Free to Choose: New Mute User Function Lets You Control Whose Comments You'll See

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Reason has added a new feature to its commenting system: You can now mute, just for yourself, comments posted by any commenters; simply click "Mute User" on their post. (You need to be signed on to the site to do that, since your personal muted-users list is kept with your user profile.)

As you may know, I try to take a light hand in moderating the existing comments. People can and do express all sorts of views in the comments; I occasionally delete comments that involve personal insults of fellow commenters, vulgar insults more generally, threats of violence, or, occasionally, rhetorical calls for mass killing of one's opponents.

One commenter, for instance, has repeatedly complained that I deleted his posts where he called other commenters "slack-jaws" or, presumably thinking himself clever, labeled defenders of the police that he disagreed with as engaging in "cop succor." I stand entirely by those decisions; I think these sorts of insults and vulgarities poison the conversation, and I want the comment threads to be a conversation. Every so often, I'll entirely block a commenter on similar grounds.

But I don't like to do that, and I don't generally ban commenters who I think are persistently foolish, dishonest, anti-Semitic, racist, and so on—or are just merely cranks trying to shift each conversation to their peculiar hobby-horses. Life is too short to spend much time on comment moderation. And, more importantly, I generally want each of you to decide what comments you want to read, rather than having me do that.

This new feature will make it easier for each of you to do that. None of you has any obligation to read any commenter (or for that matter to read our blog at all!)—if you find that someone's comments make the blog less valuable for you rather than more, you should feel free to mute them. I expect you already do that mentally, by just skipping over comments from certain people. This will make it easier.

Naturally, I hope our readers won't mute a thoughtful commenter just because they disagree with that commenter: I think part of the value of our comments is the ability to read interesting perspectives from many sides. But that's a choice that each reader will get to make.

NEXT: Whose Rules Should Govern How Americans Speak with Other Americans?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. So private individuals can avoid speech they don’t like but not private corporations.

    Got it.

    1. I guess the question is whether the good professor has been subject to repeated calls, public and private, from government officials, urging him to censor people those officials dislike – and then to see if the people he censors happen to coincide with the people the government wants banned.

      That would be a bit of a problem, I’m sure you agree!

      1. I stumbled across this looking for the cite on a George Orwell quote — and remember he wrote this in 1943, when the Soviets were our “friends”, and not 1948 when they weren’t…

        https://www.nytimes.com/1972/10/08/archives/the-freedom-of-the-press-orwell.html

        1. You’ve seen the commercial, where auntie is going through the refrigerator, Expired, expired, expired.

          I am going to Mute user, mute user, mute user, anyone who fails to make a point of fact, of logic or of law.

        2. The country hates this stinking, failed, toxic profession. It would love to Mute User it. The problem is that the profession imposes its sicko, lawless, failed ideas at the point of a gun.

      2. What if the people censored happen to be political opponents (and those who are not censored happen to be political allies)? Would you consider that a problem?

        1. Hello? Anyone there?

          1. Ignoring large, important blind spots diminishes the Volokh Conspiracy’s persuasiveness. I doubt it will benefit the movement conservatives who are fans of this blog. You guys are already behind in our public debates and culture war. Feel free to stick with the losing positions on the wrong side of history. And prepare to comply with the rules established by the culture war’s victors.

            1. I used to flag your posts when you insulted people. Now muting you is my default position. Cheers.

        2. Goodbye Kirkland.

          1. Damn right. I didn’t even wait for him to post. I went and found an old thread where I knew he posted, so I could do it right away.

            1. The signal to noise ratio here just spiked to infinity.

    2. “Got it.”

      There are plenty of things you might have, but “it” is not one of those things.

    3. So private individuals can avoid speech they don’t like but not private corporations.

      What in the world do you mean by “avoid speech” in the corporate context? Twitter doesn’t exist just so Jack Dorsey can log in and read it.

    4. Private individuals have an absolute 1st Amendment right to ignore anyone they wish to ignore

      When you agree that private companies have the right to refuse to do business with anyone they chose, including blacks, gays, trans, Muslims, or any other group of people that you value, THEN you can tell us why our tech overlords have the right to censor all conservative speech

      Until then? You have nothing worthwhile to say on the subject

      1. “why our tech overlords have the right to censor all conservative speech”

        LOL

        https://twitter.com/FacebooksTop10/status/1389948338368249856

        1. It’s not entirely clear what point you think you’re making when the very words you quoted from Greg explicitly say the right to do so.

          1. Seems pretty goofy to be worried that they have the right to do something that they’re not, especially when comparing to types of discrimination that definitely have happened in the past.

            1. 1: If they weren’t doing it, Donald Trump would be allowed to post on FB

              2: I don’t see anything from the Babylon Bee there. Which FB has been censoring

              3: What is the “reach” of each of those items? What would their reach be if FB didn’t have a thumb on the scale?

              1. https://facebook.com/TheBabylonBee/

                Or are you saying that not being in the top 10 is “censorship”?

                1. I’m saying the Babylon Bee was routinely in the top 10, until Facebook decided to censor them, by blocking people’s ability to see and share Babylon Bee postings.

                  https://lmddgtfy.net/?q=facebook%20censors%20babylon%20bee

              2. The original claim was about tech companies censoring “all conservative speech”. But it turns out not only are they not censoring ALL conservative speech, but conservative speech actually dominates the platform! The fact that SOME conservative speech has been censored is uninteresting, because SOME liberal speech has also been censored along with SOME speech about puppies and SOME speech about chess.

                Hope that this lesson on “some” versus “all” is helpful!

                1. The original claim was about tech companies censoring “all conservative speech”.

                  After you claiming that and me pointing out your claim was simply false, for you to make it yet again (this time carefully crop-quoting a few words from Greg’s post to avoid the pesky issue I pointed out the first time) is beyond disingenuous.

                  Hope that this lesson on “some” versus “all” is helpful!

                  This, from the person who repeatedly and deliberately flunked the lesson on “have the right to censor” versus “actually censor.” Too cute!

                  1. You seem to have lost the thread of the conversation, or Greg was responding to a point that I was making. Either way, I already responded to your point.

                    But sure, tech companies have the right to censor all conservative political speech. Conservatives have the right to never travel to Europe. Coffee aficionados have the right to always choose Dunkin Donuts over Starbucks. People from Texas have the right to always bet against Oklahoma in football games. All of these things are true, none of these rights translate into actual real-world behavior (well maybe the last one), and it wouldn’t even matter that much if they did.

                    1. Companies run by racists have the right not to serve black customers

                      Companies run by people who don’t like gays have the right to refuse to serve gay customers, and the right to fire any employee who turns out to be gay.

                      Right?

                      That is what you’re arguing for

                2. Your argument sounds like the “we’re not racist, see we hired a black person!” argument.

                  1. And you should heed Armchair Lawyer, because a racist knows, deep down, how unpersuasive that argument is.

                  2. It sounds like “we’re not racist, 9 of the top 10 executives at our company are black” argument. Which, if the argument were about employment discrimination, would probably make you want to rethink the original claim.

