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A final update on comments

Community/Meta

Scottie and I have still been hearing quite a bit from some of you about comments and trolling. So, we wanted to write with a final update regarding comments.

First off, starting tomorrow, we’re going to institute a new system that will require an account with Intense Debate or WordPress in order to post comments.  If you try to comment and receive an error, it means you need an Intense Debate or WordPress account, which you can sign up for easily on the site with just a few clicks.

We’re doing this to give us more control over users whom we have decided to ban from the site.  It is an extra layer of protection. However, please be aware that it will remain quite feasible for a determined user to sign up for an account with a different email address or even different IP address and continue to post comments. And that’s very, very important to remember, anywhere on the internet, on any forum, it’s easy for a determined individual to cause mischief.

Our first priority has always been and will continue to be analyzing marriage equality cases in the courts. Given our very limited budget, we simply don’t have the resources to play whack-a-mole with these individuals while providing you with the kind of quality content you deserve. To that end, the best course of action to take with repetitive commenters acting to rile up the community is simple: ignore them.

We will do our very best to moderate the comments, delete inappropriate comments, and ban offenders, but we will naturally be less active on the weekends and during non-business hours. We are currently working through older threads to close commenting. We will continue to do that, but it will take some time. A suggestion has been made by some to delegate moderation duties to members of the community. Based on experience elsewhere on the web and industry best practices, we will not be doing so.

We also want to make it very clear that we will continue to stand by our community guidelines and that many of the comments that people have complained about recently are not, in fact, ban-worthy offenses under our guidelines.  To cite just one example, use of so-called scare quotes around words like ‘marriage’ do not constitute offensive or aggressive speech, and we will not be banning users who employ such language.

While it pains us deeply to say so, if you find our community rules or moderation unsatisfactory, you may want to look elsewhere for dialogue on marriage equality. If the comment section of EqualityOnTrial continues to be a significant issue, we may be forced to end commenting on the site. We hope it does not come to that.

Sincerely,

The EqualityOnTrial Team

90 Comments

  • 1. LK2014  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Thank you. I find the vast majority of comments helpful, and a huge contribution to my knowledge about the progress of marriage equality. I also understand the frustration many have expressed. Please let's all try to do whatever we can to continue this valuable site, and the (mostly) invaluable comments.

  • 2. RCChicago  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Thanks to all of you for your terrific work. I agree that the best way to deal with a troll is to ignore him/her. It's a personality type that deliberately seeks to provoke—and delight in provoking—in order to injure and/or get attention…attention being the water and sunlight that make these weeds flourish.

  • 3. Bruno71  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:29 am

    I hope most commenters won't be turned off by having to sign up. It'll make the site admins' moderation tasks more streamlined, and it's not a difficult thing to have to do.

    I don't think anyone has wanted TK banned for scare quotes per se. They're just part of his or her overall method of antagonizing and demonizing gay people. Let's acknowledge that one doesn't have to use the "f" word to be offensive, though. There are many more nuanced ways to cross the line.

  • 4. TheMirror  |  June 11, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Is using the a-word ever okay? "Too bad when one person with such hatred in their hearts can be allowed to ruin a site for the so many great folks here. And he doesn't even care how much he's angering people. What an asshole." (Bruno71 Wisconsin SS marriage ban struck down 6/6/14). Try to be consistent.

  • 5. Bruno71  |  June 11, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    This isn't about my consistency, it's about this website's policy. And in my opinion, using the word asshole is just fine and dandy if it's deserved. This site may or may not disagree.

  • 6. stev84  |  June 11, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    I used to post as guest. But that was just for convenience. Signing up isn't much a problem and only takes a few seconds.

  • 7. Chrys  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    I tried to sign up a while ago and it was a nightmare. So guess I will just stop commenting…

  • 8. MichaelGrabow  |  June 12, 2014 at 8:03 am

    I did it yesterday, it took all of 2.5 minutes.

  • 9. JayJonson  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I am glad that you have responded to our complaints and concerns. I have to say, however, that your last paragraph is less than hospitable. You seem to be blaming those of us who have called attention to the problem rather than focusing attention on the problem itself. Still, the requirement of Intense Debate or Word Press accounts should help.

