Has our comment section improved? I think so

The old days when we left comments in person at Get Together events like this one in 2009.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Back in February, serious concerns from the community forced me to take a harder look at our comment section.

If you recall, the concerns were based on my moderating style that let too many mean and inappropriate comments get through. I’d known for years that some folks had stopped reading the comments because of the tenor of BikePortland commenters, but I didn’t take those concerns as seriously as I should have. It took getting called-out on Twitter and some pointed private messages and conversations for me to finally understand why our comment section wasn’t just disliked by some people, but in need of immediate intervention.

Because of changes I’ve made, the comments are a lot better now. At least I think they are. I’d love to know what you think.

Why do I think they’re better now? Two reasons: I moderate every single comment that comes in, and I delete a lot more of them.

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From our recent reader survey, based on 1034 responses.

Previously, once someone had a comment approved, all subsequent comments would be published instantly. (This doesn’t include folks I’ve put on a moderation list because of past misconduct and/or because I can’t trust them.) We get about 250-350 comments per week. I read all of them to make sure they meet my new standard of appropriateness.

Deleting more comments feels great! In the past I would give the benefit to the commenter and would stretch my own boundaries to find reasons to allow questionable comments through. I had convinced myself that unproductive disagreement, strong (even insensitive) critiques, and low-level meanness were valuable to the community. I had my reasons for this approach, but they were wrong. These days none of that stuff gets through.

One interesting result of this new approach is that many of the most problematic and consistently negative/mean commenters have simply vanished. This makes our site better and my life less stressful.

I’m happy to say the comment section is here to stay. When we asked if they should be shut down, 82% of our reader survey respondents (850 people out of 1034), said “no”.

Having an open, helpful, and welcoming comment section is so important to me. Thank you for all your feedback on this and for being patient as I continue to evolve and make changes as necessary.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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joan
joan
2 years ago

Yes, the comment section is much better! Thank you for the changes! It has made a big difference. I’ve been a lot more interested and engaged personally as a result. I find the comments more interesting and more valuable, and I haven’t seen the pile-ons of old.

One interesting result of this new approach is that many of the most problematic and consistently negative/mean commenters have simply vanished. This makes our site better and my life less stressful.

I am so glad to hear this. Increased moderation has led to … almost an easier job of moderator? This is great news.

David Hampsten
2 years ago

JM, is there any seasonal variation in the number of comments received? Or maybe in the degree of hurt, snark, or hatefulness in the comments received?

Rivelo
2 years ago

YES! Delete personal attacks always. Consider keeping comments that respectfully express dissenting viewpoints, as long as they’re about the issue, and not fellow-commenters!

There’s nothing that says that everyone gets to say whatever they want to whomever they want, regardless of the result, just because it’s the Internet.

And if The Deleted don’t like it, let them start their own dang website/blog/Instagram account.

nmr
nmr
2 years ago

Just read the comments on “Father of teen killed by driver on Hawthorne Blvd questions city’s repaving plans”, an issue I am still very uncertain on.

The comments seem better.

I think they should be better still. “SMDH” is dismissive, not constructive, though I understand how exasperating discussion can be.

edit: Also, thanks and big improvement 🙂

Momo
Momo
2 years ago
Reply to  nmr

I think it’s great to have differing opinions on a comment thread, as long as they aren’t being “trolls.” And I really wouldn’t consider SMDH a troll. Their comments can be provocative, but in a thoughtful and interesting way that challenges people on various topics. Maybe it seems dismissive to you, but it just seems like disagreement to me. Trolls are very different, provoking fights for the sake of fighting in a disingenuous way.

I'll Show Up
I'll Show Up
2 years ago

Things are way better. Thank you so much for the hard work you’re doing to create a more welcoming comment section. I am definitely noticing some of the folks who always made me feel beat down having many fewer comments. Thank you!! I believe the changes will make me more comfortable to participate more.

Lowell
Lowell
2 years ago

I think the tenor of the comments overall is certainly better. I do worry that you as the sole moderator may burn out on reviewing every single one before it gets published. And if you are on vacation and other writers are publishing posts, I would hate for you to have to approve comments on posts while you’re gone. I think sooner rather than later you should consider adding some trusted folks to help in moderation.

(I can’t think of much anything I’d like to do less than moderating comments, so don’t take this as me volunteering. But if you ever need web dev help feel free to hit me up.)

