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Comments are crucial: My moderation manifesto.

Law of Subsidiarity: All large complex things that work are comprised of smaller, simpler things that work. (h/t Cobb)

It came to my attention that Altrugenics did not work because the individuals comprising it were broken. This problem was not unique to Altrugenics but generalizable to the online right. Huge numbers of words were wasted to little effect.

Pubmind is one part of correcting that. It defines a process by which rants are converted into content assets suitable for publication and monetization. Likewise, it develops a funnel for converting readers into a mutually profitable and impactful community.

One of my top priorities for Pubmind is to enable comments on T3 and likely T2 posts as well. The primary purpose of the comments is to facilitate the engagement of readers who lack a Textmind to capture their thoughts. It also has value as a means of shortening the feedback loop between author and audience.

For a while, I considered blog comments harmful. They don't fit into the Pubmind workflow. Reputation management is better handled by forum software. They slow page load time. And as can be readily observed by visiting any popular website with comments enabled, they tend to turn into a giant mess.

All of that is true, but the fact remains that comments are crucial for developing an online community. Humans are irrational and participation creates investment. That is the true utility of comments.

There are no good software solutions to the commenting problem, at least none that make comments competitive with forums. But that doesn't matter, because the purpose of comments is to motivate users to join the forum. Therefore comment software and moderation need only be good enough to increase audience investment.

That is a very low bar. The bar for what most authors are willing to tolerate hosting is higher. So the former bar may be ignored in favor of the latter.

Thus a correct comment moderation policy is something like this:

Comment moderation policy

Welcome, good-faith commenters. You've taught me so much.

Comments aren't just correspondence, but co-publishing. Therefore I reserve the right to decline to host a comment if doing so would make me feel bad. This is completely at my whim. A creative needs to feel good about his work in order to continue it.

This has nothing to do with fairness or freedom of speech. I must avoid the depression and obsession that ensues if I feel my work disrespects truth. I'm already overcritical of my work; graffiti makes me want to torch it.

I might decline a comment but respond to it with a post. I might be unwilling to host a comment that would be fine on my forum. I feel less responsibility for what's written by others on my forum than for what's approved as a comment under one of my posts.

I may decline to publish a long dissenting comment if I feel the position is unreasonable. In that case, I suggest making a short comment summarizing your position and then linking to your own platform. I feel less responsible for endorsing your position if fewer screen lines are devoted to it. Readers can judge for themselves quickly and move on.

Many incorrect positions have worthwhile truthful aspects. Just because I can't endorse your position doesn't mean I think it's worthless.

As for extended discussion, forums are better suited for that. Link to a change of venue before a thread becomes unwieldy.

Publish At: Author:Leo Littlebook

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