  • 10. Michael Grabow  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:47 am

    I agree about the last paragraph being disconcerting. What does he mean by "continues to be a significant issue"? Trolls or just people complaining about the trolls? I would hope it wouldn't even be an option for the comments, which frankly are a large part of me coming here, to be shut down because people are complaining about others being bothersome.

    I have really enjoyed this site, but it seems that with great frequency, news stories are brought to us by commenters before there are posts about it. Seems like it would benefit exactly no one to remove commenting altogether.

  • 11. David  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:05 am

    When I read that they may end commenting entirely, I thought to myself, "oh, really??" It would be a mistake, and people would do just as they suggested– they'd look elsewhere for marriage equality news and commentary. In an effort to publicly spit-shine their sheriff badges and show everyone who's in charge (as if we didn't already know and accept and appreciate them), such an action would inadvertently push this site out of existence.

    It's hard to read much of that without seeing some hubris. Disappointing.

  • 12. Pat  |  June 11, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Yeah, exactly. The EoT team seems to have more problems with people's complaints than they do about the actual trolling issue. Wow. Disappointing.

  • 13. JimT  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:33 am

    I'm so happy to hear that you will not be delegating moderation duties to members of the community. I tried that on one of my sites in the past and it does not work.

  • 14. Johan  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I'm very happy with that as well.

  • 15. Eric Koszyk  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Thanks for at least requiring us to register. That is an important first step.

    One question though, what happened to the part time moderator you guys said you were going to hire? What do you consider part time? Once a month? Once a week?

    For everybody concerned with marriage equality, here is another website that does a great job highlighting news regarding the movement. Unfortunately it does not have a great deal of top notch comments as this page sometimes has. Even so, it is a great resource for news and information:
    http://purpleunions.com/blog/

  • 16. JimT  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Another good source for LGBT news is at MSNBC http://www.msnbc.com/lgbt

  • 17. JayJonson  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Thanks for calling attention msnbc.com.lgbt. I notice they are doing a pride series featuring couples who recently married and how their marriage affected them. The first in the series is a couple from Louisiana who got married on their 50th anniversary and who talk about feeling "half married" because the feds recognize their marriage, but their state does not. I can identify with that! Here is a link: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/kicking-msnbcpride

  • 18. KACinSTL  |  June 11, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Ugh. I loved msnbc until they redesigned their site several months ago, had to stop visiting after years of using it because it gets choppy and laggy, scrolling is a beast, zooming in and out disproportionately changes size of ads and other text to the point of only reading a few words at a time. Huffington post has a nice LGBT section that I switched to.

  • 19. jacobdcombs  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Hi Eric–we have hired a part-time moderator and they are currently helping us out!

  • 20. peterplumber  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Just because someone has a different opinion about marriage equality does not make him/her a troll. I like to hear the opinion of others and read most comments with an open mind.
    I have enjoyed this site for many years, and used to comment regularly. These days, I just read and ruminate in silience.
    I have heard the recent batch of regulars say things like "anyone who is not in support of ME should be banned" and so forth. That would make us no better then NOM, as they often banned people who supported ME from commenting on their blog page. They went as far as closing their blog page to any comments.
    I have heard the recent batch of regulars say things like "if EoT can't stop trolls, then I will just leave this forum". Well, several years ago others said that as well. The forum has not died, just attracted a new batch of regulars.

  • 21. Eric Koszyk  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:26 am

    They're definitely a troll if they go on and on about it. The one offensive poster from this weekend had at least 45 posts in the same thread. This made reading the thread, with over 400 posts, impossible and pointless.

  • 22. peterplumber  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:31 am

    That is not only a troll, that is a spammer. I understand that. Also commenting on posts which are a year or more old. There is no need for that nonsense.

  • 23. Gregory in SLC  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    What PeterP said, I usually just read, not comment. I used to come here to ruminate with friends, of late only come to this site for the insight and commentary. And now, the lengthy tit for tat conversations cause me to go elsewhere. Way, too much nonsense (spamming and replies) to pick through to get to the meager substance.

