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I don't agree with you but I'm not a troll like that other asshole.

I'm interested to see what would happen.

Posted by ecbsucks | July 17, 2007 12:19 PM

Depends on what problem you're trying to solve. Is there an actual problem? Would enforcing a formal policy result in more or less work than your current practice of ad hoc removal of bad posts?

Posted by pox | July 17, 2007 12:21 PM



Posted by Levislade | July 17, 2007 12:22 PM

If there is no current problem, then why make a policy? If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Posted by ky | July 17, 2007 12:24 PM

I cannot imagine a clear enough, enforcable policy. Best to just leave the comments wild and wooly.

Posted by supergp | July 17, 2007 12:26 PM

I have one suggestion: Registered user names.

I posted simply as "Andrew" forever until about 500 other Andrews showed up and "Original Andrew" became my handle (it's also a hat tip to Original Cindy from Dark Angel).

Overall, I'd say people do a good job of keeping it light, humorous, interesting, informative and not abusive.

Have you ever read the comments on the PI's blogs (double shudder)?

Posted by Original Andrew | July 17, 2007 12:28 PM

The threats and hate speech (narrowly defined) can certainly go, but please don't rid the slog of the ad hominems. Reading them is the prime reason I visit this filthy digital rag.

When discussing message boards, positive is the opposite of lively.

As long as you're cleaning things up nix all the double and triple posts.

Posted by dirge | July 17, 2007 12:29 PM

I'm with Original Andrew--registered user names all the way.

Posted by Jaime-Leigh | July 17, 2007 12:30 PM

i like original andrew's idea. that is the only thing i would change. it's too difficult to create a definite cutoff line for what is appropriate or not. also, tossing spam is obviously fine.

Posted by konstantConsumer | July 17, 2007 12:31 PM

Could there be a way that commentors could contribute to the actual moderation of the posts.

Posted by John At Work | July 17, 2007 12:32 PM

yes, usernames.

Posted by josh | July 17, 2007 12:34 PM

@7 The double posts aren't usually intentional. The double posts aren't usually intentional.

I agree with Original Andrew @6, registered user names would allow you to track impersonations if necessary but wouldn't be that oppressive. Most blogs require you to be registered to comment anyway.

Posted by Katelyn | July 17, 2007 12:34 PM

How about something Craigslist-style? If enough people flag a comment for being grossly off-topic or indefensibly offensive, it gets sent to an editor who can decide to pull it? If you make it really liberal - like 20 people have to flag something before it even gets reviewed, it would probably accomplish what you're aiming for (which is general free reign, minus about the .01% who are complete assholes, right?)

If you let people flag comments, you don't really have to worry about making specific guidelines about what's inappropriate - it'd be like the law on kiddie porn - you know it when you see it.

Posted by Gem | July 17, 2007 12:35 PM

Though I wish trolls would stay off the board, I think whatever you have been doing is fine. I think the times my posts have "disappeared" is because I try to comment on another topic before it saved my response for the previous one.

I just wish there was an edit or delete function for us users of our own posts. I hate making spelling errors (and getting ragged about it) or finding my comment was unclear after I hit "Post." And I choose to believe that when someone posts the same comment three times in a row, they are hitting the Post button more than once rather than being a dick.

Posted by elswinger | July 17, 2007 12:35 PM

So whenever you want a community to act a certain way, you can take a number of approaches.

1. Write an official policy and try to enforce it

2. Actively participate and try to steer it in the right direction

I bet the best solution is a combination. Officially delete spam and child porn. Talk about the other stuff.

Posted by Dave Aaron Smith | July 17, 2007 12:36 PM

I'm down with registered usernames, although it would make it harder to do funny stuff like posting as GOB or "your mom" or what have you.

Posted by Levislade | July 17, 2007 12:37 PM

keep the current format, which is to say, not much of a format at all.

Posted by your mom | July 17, 2007 12:39 PM

Add my voice to the registered name chorus. It works well - you can't just flip names to post as someone else (or as someone who is already a regular) when you have one name, and I think that serves to discourage most trolls.

As far as comments go, it's probably best to let the sloggers police it ourselves. There are probably some real egregious instances of abuse that can be made off-limits but less is better when it comes to these rules.

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 17, 2007 12:43 PM

Usernames. Word.

If setting that up is too much to ask (I can only imagine what problems that may cause, seeing how your lag time for posts is still incredibly ridiculous), just simply start banning IP's (E**e homo). Eventually, they will be annoyed with resetting their IP and will die off. Just having an account setup via usernames won't work, seeing how someone (E**e homo) could do this off the fly every day.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 17, 2007 12:43 PM

Hey! Stop impersonating me!

Also, registered usernames doesn't sound like a terrible idea.

That said, does it fix anything? What's to prevent me from registering a separate "your mom" account? Or "Charles' Mom"? Or "Icky Hobo"?

Posted by your mom | July 17, 2007 12:47 PM

Yeah, usernames. For sure.

Posted by christopher | July 17, 2007 12:48 PM

If you require usernames, some people (such as myself) will never post a comment again.

I'm with the "leave it alone" people.

If the problem is "we don't have a clear public policy" then oh well.

Do what you're doing. Delete the spam. Censor the hate speech. Do whatever you want whenever you want.

Keep dirge's thoughts in-mind: "When discussing message boards, positive is the opposite of lively."

