Since I began this humble blog almost 11 years, 25,000 posts and 110 million page views ago, it has managed (despite my best efforts) to accumulate half a million comments.

This was never my intention.

I created this blog, in the words of Daniel Boorstin, to figure out what I think. It is where I gather my favorite charts, quotes, links and assorted ideas. The blog is simply a diary of random thoughts of a person working in finance. Think of it as the musings of an intelligent investor who, despite studying his subject for decades, still puzzles over many aspects of it.

Overall, the goal with this blog has been an attempt to discern the objective “Truth” (whatever that means) in an industry that does its best to hide that truth from public view. When I do uncover a small measure of truth, I enjoy sharing the discovery here.

I frequently solicit the input of readers. These are the open threads and reading linkfests and general discussions where input is specifically invited “Hey, what do you think? What you are reading, doing, listening to?” The rest of the time, the site is mostly me trying to work through ideas, concepts, quandries and issues. That this is done in a public place is almost beside the point.

Some of you occasionally send me a pleasant email or say nice things to me privately. Quite a few of you impress the hell out of me. Most of you are kind, decent folk. This missive is NOT directed at you.

Managing blog comments has become an increasingly time consuming job. Policing the spammers, trolls, haters, and other purveyors of falsehoods has become a larger time suck than I am willing to accept. Dealing with such cretins hardens your outlook and shortens your temper more than I care for. Perhaps this is the reason so many high profile blogs have closed down their comments altogether.

Were I to shut down my comments, it would be for a reason I have not seen enumerated elsewhere: The intellectually disingenuous rhetorical sleight of hand that has become a substitute for legitimate debate. (See this and this). I simply do not have the time nor the interest in correcting every half-truth and lie. But I have even less interest in polluting the blog with this sort of nonsense.

Therein lay my quandry. A harsh solution beckons.

500,000 people per month swing by these parts. You are, for the most part, professional folks with careers and families and other interests. You have proven yourselves to be overwhelmingly intelligent and polite and lovely people. The vast majority of you are also way too busy to comment on posts. Analytical data shows the overwhelming majority of blog readers do not post comments.

To put this into some context: The blog has garnered ~half a million comments over nearly 11 years. That is also the number of monthly unique visitors. Do the math, and you realize the individual visitor-to-comment ratio is > than 132 to 1.

This ratio is similar to that of large media sites. For example, The Guardian has found that less than 1% of all readers actually leave a comment. And of those comments, more than 20% come from a tiny percentage — the 0.0037% who try dominate the discussion and shout down every one else.

Therein lay the problem: A small group of trolls somehow confuse these sites for a town square. It is not. This blog is not a forum where I am obligated to give equal time to every crackpot conspiracy theorist, birther or intellectually lazy wanker out there. To be blunt, I don’t give a flying fuck at a rolling donut about these jackhole’s opinions. These folk need to rapidly disabuse themselves from believing other people’s blog’s are an open invitation for whatever ignorance or ill thought out nonsense they are peddling.

The trick, according to cognitive psychologists, is to undercut logical arguments by appealing to emotions. According to academic research, this takes advantage of the way the brain works. Emotions come to the forefront faster than “rational” thoughts. Daniel Kahnman divides the cognitive processes as either “thinking fast” (Emotions) versus “thinking slow” (Logic). Scathing, emotional, negative, knee jerk comments can actually nullify intelligent, coherent, logical, sourced, data driven arguments through this technique.

Therefore, consider this a warning not to waste your time: I do not care about the output of your cognitive biases, I am disinterested in the myths you cherish, I care little for the mass media rumors that influence you, or the heuristics you believe in. I especially detest the unsupported, commonly believed narratives that you constantly use in the artificial construct you erroneously call reality.

Thus, I have reached the conclusion that I will no longer tolerate this. To this small group of trolls and asshats, the the 0.0037%: EFFECTIVELY IMMEDIATELY, YOUR COMMENTS WILL NO LONGER BE PUBLISHED HERE.

Phrased differently, if I take the time and the energy to construct a coherent, sourced, logical argument that follows the rules of the art of discourse, I no longer feel obligated to post the comments of those who refuse to follow the same said rules.

The rest of the readership will not notice any changes. Indeed, the vast majority of the people who do comment should not notice a change either. (Their comments will still be approved)

But the assclowns will. I am aware some of them will scream censorship, and to you folks, I state: GYOFB. Nothing is preventing you from blogging on your own. I mean nothing other than your own laziness, lack of original thought and poor work ethic. Start your own blog, tediously build it into something filled with whatever sort of BenSteinery you care to vomit onto the page . . . Just do not expect to see it published here.

While you are free to start your own blog where you may express your unrecognized genius fully, you have precisely zero right to comment here. Going forward, your comments will be deleted with extreme prejudice. (To repeat myself, GYOFB).

I will clarify a point in advance of the knee jerk response: I am not looking for sycophants. I am happy to be disagreed with. I love when intelligent, thoughtful people post reasoned, researched, sourced responses. I WANT TO LEARN THINGS THAT ADVANCE ME TOWARDS ENLIGHTENMENT. But that is not what I am referring to today.

There are far too many comments not aligned with the goal of pursuing the truth. The focus is upon momentarily winning the emotional response through intellectually dishonest means. I have zero interest in half truths, devious rhetorical devices, technically true but highly misleading statements, etc. I assure you that, despite what your mommy told you, the world is none-the-poorer for not hearing your views.

To those of you I have emailed with and met and conversed and broke bread with, please do not stop. I am continually impressed with the quality and depth of what you have taught me. Most of you are intelligent, well educated, thoughtful people. You understand ideas, the value of data; you appreciate empirical evidence; you understand the rules of Oxford debate; you are open minded and thoughtful, positive souls. I revel in speaking with and meeting you. I appreciate your opinions. I love your attitudes. You make the world a better place.

To paraphrase Thomas Hobbes, life is short. I share his desire it need not be solitary, nasty and brutish. This manifests itself in my lack of patience for the negative, spiteful, annoying, dishonest, unproductive asshattery that is all too common online.

In order to encourage more of the desired, proper, intelligent and worthwhile sorts of comments by the people I like, respect and appreciate, as well as to discourage as many of the false, nasty and brutish other, I have developed a few rules about what is suitable for comments.

You can read the official comments policy of TBP here.

 

 

 

Sources:
The Science of Why Comment Trolls Suck (MoJo)

Trolls win: Rude blog comments dim the allure of science online (Eureka Alert)

Research Shows Commenters Make Up Less than 1% of Total Audience (Examiner)

How to Deal With Crappy People (Altucher)

Clive Thompson on the Taming of Comment Trolls (Wired)

The Guardian publishes stats on the size of their commenting community (Curry Bet)

The Guardian Reveals an Important Truth About Article Comments (Scholarly Kitchen)

Category: Web/Tech, Weblogs

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

203 Responses to “Why I Am Considering Getting Rid of Comments . . .”

  1. stonedwino says:

    A world without cognitive dissonance would be so much better BR. Ignorance is bliss for the ignorant and a pain in the ass for the rest of us…I totally understand where you’re coming from.