                3. I’m curious. Are you dishonest, or just really, really stupid?

                  Here’s the relevant line:

                  “THEN you can tell us why our tech overlords have the right to censor all conservative speech”

                  Nowhere have I claimed that they are CURRENTLY censoring “all conservative speech”. What I am claiming is that you all are saying that they have the right to do so.

                  If you are saying my claim is incorrect, please inform us of what limiting principle that you have supported would stop them. And, where would it stop them? “only” censoring 99%? “Only” censoring those, like the Babylon Bee, who are really effective?

          2. Life of Brian, wait a minute. In an outrageous conflation, Greg J demands a right to racial discrimination, “When you agree that private companies have the right to refuse to do business with anyone they chose, including blacks, gays, trans, Muslims, or any other group of people that you value, THEN you can tell us why our tech overlords have the right to censor all conservative speech.”

            The right to racial discrimination does not exist. The right of a private publisher to choose what to publish, or what not to publish, is protected by the 1A. No one enjoys any right to be published by a particular private publisher.

            1. You’re raising a completely different point than the one I was addressing, so I’m not quite tracking on the the “wait a minute” part.

              But anyway, I guess you’re saying if Greg removed “black” from his list you’d have no issue with it?

            2. “The right to racial discrimination does not exist”

              Wrong.

              The right to freedom of association is guaranteed by the 1st Amendment. Nothing in the 14th Amendment, or any other part of the US Constitution, says that private individuals / businesses are not allowed to discriminate on “race”.

              If you are going to claim that “private businesses are free to act however they chose, and if you don’t like it, don’t do business with them”, then you need to kiss away every single civil rights law imposition on private businesses.

              The arguments used to justify the 1964 Civil Rights act, especially the ones about discrimination by hotels / motels taking away people’s right to travel, can be easily and directly mapped to discrimination by social media companies taking away people’s right to participate in the national political conversation.

              Pick one position. Either it’s proper to trample over the decisions of private business owners to advance the rights of people those owners don’t like, or it isn’t.

              Either all those civil rights laws are invalid, or there’s absolutely nothing wrong with forcing social media companies, as a cost of being social media companies, to host conservative voices

      2. It is silly to contend that “all conservative speech” is censored.

        What is censored tends to be racism, gay-bashing, misogyny, xenophobia, falsehoods, and the like. I concede that most of that objectionable material comes from Republicans and conservatives, but whose fault is that?

        1. It is silly to contend that “all conservative speech” is censored.

          Not nearly as silly as posting this right under my comment from 40 minutes earlier pointing out that Greg was contending nothing of the sort.

          It’s almost like you’re “clinging” to the fiction or something.

        2. “What is censored tends to be .. falsehoods”

          Really? They’re censoring everyone who posts false claims about Trump “colluding” with Putin? They’re censoring false claims about the number of blacks being killed by police?

          In the Bryant case, they censored everyone who lied about it by leaving out the whole “she was committing attempted murder, trying to stab an unarmed black female” data point?

          They censor racism? So every time anyone attacks a statement by saying “typical white male” FB censors that?

          Do they censor any defense of Harvard’s racist anti-Asian admission policies? Any defense of the racists getting rid of advanced math classes that are “too Asian”?

          No?

          Got another lie you want to try?

      3. Our “tech overlords” are bound by the same rules as everyone else with respect to whom they may discriminate against and whom they may not.

        1. It’s not who they are permitted to censor. It’s who they are being expected to censor or 230 gets broken.

      4. Pardon my French, but what the fuck is a “tech overlord”?

        1. People running tech companies, who think they have the right to decide what we can say, what we can know, who should be part of the national discussion, etc.

          See: everyone who worked to suppress public knowledge about the information damning to Joe Biden that was found on Hunter Biden’s laptop

          1. Ok, exactly what was found on Hunter Biden’s laptop?

            First, who has possession of his laptop and, what have those in actual possession of his laptop revealed?

            1. 1: Statements by Hunter Biden to his daughter that his father, Joe Biden, took 50% of every single payoff Hunter got from his “business relationships” with companies that “hired” him solely because he was Joe Biden’s son.

              IOW, Joe Biden directly implicated in accepting bribes from companies doing business in places where VP Joe Biden was heading the Obama Admin response (see Iraq, Ukraine)

              2: Hunter Biden in business negotiations with Chinese “businesses” where Hunter would hold a 10% share “for the big guy” (Joe Biden).

              Those are two of the bits of Joe Biden corruption that come immediately to mind. One would expect an honest news media to cover such allegations a month before Joe Biden’s Presidential bid was voted on. No?

              3: His laptop[ was possessed by the laptop repair company owner that he dropped it off with, then didn’t retrieve it / pay for services. Which made it the property of said business

              4: But, who care on #3? The NYTimes published illegally obtained information abotu Trump’s taxes, and none of our tech overlords attempted to suppress that news

              1. 1: Statements by Hunter Biden to his daughter that his father, Joe Biden, took 50% of every single payoff Hunter got from his “business relationships” with companies that “hired” him solely because he was Joe Biden’s son.

                Yeah, there were no such “statements.” There was a single text saying, “I hope you all can do what I did, and pay for everything for this entire family for 30 years and it has been tough. It’s really hard but don’t worry, unlike Pop, I won’t make you give me half your salary.”

                So you’ve turned a single completely ambiguous text into “statements” that you have then completely written.

                2: Hunter Biden in business negotiations with Chinese “businesses” where Hunter would hold a 10% share “for the big guy” (Joe Biden).

                Of course, the email in question — not written by Hunter Biden, incidentally — does not say “Joe Biden.” You just inserted that guess. In fact, no document anywhere establishes that Joe Biden was “the big guy.” It also has a question mark next to that entry, unlike all the other shares. It also involved a deal that never happened. When Joe Biden was a private citizen. So… um, not “corruption” even if all the baseless assumptions you made happened to be true.

                By the way: https://twitter.com/JacquiHeinrich/status/1319508531423436803?s=20

                3: His laptop[ was possessed by the laptop repair company owner that he dropped it off with, then didn’t retrieve it / pay for services. Which made it the property of said business

                That would not make it — let alone the information on the laptop — the property of the business. It’s also a laptop that nobody has seen, that arrived at the NYPost by a curious path, that the NYPost’s own reporters disavowed, and that the repair company owner himself can’t confirm came from Biden.

                But, who care on #3? The NYTimes published illegally obtained information

                [Citation needed.]

                1. Wow, David, that’s an awesome “Mr Magoo” impersonation you’ve got going. I hope you’re not this blind in real life, or else the last thing you will ever see will be an “ambiguous” big rig running you over

                  1: Thank you for the quote. “It’s really hard but don’t worry, unlike Pop, I won’t make you give me half your salary.” I congratulate you for inventing “ambiguity” that no person can see without a large warehouse full of motivated “reasoning”.

                  2: Yeah. Right. I guess “the big guy” was, um, you know, there’s no reasonable person “the big guy” could be, other than Joe.

                  Which is why you don’t even try to pretend to offer another candidate.

                  3:
                  A: “Items not picked up / paid for become the property of the company.” If you haven’t read that a dozen times, it’s because you don’t bother to read the fine print. Which would be pretty moronic of you.
                  B: None of the Biden crime family have every tried to claim that the repair shop owner didn’t have a right to do what he did with Hunter’s laptop.