Publish a policy that says: "We are the gods here... we will do as we please. Go setup your own site and write your own policy if you're so hard for strict policy and guidelines."

Posted by yoyojedi | July 17, 2007 12:49 PM

A simple rule can be for all commenters to play the ball not the man. Sometimes, the threads become personal insult sessions and are completely off topic. If everybody followed that simple rule, and stuck to debating or defending the subject and not the person, than we can eliminate all sorts of silly insults.

Posted by SeMe | July 17, 2007 12:49 PM

@19: Banning IPs leads to banning people who are innocent; in a community-oriented blog, a lot of people will be posting from the same IP blocks.

Posted by supergp | July 17, 2007 12:50 PM

I like registered usernames. If someone really wants to register more than one...well, that user is kind of a loser (then again, so am I for that awful rhyme). By registering, they could track if someone is a "problem" and block them.

Posted by Joey the Girl | July 17, 2007 12:52 PM

elswinger @ 14,

Re: Spelling

I type my posts in MS Word, then copy and paste in the Slog. It won't help with homophones (there, they're and their, etc.) or blog grammar but it helps.

Re: Other Andrews

I'd like to add that some of those other Andrews were not very nice, and it's really weird to read sexist/racist/xenophobic posts under your handle, so that's another reason for registered user names.

Posted by Original Andrew | July 17, 2007 12:53 PM

I actually prefer Slog without registered names, but whatever you end up doing is fine. It's your slog, after all.

Seems like the biggest recent problem hasn't so much been ecce homo (whose posts are frequently inflammatory and riddled with asshattery but at least mostly on topic), but the jackass who inundates every post with a tirade about Dan supporting the war back in 1,000 BC. If there was a way to ban that person's ISP, I'd support it!

@14 - it's really clear to only hit Post once, so I'd say that hitting the button 3 times IS being a dick.

Posted by genevieve | July 17, 2007 12:53 PM

Registered user names will probably cut down on some of the vitriol, but from what I've seen in cases where it's applied it usually dilutes the anarchic spirit of a site as well. That's the choice: Consistently enforce a policy on what's acceptable and see the tenor of comments become at once more civil and perhaps blander, or keep doing what you're doing and delete posts only when they are conspicuously off-topic/mean-spirited/libelous.

I do kind of like some of the systems where users assign ratings to a poster's reliability or pertinence, so that over time people who are just trolling would be obvious from the "0.5 on a scale of 10" next to their name. A lot of forums use something like this to cut down on the volume of "P'wned!" type posts.

But again, if the posts are being moderated by actual human beings, I don't see a huge problem with them exercising judgement on what's out of line based on some general guidelines.

Posted by flamingbanjo | July 17, 2007 12:55 PM

your mom @ 20, most registration systems mean choosing a unique name (so ecce homo, once registered, can't be chosen by anyone else) and also getting to register only one name per email address (so, once associated with a registered name, can't be used to register any other names). And of course you can't log in at all until you get a password emailed to you when you register so you have to use a real email address.

This isn't perfect - someone with multiple legit email accounts can register a name with each one - but the process of maintaining all those passwords and having to log out and then back in is enough of a hassle to discourage a lot of trolls.

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 17, 2007 12:57 PM

No Stranger I recognize would ever ban something for being "hate speech". What a hateful concept that is. Threats are a separate matter, along the lines of "My freedom to swing my arm ends where your nose begins."

Posted by Eric F | July 17, 2007 12:58 PM

I googled "comments policy" to see what other blogs are doing. Most ask users to refrain from abusive language, ad hominem attacks, etc., and reserve the right to remove comments or ban users that repeatedly violate that request or intentionally and repeatedly derail threads through the aforementioned behaviors. Seems pretty simple. If someone can't act reasonably civil, or is only here to flame people and derail discussion, you should have the right to remove them at your discretion. They are free to start their own blog where they can do whatever the hell they please.

Posted by sketchy homo | July 17, 2007 12:59 PM

Your mom, usernames are by definition unique. Once "your mom" is taken, no one else can get it. Another nice thing about usernames is, it might bring the possibility of clicking on one to see a profile and possibly even a list of other posts (I wish Slog did this for authors as well).

Here's what I wrote on this to Amy Kate:

As a person who's run a mailing list for a long time, I've run into this issue a
lot. I've also watched flame wars over on Usenet for close to twenty years, and
I know how they work. I've handled it badly in the past, too. Basically, the
goal is not to BLOCK negativity but allow it to steam out a side hole, if you get my meaning. If you get up in people's faces about inappropriate posts, you start a war, every damn time.

Unfortunately that means cutting people a little too much slack sometimes.
Because it's a fine line -- the people who just exist for nothing but disruption -- Josh/Shoshana -- are rare. Much more common are people like ecce who can carry on an argument, sort of, some of the time, but cross over the line sometimes. How many chances do they get? If you bar racist or homophobic
comments, you're going to get into niggling little arguments all your life over "why didn't THAT guy get banned" and so on.

You will be unpleasantly surprised if you think just INSTITUTING a comment policy, no matter how innocuous, will not be controversial.

I think your restrictions need to be mostly procedural and not content-based.
Using someone else's customary login is a no-no and should get you instantly cut
off. The way to deal with Josh/Shoshana is as spam, not as content -- posting
substantially-identical content over and over is not allowed no matter what it
SAYS (that's one of the two main criteria of spam).