  • 24. Lynn E  |  June 11, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    I agree. A differing opinion does not warrant expulsion. And I'm not offended by the use of scare quotes. During the Prop 8 Trial before the CA Supreme Court, the quotes were "drawn in the air" by a Justice, and we survived. My complaints were mostly about the loss of functionality that occurs when there are too many comments.
    I think the recent complaints are simply because he has returned to post under another name. Might I refer the moderators to the Wikipedia link under Guideline #1, specifically the explanation of sockpuppeting.

  • 25. sfbob  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    I certainly understand what you're saying. Still, the fact of the matter is that any plausible arguments against marriage equality have long since been debunked and the animus and prejudice behind them has been exposed for what it is. Our opponents really have no real ammunition left any more. For that very reason any of the arguments from the other side are not likely to appear rational at this point and in fact they boil down to nothing other than vitriol mixed with the same tired talking points, out-of-context citations of scripture and so forth. Some of it can be entertaining to read but a greater portion is merely offensive.
    If someone were to make some sort of fact-based, reasoned argument against marriage equality at this late stage in the game I confess I would be quite impressed but nothing I've read from the other side recently has even remotely approached that. To be realistic about it, the debate is simply over. The pertinent part of this site now consists of analysis of court filings and decisions, discussions of how things are likely to proceed and so on. Things will liven up again as soon as one or more of the current crop of appeals gets submitted to the Supreme Court.

  • 26. nightshayde  |  June 12, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Not for nothing, but… WE all know the same talking points have been debunked over and over again, but I am fairly sure there are a number of people who have NOT heard the debunking. If someone has been raised in a conservative fear-mongering bubble and is just now starting to explore the world outside that bubble, our "old" rebuttals may appear brand new.

    It's important to keep repeating the rebuttals every time the tired old "reasons" for discrimination rear their ugly heads. Some people hold those views because they've never been exposed to any other viewpoints. If we can calmly and rationally explain why those views are wrong, we have the chance to change hearts and minds.

    True — some people will never change their minds … but many will. Just look at how many minds have been changed over the past ten years!

  • 27. sfbob  |  June 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    I certainly appreciate your perspective. It does seem to me however that those who show up on this site with contrarian views are seldom if ever interested in having their minds changed; my impression is that, with extremely rare exceptions they are here to spread messages of hate. I wish I weren't inclined to say this but it really is my view. By and large the people who come to this site are already supporters of marriage equality and are mainly interested in keeping up with the latest developments, offering additional information and interpretation of legal decisions and the like.
    As I said above, if someone were, at this late date, to come up with a novel yet fact-based and non-discriminatory reason for opposing marriage equality, I think that would be quite impressive and would certainly want to see it discussed here. For the life of me however I cannot see that happening.

  • 28. Bruno71  |  June 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    This. With someone like TK, the arguing back and forth from our side to his/hers was very apparent to be useless in terms of changing their mind after a short while. There are anti-equality posters on this site who have been more reasonable and/or less interested in antagonism. Keep in mind, TK's gravatar read "GAY MARRIAGE BAD." That was the extent of the "discussion," when it all boils down to it.

  • 29. SoCal_Dave  |  June 12, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Agree, Bruno. At the risk of beating this poor expired horse, I just want to say… I don't think "free speech" means anything goes, chaos rules. And I don't think "moderated comments" means no opposing opinions are allowed. There is a middle ground here where respectful dissent is allowed. Admin is charged with drawing the lines. I don't always agree with their decisions, but I'm happy they are here and working to make the forum better.

  • 30. ebohlman  |  June 13, 2014 at 7:52 am

    I believe the people Nightshayde is talking about are, at this point, only reading here, not posting comments. They might include, for example, journalists who haven't been following the ME fight closely and might not yet know how the "opposing viewpoints" they've surely had presented to them have been knocked down.

  • 31. Roulette00  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:02 am

    How difficult is it to hide the comments of a particular poster? For instance, when a poster has -10 downvotes, his comments are concealed. That might cut down on some of the chatter.

  • 32. Michael Grabow  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Great suggestion! I hope this will be considered. Seems like an easy fix.

