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On commenters and the MSM

Monday, Nov 24, 2008 - Posted by Rich Miller

* As usual, a “mainstream” media writer misses the point

In theory, [online comment boards are] a great thing. We’re giving the people a voice! But the reality is that commenting either attracts loathsome people or somehow causes ordinary people to express themselves in a way that is loathsome…

The horribleness of commenters isn’t really a mystery: Internet anonymity is disinhibiting, and people are basically mean anyway. Nor is it a mystery why the people who run websites put up with commenters: the economic model for Internet content is based on advertising, which means it’s based on traffic volume, and comments mean traffic. They’re part of the things that make online publishing work….

It’s just hard to tell whether they’re ruining the Web faster than they can save it.

Please, spare me.

Newspapers and magazines are always picky about which letters to the editor they publish in their dead tree editions, but too many of them allow online commenters to go all nutso. For some reason, publishers are squeamish about flat-out deleting the morons and banning them from returning. The SJ-R had a big problem with that a while back, but they appear to have cracked down somewhat. Other area outlets, like The Reader, allow freakish mayhem to rule their comment sections to the point where I won’t even link to that site any longer.

In other words, it’s mostly the publishers’ fault, not just the great, unwashed commenters.

* Eric Zorn recently killed off his comment section

Readers of my comments areas have come to expect that I’ll not only keep out most of the filth via editing or deleting offensive posts , but that I’ll respond to every reasonable challenge that’s issued to me, no matter how small the audience might be for an answer.

I no longer want to try to meet those expectations. I’m finding, among other things, that it brings out the worst in me.

He has a point, and since Eric posts on national politics more than I ever would, he’s had to deal with far more weirdos than me. Every time I post something here about national stuff I find myself deleting, deleting, deleting the goofiness, or responding, which takes up far too much of my time.

* We tend to attract a higher level of commenters here, partly because of the subject matter and partly because I have no reservations about banning or deleting idiots. I’ve always believed that while this has become a community, it’s still my blog. I set the rules and I don’t feel the need to apologize for whatever decisions I make, unless I screw up.

Anyway, I just thought I’d reiterate the policy and give you a chance to have your say.

…Adding… I should’ve stressed that our commenters here are also a big reason that the keel stays mostly even. We have lots of responsible people who won’t put up with ridiculous distractions, except for Bill, but he’s a feature, not a bug.


  1. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 10:57 am:

    There are a lot of blogs out there. I only choose to participate in the ones with a high content-to-noise ratio. This is one, and I appreciate all your efforts to keep it that way.

  2. - Levois - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 11:18 am:

    On both of my blogs I had to enable moderation. In one case because one guy lit up the comments post one after another after another after another, etc. Another because I don’t want spammers to come around especially since I’ve had to eliminate a countermeasure to defeat them. I’m not dissatisfied with the comments although a recent comments eexchange is causing me some concern.

  3. - NimROD - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 11:32 am:

    A few of the national sites could use a little oversight of the caliber of this board. Politico, for example, comes to mind. The discourse on that board is pedantic at best and, at times, downright vile. It seems to bring out the worst on both sides of the political spectrum. Politico is in desperate need of moderation or, at least, a way to ignore/block the serial spam / sycophantic drivel posters. I guess this really isn’t a surprise since the quality of article writing on Politico is first-year journalism student at best and campaign press-release mindlessness at its worst. It’s bias level at times is almost off the charts.

    Generally speaking, CapFax seems to be the most content-driven political site I regularly visit. People are always going to disagree politically but the discourse here is handled in a far more respectful manner than most.

  4. - Been There - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 11:32 am:

    When you first started this “blog” most of us were probably just learning what that actually really meant. I still remember your cautiousness and tip-toeing into it and what could have gone down a whole different path. I think your use of trusted other posters to help police what happens here helped early on to make this space so successful. I remember your attitude and concerns to be similar to Zorns after a few months of dealing with us but you made the right moves to keep the sanity here. You have also done a good job of balancing this blog with the Capitol Fax cash cow. At first I wondered why any of us would keep subscribing but you found a way to have us keep paying the invoice when it comes around this time of the year. You should open a consulting service to other publications.