Where it gets hard is with personal attacks. You can't just say no. After much experience I have come to the conclusion that you have to just let them go; any attempt to block them is going to blow up in your face. Resorting to ad hominems is the sign of a failed argument, for one thing.

You also have the power to interject yourself into the conversation yourself -- instead of blocking it, just write in and say "you know, by attacking so-and-so and not his argument,
you look kind of stupid yourself". You can also pop in and remind people of the

Another thing you have the power to do is a multi-level response. You can zap
individual posts, after a warning or two, without blocking the entire poster.

Good luck! It's not a fun task. The longer I live the more I see the virtues of a very laissez-faire approach. I can point you to THOUSANDS of examples on
Usenet where attempts at moderation just escalated the fire. You'll get more fires if you let them burn, but less serious ones.


Posted by Fnarf | July 17, 2007 1:02 PM

No rules! I like the inflammatory comments. I'd be OK with user names, but whatever. I even (sort of) enjoy reading ecce homo's posts if only because he/she has the polar opposite point of view of just about everybody here (head in ass vs head not in ass), and I think he/she is dead serious. He/she had me so flustered once that I referenced the wrong post and told MYSELF to "go die in a fire". That's a rare talent.

Posted by SteveR | July 17, 2007 1:02 PM

Honestly, I find the posts here to be mostly intelligent and witty and not inflamatory. I like the relaxed commenting policy, and I kind of hate websites that rule the forums with an iron fist. To me that feels like you're condescending to your readers. We cant trust you, so we're going to treat you like third graders. That kind of thing.

User names are okay, but a barrier like that will prevent occasionaly commentators from posting. For example, when Eli did that Chris Crocker profile, it was pretty cool to see all the Chris Crocker fans land at Slog to comment on Chris.

So, I dunno. It's your blog, and I'd abide by whatever rules you set, but I kind of like the way things are now.

Posted by arduous | July 17, 2007 1:02 PM

1. Allow the option to have registered usernames, but also permit anonymous (or pseudonymous -- is that a word?) posts like the current system.

2. Let users flag comments like craigslist, but minimize them (show the first 25 characters, show SPAM or some other flag in bold nearby) instead of removing them entirely. Letting users "regenerate" minimized comments in the same way could lessen the impact of an ideological flagging bloc.

3. Require more flags for a registered user's comment to be taken down, versus an anonymous/pseudo comment. Say, 40 for reg and 25 for non-reg.

Posted by sociallytangent | July 17, 2007 1:03 PM

No wire hangers. Ever.

Posted by andy niable | July 17, 2007 1:07 PM

I don't think Slog is planning to do an Iron Fist thing (except maybe IN THEIR MINDS *WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO* or maybe play that Motorhead album of the same name.)

Spammers and cut-and-paste trolls should be cut off though. Registry will help a bit with the former. Manual policing will help with the latter.

For example, I'm really sick of the Troll Who Quotes Dan Savage Pre Iraq War. Only people like that make want to bother less with Slog commenting anymore. (which may make some of you cheer. Yay, I suck!)

In case another "Atlas gone fined. Grandy should resign" circus erupts, anyone who is seriously pissed off - whether informed or not - can just get a yahoo or gmail or hotmail account and register. Registration helps in regulating ADD pranksters/abusers, not all of them -- so all you premeditative anarchists can still monkeywrench the Stranger Man, man!

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | July 17, 2007 1:10 PM

@14: The problem with allowing users to edit their comments for spelling is that it means they can also edit their comments after the fact to make them say whatever they want. Somebody says something, you counter their point, they go back and edit their post, etc.

I don't know if something that juvenile would be a problem here or not, but I've seen things get nasty on UBB-style boards before, and it's a pain in the ass for everyone else to deal with.

Posted by Darcy | July 17, 2007 1:10 PM

Agreed with Darcy. The spontaneity factor has surprisingly kept the comment quality far above that of YouTube comment quality, for example.

All of the comment editing suggestions should check out the Stranger discussion forum instead, which -- last I checked -- uses a phpBB type template which allows users who edit after the fact to get timestamped, so "history rewriters" are tagged as such, should they become prevalent.

A few tweaks here and there is all Slog commenting needs.

Actually, the repeating comment bug should be fixed. That's actually more annoying than content issues, really.

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | July 17, 2007 1:16 PM

Danny Rand does the Iron Fist thing better than Dan Savage.

Posted by supergp | July 17, 2007 1:18 PM

No duplicate posts - just auto-remove them.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 17, 2007 1:20 PM

I vote for registering usernames as well. Thats all.

The posting under someone elses handle is cowardly. If you do that you should be banned.

As for "Hate speech", what is the definition? Who gets to define it? Is someone saying something I find offensive engaging in hate speech? Is it the use of certain words or the publishing of stereotypes? Would these count if the context is ironic or would it be a blanket prohibition? Who would become the comment police? Would they have the power to just delete what they find to be annoying posts?

If the community flags and deletes posts, what happens then is that unpopular speech just gets deleted. I personally believe that unpopular speech is what does our society good. In fact, the problem with todays society is that there is this notion that its everyone's divine right to never be offended. Well excuse me if I call bullshit on that.

You may not like me, but I am who I am. I get insulted here on a daily basis. Oh well. I just think its bs to delete one members posts even if they deal with the topic at hand.