  • 33. daveinasheville  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    The tech site Slashdot uses that as one element of its moderation system. Whatever is done, no matter how complex, still faces the uphill battle of it being easier to make a mess than to clean it up…

  • 34. brandall  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I can just see our troll creating 10 accounts and then exacting revenge on the most outstanding contributors by thumbs-downing them 10 times. I would know how to do this, but I'm not laying out the details. Automation has its' flaws. That said, I certainly appreciate what you are suggesting.

  • 35. Bruno71  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I'm not sure how easy that would be to do *if* an IntenseDebate account were required to vote on a post. The troll would have to create dozens of different new accounts, which I'm sure would be too much trouble for most trolls. But if they were highly motivated, yes, it could be done.

  • 36. davepCA  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    This isn't hard to do at all, and in fact this tactic of creating numerous false accounts to target, downvote & hide legitimate comments is why the Youtube comments section dropped this feature. It was too easily abused by trolls and resulted in a comments section full of nothing but 'this comment has been hidden' messages.

  • 37. ebohlman  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    You'd need some mechanism for protecting regular contributors; maybe downvotes shouldn't hide anyone who's made, say, 25 total comments, with only 5 comments per day counted toward the total so that someone can't acquire protection by posting a flurry of comments in a very short time.

  • 38. SeattleRobin  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Any automated system can be gamed, and it's more likely to end up causing hardships for legit posters than for a determined trouble maker. (It's kinda like DRM. It creates all kinds of hassles for honest people, and hardly even provides a speedbump for pirates.)

  • 39. davepCA  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:03 am

    I just created my new IntenseDebate account (note the slightly different user name, my old name 'davep' was already taken). For anyone wondering how much hassle it might be, It took less than one minute.

  • 40. Nyx  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:16 am

    As a plus, by signing up it gives you the ability to edit your comments after posting.

  • 41. Bruno71  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Which I've found abundantly helpful.

  • 42. BenG1980  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Yes, unless someone replies to your comment, in which case it becomes locked for editing.

    Registering also allows users to choose avatars and enter brief personal descriptions, which just might help make this site become even more of a community by letting users get to know more about each other.

  • 43. SoCal_Dave  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Also you can choose to be notified when someone replies to one of your posts!

  • 44. brandall  |  June 11, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    And deleting a comment (if there are no cross posts) that you have, gasp, discovered you posted to the wrong article.

  • 45. Pat_V  |  June 11, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Yeah I just did it too. Also note the slightly different user name, as the old name 'Pat' was obivously too generic and already taken!

  • 46. Margo Schulter  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Dear Jacob and Scottie, Please let me thank you for this wonderful site, and for your explanations of the delicate balance involved in maintaining an open dialogue on marriage equality while moderating truly abusive posts.

    It seems important to me to understand where some of the user concerns are coming from, even while supporting your policy of permitting open and vigorous debate as long as personally abusive or insulting posts are avoided.

    What I’m picking up is that people who have faced anti-marriage and homophobic sentiments in daily life may think of EoT as a “pro-equality” site (which it is, and wonderfully so!), and not expect to find the same sentiments expressed here from time to time.

    An alternative response to these “contrarian” comments is a feeling of solidarity between users strong enough that it’s possible to respond constructively to such comments where it serves an educational purpose, or to ignore them.

    The emotional triggering effect of even perfectly civil anti-marriage comments and arguments is something quite tangible (e.g. “marriage” in quotes), and yet this site, although not legally required to do so, has chosen, like our Constitution, to err on the side of free speech.

    And I should add that some of the contrarian comments raise real issues worthy of discussion, like the view that there can be harmless and proper sex discrimination. Judge Crabb raised the issue of dress codes, where she perceived that Seventh Circuit precedent would make a ruling from her that the Wisconsin marriage ban constituted discrimination by gender a rather knotty problem. The question of whether gender discrimination is bad because it places one gender or another at a disadvantage, or simply because gender stereotypes harm individuals and society at large, is one larger LGBT issue that ties in with marriage equality.

    Above all, I hope that the commenting will continue, and that you will continue in your policy of striking a delicate balance between the need for civility and the benefits of open and indeed sometimes intense debate.

