Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 03, 2019

Do People Comment Too Much?

Posted by b on July 3, 2019 at 14:28 UTC | Permalink



Posted by: Evelyn | Jul 3 2019 14:39 utc | 1

No. In a world of bullshit and propaganda the comments section is often the only place to find truth. That being said MofA is an Oracle of truth and it’s readers are knowledgeable and their opinions worth reading.

Posted by: Anon | Jul 3 2019 14:40 utc | 2

Yes, they do. It obviously is too easy to fire up the keyboard and shoot away some spontaneous comment. Q.E.D.

Posted by: Nils Essle | Jul 3 2019 14:44 utc | 3

Also, give us the power of up and down votes.

Posted by: Anon | Jul 3 2019 14:46 utc | 4

The comments section of Moon of Alabama is one of the best places to search for geopolitical news. Start from the last comment and read backwards.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jul 3 2019 14:50 utc | 5

I say it's a matter of quality more than quantity.

Posted by: Stumpy | Jul 3 2019 14:51 utc | 6

Considering this blog doesn't moderate comments, and based on the main news websites I access daily, I would say the answer is "no".

There are 7420 total posts, and 4000027 comments (not considering this one and the others from this post itself). That makes it 54 comments per post.

Sites which doesn't moderate their comment sections like the WaPo have, per my observations, circa 1,000-2,000 comments in a "weak" article (in a well-frequented article, it can easily reach 5,000, often much more). I've never kept track of the RT, but, based on my few observations, I wouldn't be surprised the numbers would be similar in very hot articles.

The NYT -- which heavily moderates its comment sections -- usually have a circa 50-100 comment section for "weak" articles, but, more frequently, 350-500 comment articles (generally, the top home page ones). In very hot articles, they consistently reach 1,000-2,000 comments.

However, the MoA has a substantially higher comment average than the "second tier" newspapers: The Independent, for example, rarely has 100+ comment articles (a very hot one has 150-250); Sputnik International almost never has any comments.

It's also caught my atention how to comment is a kind of a localized, site-by-site cultural thing. Even top-tier European newspapers (Le Monde, Spiegel) rarely have 10+ comment articles. El País have much more (circa 200-500 for the hot articles). I think it's simply a matter of "community" development: some websites manage to develop a subculture ("community") while others (the vast majority) don't. My guess would be that it's down to two factors: 1) comments are free or not, 2) the site is well visited by a consistent viewership. People rarely visit more than 5 sites on average, I guess, so, if you don't at least develop a "community", you won't get many, if any, comments either way.

As for the quality of the comments, I would say MoA's community has the same vices and virtues of any other one: 90% of the comments are pure chit-chat/bullshit; 9% are replies; 1% are new and useful information. I would even argue that the proportion of information in MoA is much higher than the average.

Posted by: vk | Jul 3 2019 14:59 utc | 7

sickening, but not at all surprising:
navy seal gets away with multiple murders.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jul 3 2019 15:05 utc | 8

Here's one for your sweet dreams tonight:

Posted by: Thomas | Jul 3 2019 15:07 utc | 9

maybe b.. it's a good question... some folks are more prone to talking/commenting then others... and some are more easily distracted then others which might lead to more commenting too.. generally though i monitor my own commenting, even if it looks like i post a lot.. moon of alabama is my favourite site on the net for political and social commentary though, so that has to be factored in too..

Posted by: james | Jul 3 2019 15:28 utc | 10

Depending on the web site, the comments are better than the articles.

I always appreciated the MOA commenters. Who would have known - god writing attracts good comments.

There was a time when the BBC allowed comments on most of their stories. But then the commenters would trash some of their questionable stories and call out the inconsistencies. IIRC I saw a lot of that for their early Syria coverage. So they stopped allowing comments on most of their stories so as not to confuse their readers.

When I occasionally browsed washpost or NYT and their comments, many of their comments seemed to follow the party line and overpower dissenting views. Moved along, nothing to see there.

Currently Twitter seems to be the place to see and comment on articles.

Posted by: mpn | Jul 3 2019 15:33 utc | 11

> Also, give us the power of up and down votes.

I was on the receiving end of that power on Reddit in 2014 and seriously object to this power of mindless mob-lynching

Posted by: Arioch | Jul 3 2019 15:34 utc | 12

Comment system here is good for the seriousness of the topics covered, where each comment is basically its own statement. Even where discussion goes on it reminds that it is not a chat/adhom site either, as each reply has to be independently phrased to stand alone usually. If people had a layout to create in line conversation I think b. would be kept very busy moderating comments. I don't think adding voting is a good idea, you get mobbing going on, or people posting just for votes, here the idea seems to be to let people have their say for others to consider, just as stands.

Too many comments though ? That is a question of how much b. is able to put with maybe, as well as that comments stay varied but also relevant, which I guess is up to the public.

I'm sure others will view this differently as people have their own ideas how any site should or might be.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 3 2019 15:36 utc | 13

i agree with mpn #11 "god writing attracts good comments."

Posted by: annie | Jul 3 2019 15:38 utc | 14

@12 arioch - i agree.. although i have a habit of thanking people for comments i think are worth mentioning, the facebook feature would kill moa as i see it, by attracting the wrong types..

Posted by: james | Jul 3 2019 15:39 utc | 15

no comment

Posted by: Full Spectrum Domino | Jul 3 2019 15:39 utc | 16

What a passive aggressive question.

