Commenters, We Have A Problem

I'm not gonna mince words: There's been an increase in the number of unnecessary threadjacks from readers who feel compelled to share their psychodramas with the world in the comment threads of (unrelated) posts.

Some of y'all need to stop. This blog is not a messageboard. (As for the repeated calls for "open threads so we can talk about what we want to talk about"? The short answer is "no".) And by the way, getting tough on threadjacks is for our benefit and yours: readers are giving out extremely personal information that should not be posted on any website. Take the commenter who recently announced that she was a) having a surgical procedure b) what day said procedure was taking place, and c) where the procedure was taking place. There are crazy, mean-spirited people out there who have no qualms about doing another person harm - even via the internet - and the naivete in the comment threads with regards to this reality is stunning and disturbing. It is important to remember that the commenters on Jezebel are a tiny (albeit vocal) percentage of our entire readership, and we (and you) have no idea who is reading the site on any given day. It pains me to say it, but this is not a "safe space" or a bubble immune to the harsh realities of the outside world. That said, if you have an anecdote to share about, say, the demise of a recent romance, that's fine; just do it in the thread of a post that is relevant to your personal story.

For those who feel compelled to share intimate and irrelevant (to the post at hand) dramas with the rest of the readership, I have three suggestions:

1. Start your own blog and share the address with your friends, virtual or otherwise.

2. Private message via your commenter account.

3. Therapy. (I kid, but seriously, I did it for twelve years. It's good stuff.)

Threadjacking is verboten for another reason: It directs attention away from posts and renders much or all of an editor's work moot by shifting the conversation completely. If you are tempted to type the words "Off topic, but…" you shouldn't be writing the comment at all. It's disrespectful to both editors and other readers.

We're going to be vigilant about this. Meaning: Disemvoweling and/or complete deletion of the original comment and replies to it. I really do not enjoy being a hardass about this but recent events have left me little choice in terms of getting this (previously outlined) message across.

Earlier: The Girl's Guide To Commenting On Jezebel
The Girl's Guide To Commenting On Jezebel: Version 1.2