First, Happy Easter to everyone! From the bottom of my heart I am personally grateful for the continuing participation of nearly every one of you. Thanks for stopping back by, Lovettsville Lady.
Thanks for more late night words of wisdom, Wolverine. To answer the dilemma you pose, I would note that one reason for the wild west atmosphere is the lack of available time by the blog administrator. It takes exponentially more time to referee comment exchanges, to be able to sift those which are merely spirited from those which go over the line. As you know, many of the comment threads go beyond 50 and some have gone well into the 200s. If I had to read them all in order to maintain some standard of civility, there would have been serious stretches of time over the past five years when I would have simply woken up in the morning, deleted every single comment from the night before by clicking on the whole batch, and gone to work. By today, this community would be deserted.
On the other hand, if I had set this up to accept some kind of advertising at the beginning so the blog was not an outflow of both time and money, I might have taken a different tack and been willing to put in more time handling comments with more finesse so as to elevate the overall tone of debate. As it stands, since Sept 2005 I have dropped around two grand on NVTH in direct expenses along with some periods when I had to put in 40 hours or more over a couple weeks’ time when we have migrated to different platforms. (In addition to all the posting and other regular upkeep). Call it something like a lifestyle choice, but my approach has been to try and find that autopilot fine line between too much nastiness and zero commenting activity and try and get the blog to run itself. Because of the day job I had for most of the time, it was extremely critical that I keep the administrative overhead low. But I can tell you, Wolve, if the opportunity arises to spend more time managing this blog, or initiating a more newsy blog that pays me, I would be on the same page with you. This community is underserved as far as news outlets go.
Second, as an Easter gift to myself, I am going to implement a more thorough and arbitrary version of Rule #4 from this list and start deleting comments and banning people simply because they get on my nerves. I don’t care if they do or do not get on anyone else’s nerves, or if anyone takes exception to my decisions. And in case anyone gets the idea we are suddenly stifling “debate,” let it be known that thus far the only comments that have fallen under this category have been by my fellow “conservatives” – so the freewheeling discussion between competing ideologies should be allowed to continue here as it has since the blog’s inception.
UPDATE: The thought just occurred to me of adding a new rule here, which I am going to call the Loudoun Insider Blanket Exemption. The very idea may irritate some of you at first, so please bear with me for an explanation of what the new rule means.
The Loudoun Insider Blanket Exemption, or “LI Rule,” as it shall henceforth be known, states simply that the blog administrator(s) have substantial leeway to regulate comments that are in any way related to the blogger known as Loudoun Insider, whether those comments be favorable or unfavorable, and without regard to how any other comments on this blog are evaluated.
Our reason for implementing the LI Rule is that the blogger known as Loudoun Insider has aroused near-universal disdain among Loudoun County Republicans for reasons that seem to border on mass hysteria, and mass hysteria amuses us, so having this Rule will be a source of mirth – a feeling which has been in precious short supply of late.
I do not expect this new Rule to affect the commenting of most of you, because it will NOT mean blanket protection for LI’s ego. He will continue to take his lumps just like I and everyone else get subject to. However, I now discern it is basically everyone in the world against LI, so I will stand up to say that not only do I NOT consider the man a devil, but I will go so far as to offer sanctuary when needed. If strange things happen to comments or commenters relative to LI, no further explanation will be necessary going forward because there is now a Rule for that.
When all is said and done and we each have to face our final judgment in the Hereafter, and I am called to account for how I managed this project known as NOVA TownHall Blog; and I report that NVTH did not bring souls to Christ, nor did it feed the hungry, nor did it make money, I want to at least be able to say it was a source of amusement for me on occasion.
UPDATE II: As we get the first indication of where the comments are headed after the “Update” from a couple hours ago, it may be useful to bear in mind that the cause of the seeming insanity in Salem, Massachusetts back in the 17th century has likely been traced to ergot poisoning from bad wheat. A little warmth and rain at the wrong times and whammo: instant LSD. It is that time of year, so we want to encourage everyone to check the wheat in their silos for a purplish-to-black mold. Certainly, personal vendettas can run deep in these parts, but we need to rule out St. Anthony’s Fire, first.