Posted by: paul | Jul 3 2019 15:54 utc | 17

Such an open ended question could be interpreted as "Do people have to many opinions?"
Reminds me of a famous US southern idiom: "Opinions are like noses..." but substitute noses with another part of the human anatomy.

I think comment sections are as close as you can get to an actual "marketplace of ideas" and depending on how much it is regulated or not regulated/ moderated has a direct effect on the healthiness of that market. I lean more to the unregulated and it should be left up to the reader to separate the wheat from the chaff. It also helps that the creator of the marketplace is a good writer that provides content that initiates the exchange, such as this fine corner of the internet.

Thanks for providing the space b.

Posted by: O | Jul 3 2019 15:55 utc | 18

Answer; NO!!

It's up to individuals to glean any information, whether relevant or irrelevant, and move on.

With the U$A's 4th of July imminent, the tidal wave of hypocrisy should be massive, as it always is, but, our latest regime should elevate the BS to hew heights.

The recipe, ignore, and move on...

Posted by: ben | Jul 3 2019 15:56 utc | 19

With today's internet speed and HD capacity, "too much" comments cost next to nothing on the client side or on the server side.

So if you don't like the comments, just skip them, no one is forcing you to read....

But if you're like me, the article and the associated comments are a big plus...
Often you find some details or links in the comments that are not present in the article. Or a different perspective or opinion which is always a plus...
And almost never stupid/hateful or negative comments...

But the most important is that they enable me to enjoy this great website longer :)

Posted by: SysATI | Jul 3 2019 16:25 utc | 20

I would posit that some people don't comment enough and others maybe a bit too much.

The ones that don't comment enough are encouraged to challenge their thinking by sharing it with others so that we might all have a broader base of understanding how others feel

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 3 2019 16:26 utc | 21

Do People Comment Too Much?

Speaking about MoA with an average of 54 comments per post, and as a comment junkie, my answer would be "No". I like to know what people are thinking, or pretending to think. I'm usually late to a new thread and am often pleased to note that someone has already expressed a version of my pov.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 3 2019 16:32 utc | 22

1 post per 100 page views. Not much I would have thought.
But then clearly I comment far too much.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Jul 3 2019 16:36 utc | 23

Perhaps some people don't comment because they don't want to go against the prevailing consensus....assuming there is one.

Posted by: dh | Jul 3 2019 16:36 utc | 24

It also helps if the comments are in a readable typeface. With a clearer reply mechanism (seeing which comments reply to which comments) that also allows for multidimensional branching/threading, a person could really get a sense of the ways the commentators influence one another.

I'm not even sure who I'm responding to.

Posted by: Charles R | Jul 3 2019 16:38 utc | 25

Short answer: No, except for the resident trolls, of course,.

Posted by: Lozion | Jul 3 2019 16:41 utc | 26

@Paul #17 who responds:
"What a passive aggressive question."

Why do you think that, Paul?

Posted by: Evelyn | Jul 3 2019 16:45 utc | 27

For the most part I like the comment section. It feels like I am getting a university course on Geopolitics. Lots of informative links as well. I also have learned that some skimming is needed for me. EG, some armchair quarterbacking of what a certain country should do or the minutiae of bomb or crash debris.

Posted by: arby | Jul 3 2019 16:48 utc | 28

Do readers comment too much on MoA? Of course not. The proportion of accuracy and sincerity in comments here is quite high compared to many other websites. It is moderated as it must be but reasonably so.

Elsewhere the comments can be anything from extensive childish emotional ad homs to rational discussion to no commenting allowed at all. Moderation ranges from heavy to none.

Also, there's the matter of the type of commenting system: Built-in or external (Disqus, FB); threaded, rated, or just linear like here.

I would prefer threaded comments with replies adjacent to the relevant previous comment, but otherwise MoA's comments work well enough and are of a higher quality overall.

The more mature will only comment when they have something substantive to say, but of course, the nature of the internet's easy anonymity will always lure some to take advantage of any opportunity to vent their immature emotional frustrations. Some self-policing plus reasonable moderation keeps a comment section civil and productive, something I appreciate on this site.

Posted by: dus7 | Jul 3 2019 17:01 utc | 29

Commentary can lead to discourse, which generally leads to heightened learning and understanding thus elevating the overall level of intellect for both active and passive participants. The topic initiated by b leads the way, but it can then morph into several tangential topics that enhance the entire discourse, which is what's occurring on the previous thread. The open threads provide an opportunity for information sharing that's close to unique over the years of my internet interactions.

Moon of Alabama's news content as supplied by b is worth visiting the site by itself. What makes Moon of Alabama an outstanding website and information source is its commentary and the discourse it generates.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 3 2019 17:19 utc | 30

Too much comment is just enough (h/t Mark Twain).

Posted by: Ozzie Maland | Jul 3 2019 17:36 utc | 31

People comment too much.
Facts, with truth, ought to be encouraged and opinions not based upon facts discouraged. That's my opinion.
I have an opinion on verbosity also; anything over a hundred words I skip over.
Going off topic? Also a skipper, in most cases.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 3 2019 17:40 utc | 32

This is the best site on the internet both because of the insights B provides and quality of the comments.