  2. cfischer says:

    I’m not sure using Greg Mankiw as a reference for turning blog comments off was a good comparison to your blog. I don’t believe discerning objective truth was ever really amongst his goals.

  3. kukiniloa says:

    Honestly I am disappointed that I am not one of those with whom you would like to continue discourse. This forum has shown a high proportion of free thinkers, and I’ve learned immensely from this resource.

    Please consider that there really are agent provocateurs out there, and you have allowed them their goal of shutting your mouthpiece down. That hasn’t happened yet, obviously, but it is a matter of time until this happens. The loss of comments has already shifted the meaning of this blog- rendered it impotent, perhaps?

  4. constantnormal says:

    An experiment might be in order … Try shutting down comments for at least a month (if not forever), and see if the page views change in any statistically significant way … I’d bet money that they do not.

    There are plenty of excellent blogs out in this boundless ocean of tripe known as the web that do NOT allow comments, and I certainly don’t treat them any different. Come to think of it, I am at a loss to come up with a single blog that my primary motivation for visiting is the comments … in some of the comic strip sites, the comments are almost as good as the featured content, but that’s kind of a special situation …

    Go for it, BR … every day with comments is another opportunity for trolls to strike again.

    But, as always, it’s your blog … take it where you will, just don’t shut off the glimpses of the (partial) workings of your mind …

  5. blackbox says:

    Lighten up, your readers are smart enough to filter out the trolls on their own. Give them some credit and let them do the work.

  6. Hari Seldon says:

    If you really want to allow for comments, would it not serve your purpose to only enable those individuals who have not abused the privilege of comment and disable everyone else until you’ve established some relationship with the commenter? You’ve already identified that only a small % of your readership comments – responsibly or otherwise – which might make the task a wee bit easier.

  7. streeteye says:

    I think that would be a shame. If it doesn’t have comments and user engagement, it’s not really a blog.

    It’s hard to make conversation scale, whether it’s a blog, or a town meeting. I think reddit does an amazing job, crap gets filtered, and good stuff flows to the top. (Of course, good stuff defined as goats that sound like humans and cute cat pictures.) They have an engaged community that self-moderates.

    At the other end of the spectrum are blogs where the sponsor engages and moderates pretty heavily. Gotta have a thick skin and genuinely like the community for that.

    It’s absurd that no one has taken reddit and turned it into a commenting system. The commenting plug-ins like Disqus are steaming piles of crap. At a minimum, users should be able to meaningfully moderate and build reputation, and the moderator should be able to bless value added comments and commenters and promote them to sub-mods.

    I think every industry is evolving to be more of a 2-way conversation, even autos like Tesla, and everyone is better off for it, and even if it’s sometimes a little crazy and messy, and does tilt the field toward the nutjobs a little.

  8. Orange14 says:

    It’s been pretty easy for me to compile a list of those whose comments are well thought out and those whose are just plain stupid. I must admit to falling into the trap of arguing with some of the ones who are just dumb or trolling and maybe I can contribute in part by just ignoring them and treating this as an extended conversation with BR and those who provide something thoughtful to say. Regardless of BR’s ultimate decision, I’ll continue to visit this site as I do find what he has to say extremely useful.

    There are some blogs where the comments are extremely useful (Noah Smith’s for example). At any rate stay the course and I’m in agreement with constantnormal – keep us in the loop as to your thinking; it’s a useful factor to include in our own investing decisions.

  9. Iamthe50percent says:

    First, let me apologize if I have been one of the types you cite. I try not to be, but sometimes my passion flares. I will endeavor to be more cerebral in the future. My “handle” was chosen because my income falls pretty much at the national median, therefore you can regard me as a “man in the street”. Listening to my fellow mechanics, technicians and the like at lunch, I recognize that we pretty much fulfill our stereotypes. I seriously listen to about one in ten, but, surprisingly, some of us are experts in various bits of arcane lore. I hope that you continue to let me converse with you. Your 50 day EMA trading rule alone has made me a lot of money, at least a lot of money by my standards. I thank you most sincerely and wish that I could reciprocate.

  10. RW says:

    Jerks have always been plentiful but there seems to be an increasing population of sophists out there, some sufficiently skilled to hijack threads and whole topics virtually at will. Personally I’d be more than willing to face some rough and tumble and the occasional smack down if it meant not having to wade through a wall of bullshit in order to find out whether I was right or wrong.

    You may already be aware, but Teresa Hayden at Making Light had some useful things to say about blog moderation awhile back, first as a prelude to a 2005 panel discussion

    Spammers, Trolls and Stalkers: The Pandora’s Box of Community

    And then WRT a trolling/stalking incident two years later

    Moderation isn’t rocket science

    FWIW

  11. Lowrie Glasgow says:

    I like to comment. What about a free blog and comments for a fee. May get higher value input that with less junk.TBP could try $1 a comment and if this worked it might be a business plan for other blogs .

  12. MarketSavant says:

    While most readers do not comment, most do read the comments section. By taking away the comments section, as I have seen on other sites, viewership will fall, and you run the risk of living in the bubble of your mind and a few others. Trolls will always exist, but so will critical thought of postings, and admit it or not, you write differently if you know there is a comment section! Time will tell…

  13. bill750 says:

    I feel your pain, BR. In 1998 (yes, that long ago) I started what quickly became the number one motorcycle riders’ forum on the web. I made it clear that we were there to talk about our common passion, riding a particular brand of bike. I set up sections for the various models of this bike, and a section for members to sell parts and riding gear. Many of us became great friends and many group rides were organized all over the country. The rules were very clear: No discussions about politics, abortion, gun control, racist comments, etc. When I deleted postings that violated the rules or blocked the chronic abusers, I was dubbed the “Forum Nazi”, which I considered a mark of honor. After about six years and 750,000 postings, I decided that taking care of my clients’ investments and maintaining my sanity was more important. I hope you have help with the task of maintaining decorum here.

  14. scecman says:

    Kill the comments section, BR. As a longtime reader, I could only hope you find more time to enlighten yourself and thereby the rest of us through your thoughtful analysis. No one reads just one blog, so if I want other people’s opinions, I will go to their blog.

  15. albnyc says:

    Bravo. Well readoned and written, as usual.

  16. MaxMax says:

    Love ya Barry.

  17. Pantmaker says:

    I have always found the comments format of The New York Times an interesting approach (up/down votes). I am convinced it encourages a more thoughtful participation by presenting a community-edited list of posts, rewarding quality by elevating the profile of certain posters and punishing the trolls and ankle biters by burying them at the bottom of the pile. Over time a wonderful sounding board of quality ideas from some really wonderful minds begins to emerge. I think it’s an interesting option to explore, and one that could take the popularity of your site and the loyalty to your brand to the next level.

