7 Sep 2016 @ 1:53am

    News sites nixing comments

    This is about the fact that the major news networks have been allowed to canabilize one another and monopolies allowed to flourish - all allowed like our telecom industry to be bought by foreign nationals - especially Israelis- or American dual nationals and Zionists. Add to that that the news media has been proven beyond a doubt to be 100% treasonously complicit and essential to the 9/11 attacks and on going false flag attacks which incontrivertible evidence proves was a Mossad run op in conjunction with treasonous neo cons and project for a new America dual citizenship Israelis allowed by some unfathomable depth of corruption to actually hold some of the highest and most sensitive senior posts dealing with national security - making it easy for them to be in position to order the release of some 200 plus Mossad agents arrested on September 11th posing as "Art Students". Many with explosives and taped taping the towers blowing up while dancing and high-fiving each other atop an explosives filled van with a logo mural of an airliner exploding into one of the Twin Towers. Another group actually taped & shot themselves working on one of the topmost floors of tower 1 and filling it wall to wall with boxes of detonator caps made for mini nukes by a company owned by Haliburton and traced to Cheney. These detonating caps are for mini nukes exclusively. They were allowed to use it free till the day before the attacks by its new owner- Larry Silverstien, a Zionist who bought the Towers just weeks before the attacks in a Port Authority asbestos condemned building crazy sale- for 3 dollars - ensuring them for 3 billion specifically against a terrorist attack using airliners. Something insurance companies almost never allow. Yet all these agents were released by their fellow Israeli Zionists in our government and all News reports by the Zionist owned media ignored those reports and focused immediately on Israel's enemies who could never have mounted such an attack in the first place- period. Now these same treasonous news media are busy completely skewing US election poll results and misreporting or under reporting candidates that are more populist or beating those they've paid for and own in both parties - that is when they allow them any coverage whatsoever. Since they are all also owned by the .01% of the worlds population that even the corrupt Major National News Media actually ADMITTED will own 99% of the worlds wealth and resources in 2016- whilst the rest of us billions and billions of 99% of the population ALL SPLIT BETWEEN US THE LEFT OVER 1% of wealth they've not yet figured out how to steal from us slaves yet. But that one time report on this was the only time it will be reported on by these propaganda arm kingmakers of the .01%... So - comments sections that will allow the 99% to post their outrage and the truth and see our own numbers and stregnth? Hahaha! Don't hold your breath, my fellow 99%r's! It's time to take back our country and government. We should start with the treasonous major news media. Remember- they are literally nothing. We are the 99% (Mossad & Rothschild .01%), DONT TREAD ON US

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sortinghat, 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:44am

      Re: News sites nixing comments

      Break it up will you? Nobody can read one big wall of text. It's better to seperate your comments into multiple parts so it will be easier to read.

      Most people on here are smartphone idiots which on such a small screen you see only a few sentences at a time to begin with.

      I shudder to think when watches will go online and the text format gets EVEN SMALLER!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Aniya jackson, 11 Nov 2016 @ 7:08pm

    People need to stop that negativity because thats how we end up in tragedy I am 10 yrs old and if u donot umnderstand loo up a movie called deathof a las vegas showgirl and murderurs rapist assulter sexual assuter if u are looking at this I want u to know that whatever u have done to someone the police are eventually gonna catch u u will not winn god will punish u and everyone who has suffered from tham from the bottom of my heart im so sorry

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2016 @ 7:35am

    I choose to comment anonymously and when I submitted the word "test" you people listed me as "anonymous coward." Typical listing that encourages public input. News organizations have known for some time they are losing money so their ploy is let em comment until other social websites are created that we have a financial stake in then cut off the comments so the social sites with ad dollars take up the financial slack. This is nothing more than censorship cloaked in...well we media dont have to tell the truth now do we. Media have shown their inability to report the and now creat it as nothing more than old yelliw journalism.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sortinghat, 6 Dec 2016 @ 9:00pm

    Society gone down the pan

    People are a lot more aggressive then they were in the 90s and to be honest there was some scary shit going on in the 90s too with lone bombers killing people and foiled plots of worse things.

    Today's society is all built into a protective bubble of the liberal agenda *which I think is paid by the extreme right to make progression look bad* and as a result we have people who have branded themselves.

    America is a branded nation where people will scream their favorite thing is better then yours. Coke and Pepsi are owned by the same rich elite but they want you to fight to the death about which brand is better.

    Now a day's everyone is in their own niche and separated.

    Yes we are more diverse then ever Obama and I hope you like it! So diverse nobody can agree on anything so nothing gets done!

    Oh Boy I love diversity!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bob, 2 Jan 2017 @ 12:59am

    Thanks. You have a awesome website

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pobo, 8 Jan 2017 @ 8:20am

    There is really only one reason for not allowing comments - it makes it easier to serve up the propaganda.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    pc, 28 Feb 2017 @ 3:41pm

    Areb and Arebic languge is Areb but.

    Arab or Arabs are not languge and is just dogs with four bones and swan that lives under 5 years and grow up just during 6 months and lives with collect dirt every second and secounds.Dogs with four bones and swan just once give out dogs during under 5 years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sortinghat, 1 Jun 2017 @ 1:07am

    Most sites just wind up either having trolls or paid shills where two or three people BS each other all the way down the page preventing other commenters from getting any words in edge wise.

    Then 1 OF the 3 BS people will say "Look I've had enough with your false accusations and will not say this again I am thru!" then the next day he is back doing it some more!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sortinghat, 1 Jun 2017 @ 1:08am

    A couple fart noises from Idiocracy

    We are just a couple fart noises away from the movie Idiocracy where......well I won't spoil it since nobody reads comments anymore.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sortinghat, 1 Jun 2017 @ 1:10am

    Also the right were doing the censoring during the Bush era against 9/11 critics so people back when they had actual computers not smartphones were able to create their own forums which some are still going today.

    Some like Let's Roll that discuss 9/11 from many angles like the Hollow Towers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sortinghat, 16 Aug 2017 @ 11:41am

    The socialist revolution in Egypt during the first half of the Obama era helped made this shit happen. The US and other western governments got paranoid because it was organized by smartphones so they think "If it can happen there it can happen here!" but in their minds it's the right wing people who believe in God and go to church that will do the uprising.

    So now chances are if you got to any news source they don't like your computer or device may slow down as spyware is being loaded in. Not third party spyware. GOVERNMENT spyware.

    Notice lately on a lot of sites that you have to type really slow or you miss letters/spaces? Here it's normal speed but many sites I can only do one letter at a time or it skips over.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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