Topic of the Week - What Form Will Comments Take?

  • Posted on: 12 October 2015
  • By: thecollective

The past week or two has included joyous events like a Drupal failure due to database issues, an ongoing issue with the recent comments block due to the same, and finally a total power supply failure that took the site offline for nearly 24 hours. The site being unavailable is what I would point to as to why there has been such a major downturn in comments and traffic on the site. Unless its something else.

There are strong indicators that anarchism, as practiced on the Internet especially, is dying. Some have posited that this site, and the kinds of discussions that happen here, is the cause, others may point to the mixed success of /r/Anarchism on Reddit, still others on the temporary nature of the anarchist blogosphere, or how boring the Anarchist FAQ is, but it must be something, right? Someone is to blame!

Some argue, despite some evidence to the contrary, that perhaps the quality of interactions we want to have with each other is not possible on the Internet. It's possible that while there have been great discussions, they are in the past and things have changed. An interesting proposal for change in this regard comes from, of all places, Vice. They propose shutting down comments altogether and returning to truly asynchronous call-and-response types of communication, in which comments are not published automatically, but are emailed in, and the good ones are published in digest form. For anews to take this approach would be a major culture shift to say the least, and we wonder both what you think of this, and more generally how to attract interesting engagement back to the site. Is the Vice proposal the future of mature conversation and is that the model we should follow or should we return to the free-for-all that we have abandoned in the past few months? Or are there other reasons that we haven't considered for the dearth of comments?

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Comments

anarchism is dead, dude. always has been. maybe it just isn't what you thought it might turn out to be . yet, for all that it's not, it's also endlessly becoming. how does commentary detract from call-and-response-communication? what are you on about?
blame society

Yes... and society isn't a walking corpse that keeps infecting the living with its Ebola.

"Lolwut? Anarchism is dead. Face the music... OBEY."
- some pig in some suburb

LOL. WUT?

why is a necrophile allowed to post on here?! is there no respect or solidarity for the dead anymore? also zombies don't typically become zombies by choice , they actually have to be bitten by another zombie in order to be zombies. And they don't spread Ebola, which usually destroys it's host ; as opposed to zombie which actually co-opts the host-body to increase it's domain , creating more zombies.Organic Ebola will never established an ordered domain on this organic planet, the abstraction of human-society -on the other hand- has no choice. yes it's dead like all the gods and anarchism. but isn't a relationship with the dead an essential, innate characteristic of humanity?

Zombies are obvious collectivists, when they're not full-blown maoist identity politicians. That's why they're so popular in this society as false antagonisms.

My use of "Ebola" was strictly figurative. I didn't mean Ebola in the literal sense... I could have used "cancer" or the "pubonic plague" as well. It was just for a metaphor on thow society infects the living with some sort of zombie death. But the plague is real.

what does it mean to you? is it an actual thing ? In your mind? or a purely relational concept which is the natural order of things? or do you mean the spectacle of mass-communication which claims to represent the fantasma *general public* or Humanity? Please, be specific.

Both a thing -more specifically a product of the reification of a delusional social relationship- AND a completely abstract order enforced day by day by a bunch of dumb-down human drones and some lesser-stupid though compromised humans (that mass-based spectacular "fantasma" you're referring to, yes).

If you're doubting me that it's a thing, then I can definitely upload you a few pictures and clips of dead non-human animals on the roads. As roads, as you can see, are things, just as the lines painted on these, and the fucking cars and trucks rolling on them. And all the rest related to these things as well. All a buncha things. Death-bringing things.

zombies are a mockery of the binary combo 'living' and 'dead', just as Lamarckians and Nietzscheans would mock Darwinism for dividing the world into 'inorganic' (dead) and 'organic' (living) and crediting 'organic' with the powers to exploit lifeless inorganic resources in order to 'live'.

in a relational world, there is only the 'One' transforming relational continuum, and it is physical reality. noun and verb language-and-grammar re-orient our intellectual focus to 'things' and 'what things do', attaching names that give persisting identity to relational forms as are continually gathering and being regathered within the relational unum. since the forms that attract the attention of us human observers in these relational comings and goings are the ones that get named and endowed with 'identity', ... we separate the 'living' from the 'dead' on the basis of the seeming 'independent behaviour' of the 'living', even though the biological activity and fermentation etc. in the human body does not cease when the overall coordination of reef-like micro-biome of the body ceases (there are ten times as many microbes in the body as identifiable body-cells). in other words, there is no boundary that can be drawn which discretely separates the human inhabitant from the habitat, ... just as there is no boundary that can be drawn which discretely separates the storm-cell-inhabitant from the atmosphere/oceanosphere habitat, both being reciprocally complementary aspects of 'the One' (the transforming relational continuum).

