Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Changes to the Site

There are going to be a number of changes to the Belmont Club intended to improve it.

  1. Expandable post headers, in which only the summary of a post will be shown on a page into which the reader can drill down.
  2. Last and most far reaching is an end to unmoderated comments. This is a major change with both good and bad prospective effects. The hope is that it will cut down on noise, principally in that it will encourage posts which, rather than being a couple of phrases long, are with any luck, fairly considered replies. The downside is that because I won't be available to approve comments at all times the flow of the narrative will suffer. There is no way around paying this price. The back and forth will suffer. But the expectation is that commenters will adjust and that it will be win-win by and large.
  3. I'd like to encourage all the readers (and commenters) at the Belmont Club to start their own blogs. It's a better platform to expound on your views and by using the trackback links feature, keep the dialogue going, perhaps not as spontaneously as before, but possibly in more depth.
  4. There are a bunch of other interface enhancements I am looking to implement. Please don't hesitate to email to suggest changes.


Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

Wretchard, these are all excellent suggestions. You recommendation about people starting blogs is an especially good one. I, as you know, do have a blog and on it I have a category that contains a few of my longish replies to Belmont Club posts.

It might be nice if people follow your suggestion and not only set up blogs but also create a category, if possible, for Belmont-inspired posts and, of course, link to them so that they are easily accessible from Belmont blog.

On a related note, several times I have linked to Belmont posts but have never seen the link appear at the bottom. Not sure why this problem persists but I'll keep trying to figure it out.

Again I commend you on the decisions to revise the site and end unmoderated comments.

keep up the fine work!


6/06/2006 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger Barry Meislin said...

improve it.

Not bloody likely.

6/06/2006 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Barry Meislin said...

That is, some things just can't be improved.

And this blog's one of 'em.

6/07/2006 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I think the "headers only" interface is better. Some bloggers, like Joshua Marshall, if memory serves, actually attempt to use the readers as some kind of "hive mind" to research things.

But the Belmont crowd isn't as homogenous I suspect, so there isn't the prospect of using it as a posse.

The problem I'm going to have is moderating comments. There's a fine line between keeping quality and dampening creativity. Well, we'll see how it comes along.

6/07/2006 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

If it works, don't fix it. There is a magic to good design. You do not have to understand how something works to feel the results. The structure of this site has worked because of the lack of tinkering by the landlord. The site did not succomb to egomania such as Powerline or the sheer incoherence of many others. The host presents some remarkable subjects and insights, throws them on the table and returns at times to tidy up or change the menu. The site is not preachy and the dialog mostly interesting. There are some stalwarts who tend the fires when the guvnor tends to other affairs and the pace of subjects is pleasantly unpredictable. But people cannot stand prosperity and we need to suffer through new and improved. Where my grandparents lived was a lovely old pub called the "Fir Trees", Not the prettiest, but one of the most congenial and intelligently designed for what it was meant to be. Have a drink, a smoke and some intelligent conversation, and some not so intelligent, but on human terms a marvel. One day it was thought it would be a good idea to put in some new innovation and slowly the Fir Trees disappeared. Fixed but not forgotten. I hope in your attempt to moderate the comments you don't skim the cream and end up with Belmont Lite.

6/07/2006 12:56:00 AM  
Blogger Sammler said...

A plethora of Belmont Club satellite blogs (kind of a distributed comment system) won't be a viable solution -- it will be as chaotic as the comments but without the flow they provide.

My counter-suggestion is a fairly small set of group blogs -- respectable commenters could make their voices better heard by forming groups worth listening to. Obviously the ones which focused on being worth the reader's time would be most successful.

Does Blogger support group blogs adequately for this purpose?

6/07/2006 01:11:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Let's give it a go.

It may be possible for the best site on the net to get better.

The excellent comments can be lost in some of the noise. If the noise level drops and we stay on topic a bit more, great; if vitality is lost, we can always vote to revert.