Could someone explain to me now who it's ok to insult and who its okay not to insult? Because near as I can tell, the Stranger itself couldn't adhere to a policy on SLOG or in print that are being discussed here.

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 1:22 PM

I like the current system.

Posted by Anon | July 17, 2007 1:25 PM

No duplicate posts - just auto-remove them.

Oh, and I like that Registered user name concept.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 17, 2007 1:25 PM

Please, no registered usernames! So much humor comes from one-off, topic specific post names. (Remember your post about 18 months ago asking where everyone reads Slog from? And one of the comments was, "Guam", signed Ken Lay? So topical and amusing.) Please do not deprive me of this joy.

Posted by giantladysquirrels | July 17, 2007 1:28 PM

I'm pretty sure everyone here is in agreement that it's ok to insult you, Ecce.

Posted by JessB | July 17, 2007 1:30 PM

would the ad hominem attacks policy apply to erica's posts? also, yoyojedi sucks hairy choad.

Posted by trolly mctrollerson | July 17, 2007 1:31 PM

If people are too paranoid to have usernames, maybe there could be some sort of logo next to your name indicating that you are a visitor. That way, for example, an "Original Andrew" post with no logo next to it is the real guy, a post with a logo is an impostor.

Posted by Mariana | July 17, 2007 1:33 PM

I don't care about insults. I guess I have a thicker skin than many here.

They don't like being "Offended".

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 1:36 PM

@42 - even disallowing that you're a prick you make a great point regarding user comments. As much as I can tell *most* insults start to fly when the poster is ill-informed or obviously trying to incite flames. I don't know that user names would necessarily avoid that, particularly since you're such a handy punching bag.

Posted by your mom redux | July 17, 2007 1:37 PM

And perhaps you could tell me why someone was deleting my posts yesterday?

Not ideological? Huh...

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 1:38 PM

I think there is value in being able to post anonymously. There are people who post useful information that will cease to do so if there is a need to register.

However, people who are regulars who WANT to register should be given that option, so people won't steal their names.

While there are some serious problem posts on SLOG, I think whatever case-by-case basis the Stranger uses is fine.

Posted by policy | July 17, 2007 1:38 PM

i like the current system, too.

Posted by infrequent | July 17, 2007 1:39 PM

i like the current system, too.

Posted by infrequent | July 17, 2007 1:39 PM

I am also pro-registered user names. Not that there's a pack of asshole Jessicas running amuck on Slog, but it would be nice to prevent another not-fnarf (aka 'Dickface McAsshat') fiasco.

MFW@37 put it well-- I am tired of the pre-war Dan Savage troll, the multiple posts (Chris Crocker, anyone?) and the random trolls.

However, I am all in favor of giving ecce and dreadlion usernames, because while they might make me crazy sometimes, without all the nuts Slog isn't as much fun. Mariana @48 has a good idea with the logo as well. Ooh, profiles too? The mind boggles at what could happen on here....

Posted by Jessica | July 17, 2007 1:43 PM

I vote for keeping it open, but i won't be too broken up over registered names. I would suggest that the Stranger take it on itself to block the meaningless repeat posts, a la the Dan Savage supported the war troll. Also, what ever happened to Shoshanna and Josh who used to post that whacked out "The Stranger is the only paper that supports Israel... blah blah" crap on every post? Those kinds of trolls, who are only trolls and nothing more, should be easy to ban without controversy. While Ecce Homo is clearly deranged, he is no shoshanna. He is actually discussing the posts and not just repeating the same trollish mantra on every post over and over and over again.

Posted by longball | July 17, 2007 1:45 PM

Ban the term 'hat tip'.

Posted by investigatory journalist | July 17, 2007 1:46 PM

I'm down for registered names for people who want them but please allow for named "anon" posts like we have now.

If a person was registered you could show their name in bold or a color or whatever. If it wasn't registered it would just be plain.

I REALLY like the funny names and I don't want to see the slog comments become too formal. I like it fast and loose.

Any "on topic" policy you set up will basically be the same situation you have now. Ultimately someone has to decide if a post crosses some line. The problem is that one persons taste is different than anothers.

In closing:
No formal policy
Registered names for people who want them
Named annon posting


Posted by drew | July 17, 2007 1:54 PM

Allow registered or anon user names. Delete dupe posts.

Posted by Big Sven | July 17, 2007 1:58 PM

Please, no registered usernames. It's one of the facets of Slog that I love and sets it apart from other sites. Makes the Slog seem more open and community-minded. It's like the Slog accepts us for who we say we are and doesn't make us pigeonhole ourselves. Non-registered usernames makes for a more lively and fun Slog, imo.

I say go with the benevolent dictator route. If you want to Do Something, add the comment flagging, and then use it sparingly.

I think Slog has dealt with trolls fairly well so far, and doesn't need much tweaking...

Posted by NaFun | July 17, 2007 2:02 PM

1) Yes on comment flagging
I vote yes on allowing very basic Craigslist-like flagging that nukes comments. It's the definition of community standard, no?

2) Yes on registration
Raises the bar one notch higher to burden troublemakers and protects the identity of contributors so reputations can be established and not vandalized. While I agree with @45 that funny names are some of the most artful humor here on the Slog, the joke can still be (mostly) executed in slightly lamer way by writing your very funny response and including the even more ha ha funny signature line in the post.