                  And none of them have ever tried to claim that it wasn’t Hunter’s laptop.

                  I guess they leave that for people like you. Congratulations on having even less shame than the Bidens.

                  4: The NYT published tax information about Trump in 2016 and 2020. in neither case did they legally obtain that information, because in neither case did the person who gave them that information have the legal right to do so.

                  Which is why, in neither case, did they tell us where & how they got the information.

                2. Here’s a suggestion, David:

                  Joe Biden is a crook who has spent his time in public office using his official powers to do favors for people who were paying off his family members, said family members who then turned around and paid off Joe.

                  The Democrats used massive vote fraud to steal the 2020 election.

                  If these things bother you, the way to deal with that is to not be on that side.

                  Not to make really stupid posts where you claim that things that are part of the public record (such as the massive increase in “I’m confined to home so I can vote without providing photo ID” votes in WI) don’t exist, or make insane claims like “just because the vote was illegally cast doesn’t make it invalid”.

                  You’re really getting laughable, here

          2. People running tech companies, who think they have the right to decide what we can say, what we can know, who should be part of the national discussion, etc.

            No people running tech companies think they have the right to decide what we can say, what we can know, or who should be part of the national discussion. Nor do people running tech companies have the ability to decide what we can say, what we can know, or who should be part of the national discussion.

            Again: Facebook owns Facebook. Facebook can control what is said on Facebook. Twitter owns Twitter. Twitter can control what is said on Twitter. Not what you can say.

            See: everyone who worked to suppress public knowledge about the information damning to Joe Biden that was found on Hunter Biden’s laptop

            Amazing how the people citing this always seem to know all about it despite this alleged suppression. (Including “knowing” things that are complete fiction, like “information damning to Joe Biden.”) If I were running the company I would not have made the original decision Twitter made, but this story was published in a major news outlet owned by one of the richest people on the planet and was accessible to every single person with Internet access. It was widely discussed, and quickly demolished as a serious topic, which is why the paper stopped talking about it once it had milked the free publicity from the Twitter action.

            1. “Again: Facebook owns Facebook. Facebook can control what is said on Facebook. Twitter owns Twitter. Twitter can control what is said on Twitter. Not what you can say.”

              Great!

              Then Facebook and Twitter, by virtue of the fact that they are deciding what appears on their sites, are publishers.

              And, as publishers, they are corporately liable for every single thing they publish on their sites. Just like the NYT is responsible for what it publishes.

              Which means that any libel they chose to publish? They can be sued for it

              Any crime they support (think Antifa and BLM)? If you business was damaged in a riot that was promoted on FB or Twitter? You can sue FB / Twitter.

              Either they’re common carriers, and have no right to decide what opinions are allowed, or they’re publishers, and they’re responsible for everything they publish.

              Pick one

              1. Option 3:

                You’re ignorant of the law.

                https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/47/230

                (c)Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material
                (1)Treatment of publisher or speaker
                No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

                (2)Civil liability
                No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—
                (A)any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected; or
                (B)any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph (1).[1]

              2. Then Facebook and Twitter, by virtue of the fact that they are deciding what appears on their sites, are publishers.

                Nope. That’s not the law. The law is that they’re only the publishers of their own content, not the content supplied by users.

                Either they’re common carriers, and have no right to decide what opinions are allowed, or they’re publishers, and they’re responsible for everything they publish.

                Pick one

                They. Don’t. Have. To. That’s what you wish the law was. But it’s not.

                Moreover, your dichotomy represents an incorrect understanding of the law even if 47 U.S.C. § 230 didn’t exist. There are other categories in the law besides publisher and common carrier. Distributor, for instance. A bookstore or newsstand decides what opinions are allowed, but is not thereby liable for all of those opinions.

                1. “Nope. That’s not the law. The law is that they’re only the publishers of their own content, not the content supplied by users.”

                  Excellent!

                  Then there’s no violation of their rights when they’re not allowed to censor content they disagree with. Because that content is not being “spoken with their voice”.

                  I dont’ care what the law says, i care what logic and reason say.

                  What the law says is “we are going to give this special subsidy to fascist pigs like FB and Twitter.” What I’m saying is that there’s not the slight shred of reason or logic behind that grant, and it should end.

                  Here’s how this argument goes:

                  Me: The law is giving a massive subsidy to large rich tech companies
                  You: No it doesn’t, it just protects their rights!
                  Me: There is no coherent “rights based” narrative that can defend this. You have a right to speak, and are therefor responsible for what you say. This law gives them the right, why blocking us from holding them responsible
                  You: The law says that’s so, so you’re wrong for disagreeing with it!!11!

                  Me: The law is an illegitimate subsidy to rich bullies and thugs. They are acting as publishers, but the law protects them from facing the responsibilities that all other publishers face.

                  You: The law calls a tail a leg, therefore there are 5 legs, and you are wrong.

                  Me: Bye

    5. I’m not sure what you think you’ve got but I’m pretty sure that’s not it. Anyone can avoid visual speech they don’t like by simply not reading it. That’s very different from being part of the distribution of that speech.

    6. Muted!

      (just kidding, apedad) 🙂

    7. Everyone has the RIGHT to avoid speech, and even censor speech. But no one has the right to be immune from criticism for their actions. And the bigger and more powerful you are, the more likely your actions will be scrutinized, and possibly criticized.

      See how the marketplace of ideas works.

      1. Bored Lawyer, here is another way the marketplace of ideas works. The more profuse and diverse the private publishing community is, the more secure the marketplace of ideas is from any kind of meaningful censorship, either by private parties or by government.

        Today’s internet marketplace of ideas is perilously insecure. It is neither profuse nor diverse. It is controlled by an ad sales oligopoly run by only a few parties. That creates a three-way Hobson’s choice, with a nasty twist: censorship by the oligopolists; censorship by the government; or submergence of the marketplace of ideas in a tide of unedited swill, which in turn encourages and validates public demands for one kind of censorship or the other.

        Absent general recognition that it is a utopian goal to combine internet giantism with unedited publishing, there will be no solution to the censorship problem, no reliable press freedom, and no secure marketplace of ideas.

        Tailor public policy to deliver a profuse and diverse private publishing community on the internet, and the nation will get the best and largest marketplace of ideas it can practically achieve—better than anything previously seen. Do otherwise, and kiss press freedom goodbye.

      2. I imagine apedad is referring to Prof. Volokh’s previous post, where he called upon Facebook to continue to host speech it finds objectionable (though it’s not clear to me whether he was endorsing a legal obligation for the, to do so or not).

    8. A wise man once said, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”

      1. Jerry Vandesic, when that was said, it was rarely if ever true. Throughout this nation there were literally thousands of publishers who achieved circulation by contracting for printing on presses owned by larger publishers.

        Among the larger newspaper presses, many were chronically under-used, so the system worked well. If the larger publisher broke down or defaulted for some reason, another was readily found, even on short notice.

        Among other things, that meant that an impecunious would-be newspaper publisher could get started with little more capital needed than the cost of the first press run. Of course, breaking even from the outset was a tall order, so more money might have to follow. And prospects for growth meant capital needed for operating costs would always grow ahead of increased advertising revenue.

