In the composing window of Gawker Media’s publishing platform, there is a toolbar. At one end of the toolbar is a little icon of a gear. If you click that gear, it brings out a secondary toolbar offering the platform’s less frequently used features. Second from the right is a little blue virtual switch labeled “Allow Replies,” which is on by default. If you click it, it turns gray, and when the post is published, readers are unable to put comments on it.
Kinja, our CMS, is the product of a long and often painful process of building the best possible commenting interface. Through years of hard work and inventiveness, our engineers have built a product that does a remarkably solid job at the difficult work of triage, keeping trolls and vandals out of view, and generally favoring experienced and productive commenters.
Still, when you write a post, you get notified every single time someone starts a new comment thread in response to it. Even the crummy and delusional and abusive and otherwise low-value commenters, screened off from the readers—I was going to say “from the other readers,” but these bad commenters aren’t necessarily reading anything—get added to the number.
Unless, that is, you flip that little switch! Here are some of the people who are not going to be commenting on the post:
- People who complain about being in the grays.
- People who address the writer by name, while themselves using a pseudonym.
- People who have some unrelated hobbyhorse they’re mad about.
- People with “libtard” or “whiteguilt” in their commenter handle and opinions about race or Cultural Marxism.
- People with “nickdenton” in their commenter handle and a bill of indictment against the company copy-pasted from Reddit.
- That one guy.
- People who have ideas about which staffers should be assigned to write which posts.
- People who have 15 talking points prepared about why Hillary Clinton really lost to Bernie Sanders.
- People who pick fights with those Bernie Sanders people.
- People who denounce typos or what they maintain are errors of usage, usually incorrectly.
- People who use the words “rational” or “logic” to characterize their own arguments.
- People with complicated and dramatic fake-insider theories about what is really going on with the company, or about what happened at the company one time long ago.
- People who angrily believe they are entitled to a personal reply, regardless of how many other comments are on a post, and who think they’re being silenced if they don’t get one.
- People who miss the point.
- Nice, smart readers with valuable thoughts to add.
See you on some other post, but not this one!