Delightful Administrivia

Thing is, I used to love the shit stirring comments here and various other places the best. It’s kinda like being called out in a bar, taking it outside, and having a big bloodthirsty crowd to watch. Did that for years. It’s fun. Very time consuming for no real reward, but fun. I’m pretty good at it, but I always kept it in context: this is motivation to keep your nose mostly clean in blogging. If you do stupid shit all the time, make yourself look like a whore….whatever, then you can’t really entertain comment fisticuffs because you’ll just look really defensive all the time.

But it gets tiresome, because the comment culture (blogs & elsewhere) has become moderately toxic, such that it’s perfectly acceptable for a lot of people to just troll around, never looking for something good or congratulatory to say, but only to fling poo. Used to be a small minority and even when a person is not a troll in the sense of going from site to site, they will often check up on any new post from a handful they monitor for the sole purpose of doing some comment damage whenever they can.

What a wonderfully pathetic way to live.

Sooooo….done wi’dat. It’s just a time and attention sink for one—an adverse niche driving thing for second—attracting the wrong sorts of commenters. …Believe it or not and here I go again, but what turned me was a link I stumbled onto from something Melissa McEwen linked a while back on Twitter, I think (always credit where due with me—no matter what else). As I recall, t’was a popular blog post from some influential social/media guy, and it was a very thoughtful post that persuaded me about how bloggers themselves are responsible for turning their places into the discourse equivalent of a landfill or sewer, and that they really need to begin employing moderation in some fashion.

I immediately instituted first comment moderation (all-comment moderation is fucking stupid and pussy, and you’re better off just not having them at all if you’re that afraid of what even legacy commenters might post). That is, anyone with a previously approved comment goes through unmoderated. You have to comment with the same name and email address (only I see the email address). Accordingly, it can’t be gamed, unless you’d like to spend your life guessing what the right email address that goes with a particular name or handle is. Good luck. Waste all the time you like.

There’s only one way for trolls to game it, and that’s to put up a value add or complimentary comment first, get it approved, then do their trolling thing. But that’s easy. It’s rare that a comment lives here more than a short time without me seeing it (sure, they can post at 12-1am, figuring they get 6-7 hours of sleep time, but most others in the US—which is 80-90% of my traffic—are sleeping too). …Here’s what I do. I delete the troll comment, then go in and modify the email address from the past comment(s), such that the good one(s) remain, the troll one(s) are gone, and they are back in the mod queue because they’ll never guess what I modified their email to. So, trolls, please. I’ve just told you how you can actually get a troll comment through that might live for up to 6-7 hours. The cost is, the nice comment you posted to win that right stays, the bad one gets trashed, and you’re back to the drawing board. So, please. Pretty please?

It’s delightful to sit and use 1-2 millimeters of the tip of my finger to blast them into oblivion on an iPad, and nobody saw it but me. I don’t get many, which is unfortunate.

Anyone remember RAZWELL?

Well…Razwell has either achieved a furlough from the crazy house, or his prescription has run out, but in either case, he’s back. I get a few per day, not one of which has been posted. They are all of similar form.

“blablablablablabla [bla…same shit he’s posted repeatedly everywhere he can for years saying the exact same thing…bla].


[insert something about a poop—or penis length/girth—here]


You know what? I’d kinda been missing him, and with these new procedures where he can not get a single comment through, he’s resorted to commenting on my YouTube videos where I just delete and block him…not really even bothering to kill all comments on a video. …It’s rather like that pet hamster we had in the house way back, who got out of his cage one day and we couldn’t find him. Six months or so later, my refrigerator went on the fritz, so we just bought a new one. Guess why the old one died, which we found when we rolled it out? Yep. Hamster nest in the compressor area where it’s warm (he’d been surviving by raiding the dog food bowl and water at night—there was plenty of stored food in the nest).

So it’s kinda…a lot more fun now. It’s 1-2 millimeters on the tip of my finger to deal with these people who “own my ass.” Laf. If Razwell and the like didn’t exist, we’d have to invent them anyway.

Raz: I know you own my ass & all, but you really should consider refiling that prescription. See my last post, and the metaphor about sawing off the branch you’re standing on. If you let a ‘scrip lapse, you may beyond the chemical rationality required to actually go refill it and take on schedule. So, in the future, make sure the refill comes in way before the current supply has been expended. Just because I really care, man.