the storm-cell is a manifest relational form that is never 'independent' of 'the One' [the transforming relational continuum] and it is only the subject-verb-predicate constructs of noun-and-verb Indo-European/scientific language-and-grammar that RE-PRESENT relational dynamics in terms of 'living things' that walk about in a 'dead universe' that gives us this notional 'hard break' between 'the living' and 'the dead'. this is another one of those logical dualist binaries that are intellectual idealizations that we confuse for 'reality'.

the 'zombie' captures our attention because it is tickling and teasing our intuition which understands better than our logic/reason, the latter being the author of meaning that puts a hard boundary between 'the living inhabitant' and 'the dead universe'.

as for ebola, certain microbes get our attention when we go looking for them when people collapse and recycle earlier than expected. in the case of scurvy, we know it is a deficiency that brings out all kinds of nasty critters that rot the flesh, so that it is a case of 'le microbe n'est rien, le terrain est tout'; i.e. if the reef ecology of the human micro-biome, a purely relational dynamic, falters, we look for the opportunist microbes that show up at the same time and accuse them of 'holding the smoking gun' and being 'the cause of death' when the reality is that they are caused-by-death; i.e. when the reef ecology of the human micro-biome goes out of relational balance, we find the proliferation of forms that were present but not over-abundant in the 'healthy reef ecology' condition, the cause of their over-abundance (and all the toxins and dissonance/imbalance that brings) is the falling out of balance and mutual resonance that constitutes the micro-biome.

the society of the wealthy and powerful derives from exploiting the raw resources called the poor and disempowered, and when these two aspects of 'the One' fall too far out of balance, we take notice of the proliferation of certain forms called 'rebels' that were present but not over-abundant in the 'healthy society condition', the cause of their over-abundance (and all the toxins and dissonance/imbalance that brings) is the falling out of balance and mutual resonance that constitutes the reef-like ecology.

“[In nature]… “the individual parts reciprocally determine one another.” --Mach

the simple binary logic that says that the rebels 'caused' the collapse of the reefal ecology is binary simplification [Mach's 'economy of thought']. as in the case of Pasteur's deathbed concession to Bechamp 'le microbe n'est rien, le terrain est tout', the proliferation of rebels is the result of the illness, not the cause of it. the 'illness' is the falling out of balance of 'le terrain', the relational matrix.

of course, Western moral judgement is also built on a dualist binary base so that the rebels will be accused of being the jumpstart authors of the dissonance, ... just as the child-soldier who kills the villagers will be accused of being the jumpstart author of the murders, as in the dualist binary of 'guilty' and 'innocent', ... even though the relational dynamics in the collective he is situationally included in are the inductive influence that is shaping his behaviour.

in other words, 'relations' are at the bottom of behaviour, ... behaviour does not derive one-sidedly (all-hitting, no fielding) from the parts, "the individual parts reciprocally determine one another".

in the Western worldview, the universe is dead and infected with living things which we keep killing off, like ISIS etc. and which, like ghouls and zombies, keep rising again almost as if that action of killing them is bringing more of them back to life.

the dualist binary of 'living inhabitants' in a 'dead universe' is a 'convenient economy of thought' that should not be confused for reality. the microbes in the reefal ecology of the human micro-biome ARE the micro-biome at the same time as they are relational forms within it, just as rebels in relational collective of society ARE the society at the same as they are relational forms within it. the proliferation of rebels is not the cause of the bad health of society, the bad health of society is the cause of the proliferation of rebels.

More control questions from thecollective. All these topics of the week, I do not trust. I am sick of your shit, thecollective. We know you are trying soft methods of control, using threats to remove comments if we don't comply. Your thin skin and continued attempts to tell people what to do here are the real problem. How about you just keep the feed rolling or pass the reigns to someone who will? You shouldn't of volunteered to do a job that requires you to keep coming up with ways to control those who comment here.

On comments "slowing down", you haven't paid attention throughout the years. This is common. However, I do feel thecollective is directly responsible for losing people's interest by trying to nanny those commenting here. Not that they really are that bad, but worker was so much better. This demand for quality comments...why can't you start a new site for this? Why do we have to change for you to feel good about this project? You want to have a real discussion, maybe you should start laying out your hand and real intentions instead of bullshitting people that are smarter than you?

"Nanny"? Srsly... Under Worker's regime, neonazis and other meatheads have been posting some of the worst racist, sexist crap you can find on the entire nets. You're, like, completely in denial, buddy...

Censoring or moderating is a necessary evil in this place, as for a long while the quaity of the comment section has went somewhere close to Hell's sewers.

I prefer knowing about that "evil" than having some "necessary evil" hide it from me. Yes a lot of the comments on here aren't positions i'd ever take, but ... have you ever been to the rest of the internet?

we will probably see the comments section as an anachronism which pre-dated the full realization of social networks.

