Ever since the reprogramming to send comments by email to the authors, we’ve received almost nothing but healthy debate, good posts that ought to be shared. Meanwhile — and because of that, as well as multiple requests from you — a lively internal debate has gone on behind the scenes with regards to how to proceed.
Jeff Ballabon emphasizes that this is a blog, not a chatroom. With few exceptions, the most popular blogs (not just The Corner and Powerline) do not support user comments. Instead, he argues, bloggers should receive comments and decide whether and when to post the ones which they find interesting, as part of the ongoing “dia-blog.” [Ouch. That pun is his.]
Others, such as R’ Yitzchak Adlerstein and Jonathan Rosenblum, argue that the opportunity to comment makes for a more lively and enjoyable experience, shows we are unafraid to face the issues (you know you’ve heard that allegation before), and lets other voices be heard.
We’re going to attempt to have it both ways, which is a frequent guarantor of failure. :) But it should be fun trying, and as I mentioned before, the re-programming only takes a few minutes.
With some cautions, we’re going to try moderating the comments, after all — but with some changes to preserve the experience for those who just want to give the site “a quick reading.” First of all, we’re going to develop moderation guidelines — there’s no guarantee that a submission will be posted. Think along the lines of “Letters to the Editor” at Internet speed — yes, there’s a discussion, but we don’t plan to take all comments.
A further change — I’ll also ask the authors to avoid commenting in each other’s comment sections, but to instead post their responses and follow-ups as new blog entries. They may even do their own follow-ups, on their own entries, the same way — as Jeff would have it, incorporating selected comments in their next post. This will, we hope, keep the site updating frequently, and minimize the “distraction” of answering everything in the comments section. Those who enjoy comments will read them — but those who don’t should not feel like they are “missing” something from a favorite contributor to the blog.
This is, once again, a trial. Kol Haschalos Kashos, all beginnings are difficult. Fortunately, with a web site, it is easy to make these changes, in order to provide the best possible experience for all of us.
Please, keep the comments coming — we do enjoy hearing from you, as we contemplate how best to provide this new journal.