Momo
Momo
2 years ago

Well done! I agree that the tone of comments has gotten way better lately. Keep it up.

Watts
Watts
2 years ago

Hi Jonathan,

I was an occasional reader before the change, and have been since. The comments are definitely less combative, but are also less interesting. It’s mostly a few regulars agreeing with one another and heaping scorn on ODOT/PBOT/cars and wishing they lived in Amsterdam. That’s fine, but I don’t learn as much as I did before you got rid of everyone else, and I’ve started skipping the comments altogether on some articles. They can be so predictable and just… dull. It seems pretty well established that ODOT is overly car-focused, and the usual folks saying so after every story mentioning ODOT gets tiring. That guy who knows the history of everything (David Hamsten?) sometimes seems like the only one left with something interesting to say.

I already feel like I live in a bubble (officially confirmed by the NYTimes!), and now this site has become part of it. This used to be one of the few remaining forums where people with different perspectives came together and had a (mostly) civil discussion. It doesn’t feel that way anymore, and I think that’s a loss.

That said, I really do like your renewed focus on bike news. I never really cared much for the political stuff that just seemed to rile people up. I get that from pretty much everywhere else in my life, so it’s nice to have an oasis where I can just read about a topic I love.

Thanks for seeking feedback!

Fuzzy Blue Line
Fuzzy Blue Line
2 years ago
Reply to  Watts

Well said Watts. Be wary of of allowing a blog to become an echo chamber. Portland may very well be the most liberal, woke, progressive city in America. But when you look around the city at the current state of the city’s transportation & biking infrastructure what do you see? I see unusable MUPs like Springwater & I-205 with problems left unaddressed by liberal, woke, progressive politicians. How I long for the days of Vera Katz who actually could lead & build consensus on issues like bike infrastructure when the city wasn’t a political echo chamber. Maybe reach out to a conservative in your neighborhood (if you can find them) and ask them why they have the values they do.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 years ago

Your last sentence is something I frequently say. Confirmation bias is not just a right-wing news thing. Left and right media both do a might fine job of making caricaturizations (is that a word?) of what the “other” is. It might be shocking to some but not every conservative is a “White Supremacist Proud Boy” and not every liberal is a “BLM terrorist”.

I’ve had very illuminating conversations with conservatives – their starting values/opinions might be different than mine but their thought processes are pretty sound and it makes sense they got to the point they are at.

Heck, I am a Left-leaning Independent of Jewish heritage and my best friend in town is a Libertarian Protestant from Texas.

Alex
Alex
2 years ago

From what I have seen, right-leaning views are still welcome here, it just turns out that the most aggressive, disrespectful comments were coming from the more right-leaning people. Maybe they are just having a hard time expressing themselves without being overly aggressive and genuinely listening and responding to the other side of the argument. Not sure if you have spent much time on right-wing sites, but the tone of those comment sections speak volumes about about those constituents and I am really glad that JM is combatting that; it’s a hard, thankless job.

Even this comment from MOTRG is a bit suspect imo. “It might be shocking to some but not every conservative is a “White Supremacist Proud Boy” and not every liberal is a “BLM terrorist” <- personal attack. I am actually not surprised by this, either, and I doubt many of the people reading comments here are.

"I’ve had very illuminating conversations with conservative" <- trying to apply a logical fallacy to support people that agree with him (https://www.logicalfallacies.org/anecdotal.html). I would bet that we have all had very illuminating convos with conservatives, even if the only thing we gain is a stronger support for an opposing view.

And another "Heck, I am a Left-leaning Independent of Jewish heritage and my best friend in town is a Libertarian Protestant from Texas." <- https://www.logicalfallacies.org/appeal-to-emotion.html This is almost equivalent to saying "My best friend is black."

I personally don't think I would have let this comment through, other than perhaps the first 2 sentences, which are true, but then lay the foundation for the rest of the logical fallacies.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex

Ah, but we are all creatures of our own experiences and those experiences influence our opinions. This isn’t a debate. To wit, though – I was not speaking about any specific topic in particular so I am not trying to cultivate any kind of support from conservatives – I’ve also had convo’s with conservatives where we did not agree. Simply stating that unemotional discourse is good and we should not demonize someone with a different philosophy.

Having a black friend, Christian friend, homeless friend, incarcerated friend might provide some kind of additional insight into how the life of another person is different. I would say cultivating that kind of diversity is good.