  5. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 11:36 am:

    ==At first I wondered why any of us would keep subscribing but you found a way to have us keep paying the invoice when it comes around this time of the year.===

    I thought the same thing, which is why I treaded so carefully into the blogging idea. So far, it’s worked.

  6. - Undercover - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 11:38 am:

    Well, I can only speak for myself, but I bet I’m not alone. The only reason I write under an alias is because of work. I would happily write under my real name if I didn’t have a political job that required discretion.

    I think it’s different around here because Rich keeps a tight ship and because most people visiting seem to conduct themselves in an appropriate way.

  7. - Johnny USA - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 11:40 am:

    Eric Zorn killed off the comment section because too many people had opinions that were different than his.

    He is in effect, turning back the clock to pre-21st century media, where a few chosen people got to ‘talk down’ to the masses to tell them how to think.

    He tried the 21st century two-way dialogue approach for a while, but was not able to effectively control dissent.

    If you spent any time reading his foaming-at-the-mouth columns this election regarding Sarah Palin or Hillary Clinton, you will see he left zero room for discussion. He really let his partisan schizophrenia show this election.

    Oh well. Chicago media will never learn.

  8. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 11:46 am:

    ==but was not able to effectively control dissent. ===

    Assigning intent to an author’s motives is one sure-fire way to get yourself deleted. Your diatribe is probably a big reason why Eric killed off comments. It’s not lack of dissent - Zorn published plenty of dissenting comments. Speaking from experience (hello, Hillaryites) weird accusations and tinfoil hatted conspiracy theories likely helped drive him over the edge.

  9. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 11:47 am:

    Content is the key. Since the shepherd keeps the flock focused, the blog remains informative and amusing. You set pretty clear standards and maintain them. Other blogs could do the same, but dedicating someone to monitor the blog would probably cut into the bottom line.

    In the long run , they are probably shooting themselves in the foot, because they will lose reader’s interest after the same nasty arguments play out day after day.

    Example: I haven’t posted to the thanksgiving thread, because my thoughts are all snarky right now. I know if I posted them, they’d be gone, I might be banned, etc… The regulars know you are serious and the new people find out quickly.

    Imagine, a business model with a focus on quality.

  10. - Speaking at Will - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 11:48 am:

    I have been deleted a few times myself, and after thinking about it, usually I realize that I posted too quickly without really thinking things through.

    Thats what makes this blog, and the comments posted here worth while. Almost everyone who posts here knows that they better take a minute, check the spelling, think critically, or they are going to be deleted or shot down by others.

    There is an element of truth in the article from Time Magazine, because most blogs are not run with much sanity. However this one is, and we are all better informed because of it.

    With all that said, take the afternoon off Rich, your doing good work. BTW, are you keeping the shop open for the rest of the week?

  11. - Little Egypt - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 11:54 am:

    = =it’s still my blog. I set the rules and I don’t feel the need to apologize for whatever decisions I make, unless I screw up.= =

    That says it all. To post here is a privilege just as having a LTTE published in the newspaper is a privilege. If I’m out of line in my post, I don’t take it personally. In fact, sometimes I don’t even remember exactly what I wrote that got me deleted (that’s called a senior moment).

    Rich, you have offered us a great way to banter back and forth, get things off our chest, and express our opinions. Thank you for doing this and may you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with your family. Maybe it will even be a nice enough day Thursday for one last seasonal top-down ride in the Omamalac (with the heater on of course).

  12. - GoBearsss - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 11:55 am:

    “I set the rules and I don’t feel the need to apologize for whatever decisions I make, unless I screw up”


  13. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 11:57 am:

    Do you need a lozenge, GoBearsss?

  14. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 11:59 am:

    ===BTW, are you keeping the shop open for the rest of the week? ===

    Doubtful, although my interns may do something. If a big event happens, I’ll reopen, but I’m hoping for peace and quiet. Fat chance, I know, but one can always hope.

  15. - Truthful James - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:06 pm:

    Well, Rich, since you have put up with me in spite of the fact that I appear to disagree with the majority of the people posting, I appreciate you.