Posted by: David | Jul 3 2019 17:42 utc | 33

I'll try to take the hint.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jul 3 2019 17:50 utc | 34

First time I'm commenting on MOA. Been here daily for maybe two years. Awesome articles b, with depth and often some information I didn't see elsewhere. I've never posted here before because there is little I can add to what the other commenters bring to the table. I don't want to want to waste peoples time reading something that really doesn't inform the regulars of anything they didn't already know. I always read the comments though, and on this site, the commenters are pretty awesome (except lately, the standard lowered a bit and seems some trolls/paid for commenters have arrived sometimes).

Seems only 1% comments compared to page views. Interesting.

Anyway, greeting to everyone from Cape Town.

Posted by: pmurgs | Jul 3 2019 17:56 utc | 35

Nearly forty-one million total pageviews, versus just over four hundred thousand comments. Slightly less than one comment per hundred pageviews. Doesn't sound excessive. As well as b's outstanding real journalism, I also get excellent facts and insights from several of the regular commenters here - some as good a b himself. MoA is a daily must for me, comments and all.

Posted by: Rhisiart Gwilym | Jul 3 2019 18:03 utc | 36


Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em, I allus say.

Posted by: Ort | Jul 3 2019 18:15 utc | 37

MoA is a daily read or check in to see if there is an article. And usually I read most of the comments. Indeed I prefer to check out and read the articles on those websites which allow for comments, the less heavily moderated the better because, whether I like some of the responses or not, freedom of thought and speech are essentials in this increasingly censored, Orwellian western world.

Trolls are a pain in the arse, but even they have their place - sort of. (It helps remind one that what we think and write and do is being monitored somewhere, by somebody even if an idiot with nowt else to do.) Of course, we are being "monitored" online to a greater or lesser extent - isn't that what the NSA does?

So thank you b.

Posted by: AnneR | Jul 3 2019 18:24 utc | 38

"god writing attracts good comments."

For as many millennia you care to include, God has neither written nor commented.

Only men have claimed to know what he might be thinking.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Jul 3 2019 18:29 utc | 39

On the whole, no. I stopped reading most comment sections a while ago because they are mindless circle-jerks of confirmation bias and/or troll fests. MoA is one of few exceptions to that rule. One can find new perspectives, information, and, to an extent, engage in debate.
That said, commenters are as varied as they come; some are thoughtful and insightful, others I have learned to simply skip over.
But as stated, the comment section here is as good as one will find anywhere.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Jul 3 2019 18:31 utc | 40

As an avid lurker of your posts and comment threads, I wish you'd delete all the repetitious, trollish, unnecessary reply-to-trollish, badly composed, and incomprehensible comments (together maybe 30% of all comments) before I've wasted my time reading them all. Otherwise a great site.

Posted by: pokum | Jul 3 2019 18:33 utc | 41

This blog was originally a "comments" blog after Billmon got pissed-off with the standard of comments from the rabble he attracted (including b of course).

Posted by: DM | Jul 3 2019 18:43 utc | 42

@4 Anon

Also, give us the power of up and down votes.

No, please don't. As anyone who is familiar with Reddit knows, the number of up or down votes a comment receives says nothing about its validity, accuracy or truthfulness. It simply tells you how many people voted it up or down. The entire concept is actually worse than useless because many people will downvote any comment they do not agree with or don't want to hear and many people will skip reading comments that don't have a lot of upvotes and some sites even hide them from view if they don't get a certain number of positive votes.

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 3 2019 18:47 utc | 43

Because b allows different opinions well presented that are different from mine, I have often either changed or moderated my own. I'd be reluctant to second guess his choices of how many comments to feature on a given subject. The freedom I see here is an excellent reminder that we all ought to get along better.

[I had another point to make, but my feeble mind has lost track of it - oh, using an analogy from the cricket world cup currently underway, b is the Kane Williamson of site captains! And the team isn't too bad either.]

Posted by: juliania | Jul 3 2019 18:50 utc | 44

It's a watering hole, a locus of ideas, and the supporting links are often very interesting... The comments are fun and good... I comb through the comments with care.

People ought to read more... real books. But discourse at a symposium is good.

Posted by: Walter | Jul 3 2019 18:52 utc | 45

There are strange stories on the net about the Russian sub which caught fire a few days ago. There are reports of a US submarine having been torpedoed, Mike Pence being called back, emergency meetings taking place between US, Russia and EU. Hoax or truth? I hoped to find some infirmation on Moon of Alabama but I guess it is too early. Just weird that the Russian news stressed that their sub was in Russian waters. Hopefully we will soon know more.

Posted by: Anxious Joe | Jul 3 2019 19:07 utc | 46

Anxious Joe, for breaking news I use Sputnik :

Sputnik news : submarine fire

Posted by: Featherless | Jul 3 2019 19:16 utc | 47

I often wonder why do 'they' leave
MOA and other alternate media alone ?

Perhaps to keep the people from pounding
the streets like those swarming adolecense in HK.

Posted by: denk | Jul 3 2019 19:23 utc | 49

denk @49--

MoA is monitored and infiltrated by both un- and sophisticated trolls who regularly place FUD and attempt to steer the narrative, the trend being toward greater sophistication as the numerous and now uncovered UK/MI-5/6 ops have shown.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 3 2019 19:35 utc | 50

To karlof1's point: Craig Murray's recent post: How To Spot A Twitter Troll notes:

It is a matter of simple fact that the British government employs a very large number of people whose full time job is to influence the political narrative on social media. The 77th Brigade of the British Army, the Integrity Initiative, MI5 and MI6 and GCHQ all run major programmes of covert online propaganda. These information warriors operate on twitter, facebook, and in comments sections across the internet.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 3 2019 19:39 utc | 51

@ denk 49

Because "they" like to know what people are thinking, but no-one talks to them ?

