As I’ve written before, the purpose of this blog is naval gazing, not navel gazing, so I always feel funny about making posts about CAAFlog. Nevertheless, in light of the fairly recent overhauls of our comment policy, I thought it would be appropriate to take a moment to assess how things are going.
As our regular readers may recall, until fairly recently, we allowed open comments with no moderation, with the exception of attempting to block posts by three specific commenters who had been repeatedly over-the-top inappropriate in previous comments. Due to repeated scurrilous anonymous drive-by comments, we shifted very briefly to a period where comments could be posted only under the commenter’s actual name. After my CAAFlog colleagues beat me into submission, we adopted our current policy of allowing comments to be made under the individual’s actual name or a “registered pseudonym.”
Two of the effects of the changed policy were anticipated. First, in the wake of the new policy, comments dropped off sharply. The number of comments seems to have increased somewhat, though to nowhere near the volume during the period when comments were almost entirely unregulated. Second, the ratio of civil to uncivil posts has improved markedly since the new policy was put in place. What surprises me is that our other metrics appear to be basically unchanged. We’re getting about the same number of hits, unique readers, and page views that we got before the change in policy. In fact, this last Wednesday, we had a huge spike in readership, which I assume resulted from interest in the Kabul Klipper’s analysis of CAAF’s Prather opinion and the comments to that analysis. So it’s gratifying to see that our readers seem to think our site still has something to offer even with the reduced flow of comments.
Even before the recent comment brouhaha, I had been considering retiring from blogging. But I’ve decided that with several major military justice cases on the horizon — including the Hasan and Manning courts-martial — I’d like to continue for the time being. So after the hiatus that I mentioned in today’s This Week in Military Justice, I’ll be tickling the keyboard once again. As always, I’m sincerely grateful to those who spend a precious finite resource — time — reading what I have to write.