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PSA: Comments Temporarily Closed

As some of my faithful readers might have noticed the comments on MLM Mayhem have been closed until further notice. Indeed I was planning to close down the comments earlier but allowed them to go on for a little bit right when a regular commenter started arguing about my last post just so I could admit their first two rounds of comments, respond to them, and then do what I intended to do before they appeared. (Truthfully, right before I went on holidays when I had no access to email because I wasn't interested in returning to a box full of comments after a week break.)

Some background… For the past year and a half the vast majority of comments have been more of a time suck than anything else. Back in the early 2000s when I started this blog comment strings were still semi-vital spaces where useful discussions could take place but now, at least with this blog, they have largely degenerated into echo chambers that most of my readers do not seem to engage with. Indeed, I've discovered that most discussion of my blog posts takes place outside of my blog, where articles are reposted on other mediums, and that most of those who are generally interested in the contents of my posts don't read or interact with the comment strings.

These days I've been trying to eliminate a lot of the time sucks in my life and I decided, about a month ago, that comment moderation had become one of these sucks. Let me explain… In the past year my comments, honourable exception aside, have fallen into the following three categories: outright trolling, concern trolling, educational demands. As a parent who does a lot of childcare, a teacher who has a job, an activist who has a bunch of political responsibilities, and some kind of propagandist working on other projects it is very hard to commit time to sifting through all of these comments all the time. I hit a point where I dreaded dealing with my comment inbox, and where I dreaded writing posts because I would have to deal with said inbox, and so I decided that it would be in my best interest to eliminate this stress and time. But in case you're interested, and are still confused as to why I would make this decision, let's examine these three general categories of comments.

1. Outright Trolling. Do you know how much reactionary troll shit I get a week? A hell of a lot. I don't know why reactionaries feel the need to pop unto a Maoist blog, half read something (because it is always half read, if even that), and then write an anon denunciation that is usually IN ALL CAPS. It's kind of funny, really, being called "faggot" and "fat dyke lover" by a bunch of backwards yahoos week-in and week-out, but now it's far more monotonous. How much time has been wasted over the years reading this shit and deleting it (hell in my early days when I didn't moderate I used to waste energy responding to it!) when I shouldn't have to read these utterly useless comments to begin with.

2. Concern Trolling. This one is always hard to call, which is why it is the biggest energy suck. Someone jumps in to start an argument based on some "did you know?" attitude and never responds after I waste time replying. Or someone jumps in, with no desire to honestly argue but only to spew their asinine thoughts, and then sucks up my energy in comment string arguments that will never be resolved and merely exists for them to reinforce their ideas. Sometimes I've caught this concern trolling due to repeat offenders (like that eclectic dogmato-revisionist dude who likes to preach in my comments as if people will read him and I'm not moderating) but it's always hard to call. This has been the biggest energy suck, especially since I'm unsure whether people are reading these exchanges.

3. Educational Demands. Okay, I understand that I spent years in academia and now I work (though casualized) in said academia so I know something about books and what's worth reading. Indeed, I write a lot of these blog posts to provide some level of educational service (even if it's caught up in polemics) for free and I'm happy to do so. In fact, I feel bad about being exhausted by these kinds of comments because a part of me really wants to do the intellectual labour all the time to respond to questions that take the form "tell me what to read about x and y." But it's kind of hit the point where these questions resemble my day-to-day labour in academia, where I answer similar questions for my students, and so these kinds of comment strings feel a lot like unpaid work. This is not to belittle the people who ask these questions, and I really wish I still had the energy to respond to all such questions, but like I said I'm generally exhausted. Thus, I'm happy to provide the service of writing blog posts about educational issues x and y, and I'm more than happy to deal with them in my organizational context with activists I encounter in real life, but now I'm lacking the energy to deal with them on my comment strings. I'm actually really sorry about this, to those who I've moderated into oblivion and now shut out, but at the moment I just can't focus on these questions.

In general, so many posts in the past two years have ignored my comment guidelines. Hence I feel that I'm justified, due to the prevalent guideline breach, to temporarily shut down comments until further notice. If you can't read the guidelines I'm not going to read your comments.

Sometime in the near future I'll probably open comments again but for now I'm keeping them closed. I apologize for this decision, especially if you have some great insights to add to a post, so I encourage you to email me directly or interact with me on twitter for the time being (if you're not a troll, that is). I plan to open them up again after I've regained some blogging energy.

Apologies in the interim.