6/07/2006 02:34:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

One reader is concerned about the extra click that it takes to navigate to the interior page of the post, plus the overhead required to navigate out to the main page again. The alternative is to leave all of the post on the main page and to use code to hide and unhide the bulk of the post.

For people with a slow dialup connection, the hide/unhide system is probably better because the page is loaded the first time and the processor just works to alter the display.

I will probably go this route later today.

6/07/2006 03:40:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_1 said...


I personally don't blog in any other place so I'm not a great source for innovative thought on updates, however, I would add this:
1. no nudes
2. no blogger girl of the month
3. no fragepange incense burning
I say pip pip old boy for a super blog. Sometimes an extra keystroke might throw the blogger into a tizzy but it also gives us older guys that extra moment to reflect on what the subject at hand is is is, oh yeah and what we want to rant about. I mean contribute to.
Continued success on the best, leave mediocre for the rest.

6/07/2006 03:57:00 AM  
Blogger Huan said...

i think things were fine as was. those that want to commment can. i usually just read your posts.

6/07/2006 04:26:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

After 11 million visitors, something's gotta change.

Good luck

The results will be much like those obtained by the improved "new Coke", though,
me thinks.

6/07/2006 04:55:00 AM  
Blogger erp said...

wretchard, your clean clear uncluttered page view is great and expandable post headers will only make it more so. I'm not sure how the comments column will change the tenor of your blog, but I agree that some comment strings here, and at other popular blogs like LGF, are so full of insider stuff that the casual reader like me loses interest.

6/07/2006 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger sbw said...

Wretchard, you can always retreat if experience dictates it makes sense.

So far as comments are concerned, is it possible to distinguish between newer or untrustworthy commenters and those for whom some degree of reliability has been established? The former could scoot right through and the latter could be passed through once checked. After establishing themselves as reliable, you might change their status.

6/07/2006 05:27:00 AM  
Blogger chthus said...

Another option for comments would to have a two level section. You could have the old comment section as is, with a 'select comment' section set apart. This could be done by highlighting select comments, advancing them to the top or by putting or duplicating them under a separate link. This would allow you to highlight particularly insightful comments or groups of, as well as attach your own replies in a spacially closer manner. At the same time, there would no disruption ofthe temporal flow as it currently exists.

The collapsed headers are a nice addition, especially when you are at the posting pace you have been for the past few days.

Thanks for all of your hard work.

6/07/2006 05:51:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

If there's going to be moderated posts I think there should be a policy page describing what makes a good post and what kind of post will be refused.

After the first fifty responses or so there is a tendency for the threads to go off-topic, for various reasons. Among the reasons is that many of the belmont denizens like to discuss "things" with other belmont denizens but there is only the current thread context at any time to discuss. At lgf Charles has a lot of open threads. The lgf style though is heavier on discussion and lighter on analysis than belmont.

At any rate open threads at times would be one way to allow off-topic discussions without affecting the current topic.

6/07/2006 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

I dislike the changes

As 2164th noted, a good part of the charm of a pub is the company of your fellows. Perhaps more judicious use of the "blog bouncer" for unruly patrons might be a better approach.

As for habu's "no blogger girl of the month" : I would enjoy that

6/07/2006 06:04:00 AM  
Blogger Russell said...

The problem I see with the headers-only format on the main page is that it makes using the RSS feed more attractive that reading the site directly. Now if you could somehow give each post links to the previous and following posts (with their titles), that would change the balance, I think. Readers could start with whichever post interests them and then navigate directly to the others without popping back to the main page in between.

6/07/2006 06:04:00 AM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

Give it a go, W! I always thought they couldn't improve on carne asada - and then I discovered machaca!

Liked sbw's suggestion, but don't think it can be done on Blogger.

Let 'er rip!

6/07/2006 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger Duffy said...

Expandable comments = Boo! Hiss!

Give me the full posts!

6/07/2006 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger Joshua said...

