This just in from Time.com editor Josh Tyrangiel:
Dear Swampland readers and commenters,
We hear you.
For 9 months we’ve let Swampland’s comments sections unspool with the libertarian fervor of a John Stuart Mill dream-sequence. But after noticing that in recent weeks our most loyal readers have grown frustrated with troll incursions ruining otherwise intelligent and pertinent debates, we’ve decided to make Swampland a register-to-comment site, starting a few days from now.
To briefly explain how we got here, when we launched Swampland it was our firm belief that the comments section should be as open as possible for as long as possible. Not just because this is a blog about politics (which, you know, is supposed to promote old fashioned liberties like freedom of speech) but also, frankly, because we know many of you think of Time as the red-bordered hood ornament on the MSM
16-wheeler;18-wheeler;* we didn’t want the blogosphere to think we were chicken by establishing any barriers to commenting. Well, Swampland has proven enough of a success that we’ve moved beyond our insecure phase.
Now we want to ensure the best experience for our readers. So we’re working up a simple, one-time only registration system that, we hope, will be just enough of a bother to deter those who believe comments MUST be used to spread the word that Joe Klein apparently wrote a novel anonymously, but painless enough so that the decent folk can keep on reminding Joe how wrong they think he was on Iraq. The idea is not to ruin the fun, but to enhance it. We’re not asking anyone to play nice (cough, cough, p_lukasiak), just creating a way that makes it easier for us to ban people who insist on playing crazy or obscene.
Going forward, we’ll examine other ways of allowing the community to police the blog, about which… more later. We’ll also keep a close eye on how the new system affects the volume and quality of comments, and make adjustments if need be to ensure things stay as lively as ever.
Any way, that’s far too much from me. Please, back to arguing with each other.
*Even editors need editors. Who knew? Good catch, commenter Nash.–KT