As we enter 2022, we are introducing a new comment policy on Live and Let’s Fly that we hope we will encourage robust but respectful discussion.
Live and Let’s Fly continues to grow and so does the comments section…sometimes much to our chagrin. While many read this blog every month, we have a small core (you know who you are) of regular readers who bring us great delight in expressing their opinion on just about anything we write about.
I am deeply grateful for that and appreciate not only your interest, but your passion and your insight. Many thanks for taking the time to comment and for holding us accountable when warranted. This dialogue has helped to shape my viewpoints, reconsider positions, and try to be a more thoughtful writer.
So what’s the problem? In many ways, travel is inherently political and the pandemic and our response to it have created a series of explosive posts that bring out even more explosive opinions.
One solution would be to avoid these posts, but that’s not the editorial direction we prefer to take Live and Let’s Fly in. In almost every case, when I write about a controversial topic or editorialize myself, it is not to create a war in the comments section that will juice up page views but to explore a topic I deem worth exploring. But I do love a good discussion and can point to so many fascinating discussions we’ve had on this blog over the years that bring a smile to my face.
There has been a lot more clickbait on the blog since the pandemic started, but that’s because there have been many more incidents of drunk and disorderly conduct on airplanes in the news, a byproduct of our new era of limited service onboard and mask mandates. There have also been a lot of discussions on vaccines and vaccine mandates because they so directly impact travel and because I am interested in any issue that presents a nexus of law, politics, and travel.
It is those sorts of posts that have drawn the most comments and often resulted in screaming matches or a dueling war of hyperpartisan links that have made many label the comments section on Live and Let’s Fly a cesspool. Sadly, this has led to the exodus of several longtime readers and commenters.
New Comment Policy
There is no right to “free speech” on a privately-owned blog, so the issue comes down to what kind of environment do we want to encourage on Live and Let’s Fly.
I’m not really a bright line guy, which makes laying down strict rules quite unappealing. Nevertheless, here are some thoughts:
- The goal is not to ban anyone. I believe in robust discussion and while no one enjoys the right to comment here, I am far less fearful of “misinformation” and delusional comments than other travel blogs.
- While bigotry, racism, and intolerance has shown up in numerous comments, I believe we are all mature enough (or should strive to be mature enough) to recognize those comments for what they are rather than insist they should be silenced.
- There is a difference, however, in expressing viewpoints most might consider offensive and crossing a line into gratuitous insults that serve no purpose other than to demean others.
- We all (sometimes myself included) must learn to attack the issue, not the poster – treat others with respect, even if you detest their opinion, and do not attack an idea by attacking a person.
- Comments should not be used to launch personal attacks: the harsh words we’ve seen levied between readers are not helpful toward promoting greater dialogue.
- Links have the capacity to be a great tool to inform and to rebut, but too often they are been posted without context.
So what is changing?
- Personal attacks will be deleted and those who launch personal attacks will be banned
- use your best judgment – if you are unsure if a comment crosses the line, you should probably rephrase your comment
- Links will be no longer be permitted
- please develop your opinion in narrative form rather than linking to websites
- Consecutive comments are not allowed
- if you add a comment, please wait for someone else to respond before adding another one
- consecutive comments are allowed to correct a spelling mistake or in order to directly clarify a previous post
Those are three small changes that will shortly go into effect which should again make the comments section on Live and Let’s Fly a more inviting place while also still encouraging a robust discussion. We are not shutting anyone down: you are all still free to voice your opinion.
As has always been the case:
- Profane, pornographic, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate comments are banned
- Abusive, harassing, or threatening comments are banned
- Spam and commercial links are banned
You may have noticed that when you post a comment on Live and Let’s Fly, it does not appear instantly. That is by design. When you post a comment for the first time (using a new email address), it will automatically go in a queue for moderation. We do our best to approve these comments quickly, but sometimes there is a delay: please don’t take it personally.
Going forward (it will take a few days to fully implement), any comment with a link will be automatically deleted. Historic comments (there are over 120,000 of them) will not be altered.
When you cross a line, whether we warn you or ban you will be at our sole discretion. You are free to appeal via the contact form above, but may not receive a response.
We are making a small change to the Live and Let’s Fly comment policy in order to promote a better discussion in 2022. There is room for everyone at the table here, but only if you show respect to others, no matter how much you disagree with them.
Please let us know your thoughts on our new comments policy below, particularly on our decision to prohibit external links in the comment sections. Once again, we thank all of you for commenting and look forward to a great discussion throughout the new year.