A word on civility

I'm seeing a growing number of comments along the lines of "you jerk, go die!" (actually, even worse, but you get the idea) If you're posting anonymously (i.e., you're not logged in, even if you do fill in the "name" field), sorry, I'm not going to mark that for public consumption. If you want to tear into somebody's position, by all means, go for it, but it's not closing time at a dive bar here and I'd like to try to keep things somewhat civil. As they say on MetaFilter:

Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand - not at other members of the site.


The Mgmt.



      Free tagging: 


      I came here to show you...

      ...how YOU TOO can make $87.56 an hour using nothing but the computer in Mom's basement, like I do.

      See? Isn't that better than calling someone an EBT card using Obama voter?

      Adam, I wouldn't trade my job for your job...evah. Been here five years, love it, whatever you need to do, you do. There are other sites I visit where enough down votes gets the comment pulled but you can see it by clicking a link. Would something like that work? Registered users get to pull the plug on the insane bullshit/trolls/spammers/anonymous cowards etc.

      Might lighten the load a bit. Disclaimer: I don't have a blog, don't know shit about how they work.

      Try 'The Herald'

      Oh yes you will. Over at 'The Herald', even the least controversial articles are accompanied by juvenile comments filled with personal attacks and insults. Adding to the experience are the Herald thummers who give an improbable number of "thumb ups" to the most ignorant comments, and "thumb downs" to any thoughtful comments. The phenomenon is particularly pronounced for stories that contain any reference to "EBT cards", "occupy", and especially "Elizabeth Warren".

      I long ago concluded it's only a few people who do this, by posting under multiple usernames. Sometimes they get lazy and post exactly the same text under different names. Maybe it's all just one person. (H.C.?)


      Some, but not really

      There's something about getting an account, even if you remain totally anonymous, that seems to inspire folks to count to 10. For the most part, I am not seeing logged in users descending into the sort of disturbing death wishes that some anon folks are spending time trying to post (at the same time, yes, I recognize the value of allowing anonymous comments - not everybody with something valuable/interesting to say wants to be identified in any way - so I've managed to box myself into the sometimes uncomfortable position of comment gatekeeper for anonymous users).



      Plus, since many of us seem to get to know each other, even remotely and somewhat anonymously, it's easier to tell when someone is being sarcastic versus being a troll. Or to just discount them completely because of past comments that they have made. Or expect great insight because of their offline lives. Or laugh because you know that person is telling a joke because their sense of humor comes through in consistent posts.

      Either way, it's just a lot more civil when someone posts under a consistent name in the same community for years at a time.


      Same with a few other sites.. Sorry Adam. sometimes I wonder if the 'comments' feild under any articles on the web was the worst thing to ever happen. It just brings out the nastiness of people. (And I'm certainly not innocent at making snide comments)


      Better ways.

      Every website that allows users to input text has this problem, and there are many effective solutions. Manually curating every comment is one of the most difficult and least efficient methods. You should look into other solutions. Personally I prefer the democratic solutions where the community decides what is acceptable, instead of one dictator behind the scenes killing anything they don't approve.

      I look forward to seeing this comment appear 20 minutes from now. Maybe.


      I Prefer Adam

      I'll take a seasoned editor over "democracy" every time when it comes to news and information. Eliminating crap is the job of an editor. Editors are not dictators, unless you think that anyone who runs a news site or paper and decides what's fit to print is a fascist.

      In which case, you'll find friends at BDC and the Herald.


      That's true

      The Globe has (or had? I haven't kept up with this stuff) a whole team of editors out on the Canadian prairie somewhere scanning their comments and yet the typical discussion on a Globe story these days isn't all that much different from a Herald discussion. Fortunately, while UHub has grown over the past couple of years, it hasn't gotten to the point of moderation being impossible.

      Canadian Prairie?

      I was under the impression that the ones I interacted with (in the bad old days) were on the other side of the International Date line. I'd invariably get whatever "inquiry" about a comment they'd held sent to me between 12&6am, when I was either asleep or off doing load testing. And the quality of discussion, at least on the business pages, was no better than now.

      Eventually they just shut off comments for business news posts. Maybe they hired the Canadians after that; it's not like there are that many stories on Boston.com now that have "Discuss" links anymore.

      Arrgh, my apologies

      Send me e-mail with the account name you tried and I'll get it set up. I'm gatekeeping these for spam reasons (it's amazing how many blatantly spammy user-account requests the system gets), I've slipped up sometimes with them.


