Some of you have noticed that all the comments made by "BluTx" - a Palin cheerleader - have been replaced by the text "removed by author." A number of you have inquired as to where they went, and one reader even went so far as to email me and ask whether Audrey or I had scrubbed the site of BlueTx's comments. To her credit, this reader did offer an apology in advance if she'd made the assumption in error.
The following is my reply:
Your apology is accepted, as you are in error.
We did not remove the comments. When we switched over to requiring everyone to have a Google ID, the one drawback was that any author could go in and remove their comments if they wanted. Some people even pointed that out and worried that someone could - essentially - take their ball and go home in the middle of a debate by removing their side of the argument.
But it was a risk we took due to a string of anonymous comments that we were so numerous and confusing (it's hard to know who you're talking to when they won't sign their name) after getting repeated calls from readers to do something.
Neither Audrey nor I removed BluTx's comments. "Removed by author" means just that, and I don't know or care why BlueTx chose to do what he/she did. I did post a moderation message this morning noting that BlueTx has indeed removed her comments, but noted that we would not be discussing the decision on the blog since our focus is Sarah Palin and not other commenters.
There are constant and consistent efforts to derail the focus of this blog - through either wildly off-topic comments, red-herring issues, submission of topics we've already deemed off-limits, and - in this case it appears - a manufactured issue.
It's our policy to keep the blog conversation running smoothly, which means reading each comment individually, checking links and making sure overly redundant or prohibited material does not get through.
As I've pointed out before, our decisions aren't going to make everyone happy, but that's not the primary goal so we don't try. The primary goal is to run a thoughtful blog that explores the mystery of Sarah Palin's fifth pregnancy in a concise, intelligent way. I believe we are doing that, which is why our readership continues to flourish and also while we continue to attract and keep intelligent, civil commentators.
Thanks again for your suggestions and support. I hope I've addressed your concerns adequately.
Some people here have been asking about how many hits Audrey gets and how many are from Wasilla, etc.
Not to speak in her stead, but knowing her personally I can tell you it's not Audrey's style to crow about how much traffic this site gets. I can only tell you that the Feedjit stats are there for everyone to see at the bottom of the page.
We don't really keep up with what's coming in from where, as Audrey and Co. are too busy compiling information and moderating the blog to watch the stats.
Also, some of you have sent in links via the comments section to sites that either have either sketchy/libelous/clearly unvetted information on SP or that offer her home address and personal contact info. It's against our blog policy to associate ourselves with such sites, even through approval of comments that link to them.
The more salacious, personal stuff can obviously be found online if you wish to seek it out, but we prefer not to direct people to it ourselves.
Again, thanks for your understanding.