        But it was far less daunting to do it that way than to have to buy a newspaper press, a facility to house it, and a warehouse on a railroad spur to store the newsprint. And then hire a crew to manage the pre-press and press operations. Instead, you and your editorial staff prepared camera-ready copy, and paid the big publisher to do the rest. Publishers were doing that in big cities, in small cities, in small towns, and in the remotest rural communities in the nation.

        There is wisdom in that old aphorism, but it is mostly about relations between the government and the press, not about the practicalities of publishing. So make it a point to notice, the practicalities of publishing can critically influence what actually happens with regard to press freedom and the government.

  2. I don’t expect I’ll be using the feature, barring the appearance of somebody on a Hihn level of inane spamming. One thing I think we generally do NOT have a desperate need of is more ways to make our personal bubbles more impenetrable. And I’m from a generation where people were expected to develop thick skins, being easily offended was not considered an admirable trait.

    1. An excellent attitude.

      1. I am generally opposed to muting, – though there are a few commentators that have perpetual off topic agenda driven rants (often only marginally coherent).

        I will likely mute those few, though is it possible to mute the responses to those few individuals? Since neither the off topic rant nor the responses add anything of value to the subject

      2. Brett Bellmore : “I don’t expect I’ll be using the feature…”

        Me neither. But an edit feature would be helpful (hint, hint)

    2. True enough, but what if, let’s suppose, a commenter says the same insult-laced stuff over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over?

      Even to the point of repeating the same sentences?

      Would it be OK to exchange some comments with that person, then figure out maybe his creativity has been exhausted and then go on to someone else?

      1. That is why the country is so sick your failed toxic profession. You fail in every self stated goal of every law subject but refuse to go away. There is no way to get rid of you because you send men with guns. That is the sole validation of what you do. Nothing about it works, has any value, or is not totally toxic.

    3. I’ve already used it with great glee to block some of the more prolific spammers (the real spammers with their ads and malware links, not just the prolific poster). Since Reason has been apparently unable to keep them from abusing the commenting system and doesn’t seem to do anything with the ‘flag comment’ reports, I’m glad that they are at least giving us some tools to self-protect.

      Now if they’d just give us the ability to collapse discussion threads…

    4. I basically agree with this, but there are certain posters here (I’ll even say on both sides of the political spectrum) who post a lot of nonsense that never makes me feel like I’ve learned anything or even have an idea I want to engage in. I feel okay about muting them to improve the overall signal to noise ratio on the site.

    5. I don’t have a particularly thin skin, and I embrace substantive disagreement, but when someone virtually never posts anything that’s substantive and is repetitious to the point of absurdity, they get my mute vote.

      1. Just say “Kirkland.”

  3. Thanks! I already muted David Behar this morning. (Because he really is an order of magnitude more annoying than anyone else.)

    1. So you’re muting him just because he’s “annoying”.

      1. If you’re interested in a more fully fleshed-out set of criteria, I’m muting him because he is annoying by writing:

        1. Incoherent gibberish
        2. (To the extent that I can tell) off-topic
        3. Frequently

        1. I can’t say I’ve ever seen him post anything that was actually incoherent as such. Often remarkably foolish, and while my own experiences with lawyers have left me somewhat sympathetic, obsessive about the evil of the legal profession.

          But not incoherent, as such.

          1. You must be a better comprehended than I.

            At any rate, I appreciate the option to avoid the exercise going forward.

            1. Went back to the last thread I was involved with :

              DaivdBehar : (after saying Trump should have jailed Pelosi & Mueller for ten years at hard labor) : “As to shadiness, anyone who works commits multiple federal crimes a day. Lend me your laptop for an hour. I can get you years in prison and $million in fines, even if a toddler. I am surprised no one did what I would do”

              On the other hand, he suggested mushroom risotto.as a recipe to try, so he ain’t all lunacy..

              1. Nothing incoherent about that, it’s perfectly comprehensible, even if not quite true about the toddler.

      2. One of the few things we agree on.

    2. Of all the right wing cranks on this site, Behar seems to actually be the most interesting. The rest are all eating from the same Fox-Breitbart-talk radio trough, mouthing some form of all the same slogans (“covid is a hoax”, “the election was stolen”, etc.). Facebook boomer-tier stuff. But where else else are you going to hear about how the use of Latin phrases is an unconstitutional establishment of religion?? Hearkens back to a pre-hyperpartisanized time when nutcases could just be goofy and weird without completely following a political movement.

      1. If the right-wingers are mouthing different slogans, that puts them one up on the one-note “open wide, bitter clingers, while I shove rationality and tolerance down your throat” and “the conservatives I dislike are all alike in their inability to view people along any axis except the one they fixate on” left-wing types who afflict this comment section.

  4. Mute function was a good idea, and one of the best forms of moderation because they leave control in the hands of the individual to choose what content they see.

    Also it’s nice to be Annie to finally mute the copy pastas.

  5. Thank you!!

    Though I suspect some of the trolls will evade this feature by changing ‘nyms frequently.

  6. Blocked
    Blocked
    You’re all blocked.
    None of you are free of sin.

    1. I blocked myself so I don’t have to look at myself.

      1. Maybe you have a split personality?

        1. I sure do!

          No, I don’t, who told you that?

          1. Roses are red.
            Violets are blue.
            I’m split personality.
            And so am I.

    2. Man, now I want an upvote function.

      1. (And an edit function)

    3. You forgot the “Bwahaha!”

  7. A slightly simpler form of using the vertical dashed lines to get to the next post.

  8. I have been viciously and falsely attacked by Democrats. That is not a problem. The slightest non personal, group vulgarity on my part results in nasty disruptive emails. Prof. Volokh lives in LA. No one can overcome their local culture. He lacks self awareness, as a result. Expert in the First Amendment. Oblivious to the Scholasticist natue of the common law. Indoctrinates hundreds of students into that sicko. Illegal ideology in our secular nation. All my comments are from any academic high school education. Oblivious.

    1. Oh come on, DB – Upthread Brett was nice enuff to defend you against the charge of incoherence. Why do you wanna cut the legs out from under him after such kindness?

  9. Bravo

  10. Care to tell me why you deleted every comment I made in https://reason.com/volokh/2021/04/26/the-american-humanist-associations-withdrawal-of-a-25-year-old-award-to-richard-dawkins

    (I made two comments after the sweep).

    Reason doesn’t allow people to post that having a penis means you’re male, and that your feelings on the subject don’t matter?

    1. Let’s see if the new regime is more lenient:

      Unless you’re a mutant (and such cases exist), then if you have a dick you’re male, and believing yourself to be female doesn’t make you female any more than believing yourself made of glass makes you a glass person.

      1. I would certainly not delete that.

        1. Just checking!

          1. You were never in danger, Cal Cetin. I wish you’d have used a few terms before I did . . . would have made those terms at least slightly more difficult to censor.

        2. Perhaps you can expand this technology to more general applications?

          I’d like not to see images of auto accidents, active war, various shootings, animal cruelty, the mass makeshift crematorium scenes in india, and more. There is a lot of stuff that I don’t want to see.