It's weird that the site which publishes content is always also expected to host a discussion about the content, and that said discussion is considered canonical. There are plenty of ways to hold discussions about news articles on the internet. Reddit is the most obvious example, but Facebook and Twitter are used by some almost exclusively for discussing articles.

The only reasons I can think of to fuse the comments to the article are so that the publisher can increase pageviews or centralize the discourse, neither of which are of interest to those who run anews.

To truly encourage experimentation and diversity, disable comments. Create a diaspora of commenters and force people to seek out a medium for commenting that actually suits them, rather than just accepting the one that's set directly in front of them.

do not want to support our corporate overlords.
you might be content to feed the institutions behind facebroke and spreddit, but i will never go there to get my anarchy on.
that doesn't mean that anews needs to host comments, just that i will be here pending a better, non-corporate option.

It's Facepalm, not Facebroke... or is it actually Fedbook?

ANyways, gotta go shopping at the thrift store! taaw taaw

Fedbook's a good name too but I've called them Snitchbook for years

Has to start with the big "F" of Fascism.

1/10
Troll harder next time.

I fully support the proposal that Vice outlined. It helps to focus everyone's energy in more productive ways.

Another Christian work slave thinking they have an anarchist position. What is the point of anarchy if the importance of productivity takes precedence? This is generally the problem. This is just a fucking website, with comments. The people go back and forth to posting comments, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, but it happens all the time. For thecollective to take advantage of normal fluctuations in order to, yet again, impose their own narrative that there is a problem that needs to be fixed, is more opportunistic and manipulative garbage. The site had some technical issues, we like the recent comments module and we want it back. However, the "recent posts" is another way to follow new comments, should the recent comments module be no longer available.

You want to have a different style of website, then make a new website! Give this one to someone that appreciates us for what we are rather than wishes we were something other than what we are.

That seems to be the position you're arguing for. This could easily be flipped: if you don't like the changes that are made, why don't you create a site which preserves the authentic, traditional anews culture, rather than wishing that we could forever remain what we used to be.

Because that is some bullshit. The people come here now and this site is still popular because of those that frequent here. Disintegrating site cohesion very rarely works and typically most sites fail on both ends when such things are done. I've seen several sites collapse due to this kind of logic and I have no faith in it. Accepting who is here now and just making a new site has the benefit of a continued base audience, including regular hits and relevance in discussion despite what other dumb shits say. Trying to impose rules is definitely an indicator that you don't like what we are, but we are here already. Why take on a project you hate when it is easy to start a new project without affecting a successful project that does not need disrupting, just regular feed updates and spam clean up.

are you actually arguing that there has been hate on here? where's your evidence? emile's posts getting moved to forums sometimes?
empty name calling posts being removed? is that all it takes for you to feel hated? 'cause that could be a personal problem,,,

I'm sorry, I can't help you at this time. Please take a number and a seat. You don't understand basic shit so I'll handle you at a later date once I handle other things with a higher priority. Have a good day.

yea, productive for waht? productivist language raises hackles...
no, asking for input and feedback from readers is not attempting to control anything.
yea, maybe thecollective has been checking in a bit too much.
no, no one is insisting that there is definitely a problem that needs to be fixed at this point (did you miss the queries in the post?)
yea, thanks for pointing out tht there are a variety of ways to use the site (recent posts, etc).
no, there is no monolithic "we" that should be appreciated or not appreciated.

Here goes a counter proposal for a new website:

The Critical Molotov
Bringing quality critical engagement with anarchist media: Video, audio, print and image. Contributors submit letters to the editor rather than comment directly, in regards to whatever is up on the feed. The editor would control the content, but also work with technical staff to maintain anonymity of the contributors if that is their desire.

Media will be clickable to listen directly on the site rather than linking externally, though sourcing will also be required for media to be added, so people will still get their hits, and the kind of discussion that gives the critical bite without the drone of lower quality commenting. With such a site, the weekly updates of the audio podcasts, popular anarchist memes, interesting essays, practical anarchist suggestions, forum questions and so on can be explored while leaving anarchist news to cover news and events explicitly, leaving the multi-media updates to a higher forum of conversation.

