Since we left the World Table comment system and went back to Disqus, the discussions have gotten bigger and more vigorous, with wider participation. Of course, with that has come the problem of trolls, bad language, and obnoxious behavior. I’ve tried to do a better job of moderating, so I don’t think the problems are overshadowing the good things that are happening with Disqus. Although keep in mind that between the time you flag a comment and when I get around to reading it may be awhile. Also that my judgments may be different from yours.
But now Disqus has a new feature, one that it says is its “most-requested” addition: User Blocking. That means that you, the reader, can block any commenter that you want. If you find someone whom you don’t like to read, who spoils the experience of this blog for you, or, as I guess happens more and more, who is pursuing you from blog to blog insulting your comments, you can block that person. That means you won’t have to read what he or she writes, though others still can. This works across all Disqus platforms. If you wish I would ban someone, but I don’t, just block him or her yourself.
Get more information and see how to block someone after the jump.
So is the demand for this feature another example of the clamor for “safe spaces” on college campuses, where students don’t have to worry about being exposed to ideas that upset them? It could be that, but I hope it isn’t. I see it more as a libertarian solution to trolls and harassers, letting the individual readers be in charge of what they want to read, rather than depending on a moderator-censor. What do you think? [Read more…]