“This is almost equivalent to saying “My best friend is black.”” I hope you see the irony.

 
 
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex

I disagree; I see no reason not to let this comment through. It doesn’t attack other commenters, doesn’t support bigoted or intolerant views, and isn’t unnecessarily nasty. Logical fallacies aren’t a reason not to include a comment. I think if you think a comment contains a logical fallacy, what should be done is to reply to the comment explaining the fallacy, not ask for the comment to be deleted. That way everyone learns from the comment chain.

I personally see no personal attack in the comment. MOTR isn’t calling anyone a “BLM terrorist”, he’s using the phrase in the context of saying what far-right people erroneously think anyone left of center is.

Drew Williamson
Drew Williamson
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex

Alex, I feel that your comment is rather elitist and unnecessarily dismissive. Just saying. If you felt personally attacked by that comment, I don’t quite understand that. In any event, I am not sure why you launched into dismantling the whole thing with all these “applied” logical fallacies. Just… you know, maybe let it go? Disagree with the comment without picking it apart? It seems to me that Middle isn’t trying to convince you of anything–just stating his own opinion.

The Dude
The Dude
2 years ago

I noticed.

Fred
Fred
2 years ago

I agree with Watts that the comments are a lot less interesting than they used to be. I too will now often skip them altogether. Yes, there were some commenters with sharp elbows (like Hello Kitty, who seems to have disappeared). But if you put on your Big Boy/Girl Pants before looking at the comments – knowing you might come away with a bruise or two – you might also learn something.

JM, here’s a book recommendation: The Coddling of the American Mind by Jonathan Haidt (pronounced “height”). You might think about how your approach to cycling infrastructure (“Let no one be harmed but also never let them feel scared”) also influences your approach to allowing comments.

Finally I would ask you to consider these two improvements (not sure if they are already happening):
1) Eliminate the one-and-done firebombing comments: No one should be able to create a handle, make an incendiary post, and disappear. If you want to post here and make challenging comments, you need to build up some credibility within the community (the Disqus model).
2) Make sure your stories stick to cycling and its many facets. Please don’t stray down the rabbit hole of writing about social-justice issues, right-wing protesters, etc. When you write about these topics, you bring out the trolls. So please stick to cycling since that’s really what we come here for.

Thanks again for all of your efforts to strike the right balance.

Caelin
Caelin
2 years ago
Reply to  Fred

Fred, I mostly appreciate what you said, and let me start by saying I have met some really cool conservatives in the bike community. But to be clear, social justice issues and the rampant rise of alt-right terrorism are both critically important topics for cyclists who want to feel safe while riding. The reform of public safety is of particular importance, and while I wish it was not a political issue, the fact is, our previous president clearly and repeatedly encouraged police to use excessive force against suspects who have not been charged, and instructed them to target his percieved political enemies. The most obvious example of this was in Lafayette Square, D.C. on June 1st.

There is evidence that these words were heeded nationwide, and decreased traffic safety is one of the clear consequences, not just because of increased use of vehicles as weapons (a mostly far right phenomenon) but also because police are busy fighting culture wars and expensive tax-funded lawsuits instead of catching bad drivers. I have friends who have been victims of political violence while riding alone, and I personally was nearly killed while riding, by an opinionated cop with his car number taped over. I was in the bike lane following all laws and not making any direct or indirect statements at the time. That experience was part of what inspired me to join the public discussion since then.

The US justice department and numerous national bipartisan groups have found that more than 90% of recent politically motivated murder was caused by alt-right idealogy, with less than 1% linked to so called leftists like antifa. The remaining 9% was linked to non-partisan political causes. The pacific northwest is recognized as having the highest concentration of far-right violence in the nation. It has been this way for decades, as far back as data collection began.

Some of the lawmakers who supported the previous administration are now trying to make it legal to intentionally hit groups of people including cyclists with vehicles. Fortunately, such a law has not gained traction in Oregon, not yet, anyway. The truth is, we are living in the rabbit hole whether we like it or not, its just a matter of which direction you want to dig, and how far you want to go. Granted, there are plenty of other issues worth talking about that are more directly related to cycling, but we cant ignore the mad hatters or the red king and also achieve our goal of vision zero and adequate multi-modal access. If you dont want to dig in the same spot as me, thats fine, we can still share a nice cup of tea. And if people just want to eat the thing that makes them big and refuse to ask who they are, that is fine with me too, as long as they dont step on any caterpillars.