  • 47. Eric Koszyk  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Not sure if this was covered somewhere else, but it appears that the state government of Wisconsin is not recording marriage licenses of same sex couples.
    http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/us-appeals

    "For now, Gov. Scott Walker's administration isn't accepting the same-sex marriage certificates that are being forwarded by county registers of deeds.

    'The Wisconsin Department of Health Services Office of Vital Records has not rejected same-sex marriage licenses," state Health Services spokeswoman Jennifer Miller said in a statement. "They are being held until we receive legal guidance from the attorney general.' "

  • 48. sfbob  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:28 am

    As noted (and quoted) in another thread, "Dane County Register of Deeds Kristi Chlebowski pointed out that legally speaking, a couple is considered to be married after they have held a ceremony, their marriage license is completed by their wedding officiant, and it is signed by two witnesses, whether or not their state’s office files a record of the license."

  • 49. TDGrove  |  June 11, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    They just started registering them. http://www.jsonline.com/newswatch/262713011.html

  • 50. JayJonson  |  June 11, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks. The Attorney General of Wisconsin seems incompetent.

  • 51. davepCA  |  June 11, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Excellent.

  • 52. Angel  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:48 am

    As Jacob says, they have a limited budget, and the maine priority of this site is to analyze and present what is out there that is related to our struggle to finally get Marriage Equality accross our nation. Every time I come to this site, I always learn and get very well informed on the cases that are out there; I always learn from every single article, and also by the posts of many of you, even from the ones that don't agree with us, which keep me on my toes to fight for the equality that we all deserve. With this said, how about if you make a monetary contribution to the site, and this money could be used to hire someone as the "Comments and Posts Monitor". I am pretty sure, a donation will help.

  • 53. Bob  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Hi this post is off topic,,, but I would like to ask a question ,,, I'm writing from Canada,, and followed a lot of the trial over a number of years,,,, wonder if anyone can tell me what ever happened to the Chic-a-fil-A. issue,,, remember there being boycott's and stuff,,, did that issue get any resolution???? cause it's become one in Canada right now,,,, they are starting to open franchises,,,,,, is the LGBT community in the States still boycotting them??? look forward to hearing any updates,,, and sorry for the off topic post,,,,

  • 54. JayJonson  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:59 am

    The issue has become somewhat muted here. The owner of Chik-fil-A has promised not to make donations to anti-gay causes, and the company itself has also ceased doing so. OTOH, I wouldn't step foot in one of their stores.

  • 55. Bruno71  |  June 11, 2014 at 11:45 am

    The boycott was always pretty loosey-goosey. There are often reports of happy LGBT people professing their love for a Chick-Fil-A sandwich. I always figured it to be the type of issue that would really bite that company in the butt…10 years from when the issue arose. Now, I don't think there's much organized effort against it, but certainly people are more and more starting to be aware of what they stand for. In short, your money may not be going directly to anti-gay causes (though I would seriously question that claim on their part), but the company still at least in spirit backs causes that are inimical to our community. I've never had the sandwich, but I doubt it's worth ignoring all that.

  • 56. MichaelGrabow  |  June 11, 2014 at 11:51 am

    What I always thought was interesting was that his comments were made public at least a year prior to when the story came around again and it didn't seem to raise that many eyebrows the first time around. Perhaps the campaign donation piece only came out the second time…

    It is pretty darn good food, but I haven't stepped foot in one in several years, and don't plan to again.

  • 57. Bob  |  June 11, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Thank you guys so much for the feedback,, to my off topic request,,,, I haven't been on this site for quite a while, but when this issue came up in Canada, I knew there was one place I could go for some straight up comment,,, I agree personally just stay away,,,
    Friends,

    Would you like your fried chicken with a side of homophobia? That's what's on offer in Calgary International Airport, where notoriously anti-gay restaurant Chick-fil-A has just opened its first Canadian branch. Let's keep Chick-fil-A out of Canada!