Keeping media locally hosted keeps anyone else from getting server logs. If this is not practical using straight hyperlinks instead of embedding prevents 3ed party content from loading (and logging) when the page loads.

there have been some intriguing comments over the years from Anonymous, the most prolific of @news writers as well as from registered or known names. i may be wrong, but i don't think that online comments are dying. they are for the most part, across all websites pretty bad, but not dead. the quality is often crap and the gives a platform to the worst parts of the internet. is print dead? ppl had said it was dying for years and now i saw something announcing that print is not in fact dead. punks not dead? and so on.

imho the only thing that needs to be fixed about comments here is a more mobile friendly version of the site. it's really bad on mobile currently (the comments at least).

i'm also curious, if you are still providing the level of anonymity that worker had in place. i believe there was something before about a script flushing the logs over a short period of time, etc. it would be nice to know the current policy is unchanged or what is happening now, posted somewhere long term on the site.

years ago(?!), the website also had a comments of the week highlighted by the admins. this could be nice if you're interested in that or providing an offline @news digest with a collection of the top comments. i imagine what you are proposing as the vice method now is similar to writing into an anarchist journal comment section, which also died (for real this time) in the early 2000s.

i'm glad this is one of the last bastions on the internet for anon comments and i'd like to see it stay that way, although i can feel your pain (and excitment!) being a caretaker for something like this.

the procedure for flushing has not changed from what worker was doing.
we'll figure out a better place to put that info, also.

This site did and currently does use piwik to track users and user behavior.

http://piwik.org/

The Vice model works really well, I think you should use it. It'll keep trolls and people who are just talking without saying anything from starting arguments. On the other hand though, monitoring the comments and speech doesn't sound very Anarchist to me... While it's not a bad idea cause it certainly has been an issue, it does sound like a sort of limit of freedoms.

Side Note: I published an article Saturday (10/10/15) evening and it is still not up in the essay section.... Do you already review articles? How long does that normally take? If anyone can answer that'd be appreciated. I actually spoke about some of the issues mentioned in this Topic of the Week.

Really, really.. How can you compare this site to Vice is beyond me. Please read my starting reflexion on Vice's move in that comment: http://anarchistnews.org/comment/208562#comment-208562

You do appear to be for real, Starwolf, but maybe a bit too naive? You don't realize how terrible it would be to close the comments on Anews, given how it's so much a great part of what made it famous in the first place. Also realize that, whether conspiracy or not, this would be the point where Its Going Down definitely replaces Anews, in the same way that Anews completely sent Infoshop to the trashbin of history. Personally I like ITG better, but the absence of comment section is a major is a major letdown.

I don't really want to close the comments, just want to get them monitored slightly more simply so bullshit can't be posted. I don't like the idea of that but honestly it's better than just letting the trolls run free. It would contribute largely to less nonsense arguments and more good discussions. If it's not nonsense, post it. If it's just garbage, don't.

While I overall like the new layout for the site, I don't like the fact that commenter name, timestamp, etc. are now at the left of the comment itself. Differing commenter name lengths affect the location of the line dividing comment and related data, and this makes it more difficult (albeit not impossible) to read threads.

The old system was imperfect, too, but, I liked it more.

I think the best would be if there was some kind of continuous line that indicated how many "indents" a comment has from the original comment at the root of the branch. Sorta like Tumblr.

This may all be very impractical to code, though!

Lol - someone just deleted my comment on the Schmidt article about Ross supporting black nationalists. The slow slide towards Chuck0 irrelevance has begun. Are commenters now required to cite sources? I can probably dig some up if so...

not sure whether this feedback meets the proposed threshholds of relevance to merit publication; i.e. as Vice says;

"What percentage of comments on any site are valuable enough to be published on their own? One percent? Less?"

who decides? if subscriber levels are to reflect 'the quality' of the material, then forget about radical ideas. maintaining readership levels is the publication strategem that kept yesterdays preposterous propositions that are today's accepted norms out of 'circulation'.

Radical ideas proceed through four stages: (1) they are ignored, (2) they are ridiculed, (3) they are vehemently opposed, and (4) accepted as obvious.

meanwhile, Vice editors take ownership or responsibility for the 'quality' of 'content' on their website. i.e. Vice speaks of their web-publishing as if it is 'their product' (i don't recall worker having presented anarchistnews as anything other than as a 'channel'). the 'quality of a channel' is something very different from 'the quality of a product'. in the former, 'quality' concerns how well one is opening up a forum for sharing experiences and viewpoints, and in the latter, 'quality' pertains to how well something whose essence/identity is known a priori is presented, critiqued and refined.

Vice says;

"We all highly value solid discussion of our reporting and opinions, because it's a crucial way we get better"

does this mean that we know who is the 'we' who we are trying to improve the quality of? and who it is who will be the judge of 'who we is' and whether 'we' are improving? it would have to be some experts or authorities on identifying 'who we are'.

the trigger for this self-conscious look by anarchistnews at anarchistnews was a drop in readership and reader comments. that is certainly what triggers commercial journals to examine and reflect on their presentation style etc. etc. because 'the customer is always right' in his judgement of whether the publication is worth reading or not. we didn't evolve the hiqh quality of media publishers such as fox news without acknowledging that people know what they want to hear and deserve to be given it. how else could the courage, honesty, loyalty and benevolence of a group that knows full well they are courageous, honest, loyal and benevolent be sustained and advanced?

in the unlikely event we were to set up a forum in the manner of an indigenous anarchist 'learning circle' where the talking stick is passed and everyone gets the chance to speak, ... we would 'have to listen to all the idiots and freaks in order to get to the really meaningful and relevant commentary'. an advanced civilization such as ours didn't get to where it is today not knowing how to separate the wheat from the chaff.