      One of our other unspoken

      One of our other unspoken rules is that wishing death or dismemberment on anyone (political figures, other users, moderators) is grounds for deletion. It's tough to make a case that it adds anything to the discussion and we get that people are angry about things--we are too--but the difference between being angry and responding angrily is a big one.


      I support this.

      I'd advocate strongly for getting rid of anonymous comments, but this is your show, Adam, and good on you for trying to up the level of discourse. I support all administrative policies that want to make this place more like MetaFilter.

      Because everyone needs a hug,


      Interesting question

      Fortunately, the majority of page views on the site are from repeat visitors (as much as I appreciate Google, I really want as little of my daily traffic as possible to come from it - I'm still scarred from an incident at my old job when Google decided we'd done something wrong and deleted every single one of our indexed pages and our traffic dropped like a rock). But I suspect most of that is not from people who post some anonymous rant, then come back and keeping hitting reload to see who responds. But (but, but, he sputters) I don't really know and don't want to spend the time to figure it out.

      As I mentioned upthread, I still see a value in allowing anonymous comments - to the point where I'm still willing to put the time into curating them (comments from logged in users are different - they get posted automatically and instantly).


      I regularly commented on a

      I regularly commented on a site that disallowed anonymous comments. All it meant was that every few weeks the trolls had to register new accounts when their old one was deleted by the mods.

      I wonder if moderating the insane-o comments is the way to limit/eliminate them. If people know their screed won't get (or stay) published, they won't be as eager to post it. Maybe?

      I'm already filtering anonymous comments

      As anybody who's ever posted anonymously here knows, those comments don't go up automatically - they go into a queue where I review them. I originally did that just for spam reasons - you can hire people in Mumbai pretty cheaply to answer captchas and post spam - but as the site's gotten more popular, I've been doing it more for content reasons. Kind of an uncomfortable position to be in, but I'm not going to deliberately allow death threats and the like to show up, nor am I going to allow what I consider to be stupid attempts to derail discussions here into cesspools of Herald-like rantings about EBT (yes, UHub now has people trying to post stuff about EBT in a wide range of discussions that have nothing to do with it - you people really need to either stick to the Herald or stop reading it so much; yeah, I'm a liberal from back in the day that way).


      At least

      We haven't been taken over by the typical BDC posters.. ObamaPhone, EBT, ObamaCare, Barry, Liberal/Obama voter or whatever Obama-slamming posts (regardless of what the article is about). The BDC forums have been over taken by these folks, and the comments section are almost unreadable now. I'm almost convinced these folks are being paid for these comments now.. there's just so many of them.

      I do see that BDC now has been taken over by spammer like USA Today and CNN.com have.. the, i.e., "My brother has been unemployed for xx years and with a personal computer made xxx dollars a month". Sigh..


      I don't read those comment

      I don't read those comment sections; Globe or Herald because they are all the same arguments. But, I've a feeling that disagreeable opinions could be the source of your problem? Opposing arguments can be made (without name calling, etc..), no?
      What you may call troublesome, could just be someone offering an opposing opinion is what I'm getting at.

      Personally I don't like Warren - at all. Now I don't go around calling her fauxahontis, or the like, but have I a right to my opinion? Can I call her out when I see she is wrong?

      I guess I am a bit concerned over selective outrage.


      However, there's a fine line on Globe and Herald sites between airing your views and just being a general troll. If you have a good point to make, by all means make it, but just saying stuff like..

      "Typical Obama Voter"
      "EBT Card User"

      and the like is just simply trolling and being an ass.


      Certainly needs to be said every once in awhile and I've wanted to go that route often over the years but held back every time.

      Just last week I wanted to write, "Could you shut your goddamn pie hole for one second?"

      But, I didn't, not even anonymously.

      Non-anonymous comments aren't logical only because just about everyone on this board has a "handle" and can just use that to be uncivil. I can count on one hand the people who (seem to) use their "real" names.

      Adam says he keeps ugly comments from posting, so it doesn't matter who writes them, anonymous or attributed.

      Heckuva job!

      I know you are exasperated enough to post this request, Adam, but I'll say this:

      You've been doing so well at maintaining these comments through your queuing system that I hadn't even realized it had become something you needed to comment on.


