Comments turned off

At washingtonpost.blog - The Editors Talk About Site Policies, Design and Goals, they decided late yesterday to shut off the user comments.

What an uncomfortable decision that must have been. A newspaper, which at its core is dedicated to promoting public discourse, decides to discontinue that very practice on the blog about its policies and procedures.

I once shut down a couple of bulletin boards for essentially the same reasons cited by the Post, hoping that the brief hiatus would calm tempers and perhaps inspire the rabble-rousers to seek other venues. It was a mere Band-Aid. The good news, though, was that instead of attacking each other in the forums, they attacked me. I was OK with that. It was the lesser of two evils in my book.

I've always found that focused commenting fares much better than free-for-alls. Topic-focus polls and article-specific commenting systems generally seem to remain free of flames.

Even highly-focused threads within forums tend to fare better than general topics such as national news, local news, politics, etc. Check out Jon Comey's entry on the top 10 Fox shows of all time over at SouthCoastToday.com. As of 9:51 a.m. it's flame-free. Let's hope I haven't jinxed it by noting it.

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