We're better and safer in is what you must be saying

See what you've done Anxious Joe, you've sent the comment section off topic ! :D .

I'll be quiet now.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 3 2019 19:45 utc | 52

@ anon 4, Arioch 12, james 15, Daniel 43

Please don't change a thing, b.

One suspects that "vote brigading" by the usual suspects would derail discussions here if given a chance.

Posted by: farm ecologist | Jul 3 2019 20:00 utc | 53

On the whole, I find the comments section in MoA to be the best of any news/current events site on the web. Some of the commenters are exceedingly well informed and, dare I say, erudite. Others, not so much, but at least trolls are infrequent visitors. In addition, commenters engaging in back-and-forth argumentation and name-calling is a rarity. On sites such as "The Intercept," it is the norm.

And no, I don't think that there are too many comments.

Posted by: Rob | Jul 3 2019 20:00 utc | 54

I applaud the depth and civility of discussion at MoA. I wish I could enjoy the same at a real bar. I'm quite surprised that MOA isn't overrun by rude, angry, idiotic trolls. Don't show any cat videos or celebrity gossip, lest they find out about you. Cheers, Piggly.

Posted by: piggly | Jul 3 2019 20:01 utc | 55

@48 I wonder what Jeremy would say if a bunch of young UKIP folk broke into Westminster and trashed it.

Posted by: dh | Jul 3 2019 20:04 utc | 56

"The world is a hellish place, and bad commenting is destroying the quality of our suffering."
Borrowed from Tom Waits.

Posted by: Linus | Jul 3 2019 20:17 utc | 57

denk @49

You think there are few professional trolls here? The real higher-paid pros will disguise their narrative "payload" within posts that sound like they are agreeing with you. Most are not that good, though, and are just "Me too!" astroturfers who try to add weight to the official narratives through simple repetition, or by supporting the above-mentioned pros.

How many professional trolls (of all skill and wage levels) do you think there are in the world? Consider that there may be as much as a half a million in the US alone, and you can see that it would be very surprising if MoA didn't attract a few.

To be certain, most professional trolls are paid to post positive product reviews on sites like Amazon, or drum up interest in commercial products on Reddit, Facebook, or Twitter. Even if 90% of the astroturfers are employed that way it still leaves many, many thousands for working on geopolitical narratives of interest to the empire.

Those chain coffee shop with free wifi that are crowded with Millennials tapping away on laptops or tablets? No small number of those individuals are actually working their primary (or secondary after being an Uber driver) employment. If you can get them to admit what they do they will describe it as "Internet Marketing", or if they are being particularly honest they might say "Social Media Marketing". If you are a Millennial with more than a one person circle of friends then you probably personally know at least one individual employed in the trolling industry.

People in that industry tend to not brag about it in public, and will even be evasive about any specifics of their work with friends since the job is on par with standing on a street corner in a costume twirling a sign for a payday loan shark, but you should be able to spot them IRL if you look.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 3 2019 20:25 utc | 58

@Anon #4
@Arioch #12
Up and down votes are a social media construct. They have no place in a forum for discussion of ideas - rather, they're about peer pressure and peer approval (2 sides of the same coin).
I second Arioch's view that these should not become a feature on MoA.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 3 2019 20:29 utc | 59

Yes there is too much commenting and there is a problem in a bigger picture.
Because what we have is 1 creator (that is b) of content and... just alot of commentating.
It would be much more giving if EACH commentator had their own blog, social media account, that is the stuff that could cause political change. We need to flourish. Imagine we all had like a blog of our own and so much traffic, commentating as this site have.
Its great to talk with people here of course, but still, who reads it more than people that we already agree with?

Posted by: Zanon | Jul 3 2019 20:30 utc | 60

One feature that would be nice, would be response trees in the comments.
While more and more commenters are adopting the @name #post to denote who they are responding to, it is a significant chore to process to find responses.
Not a drop-dead request, just a "nice to have".

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 3 2019 20:32 utc | 61

Having read the intervening comments since my facetious post, two opinions:

• The present level of moderation, however taxing it may be for B., is optimal. I've been advocating "trollshunning" for about 15 years, and believe that simple scrolling skills are sufficient to bypass commenters one deems as unworthy for whatever reason. My acute anti-authoritarian bias makes me cringe (OK, scowl) when I read pleas to B. to rid us of some meddlesome intruder forthwith.

• I also agree with those who indicate that upvoting and other "self-policing" gimmicks are a needless detriment. At best, voting or "liking" schemes turn threads into popularity contests; at worst, they are easily and routinely gamed by malicious actors to obliquely control and manipulate the discussion.

Self-appointed "comments commissars", whether or not they obsequiously flatter the site owner that they are volunteering as devoted vigilantes for all the right reasons, fall into the latter category.

Posted by: Ort | Jul 3 2019 20:39 utc | 62


1. The 'passive aggressive' (how?) headline followed Batteridge's law:

Betteridge's law of headlines is an adage that states: "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no."