What percentage of comments going around the circle are valuable enough to merit everyone's attention? ... One percent? Less?

anarchistnews can serve as a channel for radical/anarchist views or as a disseminator of quality radical/anarchist ideas.

my impression is that 'worker' was operating in the former mode. thecollective's implied view that 'Vice' and its approach is an apt comparison, suggests the latter mode. in the latter mode, the central 'editing authority' has to know which comments are sufficiently relevant to merit dissemination. the moderator must therefore be an 'authority' on what constitutes relevant material.

in a 'learning circle', the central moderator is called 'the keeper of the circle' and his job is NOT to judge content in any way [e.g. NOT to select that which will be what many want to hear], but to facilitate everyone getting their two-bits worth in, however repulsive or inspiring, leaving it to each individual to 'scroll over' what he doesn't want to hear, for whatever reason.

anarchistnews producers get to choose which role they want to play.

the comparison with 'Vice' is 'interesting'. we know how it selects 'what is relevant';

Vice names new EIC, head of content
02/11/15 07:35 PM EST
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Vice Media has named a new editor-in-chief of the magazine and a new global head of content, the On Media blog has learned.
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Ellis Jones has been named Vice Magazine’s editor in chief, replacing Rocco Castoro, who has resigned from the company. Jones, the first female EIC in Vice's 20-year history, has effectively been serving in that role for six months.
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In a statement, Jones said "the magazine will continue to do what it's always done best—publish cutting-edge cultural coverage, sharp humor, and hard-hitting news investigations—and also increase its seriousness and ambition by enlisting the best writers, photographers, and artists in the industry and sending them across the globe." She also promised "more female correspondents."

I've said this before, but...

1. No "anonymouses" (anonymice?). If there's a discussion, it helps to know who you're discussing with, and not responding to one "anonymous" assuming it's another or whatever. This means everyone who wants to say something register in some name or other, and preferably no sock puppets - ie one IP number - one name (which, of course, doesn't prevent sock puppeting but does limit them). Or at least an indication that 2 or 3 different people share the same IP (ie they tell "the collective" that that is what they are doing when they register).

2. Re-organise the site so that recent posts get listed in order of their recentness. If something has been put up a week ago it gets shoved to the 2nd or 3rd page and nobody bothers to respond to it, but if everything is listed in order of the latest responses - eg. someone responds to "About Schmidt: How a White Nationalist Seduced Anarchists Around the World (Chapter 1)" in 2 weeks time it appears at the top of the list until someone responds to something else, when it falls to 2nd on the list, etc. That way, a discussion develops based on interest rather than on what main article gets put up most recently.

3. Some element of "control" (aaagh! - "control " the worst word for anyone thinking that "anarchist"= do what you want anywhere you want anytime you want to whomever you want even if your wants are totally defined by the pettiness of the ego battles that permeate this society; in fact, a quite bourgeois notion of freedom). If you have a discussion in a room and someone persistently says stupid things designed just to wind people up I suspect that you might after a time do everything you can to kick them out and make sure they don't come back until they have something that at least attempts to carry things forward in some way. In Mustapha Khayati's "The poverty of student life" he said of anarchists - "since they tolerate each other they'll tolerate anything." I don't think that's any longer true of most of the anarchists I know, but A-news seems to be over-tolerant in such a way that most people who have things to say are put off by the constant silly put-downs intended to give the poster some temporary sense of self-importance just in seeing their post put up. So the discussion becomes derailed, a waste of time, demoralising. Of course, the criteria for such "control" will be subjective and I suggest that if this idea is applied that "the collective" always provide reasons for deletions of posts or even temporary exclusions of pointless provocateurs. And perhaps indicate generally what kind of posts they will not tolerate.

1. Most users here don't want to do that. Try doing that somewhere else.
2. Use the "recent posts" module found in the navigation menu. It does exactly what you are requesting. Worker used to talk about how he uses it regularly to keep up with the site.
3. A dismissal of anarchist sentiment as bourgeois. Mocking anarchist distrust of authority as if that hasn't been done before. Oh so original.

If you have a site filled with colleagues that meet semi-regularly but is open to others to comment might appreciate your system as it would weed out the unknown people that might disrespect them. Anyways, this isn't that kind of site. This is an anonymous friendly site that has loose moderation. Even the moderators don't understand that this is the basis of why this site is popular and they keep threatening the user base even though they are here for the reasons they are being shuffled and pushed around.

