This is a joint post by Austin, Aaron, and Adrianna (the TIE admins and comment moderators).
All TIE admins are in agreement that we need a break from comment moderation. It’s a lot of work and the benefits relative to costs have dwindled. We’d rather use our time in other ways. So, at least until the end of January, comments will be disabled on all TIE posts by default. We may open up comments now and then to solicit input on specific issues. We might invite comments on an occasional open thread, but we haven’t decided.
This is an experiment, and we’ll revisit this decision at the end of January.
This brief post doesn’t convey how much time and effort we’ve devoted over the past year or so in trying to find ways to make comment moderation less taxing on us. Our latest approach didn’t increase the burden,* but also wasn’t of substantial help in reducing it. The idea of shutting comments down altogether goes back at least a year; we would have done it long ago, but we recognize the value of comments to some readers, so we wanted to try other things first.
Those other things are not working well enough. And so, after lengthy deliberation, we’ll try going (mostly) comment free.
You are, of course, welcome to email us. Or, if you prefer a more public forum, you can tweet at us. And, you always have the option to start your own blog, start a comment thread on Reddit or similar sites, etc. We value feedback. We just need a break from the moderation duties. (And, no, we can’t run an unmoderated site. You would not believe the spam, even with a good spam filter running.)
* As of this writing, Austin has received a grand total of zero inquiries about unpublished comments.