          But if I have to look away, I still kinda know it is there. I’m looking for total abstraction. Something like the hopper from the dish satellite tv service, that automatically skips commercials so perfectly that I never even knew they were ever there or even skipped.

      2. ” Unless you’re a mutant (and such cases exist), ”

        The predictable reference to intersexed persons as “mutants” is what makes the Volokh Conspiracy what it is.

      3. ” and believing yourself to be female doesn’t make you female any more than believing yourself made of glass makes you a glass person.”

        Although to be clear, trans people don’t believe themselves to be anything that they’re not.

        But many people believe that if someone self-identifies as female, then they fit within the only acceptable definition of the word “female” and that they are entitled to be they are entitled to be spoken of as female, thought of as female, and treated the way we treat females per social convention.

        Even if the person doing the thinking, speaking, and treating doesn’t see them as female.

        1. Well, we’re drifting off-topic here, but re that :

          (1) It’s a fact obvious both from experience today and throughout history that some people are born with a difference sense of sexual identity than their physical plumbing.

          (2) Going with their sexual identity allows them to live a happier life.

          (3) It’s no skin off my back if they do, and I consider it a courtesy to oblige them. Courtesy is a social convention too, BTW.

          You’re welcome. It was my pleasure to solve this difficult problem for you. I could see it was eating you up inside and wanted to help.

          1. If you don’t have a problem obliging someone, great!

            For most people, it’s no problem obliging someone until it is. Many people don’t want to be physically intimate with someone that they view as a sex other than the sex that they prefer to be physically intimate, for example.

            And many women understandably don’t want to share prison cells with people that they view as men.

            And of course this logic is never applied consistently, as evidenced by the constant failed attempts to justify a distinction with folks who identify as a different race.

            1. OK; we’re obviously whittling your obsession down to manageable size

              1. If somebody doesn’t want to be “physically intimate” with somebody else – wherever either person falls on the sexually identity spectrum – that’s their every right & privilege.

              2. So are you really reduced to prison cells & high-end sports to justify your fixation with this subject? Do you think DaivdBehar below and Greg J above are so effusive on the topic due to worry about penal management? My advice is to lighten-up. If (for instance), the actor Elliot Page (who was pretty good in Inception) decides she can live a happier life as a he, more power to’im. No one is stealing anything from you. Just relax!

              1. Why should I “lighten up” with respect to Elliot Page, but not with respect to, say, Rachael Dolezal?

                If people don’t apply their principals consistently, that’s evidence that they don’t believe them.

                And of course, the prison cells and the physical intimacy comes with everything else.

                Trans theorists aren’t asking you to say that men are women, and act like men are women when you’re OK with doing so, they are insisting that you believe that people who identify as women are women, and that you act accordingly.

              2. It is not “high end sports”, but sports, period. I don’t want my competitive powerlifting daughter to have to compete with biological males, and neither does she.

          2. ” It’s a fact obvious both from experience today and throughout history that some people are born with a difference sense of sexual identity than their physical plumbing.”

            But that doesn’t make anorexics obese.

              1. Having ‘a different sense’ of something from physical reality doesn’t make physical reality go away.

                1. Really, Brett? That sounds glibly persuasive, but is facile nonsense. A human being’s sexuality is hardware (all those delightful physical traits so sweet to dally with) – and software wired into the brain. With most people they are in synch, but with a few they’re not.

                  But that “software” is no less real. Do you honestly think otherwise?

                  1. Of course the software is not “real”.

                    When someone claims to be a gender different from their body, the question immediately raised is “how do you know?” No one has access to the mind of anyone else, so how can a person “know” that they are some gender? The only mind you can ever know is your own.

                    Now, anyone can certainly strongly wish they had a different body, and go through chemical and surgical means to try to imperfectly emulate that body. They may choose to adopt cultural stereotypes of behavior predominant among one gender. But that still doesn’t mean they “are” that gender, unless we have some scientific survey of mental states that would let us identify something we would call “men” and “women” without regard to bodies.

                    And that is what “TERF”s argue against; the notion that there is some mental state that makes one a man or a woman has been used against “unfeminine” women and “unmasculine” men for basically forever, and the feminist movement had been largely successful in stamping out the notion that there is a right way for women or men to behave. And along come men trying to destroy that.

                  2. I have trans relative that I’m fine calling she/her but I can’t help but notice that nothing done to help her has help5 her and one treatment put her at risks for strokes and now she’s suffering from those and may die. This caused me to research the topic and I found major issues like detransitioning/regret, preliminary evidence for social contagion of trans identity, self rejection of trans identity as one ages, little evidence that medical interventions reduce negatives associated with trans identity, sudden change of from mostly mtf population to ftm in treatment centers, etc. Have you read the recent Guardian article on the tavistock trust whistle blower? Pretty clear something is wrong with either our understanding of trans identity or treatments. or both.

          3. A: Well, first of all “2” is not at all proven, there being a large number of people out there who did the trans thing, and discovered that it actually left them feeling worse off.

            B: I am perfectly happy with you deciding that you really want to be a girl, despite the fact that you were born male. Knock yourself out!

            But:
            1: I’m not going to “post my pronouns” because you are psychologically screwed up

            2: I’m not going to embrace lies (“female penis”, etc, et al) to pander to your psychological problems

            3: Girl’s / women’s sports are for people who were born female (without a penis)

            4: A cis het male rapist can done women’s clothes and attempt to go into women’s private spaces in order to find victims to rape.

            Protecting those girls and women from rape / molestation is more important than protecting the feelings of psychologically damaged people who have problems with reality.

            So if someone spots a man in one of those women’s private spaces, that man should expect to be challenged, and treated like an interloper. And he’d damn well never get up on his high horse about it

            Because reality is more important than your feelings.

    2. In my experience, sometimes someone up in the sky determines an overall thread has gone toxic and just scrubs the whole thing rather than making value judgments on each individual post in it. At a quick glance I don’t see any odd looking gaps in the discussion you linked to, so it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what happened.

    3. Greg J: I’m nearly certain that I didn’t delete any of your comments on that thread (or any comments more broadly on transgender questions). Perhaps if they included some personal insults or vulgar comments, I might have deleted them on those grounds and it just hasn’t stuck in my mind, but I doubt it (and I usually e-mail the commenter when I do that). There’s some tiny chance that someone else at Reason deleted them, but my sense is that almost never happens.

      Did they have multiple links? I understand that sometimes the spam filter vacuums those up, since that’s apparently seen as a proxy for spam (I’m not sure why).

      1. I understand that sometimes the spam filter vacuums those up

        Always. It would be nice for Reason to fix that, since when discussing evidence for/against a given proposition it’s very common to want to cite to multiple sources.

        And looking at Reason discussion threads outside the Volokh ecosystem, it seems clear that the spammers are doing just fine even under this restriction. So maybe it’s time for Reason to consider more sophisticated anti-spam techniques (which certainly exist aplenty these days).

      2. I have on rare occasion posted comments that didn’t appear, but I’m pretty sure it was a software glitch rather than censorship. It hasn’t happened in a while, but it has happened. Greg, are you absolutely certain that’s not what happened to you?