  18. 4whatitsworth says:

    Your blog is great! In fact it so great that for a while I felt compelled to contribute to it. As the interaction started my time and thoughts were being directed into questions and thoughts regarding matters that I had no control over such as “are high taxes and bigger government good or not?” “Will inflation take hold with the current administrations practices?” and “Who is the ultimate patsy at the end of all this government and U.S. dysfunction”. This was time consuming and really did not benefit anyone so I stoped.

    If you want my view I would say allow comments for the news articles that way others can post what they are reading and every so often put up an open post that that asks “what are you doing in the financial markets” this should be relevant to stocks, bonds, real estate, interest rates, taxes no politics unless you are betting on the outcome.

    Comments or not it has been a great read and I will continue to read it. Did you really buy the Face Book IPO??

  19. fedwatcher says:

    I moderate a blog that is quite popular and gets lots of comments.

    Most of the comments are not worth reading. Many are from people who should start their own blogs. It is a common problem.

    Would it be possible for you to only turn on comments to posts you wanted to see comments on? If not see what turning off comments for the remainder of the month would be like.

    I have to confess that today is the first day I looked at the comments you were getting and their quality was head and shoulders above what I see in the blog I moderate.

    So I for one will continue to read your blog with or without comments.

  20. jbegan says:

    Sorting out and blocking trolls sound like more work than just accepting that “this is what we’ve become”. But good luck! ;=)

  21. dctodd27 says:

    Um, at the risk of being banished forever…

    Barry – c’mon. The time you spent writing this you will never get back. You can’t possibly expect to run a blog like yours and have everybody respond in an acceptable manner. Who cares. You work hard at this but that’s the risk of putting stuff on the internet. You can’t take it personally. If you’re looking for validation, look to the outstanding pageview stat you posted at the top. 110 million. Freakin’ awesome.

    So, I personally will chalk up this one to Barry havin’ a bad day and venting a little bit. It’s cool. Me and millions of others look forward to your next post.

    And a pre-emptive thanks for not banishing me :-)

  22. geobdg says:

    Thanks for the awesome blog and all the effort and quality you put into it. As someone not working in the financial field I can say I’ve learned a lot over the years reading the posts as well as the interesting articles you link to, etc. I also think the weekend section is great. Personally, I think the site would be just as great if you only allowed comments on select “what say ye” posts and eliminated them from all others.

  23. znmeb says:

    1. If you haven’t already read it, head over to @BoraZ’ post here: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/a-blog-around-the-clock/2013/01/28/commenting-threads-good-bad-or-not-at-all/

    2. You’re running a business. You have to make the priority call – do you *hire* a community manager and use the blog to grow your business, or do you shut the comments down? I ended up shutting my blog comments down because of spambots rather than asshats, but I’m shutting the whole blog down this week. Without a revenue stream I’m simply doing unpaid IT.

    I still have a tiny Octopress blog tacked on to my Github account, but really, where I spend my time is Twitter and Github, not on my blog. I haven’t posted to my blog since August. Twitter’s getting better every day and I don’t see much point in posting anywhere else unless I’m getting *paid* to do so.

  24. maxueli says:

    Hi Barry,
    I’ve been reading you religiously (obsessively?) for almost 10 years.
    As you suggested – in describing most readers – I’m an ordinary guy with a real life, and have never before commented.
    But… this post struck a chord.
    I read your blog for you! not for the comments.
    It pains me to think that you have to deal with these knuckleheads.
    Cut them loose… and keep your wise insights coming!

  25. Citizen38 says:

    I’m an everyday reader but for a variety of reasons, primarily the nature of my job, I’m only a very infrequent commenter. For me, in addition to BR’s thought provoking commentary, I find the vast majority of the commentors add materially to the discussion. Also of value are the links that commenters post. I’m also the chair of the investment committee of a small, well regarded liberal arts college. Many of the committee members are not sophisticated investors and several years ago I became concerned that the financial information they were getting from the mainstream media wasn’t improving their understanding of what was actually happening in the economy. For some, their primary “source” was toxic CNBC. To attempt to address this issue, I began something I call “Weekend Readings” where I attach articles I select from the wide sources I read. Probably the largest number of articles I use, proberly attributed I might add, is the Big Pciture AND the commentators. By word of mouth, I now have over 100 recipients of the “Readings”. Please conintue the very well thought out BR commentary and those of the serious commentators.

  26. KB says:

    I hear what you’re saying and the comment policies sound like a good idea. Next time though–when you feel like writing about your annoyance with commenters–could you make your post at least one third the size of this one? Ranting by anyone makes painful reading, especially when the post is a non-proofed draft.

    PS: I love your blog and this is my first comment.

  27. alanvw says:

    leave the comments; it’s like the radio: you don’t have to listen but if you’re bored or just in the mood to comment you can bask in their mostly inane gloriousness. Net-net, the blog is better with them than without. Or, let randomness decide and flip a coin

  28. Brian says:

    I visit this site often, but have never commented…. apparently, I am “typical”. ;-)

    My comment today is simple… with this, the web becomes just a touch more civil. Thank you.

  29. Oral Hazard says:

    Barry, your comment policy and approach to moderation is frequently cited as an example to other bloggers. The comments here are well above average in quality, but some threads do fall victim to hijacking/Attack of the Undead Memes (e.g., the slightest opening for trolls/flaks to tout CRA and climate change talking points from whatever mothership gives them their marching orders).

    But the real dreck is to be found on cites like CNN, and a lot of regular commenters on sites like Salon and HuffPo are completely insufferable.

    You could go non-anonymous. If an industry insider wants to share something juicy and timely that isn’t substantial enough for a full post, you can do what you’ve done and have them mail it to you directly to be anonymized — but still vetted.

  30. CitizenWhy says:

    You are right not to want to do the janitorial work required to maintain, and at time clean up, a comments section. Your blog is much appreciated.

    The substitution of emotion for reason is an eternal behavior of the human species, but it also has some interesting historic manifestations. Harold Berman, in his book “Law and Revolution, ” describes how the various legal codes of Europe were written down by the graduates of the new universities created to teach law and legal reasoning (plus the old Roman liberal arts) after the lost code of the Emperor Justinian was rediscovered on papal lands about 1000 C.E.

    Among the legal codes was one labelled “Barbarian,” that is, pertaining to the Germanic tribes. According to this code, when there was a dispute, the aggrieved parties would meet accompanied by their supporters. As the dispute was laid out the winner was decided by whoever had the loudest, screaming supporters. This level of passionate partisanship was taken to be the surest indicator of truth and of a just cause.

    Now we have the internet, where the Barbarian Code often prevails.

  31. Anonymous Jones says:

    It is interesting for me to read this post so recently after reading the comments to the Noahpinion post you linked to this morning (regarding business “cycles”). Although not every comment to that post was worthwhile, I felt the back and forth deepened the discussion a *considerable* amount.

    I get the point that fostering such a dialogue (and investing the time to root out the vast amount of uselessness that is spewed into existence by certain people) is *incredibly expensive*, but I would just like to point out that I read comments consistently and believe they have as much to teach me as the posts themselves. I hope you can find a way to manage the costs because I do believe that the benefits are substantial.

