Facebook users unleash comments on this blog – positive and (yikes) negative

facebookWhen I began Yael on the Trail nine weeks ago, I made it easy to comment on the blog posts. That was a mistake.

The blog quickly was flamed with spam and anonymous comments. I decided to require users to sign in before commenting, which stopped the spam.

These days I get a couple of hundred to several thousand clicks on blog posts. That’s very gratifying. But very few comments show up.

Where are people going to react to the posts, debate them with each other (usually politely but not always) and to point fingers at my opinions?

On Facebook.

(Special noteI created a new Facebook “Page” account over  the weekend so an unlimited number of people can “like” it automatically and I don’t have to “friend” anyone anymore. My personal page, which will disappear in two weeks, had reached Facebook’s 5,000 “friend” limit.)

— When I called some of Donald Trump’s voters “stupid” over  the weekend,  it drew more than 100 comments, including plenty of criticism.

Example: “I didn’t vote for Trump and I am completely repulsed by everything he is and stands for. BUT, I very definitely do NOT think it is helpful to continue name calling and mud slinging.”

— A post pointing out Gov. Sam Brownback’s hypocrisy about hiking taxes on middle-class Kansans drew almost three dozen comments.

My favorite: “I’m a pacifist, but I keep thinking about pitchforks and torches.”

— My post on huge declines in Kansas City’s streetcar service drew more than 50 responses.

Comments such as this one were part of the back-and-forth that’s actually fun to see on Facebook: “Streetcar “Novelty” is starting to wear off. I think it’s good for downtown dwellers. Viability would rise if it were expanded to UMKC with extension arms to Westport and Plaza areas. Then the city would really have something to enable it to compete with JoCo.”

There are plenty of other examples, but here’s my point:

As you read Yael on the Trail, please post any comment you want on the blog.

However, also please feel free to join the debate on Facebook. That’s where people are more unlikely to be anonymous. Serious discussions have a better, though not perfect, chance of happening.

Sometimes the best part of a Yael on the Trail blog post is in the Facebook comments. And that’s how I like it.

As always, thanks for reading — and for commenting.

3 Thoughts.

  1. I really appreciate your efforts to practice real journalism in this hideous fog of fake news and flexible truth. Sorting trolls from worthy counter points is challenging but you are up to the task.

    Please keep helping us restore sanity to Kansas. Let’s do lunch.

  2. The KC STAR is just another reich wing rag now that you and others are gone.
    I wrote a letter to the editor a couple of weeks ago that was not put into the paper, but a guy named Dirk Donovan emailed me and said that the editorial page would have a new editor and up and running in a week…..so far…nothing.
    Sure do miss you at the paper bud.

  3. Good on you for requiring sign-in to comment. Apart from the general insanity of the time, I’m of the opinion that one of the biggest problems we face is the endless demonization of the “other side,” particularly on anonymous, safe-at-a-distance, consequence-free platforms like Facebook. People are free not only to retreat into comfy epistemic bubbles but spew venom at strangers in volumes they wouldn’t care consider if faced with the possibility of an in-person knuckle sandwich. As long as millions of Americans continue to blindly support policies and officials largely because they want to make “those people” suffer…as long as we live in armed ideological camps…we’re sunk. Kudos for carving out one more tiny corner of civility in the bar brawl that is the Intarwebs.

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