I have no problem with the new comments policy. In fact it has given me an excuse to resurrect my old blog Storming Jericho (which I recently shut down for lack of time to write new original material). I've brought it back and reinvented it as a dedicated vehicle for responses to other blogs, including Belmont Club.

I also like the expandable/collapsible post idea (even if it was stolen from Winds of Change ;-P ).

6/07/2006 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Cobalt Blue said...

Good idea. The extra clicks are not a problem and moderating comments should actually make the comments more accessible.

Makes more work for Wretchard, though--and less time for writing new stuff.

6/07/2006 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...


You might want to look at capturing a few of your commenters as comment reviewers. That way you won't have to babysit each comment - like C.S. Scott at SecurityWatchTower chose to do.

Maybe list them as in a listbox on the left. Not really diarist, but just folks who would get the full list of comments and could accept or deny comments when they are on a post. There are some out there that would review the comments for content and not political or ideological format.

You could then review the reviewers... Or, provide a means for readers and commenters to annotate pleasure or displeasure with coment reviewsers - like EBay.

Don't know if that is possible in Blogger. But, with 11 million hits you might have some clout - even with Google.

6/07/2006 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger the patriarch said...

I'm fairly new here, but I don't see an improvement with the new features from the user end. It probably makes things more efficient on your end, however, and I can understand that. The post headers look like a plain old RSS feed. I don't know, as long as the writing is still good, I'll keep coming back.

6/07/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Alan Kellogg said...

Wretchard said: But the Belmont crowd isn't as homogenous I suspect, so there isn't the prospect of using it as a posse.

It's not homogenity you need, it's heterogenity. A range of experience and outlook. Improves your chance of actually having at least one person who knows something on a subject. Or who has leads to it.

For a group (hive mind?) blog I recommend either WordPress or Movable Type, depending on how you want to work it.

6/07/2006 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

The post headers make more sense to me for the stories that have already been read, or have already been up for a few hours. It's harder for me to be interested in a story when I only see the title and a one line blurb. I've noticed that the posting rate seems to have shot up over the past week to multiple posts per day when I'd been used to one post a day, or maybe one post every few days, and so I suppose the new format is intended to help support that. However, I would probably prefer to see the newest stories in their entirety on the front page if possible. Then perhaps after 6-12 hours the text of those stories could collapse into the headers only format we currently see?

Personally, I would greatly appreciate being able to see at least the top story in its entirety. What do you think?

6/07/2006 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger BigLeeH said...

First, it is your blog; do whatever you want with it. Don't feel that you need to do anything for us. Your blog is too good already: we are not worthy.

That said, what I would do if it were my blog would be to put a link to the comments policy in the template and, in that policy, I would state that comments are not only moderated but that only a small number will be approved. Commenters would be advised to regard the comments they enter as personal (but not private) notes to the moderator which may rarely be shared with other readers in the comments section if they are especially insightful. Commenters would be encouraged to post a copy of any long comments in their own blogs, linking to the Belmont Club item, and to look for their comments, and those of other commenters, in the "Links to This Post" section of the Belmont Club posting.

6/07/2006 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

Interesting Change.

I would suggest including the first three lines of your body in the front page.

I tend to ignore the titles of posts, and look at the first paragraph to decide if I want to read - I also look at the first few comments - and the last comments to decide if I want to read things in detail.

It will take some getting used to as I read very fast and multi-task so this requires more clicks.

Moderation is a good step. You can delegate this task to a a Beyesian Bot, BTW - combined with a workflow - or just enlist someone.

6/07/2006 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Sorry, as one who only throws in a phrase or two here and there, I say "ouch!"

Suggestion: rather than moderating the comments before they're posted, you might try letting them get posted and deleting afterwards. Same result without affecting flow of things.

6/07/2006 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

I think you should consider following what I thought was the original idea behind the Belmont Lounge and provide a link to an associated site where more detailed and perhaps even somewhat OT disussions could be held between fewer people.