  32. boveri says:

    The only reason I’ve ever commented was to acknowledge your work and to give you assurance that someone was reading your work.

  33. Julia Chestnut says:

    I completely understand your sentiment. I hope that I lack the imagination to come up with some of the dreck you’ve monitored out of existence over the years. And it does have to be insanely time consuming!

    But I have long admired your blog both for the quality of the postings and the quality of the comments. Some of it is nutters, sure – but I genuinely READ the comments here, and I long ago quit doing that on any of the other blogs I read (except a couple of my home making blogs. Those ladies are seriously brilliant.)

    I don’t comment too many other places, either. I don’t comment here very often, because I don’t often feel like I have something to add. I’m sure you’d tell me that several times when I did comment, I was sadly mistaken on that point, LOL.

    If you were to cut comments for most posts, those of us who felt compelled to reply could email you. That is absolutely true – and I’m wondering if the whole internet is not going in a direction where I’m better off emailing people rather than publicly commenting.

    But honestly, I would miss seeing comments from other posters here, I think. That back and forth is sometimes really enlightening, and often just kind of charming. Naturally, it is a wonderful blog, and I would definitely still come here to read what you right, which I do pretty much every day. That said, I read Jesse almost every day, also – and email him when I feel the need to respond to something he’s written.

    Whatever you decide to do, don’t sell yourself short: through what is likely a tremendous effort, you have managed to create a comments section that is a pleasure to read, and often actually adds to the post. I can’t think of a lot of other sites in your league. Ok, possibly none. That is a huge accomplishment. If you decided it was not worth the effort, no one could begrudge you that assessment.

  34. thatguydrinksbeer says:

    If it turns out you need to keep comments, consider the slashdot.org model. It’s crowd moderated and works very well.

  35. The Window Washer says:

    I can’t believe it took you this long. The blog has changed and this is part of that evolution. You didn’t sign on to be a media company so do what it takes to keep it fun.

  36. Conan says:

    Barry I read your blog almost everyday.

    My comment is the following. Do what works and justifies your effort. For example if you get benefits from writing, then write. If you get benefits from open free flowing comments then leave the comments open.

    The reverse is also true, if the comments are distracting from what you like and benefit from. Then either eliminate or limit them.

    It is your blog. Concentrate what benefits you and cut out the rest. Focus on what is important and reduce or eliminate the rest. Life is too short for useless distractions.

    Thanks for all that you do and letting us benefit from your blog.

  37. lo574 says:

    You tell ‘em Barry. It’s your sandbox.

  38. Larry S says:

    Professional trader… worked at SLK/GS from 1995-2002… been with a private investor since 2003- still trading proprietarily..

    More of a contrarian than a momentum trader… catalysts, events, things like that…

    Anyways- my nightly reading consists of:

    ritholtz.com

    denninger/market ticker (he is a nut- but he was early on the mtg mess and sometimes nails things other people don’t see- but he makes plenty of mistakes as he isn’t a market professional…)

    Mish (less time spent there lately it seems)

    PragCap (sort of new to me in the last year, could live without it easily)

    PeterLBrandt (doesn’t write often and I NEVER trade on technical alone)

    Real Clear Markets (more content than your blog- but still put you ever so slightly ahead)

    ZH-(everyone needs to laugh during the day.. especially when the jokes aren’t even jokes- its true stuff…)

    RealClearTechnology (fundamentals)

    Newtraderu (this one is VERY new, and I am not a new trader- but it’s like your list every year of trading rules…. It helps to read it)

    Not to mention the obvious like wsj.com,nyt.com,ft.com

    There are other I look at a lot less frequently….

    To my point- even on your blog which I VERY much respect- I probably only look at the comments about twice a month- and its usually when I have a large position on and its usually macro driven and you have a piece that is right at the heart of the issue…. Its almost the same as going to the yahoo message boards- I only do it when I am big in something and usually getting hurt and I look for the DUMB, SILLY comments from those that clearly are going to get taken to the cleaners.. the difference is that SOMETIMES in the comments section from your website I will actually read someone making a point that is along the lines that I am thinking (usually contrarian or variant view)

    Now I do have an idea- and if you decide to go with it- please cut me in on the business…..

    There should be a website called “comments.com”

    It can exist for all different bloggers.

    Once someone clicks to go there- they clearly are no longer at ritholtz.com or whatever blog sent them.

    The ad dollars there would clearly be lower than on the actualy sites since YOUR ARTICLE is the valuable one.. the comments are a dime a dozen (well a lot less than that….) comments.com would take a cut of the revs (which would be low to begin with) but it would keep ritholtz.com a lot cleaner and the real estate left behind would be more valuable…. It would save you the trouble of having to clean up the comments section and as YOU read thru the comments you could pull forward back to ritholtz.com whichever one or two ON EACH SIDE OF THE ARGUMENT made the best point if you so wanted….. but for topics/blog posts that you felt weren’t super important you could just let the mess all take place over at comments.com and now worry about filth or whatever… etc.etc.etc.

    I can’t figure out what is crazier- the idea, or sharing it with you without patenting the idea first… but I trust ya- so I will go with it…

    Anyways- great blog and please stay “profit oriented” and never become a “perma” there aren’t a lot of guys like you around…

    (by the way you could almost take away my dow jones, reuters, and other news feeds if I could only keep twitter… before the Japanese Earthquake I would have told you that was a crazy idea…)

    Larry S

  39. mbrmd says:

    Hell, shut all the comments down. Just write your stuff. I have no f-ing clue whether you vote red or blue, which makes this blog the rarest of rare pleasures for an old guy with time on his hands to read and try and think about things. There’s no rule that says your blog also has to run a playground.

  40. S Brennan says:

    Barry, while many may take the 5th, I’m pleading guilty as charged…if commenters such as myself have caused you grief, I apologize.

    I come to this site, because I believe you are perceptive and largely immune to the commerce of our day, fluffing, flattery and outright bribery. Whether you are of high moral construct, or are simply competent to make a good living in these times without succumbing to the moral scrum is unknowable. As with Heisenberg’s principle, we can never know, since you are competent enough to make a good living when people in other professions are being lined up to take showers in some very sketchy looking facilities. I suspect the former, but I note, many a good man has been brought low by desperate times

    Whether I comment because I want to hear myself babble, or that I don’t perceive my [used to be close to mainstream] ideas get a hearing in the public space anymore is not clear to me.

    I do hope you will keep the comment section open in spite of guys like me who claim that:

    1] the Caravan was a new class of car…

    2] the FDR regime 1932-1978, for all it’s faults, was far better than the Friedmanesque regime that replaced it…

    3] Volker was no saint to those of us who had just finished apprenticing for our carpenter’s cards when he jacked interest rates..

    I will add, I do not to comment on your financial posts such as “A General Theory of Dow Cycles – “History Repeats” or “Do Record Equity Inflows Mean Anything?” or “Romancing Alpha (α), Breaking Up with Beta (β)”..because I do not have a clue…now, you may well argue..that I should broaden my brush…still, I consul you to “let the moment pass” and consider the greater good of letting fools, like myself, howl into the void.