    I do have contacts with local, County and school governments in my work, so I feel constrained to use the alias, rather than dull down my points.

    Happy Thanksgiving, and don’t forget to brine the Turkey and rinse befoe cooking. Kass is dead right about that.

  16. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:07 pm:

    Rod will probably do something “interesting” late Wednesday. Will it be to avoid media scrutiny or just to unsettle Rich’s day off? Who knows? But I’ll be checking the blog all week, just in case. (It paid off this weekend.)

    (One frustrating, but understandable, aspect of weekend reports is the closed comments.)

  17. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:09 pm:

    I appreciate the editing of comments. I like a little banter and others points of view, but the haters are tiresome.

    The worst I’ve seen was on the CNN blog during the election. Plenty of deranged supporters for all the candidates. I saw some stuff that probably made the Secret Service take notice.

  18. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:12 pm:

    ===(One frustrating, but understandable, aspect of weekend reports is the closed comments.)===

    Back when I used the Blogger platform, I found myself in my office throughout the weekend checking comments. It was maddening because I wasn’t getting enough sanity time away from the computer.

    Remembering those days always makes me shudder.

  19. - What the? - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:17 pm:

    I seem to remember some saying about freedom of speech and yelling “Fire!” in a crowded room…

    The web does give each of us the cover of anonymity. Unfortunately, too many use that cover to turn loose their own Mr. Hyde. When the wack jobs and haters come out to play, it spoils the experience for the rest of us.

    This is your blog, your rules. Your efforts have made this blog a worthwhile site. Keep it up.

  20. - 2cool4school - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:18 pm:

    I generally think you are fair…
    But I do believe you let a lot of stuff through if it is anti-governor than if it is anti anyone else.

    I actually started posting here as a parody of 2confusedCrew and his previous aliases. But if I mimicked one of his attacks against the Gov, and directed it to, say, Madigan, then I got banned. Not him.

    I thought you had noticed the parody. I guess not, since you at one point called out my “mean-spirited” attacks that were just copies of the reverse.

    That would be my qualm.

  21. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:22 pm:

    What I asked is that you change your screen name because it was too close to the “original” commenter’s. You didn’t, so you were deleted.

    BTW, there is a reason why many of the anti-guv comments get through. Check his poll numbers. Being anti-RRB means you are part of the reality based community.

  22. - Secret Square - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:24 pm:

    Comment moderation makes a big difference and is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading this blog more than almost any other politically oriented blog. We manage to stay civil even when talking about subjects like abortion, capital punishment or illegal immigration — which is pretty unusual these days.

    Too many people assume that rules of any kind stifle free speech and creativity. Actually, I find that in most cases, they encourage both. Name-calling, ranting and repeating gossip doesn’t take much creativity or thought. Finding a way to express your views in a rational and respectful manner does.

  23. - Conservative Republican - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:37 pm:

    As a frequently-deleted (on this blog) commentator, I appreciate the opportunity to weigh in.

    And as a frequently-deleted commentator, it’s so pleasant and comforting to be grouped into a class referred to by Rich Miller as “idiots”.

    The cause for me being deleted is that I often write a tough, pungent comeback or rebuke to Rich Miller, who, as someone I do not know nor have never met, seems to take umbrage at the fact that I refer to him as “Miller” as opposed to “Rich”. However, I have never used curse words or called him names or been “rabid”, etc.

    For example, I took umbrage at his reference to recently re-elected Congressman Roskam as “a Congresscritter”. The inference was derogatory and nasty. Miller didn’t appreciate my rebuke of him for that reference and deleted my post. He can give it but he can’t take it.

    Another cause for my occasional criticism is Rich Miller’s pose of “objective journalism” when his comment is drenched in unabashed partisanship or liberalism. Just because you once admired George Ryan or diss Blagojevich doesn’t mean you are not a liberal Democrat.

    As he says, its his blog, but he should also fairly indicate that he deletes at times because the comment, while not violating any of his “rules”, gets under his skin.