Dan Savage & Craig Newmark

Posted by j | July 17, 2007 2:03 PM

My comments mean very little to anyone but verified registration (with IP address tracing) would be appropriate. And if we all stayed on topic that would be nice.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | July 17, 2007 2:05 PM

I like the idea of a choice between registering a username or still being able to post anon, but that would probably involve an overhaul of the current system. I expect Slog's not really outfitted for that kind of thing right now.

Posted by Darcy | July 17, 2007 2:08 PM

I would first suggest that quite a few people would feel that maintaining a "positive" atmosphere is in itself "oppressive," and that more than one Stranger staffer would be counted in their number.

I would also ask the thorny question of what distinguishes an "orderly" environment from an "oppressive" one, apart from which side of the power relation one happens to occupy.

People have been wrangling with this online civility stuff since the dark ages of Usenet, but we have yet to come up with a good way to balance the various conflicting goals and concerns.

Posted by robotslave | July 17, 2007 2:13 PM

Gem (#13) has it right -- do it CraigsList style:

If enough people flag a comment for being grossly off-topic or indefensibly offensive, it gets sent to an editor who can decide to pull it...

That way you'll create more of a self-policing community feel.

You also might consider a cascading outline comment structure like many blog journals use. (Such as MetaFiter or LiveJournal.) That way comments that are in response to another comment are keep in line with the original comment and can be easily breezed over by people not interested in engaging in that particular troll's shenanigans.

Posted by Tim | July 17, 2007 2:18 PM

If you'd just delete it every time that dumb fucker reposts Dan's pro-war article, I'd be perfectly satisfied.

Posted by Gitai | July 17, 2007 2:18 PM

Yep, registering a name would be good, but (The Stranger) please stay away from the "one name per email/IP address" philosophy.

I like the anonymous ability to post, it has a certain freeing feeling. I admit to it, I like to use a different name on the fly if I am feeling snarky or just because I feel the need to comment using a name other than PHENICS. I use one name mostly because I like riding the line between 100% anonymous and the need to self-censor to maintain some sort of “virtual” rep by coming across with a single “voice”. Jumping to another name does, from time to time, facilitate dialogue in a manner a frequently seen name/poster can not.

A limited number of names per user (usually one) is fine policy for chat boards which rely on a “one name, one person, one community” online philosophy, but it does limit the 'anything goes', post what's on your mind, write what you feel thing slog (newspaper) has had going for it from the get-go.

Maybe a "confirmation through reply" email sent at the time of registration might get rid of the "issue of the day/week" trolls who can't be bothered to register a their real (or dummy) email address, jump through registration hoops, then post that one-off comment.

Oh, while we are on the subject, it does strike me that from time-to-time, a top level poster will get all in a snit and remove posts unilaterally. Or maybe they form a committee of work-friends and colleagues, or simply ask the person there sitting next to if the comment was off-base. Or maybe not, I’m no insider in on behind the scenes at The Stranger. But if ad hominem attacks (a value judgment usually, since not every attack posted is always without merit) directed at a Stranger Staff are in the eye of the beholder, knowing that there is a single moderator (instead of a value call made by a thin skinned Stranger Staffer with slog privileges) goes along. I only mention this because deleting posts seem to be more common within the last few weeks, which skirts the issue of justifiable censorship with ‘they hurt my feelings and I want revenge’. Just my observation, anyways.

Posted by Phenics | July 17, 2007 2:19 PM

@55: Hey, I resent that remark!

Seriously, I'm not sure I've seen a post (barring spam and the like) that I'd rather have had deleted; even ones that called me dumb. Why mess with what works? Kill the spam posts, let everything else* stay.

*well, if someone posts child porn or whatnot, kill it, but I trust the Sloggers to make that distinction.

Posted by Dickface McAsshat | July 17, 2007 2:20 PM

I'm with the mixed anon/registered comments.

Eliminating duplicate posts is easy. A million web sites succeed in disabling the post button after clicking it. I'll even give you the code if you want it.

Everything else is great as-is. Don't break something that isn't fixed.

Posted by Anon | July 17, 2007 2:20 PM

1) Yay for User Moderation
Does anybody here read Slashdot? Their highly developed moderation system makes them one of the most useful places for user commentary on the internet. Go into a discussion and sort by "Highest Scores First." The code they've developed is open source.

2)Yay for Registration and Anonymous Cowards
If you're going to implement registered usernames, why not go for OpenID?

Posted by opticsdoug | July 17, 2007 2:22 PM

Bush is the most pro-usernames president we have ever had. America needs to stand strong with usernames now. The Stranger has gone against conventional Seattle wisdom and been pro-usernames. Bush is the best American president usernames have ever known, and many in the Seattle Jewish community appreciate what Bush has done for usenames.

Posted by Josh | July 17, 2007 2:27 PM

I mostly agree with Genevieve @27. The clown that keeps posting Dan's pre-war article over and over again has GOT to go. While I personally would rather ecce homo would leave, he/she falls into a grey area. I think a healthy dissent is a good thing, as long as it doesn't get completely abusive. Ecce pushes that sometimes, but mostly stays just this side of abusive in my mind (or maybe his/her deleted posts cross that line, but I've missed them, which is fine). People like that are tiresome, but don't make me want to leave.

