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The single worst thing about writing this site is babysitting the comments section. Often, it’s useful, thoughtful, and fun — “A floating focus-group of insiders,” one person called it. But it seems to dissolve into vitriol on a fairly predictable basis, as it has in the last couple of days.

I’ll try be a bit more aggressive, again, about zapping hateful and defamatory comments, even about public officials. I’ll also be deleting most discussion of private people who aren’t very senior staffers. This is, as I’ve noted before, a private conversation in a kind of virtual living room, with loose but real rules.

General principles of civility aside, we don’t have the staff to moderate comments in advance or the technical capacity, at the moment, to allow the community to police itself. Deleting comments is manual, time-consuming, and annoying. So it would be a favor to me and to the other people who work on the site if, when trying to decide if something’s over the line, you err on the side of silence.

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