Thanks to JM for the important work of empowering the first amendment!

Caelin
Caelin
2 years ago
Reply to  Fred

Fred, I went down the rabbit hole trying to respond, at first. I just meant to say that traffic safety is indeed a social justice issue and a political issue, especially now. But the inequity does have a history, and there are recurring themes to be learned from that will make some people uncomfortable. We all wish this wasnt the case. I am glad people are still able to discuss it on this website.

CaptainKarma
CaptainKarma
2 years ago

Thank you for being aware of the same few commenters dominating the conversation most days. I often thought of suggesting an interval limiting policy that would allow other commenters to get a word in here and there. I know started glossing over the comments section when the same few commenters “owned” the space. Keep up the good works!

The Dude
The Dude
2 years ago
Reply to  CaptainKarma

Seconded. In my view, the over-commenting by a few people was as bad a problem for the quality of the discussion as the mean comments. I am delighted that I don’t have to read the views of Hello Kitty and Middle Road Guy repeatedly on every single thread.

Chris
Chris
2 years ago

I’m concerned about the voices lost. HelloKitty posted regularly. I have not seen comments from them since the rule change went into place. Maybe just a name change but the comment style did seem distinctive.

Watts
Watts
2 years ago

Since you claim not to moderate on content/viewpoint, but only on civility/tone, I’m curious why you blocked my second post (made earlier today to someone in a thread lower down). It was entirely civil, and in no way approached a personal attack, but it did express a critical (but very on-topic) opinion about this comments section. (Not so different from what I’m expressing here, so maybe this won’t get published either.)

You say you haven’t “got rid of” anyone, yet it’s hard to dispute that a lot of those I recall making thoughtful (if at times intellectually uncomfortable) posts are gone, while one person I remember making repeated personal attacks is still around (assuming it’s the same person behind the name). The main difference (that I can see) is the viewpoints they expressed.

I like that you moderate for civility… I think civility is critical whether or not people agree. But my bottom line is that I share the opinion of MarkinNoPo that your site => your rules. And if you’re getting the results you want, then you’re doing it right, even if I would prefer to spend my time where I can hear from a diversity of voices. Judging by the thumbs-ups on my original post, a lot of people agree with me.

I’m happy enough to just read the news a few times a week and skip the comments section.

Thanks for listening.

Steve Scarich
Steve Scarich
2 years ago

I stopped reading the site, when my comments were repeatedly blocked. And, I could find no rhyme or reason. My comments were not mean or nasty. Yes they were counter to much of JM’s narrative, but I thought he welcomed that. I even repeatedly asked him why I was blocked, but got no response. I refuse to access a site that just presents one side of the story. Thankfully, a few weeks ago, my comments started appearing again. I am just as much a curmudgeon as previously, but now am an acceptable grouch. I don’t think other media realize how important comments are. For instance, O’Live stopped allowing comments and also installed a paywall. I understand their reasoning, but I would guess that 50% or more of the meaningful content was found in the comments; further information, opinions, etc. I still directly e-mail the reporter when they really get it wrong factually, but the only one who responds is Canzano, who is also a curmudgeon.

Michael Kinsley
Michael Kinsley
2 years ago

I’m glad you were willing to take on the extra burden of content moderation but am worried it might become overwhelming at times. Just wish people could manage to express the intensity of their feelings about issues without directing that same level of intensity towards other people… Too much to wish for, sadly.

Jason
Jason
2 years ago

Just wish people could manage to express the intensity of their feelings about issues without directing that same level of intensity towards other people

That’s pretty on the money. I think people need to separate their grievances apart from the people they are interacting with.

Tom
Tom
2 years ago

Thank you Jonathan. I finally stopped reading comments after the last time this was discussed, realizing how much better my experience would be just ignoring them all together. Glad to hear changes have been made and its worth revisiting.

Alex
Alex
2 years ago

The comment section is sooo much better – it actually feels like productive conversations and/or single comments are happening again. There are definitely a few unproductive comments that leak thru, but the improvement is vast. Good work!

Jon Dohnson
Jon Dohnson
2 years ago

I know having a different opinion these days is equivalent to hate speech, but having an echo chamber gets a little old too. Do people feel patting themselves on the back is engaging?

Paul
Paul
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Dohnson

It’s been said over and over here that comments are not being moderated based on point of view, but only based on manner of argumentation. I actually think your comment here is pretty close to the edge itself. You are using hyperbole and condescension to make it seem like those who disagree with you are unreasonable. And I do think it is harmful.