You could even say "XXX and YYY why don't y'all take that over to the Belmont Lounge and expand on it as required." This is a common technique in technical meetings and even in Amateur Radio nets.

Anyway, keep up the good work!

6/07/2006 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger Jorge Curioso said...

A vote against, on both changes. Whereas the home page used to be readable at a glance, with scrolling, it now requires clicks and backs and forths. Blech.

Were Belmont club an aggregator, where the title of an article determined whether one was going to read it or not, this change might make sense. However, I (and I assume most folks) read every workd Wretchard writes. The new layout only makes this harder.

ALso, the home page looks almost sterile now, and at first glance doesn't indicate the quality of the writing here; just a bunch of headlines.

As to the comments, I agree with the prior commenter; the at-times rapid-fire flow of the comments adds to the character of the site. Don't fetter them.

6/07/2006 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Trying to run a blog of my own for less than two years has deepened my respect for the consistency and excellence of Belmont Club. To do even a half-assed job just writing the original posts takes an enormous energy investment.

Bill Whittle for a time enlisted an old friend to assist in moderating comments. This might be a useful arrangement, but it depends on a special consonance between the Blog owner and any such disciple.

It might be useful to devote some post to a discussion of the function of COMMENTS. Maybe a sidebar with suggestions, guidelines, links to html help, etc.

My personal peeve with comment streams is the distraction of two or three commenters using the bandwidth to slag each other off, rather than take their fistfight offline.

From Wretchard's point of view, it has to be a wearisome burden simply scanning all the comments to weed out spam and truly actionable obnoxious garbage.

I would read Wretchard's essays even without the comments, but it is exactly the high-nutritional content of his posts that brings out a correspondingly high-quality in many of his "correspondents."

In medieval times (so I've read) the great minds of the era exchanged letters, books, news, and ideas by regular posts. Last century, it was enormously popular for celebrities such as Lincoln and Mark Twain to LECTURE before the hoi polloi. In the alleged "modern" era in which the MainStream News Organs have abandoned their original mission, blogs such as Belmont Club serve the same function, with the added benefit of allowing us mere mortals to witness and, if we behave, add a bit to the conversation.

Thanks, Wretchard, for sharing so much of yourself with us. I'll be looking forward to seeing the new changes.

6/07/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Readers come here to access and absorb your insights. That is the primary benefit sought and obtained by your customers. Luckily, formatting cannot seriously affect the quality one way or another, not in this sense.

The derivative value of the Club is the comment thread. Here, formatting and gate-keeping can have a qualitative impact on the site. Administerial techniques can carry a good blog into greatness by eliminating the waste of noisy comments.

But there are trade-offs. Multiple posts a day raise the overall quality of the Club but diminish the value-add of the comment thread. Some commenters with high signal-to-noise ratio visit less than others, and conversations can be over or abandoned before they have a chance to offer their input. Running four or five parallel conversations is great for the reader, but difficult for the commenter. Commenters--and here I'm projecting--want to be read, and a quality post takes some time to compose. If by the time a comment is ready the conversation has moved to the third tier, the payoff will have diminished and over time that comment will not be written.

And yet, multiple posts and parallel subjects constitute a net gain in value, regardless of the loss of comment dynamism--especially considering the erosion taking place in that arena anyway. Satisfaction is found in the post, not the thread, and these changes merely reinforce it.

6/07/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Brett L said...


looks like your comments box is working again. I like the look. Hope that the comment moderation thing works out.

6/07/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I remember at the old site, the comments used to appear before their author. I had some fun reading the comment while guessing who they were. There were some unmistakable styles and messages that were always woven into the thread, no matter the context, and it was easy to distinguish many of the commenters.

There was a moment where the blogosphere reached an apogee of sorts during the turning points in history and I expect that with your guidance, The Belmont Club will trace out those arcs many times to come. Recently, with the future of OEF, OIF, and the WoT so uncertain, and such political ambiguity all around, it seems that the comments here have devolved into something of a free for all, with competing memes that, not infrequently, no longer resemble the thread or the context of the discussion. I have noticed also that the tone has been changing. Not just here but everywhere. At least that is my perception.