Best of luck on convincing libcom of your suggestion, as they seem to almost completely use what you are suggesting and I don't really know why you'd want to make this a second libcom when all the other libcom imitators (anarchist black cat, for example) have failed. Even so, this isn't a libcom site and you'd be better off starting something like what you want independent of this style of site. There is room for both.

the reader of comments in an internet forum is 'in control' of how much time and consideration a commentator is given. in real forums, haven't we all experienced some boring politician or persistent agitator who hijacks the microphone, ... and haven't we all wished we could just 'turn him off' and move on to the next speaker? well, internet forums let us do this; i.e. we get to choose when the boring speaker or the agitator get's turned off and the next speaker gets his chance, with a mere flick of the scroll wheel on our mouse. not a problem.

you are trying to devise solutions in one medium that apply to problems that arise in another; i.e. you say;

"If you have a discussion in a room and someone persistently says stupid things designed just to wind people up I suspect that you might after a time do everything you can to kick them out and make sure they don't come back until they have something that at least attempts to carry things forward in some way."

furthermore, what's this 'carry things forward in some way'? that's the fucking problem, ... refining ideas, generalizing, formulating 'plans', reducing the particular to some kind of consensus that binds everyone as in the usual 'tyranny of the majority' (that fucking 'voting' thing again).

complex ecosystems in nature do not depend on having participants behaviours coming from intellectual calculations based on theoretical formulations.

internet forums are smorgasbords, not force-feeding exercises, if you like pickled herring with onions for breakfast, you can continue to select and enjoy it without having to 'carry things forward' and build a consensus in which you agree to being force-fed boiled oatmeal.

Good comment emile. Yeah, 'that fucking voting thing again.

downtick in people coming to this website and commenting = too much moderation. Moderator tries to think of a solution... "I know! I'll just create a system where every comment is filtered directly through me by having everyone email their comments in!" ... FAIL.

Also it used to be that only everyone once and a while we would get blocked for using tor while using this website. Now it seems more like every once and a while we don't get blocked for using tor while using this website.

Luckily, none of this matters at all because discussing things on the internet is about as anarchist as tea with grandma. Grandma is a gracious host, occasionally you might learn something but she's also going senile and lapses in to irrelevant tirades about race and egoism. You might want to go outside and fuck shit up or build the commune with aforementioned capacity to fuck shit up.

Tea with grandma is way more anarchist than discussing things on the internet.

Huh! Maybe if grandma was in the Spanish Rev

Only Bay Area anarchists could look at the past five years of activity globally and conclude that "there are strong indicators that anarchism is dying."

For capitalists, the world is their milieu. For pathetic liberal Bay area anarchists, their milieu is the world.

Both are terrible flavors.

...in the same way as old-school anarchists used to send letters ot each other.

First off, you can't afford to ignore the actual context into which the suggestion (made by a big media of capitalist scumbags) of closing comment has been thrown in. Government and corporate organizations all over the world have been on a race to shut down what remains of the "free", anonymous internet, and this intent has been pushed forward with the passing of the TPP agreement (for those clueless enough to not know what I'm referring to, read the recent Wikileaks disclosure of the final draft of the TPP document relating to the IP policies and control of internet communications, which will make you understand how Vice's "idea" came in a timely manner, for a purpose, within a larger corporate agenda). For this very reason, Vice's suggestion should be taken with a heavy dose of skepticism, like anyting else that they and other major outlets are publishing. They are part of the corporat media, and aren't to that regard the first outlet from this realm to have promoted the closing of comments, or at least moving them to being managed by Discus/Google/Fedbook and co.

- Shutting down comment sections... shutting down your own websites... all moving to Fedbook... no longer using email or chatting... not caring to read books... Question: where do you think people are going with this?
Removing content is nowhere a progress toward anything good. It just feels like that policy they had at the Ministry of Propaganda with the Newspeak... of gradually removing content from language, so that it becomes mediocre, poor and dumb. Only the fact that online anarchists would think of it as a good idea is quite disturbing in itself.

No... on the contrary, we need MORE content, we need to flood the fucking internet with words and ideas. This is one of the stuff we relatively failed to do, but I don't think it's too late.

- Anonymous commenting is offensive to authorities. That's an old internet itch they want to get rid of, and I've heard/read big media despots whine several times about their irritation on the fact that people can post shit anonymously on the nets, including lolling at their stupid crap (ridicule, believe it or not, is also included as an offense to intellectual property in the TPP document). It is problematic for them, especially when comments are hard to trace because of being able to post through things like Tor, i2p or VPNs without javasnitches and cookies. Recipes to make firebombs, digital piracy and anonymity tricks, techniques to detect infrared light and tons of other goodies have been posted here over the years. But above this, theories and strategies much more detrimental to their "projects" have been shared as well. Anarchists aren't on some intel agency's payroll, so they hardly can afford to freely post their propaganda on Fedbook, along with selfies of themselves on Euro trains with AK rifles... We aren't as easily manageable as some jihadists. So a bunch of free-thinking unmanageable people with agendas of their own posting shit anonymously on the nets is bad news for them, especially when they're against their own political interests.