Watts
Watts
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul

It has been said over and over, but the comments that make it through moderation tell another story. Perhaps there is unconscious bias at work?

marisheba
marisheba
2 years ago

But part of your job as moderator (if your goal is to be content-neutral on accepting comments) is to be aware of your biases and correct accordingly, which means making sure you aren’t going too easy on the things you agree with or too hard on the things you disagree with.

Watts
Watts
2 years ago

Yes, of course we all have biases. But when you moderate for tone, civility, and respectfulness, but not content, viewpoint bias should be less evident.

You held my comment above for 4 days until I lobbied to have it published. I can see nothing in it that was uncivil or disrespectful, and I think its tone and content were appropriate for the context. I have no idea why you originally chose not to publish it (as my second comment ever, it couldn’t have been for over-posting!)

I support your stated policy, and while you are free to deviate from it as you see fit, it’s not really worth it to me to invest in a community where there is a lack of transparency over what the standards for participation really are, or where I need to lobby to have comments that meet the stated standards published.

I appreciate that many of your readers prefer your new system of comments in spite of (or because of) it’s more anodyne character. And while my comment may have been in some way lacking, it serves as an illustration of why I prefer your previously more open system, where challenging ideas can (and did) more frequently emerge.

The Dude
The Dude
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Seconded. Saying “having a different opinion these days is equivalent to hate speech,” implies that many commenters are irrationally over-zealous and trivializes and attempts to invalidate Jonathan’s and many others’ attempts to exclude hate speech to create a more welcoming community. We are all aware that you are doing your part in the culture war and are referring to “liberals.” How could that comment possibly lead to a productive discussion?

Comments like this annoy me not because I’m offended, but because it’s just such a tired trope about US politics in the abstract without saying anything constructive or specific about the topic at hand. And it seems designed only to provoke a negative response.

This is exactly the sort of comment that needs to go away because it contributes nothing to the conversation and actively disrupts meaningful discussion.

But what I really want to know is: Don’t you ever get sick of saying the same trite, snarky talking points over and over again? Cause the rest of us sure get tired of hearing it ad nauseum.

Jason
Jason
2 years ago

I appreciate the effort. This forum can be an intellectual equivalent of a bare knuckle brawl sometimes. I’m pessimistic though. I think people will find new and even more subversive / sarcastic ways of insulting each other. I hope I’m wrong, but my opinion is informed by the world that I have witnessed over the last year.

Steve
Steve
2 years ago

My issue with the comments before wasn’t differing views on the subject, it was comments going off topic with back and forth social and political views (as well as tone). I don’t understand why some of the commenters here are claiming a loss of information when Jonathan says he isn’t deleting comments based on content, but on tone.

Concordia Cyclist
Concordia Cyclist
2 years ago

Appreciate the heads-up, Jonathan. The change is much appreciated. Didn’t realize the changes when recently commenting. Glad it wasn’t just me 😉

Taylor Getz
Taylor Getz
2 years ago

The comment section is a bit better.

Jonathan, my opinion is that you still allow a lot of inflammatory content from far left posters because it agrees with your world view. Just this week CMH89 posted very inflammatory and/or triggering comments re: the police (which CMH89 does often). Using the word “boys” to refer to officers on the force and “boot lickers” to those who are supportive of law enforcement. You allowed the post to go right through. You eventually did take it down but I think you need to be more evenhanded in your censorship. Maybe share your censorship duties with someone of a more centrist nature.

MarkinNoPo
MarkinNoPo
2 years ago

On matters of transportation infrastructure, the comments section was and is a valuable part of my BikePortland experience.

A few of my comments have been rejected (in my view, because they marched out of step with contemporary leftist discourse on a hot-button topic, not because they were unproductive or mean). But this is your website, not mine, so you can police it however you see fit. On the couple topics where my center-left views aren’t welcome, I try to shrug and keep it moving.

I’d rather periodically roll my eyes at a deleted comment than have you determine that the comments section isn’t worth the trouble. Thank you for writing about (and facilitating good conversations about) Portland’s transportation infrastructure.