    I just signed this petition at SumofUs.org and I think you'd like to sign it as well. You can sign the petition here: http://action.sumofus.org/a/canada-chick-fil-a/?s

    Thank you!=

    wonder how this will play out,,, Canadians are not as active with these issues as Americans,,,,

    Keep up the good work you guys,,, you have done amazing things for marriage equality,,, it has been an amazing to learn and participate in your discussions…. cheers Bob

  • 58. Gregory in SLC  |  June 11, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Bob – send me an email sometime! [email protected]

  • 59. Bruno71  |  June 11, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    I know I was aware of Chick-Fil-A donating to anti-gay groups well before the Cathay thing exploded in the media. Sometimes all it takes is a news item being reposted in the proper place for an explosion to occur. The Mozilla CEO guy's background only came to light after he was promoted.

  • 60. Rose  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:03 am

    I think it's a positive step requiring folks to be registered………and adhere to a set of TOS's, but not all will and it is best to NOT feed those who are here to irritate other…….different viewpoints are okay….spamming and negativity is not!!!

    Just my two cents on the issue!!!

  • 61. SoCal_Dave  |  June 11, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    I agree with you, Rose. I'm glad for and appreciative of the registration requirement.
    I'm also with you that I have no trouble with differing viewpoints being posted, but I DO have a problem with disrespect and antagonism.
    Thanks to Jacob and Scottie for stepping up.

  • 62. weaverbear  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    I could not agree with you more.

  • 63. Kilgore Trout  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:20 am

    The comments are the most attractive part of this website and what I come here to read. They often provide more information than the articles themselves. Without comments this would be a lifeless site. Please don’t ever disable comments.

  • 64. StraightDave  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Thank you, Jacob. Registration is a meaningful step forward, and I'm glad to see it finally come about. I expect it to make a noticeable difference.

    Now, the next steps are up to the rest of us.
    1) Don't become part of the problem! We should expect some level of trolling as part of the internet deal, but we don't have to multiply it by our actions. We have to have the discipline to ignore trolls. There are ways for them to try to be annoying without breaking any rules. If you engage in a food fight with them then you can't complain about them responding in kind.

    2) Send complaints about trolls directly to the site owners using the Report button or the previously provided email addresses. DO NOT complain about trolls in the comment section itself. That makes you a "troll-equivalent" in my eyes by polluting the comments. Leave the comments clear for meaningful dialog. I'm not saying not to complain about serious trolls, but there are better methods available. And definitely don't complain TO the trolls. Need I even say that?

    And finally, Jacob, I agree with others' reactions to your final paragraph. I'm not sure that you fully realize the extent to which the comments section is its own community. If you lose the comments, you lose the site. Or you attract very different clientele.

    Come on, folks. We all have a role to play in keeping this place attractive. Jacob took a step we demanded. Now let's follow suit.

  • 65. ragefirewolf  |  June 11, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Well, put. Thank you. 🙂

  • 66. Chuck from PA  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Several other sites cover the ME debate and cases, but this one is the best. The most informative. The one where all nuances of the legal decisions are dissected. Even with the annoying comments by TK and his/her like, no other site comes close. Lets all contribute to the effort to make this solution work. And it might be frustrating to ignore any spamming comments that get past the screens, but it is not impossible to ignore them.

  • 67. JayJonson  |  June 11, 2014 at 11:05 am

    As many of us have said before, many of the commenters here are extremely well-informed and generous with their time and effort to help us understand the latest twists and turns of the struggle for equal rights. The contributions of the commenters are what makes this site uniquely valuable. That is one reason the presence of trolls is so distracting. Most of us come here in order to read the comments even more than the posts themselves (and the posts are very good!). Indeed, the comments often place the posts in context and explain details that those of us who are not attorneys would otherwise not appreciate.

  • 68. StraightDave  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    If you want to Jump directly to a new comment when there are "too many", I have found a trick that works virtually all the time, 95%+ anyway.

    When I click on a "Jump to" button in the Recent Comments section and it seems to ignore me, I then click on the browser refresh button and it takes me right to where I want to go. Maybe a delay of 1-3 seconds, but it works. It's like it remembers where you want to go, but won't actually do it until you refresh. Just 2 clicks instead of one. Be patient. I do it slowly, so I'm not sure if there's a timing dependency or not. I may get braver soon.

