Friday, September 09, 2005

New Comment Section Soon: Reactions to Closing the Comment Section

Dear Syria Comment Readers,
I am happy to announce that Syria Comment will open a new comment section in several days. It will be open to all registered members and will be managed by the indomitable Joe Pace, who has contributed so many wonderful interviews to Syria Comment this summer. He is returning to Harvard in a few days and has kindly agreed to oversee and manage the comment section from there. It will be a bit of an experiment.

Many readers regretted the closing of the Comment Section, as I did. It had been taken over by a small group of people, who had adopted a very combative style, effectively pushing out many commentators who didn't have the stomach for raunchy fisticuffs. The new forum will hopefully open up debate to a wider group of people by encouraging some semblance of decorum.

Here are the reactions I got about the closing of the comment section. There are additional comments on the last post that accepted comments.

The move was overdue. You were far more patient than I would have been.

Once things settle down, I wonder if there is a way in the software you
use to require anyone who wants to post a comment to register using his
or her real name. One board I read does that, and it changes the tone
incredibly. Keep up the great work.

the closing of this section is the only way the Regime's side can silence the opponents, for you(it, they) have tried to use fool language, insults, chasse away those opponents, and when that was not successful, they let Josh use their dirty tactic as the cause to close the comment section. If Josh had any eyes, he would see who are the people who copme here to insult and use bad language, but he went ahead to insult the all posters, very politely, I must add.

Much as I initially enjoyed reading the comments posted in response
to your blog, I think that you have made the best decision in
removing the comments page. Over the summer I have noticed the
quality and thoughtfulness of the comments degenerate into total
drivel, with the exception of a few serious holdouts. I wonder
whether you might be able to contact those people and suggest that
they start blogs of their own, or appear on syriacomment as guest
posters from time to time.

In any case, I am still a great fan of your site and look forward to
each new post.

Dear Joshua,
Sorry to read that you put an end to the Comment. I enjoyed it and learnt much from it, even though I did not always agree with what was published. Still I think that it is an important stage for everyone to challenge his own views. We - Westerners - always blame Arabs and Muslims for being closed-minded; how many of us are REALLY open-minded?
Hope you find a way to continue with it.

Hi Joshua,
As a regular visitor of your, I sympathize and applaude your
decision to pull the plug on your comment section. I personally wanted to
register and share some of my thoughts but was dismayed by the nature of some
of the commentary. I want to thank you for your interest in Syria.

Josh - this is a good move on your part.

Hi Joshua

It is very bad to hear that, but what can you do?

Hey Josh,

Not a shocker by any means but quiet disappointing. I am not sure how's your Arabic but i feel your action is "ya tokho ya kseir mekho" which is basically switching from one extreme to the other. I know like anyone what a mess the comment section was and god knows i had my share of curses from these guys. But i had advised you several times to allow only registered persons to comment as to avoid anons spamming the blog. Some of the abusers have (like me) become addicted to your site and will probably mind their manners eventually if they know they would be punished for any abuse.

Anyways i urge you to reconsider and listen to my advise. I know it would be hard to come back on you decision soon but maybe in the mid-term you can reconsider re-evaluate. Your blog is what got me blogging and i saw the number of comments in your site increase exponentially ever since. i also noticed that you had more viewers than any other mid-eastern blog i have visited.

Un ouf de soulagement; vraiment Josh si ces gens doivent prendre le pouvoir j'aime encore mieux les actuels.


I wanted to congratulate you on the painful decision to take out the comments section from

I know that you had it there with intention of promoting dialogue, but it was highjacked, as we have said numerous times in our diner discussions.

Its better this way, I believe.

Hello Professor Landis.

I am sorry you have closed down the comment section.

Very sorry to read this Joshua, but totally understandable. I belatedly subscribed to the Comment Section but can see already what you suffered as well as what the Section could have offered.
If there's anyway that a different discussion group can be set up - even just if it's a known group of people simply cc-ing each other - please count me in.

Your site is still fantastic, and please pass on my respect to Joe Pace if you get the chance.

A sad fact, Josh , but for the better. Continue with
the exellent reporting, hope to see you in Damascus
next spring.

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