    That being said, I think Miller, who freely invites comments from across the spectrum, is a much, much bigger man than Eric Zorn, who apparently can no longer take the heat, has shut down his comments, and now chooses to pontificate from his soon-to-be-shut-down Tribune Ivory Tower.

  24. - Bill - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:43 pm:

    ===Being anti-RRB means you are part of the reality based community. ===
    Now, wait just a minute! I resemble that remark.

  25. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:45 pm:

    ===For example, I took umbrage at his reference to recently re-elected Congressman Roskam as “a Congresscritter”. The inference was derogatory and nasty. Miller didn’t appreciate my rebuke of him for that reference and deleted my post. He can give it but he can’t take it.===

    This is why why you’re an idiot. From my postings on the blog…

    11/13/08: “we’re rapidly closing in on Congresscritter Jackson’s crowd”

    10/31/08: “A young Republican intern for Congresscritter Judy Biggert tells of a chance encounter this past summer…”

    10/22/08:”Dem Congresscritter Bill Foster has what appears to be his postive closer up on the air…”

    10/13/08: “Charlie Cook has moved Democratic Congresscritter Bill Foster’s race against Republican Jim Oberweis from Lean Democratic to Likely Democratic. ”

    And on and on and on. You are a classic example of why some people are deleted. Everything to you is somehow partisan because YOU are so hyperpartisan.

    Understand now?

    I didn’t think so.

  26. - Little Egypt - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:46 pm:

    CR - you want to read “rabid”, then go to Jim Leach’s blog.

  27. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:46 pm:

    – I took umbrage–

    I love that phrase. I’ve never used it. It just sounds authoritative.
    “Umbrage” is Middle English, from the Latin “umbraticus,” meaning “shade.”

  28. - Bill - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:47 pm:

    Grab some bench, dude. You’re gone.

  29. - VanillaMan - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:50 pm:

    We are all learning. Everyone needs an editor.

    I have tried to entertain, expose a differing view, and learn how to communicate better. Over the years, I have learned a great deal thanks to CapitolFaxBlog.

    This is a great Crackerbarrel. Talking as one of the crackers, I find myself over a barrel often, forced to think deeper and heckled by some of the best. I appreciate it, even when it hurts.

    The same great folks congregate here. I like reading the comments from the regulars, even the really really STUPID ones, whom I will not at this time name.

    MSM folks don’t get it. That is one of the reasons it works so well!

  30. - Idiot Savant - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:51 pm:

    The national MSM political blogs; mostly left un-checked, are a complete waste of time. They are nothing more than a raging argument filled with people screaming cannned talking points back an forth and hurling insults at each other.

    Rich’s rules of enagagement here; and I am sure some ongoing vigilance as well, has allowed people to disagree relatively respectfully, without being disagreeable. There are generally no personal attacks, which helps to foster the discussion and allow for divergent opinions.

    I’ll use this thread and post to say that I am thanful for the opportunity to weigh in and express an opinion; of which I seem to have no shortage. I care a great deal about this state and unfortunately right now I see far too much wrong and not enough right in operating it.

    I also enjoy the opportunity to debate with some bright and insightful people here from time to time. My mother often counseled me to go into politics or the law, because she said it didn’t matter what the issue was because I could take either side and support and defend it because I just seemed to love to argue and debate about anything. This is one of the few times I am glad I didn’t listen to my mother.

    Thanks for providing the forum; and for holding fast to the rules and keeping all of us in check; myself included from time to time. More often than not; this site is my only emtertainment option for the day. Whether I leave laughing; which is often the case, or just scratching my head, I almost always believe my visits here are time well spent.

  31. - Secret Square - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 12:55 pm:

    CR, I consider myself conservative too, but never saw the term “Congresscritter” as disrespectful. I always assumed it was simply a convienient and catchy substitute for constantly switching back and forth between “Congressman” and “Congresswoman”.

  32. - Conservative Republican - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:04 pm:

    I don’t need to “understand” anything, since your lame comeback suggests that in order to comment appropriately, one has to be a slave to reading all of your stuff and your commenters stuff, which no gainfully employed person has the time for. Note that your “examples”, occurring BEFORE my comment to your snide remark on Roskam, pertained only to Foster on the Demo side. Give me an example of your reference to “Senatecritter Obama”. Anyway, the day your wrote your Congresscritter Roskam piece, he was the only candidate you felt worthy of assiging the “critter” descriptive.

