Thanks to our tech team. And if you click on the title bar of this item -- I promise, this is the last time I'll ask -- you'll see a comment I put on Ta-Nehisi Coates' site trying to explain what has happened to the "personal" pages, and why. That is all.
From a comment on this current discussion at TNC's site:
This is TNC's neighbor, Jim Fallows, weighing in with two purposes.
The first is to admire the really dedicated and thoughtful community of readers, thinkers, contributors, occasional complainers, and overall online version of "civil society" that Ta-Nehisi has attracted and maintained here. It's a very important part of this site -- "this" meaning both TNC's blog and the Atlantic's broader presence -- and the recent change in web environment creates a moment to emphasize that.
How can I say that I admire this community, and still decline to have comments on my own site? The reason is an extension of my admiration for TNC's pruning, guidance, and maintenance of the community. I know from long web experience that, without careful and timely intervention, even the most stimulating commenter community will (almost) inevitably be disrupted by a vocal and disturbing minority of trolls, bullies, haters, etc. I know myself well enough to be absolutely sure that I cannot commit the time to tend such a community. (After all, nothing involving the web is theoretically any part of my real job at the Atlantic. I am very glad to have this outlet, but my day job is writing for, you know, the "magazine.") There are times when I may be on the road for a week and away from a computer. My position is like that of a childless person who admires attentive parents -- and observes them carefully enough to know that he's not well situated for that responsibility.* So keep it up; I admire all of you; but I know I can't create my own version of this community.
My second reason is to underscore what Ta-Nehisi says about this redesign, for better and worse. I have now literally spent the majority of my years on Earth as an employee of the Atlantic, and I could not be more loyal to the magazine, its heritage and prospects, my colleagues, and whatever it takes to keep this enterprise going. Therefore it's unusual for me to say in public that I think we've put a foot wrong. I do think that -- as explained at my neighboring site -- but I want to be entirely clear about the underlying reasons. No one at this company has had anything in mind except finding a way to maintain our standards of journalism in circumstances that always present new problems and new opportunities. This was an honest effort by a well-meaning and mutually supportive group of people to modernize the site, make the presentation of topics and themes more coherent, and also of course to make it more viable as a business. Everyone has quickly recognized that in the process we've created new problems for ourselves. The idea was just to make things better, not to screw up anything that worked. The point may seem obvious, but I wanted to say that I agree with TNC that this should be understood as a well-intentioned miscalculation rather than anything else.
With this, I return to my normal location -- which in practice means working on a "real" article for the next few days, while the look and feel of the blog pages are restored. Thanks for letting me visit.
* In real life, I'm someone who has felt fortunate to be married to the same woman since age 21 and to have two wonderful sons and, now, two wonderful daughters-in-law. I may not be "ready" for the responsibility of parenthood, but I've enjoyed the blessings of it!
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