Or, do whatever, and keep giving me the entertainment. I’ll miss it if gone, but I’ll figure out how to muddle through without.

Update: Damn, I’d intended to mention that as a balancing act, legacy commenters—or new ones of good will generally—are more than welcome to get into flame wars and sling shit once a dispute has been baited and accepted. Just wanted to make that clear.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Elliot on May 2, 2013 at 13:33

    You’re a swell guy, Nikoley.


  2. Richard Nikoley on May 2, 2013 at 13:56

    Ok, Elliot. Even though you were previously white listed, we’ll forget about that. Take your best shot.

  3. Joshua on May 2, 2013 at 15:04

    I thought this had been your policy for several months…

  4. Elliot on May 2, 2013 at 21:39

    Unless you’re pushing militant veganism, religion, global warming, gun control, or the joy of voting, I doubt you have any worries of drawing my ire.

  5. Elliot on May 2, 2013 at 21:42

    …those being the most common topics for which my comments usually get me banned. In true Bizarro fashion, the sycophants on those places are more of the Razwell types.

  6. Nigel Kinbrum on May 3, 2013 at 01:27

    “I immediately instituted first comment moderation (all-comment moderation is fucking stupid and pussy, and you’re better off just not having them at all if you’re that afraid of what even legacy commenters might post).”
    I like to keep the comments section of my blog “neat and tidy” (due to my OCD nature 😉 ), as deleted comments leave a visible remnant on Blogger comments.

    I’m currently migrating to Disqus comments, so my moderation policy may become more relaxed.

  7. Richard Nikoley on May 3, 2013 at 02:45

    Doesn’t Blogger have first comment moderation? I have found that to be perfect. It’s typically the case that when a new commenter posts a first comment that’s decent (question, criticism, anecdote, etc.) that they’re decent and will probably never be a problem.

  8. Nigel Kinbrum on May 3, 2013 at 03:45

    If it has, I’ve failed to notice it!

  9. Alec on May 6, 2013 at 15:41

    Hi Nigel,

    Do NOT migrate to Disqus if you like to have control of your comment section. Move to WordPress first. Disqus gives control of your user generated content to a third party entity. And it’s a nightmare rescuing comments once Disqus takes over.

    If you were on WordPress, I’d recommend you check out our Thoughtful Comments(which is what allows Richard to be so blithe about comment moderation: he’s got chainsaw type tools available on the front end).

    Making the web work for you, Alec

  10. Richard Nikoley on May 6, 2013 at 15:59

    Yep. I would not change from Thoughtful Comments ever (besides, it’s transparent–changes nothing except gives you tools you can even use from a iPhone).

    I used Disqus for a while. When I wanted my comments back, I got them back but at the time I used threading, and that was not part of the data package.

    Why I went away from threading is a different issue. Makes commenters too lazy. They think that just because they hit “reply” they don’t have to quote or in any way reference what they are replying too. And then, then the nesting has reached the limit and ALL replies for anyone in the thread stack up chronologically, people complain because their reply isn’t right under the comment.

    Conclusion: people are too lazy or stupid to effectively manage nested comments on their own, I don’t have time to figure out which or to manage it, so I’m back to classic chronological.

  11. Alec on May 6, 2013 at 16:03

    Hi Richard,

    You know what I recommend in terms of nesting. Limits of two or three. That way people going too far off track stick out like a sore thumb and the nesting remains useful. Your solution, while viable, is a bit extreme.

    You probably like it that way. Thanks for the kind words about Thoughtful Comments, the most under appreciated plugin the WordPress universe (I don’t know how anyone runs a popular WordPress weblog without TC).

  12. Richard Nikoley on May 6, 2013 at 16:17


    I hear you sir, and lament it regularly, actually. When nesting first came on the scene, I was all for it. Yes, 2-3 ought be max in any case and there’s an argument to be made for 1 (kinda like a forum then, a top-level comment being a new thread, but every reply is chron).

    All of the Genesis-based themes I’m considering for my massive do-it-yourself redesign now contemplate contemplate nesting in the theme, such that there is differentiation between threads in the CSS.

    So, I may end up going back to 1, 2, or even three, but it will never be more than that again.

    Thanks Alec. I’ll be in touch as soon as I can’t quite get my new design exactly where I want it. 🙂

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