Have you ever read Horse's Ass? I like to read what Goldy has to say sometimes, but the comment threads are completely unbearable. They almost always descend immediately into ridiculous name calling and flame wars. I pop over there now and then to read the top level posts, but I have completely stopped reading or participating in the comments. It definitely shows the ugly side of pure anarchy.

I'm not a fan of registration. Personally, I'd register and continue to participate. However, registration would have at least some stifling effect. There will be some people who would not register, and stop participating. I have to wonder if registering would actually solve whatever problem you perceive there is with SLOG as it is run right now. And if it solves some perceived problem, is it worth the potential stifling effect? I actually found the whole MySpace Crocker slamfest kind of amusing, and that would be eliminated with a registration system.

And, yes, you have to come up with some way to delete double posts.

Posted by SDA in SEA | July 17, 2007 2:29 PM

I don’t think that anyone should ever be allowed to say anything that might in any way hurt anyone’s feelings. Ever.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | July 17, 2007 2:29 PM

I like @13’s idea. But only if you let people flag Slog posts also and not just comments. Or better yet, flag only Slog posts and not comments…

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | July 17, 2007 2:34 PM

I've already noticed that one of my comments was removed - and not because of anything other than it probably sounded like I was disagreeing with what the writer had written.

By telling everyone they recognized the Picasso theif at Hugo House but no follow up as to whether she was caught, now she knows we know... The PI posted it first, not the STranger anyway...

Posted by jeez | July 17, 2007 2:36 PM

Agreed only flag slog post and not comments.

Unless those comments are by people I don't like or offend me in someway, then I need to have the ability to delete those posts for everyone.

Make things nice, neat and clean.

Then perhaps we can start working on the patently offensive components in the print edition of the stranger. I have some ideas about that.

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 2:36 PM

my $0.02 = I like it the way it is. Idiot trolls and all. I don't know how much you guys actually remove but if it's a lot you've been doing a great job, and I mean that by what you've left in.

Don't change anything.

Posted by monkey | July 17, 2007 2:42 PM

Don't change a thing, Slog is fun the way it is....trolls, hate speech, stupidty, triviality, annoymous cowards and all.

Posted by Sally Struthers Lawnchair | July 17, 2007 2:44 PM

SDA in SEA @ 72,

"Have you ever read Horse's Ass? I like to read what Goldy has to say sometimes, but the comment threads are completely unbearable. They almost always descend immediately into ridiculous name calling and flame wars."

My thoughts exactly. Love what the HA guys post, but the comments are mostly dreadful and just nasty. Same with the PI blogs. We need to avoid that.

Posted by Original Andrew | July 17, 2007 3:45 PM

Official Forum Flame



[x] Clueless Newbie

[x] Loser

[ ] Spammer

[x] 12 year old

[ ] Pervert

[ ] Nerd

[ ] l337 d00d/"vet"

[ ] Other: illegal immigrant

You Are Being Flamed Because

[ ] You posted a Nudity thread (anime or normal).

[x] You whine like a

[ ] You bumped a thread from the last page.

[ ] You started an off-topic thread.

[ ] You posted a "YOU ALL SUCK" message .

[ ] You don't know which forum to post in.

[ ] You posted false information (or lack thereof).

[ ] You posted something totally uninteresting.

[ ] You doubleposted.

[ ] You posted a message all written in CAPS (oR aLtErNaTe CaPs).

[ ] You posted a X > Y thread. LAME.

[ ] I don't like your tone of voice.

[ ] You posted a thread dealing with a Sims and SimCity.

To Repent, You Must:

[x] Give up your AOL Internet account

[x] Bust up your modem with a hammer and eat it

[ ] Jump into a bathtub while holding your monitor

[ ] Actually post something relevant

[ ] Be my love slave

[x] Apologize to everybody on this forum

[x] Go stand in the middle of an intersection

In Closing, I'd Like to Say:

[ ] Get a life

[x] Never post again

[x] I pity your dog

[x] I think your IQ must be 6

[x] Take your crap somewhere else

[x] Do us all a favor and jump into some industrial equipment

[ ] Go play Dress-Up Barbie Online™

[ ] All of the above

Posted by trolly mctrollerson | July 17, 2007 3:48 PM

No rules, period. Grow a pair (in a figurative, non-sexist way of course) or just skip past a post if it bothers you.

Posted by Mr. X | July 17, 2007 3:48 PM

Mr. X and everybody else who thinks "all" comments are awesome and part of the debate: You are fat, hairy, ugly, short, bald, drunk, desperate, need to get laid, young and stupid, old and washed up, a fag, a dyke, a trust fund baby, and a hipster. Also, you have no chin.

Posted by ECB | July 17, 2007 4:05 PM

psst... ECB... you forgot "smells bad".

Posted by The Peanut Gallery | July 17, 2007 4:09 PM

Yahoo used to have both registered user names and alternate names.

The best of both worlds - you got up to five names. So you could post all corporate like, use an alias like oh i don't know Will in Seattle, or make one up like Stranger Donkey Team ... so long as someone else hadn't used it.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 17, 2007 4:11 PM

oh, and consider the ability, if you use registered user name(s), to "ignore" up to five people.

that way we can ignore ecce homo.

and maybe "highlight" official staffer posts, so we can tell when it's really Erica or not.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 17, 2007 4:15 PM

If I were to have my way, nothing at all would change. Somehow, though, I don't see that happening so I'm throwing my opinion into the hat.

