Our New Comments Policy

By Benjamin Wittes
Wednesday, September 4, 2013, 7:59 AM

A little less than a year ago, I announced a very cautious experiments with comments on Lawfare---putting a Facebook comments box on each post. We now have enough experience with the experiment to determine that it has worked reasonably well, with a few caveats. So we will be keeping the comments box.

But there is an important caveat: Moderating comments has proven very burdensome, and our authors do not have a uniform opinion regarding what sort of comment is worth making available to the general public and what is not. The result is that we have decided that, generally speaking, we will not make comments public. When people leave comments on Lawfare posts, those comments will be available to their Facebook friends only. The idea is to facilitate discussion on Facebook of Lawfare content among communities of Facebook friends but not to force anyone visiting Lawfare to read comments by people whose opinions don't interest her. I have written up a formal comments policy, which I have posted on our sidebar and which reads as follows:

Lawfare has an unusual comments policy, about which readers should be aware before using the Facebook comments box that appears below each post. Lawfare itself does not take comments. It never has. It never will. We do, however, have a comments box from Facebook that allows readers to comment on posts in a fashion visible to their own Facebook friends. The idea is to permit discussion of Lawfare posts among communities of Facebook users. All of these comments are, by default, invisible to people other than the Facebook friends of the commenters. We reserve the right, in our sole editorial judgment, to make comments available to the wider community of Lawfare readers, but we generally will not do so. Comments take a great deal of time to moderate, and that's time better spent on our part producing Lawfare. Please do not post comments using this feature expecting them to be available to the public.