  41. ravenchris says:

    I was shopping at Walmart today and I felt that most of the other shoppers were beneath me.
    I get this way when I am tired and have too much on my mind.
    Later I wondered if my aloofness had placed me beneath those same shoppers.
    Please continue the comments.

  42. btowers says:

    BR: shut them down. No one fucking cares.

    Take your “cognitive dissonance” and bite me, Mr. Echo Chamber.

  43. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    @streeteye – I think that would be a shame. If it doesn’t have comments and user engagement, it’s not really a blog.

    A blog (née weblog) can be either a monolog or a discussion, or both. However, for a blog to be a worthwhile discussion, the parties in the discussion (i.e., the commenters) need to raise the level of the discussion, not lower it.

    I know that I would be saddened if comments were disabled here, as I have learned a lot from the commenters. And I can only hope that I contributed back some small amount to this august blog.

    Ultimately, it is BR’s choice what he wants to do with his blog. Will I still read it if comments are turned off? Absolutely. But I’d prefer to continue reading it with comments.

  44. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Barry. Since I consider a Blog a personal journal, its design, function, content, and purpose are solely under the control of the Blogger. Whatever makes you comfortable is completely OK and should not be interpreted by others as their right to take control or dictate to you what constitutes an acceptable Blog. I understand why you chose to inform readers of your changes, but know that you are not obligated to justify your actions to anyone.

    I chose not to have a comments section in my Blog from the outset. Instead, readers are free to contact me by e-mail. I have yet to receive anything but intelligent, thoughtful, and respectful comments and questions from my readers using this method, and I’m happy.

    Take care and all the best,
    SB

  45. marktwain says:

    2nd time I’ve commented: it seems to me that the comments section are the agora of your intellectual world. You have created the world, but you don’t have to listen to every conversation in your world. Write your blog (great stuff, by the way) and if four billion denizens of Earth chose to have at it in your agora, so be it. It would be a tribute to the quality of your site.

    If you choose instead to consider your blog a dinner party for the educated and the informed, please know that some of your guests will be intellectually inebriated or experiencing acute attacks of verbal dysentery, or quite cracked. In this model, you of course will feel proprietary and will naturally be offended. But would you really invite the entire world to a dinner party?

    My suggestion is to not even read the comments. Ask one of your friends to select the best comments for you.

  46. Union Agitator says:

    What you have to say is more important, sadly, than my ignorant yawp. Do what you feel is right, I’ve learned much here.

  47. theexpertisin says:

    Your blog is a must read because of the interesting and varied content. It is a intellectually honest Reader’s Digest written for a higher intellect.

    You don’t need comments. Leave that to the dimwits at the Huffington Post. You don’t need attaboys , and those who read your blog need not feel compelled to respond to other comments that appear to be myopic and nasty.

    You have provided me with much food for thought. Comments have been generally a distraction (mine included).

  48. jd351 says:

    BR, I would totally understand if you decided to shut down the comments. Its my understanding many of the scientific blogs are in the process of turning off comments for the reasons you state. I guess one way to solve this problem would be to require real names associated with the comments. Doubt it will happen, but its a start. Thanks

    Jim Doyle

  49. StillAboveWater says:

    I really enjoy some of the regular commenters on the Big Picture, so I hope your experiment works to your satisfaction.

    Seems to me that the real problem is that commenting requires nothing more from the commenter than a valid email address and a few moments setting up an account. If the bar was raised, either by requiring a payment to register or a payment per comment, then you’d immediately get rid of the spammers, and probably most of the trolls and drive-by spouters of flawed ideology. You’d lose a percentage of the good commenters, and some asshats would pay to (try to) foist their asshattery upon us, but at least all who did comment would believe their comments to have real value.

    I don’t know if there’s a WordPress plugin for either payment approach. If not, there should be. If everyone literally had to give two cents to give their two cents, then a lot of the foolishness that happens in blog comments would stop, and the Interwebs would be better for it.

  50. Fred C Dobbs says:

    Let’s see if I get this straight. Because few readers comment, and, of the very few that do, even fewer write anything worth reading, no one should be permitted to comment. Interesting reasoning. A lot of things could be banned using this sort of argument. For example, because few people write music, and, of the very few that do, even few write any music worth hearing, no one should be permitted to write music. Separately, this is not, strictly speaking, only a personal blog, but something in the nature of the Drudge Report. One can go there, and find links to stories written by others, and lists of websites of newspapers (e.g. NY Times), magazines (e.g. New Yorker), commentators (Paul Krugman) etc. through which one can ‘click’ through directly to the websites, and find interesting reads on one’s own. To the extent it is both a personal blog and an aggregator, it is rare, as its popularity attests.

  51. whskyjack says:

    I appreciate a good comments section and you have one of the best. But I can understand your frustrations too. After all you have a business to run and I’m impressed at the time you take away from it to keep this blog together. But it is your blog and your decision.

    Thank you for your hard work keeping this a pleasant place and if you decide to end comments then I shall have to adjust but will still be a reader.

    Jack

  52. jaymaster says:

    Get rid of them. Clear your mind of the clutter and stress.

  53. willid3 says:

    its ok with me if you shut them down, or keep them. hopefully i am not among those that disrupt the learning which is what it is. I learn from your blog, and maybe I find things that make it entertaining or a pleasant learning experience to others. also may on occasion have some thing of note to say. and i read this blog every day also. and comment when I have time to. and really have some thing worth saying

  54. A says:

    Barry, you provide a ton of links to highly relevant articles that many of us simply would not be aware of.
    The time you invest has a very high ROI for your readers.

    Hopefully, we, as respectful readers, can provide links to information that you will also find valuable.

    For that, we would all ask to maintain the comments and filter the drudge as best as you can.

  55. Bridget says:

    You have one of the more intelligent and interesting comment sections of the various blogs I frequent. I esecially appreciate the diversity of viewpoints you allow to be expressed. But if keeping it that way consumes too much of your time, you gotta do what you gotta do.

  56. alonzo says:

    You’re spending way too much time and effort justifying a decision you’ve already made.
    It’s your blog. The people who want to read one of the best blogs on the net don’t come here to read the comments.
    If you want comments, ask for them. If you don’t. don’t.

  57. gms777 says:

    You’ve got a lot of smart people here. Good customers.

    Can’t you hire a young journalist-type person to do this culling for you? He could add value in other ways, too…..

  58. Timdawson says:

    Hey Barry,
    I visit your page 4-5 times per week. I think this is my 2nd comment ever. I hardly click on the comments. I enjoy reading the stories and checking out some of the links……For me, it’s food for thought……mostly about investing, but occassioinally about other timely topics you write about. Your frustration with the comment trolls is understandable……it sucks for us to read them on this (or any other) site. They clutter up the comments and dissuade people from reading them. If it makes you feel better, do what you think is best……dump them for (at least) a while.

    All the Best…..

  59. WhipTail says:

    I concur with the idea to disable comments except on the posts for which you solicit comments.