I read your blog for a year before I even ventured a comment. Not before long I felt compelled to comment regardless of the topic and weigh in as a matter of habit, sometimes rush to comment before I even finished reading your post. It says something of the power of this thing, this club you have created and I hope that you can appreciate how deeply most of us respect you. I used to mess around with BBS’s back in the bad old days. Was hooked on DrudgeReport for the longest time. Read the National Review religiously and used to forage through WorldNetDaily. Through your blog was made aware of the WindsOfChange, BillRoggio, and many others.

I hope that you can find the right balance between making your site an enjoyable read for all comers and still maintain a little of the vacuum of chaos that this site has always fostered.

Best Regards,

6/07/2006 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger USMC_Vet said...

Laughing out loud...loudly...

3. I'd like to encourage all the readers (and commenters) at the Belmont Club to start their own blogs. It's a better platform to expound on your views and by using the trackback links feature, keep the dialogue going, perhaps not as spontaneously as before, but possibly in more depth.

Anyone who heard me at the MilBlogger Conference in DC heard me refer to precisely this...LOL.

My comments at one point were so long that they were independent posts...and BC readers encouraged me to start a blog. As I said in DC, some because they liked what I wrote, and some because they just wanted me to take my longwinded self elsewhere for crying out loud.

For what it's worth, the 'Lounge Lizards' never came here for asthetics or ease of navigation (comments or otherwise). So, if something 'klunks', methinks the 'Lounge Lizards' will still come back.

That said, with so many military and veterans reading, know that we have perfected B****ing to an art form. It is a mandatory category in all performance reviews.

As Habu_1 said, "Pip pip, ol' boy."


6/07/2006 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

Wretchard, don't feel that you need to post many items per day. Save your best thoughts and keep them a day apart. Those of us who find your perspective to be interesting (interesting plus one) do not need daily little snippets.

Please, stay with the big picture and keep focusing on quality.

6/07/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Like Starling and others, the Baron and I are Belmont progeny...our comments needed to go find a home of their own, just as mouthy kids need to do eventually.

When I first commented here, I used another name. Seems like a lifetime ago...and then, realizing we were taking up too much bandwidth here and needed to strike out on our own, Gates of Vienna was born, along with our new identities.

Nahncee said once that three paragraphs was probably the courteous limit for commenters. I think she's right. So Do Whatever You Want, Wretchard, we readers will be following behind. Even Doug.

(4th para, sorry) I like your feature of dividing story/commentary. Sometimes I start with the commentary and then read the post...hope you continue that.

6/07/2006 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

No Nudes?

Habu1 has not met Sonia, has he?

6/07/2006 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

It is always a Good Thing to make the most of the screen geography ... the Least Common Denominator of Paying Attention. Expandable Headlines are LCD solutions, economical, Great for Readers.

I wonder if this is the Break Up of the Belmont Club?

I always thought the coolest thing about the Belmont Club was Prof. Wretchard delivering his shimmering Poetry/Philosophy Blog-chords.

And then a lot of murmurs from the lively crowd in the "Belmont Club" of ASCII character crowds.

+ + +

Prof. Wretchard will become our Writing Teacher, sharing our posts as befits his glorious vision?

Such a Load our noble Wrtchrd bears! I'd hate to have to read so many posts. Ugh.

+ + +

Hope to see you all on the other side!


6/07/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Red River sez: "You can delegate this task to a a Beyesian Bot, BTW - combined with a workflow - or just enlist someone."

You can only do this if you don't care about losing touch with the human feel of spontaneous, unedited responses.

Even InfoRetrieval blades that bring back original sentences or phrases from source HIT documents still don't accurately tell you what the Author meant. Snips lack context. You might be looking at sawdust from a totem pole.

That's the "Belmont CLUB" aspect we are afraid we might lose.

