One cardinal rule on the Web (if there is such a thing) is the more eyeballs the better. Never turn away a reader, the logic runs, because in the cruelly Darwinian game of online publishing, who can afford to turn down traffic?
On Monday, Melinda Henneberger of Politics Daily did just that. Put off by ghoulishly mean-spirited (if somewhat typical) comments on a journalist's obituary, Henneberger made a quixotic stand on principle, telling readers that if they want to be churlish, they can take their eyeballs elsewhere:
To readers who think it is their God-given right to throw rocks on our site, under the cowardly cover of anonymity, think again; this is a business, and some modicum of civility is our version of "no shirt, no shoes, no service.'' ... To those who are constantly threatening to take their clicks and go elsewhere when their more pungent, "Pls. die soon" comments are deleted, I say: Promises, promises. This is really not the site for you.
Many pundits complain about "trolls"--chronically nasty commenters--but instead of simply griping or descending to their level, Henneberger not only tells them to take a hike, but tries to counteract the nastiness with an intelligent, measured piece of prose.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.