        1. It was 5 – 10 comments, i remember seeing them after I posted them.

          I came back a couple hours later, and I did not have any comments on that post

      3. Nope.

        No links. I was coming in towards the end of the life of that post, so there was likely no replies to them.

        Nothing vulgar. Calling people dishonest, nothing beyond that, and plenty of comments with nothing other than “this is not reasonable. Here’s why”

        1. I’m stumped — no idea what happened there.

          1. Well, glad to know it wasn’t deliberate deletion

        2. I’ve had the odd comment disappear over the years. As a long time computer nerd, ‘software glitch’ is always one of the possible explanations.

    4. Even if you lose your penis, each of your human cells has an XY chromosome. Forcing people to deny reality is unacceptable.

      By the way, you do not get to define me. I identify with being rich. I expect everyone to send me money so that my identity and my physical reality become the same.

      1. Nonsense. That just means you may have a future as a starving poet.

  11. Fantastic. I’m going to use this sparingly, but there are definitely a couple users who routinely add nothing (or less than nothing) to the discussion, and I have no qualms about improving the conversation by removing their noise once it’s clear they have nothing more to offer.

  12. If you’re not here to partake of the varied feast that is conservative/libertarian intellectual discourse and obsession, from contemplating the coming race war to the malignancy of lawyers to rape-is-bad-but-you-knew-that-before-you-got-raped, to predictions of civil war, Maoist denunciations of wrong-thinking Republicans who dare suggest that Trump lost the election, reflexive whataboutery, ominous predictions of civil war, blaming January 6th on that one guy claming to be antifa, ferocious pledges of allegiance to the principles of individual liberty through guns except when black people stand up to the heavily-armed strong-arm of the state, climate change denial, covid denial, complaining about how big tech is awful after years of pretty much advocating for increasing corporate influence in politics…. and that’s just the starters, then why are you here? Mute all of them, and you’re left with Reverend Jim-Bob.

    1. Artie Ray Lee Wayne Jim-Bob is gone, apparently for good.

    2. Mute all of them, and you’re left with Reverend Jim-Bob.

      Oh, interesting. Which of the above categories do your own posts fall into?

  13. Good.

    Should we refer to the muted commenters as our “mutants,” or is that the person doing the muting?

    Maybe “mutee” and “muter” are best. Might frequent mutees stage a mutiny?

    1. Gives new meaning to ‘Pro-muter’ 🙂

      1. Muteatis mutandis

        1. I think it’s actually from the ancient Greek, μτ

          1. Maybe have a sign-language argument in mute court?

            1. touché!

              Now VC needs to implement the MIME protocol.

  14. Thank you. I’ve been wishing for such a capability every time I accidentally read a post by one Behar.

    A&D

  15. Washington Post had this function when WP hosted the Volokh Conspiracy.

    It was such a letdown when I started reading Reason and was subjected to a certain inane user’s comments when they had been blocked during the WaPa years.

    Adios, Art.

    1. “Adios, Art.”

      Already done. He’s the only one I ever muted on WaPo also.

      1. I shall console myself with victory in the culture war, watching conservatives comply with the preferences of better people as America continues to improve against the wishes and efforts of the Volokh Conspiracy and its downscale right-wing fans.

        1. Artie, you better start an immediate upgrade of your comments to more lawyerly. You are about to be muted.

        2. All these announcements that you’re being muted must be the greatest validation you could ever hope for. Bravo.

  16. Definitely appreciate this feature (not as much as an edit button,though…), but put me down as a vote for a significantly heavier hand in moderation. Even if unevenly or inconsistently applied, it could only improve the (depressingly low) quality of the discussions here.

    1. but put me down as a vote for a significantly heavier hand in moderation

      Hmmm. Would you envision such heavy-handed moderation being applied to tone-deaf requests that the poster either knows or should know have absolutely zero chance of being implemented?

    2. Bleah. I have seen plenty of sites that opted for heavy handed moderation, and have yet to see one where it was an improvement unless you happened to be in close agreement with the moderator.

      1. Well, I am in pretty close agreement with the moderator here on most topics, so that should be fine.

        At any rate, the posters who are most of the problem also tend to be on “my side”, so even a biased liberal cleaning house wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

  17. I won’t block anyone here, nor have I ever done so on other sites I frequent.

    It’s easy to skip over the usual crazies’ posts. But, honestly, I usually end up reading them, just for the humor. And, come on, you have to admit that most of the trolls are funny, though in an unintentional way.

  18. Thank you. Broadly speaking I see four types of users here: those who come to heckle, those who come to joke, those who come to complain semi-constructively, and those who come to discuss.

    1. There is a distinct subset that thinks throwing out continuous logical fallacies is a form of discussion. Also, not quite a logical fallacy but close, the “in order for me to believe you I must see all your citations and links that back up your statement, but my assertion ought to be accepted without support because I agree with it.” Example “We live in a racist country with systemic discrimination. If you think otherwise I am going to need links to all your studies, facts, articles, and anything else backing up your argument.”

    2. I also see four types of users: The unrepentant, disaffected, grievance-consumed bigots; the defensive conservatives hiding behind euphemisms, still hoping to persuade the American mainstream to lighten up in the culture war; the folks who like a good argument (and generally leave unsatisfied); and those who like to torment clingers.

  19. Can you do us all a favor and just set AK as a default “mute user”?

    1. He’s done it before. Might do it again.

  20. This feature was not really needed until recently. Glad to see it.

  21. “One commenter, for instance, has repeatedly complained that I deleted his posts where he called other commenters “slack-jaws” or, presumably thinking himself clever, labeled defenders of the police that he disagreed with as engaging in “cop succor.” I stand entirely by those decisions; ”

    “Complained” gets it wrong.

    I describe the differing censorship standards applied to non-conservatives, with these examples as handy illustrations that something other than principle or an even-handed approach to freedom of expression is controlling the decisions.

    “C_p succ_ors” is banned, for example, while “phoqueue” is expressly celebrated for its wittiness. “Cockswaddle” is fine, too, as is gratuitous use of a vile racial slur. “Sl_ck-j_wed,” though, is banned, although the likes of “commie,” “idiot,” “babykiller,” and worse are permitted — if used by some commenters, at least. The ‘put you facedown in a landfill,’ ‘shoot you in the face when you answer your door,’ ‘give you a Zyklon shower,’ ‘liberals should be gassed’ comments — and others like them — are still up, too.

    I also consistently recognize that this is Prof. Volokh’s playground and that he consequently gets to make and enforce the rules. Viewpoint-driven censorship is not impermissible, although it might be seen as inconvenient in the context of someone who purports to be a champion of free expression.

    1. You left out how one commenter always hates on religious people, refers to them in a myriad of offensive ways, talks about how they are subhuman for lacking any type of intellect, and uses many slurs to the like, but somehow despite this still posts to just about every article without censorship….

      1. You forgot to mention the frequent allusions to oral rape.

        Rev, I’ve never seen anybody whine so much about being censored, without it being someplace else, as you.

        1. Or the numerous references that many would like into a “homophobic” category involving pleasuring the genitals of a man (usually by another man).

          1. That’s how culture wars are won.

    2. Artie, can you once make a point of fact, of logic, or of law? I did not think you were lawyer for a long time. Try to be more lawyerly. Lawyerly is good in my book.