2. The numbers from the Typepad statistics do not tell the full story. They are average over nearly 15 years of blogging. There are now quite often more than 200 comments on a post that has 30-50,000 pageviews. Moderating those comments is quite taxing.

3. Comments on MoA are moderated but only very rudimentary and only if your host has the time and energy to do it. Spam and (self-)promotions get filtered out. Insults of other commentators get deleted. 'Racist' comments are shunned, their authors get banned. Your barkeeper has become pretty ruthless in doing this and one or the other comment may get deleted just by chance. Sorry - but shit happens - I sometimes overreach.

This post is meant to say thanks to all commentators who together provide 400.000+ comments of feedback, ideas and information to me. I would not want to write without your input and response. And no, I have absolutely no intent to change the features or style of the comments here.

Posted by: b | Jul 3 2019 21:41 utc | 63

good to hear! thanks b!

Posted by: james | Jul 3 2019 21:52 utc | 64


Posted by: Take2 | Jul 3 2019 21:58 utc | 65

I rarely comment because by the time I've read all 200-ish comments there's a new thread and I expect few read comments on old threads. Also, I will probably have little new to add and see no point in just adding #MeToo to discussion of the latest depredations and deceptions of The Empire.

As unique names is not a feature, and there is at least one other person with my chosen name, the possiblity for confusion or even potentially worse inhibits me a little. So when I do post I now add a geographical suffix to help the NSACIAMI5MI6 track me down and prepare for the day when they drag me off to room 101.

On the whole I like to think that the quality of the comments reflect the journalistic qualities of our host, although it disapoints a little to see dissenting or contrasting views sometimes attracting more ad homs then necessary.

And one more thing: RIP Justin Raimondo. 20 years ago he helped persuade me that the most important divide wasn't left-right but pro-anti Empire. A great polemicist and his passing will leave a hole that I hope will be filled by the fine writings of Caitlin Johnstone. That she is a leftist and he was a rightist reinforces my point, I believe.

Posted by: Ash (London) | Jul 3 2019 22:11 utc | 66

@ b 63

I think OP caught the passive aggressive idea from a play on the fact that the question asks for comments about whether people comment too much. Obviously this puts the commentator in a dificult position if viewed a certain way, because by commenting and saying yes, well he should not comment then. The question is passive and I think most people took it as open and inclusive, but as the host has the deciding hand, which in real terms means that the "correct answer" can be understood as his in terms of moderating the quantity of comments that pass or all of them even, then if someone is focused on that reality, in total it might seem as if they are being purposefully cornered, and consider that an aggression.

Equally it can be taken to mean "Which comments or commentators are surplus?" , something which might pit commentators against each other.


It is fair OP expresses his view IMO, but instead of leaving the statement as something accusatory, he should have explained more fully maybe why he has that view to his host, so b. is able to understand it and reassure. If OP had done that and thought it through he would probably have come to the conclusion before posting that that was not b's intent. I think b just asked to get a sense of how others find comment volume (and style maybe).

Posted by: gzon | Jul 3 2019 23:32 utc | 67

Karlof1 #30: "Moon of Alabama's news content as supplied by b is worth visiting the site by itself. What makes Moon of Alabama an outstanding website and information source is its commentary and the discourse it generates."

Perfectly expressed, Karlof1. Exactly my assessment. I enthusiastically and often recommend Bernhard's website--praising both his posts and commenters. Friends in D.C., several of whom are retired diplomats, academics, and journalists--
all need to be exposed to views presented on MoA. As you can imagine, especially now and especially in this city, it's daunting. As Caitlin Johnstone urges-- we have to make dissenting ideas mainstream and the quality of b's commenters contribute to that.

Posted by: Glorious Bach | Jul 3 2019 23:35 utc | 68

for those who remember the noise here during the Iran color revolution attempt, before b took a break (if I have the sequence correct) the comment section regularly spilled over 200. I was guilty of feeding trolls then and regret participating in what ultimately can dilute the usefulness of the addendum to b's excellent analysis.

I do appreciate much of the commentary and mostly refrain from commenting because I don't have much to add that hasn't already been better said by others.

I will say that from inside America (Montana, to be specific) we absolutely have lost our collective minds. where once I could get some response in pointing out the utter corruption of our two party political system, Trump's ascension has so polarized people that those against Trump literally can't absorb criticism of Democrats, and vice versa. I tried explaining to a co-worker how Obama solidified the power grab of Bush, expanded wars, killed US citizens with drones and without due've heard it all before, but she literally stopped me and said she didn't want to hear it.

people here are traumatized, afraid, financially squeezed and kept in a near-frenzied state of hatred at the opposing political ideology. not an excuse, just an observation.

to all the non-American commenters here, I'm sorry we've become this rampaging monster with 0 awareness of our imperial trampling of the world since WWII.


Posted by: lizard | Jul 3 2019 23:45 utc | 69

A week ago on sunday I was about to write a comment on this specific topic after reading the numbers of comments in your last 10-15 articles you published. From 100 to more than 300, which is huge. I was wondering if you read all the comments or not, and if you do, does this task make you lose some time to search everyday for an interesting topic.

Posted by: Paul | Jul 3 2019 23:55 utc | 70

"Do People Comment Too Much?"

This is a question we should put to b, since he is the only one who has to read every one... And closely, to assure they are 'suitable content'.

The rest of us can ignore the worst, or most, or all, if we like.

