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Saturday, 24 August 2013


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Thanks for being so sensable , something often lacking on the web. Your approach to your site is why it is on my daily reading list

Thank you very much! I appreciate deeply the level tone and the sense of civility that TOP emanates.

Where's the "Like" button?

"Denigrated on of the legitimate professions ..."

Well now I am interested. Time to look at those pictures again.

I will second that. This website is how grown-ups behave.

It is always good to read the copy of a journalist rather than the wannabe journalists who write blogs telling us all how marvelous they are. Why don't they just stick to their day job? Taking photographs!

Mike's style of self-deprecating humour is one of the reasons why it is always a pleasure to visit TOP.

PS I hope the check is in the mail. Mike. :-)

I agree with Mark; your stance on moderation is one of the main reasons for my daily dose of TOP. I would add that your being frank about these and other "blogmanagement" issues is as well. Keep being open why you do things and you carve out a very nice place of internetdom, at least for me...

I really, Really, REALLY appreciate that comments are moderated. For me it makes it so this website is interesting for the articles it publishes and the subsequent comments.

It's your site, Mike. Censor all you want. Given the state of the WWW, I appreciate it.

You should have signed the note...

Mike the Mod (Man).

Mike,it's your blog - moderate it as aggressively as you want.Many other blogs and forums are being spoilt by inane or nasty and negative comments and a lack of moderation or lax moderation.Yours is much the better for being properly policed.

The web needs a lot more sensible moderation and IMO this was a very light touch.

In the end it's your blog and your rules. If someone else doesn't like it they can start their own and see how many readers they get.

And for those who think it's clever simply to find fault without being able to justify it, it isn't. It just indicates a high level of envy and insecurity.

Well I didn't make it to the semi's with my entry, but I enjoyed looking at those that did. My choice for the winners (which probably means they won't get a look in) is the Frick Compressor repairman, and the Crain paint crew. Sometimes when I see a picture, I wish I had taken it myself - these two had that effect on me.

Hopefully you'll do this again sometime soon.

I wouldn't even think this would be an issue. Your site, your blog, your rules. I am oft suprised that you let through as much as you do.

I like the approach HuffPo is taking where it will now be required that people use real names to post comments.

One of my pet peeves -- when I think about it, I could probably start a petting zoo with my pet peeves, there are so many of them -- is when people confuse censorship and freedom of speech with an editor's right to choose. Censorship is when you're told you can't publish something -- anywhere. You're told to sit down and shut up or something bad will happen to you. Freedom of speech is the ability to say what you wish -- but certainly doesn't require anyone else to spread the word of your thoughts.

Editors, unlike commenters, are responsible to an entire readership, and good editors spend quite a lot of thought and energy determining exactly what is worthwhile publishing. Some are looser than others, but the function is always the same; I don't actually know of any publication that publishes everything. Even DP Review will toss out a comment now and then. The editor's dream is to find a readership that is thoughtful, informed, courteous and literate, so no editing is necessary. As far as I know, that has never happened int he history of mankind.

I'm with Mike on this one. Freedom of speech means the government is not supposed to impede political dialogue or criticism of the government. TOP is not the government and is free to edit/delete any post for any reason without affecting your freedom of speech. No one has absolute right to use someone else's communication channel for any purpose, much less to use it for belittling, mean spirited, hurtful comments that do not add to the dialogue of the topic of the moment. BTW-Mike has chosen not to publish one or two of my more free-spirited comments, often written in the wee hours. Fine by me-and probably saved me the embarrassment of having a public post where my rancour over something outweighed my sense of judgment and good manners.

Mike - never mind your expertise and experience in the publishing business - your judgement IMO is right on - Keep up the good work


I agree with your editing totally. TOP is such a pleasant site to visit thanks to your editing (and filtering out those probably insulting posts).

Keep going on.

- Frank

Dear Folks,

I'd have to say that realistically, censorship doesn't requirement government suppression. And sufficiently centralized or oligopolistic communications industry can exercise de facto censorship by preventing you from having any significant or effective platform for your speech.

Oh sure, you can take philosophical comfort in knowing that you can still stand on a street corner and hand out photocopies of your screed. But practically speaking? You've been effectively suppressed.

This has happened on occasion in US history.

But on the InterWebs? There's simply no such conformity. Any speech that is not outright illegal can establish significant visibility. If any one website refuses to publish someone's brilliant rant, that's not censorship nor suppression of freedom of speech. That's just editorial policy. Some other website will be delighted to provide a soapbox.

There is a practical consequence of Mike's policy of moderated conversation:

I participate here.

I do not participate in any form in sites that do not enforce a code of civility. I am simply not interested in dealing with the crap that shows up on un- (or ill-) controlled sites.

If Mike did not run this site under the rules he does, I would not be here, not as a columnist nor a commenter.

pax / Ctein

Some comments may also have not been published due to the captcha. I thought I submitted a comment on the first set, only to notice the captcha prompt after submitting a comment on the second set. I'm fairly certain I clicked the "post" button and moved on to the next post without completing this final step.

Mike hi

I like your blog, but if you're serious about eliminating crass and offensive comments,why can't you just include all comments and blank out the offensive parts, and then overwrite what type the offensive comment was, such as racist, personal attack etc. That would also be naming and shaming.

Considerate and genuine disagreement is in my opinion very essential for a healthy blog, otherwise most blogger could run the risk of just having fanboy followers, and ending up being boring, or with fewer and fewer comments offered.



The fact that this website of all places, a place where Mike cheerfully promotes comments that disagree with the theses of his articles to "Featured" states, would draw that most common of wrongheaded internet troll complaints, that the site is engaging in "censorship" and is impinging on "free speech," makes me feel tired.

TOP has tremendously civil comment threads, and while I may be misguided in thinking so, they also feel very lightly moderated. Compared to the wild but well-moderated comment threads at some places (e.g. scalzi.com) or the neverending pit of misery and despair that are the YouTube comment threads, TOP seems like a modern miracle.


If only all websites were as well written, edited and moderated as TOP. To accuse you of stifling freedom of speech is a gross insult to all those (billions?) of people who face real censorship.


Perhaps the reason we don't expect this would even *be* a problem on TOP is because of the careful moderation which ensures such a problem never gains a foothold, leaving the floor clear for grown-ups to have a respectful conversation.

Good job, Mike, on maintaining that balance so well. There's a reason I always read comments on TOP but avoid them on YouTube or the general news media...

Internet trolls are like lens fungus. Once you let either stick around, they ruin everything.

And a polite round of applause for John Camp and John Driggers, both of whom are spot on about freedom of speech vs right to edit.

While there is no such thing as free speech on a forum one doesn't own, I'd like to add that this forum seems lightly moderated compared to some I have been on.

And I don't always agree with Mike, and yet he allows me to post here anyway...

Keep up the good work.

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