  • 69. sfbob  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Actually I find I can usually accomplish the same thing simply by hitting the "Jump to" button a second time.

  • 70. brandall  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    As you are a major contributor here, I was wondering how you decide to post to which open article. Sometimes, we have 2 or 3 articles (headlines), each with their own running comments. If the article is on-topic, no problem. I know it has been decided to keep a headline forum open for 6 months. But, what if you find a news/court update to something from a headline that is 5 days old. Do you post back to that one or do you just pick the most current headline (sorry, there were no instructions in my enrollment crackerjack box)?

  • 71. ebohlman  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Quick Hits could be used for this if regular posters were able to apply to post there.

    We really need something to keep the comments on any particular post at manageable length. Sorting by last activity helps to find new comments if the post doesn't have more than maybe 100 comments, but it only sorts by top-level comments and when a post has 300-400 comments, as happened over the weekend, some top-level comments can have 40 or so replies and it's tedious to scan through them. The recent comments box, of course, is quite limited in size so not all new comments will show up there during a busy period.

    Automatically-posted open threads would also help.

  • 72. StraightDave  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    There are no hard rules, so I use my lousy judgement. If the original post is a day or 2 old, I try to add my comments there, based on assuming that some people are still working their way through it.
    If it's a week old, I figure my comment will get overlooked. But if I'm just making some final remark that crossed my mind, I'll put it with the old post. If it's new news that's likely to start a new discussion, I'll tend to put in the most recent thread regardless of topic. Then most people will likely see it. One final factor is if I think it's big enough that the I guess that EoT will create an entirely new post for it, then I'll worry a lot less about polluting the current one since everything will soon shift over to the (still imaginary) new one.

    See, no rules, just intuition and my mood of the day. I mostly think in terms of impact, visibility, and/or distraction for others.

  • 73. brandall  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Excellent. More or less what I have been doing, but this is my first experience on a public forum among a lot of very sharp, caring folks. Thanks for the thought.

  • 74. SoCal_Dave  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    For me, if I am "inside" an article, the "Jump To" does not work. But if I back out one level to the front page where all articles are listed, then it does work.

  • 75. ebohlman  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Can we revive Quick Hits and make it possible for regular posters to apply to be able to post there? That would have been quite helpful in the last few weeks when there were lots of developments taking place outside "office hours" and consequently the last few posts filled up with hundreds of comments related to those developments.

  • 76. brandall  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    I 2nd the motion. I'm sure when this was the Prop 8 Trial Tracker, no one could have EVER envisioned 30 simultaneous states with multiple cases all at the same time. Not to mention when we want to update something that has had no activity for 3 or 4 days/weeks. It's like pop-a-mole on some days with multiple things happening in multiple states faster than an article and comments section can be created for it.

  • 77. davepCA  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Yup. It's a pretty good problem to have, in the big picture : )

  • 78. Pat_V  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Jacob, could you also consider a possible great improvement to your site? It would be great to insert more specific category tags to your posts, instead of the very generic "Marriage Equality Trials",etc for each post, which is what the whole site is about anyway. Adding a Wisconsin tag for the WI cases, an Oregon tag for that state, etc would make the site much more easily searchable.
    (Right now the search bar on the top of the main page is totally useless)

  • 79. Michael  |  June 11, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Thank you and I agree entirely with your solution. I am tired of hearing the trolls, but more tired of hearing all the complaining about them from people who are too lazy to ignore the trolls. If you go to other LGBT issue comment areas, CNN articles for example, some of the anti-LGBT comments are filthy and indecent. I have not seen any anti-gay comments here (yet) that I can compare with some of the filth I've seen elsewhere. In a nation with freedom of speech, any community cannot entirely stop demeaning comments from those who hate it. We do not need to descend to the anti-democratic level of anti-gay pressure groups which simply delete any comment which does not praise their sinful "tactics" and "philosophy." I love this site and hope everyone will stay and remain engaged while ignoring those whose only point in being here is to disrupt the conversation and get attention.