Posted by: Evangelista | Jul 4 2019 0:04 utc | 71

The comment section is fine. There are many comments I think are nuts, but there are many good, informative ones. All you have to do is scroll through. And the light moderation appears to remove those comments which are really offensive.

Posted by: sleepy | Jul 4 2019 0:18 utc | 72

And no, I have absolutely no intent to change the features or style of the comments here.
Posted by: b | Jul 3 2019 21:41 utc | 63

Yep. Good enough will always be Good Enough.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 4 2019 1:36 utc | 73

@b - since you asked.

There are too many comments.

There are two causes of this.

There are trolls - but they don't stay unless they they are fed.

There are brilliant, wonderful people, with facts and insights - and they talk too much.


As the comment-count increases (and as some, including b, have already observed, it is indeed increasing), those who love this place could restrict their comments in order to rarify the discussion.

As if the air were becoming scarce.

As if we all had to share in that air.


I don't really expect any of the talkers to hear this, although I expect many of the non-talking readers will understand completely.

And sometimes we must learn to watch these things occur, knowing what is, hating what is, but moving on filled with the knowledge of what is.

And there will always be a next thing.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 4 2019 4:44 utc | 74

To follow Grieved's comment, yes. When I was young I talked too much, and did not listen. Barflies J, J, D, C, you will never even read this, but please use your indoor voices. Like in the library. Shhhhh.

Posted by: jonku | Jul 4 2019 5:42 utc | 75

dh 56

This is why fukus is so sickening.

It'd never tolerate a Chinese backed protest movement
in their midst, never mind Chinese 'cell leaders'
directing the rioters on the ground, as is so evident
in the HK mayhem.

Yet the Brits have the cheek to summon Chinese envoy
for warning, while low life Pompeo, Rubio,
Pelosi grandstand with their HK compradors in
Washington !

All this while, they accuse China of 'interfering',
even 'infiltrating trojans' in the 5liars domain,
all without credible evidence, of course.

Posted by: denk | Jul 4 2019 8:43 utc | 76


As you and other veterans know, my record on OT
is immaculate, almost negligible.

This is my first OT post in a long long time.
I'd have posted it in the open thread, but its so far down
, without the side bar showing latest comments, people
most likely would miss it .:-(

on sock puppets,
I know all about it, even pointed out some suspects.

What i mean is, for tolerating MOA all these years,
it might be 'their' ploy to keep people here instead of
on the streets.

Posted by: denk | Jul 4 2019 8:46 utc | 77


MY confession,
didnt read your comment on OT before posting, :-(

Posted by: denk | Jul 4 2019 8:57 utc | 78

On tracking response,
its best to include moniker when replying,instead of
merely post no.

So we can track reponses in a long thread simply
by searching for our own moniker.

Posted by: denk | Jul 4 2019 9:01 utc | 79

denk 80

the first para needs some amendment...

'It'd never tolerate a foreign backed protest movement
in their midst, never mind foreign 'cell leaders'
directing the rioters on the ground, as is so evident
in the HK mayhem.'

Posted by: denk | Jul 4 2019 9:33 utc | 80

The tanker that was boarded off Gibraltar, was it in international waters? I cannot see why it would deliberately divert into Gibraltar territorial waters with the risk of this happening. If it was in international waters, what legal authority is there for the action?

Posted by: Norfolk Eagle | Jul 4 2019 10:30 utc | 81

Jonku @ 75

Ok, I've been racking my brain...(J)ackrabbit, (J)ames, (D)onkeytale.....but who is C?

I too believed this diary was a clever play by b, a sort of forced conundrum and also and admonition (which I'm trying to take to heart srsly) to emphasise quality over quantity. He may not have meant any of this at all but perception is reality, as they say.

Many, me included, tend to fall into basic repetition of the ideas with which we feel most comfortable...sometimes I notice there is an evolution of thought process involved which is excitingly different from simply repeating the same schtick over and over and over again my friend as if it were a club made out of a mantra. [projection alert]

As for trolls, I am with the commenter who stated somewhere (maybe not even this thread) that labelling someone a troll simply because they may present an idea that is considered antithetical to the "prevailing MoA zeitgeist" (which of course is itself a fallacy) is indeed one of the very, very few issues I have with this site's commenters, especially among those who consider themselves "long time regular users" or some such nonsense, as if that status somehow confers upon them special privilege to be a dick whenever someone disagrees with them.

Although I happily admit this issue is easily handled by b, who doesn't widely wield a banhammer in response to any self-perceived blog posse's whining about trolls.

As for paid trolls, these of course exist somewhere in reality but much moreso in the paranoid delusions of certain commenters (who tend for some reason to be the similar in type to the ones mentioned in the paragraphs above): I have long since stated when accused of being paid astroturf (it's only happened to me about 1 MM times since 2004) I fervently wish someone would've paid me for all of the obvious brilliance I have consistently displayed lo! these many years of my internet addiction.

Posted by: donkeytale | Jul 4 2019 14:31 utc | 82

"Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness"

Samuel Beckett

Posted by: mahood | Jul 4 2019 14:51 utc | 83

@82 donkeytale.. - circe... and fwiw, jonku and greived are entitled to their opinion, but as jonku proves - they don't get it right sometimes either...

Posted by: james | Jul 4 2019 15:01 utc | 84

Oh yes how could I forget Circe! Lmao, good one James.