    By the way, us “hyper partisans” (you mean you didn’t notice my screen name?) have a perspective too…. one which many of the uninformed on your blog would do well to educate themselves on. You never seem troubled by the many “hyper partisan” Democrats who write…they’re probably subscribers…

    Anyway, kudos to you for gathering so many imaginary friends on your blog. (Why aren’t wordslinger and Bill guilty of “gratuitous insults?”) Must make you all feel warm and cozy when you drop off to sleep at 5 am after all the blogging….

    Have a great Thanksgiving.

  33. - Johnny USA - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:05 pm:

    “Speaking from experience (hello, Hillaryites) weird accusations and tinfoil hatted conspiracy theories likely helped drive him over the edge.”

    So who decides what is tinfoil? Obviously the blog owner. On Zorn’s blog anyone saying anything remotely positive about Palin on Clinton was instantly ridiculed. It is the same here. Try saying anything positive Capitol Fax’s most hated enemies: Blago or Jim Oberweiss. You’ll get run out of here on a rail.

  34. - Anon - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:08 pm:

    Congresscritter reminds me of Aldercreature, another fun term.

  35. - A Citizen - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:09 pm:

    “Try saying anything positive Capitol Fax’s most hated enemies: Blago or Jim Oberweiss. You’ll get run out of here on a rail.”
    And rightfully so - Just proves how bipartisan Rich is.

  36. - Secret Square - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:12 pm:

    I assume Rich doesn’t say “Senatecritter” because “Senator” is a gender neutral term. There is no need to alternate between “Senateman” and “Senatewoman”.

    I suppoe we could always just assume “Congressman” applies to both genders, or say “U.S. Rep.” instead, but it wouldn’t be as fun, and CR would probably still find something to complain about :)

  37. - Zora - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:12 pm:

    CR, there’s nothing wrong with taking some time (and some lumps) to learn a particular blog’s practices. No need to slavishly read through the archives, but why not be open to feedback and even correction in the early stages?

    That said, it will be hard to get real comfortable here if you call Cap Fax blog readers “uninformed” and “imaginary friends.” Are you picking a fight with all of us now, or just Rich?

  38. - Bill - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:16 pm:

    I’m starting to detect a lot of hostility among the far right. Could it be they see their absurd ideology being rejected by a large majority of the American people? It’s gonna be a long 8 years for you guys!
    ==Try saying anything positive Capitol Fax’s most hated enemies: Blago or Jim Oberweiss. You’ll get run out of here on a rail.==
    well…not exactly! You might appointed to the U.S. Senate.
    CR and Johnny, Don’t forget to join the Bill for Senate facebook group.

  39. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:17 pm:

    Here’s my attempt to get deleted or banned:

    1. The governor has kept a lot of good-looking hair for a man soon to be 52 years old.

    2. Oberweiss Dairy makes some of the best ice cream available in the Chicago area.

  40. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:18 pm:

    CR, no insult from me, gratuitous or otherwise. You just don’t see the phrase “I take umbrage” often, and it re-sparked my curiosity as to its origin.

    Catch my handle? Wordslinger. I’m interested in words.

    Now, if I said, “Look, a kitty,” that would have been a good-natured, but not necessarily gratuitous, insult.

    I wish I could take umbrage at your accusation, but I just can’t grasp it. Someday, though, I hope to take umbrage.

    You’re wrong about Congresscritter, too. Stop taking all that umbrage and leave some for the rest of us!

  41. - Conservative Republican - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:25 pm:


    Hate to burst your balloon, but when Rich Miller took swipes at my conservative “homies”, I was always “hostile”…

    Bill, you also read like the kind of gloater who screamed “No War for Oil, Impeach Bush” every day since March 2003 (or simply,”Impeach Bush” since January 2001. It would be funny if it weren’t so predictable and pathetic.

