The Reveal on the Really Uncomfortable April Fool's Joke
Of course it was an April Fool’s joke. Of course we aren’t going to censor comments. You have any idea how difficult that is? I’ve been sitting in front of the computer for three hours moderating. I’m hungry.
But to the extent that it worked (and as you can see now that all the comments are published, there were a ton of people who naturally caught on), it worked because there is a grain of truth to it (the mock self-righteous anger didn’t hurt). And there were a lot of (uncomfortable for us) commenters that were behind the idea. We’d expected it to some degree. But it would never work. We wouldn’t want it to work. We really, honestly have no intention of censoring anyone. Hell, real-life friendships have been formed in the comments section, and were sure as hell not going to discourage that. It’s amazing.
However, the hijacking was a topic of discussion at SXSW. And I will concede that the I Love You, Man comment thread did irritate me (and apparently some of the unwitting targets). We all get occasionally irritated with the off-topic discussion and the constant sexual banter. But, that’s what makes this place what it is. We fucking dig the spirit of Pajiba, and AlabamaPink’s unfortunate passing reminded us of a time before the Eloquents were trying to constantly rid each other of their virtual undies, when the wit and the banter was a little more organic and flowed from the posts and not somebody’s decision to completely derail the conversation. That’s perfectly cool to do, and even encouraged in certain posts, particularly where we prompt it — Pajiba Love, the comment diversions, Seriously Random Lists, and even the trade news. It just gets under our skin when it’s the reviews — whether they’re good or not, or whether you agree with them or not, we really do put a lot of effort into them. And I hope you won’t stomp on our sincerity for saying so.
Likewise, I’ve met folks in real life who read the site, who expressed some of the sentiments revealed in the comments to that April Fool’s post — mostly, that some of the regulars have a tendency to alienate. The number of delurkers that came out this past week to express their sympathy for Pink, in a way, validated that — there are a lot more people who read the comments section than who comment. Some of them love reading the comments, some get annoyed or worse, and some want to be a part of it (or once were a part of it), but have felt alienated recently. There’s nothing we can do from a practical standpoint to remedy that, except to perhaps encourage a more inviting atmosphere in the comments. We don’t want to lose any of the hyper-fueled wit generated in the comments section, but it would be nice if more folks felt comfortable commenting. And that might mean not asking a newbie to take off her clothes, or trashing a commenter for disagreeing with a writer (we can take it — we’re as hostile as anyone, and we certainly can’t complain if the hostility is redirected back at us). We dig disagreement. Some of us *ahem* even beg for it.
In the end, though: It is your site as much as it is ours. And that’s the way we like it. If we didn’t get comments anymore, our hearts would shrivel and die. They honest-to-fucking God drive many of us, day-to-day. I spend half my day writing posts, and half of it reading the comments, and a good deal of the time, I feel like I’m on the wrong side of the comment line. There have been times when I’ve tried to distance myself just to keep perspective, but I’m always pulled back. You people are glorious, hilarious, venom-spewing, railing-against-the-world, angry awesome motherfuckers, and I hope to God it stays that way. It’d be a sad, soulless world without you.
Now, back to unmoderated comments. Rail away, folks.