As for the commenter who suggested the Livejournal style cascading comment threads: PLEASE NO, for the love of god. I find it SO MUCH more irritating and time consuming to have to click on separate threads in a comments section to see if it's something I'm interested in reading than to just skim comments and quickly scroll past the ones I'm not interested in.

Next, the issue that arises when commenters can edit their posts makes total sense, but what about just letting us delete our own posts altogether instead? There have been many times that I've hit post instead of preview on accident, noticed typos in my post, and would have just deleted it and repost it were I given the option.

Also, I think the community flagging a la craigslist is a fabulous idea.

Lastly, this whole idea of keeping things "positive" is a major turn off. I don't know about the rest of you, but I find myself more moved to comment when something upsets me, and those are the kinds of comments that may not be viewed as "positive."

Posted by Callie | July 17, 2007 4:17 PM

Censoring actual threats? Spam? Perfectly reasonable. Censoring just general nastiness or insults (as ECB seems to imply in @82)? Pure wussiness. If merely being called fat, ugly, or talentless by random people (many times over) hurts you that much, then you just don't belong in a profession involving public discourse.

If you want to maintain a higher level of dialogue without looking prissy, the best compromise might be to use a system like Slash or Scoop, which scores comments and allows people to set a threshold for the comments they wish to see. That would keep everyone happy, crap-flingers and serious participants alike.

Posted by tsm | July 17, 2007 4:20 PM

delete any comments containing the phrase i just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
eliminate the usage of best. [insert stupid thing]. ever.
all posts containing arguments with over 100 comments should be settled by knife fight in cal anderson park.

Posted by kerri harrop | July 17, 2007 4:23 PM

Will in Seattle,

You know that ignore function wouldn't serve any purpose don't you? After all, you can't seem to ignore me. You post after I do ALL THE TIME. Between you and Bellevue Ave, I always no who the next poster will be.

But, if little ole' me makes you so mad, uncomfortable, upset, freaked out, sad, emotional, etc, then I think that you have emotional problems that go way beyond what an ignore feature can do to help.

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 4:24 PM

I too like the way things are. Most of the blogs you need to register to comment on I don't bother with, because the faster I can do stuff I shouldn't be at work, the better.

Posted by Dianna | July 17, 2007 4:28 PM

I like everything the way it is. Do use a generous number of commentor flags a la Craigslist, though, or something like that to kick the decision over to staff as to what to do. Let everyone have their say, but let consensus be the Slog's 'door guy'.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | July 17, 2007 4:43 PM

i'd keep things the same. sure people like ecce homo are useless idiots, but when he posts it makes you feel better about yourself. You know that as dim-witted and wrong as you may be, you aren't him.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 17, 2007 4:49 PM

Just ban Ecce Homo and we will all live happily ever after...

Posted by K X One | July 17, 2007 4:49 PM

hey, 'mo:

if you have two kids, why are you wasting time here that you could spend with them? hmm?

Posted by scary tyler moore | July 17, 2007 4:51 PM

I'm seconding the no-cascading-comments thing. Please. It's so annoying to have to click on different threads within threads.

Posted by Katelyn | July 17, 2007 5:01 PM

I do like the idea of being able to officially claim my handle with user registration.

If user registration is going to occur, please give us ample warning, or maybe let people who regularly comment get an ability to register first? Maybe send us each an email inviting us to register the name that we've been using?

I am concerned that people are going to flock to register under names that are in regular use, just to mess with the folks who have been using those names. I envision this rush to registration, and I do think it would be unfortunate if someone loses the handle they've developed because a troll got there quicker.

I can't keep up enough to tell if anyone is posting under my handle. But without registration, I am wary to disclose my handle to other people, because it would be possible that things I didn't post could pop up under the handle I use.

I also think that having the option to make anonymous commenting is valuable, but maybe add a higher standard for flagging/censoring to anonymous comments?

Posted by r | July 17, 2007 5:19 PM

Personally, I don't think anything should change with the comments section. _Stranger_ staff seems to have dealt with anything really nasty/messed up in the past. But it sounds like some posters have major issues with the way it is now, so I would support what TSM suggested @ 87. I don't know if registration would really do anything, but I suppose it might help.

I've always found the comments here to be mostly just amusing- there's the occasional douche, but hey, that's life. I've started avoiding YouTube, 'cause the comments there make my eyes bleed.

Posted by Thom | July 17, 2007 5:33 PM

R @ 96, I post regularly at and they went to a registration system without warning last year - but regular posters with real email addresses who always used them got registered automatically and emails were sent out with passwords. It wasn't the most convenient thing but it did prevent the rush you envisioned.

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 17, 2007 5:40 PM

What #45 said. I get a big kick out of the humorous usernames in some posts; I'd hate to see that go away forever.

Having said that, the option of username registration is also useful.

Posted by litlnemo | July 17, 2007 5:42 PM

If there's any way to make it happen, people should use their REAL names. That's what the writers of the blog do, after all. That would cut out most of the bullshit and actually maybe be the start of blogs like this being a constructive forum rather than a sniping contest. It would also revive (if you kept it as-is) the dwindling but once quite enjoyable forum, 'Now I am Drunk'.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | July 17, 2007 5:46 PM

Grant Cogswell @ 100,

I like that idea, but I work with the public and some of my views are, shall we say, not quite ready for prime time.

A little anonymity is necessary for me. Besides, you have 50% of my real name.