6/07/2006 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger tbrosz said...

I would greatly prefer the expanded version. Isn't there some way you can give us the option of both formats, selected as we wish?

6/07/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

There's a fair number of readers who don't like the moderated comments or the headers only interface. If the consensus is that there's no significant net gain then I'll consider going back to the old interface.

Alternatively I could go back to the old formatting style but keep the moderated comments. Or ditch the moderated comments and keep the collapsed post format style. What's best?

6/07/2006 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I actually think the quality of the comments has improved, probably at the cost of spontaneity. And it's a hell of a workload. I'd like nothing else than to leave the comments unmoderated. Saves work.

The idea of having a volunteer moderator might work a while, but it would be unfair to impose this on anyone. The scheme to enrol members into a "group" blog has some attraction, but again, we lose spontaneity and get into groupthink.

All in all there's no free lunch.

6/07/2006 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger Dewage said...

(Repost. Previous comments appears to have been lost.)

Pesonally I think that the headline/lede format leads an author towards a sensational heading in an effort to draw the reader into clicking and a drill-down.

I prefer to scan and look for interesting sub-topics / pictures / shiny objects /(hey! balloons!) and read the post based on my current level of interest vs. free time at the moment. FWIW.

6/07/2006 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Have not read most comments, so this point may be covered elsewhere. Apologies if so.

The one big complaint I had with the old format was lack of numbering of the posts. I was always switching from all comments displayed (whenever I opened someones link) and collapsed comments when I wanted to regainwhere I had been in the thread. The propensity of some nameless parties for multiple posts does not help either. I wasted lots of time that way.

One other point, I don't even know if it would work, how about using some of your moere temperate regulars as a sort of edit committee? Let some one guy (out of say a dozen) be in charge at any given time, this guy the OD as it were should be able to send a post to a kind of limbo, where say it could be reviewed by other committee members, pick a number say 3, if 2 out of the next 3 committee members agree then the post should be either re-established or forever cast into outer darkness. Some things should be off limits by definition, say ad hominem attacks for example, these need not be reviewed. I dunno it does sound cumbersome.


6/07/2006 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger David_Levine said...

I just hope this new functionality works on my Blackberry!

6/07/2006 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

You know Wretchard, this discussion was necessary and it helped everyone think about what it is that works here, especially you. You need a life as well and when you sleep this thing will get choked. You stretch the globe and the clock. When you moderate the comments, you will have to do it as often as possible or you become sterile as a newspaper. You take away the thing you are best at and that includes not having to do anything. We sit on our part of the planet looking up at the sky hoping to see a shooting star from the Belmont club. We all know what time the sun comes up and it is a nice thing but a shooting star! One other point, moderated comments will lead to people writing what they think you will print, the tone will change, as well as the timing. The way you have it is to this point is live television in front of a tough audience and you may be going to a taped, edited time delayed version. It will be different.

6/07/2006 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...


Is there an easy way to search for (my) comments going back a year or two?

6/07/2006 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq Has Been Killed
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the militant who led an insurgent campaign of suicide bombings, kidnappings and hostage beheadings, died in an air strike north of Baghdad, Iraq's prime minister said.
Video: Officials Announce Death
Photos: Zarqawi's Life Story
Text: U.S. Military Statement

6/08/2006 03:20:00 AM  
Blogger Starling David Hunter said...

Charles asked: Wretchard, Is there an easy way to search for (my) comments going back a year or two?

Charles, I wondered the same thing. I googled a search string that include the terms "fallbackbelmont", club, and my name (in quotes) and found 64 posts on which I had commented. I am sure if you try a similarly constructed search you'll find your posts.

One thing to note.. you will very likely see this message at the bottom of the search page- "In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 2 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included."

That last line contains a link in it. Click on it and it should give you all the results, i.e. posts, not just a subset.