  60. Frilton Miedman says:

    Having recently Emailed TBP over a technical issue, I was absolutely amazed to learn it was BR himself I was talking to.

    Half tempted to pick his brain or go on a tangent over what a big fan I am, it occurred to me it was best to keep it short.

    I cannot begin to imagine how BR can make media appearances, make blog posts, write articles, manage his company, yet still have time to reply to individual members as he did with me.

    I respect whatever the decision, but must note that this blog brings out some extremely intelligent discussions.

    I’d hate not being able to get to know some of you guys.

  61. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    You are a good man, BR. And I’m not just kissing your ass. You are balanced and fair, which is and always has been a good foil to the “fair and balanced.”

    I have commented with much less frequency than I used to, but mostly due to personal circumstances and obligations. Prior to that, I may have seemed, at times, that I took over the comments section (commenting here can be addictive). Good debates were had. There was plenty of worthwhile exchange. And lots of good humor. I always felt like a guest at a forum of high quality people with similar, and occasionally conflicting, interests, beliefs, or ideas. I have, on more than one occasion, been invited to go away by other commenters.

    I have noticed that some frequent commenters go away for a while, and then surprisingly return, occasionally. That’s always a good thing, as your comment section has formed somewhat of a loose community.

    I was happy to see Julia Chestnut’s, RW’s, and constantnormal’s comments, tonight. Likewise I am always perked up when Ahab (who should be Ishmael, and who posts frequently acidic and mostly wrong, but grudgingly friendly commentary), or Thor, or MEH (Mark E, Hoffer) — with his barely decipherable, borderline Rainman, but always valuable comments — or many others who have moderated their own participation swings by (I am sorry not to be able to name the hundred, or so, other regulars who I have come to know and respect over the years). Collectively, the intelligence of your commenters is very high.

    It would be interesting to see a list of your most frequent commenters. Or a Best of TBP comments.

    I do hope you leave the comment threads open. Maybe for selfish or even hedonistic reasons, but I do hope so.

    It would make me sad — kind of like watching a busload of friends being driven over a cliff (and leaving me with no ride home).

  62. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    BTW: if you keep the comments open, put in a goddamned edit function.

  63. Frilton Miedman says:

    Petey Wheatstraw Says:
    February 18th, 2013 at 10:21 pm
    BTW: if you keep the comments open, put in a goddamned edit function.

    ~~~

    YEAH!

  64. delilo says:

    I think you close comments, with the exception of when you want to have an open post.
    No need for an all or nothing approach.

  65. JohnathanStein says:

    Sometimes, the comments are as informative — or more — than the post. Not always, but often enough; usually when you ASK for thoughts. FYI, I read/scan them on more interesting posts.

    FWIW, you didn’t mention whether reading comments ever produced any useful thought exercises or nuggets of information for YOU.

    Can you turn them on only when you ask for input?

  66. The Window Washer says:

    “I think you close comments, with the exception of when you want to have an open post.
    No need for an all or nothing approach.”

    I second.

    95% shut down for a month will give you a good data set to compare against wide open. Just tell everyone how long the shut down is for and have a link to this post at the bottom of posts.

  67. louis says:

    Say it ain’t so BR . Don’t take Petey and the others away.

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=ysmN7dsheE8&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DysmN7dsheE8

  68. t1dude says:

    Freakin’ awesome!! I wish every media outlet in America would develop similar policies. This is part of what ales this country and its inability to address major existential issues. No matter now looney, goofy, ridiculous, unsubstantiated, or absurd someone’s opinion is, the media will bend over backwards to make sure that they present what they consider “balance”. If someone comes on a cable news show and says that 2+2=4, the show must find someone that insists that 2+2 does not equal 4. Its that insane. People like Barry are a welcome breath of fresh air.

  69. JoseOle says:

    Just put in an up/down voting system and allow users to sort comments on these ratings. The creme will rise to the top, guaranteed. By all means don’t waste your time policing the comments, but to disallow them is in my view taking a step backward.

  70. “…Managing blog comments has become an increasingly time consuming job. Policing the spammers, trolls, haters, and other purveyors of falsehoods has become a larger time suck than I am willing to accept. Dealing with such cretins hardens your outlook and shortens your temper more than I care for. Perhaps this is the reason so many high profile blogs have closed down their comments altogether…”

    BR,

    I’ve long wondered ‘How it is?’, that you have been able to keep, any, semblance of *Order in these Comment Threads..

    regardless, it seems that, this..”…Policing… has become a larger time suck than I am willing to accept…” is a tolling/peal that should heard.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tolling (def. 2 #2)
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/peal (noun, #1)

    it has to be a Tax. as you, further, expound..

    “…There are far too many comments not aligned with the goal of pursuing the truth. The focus is upon momentarily winning the emotional response through intellectually dishonest means. I have zero interest in half truths, devious rhetorical devices, technically true but highly misleading statements, etc. I assure you that, despite what your mommy told you, the world is none-the-poorer for not hearing your views…”

    I, personally, can’t see this..”…Dealing with such cretins hardens your outlook and shortens your temper…” being a Risk worth running..

    as Many, above, have noted ~”We come here to read about your Thoughts.. + “you gotta do what gotta do”..”

    That I’d ask, just, that you “Keep On, Keepin’ On.” is Selfish. How you choose to, I wouldn’t deign to Advise.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/deign

    recall, http://search.yippy.com/search?query=Henry+David+Thoreau+jailed+over+Protest+of+War+Tax&tb=sitesearch-all&v%3Aproject=clusty

    Some Taxes shouldn’t be Paid.

    merely, to Note..You bring a, much Welcomed, Light –to those who choose to Think.

    the *Others should wonder, at the minimum, Where? those Shadows are coming from..

  71. Unmitigated Audacity says:

    I don’t always read the comments, but when I do I find there are usually quite a few worth reading (a rarity in the blogosphere). You have attracted an interesting group here, with some exceptions, with your consistent A+ blog over the years. I vote to keep comments, but I will remain a reader either way. Thanks for creating and maintaining such a quality product, and for being one of the great bullshit detectors on the planet.

  72. Terry says:

    As a regular BP reader, I rarely read or post a comment. In fact, the only time I read the comments is when I post a comment. I can do without seeing my own words–and I won’t pretend they are the ultimate words of wisdom. At the same time, they are genuine and not agenda-driven.

    Although it’s a shame you have to because of garbage comments posted here, go ahead and close the comments except for the occasional open post.

    Thanks for sharing your thinking.

  73. leveut says:

    I think you need to figure out how much time, total, you wish to spend on the blog as blog. This would be separate and apart from analyses/documents etc. you create as part of your real job and then extract for the blog. But the extracting for the blog would be part of your blog time.

    Once you have roughly figured what that total blog time is, then measure (that data thing) roughly how much time you spend on the blogging part and how much on the moderating comments part.

    Then, figure out how to cut the moderating comments part down so it plus blogging = the total amount of time you want to spend doing this.