  • 80. MichaelGrabow  |  June 12, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    The comment sections on CNN type articles and this website isn't even apples and oranges, it's apples and fishing boats.

    Countless people go there to spew their two cents (most of the time worth a lot less than that), and tons of times it's someone stumbling across it from the main site…general news media.

    This is a small community dissecting these and only these specific topics. They also have a large investment in and a wealth of knowledge on said issues.

  • 81. weaverbear  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Grateful to see registration now required. Did it a month or so back and it was fast and simple.

    Pat_V's suggestion above for state tags makes a lot of sense to me. Further, all of us have seen posts here that begin "Off topic, but…", which then go to an issue coming up with regard to a case in another state. Might there be a way of organizing with specific state tags (or international tags for other countries) so that comments with regard to those states might get moved or at least linked to the state in question?

    Last, I contributed to the site this past year and fully intend to continue to do so, both monetarily and with what I hope will be thoughtful and cogent comments and questions, and I hope that most of you reading this will do the same. I have found much of what I have read here to be helpful and hopeful. I do not wish to go unchallenged, nor should any of us who wish to see marriage rights realized by all LBGT people. We need to speak with clarity and need to be open to discussion with people who ask how we justify our beliefs and stances on equality – it helps keep us on point. As a parent, I can assure you all at some point "because I said so…" stops being effective with your child, and if you don't succeed in establishing a dialogue, communication dies and the potential growth of that relationship is stifled. Change and growth is possible. Look at David Blankenship. He now supports our right to marry and before our battle for equality is over, we will need to win over thousands if not millions more like him.

  • 82. JayJonson  |  June 12, 2014 at 7:09 am

    I think you mean Blankenhorn. Of course, it might be nice to have a respectful dialogue with those who are opposed to ssm. The key word, however, is "respectful." The trolls have not been respectful. While it may be good to have opposing perspectives, the great value of this site for me comes from the well-informed and acute analysis offered by people in favor of marriage equality and who have followed the developments closely and can cite particular precedents, etc. I am not particularly interested in someone spouting NOM talking points.

  • 83. bayareajohn  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    I just wonder what TKINSC will do now instead of getting a life.

  • 84. maratreans  |  June 11, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Jacob, I was wondering if you might indulge me by elaborating a bit on "A suggestion has been made by some to delegate moderation duties to members of the community. Based on experience elsewhere on the web and industry best practices, we will not be doing so."

    Of course, it is your site, and you are free to run it however you feel fit. I am just interested to know what "experiences" and "industry best practices" you are referring to, if you are able to share any of that.

  • 85. TheMirror  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    Don't be cheap. If you complained about comments, you should show a sliver of couth and pay up because your demands were met. You got your way, so show your gratitude with substance. Pay up!

  • 86. davepCA  |  June 11, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Many of the people who had been commenting about the troll issue are people who have already been donating to the site for quite a while. How about you?

  • 87. Clark  |  June 12, 2014 at 3:04 am

    Dang. Wont be able to post any more. I'm at my limit of signing up for stuff. Just more places to give our email to and yet another pw to keep track of. Oh well.

  • 88. SeattleRobin  |  June 12, 2014 at 9:15 am

    This is why many of us have a throwaway email account and a password used on multiple sites of this type where damage from a guessed/hacked password is minimal/nonexistent.

  • 89. zauberflute  |  June 12, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    I've been following this site from the very beginning of Prop8TrialTacker, and have very seldom posted (maybe twice). Still, here's my 2 cents:

    1. Trolls only post because they get responses. If anyone has a problem with what someone posted, rather than complaining about it, down vote it and/or ignore it. Presumably we're all adults.

    2. For the site maintainers, including Scottie, et. al., I would simply ignore the trolls and the complainers. Who care's if people complain about the comments? Certainly don't disable comments, because that would deprive this site of a majorly useful forum for discussion.

  • 90. Fluffyskunk  |  June 13, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    "End commenting on the site"? You do realize you will lose your entire readership if you do that?

    I'm serious. This site is all about the comments section and always has been. The actual posts are great and all, but they're usually old news by the time they hit this site. I'd be willing to bet more of us come here to read Ragavendran's posts than Scottie's…

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