- Only statists and authoritarians want more control. That's inherent to their ideology. You can't consolidate more power if you can't restrict and shut down communications of others.

- Did you ever wonder for a second that all the shitposting by trolls like Emile and LeWay was actually a good cause for closing anon posting on this site? Closing comments would be actually giving up to the pressure of the shitposters.

...but if you genuinely seek to improve the quality of commenting on this site, without causing prejudice to the more respectful posters, then there is an easy technique for such... In Wordpress there is an option for holding all messages until approval by default. I don't know much about how Drupal works internally, but I'd be very surprised that it doesn't offer this option.
Make no mistake here... I too am tired of coming across the usual drivel by Emile, LeWay, Biceps and co. On my Wordpress blog I had an issue with some national-anarchist posting his crap for a while. Was quite easy to just stop publishing his comments, instead of having to go through tons of comments to censor or remove the few problematic ones.

- Email-based commenting? That's quite a retrograde and power-hungry way to manage comments, isn't it? Especially with the solution above, I don't see why you should withdraw to this. There are those outlets that come from the remants of mass print publishing (like, say, Vice) for whom this "folding back to old ways" has a well-grounded meaning. Anews isn't the Fifth Estate or Anarchy Mag neither, though I respect these old-school publications for sticking to their long-established ways... why wouldn't Anews stick to its own?

- Thecollective has been doing good stuff out of this site since they took over, aside from their odd policy about rollover images and the hardly relevant Fedbook page. The more recent changes kinda help de-focusing on the comment sections, and the Topic of the Week is rather an okay idea I guess, as it does answer to ongoing trends discussed on the site.

- As for the shittyness of commenting or the internet as a whole to have the quality of communications we'd like to be having, how's that specific to Anews? Any other website with populated comment sections have the same problem. So I don't see how removing the comments is going to solve an issue that is inherent to the nature of the medium and its dehumanizing technology. BUT there could be a way to incite people to make more real-life events, so that would allow more authentic endeavors to happen. But I sense that no matter the tactics you'd come up with, comment sections would be neither an obstacle or a facilitator to this... maybe at best some discussion matter.

- online anarchism is dying? Well, perhaps... but then why am I commenting on an anarchist website? What's your issue with reality? THere's been good new additions lately in terms of anarchist media as well, including ITG and some zines.

Pretense of its death is a good reason to kill it, and folding back to Huffington Post or Reddit or the chans? Hum... no. And there's also a problematic self-justifying logic fallacy right there.

That, again, is the stuff that the trendy totalitarians would love to see happening. Being part of a controlled opposition, taking part in tribunes set and run by the establishment... why not joining the Party? Infoshop and Indymedia are dead... in great parts due to the very fact that they went on controlling comments or just closing them. That, aside than being boring liberal Left outlets from a chapter of activist history I ain't very fond of remembering (the whole 2000-2008 era of summit-hopping White dreadlock liberals, who are now.... no I don't wanna know what they've become).

(Also Samfanto's comment up there is very relevant)

Well I'll be damned … this is a quality argument. A breath of fresh air around here, I withdraw my earlier statement that commenting here is largely irrelevant. Perhaps the trolls were wearing me down too, which of course is their goal. I still say online discussion is a tempest in a teapot compared to real-world organizing and projects of attack and disruption but this person's logic has swayed me.

I was always of the opinion that an open, anonymous, crass and often terrible forum is better than any alternative but maybe it's actually kind of important too.

People lower themselves to crass, shitty activities in real-life too, you know... I'd actaully prefer to waste such enegy online and preserve as much quality relations for the real-life, though in my position that doesn't happen often. I'm just thinking of the same old leftist authoritarians who treat everyone like déjà-vu and pawns, for an instance... or attending stupid useless demos just to make a spectacle of your sad, collective powerlessness against the pigs by being arrested and shut down. I other words, a virtual mud pit like this one makes me better realize the value of real-life endeavors than If I'd be living with 12 ego-trippers in some "anarchist" communal house.

Ease up on the coffee old school activist anarchist, you're sounding like a commentator on CNN, authoritarian like.

I fully agree with the previous comment about "thecollective" simply looking for excuses to impose their own control over this web site. If they have their way, this site will be as dead as Infoshop News: how many comments have we seen on that site, lately? Anyone who wants to post thoughtful, well-considered comments here is free to do so (for the time being), and free to ignore all the other stuff. The internet may not be the ideal form of anarchist communication and community, but at least an uncensored site like this keeps people interested, and keeps them coming back.