A compromise where some of us can register our handles and visitors can still post anonymously seems to be the best solution.

Plus, I’d love to have a cute photo next to my name like maybe a bunny rabbit or a llama.

Posted by Original Andrew | July 17, 2007 5:56 PM

@100 - There is already so much vitriol on the comments, I think it could be scary for some to identify themselves.

I think that the hatemongers would get a lot fewer responses if the consequence was that the hateful poster could track you down and engage in a campaign of stalking and harassment.

From what I can tell, there is no such thing as truly effective protection against stalking and harassment, so I would predict the effect of making people identify themselves would result in a silencing of comments. If you know who I am, you could likely figure out where I work, and that would be enough to shut me up for good.

The last thing I need is someone interfering with my ability to afford an internet connection.

There are some clearly unbalanced people making comments here, and I think that people are protected with pseudonyms, and get to express themselves with greater freedom because of it.

Posted by r | July 17, 2007 6:07 PM

I'm going to echo 101 and 102 - anonymity is essential. Many of us cannot truly write our opinions freely if our actual names are going to be attached to them. Bosses will google their employees's names just to see what they have out there and if they can make your work life hell if they don't like what they find. And I can only imagine the prank calls someone like ecce homo would get if he were using his real name... (Yes, some people still have listed phone numbers...)

Posted by Matt from Denver | July 17, 2007 6:47 PM

Amy... your turn for a 100+ comment BONUS!! Nice work

Posted by Katelyn | July 17, 2007 7:14 PM

You don't appreciate what you have here. Leave it as is.

No registration. Did you see what happened to the CHS blog when the owners switched to registration? The number of comments dropped so much they now import comments from Slog. Slog might also find that 6 people using 80 usernames are responsible for 70% of the comments. Where will Slog go for comments? The P-I?

The "vitriol" around here is pretty light.

Posted by greg | July 17, 2007 8:33 PM

Many thanks for apparently dealing with the double (or triple, etc.) post issue.

I'm also not in favor of strict registration, although the ability of folks to use other people's pseudonyms is really bothersome. If it's possible to allow folks to lock up their handle that would be a good option.

As far as moderating goes, I think ya'll have done a very good job so far. I'm not sure I'd tamper with it right now. If the signal-to-noise ratio gets really out of hand, then going for some sort Craigslist-like option seems worth exploring.

Posted by gnossos | July 17, 2007 9:26 PM

My advice/wishlist:

* Registered user names for those who want them

* Anonymous posting with arbitrary user names

* Clear visual distinction between:
... registered user post
... anonymous posts
... Stranger staffer posts

This way, you prevent impersonation, but anonymous posters can even borrow registered user or staffer names for comedic effect (like the time when an entire thread turned in to everybody posting as ecce homo for awhile).

Otherwise, no changes. Dan Savage wrote a piece some time ago about how not censoring profanity from journalism is a way of treating your readers as adults. The same principal applies to Slog comments. Let readers use their adult discretion. Let yourselves use your own adult discretion to decide if and when you need to intervene. This recipe has made Slog one of the best online communities I've seen.

Posted by lostboy | July 17, 2007 9:56 PM

Just kill-post ecce homo and everything will be fine.
S/he is just a contrarian and adds no value.

Posted by hee | July 17, 2007 10:17 PM

Thanks hee

I love you too...

Posted by ecce homo | July 17, 2007 11:59 PM

as always, the stranger can dish it, but can't take it. don't put up a blog if you can't deal with people commenting. good or bad.
thank god amy is a teeny dominatrix with a finger-sized whip.

Posted by ftw | July 18, 2007 12:24 AM

as always, the stranger can dish it, but can't take it. don't put up a blog if you can't deal with people commenting. good or bad.
thank god amy is a teeny dominatrix with a finger-sized whip.

Posted by ftw | July 18, 2007 12:24 AM

per the usual, just delete the comments that offend your hipster sensabilities. always seemed to work for you in the past.

Posted by losers @ the stranger | July 18, 2007 12:26 AM

"oh, and consider the ability, if you use registered user name(s), to "ignore" up to five people.

that way we can ignore ecce homo."

Best idea can't feed the trolls if you can't see what they are saying.

Posted by JessB | July 18, 2007 5:30 AM

*covering my ears* mumbling to myself:

I not like what they says. It makes me upset. Please don't make me hear them. I only like pretty people and pretty things. Why would I waste my clean and nice brain with bad people and bad things. I not like beinging upset by people on internet.

Posted by ecce homo | July 18, 2007 8:38 AM

ecce, dont your children wonder why their father is on the internet all the time, instead of paying attention to them?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 18, 2007 9:37 AM

If I get to post ad hominem attacks on people's character, I want them to be able to hit back.

Posted by Matt Davis | July 18, 2007 10:36 AM

If you start making people register, this blog becomes even more cliquey than it is now. You'll have the same 50 people, like Fnarf and Mr. Poe, posting over and over again.

Hell if I would register.

Posted by Outsider | July 23, 2007 1:42 PM

Original Andrew @ 101:

Plus, I’d love to have a cute photo next to my name like maybe a bunny rabbit or a llama.

This is my new .sig. Thanks! :)

Posted by NaFun | July 23, 2007 1:42 PM

We don't agree too often, but Fnarf said it all in 32.

Posted by Gomez | July 23, 2007 2:58 PM

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