Problems with the Comment Section

From Editor Robert Parry: Our Web site was knocked off line for several hours on Tuesday because of a flood of fake comments into the Comment section. That has required us to eliminate some comment files and to install a more rigorous SPAM filter. Please do not complain if some past comments were lost as a result of this purge.

There also may be more obstacles to making comments in the future, but we cannot risk the future of this Web site by relaxing those protections again.

6 comments for “Problems with the Comment Section

  1. a nurse
    March 19, 2015 at 14:09


    The following was posted to the comments section of Muravchik’s piece in the Washington Post.

    Comment in the Washington Post:

    Robert Parry weighs in:

    A Neocon Admits the Plan to Bomb Iran

    March 16, 2015

    Exclusive: The neocon Washington Post, which wants to kill the talks aimed at constraining Iran’s nuclear program, allowed a contrary opinion of sorts onto its pages – a neocon who also wants to collapse the talks but is honest enough to say that the follow-up will be a U.S. war on Iran, reports Robert Parry.

    By Robert Parry

    “Given that the Post is very restrictive in the op-ed pieces that it prints, it is revealing that advocacy for an unprovoked bombing campaign against Iran is considered within the realm of acceptable opinion. But the truth is that the only difference between Muravchik’s view and the Post’s own editorial stance is that Muravchik lays out the almost certain consequences of sabotaging a diplomatic solution.”

    (I hope that these two events are unrelated.)

  2. Zachary Smith
    March 18, 2015 at 09:48

    One of the key objectives of trolls is to disrupt comment sections, making thoughtful debate impossible.

    I didn’t mean to suggest that delays in posts appearing are ‘bad’, but they sure do seem to be inconsistent. One time a brief comment seems to appear instantly, and another it may not show up for hours. It also may show in only one browser. (cookies?)

    Maybe the new procedures will discourage the fellows who show up with their “Jews are responsible for all the world’s evils” or “Poor misunderstood nice-guy Hitler” messages.

    I rather hope so.

  3. Pat
    March 18, 2015 at 01:38

    Zachary, you comment on this site far more than I do, but may I gently suggest that a comment not appearing for an hour isn’t that bad on a site of this nature.

    It’s no accident that the debate here is civil and thoughtful, with frequent sharing of links to enlightened content elsewhere on the Internet. The character of the debate combined with careful moderation creates an environment inhospitable to trolls. They go instead to the social media and outlets like The Guardian. Russia Insider already is overrun with them. One of the key objectives of trolls is to disrupt comment sections, making thoughtful debate impossible.

    It was a shock, actually, to visit the site and find it blocked. I’m willing to accept some tradeoffs to keep that from happening again, and I hope others are, too.

  4. Zachary Smith
    March 17, 2015 at 20:49

    Whatever changes have been made, there are still some issues from the old regime. My first comment on this thread didn’t appear until well over an hour after posting time.

    A brief comment on an older thread still isn’t up after more than an hour interval. Little wonder that duplicate or near duplicates still appear.

    Something is still delaying and/or blocking posts.

  5. caf
    March 17, 2015 at 18:53

    Obviously someone out there is noticing what you write, and isn’t happy at all about it. That is a good sign indeed. Keep it up.

  6. Zachary Smith
    March 17, 2015 at 17:52

    From a previous post about spam:

    Also, because of annoying SPAM, we have installed a SPAM filter that uses algorithms to detect SPAM. The filter does a good job at this, but sometimes catches legitimate comments by accident. During the day, we try to recover these comments, but please do not be upset if one of your comments suffers this fate.

    A working SPAM filter is a worthy goal, but I’d find it useful to know what the forum software defines as “spam”. That way I could try to avoid posting trigger words or phrases or whatever else it’s watching for.

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