Posted by: donkeytale | Jul 4 2019 15:19 utc | 85

and fwiw - for all i know jonku might have meant don bacon, as opposed to donkeytale... his post is flat out silly and wrong and i am surprised he doesn't have the jam to name names.. oh well.. i lost some respect for jonku on that post..

Posted by: james | Jul 4 2019 15:22 utc | 86

Funny, James, I was going to post the same comment after reading Don's newest comment about lying in bed dreaming of annihilating the US navy base in Bahrain...Don, when I lie in bed playing with my missile I'm usually dreaming about something different, normally considered the exact opposite of going to war....

Posted by: donkeytale | Jul 4 2019 15:28 utc | 87

I highly value the comment section on MoA, which is a very valuable source of information, opinion and worthwhile links. That said, I agree with Grieved Jul 4 2019 4:44 utc | 74 that there are too many comments. It would be worth considering before posting: "am I really adding something worthwhile to to discussion or not?".

If there were 50 comments per post it really wouldn't matter nearly so much if there were a sizable number of comments of low value among them, but when there are 200 to 300 comments they become a dead weight which are an obstacle to finding those gems that are hidden somewhere on almost every page. Maybe some people have a lot of free time on their hands (I think the average age of commenters on MoA is quite high), but not everybody has the time to trawl through so many comments.

There are a few commenters who post very infrequently, but their posts are always very worthwhile - Grieved is one of them, and others include Old Microbiologist, Bevin, and others (Karlof1 is a rare exception though - very frequent commenter, but almost always worthwhile!)

This sentence from Grieved is well worth repeating and thinking about: "I don't really expect any of the talkers to hear this, although I expect many of the non-talking readers will understand completely."

Surprisingly, almost none of the commenters in this thread seem to have understood the purpose of B's question! (Maybe you are being too subtle, B). Most seem to think he is asking their for opinion on the matter ... yes, talkers especially (see above). No, see B's comment @63 point 2. It is intended as a very polite (perhaps too polite?) prod in the side to have more compassion for our all-patient and all-tolerant host who has to keep the site in order, or in other words moderate 200 to 300 comments, which takes up a considerable amount of his precious time and thereby reduces his capacity for writing (including researching) more articles. So think about it fellow commenters, if you can resist the urge sometimes, you will get more posts from B!

That is my opinion, as always I can be mistaken. I suspect the recent article on his working day was also intended as such a prod - sorry B, it was too subtle, it didn't work, comments even increased instead of decreasing! (But a very nice post all the same, especially those lovely photos!) Sometime earlier there was also a post on site statistics, which might have been aimed in a similar direction, at least in part.

Taken as a whole, MoA has a high quality of comments. So much so, that even the many trolls are under pressure to fit in with the high standards. But when the number of comments gets so high the true gems are harder to find and that detracts from the potential value for readers as well as creating so much extra workload for B.

So let's all try and be a bit more selective in our comments, can we?

Sorry to go on and on at such length as is my wont, but the following point may be illuminating: again and again I see comments wishing for a 15 minute edit period. If you are really in need of a 15 minute edit period then that shows your comment is posted impetuously - and you should seriously consider whether the post is worthwhile or just a kneejerk reaction. There is in fact already a 15 minute edit period (or 30 minutes, 1 hour, whatever you need) - just STOP after writing, and pause for 15 minutes before pressing the post button! Voila, so easy, like magic! At the same time as checking for corrections, you can consider whether the comment is a worhtwhile adornment to the discussion or just a kneejerk reaction.

Posted by: BM | Jul 4 2019 18:08 utc | 88

I'm willing to accept large amounts of chaff if it also means more wheat. Sometimes I'm not in a patient enough mood to plow through all the comments to find the good stuff. Maybe some sort of rating or sorting system would be helpful. The point about avoiding the mob/groupthink tendency that can occur with rating systems is substantial, however. Maybe a thread view format would help, with a sorting system for threads that could be based on number of replies, number of external links, recent activity, or upvotes. Upvotes could be credited to the entire thread, thus negating their use for burying individual posts. Of course that all gets into some geeky technical stuff that might not be realistic to add to the expense and workload of our host. If we want format enhancements, it seems the first thing we would need to do would be to get out our wallets.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Jul 4 2019 20:15 utc | 89

Naw man, comment sections make any blog or website far more engaging. And even if comments are often just like pissing in the wind, the possibility that even one person will read your comment makes it worth it for many of us. It's cathartic, particularly when discussions of politics and foreign policy in our real lives is so often going to be frustrating and superficial.

More websites need to have reply and upvote/downvote functions though. That's what really makes comment sections fun, and it'll also give you a better idea of what your readership is really all about. IME it does tend to nudge people into the direction of being more brief and funnier, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Getting punchlines at the top of the comment section makes blog poss all the more interesting.

Posted by: QueenOfMorphine | Jul 5 2019 9:50 utc | 90

@vk, 7

"The Independent, for example, rarely has 100+ comment articles (a very hot one has 150-250); "
The independent heavily censors the comments. Many people who criticised Israel, in the glory days before the censorship really got going, simply cannot any longer, post anything in the comments section. I can try, but then when I try to post what I have written, it simply evaporates. I notice too, than many of the names that used to appear in the comments section, no longer do so.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Jul 5 2019 10:32 utc | 91

Clarke R 25.

