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June 16, 2011

About to Go LGF

Rather than leaving this is a comment, I will post my summation here.

20-30 commenters require a massive amount of babysitting my myself, my cobloggers, and the Troll Busters.

Constantly babysitting the same 20-30 fuckwits represents labor, work, time, and headaches we do not wish to continue.

I had to spend all day Saturday babysitting a thread.

I had to delete a thread today, and then babysit another one.

Behind the scenes, there was some debate over whether we could post Ladd Ehlinger, Jr.'s new political ad, because we knew the 20-30 problem commenters we have would go apeshit at the opportunity for racial jokes. We had to specifically arrange for that post to posted at a time when Andy was free to spend his off hours babysitting it.

By the way, that decision hurt Ladd's efforts, because we published it on the main page past the peak viewing hours.

But we had to do it this way. Because 20 or 30 commenters require constant babysitting and will not accept that in 2011 their old-school racial cracks are no longer cool.

The other thing we should do -- but don't -- is post a clear warning whenever a post goes up that implicates racial issues. We don't, because it would be embarrassing for the good commenters here, to have Ace of Spades HQ be known widely as the place that requires a specific caution against racism whenever a post even tangentially implicating race goes up.

The 20-30 problem commenters wind up shaming everyone else.

Posting here is a privilege. It is not a right. This is a private business, and an endeavor I have now put seven years of my life into. This is the most recent and biggest thing on my resume -- sad and pathetic, I know, but true nonetheless.

I am responsible, ultimately, for what is posted here -- including in the comments. Edit: Well, not really. I sure don't want to be responsible, and don't wish to invite such a legal responsibility. But as far as reputation, etc. -- yes, people count commenters against a site.

It is my job, too, to cultivate the sort of community where people want to join in the fun. And no matter how many times I tell them so, the same 20-30 problem commenters don't seem to understand that particularly nasty comments do not, in fact, make other people want to join in the fun.

So here is the "Charles Johnson" rule going forward.

Are you contributing as a commenter?

Or are you detracting as a commenter, forcing me to spend time I could be creating content to babysit you, or enlisting the cobloggers or Troll Busters (who, unlike me, don't even get a dime of revenue from all the hours of work they put in) to watch, delete, and redact your comments, or continue issuing to your the same warnings and advisories you have ignored the first 20 times they were issued?

The rule going forward is you are a commenter for whom the latter type of behavior predominates, you are going to be banned, and banned for life, in very short order.

Yes, we could all drop everything to ride herd on you and babysit you all day.

But this raises an intriguing question: Why the hell should we? You have been counseled, you have been warned, you have been advised. Hell, you are frequently pleaded with.

If, at this late date, you are still so disrespectful to continue violating blog policy, and so selfish to demand that other people spend hours of their day babysitting you, then you are not to be trusted with the privilege of commenting, and said privilege will be revoked.

Let me sum up:

WE.

(I).

HAVE.

BETTER.

THINGS.

TO.

DO.

THAN.

BABYSIT.

YOU.

ALL.

DAY.

LONG.

We are doing so, however, because I don't wish to squash people's commenting unnecessarily.

However, in order to avoid taking this privilege back, it is beginning to dawn on me that I, and the cobloggers, and the Troll Busters, are spending a rather outsized amount of time and energy attempting, futilely it seems, to get you to the point where you can simply be trusted, and don't require being watched.

Why should we spend such time -- on your behalf? If you can't be trusted and aren't willing to respect a warning, why bother trying to avoid the last step of simply banning you?

So let it be known, going forward: I'm tired of this particular reindeer game.

Apparently we have a fundamental disagreement: I want my wishes for my rights as property owner to be respected and treated with courtesy, rather than simply ignored and defied, and 20-30 problem commenters don't wish to respect those rights.

At some point a dispute simply must be resolved. I plan on resolving it shortly.

Here is an analogy I used:

I try to make this place sort of like a party. I know it's just a dumb blog, but I try to encourage a fun atmosphere.

There's a lot of beer in the fridge. Generally I put no limits on taking beer from the fridge.

But when I say specifically "Those beers left in the fridge are special beers, please don't take them," and then you help yourself anyway, and inform me "Fuck you, free beer," well, we seem to have a different conception of 1, conservatism, 2, respect and courtesy, and 3, property rights.

