Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Frontburner, What Gives?

Far be it for me to tell anyone how to run their blog. I mean, I have one, and I'd probably resent it and give you the patented Bethany's Famous Inside My Head Finger if you told me how to run mine.

But lately, one of my favorite blogs, D Magazine's Frontburner, has taken to just deleting everything and anything in the comments section. And, if you notice, the frequent commenters are complaining.

Why? Because there's no placemarker for those deleted comments. No "Peterk's comment was deleted for excessive profanity." No "Rawlins' comment was deleted because he made untoward comments about Wick's mother." No "Spamboy's comment deleted because he was mean." No "Amandacobra's comment was deleted because she was responding to Rawlins, Peterk and Spamboy."


So instead you're left with a mess of a thread that closely resembles a Sarah Palin press conference without note cards. Or worse, entire sections of the thread go away when one person gets heated and nasty, and the rest of the commenters respond - even if their responses are polite and well-mannered.

And I don't know, maybe something pricks at me when I think about the fact that a news organization is engaging in that much censorship. It's made Frontburner less dynamic, I think, than it was a year ago. Deleting profanity? Sure. Deleting vicious attacks? Sure. But just wholesale lifting of entire chunks of a healthy debate between a bunch of adults? I'm not so sure.

I love you guys, but seriously?