      I value anons

      even if the source of many ad hominem attacks when rational arguments fail. Allowing anons lets people more confidently post inside information the public would not ordinarily read. The T is a staple here, so are complaints about it, likely by people with multiple EBT Charlie Cards.

      BTW, great work Adam on the site. Well run and interesting stories that keep visitors returning.


      I've seen other comment sites that allow anon comments, but instead of the name of the commenter being "anon on wed", it gives the city/town IP address location. This makes it hard to pinpoint the actual location, and often times gives random intraweb locations where connections are routed through.

      It is at least a way to see which anons are making which comments without giving away an exact location, which Adam possibly has with the numbered IP address.

      IP addresses from Boston only?

      I'm more interested in hearing comments about Boston from people who actually live in Boston. There are certain registered users who don't even live in Boston yet never fail to post daily nasty and judgmental comments about this city and the people who live here. Might be nice if only registered users with Boston IP addresses could post. I'd probably register if that were the case. Just my personal opinion.

      People who don't live in Boston and opinions about Boston

      Errr ... what?

      Just because I have lived in Cambridge, Brookline and Quincy for my post-college life (20+) years and have worked in the City of Boston for my entire career, I'm not informed enough to have an opinion about it? Should I stop going to restaurants and other businesses in Boston too? Maybe I should stop volunteering at shelters in Boston.

      Oh sage anon, please elaborate on what I can and cannot do as a non-resident of Boston.

      I disagree

      While I technically live in a separate municipality (Somerville), I live closer to downtown Boston than a large percentage of official Boston residents do (no, I don't have a citation, just a map and common sense). While I agree that people who live in Chicago/LA/NYC and have never set foot in MA probably aren't the most useful commenters, just remember that this is an overall region and most of the topics discussed have regional implications.

      I see your point. It's really

      I see your point. It's really the comments from a few registered users who have identified themselves as suburbanites who take nearly every opportunity to slam pretty much anything and everything about the city of Boston as well as making unfounded bigoted remarks about the people who live here that made me think of the Boston IP address only suggestion. Again, just my personal opinion.

      I didn't know

      It's really the comments from a few registered users who have identified themselves as suburbanites who take nearly every opportunity to slam pretty much anything and everything about the city of Boston as well as making unfounded bigoted remarks about the people who live here

      I didn't know that Howie Carr had his own login here.

      Take a deep breath....

      Might be nice if only registered users with Boston IP addresses could post.

      Take a deep breath, take a step back, and think about what you just said.
      Think about all the things that are wrong with that statement, both from a technical point of view and a philosophical point of view.

      In the interest of civility, I'm done with this comment.

      Just wouldn't work

      why? because the way ARIN assigns and tracks IP addresses could change at any given day and are assigned in large blocks not really based on locality.

      For example, my cable modem at home (in Chelsea) has an IP address of . If you look on Arin, this is what it says for that class.,.

      NetRange -
      Name NEW-ENGLAND-4
      Handle NET-24-60-0-0-2
      Parent RW2-NORTHEAST-1 (NET-24-60-0-0-1)
      Net Type Reassigned
      Origin AS
      Customer Comcast Cable Communications Holdings, Inc (C02610694)
      Registration Date 2010-10-18
      Last Updated 2010-10-18

      That's it. No City. No nothing. Would be hard to do it from town.

      And that's two class B ranges. Over 2,097,152 IP addresses for Comcast New England.

      And just to overcome it, especially with home routers is to just create a new Mac Address, and poof Comcast gives you another IP address.

      Also keep in mind many IP addresses are not assigned to a region. For example, I often post/read from my cell phone, which is TMobile. When I look up the IP in Arin, it says the IP is assigned to Seattle, WA, no where close to new england. Same can be said about my work's IP address. it's assigned to New Jersey, even though I am in Boston)

      Nice idea, but GeoIP doesn't always work as designed.


      However keep in mind firewalls and multiple users from the same IP address.

      For example, T-Mobile's APN gateway's address is and . These are the ONLY addresses that show up for any T-Mobile subscriber no matter where they are in the United States. So all.. whatever it is.. 1.2 Million T-Mobile subscribers all come from those two single IP addresses (yes it's one hellva firewall over there).

      Sure a name + that IP might help.. but might not.

      (Sorry I do computer stuff for a living and my forte is building networks and firewalls. GeoIP just has a lot to be desired)

      Anyhow not trying to jab ya Pete, just trying to educate folks on how/why this usually won't work.