Don’t be like Slog

Chuck Taylor of Crosscut:

When we launched Crosscut, my fantasy was to require full, real names of commenters. Our goal is to run a site where ideas were fair game but individuals are not, where civility would be imposed by the power of shame. We didn’t want this to turn into the island in Lord of the Flies or, worse, Slog.

Yeah, because who wants to be like SLOG, what with their huge traffic and what not?

I was once in the audience for one of those “New Media: What Does It All Mean?” things at the downtown library. Michael Hood asked the panel, “what are you doing to reach out to young readers?”

The guy from the Times was very funny: he admitted that anything the Times does to woo young folks comes off as “uncool.” Josh Feit mentioned that The Stranger does really well in this area. Chuck Taylor’s answer was, basically, “we don’t think we have to.”

I think that’s why Ted Van Dyk is Crosscut’s sex advice columnist…


  1. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Use real names? Be civil? Talk about ideas? What the hell is this, a GOP disinformation campaign?

  2. 3


    Young people don’t vote, and young people don’t read. It’s a waste of time to reach out to them. And if they do pick up some free paper, it’s only to find what bands are coming to town.

  3. 5

    All Facts Support My Positions spews:

    Only the young people that don’t want to go fight in Iran will vote….

  4. 6

    Tam spews:

    The seattle times had absolutely no mention of John McCains tax default on his San Diego home. The times has printed plenty of stories and/or editorials of Edwards $400 haircut and Obama’s flag pin, but McCains tax evasion is not worth mentioning? Nothing on the morning news shows, (King 5 and Northwest Cable News) although when Al Gore got a speeding ticket driving threw Oregon a while back, that story was played over and over and over.

  5. 7


    Heh. Nice job with that final graf, Will. I got a good chuckle out of it.

    Since I read Crosscut only when someone posts a link to their latest inanity (and not even all of those), I assume that Ted’s sex advice could be summarized fairly easily:


  6. 8

    michael spews:

    @6 An elderly aunt lives in the house and forgot to pay/forward on the bill. They only owed 6-7K. Normally I’d say there’s no story here, but you gotta vote Cindy McCain’s response to the press:

    “When you’re poor, it can be hard to pay the bills. When you’re rich, it’s hard to keep track of all the bills that need paying.”‘.html

  7. 10

    exelizabeth spews:

    I’ve actually stopped reading Slog because of the commenters. And I’ve even been a guest Slogger for them, so someone there has appreciated what I have to contribute. But now I don’t contribute, because I got tired of the tone of the comments.

    It’s worth thinking about your comment policy. Creating a hostile environment or a highly unmoderated one drowns out a lot of voices. Some of those people who “Just can’t take the heat” (i.e. don’t like subjecting themselves to hateful vitriol) might have something worthwhile to say. My favorite sites, the ones that I keep coming back to, have comment policies that do keep things civil.

    Heck, my readership of HA has dropped off largely for this reason. And whatever, your comment policy is up to you. It doesn’t have to please me. But hostile comment boards can drive off people who you might want contributing.

  8. 11

    Dan Savage spews:

    We’re sorry to lose you, Exelizabeth. But you can read Slog without diving into the comments, if you like. And there are some changes coming to Slog. They’re not going to make Slog into the Clenched Ass Cheek Civil Discourse Society, but they’ll provide incentives for some to ratchet it down a notch or two.

  9. 12

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Does that mean you’re not going to let Jen Graves post inanities about the arts anymore? Please, make it stop!

  10. 13

    WenG spews:

    “Where civility would be imposed by the power of shame.”

    How does Chuck Taylor keep trolls like puddy in check?

    I like the way the Sybermoms parenting board encourages civility: troll corral. Puddy’s spew would land him in manwhore Siberia. He’d be restricted to one thread with other sociopaths and manwhores until he learned his lesson.

    Manwhores need boundaries.