    The free market and the U.S. Constitution gave you the luxury of living this life and blogging to your heart’s content. Damn right I’ll defend it even if it means a world in which you exist.

  42. - GoBearsss - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:30 pm:

    Don’t worry Bill, I’ve got your flank. I’ll cut around the hilltop. Hit him off at the pass.

    We’ll destroy this constitution if its the last thing we do!


  43. - Kevin Fanning - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:30 pm:


    Thank God the free market and the U.S. Constitution gives us here at the blog the freedom to delete your overly hostile comments. I look forward to the next opportunity…

  44. - My Opinion - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:31 pm:

    Wow CR. This is probably why your opinions are often deleted. . . you’re a jerk. Give it a rest and have a happy holiday!

  45. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:33 pm:

    –(Why aren’t wordslinger and Bill guilty of “gratuitous insults?”)–

    CR, given the comments I generally deliver Bill’s way, I suspect he’s taking umbrage right now at being linked in any way with me.

  46. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:38 pm:

    CR, you have no wit, no wits and no sense of humor. You add nothing to conversations except your benighted talking points. Grow your own brain or don’t come back.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  47. - steve schnorf - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:42 pm:

    Conservative Republican, if you feel so strongly about your positions and are willing to defend them, why not post under your own name. For all we know, maybe you are a superliberal Democrat trying (successfully) to cast conservative Republicans in a bad light.

  48. - BannedForLife - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:44 pm:

    ” … I have no reservations about banning or deleting idiots.”

    i can personally testify to that

  49. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:49 pm:

    Her is hoping the Eric’s Zorn’s killing of his comment section is a portent of things to come. The three rotating voices in that space all seem pretty far from the center.

    I hope the Trib replaces him someday with someone who is willing to defend their position. The old days of proclaiming gospel from the pulpit are nearly gone. The new commentators seem to be required to do a bit more work to justify their pronouncements.

  50. - S. Illinois - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:52 pm:

    Rich - Your blog is different in that it has developed into an identifiable community in which we have each taken an ownership stake. Therefore we are a bit more invested and much more protective than commenters on a MSM site. It’s an interesting little world you have developed here, with some great minds that provide pretty solid political insight. It’s a great place for schlubs like the rest of us to exchange ideas with the likes of Steve Schnorf, John Fritchey, and the other political insiders that post under aliases. I’m just thankful that you haven’t banned this “idiot” yet.

    And I must say to CR - though I probably agree with some of your politics, you are really tiring. Find some actual insight to contribute here or go wander elsewhere please.

  51. - A Citizen - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 1:58 pm:

    At the probable risk of being elevated, I am beginning to suspect CR may be Oberweis . . . unleashed.

  52. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 2:09 pm:

    ===I don’t need to “understand” anything, since your lame comeback suggests that in order to comment appropriately, one has to be a slave to reading all of your stuff and your commenters stuff, which no gainfully employed person has the time for. ===

    I did a search and it came back that I have used the term at least 65 times going back many many months. You don’t have to be a slave, you just have to be slightly observant.

    ===Note that your “examples”, occurring BEFORE my comment to your snide remark on Roskam, pertained only to Foster on the Demo side.===

    Um, JJJ is a Dem. Also, I called Rahm Emanuel a congresscritter in June.

    === Give me an example of your reference to “Senatecritter Obama”===

    As someone else already pointed out, Senator is a gender-neutral term. I kinda like congresscritter. Only hyperpartisan people like yourself seem to have a problem with it.

    ===Why aren’t wordslinger and Bill guilty of “gratuitous insults?”===

    Bill was actually banned a couple years ago for a while.

    You’re such a moran. lol

  53. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 2:15 pm:

    If Congresscritter is an insult, it is an insult to nature’s critters who have never issued a mean political jab, taken a bribe (except maybe a doggie treat), gone on a junket at taxpayer expense, or any number of assorted petty offenses, high crimes and misdemeanors.

  54. - Zora - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 2:23 pm:

    S. Illinois is right. Rich practices good blog hygiene, which in turns creates good traffic and an identifiable community. If the traditional media would stop wringing it’s hands long enough to comprehend this approach, it might survive the Internet age.