    I would guess, the best way to do that, to cut the moderating down so total time is what you want to spend, would be to have mostly or majority no comments, but still to have some posts that are of a nature that comments would be normal and relatively nondescript–e.g. “this is what I am reading, what are you reading”, and some that are designed to be intentionally open to comments to get feedback. Some approach like that might make “moderation” less burdensome.

    It’s just a thought regarding the “policy page”–sometimes, often, it seems to me the real assholes never think they are assholes. I like your complaint email address.

  74. Herman Frank says:

    Wow! To be so eloquent in a rage about being treated unfairly! Your prose is an example for English 101 “Vent in a fierce, fiery, but directed manner. No collateral damage!” I notice from my fellow commentators that “the good and sincere feel slighted by the damage done by goons.”

    That said, I hope your new website-infra enables blacklisting certain commentators, whether by name or IP address.

    There’s no “censorship” involved in a blacklist, see it as you turning away from a deranged person who is shouting at everyone and anything in the middle of the parking lot in front of your favorite supermarket. Do you impose on his rights by closing your ears and walking past him? No way! You shut the person out and listen to the PBX of the supermarket advising you of the latest deals.

    With or without comments, I’ll continue to read your blog.
    Wishing you strength and perseverance.

  75. temporary_commentar says:

    I’d have to agree with BR on this one. The reason the rest of ya’ll get to have somewhat of nice exchanges is because of active moderation – which may not be value added for him. The idea above of charging to be a commenter is interesting, but probably wouldn’t have the desired effect – but you never know!

    Like many of the above, I rarely read and never leave a comment. Its not worth the effort, and I don’t much like the public forum at all. I’d almost prefer to have a hidden exchange.

    An idea – levels of commenter. A public forum, unmoderated, where all the trolls can play, and a private list forum. It would be nice to be able to choose who could see your comment – public, private, or moderator only. And then make each person moderator of their own comment subthread – where they can keep all responses private, let the sub-commenter choose public/private/whisper and so on, for customizable conversation. To get promoted from public to the private list you would have to get noticed by the moderator, say by posting whisper level to moderator or to private posters that wouldn’t appear to anyone but the recipient – after some trial period, or whatever recommendation is necessary.

    You could even make a two-thread comment display that you could toggle between the private and public comments, so that everyone can see what’s going on. Personally, I find BR to be much more balanced than most, which is why I visit the site – although it’s really to see the articles of the day list, I’ll be honest.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t miss the comments, but as I believe value is subjective, certainly others may feel differently.

  76. Malachi says:

    I absolutely loved this post!

    I occasionally learn a lot from the comments section so I’m glad it’s staying open for most.

    But if you can kick the “asshats” off even better. Bravo!

    And this may be one of my favorite quotes of all time,

    “I don’t give a flying fuck at a rolling donut about these jackhole’s opinions. These folk need to rapidly disabuse themselves from believing other people’s blog’s are an open invitation for whatever ignorance or ill thought out nonsense they are peddling.”

  77. riverrat says:

    I believe I’m probably an outlier in this blog’s readership. Former river guide, part-time worker, full time house-husband, no investments. But I’m an avid news junkie and any serious financial news affects the general populace in short order, so TBP is a key stop for me.

    I visit daily, and read the comments section for many posts. I learn a lot from the back and forth. I’ve personally left less than 10 comments, since I rarely have anything meaningful to add.

    Some of the comments piss me off too, in that they seem deliberately intended to derail rational, relevant discussion, or seem to take discredited memes as fact and takeoff points.

    But I would really miss the comments if they go away. I hope there is a way to avoid that.

  78. billjohnson says:

    Keep up the good work. Enjoy the blog…

  79. seobook says:

    You already require registration to leave comments. What about taking advantage of the WordPress role functions & forcing a one-time (or maybe recurring) fee for comments? You could also have some limited set of posts only accessible to paying members.

    There are also plugins for rating of comments & the ability to hide comments with poor ratings.

    Whatever you do, don’t delete the existing comments from your pages or else you will lose out on the traffic stream they help generate through searches against text in them & so on…you could default all posts to have comments off & just turn it on for the posts you want to.

    Another thing you can do is install a plugin that automatically coverts a post’s comment section to closed after a certain period of time (say a week or such).

    I presume you are already using Akismet to help deal with some of the spam, but if not I would suggest installing that too.

  80. nofoulsontheplayground says:

    BR, have you thought about some of the comment moderation services out there? It sounds like it is something that is easily outsourced to India. I don’t think existing software can moderate comments very well as a stand alone service, but a hybrid service could do it with a high degree of accuracy. A simple Google search turns up what appears to be a hybrid comment moderation service:

    http://www.moderationpro.com/site/main?p=services&sp=why_moderation_pro

    I’ve done my share of moderating over the years, and it does take quite a bit of time.

    While many of your posts touch on political topics, it may be more convenient and efficient to turn off comments on posts with political topics.

    It’s ironic that a blog post about ending comments has resulted in so many comments.

  81. ldaalder says:

    This is my second comment ever and if I read this post correctly it may be my last, so I’d better make it a good one.

    Thanks very much for the blog! Keep up the good work! You can do it!

    Lukas

  82. mpetrosian says:

    I’m one of those trolls. I once wrote BR an email using an idiotic weight loss analogy that blew up in my face and a few other comments I wish I could take back. But I’m a work in progress and wouldn’t want to be cut off for trying.
    I’m using this comment to apologize for past post unworthy of this amazing blog. If its not a top shelf post then save the comments space for others willing to invest the time and thought to the topic. Keep the mean and disrespectful douche nozzles out but let the rest flow.

  83. victor says:

    Very eloquent and great content, bravo. On the point of “cognitive processes as either “thinking fast” (Emotions) versus “thinking slow” (Logic)” may I add that anthropologists/geneticists say that the former may be explained by a gene Home Sapiens acquired via natural selection during most of the short 200,000 years we’ve been around as a species: lion or bear about to ambush from the right, dart out to the left…those who didn’t think fast enough left fewer descendants….

  84. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    One further comment, while I am allowed to do so…

    How many of the articles or concepts you cite in your AM and PM posts are the result of something you saw in the comments section of your blog?

    In other words, do any of the comments spark your imagination or curiosity, and point you towards a topic to explore and to comment on?

    The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder….

  85. gloppie says:

    Gee, I don’t comment for a year or two and now see what happens !!!

  86. fedwatcher says:

    Seems like many do not care if there are comments.

    Try a temporary period of no comments and see what happens.

  87. AmyM says:

    I love this blog/site. Maybe my favorite commenters are here, too.
    You rock, whatever you do.
    I will miss the commenters, though.

  88. Greg0658 says:

    I read a number of these on my aPad last night. I’ll try to make this short** and within standard english language full sentences. Normally I ramble on in a outline form or in unregulated 140 character twitters, with a few references to a song or movie plot that carries the sentiment to possibly only me.