  22. I appreciate the ability to mute and I’ll at least try it out. I don’t generally mute anyone.

    Now if we could get a limited edit function so I could fix obvious typos.

    I wonder if Reason will keep stats on those who get muted and if they will release them.

    1. For thoose of us that never make mistakes all this carping over an edit function seems a little much.

  23. Not only do you moderate a libertarian oriented legal blog but now you have the temerity to allow each individual to decide FOR THEMSELVES what and who to read on your site!

    Eugene Volokh at long last, have you left no sense of decency?

    😉

  24. It works great. I muted one person here, as an experiment, and it turns out to have collapsed 7-8 of his posts. From that you can guess the person muted. This is all that I see for each of his posts:

    Comment hidden because this user is muted. Unmute
    Show username

    1. Yup, I have already realized a meta benefit. I muted 3 people, using my customary criteria. A few threads came up which were riddled with deleted comments. Looking over them, I realized I might previously have spent appreciable time studying to see whether there was anything worthwhile to be found in the mess, or whether the shit storm abated farther down.

      With the muted stuff out of the way, it takes only a moment to tell if there is anything left worth paying attention to. Mostly there isn’t. When those 3 commenters go to work they pretty much kill everything else. Now it’s easier to see. Good feature.

    2. Comment hidden because this user is muted. Unmute

      Ah, thanks for posting that. I had hoped there would be a way to undo a mute, but didn’t see any sign of it in account options and hadn’t yet settled on someone I really didn’t want to hear from again in case it was permanent.

  25. In my opinion, places usually are overmoderated rather than the reverse. Especially in the ‘mainstream’ forums that tend to be controlled by those on the lefthand side of the aisle.

    People can be ugly underneath, but by mostly allowing things to take their course rather than banhammering everything to construct an atmosphere of false politeness I think you can settle down to an an equilibrium that is both more honest and informative but still civil. Moderation should be used as a last resort and not as a general purpose tool to steer the conversation to a particular end. I’d like to thank Prof Volokh for pulling off this light touch approach more than most can.

    I never really understood people’s fetish for strict moderation and blocking people they disagree with at the drop of a hat. I’ve never in all my time online blocked anyone except an obvious spambot or flooder. Other than that, maybe if someone decides to target and harass you but mostly people just need to grow a thicker skin IMO.

    1. There’s a handful of cases I find I can skip. In addition to Art (repetitive, unpleasant), there’s a kill-the-lawyers guy, an anti-Semite, and a couple others.

      Before, if I didn’t respond to them, the question would be “why aren’t you rebutting this fellow?” Now the presumption (correctly) will be that I blocked them.

      And likewise for anyone who blocks me. They won’t have to get their blood pressure up, they have a technically-enhanced mechanism to ignore me.

      1. You didn’t mention the racists, Cal. Or the ‘gas the liberal judges’ comments. The ‘place you and the other liberals face-down in landfills’ comments. The ‘Zyklon showers for commie liberals’ comments.

        Instead, I get called out for being unpleasant . . . censored for using terms such as “sl_ck-j_wed” and “c_p succ_r” . . . and banned for poking fun at conservatives.

        Conservatives are entitled to engage in viewpoint-based censorship and partisan discrimination . . . but they should have the self-awareness and decency to refrain from climbing high horses to whine about how right-wingers don’t get to vent their lies and bigotry without consequences.

        1. But, still, alas, you are posting here yet again. So how does this whole censorship thing work again?

        2. An excellent illustration of why Art should be muted.

          I mention muting an anti-Semite, and he says I’m ignoring racists.

          But why go on? Why not simply pull the plug?

    2. I don’t think we’re really that much in disagreement but I very much favor using the “mute user” function for people who come here just to start flamewars and lob insults even if not directed at me personally. They contribute nothing of value and can clog up the comments section to the point where I spend half my time scrolling past their garbage to get to the threads that are actually interesting and substantive. Hopefully other people will do the same now that they can block the likes of AK, DB, etc. instead of responding to them and feeding their need for attention.

      1. The comment section has already gotten better just today. I only muted two people, but I can see through threads, that the two trolls I muted are already getting less interaction than they used to.

  26. Congratulations.

    Now let’s get an edit function.

    1. I actually think an edit function, (Sharply time limited, and expires the moment someone replies to you.) is more valuable than a mute button. Everybody, even the most tolerant, misspells a word, or fails to close html, once in a while.

      1. Exactly. I’ve suggested a class-action boycott – wild-eyed libs & zombie undead rightists alike – until management caves to our demand for an edit function. A few days of tumbleweeds rolling thru empty comment sections & the Man will see he can’t oppress us. I’m just afraid this Volokh guy will bring in scab commenters.

    2. this was probably needed even more than a mute function. What is it with establishment libertarians and being tech inept?

      1. Not outsourcing allows you to have a lot more libertarian boards, but means things have to be made from scratch.

        1. You could hire some web developer off fivver for a few hundred bucks and they could put together or copy paste something off stackoverflow better than this place has now.

  27. Kill filters have been a feature of usenet since the nineties.

    Welcome to the twentieth century, Reason, and thank you for the upgrade. I will be using it judiciously.

    BTW, the surest way to become a resident of my killfile is to post too many comments, not necessarily comments that I disagree with. It’s a matter of how much of my time I’m willing to waste, and in that case less is definitely more.

  28. Perfect. Thank you. I hope to enjoy reading these comment sections again and participating more frequently.

  29. Question, is there any way for you to track and post who gets muted the most frequently?

    1. So make it into a contest ?!?

  30. Great improvement. Here’s a suggestion for another. How about giving us the ability to edit our comments? Facebook does that. I often don’t find errors, major and minor, in my postings until after I have hit the send button.

  31. Thanks Eugene, this has greatly improved my user experience. It’s up to each of us to decide how we use this new feature and I’ve made the decision that I will only use it for the posters who seem to come here to post gratuitous insults and start flame wars (yes – AK was the first person that I muted and it’s been about ten years overdue).

    1. I also have muted AK

      1. I trained myself not to read AK text. Looking forward to muting AK now.

  32. Folks keep asking for an edit function. One way to make that less necessary would be to display the same typeface in the composition box as is used in the final comments. The sans-serif face used in the composition box tends to be less readable, and thus makes it more likely to overlook simple typos. That is why you keep hearing commenters say things like, “I often don’t find errors, major and minor, in my postings until after I have hit the send button.”

    To further convenience users, set the line length in the composition box to the same length used in the published comments. That would disclose some formatting problems which would otherwise be hard to notice.

    Another improvement would be to display accurate HTML formatting during composition. If that creates a processing problem, provide a button to display actual formatting, during a pre-submit review, available prior to pushing, “Submit.”

    By the way, a more accurately descriptive, and less peremptory label for that button would be, “Publish.”

    1. Certainly! But by the time Professor Volokh did all that, it’ll probably be easier to just give us a (damn) edit function.

    2. WYSIWYG would be nice. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve pasted a quote from some site I’m linking to, fixed the formating so it looks right in the entry window, and when it publishes, found that I’ve missed a hard end of line because it was right where my entry window wrapped, and it published to a different line width.