I once learned how to make beer can stoves from a conspiracy forum, and this allowed me to have a mean to make myself a morning coffee and evening dinner when I was on a long bike trip across Europe. The funny part is that nowhere in the Terrible Community where I came from in NA I would have heard about such trick. Probably I would have found it on Reddit... but surely not on Vice.

Moral of the story: an open, anon internet allows people to share tons of views and infos that would take them years, decades to get across in real-life. Just finding the right real-life networks of buddies for this is a painful task in such a vast wasteland, Gotta endure many authoritarian assholes and oogles in the process.

Please bring back the recent comment widget. Thank you.

I didn't bother reading the Vice article, but it seems like a terrible idea. All this talk about the comments on @news is too much. For as long as I've been posting on here, this site has changed shit around. I remember one of the themes had upvoting and downvoting arrows on the comments... and the votes didn't move the comments! They just added to a score on a counter! This site's an experiment and I like that nothing is ever settled. I guess some of the people making comments don't know how all over the place "solutions" to the "problem" of the comments section has been over the years, but it's like watching a doomsday cult pushing back doomsday to next week every time the topic comes up. It's kinda funny...

The new theme is a bit wonky. I hope some stuff can be changed. Maybe thecollective will have more drupal skill than worker, but I doubt it.

Thinking about it a bittle more... if people had to email thecollective to have comments removed, that would be much more interesting. Then those emails could be posted up and discussed as part of the topic of the week. ..something like that.

Also, there used to be an anarchistnews chatroom! Not a lot of people went into it, but the ones that did it was really fun while it lasted.

Anews chat was fun for a while, though as every webchat engine I know of, it required javasnitches activated,which kinda sucks as it doesn't encourage a fair balance of freedom and security culture. But I mean it's still far better than Fedbook Anews.

For over half a decade, during this site's growth and continued growth, not much has changed until worker stepped down. Now we see, over and over again, threats against the users here, dismissals of their comments and a constant feeling there is a problem to need a fucking solution to. WTF is that shit? And oh please on this "experiment" bullshit. That's a pretty fancy word for "rarely updates or changes". If thecollective were willing to listen to their apologists, they'd be sapped of intelligence as the dimness of the lower rung of life consumed them. They might as well stick their heads in a microwave and hope for an epic explosion, ala the Gremlins, in order to save themselves of the near zombie like conformity the dim dittoheads this site generates willing to nod to the beat of any drummer, as long as that drummer is nominally, sorta maybe an anarchist.

I've got an experiment for you, drink tons of soda and then eat a fuckload of mentos and jump around a lot. Tell us the results, you winner!

Tried it and farted almost as much as you bullshit.

This isn't even the first time that anarchistnews has put together a "moderation group" ...if you remember that: http://worker.anarchyplanet.org/2010/07/02/july-anarchist-news-digest-an...

it's from the Anarchist News Digest... you can read up more on the past of @news moderation: http://worker.anarchyplanet.org/tag/moderation/

And this stupid shit about the topic of the week as a way to control stuff? Where were those comments when anarchistnews had all of the polls on the sidebar? How about the "nice" anarchistnews site that was a cleaned up version of anarchist news? Or when comments would be "queued for moderation"? I think at one point registered users could even post pictures in the comments (although I'm more fuzzy on that one).

so yeah - people freaking the fuck out over the latest site experiments like end of the world fanatics...

Haha motherfucker, I was right. 5 years, almost on the motherfuckin dot. The experiments you talk of were failures and thus the reason what we have has existed so long as it has.

You want to see change? Well do it by not threatening the user base of this site with your ill thought out experiments. Do it by making the site more awesome instead of interrupting something successful with some dumb shit that is unoriginal, unimaginative and unsuccessful? You dream like a demagogue and perceive all challengers as a threat and an enemy. Get over your power madness and think like a fucking artist for once, you wannabe bureaucrat!

Oh well now you've done it. That is NO way to speak to Squee.

Squee? Isn't that the Politics is Not a Banana Guy?

That would be Liam Sionnach, similar ideas as Squee. Back in 2008 I think, when you had to hate every cop in the known universe to be accepted into an anarchist milieu.

Sounds about right... when anarchists had book blocs

I just posted on the "About Schmidt" thread, replying to Post Biceps, but somehow the comment "indent line" ended up left of Post Biceps' "indent line". Making it look like I am not replying to em at all.

I will make a formal request: commenter name, comment timestamp, and hyperlink-to-the-permalink should be above or below the comment itself - not to the side. This seems like the most obvious way to avoid variable commenter name lengths affecting the location of indent lines.

(I am completely certain that I replied to Post Biceps' post. I suspect that there is some kind of coding thing which made my comment go further to the left because otherwise the text box would get too squeezed. Me having a long username is probably also an issue. But I actually don't know shit about shit, obviously.)

I'm having the same problem.

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