    Its been a week since what I thought was a thoughtful and time consuming read through a thread, and a comment that never came out of moderation (except in that gyofb). Since I understand moderating in this world we live in*, I’m not really that offended. Its coming up on the sixth anniversary of the WS 3rd print-queue switch-on flash-crash. The amature detective in me wondering whats that about, had me google financial news sites and this place called TBP was presented. I have some big concepts in picture form too, so you were in like flint for at least a looksee.

    I think I’ll miss the open comments when I can’t sleep, need to clear my head, and go back to the radio or tv playing into my ears & eyes. That said I understand the mass amount of taxation on all of our lives, and pocket books these millions of blogs and zillions of posts cost us.

    The Grammys awarded “Gotye” a victrola for a line and melody “you can get addicted to a certain kind of feeling” .. so do what ya wanna do, say what ya wanna say (forget who) it’ll come to me one of these days.

    *coda – I wonder what it feels like to sit at those WS desks in front of the monitors. Is it like sitting in the nuclear site control room, waiting for a buzzer with nothing to do but read, maybe write. Maybe make some action by picking up the phone, talking somebody into a goose for a spike. Then maybe a full coarse dinner night at a 5star. I’m not in those shoes and never had a job like that.

    **duh to late – hope I didn’t trigger anything. I’ve got a backup :-)

  89. knockmacool says:

    I Like Lowrie Glasgow’s buck a comment idea. You could of course cap the number of comments each of us is allowed or only open certain posts for comment (what say ye?). But if the comments grate now, they will continue to be a source of frustration whatever measures you take.
    Most of us come here to get your perspective and will do so with or without comments.

  90. Greg0658 says:

    ps – sorta white lied. There is this time period; where tapes download, files render, and disks get burned. Then I just twittle my fingers getting bored and think > whats new on TBP.

  91. Jojo says:

    A blog without comments is like a fish out of water, a lot of floundering.

    I often find interesting links from the comments that I would not have stumbled on myself.

  92. wrongtrade says:

    My feeling is that the comments are valuable especially for the non finance not very knowledgeable members of the community who can learn not only from BR, but from the discourse which follows.

    I have on many occasions, however, wondered why BR martyrs himself by reading (and often responding to!) so many of these comments. I understand that, though, BR. I am a specialist MD and everyone tells me I need PAs and NPs and “physician extenders” but you know what? They can’t do what I do and people come to my office to see me. I have too high standards to take a patient from their PCP to a lower level of knowledge just so I can make a few (more than a few) extra bucks. Anyway, your attention to detail is admirable and that obsessive-compulsive trait would be awesome in a money manager but you have to operate at the top of your license, BR, or you will go increasingly crazy.
    IMO, the status quo is unacceptable for you. Either quit comments entirely (a little drastic IMO- throwing the baby out with the bathwater) or severely reduce or eliminate your personal involvement with comments. After all YOU are not the one who should be “benefiting” from comments. They serve an ENTIRELY different purpose than the Blog content you have birthed, crafted and continue to love and steward. You are captaining the cruise ship, BR, but don’t get sucked in the wake.

  93. Larry says:

    Professional trader… worked at SLK/GS from 1995-2002… been with a private investor since 2003- still trading proprietarily..

    More of a contrarian than a momentum trader… catalysts, events, things like that…

    Anyways- my nightly reading consists of:

    ritholtz.com
    denninger/market ticker (he is a nut- but he was early on the mtg mess and sometimes nails things other people don’t see- but he makes plenty of mistakes as he isn’t a market professional…)
    Mish (less time spent there lately it seems)
    PragCap (sort of new to me in the last year, could live without it easily)
    PeterLBrandt (doesn’t write often and I NEVER trade on technical alone)
    Real Clear Markets (more content than your blog- but still put you ever so slightly ahead)
    ZH-(everyone needs to laugh during the day.. especially when the jokes aren’t even jokes- its true stuff…)
    RealClearTechnology (fundamentals)
    Newtraderu (this one is VERY new, and I am not a new trader- but it’s like your list every year of trading rules…. It helps to read it)

    Not to mention the obvious like wsj.com,nyt.com,ft.com

    There are other I look at a lot less frequently….

    To my point- even on your blog which I VERY much respect- I probably only look at the comments about twice a month- and its usually when I have a large position on and its usually macro driven and you have a piece that is right at the heart of the issue…. Its almost the same as going to the yahoo message boards- I only do it when I am big in something and usually getting hurt and I look for the DUMB, SILLY comments from those that clearly are going to get taken to the cleaners.. the difference is that SOMETIMES in the comments section from your website I will actually read someone making a point that is along the lines that I am thinking (usually contrarian or variant view)

    Now I do have an idea- and if you decide to go with it- please cut me in on the business…..

    There should be a website called “comments.com”

    It can exist for all different bloggers.

    Once someone clicks to go there- they clearly are no longer at ritholtz.com or whatever blog sent them.

    The ad dollars there would clearly be lower than on the actualy sites since YOUR ARTICLE is the valuable one.. the comments are a dime a dozen (well a lot less than that….) comments.com would take a cut of the revs (which would be low to begin with) but it would keep ritholtz.com a lot cleaner and the real estate left behind would be more valuable…. It would save you the trouble of having to clean up the comments section and as YOU read thru the comments you could pull forward back to ritholtz.com whichever one or two ON EACH SIDE OF THE ARGUMENT made the best point if you so wanted….. but for topics/blog posts that you felt weren’t super important you could just let the mess all take place over at comments.com and now worry about filth or whatever… etc.etc.etc.

    I can’t figure out what is crazier- the idea, or sharing it with you without patenting the idea first… but I trust ya- so I will go with it…

    Anyways- great blog and please stay “profit oriented” and never become a “perma” there aren’t a lot of guys like you around…

    (by the way you could almost take away my dow jones, reuters, and other news feeds if I could only keep twitter… before the Japanese Earthquake I would have told you that was a crazy idea…

    Larry

  94. denis_bda says:

    BR,

    How about try a comment platform like Disqus?
    http://disqus.com/

    The best thing you can do is get your readers to do your comment moderation for you through up/down voting on a platform like Disqus while also allowing threaded discussions so people can answer questions for you.

    Denis

  95. To clarify to a few emailers, it is not the ideology I oppose, but rather, the entire emotional knee jerk partisan cognitive dissonance. Its a waste of my time.

  96. [...] Barry's getting sick of policing his comments section for trolls and halfwits – but what's the solution?  (TBP) [...]

  97. Bomber Girl says:

    I read the blog daily, comment on occasion (after a pause while you filter me! but I have made it through each time) and find the comments valuable. I appreciate that it must be a real time suck so I hope you can find a way to keep the comments on since I think their overall high level of quality (with great links, mainly solid discussion points) is a real asset to the blog. Perhaps you just need a autobot response to the knee jerk partisans: FFRD. No further comment – or waste of your time – needed.

  98. PeterR says:

    No comment . . .

    Seriously, sorry this is a pain in the ass for you. I will miss the comments, but understand entirely!

    May the wind be at your back . . .

  99. Crocodile Chuck says:

    Barry

    three cheers for the trolls banhammer

    kind rgds

    Crocodile Chuck