  55. - Truthful James - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 2:23 pm:

    Well, gents and ladies, this is Rich’s blog. He has the right to go political if and when he wants. Just as Eric Zorn does.

    Eric went completely postal in cutting off all comment, IMHO. Rich, though has a sense of humor on most days of the week and is better able to manage the back and forth.

    Eric pontificates on a regular basis, thus inviting those he considers the anti-Christs to speak up. If Eric weren’t so well informed he would be bigoted.

    Rich puts stuff up for comment, and generally mellows out on the sidelines. His extra comments are usually along the line of “Prove that assertion.”

  56. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 2:25 pm:

    Rich, please be careful how you treat CR or you will have to ban yourself until next week! Kevin will nave to be in charge while you serve your time. Frankly, I think you are wasting electrons replying to CR’s low rent gripes.

    BTW, I have had the term “congresscritter” embedded in my poor brain for so long now that I cannot see a Congressperson on TV, hear one on the radio, or read about one without thinking “congresscritter.” It’s bipartisan.

  57. - Eric Zorn - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 2:31 pm:

    I remain envious of the the overall quality of the comments here at Cap’ Fax — generally on point and civil, frequently informed and/or informative. And it’s a tribute to Rich and the work he puts into it.
    It’s ironic that some here, as on my site, are accusing me of not facing the music or tolerating dissent. As Rich points out, I posted lots and lots of dissenting viewpoints, and while I often challenged them, I only ridiculed the ridiculous.
    I was and am perfectly willing to keep my comment boards open for any and all who want to express disagreement; I was simply no longer willing to spend the time to edit those boards, review them for inappropriate material or answer the points of those who disagree with me. My editors decided they didn’t want to keep the boards open under those circumstances.
    Readers can still send me e-mail and I’m making an effort to publish the most interesting of that e-mail along with my responses.
    I realize there’s a slightly old-media quality to that approach, but it’s all I have the time and energy for these days. And I think, in the end, it makes for a fairly satisfying reader experience.

  58. - HearMeRoar - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 2:40 pm:

    Wow. I think the subject of CapFax commenters has been thoroughly covered. Thanks, Rich, for doing what you do and for doing it so well. On another note, the reason that I cling to my dead-tree edition of the SJ-R is because whenever I view the online version, I can’t help but read the comments, too. They’re like train wrecks–you can’t stand to look, but you can’t tear your eyes away. So then I come running back here, ASAP, to get my gray matter back in order.

  59. - Truthful James - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 2:44 pm:

    Hopefully to close this with a laugh, I ran across this as part of the Weekly Standard summary of this week’s articles:

    “In this week’s issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD P.J. O’Rourke calls for a bailout plan for print journalists. In a troubled economy where people are losing homes, print journalism is particularly essential, he explains. For if you lose your newspaper, ‘what are you going to do for covers on a cold night while you’re sleeping on a park bench?’…”

  60. - Johnny USA - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 2:47 pm:

    “or answer the points of those who disagree with me”

    Why did you feel the need to do this? Can’t a blog owner and a commenter disagree? Did you feel that it was your job as blog owner to convert the thinking of your commenters?

  61. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 2:48 pm:

    === Did you feel that it was your job as blog owner to convert the thinking of your commenters?===

    His blog, his rules.

    But you neglected to read Zorn’s next sentence…

    ===My editors decided they didn’t want to keep the boards open under those circumstances.===

  62. - Say WHAT? - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 2:59 pm:

    Rich - What button must I push to delete that Blogcritter, Conservative Republican?

  63. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 3:00 pm:

    It’s already taken care of.

  64. - wizard - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 3:25 pm:

    “It’s already taken care of”. Thanks, as a conservative I found CR to be embarrassing. One can post what’s on one’s mind without being vindictive or mean. CR claimed he did not violate the rules but I’m not so sure on the “rabid” issue. I’m glad he’s gone.

  65. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 3:36 pm:

    AWWWW, CR was so cute. I guess we will have to consider his future silence a form of participation.