I think the way one can reference the posts that people have made and are replying to on Ron Unz's site is brilliant. Do I think up and down vote a good idea? No.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Jul 5 2019 13:13 utc | 92

denk @48

"WTF's with the Brits ?"

As they themselves say: "Some mothers do 'ave 'em!"

Sorry about that! It's just that whoever in DC is in charge of the British colony, is choosing some really outstandingly stupid FMs and DMs. "Shut up and go away" Williamson, this Jeremy(sorry about the misspelling!) Hunt and Boris the hair Johnson being prize examples.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Jul 5 2019 13:34 utc | 93

On the whole No.

I admit I don’t read everything when there are more than 100 posts, which makes the whole exercise a bit silly- on my part I mean.

Obviously, some ppl will be seen as posting too much (repetitive, unoriginal, too much space taken up), or too little..

Problem: once the judgment of too many is made, what can be done about it? One can limit the number, the space, but that seems a pity, and would be unfair to ppl in a situation where they can only read/post at a time when the thread(s) already have 90 posts, or are late in day - might cut out some interesting stuff - miss an important post - etc.

Other moves to restrict require cherry-picking and mods. Or a completely different structure, like a ‘forum’ board, with separate thread topics: Venezuela, Syria, Brexit, etc.

Some inconvenience is best ignored.

Also, give us the power of up and down votes.

A terrible idea. I understand ppl think it is ‘democratic’ but it is not, it is just an oppo for ppl to express a non-argued, non-justifiable opinion, which makes them experience a rush of feel-good.

Empowered, in charge, expressing themselves!

(Many votes in ‘democracies’ do the same, but that is for another day.)

It is part and parcel of the societal poison that is Face Book, and is calculated by the PTB to wreak ravages of divide-and-rule at the micro level. It is working. (A fight is going on, again, another day.)

The ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ that ppl click-pick leads to polarisation and new forms of in-groups and cults that are ‘virtual’ (on-line) thus ripping ppl away from their ‘natural’ and needed ties, their family, neighbors, geo-proximals, work-place mates or prof. associations, belonging to some community (ex. pol party, Union, church, prof. community, adherents to scientific study, farming options and challenges, etc..) and having some relationship to local politicians / influentials, even despots, lousy bosses, distant structures, etc.

The result of offering the like/dis button, I have seen twice (F boards, I was a mod on one), is that well written, consensual opinions that condemn (never praise!) some person / ppl / group, pols (parties), policies, happenings, get a lot of up-votes.

Generally speaking, the present authorities in whatever country get flack (ex. Trump, Sarkozy, treatment of migrants, tax policies, etc.) in second place parts of State (police..) and so on. Then what?

Nothing. Steam is let off. Whhooof.

Plays right into the PTB playbook.

Marginals, original thinkers, outsiders, personal experience (always valid imho) etc. not to mention diffident ppl who don’t want to hate on or vilify others, become gradually excluded, downvoted, and internet communities come to resemble the very authorities they claim to oppose!

With Capos who have mod privileges! (Some are straight out bought by the PTB, as I saw.)

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 5 2019 14:45 utc | 94

I have been thinking about your question for a while and observing the evolving participation in your comment section and do think you may be pointing to a solution to your comment management problem.

If you state a limit on the number of comments to any particular thread from a specific commenter as well as word count it will challenge us all to do better and I believe it will make it quite clear who the trolls are for you to off.

Every computer has an editor that can provide word count and it is about time we put more effort into our comments.

At least a comment number limit would relieve us/you of some of the seemingly obvious obfuscation being added to your site.

Your site is a threat to the Western order and money is no object to change the tenor of your site so it is less effective in telling the truth. I have to admit being personally incensed by some of the more recent volume commenters here and responding poorly to those that think any use of nukes is some how moral.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 5 2019 19:32 utc | 95

Thank you, donkeytale my friend, for your measured reply. We're speaking the same language.

My own enjoyment of this site depends on the topics that interest me, mostly economics and international relations. As an autodidact, oops sorry, self-taught individual, the links to well-researched and scholarly articles similar in essence to our host's contributions are my bread and butter.

Like many others I have gained substantial knowledge by following links posted by the ever-changing group of trusted commenters. That trust is built over time, and of course is just a matter of personal taste. However the basis for that trust is whether or not an individual commenter's ongoing statements and links make sense to me as a whole.

There could also be another approach to browsing the Moon of Alabama site, where the reward is interaction between individual commenters who relish argument, seek agreement and possibly validation by being heard and acknowledged within this forum. That's fair too, but the interpersonal content tends to obscure the gems I seek. That being said I do enjoy the personal anecdotes and history that pop up now and then, so I'm advocating for a happy medium.

My request to "use your indoor voices" is simply that: please, everyone, consider the value of your comments to the community as a whole. We seem to agree this is a unique and welcoming place, let's keep it that way!

Posted by: jonku | Jul 5 2019 20:20 utc | 96

And no reporting on the hijacking of the Grace 1?!

Posted by: Eddy Bernays | Jul 6 2019 12:17 utc | 97

I noticed a perhaps couple of recent new articles by b here, based on comments under earlier articles. I think one of them was the posted video regarding the FluDubai flight to Rostov On Don.

The other one may have been in a 'Week in Review' section.

Posted by: Shyaku | Jul 7 2019 1:23 utc | 98

The only problem I see with commenting is; mistaking commenting for action...

Posted by: V | Jul 8 2019 1:41 utc | 99

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