6/08/2006 04:16:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Amendment to my committee idea. Wretchard to select initial committee. Posts by committee members to be vetted by other committee members, obviously only committee members able to access initial or LIMBO box. Acceptance of a certain number of posts by a non member to confer committee status (with consent of the poster). Multiple denials by committee cause loss of committee status, either by percentage of recent posts or some total number of denials. No need in this way for any one to be an"OD".

The whole idea would be to set up a self policing group. Wretchard should initially set out pretty clear standards for what he wants to allow, including a few rigid ones. This does create a sort of elite, that is unfortunate. We then would have ordinary posters and committee or to re-title these "Club Members". Club Members should automatically retain retain ability to read unedited comments, but need not permanently retain voting status.

These thoughts probably need much further modification and quantification. Wretchard could certainly set up initial standards including some inflexible ones.

Another notion, how about a thread tree, with headlined branches, thread hi-jacks can be interesting and wretchard could retain ability to remove to a new thread by an appropriate comment. Actually in this way Club Members could sort of propose new ideas which wretchard could grant new thread status to by comment or leave as part of a tree. Pretty obviously the tree size (number of branches and sub branches) could be limited.

I would hope in this way to not lose new posters, from time to time some new blood is needed.

6/08/2006 04:34:00 AM  
Blogger Peter North said...

Would it be possible either to offer the old interface or at least the suggestiong that all post bodies link to the next post body ?
The new format involves at least five times the number of "clicks" that the old format required for me - and each interaction is slow.

6/08/2006 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger metaphysician2 said...

Weird. I don't know if anyone has reported it yet, but the comment system is acting all screwy. The comment count on the front page is different than the comment count on the article page, is different than the comment count in the comment posting section. Some of your articles require antispam, some don't. Some of your articles require your approval for comments to post, some don't. One article doesn't allow comments at all.

6/08/2006 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger Bon Air said...

This is one of my favorite places to go AS IS! I will continue but I'm not sure if this blog needed "new and improved". I hope this works; if not...back to the future!

6/08/2006 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger Das said...

Wretchard your writing has meant a lot to me. 9/11 changed my whole orientation (Left to Right) so to understand myslef I must understand where I was at and where I am now; you have great insight into these forces pulling at the world today.

As far as the comments section goes, your commentators respect you enough that if you were to write, "OK everyone this conversation is going off the rails and I am going to give it ten more and then shut down this column's comments" - I believe the comments would get back on track or they would peter out naturally.

Does that sound heavy handed? I know that is not your way but at the same time a little nudge might keep things from goint to chat roomy...

Anyway, thanks and best...

6/08/2006 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger timmiejoebob said...


You could chisel your posts on a stone tablet, float them in a dugout canoe, transmit them via drumbeat, have them transcribed by monastic calligraphers, and finally delivered to my door by muscular messenger. I don't care. It's your words, your thoughts, your inimitable analysis that matters. Only that. As long as I can still read what you write I'm good. It's all good.

The nature of your analysis is typically not time sensitive. Your most important posts are just as relevant today as when you wrote them several years ago. Chronological ordering implies a perishable nature that is not characterisitic of your essays. They would better fit a topical organizational system.

Comments would add the most value if filtered in some way that allows meaningful ideas in but doesn't necessarily stifle dissent. I don't think "comments" is even the right word for what you are seeking. You want thoughful, well researched analyses, response-essays if you will, that expand, balance and argue for or against your ideas to hopefully edify and delight the reader.

6/08/2006 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger Dewage said...

How do I search through old posts using keywords now?

6/08/2006 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Dewage said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/08/2006 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Damn, Wretchard.

You killed it.

6/08/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

"Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

We all go off on a tangent, but sometimes those tangents lead to discussions that bear not only greater knowledge but the fruit of the discovery.

In other words, let the fur fly and the blood splatter. Lets have winners, losers and those who just stay to the end.

Even us ol' guys with only an eighth grade education, sometimes can say something worthwhile.

Papa Ray
West Texas

6/09/2006 08:09:00 PM  
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