Charley
Charley
2 years ago

1. Moderating sounds like a lot of work. I’m glad to read you’re going to be able to get help, too.
2. Personally, I have checked myself on tone several times before submitting a comment. I am passionate and confident in my beliefs; at times those feelings result in a tone that might not be conducive to a good conversation. It’s much the same as the mentality we take to driving a car: we forget our normal social behaviors and react to a comment or idea as if the person behind it is not even human. Knowing that you will approve or not approve my comment has literally moderated my writing. This is a huge blessing, and I wish more platforms followed your model. The country and its democracy would be healthier.
3. I’ve noticed a more civil demeanor on the forum here. I’ve noticed less cross talk, and have enjoyed not wading through dozens of comments by repeat posters. I believe that the comments still represent a diversity of viewpoints, and that you’re doing a good job of maintaining this balance. It may be that the knowledge that a post will not publish immediately has further moderated some users’ behavior. Immediacy might not be as valuable for tending good conversations in this medium, and may actually cause argumentative death spirals.

BikeRound
BikeRound
2 years ago

I have almost completely stopped commenting here simply because I have no way to tell what will be published and what will not be. I do not engage in any personal attacks and I always aim for a civil tone, but comments that touch upon controversial topics frequently go missing. This site absolutely has become an echo chamber based on standards community. The Confederates also believed in freedom of speech, except when it came to abolitionist speech. But I am sure that we can all agree that advocating for the end of slavery is such an evil that that type of speech clearly should be banned.

John Mackelnary
John Mackelnary
2 years ago
Reply to  BikeRound

Absolutely this. No point in coming back here if it’s going to be a bunch of people nodding in agreement with the author and nothing else. Kind of seems like readership and therefore ad revenue will decline… maybe that will get Jonathan’s attention?

Fred
Fred
2 years ago
Reply to  BikeRound

Surely you meant “prohibiting speech that advocated for the end of slavery is an evil…”.

John Mackelnary
John Mackelnary
2 years ago

It was an echo chamber before, even more so now. I wish there was an outlet that covered the same stories but with less of a political / personal agenda.

ChadwickF
ChadwickF
2 years ago

Personally, I kind of liked the feature that had replies to a comment “nested” below the original comments.

Joseph E
2 years ago
Reply to  ChadwickF

Me too. This made the discussion more compact and encouraged more original posts and less back-and-forth

Mark Lofer
Mark Lofer
2 years ago

Jonathan, thanks for trying to keep things civil. I do get the impression though that you are biased in your censoring. You are very far left on the political spectrum and I think it’s hard for you to read the comments objectively. For example, you are very defensive of certain politicians you like such as Eudaly and Hardesty. I think you censor a lot of critical (although civil) comments of them.

The Dude
The Dude
2 years ago
Reply to  Mark Lofer

Even the description of Jonathan as “very far left” demonstrates the right-wing bias in US political rhetoric and that it is (also) impossible for you to view the entire process objectively.

soren
soren
2 years ago
Reply to  Mark Lofer

FWIW, I generally refrain from posting my political views on Bike Portland because Jonathan has a history of censoring most of my “far left” comments. In particular, I have been censored when I have been harshly critical of the capitalist bike industry (local or otherwise), the police, pro-business active transportation advocates/orgs, and Portland’s center-right democratic establishment.

The Dude
The Dude
2 years ago

It’s time for an end to comments claiming discrimination here based on political views. Those claims have been made many times and Jonathan has given a clear and consistent response.

Alan 1.0
2 years ago

BikePortland comments have changed constantly over the years, and I expect they’ll continue to do so. Quantities, volumes, tones, personalities, issues, thoughtfulness, snark and more all wax and wane. I miss many of the temperate voices of wisdom from years past (are, Picio, Kt, the Harlows and plenty more), it’s nice to see a few drift back from lurking (hi q’Tzal & el biciclero), and I don’t miss at all the screechy, trolly, hateful types, most of whom enter my mental killfile and don’t last all that long anyway.

So yes, Jonathan, your site’s comment section is doing well. Thanks for all you do.

Eli
Eli
2 years ago

I may have been one of the folks in the survey who said to get rid of the comments section but gave feedback about what would make me feel differently, and this solution feels better. I’ve moderated enough online environments to know that this is a LOT of work for you, but I really have appreciated this shift. If I scroll to a comments section and see the same repetitive posters dominating, I’m not going to be engaged to read them, never mind be motivated to comment much throughout the website. (It always confuses me on here as well. On WW or the old O site, I’m not surprised, but if you’re commenting that extensively on a news site… how are you finding time to ride your bike?)