    3. By the way, a more accurately descriptive, and less peremptory label for that button would be, “Publish.”

      I don’t think you’d want that, because then you’d be forced to admit that it’s the commenters rather than the hosts here who are the publishers.

      1. No, Nieporent, I would not be forced at all. The mere power to publish is not what identifies a publisher. In this nation, everyone has always enjoyed a power to publish. But there remains a distinction between a publisher and every other contributor who publishes. The publisher assembles the audience, and empowers reaching audience members with expressive content. The publisher monetizes that audience by selling access to it to advertisers. The contributor does none of that.

        Nevertheless, it would be wise—given joint liability of publishers and contributors for libel damages—to include on the enabling button a reminder of what actually happens when you push the button.

        1. The mere power to publish is not what identifies a publisher.

          I mean, it’s literally right there in the word.

          1. Label the button “Contribute” and make everybody happy.

  33. Can we get stats on who is muted by the most people? Without considering whether these people deserve to be muted, from reading the comments section I’m guessing the rankings would look something like this:

    1. The Very Most Reverend ALK;
    2. David “No Relative of Joy” Behar; and
    3. Dr. (Of what? We’re never told) Ed.

    Anyone think the order or top mutees would be different?

    1. ALK was certainly my first muting. He contributes nothing of substance pretty much ever.

      Behar is likely to get muted, but he surprised me once by making a substantive post that wasn’t nuts. So I’m cautiously optimistic.

      1. I just want to say you have the best username on this site and I hope I never have to mute you. If I do, I suppose I’ll have to click “show username.”

      2. The Rev has made substantive comments before. Usually on the open thread, concerning food, or something of that nature, but I do vaguely recall one or two comments where his meds were apparently balanced just right, or he was bored with his usual pose, and he commented substantively on politics or law. He’s only about 95-99% noise.

    2. Seems about right to me.

  34. The block function was present on The Federalist website’s comment section, and I used it to block all the habitual anti-Semite posters. That didn’t save the site from being threatened to be deplatformed if the comments were allowed.

    I’ll happily block the usual “work from home” posts.

  35. Thank you, Eugene!!

  36. Eugene,
    Can you explain how this works? Say that I post on this (or any) thread. You hate this common so much that you mute/block me.

    You won’t see future posts (on this thread, and–I gather–on all other threads). I think I get that. But what happens in the case where there are 5 comments “under” my own, responding to a Conspirator’s OP? And there are 18 sub-comments nested under those 5. Can you see those, they all are from other people? Or does blocking me also block you from the multitude of responses to that one comment I made? (I see advantages and disadvantages to each possible approach.)

    1. I can see the responses, though of course some of them might be harder to understand without seeing the blocked comment.

    2. Based on an experiment, you still see replies to a muted post.

  37. sigh. …hate this *comment* so much…

  38. We all know who is hardest hit.

  39. …and there was much rejoicing!

    Thank you.

  40. This much appreciated. My vote for next feature would be notifications that someone has replied to you in a comment thread. It’s almost impossible to remember which articles I’ve responded to and need to monitor for replies.

    1. Yeah, the older sites made this much easier. Definitely at the top of my wish list here (along with the ‘everyone wants but will never get’ edit function).

  41. Ever since Dr. John helped me, my partner is very stable, faithful and closer to me than before. I highly recommends Dr. John to anyone in need of help. Email: Drjohnsoco @ gmail .com

  42. Thank you, Reason.com and Prof. Volokh.

  43. I would like the added feature that when logging in a commenter would be informed of their number of mutes.

  44. Professor Volokh….A ‘Muted Scoreboard’ would be great. Sorted by User names most muted. And posted every Thursday. 🙂

    I guarantee it will generate hilarious comments.

  45. I’m going to wrap up some arguments that have been going deep into threads

    1: The US Press publishes “newsworthy” illegally obtained material

    This has been true at least since the Pentagon Papers, so ~40 years

    2: US social media has no rule against publishing illegally obtained material. This was clearly seen when the NYT published Trump tax information before the 2016 election, and promoted said reports on social media

    3: US social media had no rule against publishing illegally obtained material. This was clearly seen when the NYT published Trump tax information before the 2020 election, and promoted said reports on social media

    4: When a person legally obtains an individual’s tax information for his / her job / private use, and then gives that information to the NYT to publish, that person has committed a crime. So unless you’re going to claim that Trump personally gave his tax information to the NYT, we know that a crime occurred when it was published.
    5: So Social media’s attempts to suppress the information that came from Hunter Biden’s laptop was not in support of any principle or law

    It was the deliberate suppression of information of public interest because it harmed the private interest of the tech billionaires who wish to be our overlords.

  46. 1: It has been known for years that Hunter Biden was paid over $50,000 a month by a corrupt Ukrainian company, said payments having started after then Vice President Joe Biden was made the point man on Ukraine for the Obama Admin

    2: It has been known for years that Hunter Biden was paid large sums of money by companies doing business in Iraq while then Vice President Joe Biden was the point man on Iraq for the Obama Admin

    3: The Hunter Biden laptop contained a text from Hunter to his daughter, stating that his father (former Vice President, and then Presidential candidate) Joe Biden to 1/2 of everything Hunter made

    4: This information came out int he month before teh Presidential election

    5: In a country without a controlled press, this would have been top headline news, subject to massive discussion wherever politics was discussed. Because this was solid evidence that the Democrat Presidential candidate was corrupt, and on the payroll of corrupt American and foreign companies

    6: This was not a headline grabbing discussion in the US, because between our tech overlords and the people controlling the NYT, WaPo, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and NBC, there was a massive effort to deprive the American people of the ability to be informed about, and discuss, information that was not in the person interest of those controllers

  47. 1: No honest vote counter blocks poll watchers from doing their job.

    2: It is a generally accepted rule in international elections monitoring that “blocked poll watchers” == “fraudulent election outcome.” See: Uganda, Jan 2021.

    3: I know that Detroit, Philly, Atlanta, are are on clear public record as having blocked Trump campaign poll watchers. THose right there are enough to flip the election

    4: Therefore any claim that “of course the election was honest and fair, and anyone who claims otherwise is a nut” is a statement utterly lacking in principle or value, and to make that claim is to self identify as a nut.

    5: wkow.com/2020/11/13/concerns-over-indefinitely-confined-voting-law-as-thousands-use-the-option-due-to-covid-19/
    In 2016 there were ~60k “indefinitely confined” absentee voters in WI (IC voters can vote absentee without providing State issued photo ID. All others have to provide it, and thus prove they’re actual real people, not someone voting twice)
    In 2019 there were ~73k “indefinitely confined” absentee voters
    In 2020, 215,333 votes came from “indefinitely confined” absentee voters.

    The margin in WI was 20k votes

    The after the Democrats on the WI Elections board started telling people that “fear of covid” was sufficient to make them “indefinitely confined”, the WI SC ruled that was a violation of the law, and ordered them to stop doing that.

    What the Wi SC couldn’t do was order counties to require people to actually prove that they were legitimately “indefinitely confined” before voting that way.

    Tripling the number of “indefinitely confined” votes in one year tells us this wasn’t honest growth

    So the WI EC votes for Biden are not in any way legitimate

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