  66. - How Ironic - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 3:49 pm:

    I’ve had a few post’s deleted. Just makes one work harder to get a point across, and maintain a sense of humor.

    I like the CapFax, and for the most part enjoy the banter. Still learning my way around. Keep up the good work. It’s nice not having to dig through the muck to find some thoughtful posts.

  67. - yinn - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 4:45 pm:

    A blog owner has to decide on a tone and work to maintain that tone. I wanted my local blog to be non-partisan with a high level of civility, for commenter participation to be about facts and ideas without getting personal. That’s what I got and I’m proud of the readership it has attracted.

  68. - yinn - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 4:48 pm:

    Whoops! Should add…and Cap Fax attracted me for the same reasons.

  69. - Johnny USA - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 4:50 pm:

    >His blog, his rules.

    Agreed. But if Mr. Zorn is stating an opinion publicly, and inviting the public to comment on it, he is setting himself up for failure if he thinks it is his job to convince his readers why their opinion is wrong. But his prerogative, of course.

    I notice the rest of the Chicago Tribune blogs (Clout Street, The Swamp) still have their comments on. The editors rules must have only applied to Zorn’s blog. Was a reason given for that?

  70. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 4:55 pm:

    ===I notice the rest of the Chicago Tribune blogs (Clout Street, The Swamp) still have their comments on===

    Ironically, I appear to be banned from commenting at the Clout Street site.

  71. - Bill - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 5:17 pm:

    Actually I enjoy your responses. In fact, any response is better than no response. While you are usually misguided, your posts are well written and sometimes even amusing.
    By the way, where I come from (in Scranton )anyone using the word umbrage would probably get beaten up. Happy Thanksgiving to you and to all of you raging commenters out there.
    Get some rest, Rich. We’ll all be back on Monday.

  72. - Chambananon - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 5:27 pm:

    Admittedly, I’ve never been zapped on a post, so I don’t know if it would royally irk me — but I’d venture to say I’d still read and post (sporadically) here on CapFax, simply because Rich and the interncritters (let’s see if CR can go after that for partisanship, since journalists are inherently ‘objective’) work their collective hindparts off on a regular basis, so that any time I feel the need, I can quickly and easily find the Illinois coverage I want.

    And I should add that I’m glad Rich takes the time to weed out the crazies, as I can’t stand hyperpartisan idiocy from either side (or even from the Greens, who seem to have gone and formed some isolated nativist community in the political hinterlands).

    P.S. wordslinger: as a fellow logophile, if you like ‘taking umbrage’ you should take a gander at the etymology of ‘in the tank (for someone/thing)’ — we all heard enough of it this political season…

  73. - Bill - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 5:32 pm:

    Listen, Zorn. I don’t appreciate all that free pub that you gave to Wade. He already gets free commercials on his station which has to be a violation of some federal guidelines about in kind contributions. Worse yet, he has his wife shilling for him and his whole family calling up to support him. Fortunately, Rod doesn’t get up early enough to listen.
    I am demanding equal time with a whole column devoted to my campaign. You can set up an interview through my press guy, Rich Miller.
    After I get appointed I promise to sponsor the Fairness Doctrine which will get rid of morons like Wade…and that whole putrid station.

  74. - Disgusted - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 10:10 pm:

    This blog is populated 99% with thinking and considerate people. That 99% does not have to be pushed to be polite. So it’s possible to have a blog without the screaming and insults. However, I find it insulting that the SJR, whose commenters are sometimes a less than savory lot, are rarely given the opportunity to comment on articles about misbehavior by the powers that be in city and county government. That’s an insult to people who want to stress their opinion and feelings about the problems associated with the people who are running an entity paid for by our tax dollars. Most recent example was the story about Mr Aiello. And the SJR’s position seems so unevenly handled. Comments ran amok about Cellini but no change to comment or here other opinions about an elected official? And no, I don’t know Bill Cellini. Rich, at least, is fair about allowing voices to be heard.

  75. - Disgusted - Monday, Nov 24, 08 @ 10:12 pm:

    That would be “no chance to comment or hear.” It’s the end of a long day at the salt mines.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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