I don't understand alleged "conservatives" who will keep arguing to me with their dying breath that they have acquired, simply by commenting, some kind of quasi-ownership stake in this venture, and who will therefore challenge me on setting editorial policy and the rules of decorum.

There are few rules here. I lost advertising on the comments pages due to salty language. Rather than simply ban all salty language, I decided that, for now at least, I'd simply take in less money.

I'd continue letting people curse... despite the fact it was costing me genuine money, and a fair amount of it, too.

Did you know that? No, you probably didn't, because I haven't made an issue of it.

But check the comments pages. No ads. No revenue.

So I am in fact willing, in the spirit of creating a special community, incur some losses of income here. This blog has always had a limited revenue potential, due to the simple fact that I decided, early on, this would be a different kind of conservative blog, for the other kind of conservative.

No big conservative organizations are going to buy this blog.

Because this isn't exactly G-rated.

That was my decision. I did that. I'm not blaming anyone. That's my decision. I own that.

But there are problems, and heat, and diminishments of opportunity I am willing to undertake, and there are probems, and heat, and diminishmetns of opportunity I am not willing to undertake.

And when I specifically warn you off certain language or certain topics, that's me saying, "No, I think I've agreed to enough problems as it is, and am not willing to court further problems."

You don't have to agree with my decisions. I don't require you "parrot" anything. But I do demand your respect my right to be wrong.

Let's say I'm wrong. Am I not allowed to be wrong in my own business? Have I not earned that right?

Must I argue and babysit and ban over and over again for the same 20 or 30 people who apparently have no respect for me and also no conception of the reciprocal duties, in addition to the list of "rights" they keep telling me about, that might run from them, to me?

It's a private club. It's a private business. It's private property.

There are a legion of people who profess to be some kind of "libertarians" or something who wish to insist to me that they have full freedom of expression, which I cannot violate, and yet, it appears, I do not have the right of free association myself, or the right to set rules for my club and my property and my business as I see fit.

This is self-righteous entitlement. It's also leftist. My property does not become yours simply because it seems to you that it should.

So, rather than argue this at comment 700 in a now-defunct thread, I put it all here, so there is no mistaking:

At the end of the day, this is my reputation, my business, and my ass.

It is therefore my right to set the rules.

If you find this to be too intolerable, you are invited to go somewhere else with looser rules.

And then you can promptly begin arguing with them that you have somehow acquired an ownership stake in the business, and a voting seat on the Executive Committee, simply by posting a comment.


Exactly: Johnny, I think, wrote this:

I think the rather loose commenting rules have ended up contributing to more of the same behavior in sort of a competitive shock-the-crowd manner.

This is why I impose cautions and try to keep anyone from saying anything.

Because I know the dynamic-- everyone will try to top the last guy. It's how it always happens.

And before long, I have a clean-up situation on my hands, again.

When I caution, I have psychically seen the future, all right? Do you get this? I know, as an inevitability, Screw-Head is going to go slightly over the line, and then Mr. Hilarious will have to further, and then Dr. Jackass will go further still, and then Guy Who Doesn't Know When To Say When is going to cap it off with something terrible.

And I don't feel like watching the thread for this inevitability.

In addition, I know something else: Almost none of these people will have actually have been funny at all. They just will have done the easy and cheap, go further and further, without any wit or surprise about it.

This is what drives me insane with the cutesy-poo brigade who always wants to flirt with the line as soon as a I lay it down -- because they're creating, whether thoughtlessly or willfully, the dynamic which will inevitably lead to an ugly remark within 40 comments or less.

Some people have a good idea of when the game of I Can Top That should stop. Unfortunately, there are a raft of people who do not know when the game must end.

And yes, due to the latter type, I have to lay down blanket, no-holes rules so that the Guy Who Always Needs to Take It Way Too Far will not be encouraged to do so.

Whenever this comes up, people say, "You must have known we'd do this."

Indeed I did. Thus, the warning in the first place. Did you think I was just kidding around?

No. It's because I could see where this train was heading that I laid down the warning in the first place.

If you violate that, don't turn around and say "How could you blame us?" I can blame you because you are presumably adults and I laid down a rule of conduct at my business, which you promptly ignored.

That's how I can blame you.



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posted by Ace at 04:56 PM

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