Reading Every Comment

Since the start of AVC, I have read every comment left here. It takes a lot of time and effort to do that, but I think it has been critical to building the kind of community we have here.

It does not scale. Paul Graham advocates doing things that don't scale at the start. He's right. If I had not engaged so deeply in the comments, I don't think this community would have evolved into what it is.

Continuing to read every comment at scale has been very taxing to me personally. Here is what the top of my priority inbox looks like this morning:

Disqus emails

Today is a good day. Only ~100 comments to read to get to a non-comment email. Some days that number is 500. And a lot of those comments are all of you talking to each other. Which I love to see but don't need to moderate.

The truth is I've been skimming through the comments more and more instead of really reading them. How else can you get through 500 comments in the morning?

So I am going to change my tune on this one. I will continue to engage in the comments and read as many as I can, but I am no longer going to attempt to read every single one of them.

This community is so engaged and active now that it can take on the job of moderating the conversation itself. And William and Shana have done a great job of helping me to identify problematic comments, commenters, and spam. They have taken a lot of the moderation load off of me to be honest.

And all of you can help moderate as well. If you hover the mouse over the upper right area of a comment, you will see a flag emerge (see below) and if you click on that flag, you can identify a comment as potentially problematic and the moderators (me, William, and Shana) can take a look at it.

Comment flagging

I would encourage all of you to do that when you see a truly problematic comment since I will be not be looking at every comment every day.

If the community is going to help moderate, then I should be clear about what is acceptable here and what is not.

1) we don't tolerate comment spam. if someone or something (a bot) is posting a link for click-thru or SEO value and nothing more, that is spam and we take it down. 

2) we don't tolerate hate speech or porn

3) we don't like abusive comments, particularly when they are targeted at members of the community. if they are aimed at me, we let them stand. i can take the heat.

4) if it's in the grey area, we let it stand. i believe that muting people, even if they are hard to deal with, is a bad idea. so there is a strong bias to leaving every comment up, as much as we possibly can.

That's it.

My hope is that by taking away the burden of reading every comment, I can spend more time engaging with the best discussions here and that will lead to more of me in the comments and less of me looking at the comments. 

The comments here at AVC are the best thing about this blog. If you don't read past the end of the post, you are doing yourself a big disservice. I get my best ideas, feedback, and inspiration from this community and you can too.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Richard

    Time for a Random number generator

    1. William Mougayar

      45967432534423@#$}#&*@!@~ bug on line 5

  2. William Mougayar

    But Fred, – in honesty, you do a good job at honing in like a hawk on the best comments already. When I’m busy, I follow who you replied to, and they are typically the more interesting comments out there.The Disqus Dashboard is also very helpful in 2 aspects: a) focusing on the replies to you, so you can respond to those first, b) honing in on comments from friends you’re following.Commenting and reading comments is a multi-location thing:- on the site itself- in the email notifications- in the Disqus dashboard- from the Disqus digest- the Greentile engagement pageThat’s the reality. Either you like it or you don’t. For me, it’s a drug, and a source of energy and inspiration for connecting with the smart people.

    1. ShanaC


      1. William Mougayar

        Falicon’s Disqus commenter breakdown is greentile. Not sure if it’s a code name or what.

        1. falicon

          It’s just a domain I’ve owned forever (and used at various times for various things [none of which caught on – hence the reuse])…the Disqus commenter breakdown thing was not a planned project, but really just a tool to test something else I was working on…After I built the code, it seemed useful enough that others might get some value out of it, so I picked from my pre-existing set of domains as to where to host it (out of all my domains, I thought the idea of ’tiles’ mapped the closest to ‘comments’ and how this tool worked).I actually name a lot of my hacks this was a domain, related to an idea I never ended up doing any work on, and had sitting around for a couple years. Out of my list, it mapped the best to the idea of “always have a game to play” and seemed like it would work well enough for the hackathon was orig. a Twitter prediction game (back when the Twitter API was brand new)…it seemed like it mapped the best of my set to the idea of a search was orig. a system to monitor and auto-respond to keywords passing through your twitter stream (personalized promoted tweets)…I had it all built and was ready to release it at Chirp (anyone remember that conference?)…then while at Chirp Twitter announced their own ad thing (and updated the TOS to say you can’t build an ad system on top of their stuff)…so I nixed that and then when I started building a discovery engine, it seemed to fit the best…and then even later, when I wanted to have a system to monitor certain systems for keywords and actions, it seemed to fit the best again (which is what it’s current version is)…I could go on and on (prob. part of why @fredwilson:disqus says I’m too unfocused — I have a big history of hacks in my ever growing codebase as I explore various ideas, questions, and look to solve many of my own small scale problems)…

          1. William Mougayar

            Wow. thanks for the backgrounder. I second Fred’s motion πŸ™‚

          2. falicon

            My greatest strengths, and all my greatest opportunities, all come from that great weakness…actually my biggest daily regret is that I can’t do more and explore even more random ideas…It prob. puts a cap on the success I’ll personally find (though we’ll only really know via hindsight)…but I think it’s going to pay off big for my kids who I hope will take the environment I’m raising them in to a whole new level…and if nothing else, it’s provided me with an awesome day-to-day quality of life so far. πŸ™‚

          3. William Mougayar

            You seem to do what you enjoy the most, and that is a great thing. But if you’d like to turn your strengths into a business, I think you might consider a business partner. They might have to shoot you every once in a while, but you will both survive πŸ™‚

          4. falicon

            I’ve been searching for the right one for about 15 years…and still/always searching (I have insanely high standards/expectations and they get higher and harder each year as I grow and do more myself).About two years ago I was on the fence and really struggling with what to do about this actually (I felt like it really was holding me back — even though I’ve already built a couple of profitable small companies on my own in the past)…but over the last year or so, I’ve decided no one is likely to do it any better than I can/will do it myself anyway (or at least can’t/won’t care as deeply about the the things I care deeply about)…That is why I’ve approached the coach wizard concept for the past 6+ months (since Jan. I’ve really only worked on 3 things, one is my CTO day-gig that pays the bills, one is a side project with/for my kids, and everything else has been around the coach wizard concept) with the intent that I’m the CEO and not just a developer/hacker.Also a lot of my projects are new to users, but are really just bits of code that I wrote a long time ago and just sort of ‘run on their own’…this often gives the appearance that I’m currently doing a lot more than I actually am (and I don’t usually do a lot to deter or adjust that public impression) πŸ˜‰

          5. William Mougayar

            We keep threatening to speak. Let’s do it this week –> email.

          6. falicon


          7. andyidsinga

            ummm – forget @wmoug:disqus – we need to speak! πŸ˜‰

          8. falicon

            I am an equal opportunity listener – my ears are always open! πŸ˜‰

          9. LE

            I have insanely high standards/expectationsIt’s hard for detail oriented people to let go.Which is why it’s easy for people who are not detail oriented to throw shit at the fan and take their chances.Because they don’t think of the “what if’s” and the downside they only think of the upside. They don’t know enough to even know what to be scared of. And many times of course it works out for them. But I have heard so many stories of those people making the wrong choice and things not working out.Of course if you knew someone for all these years personally it would be possible to join in partnership because you would be more secure about the eventual outcome. But not with someone who you don’t know unless you are willing to gamble. And that’s hard to do when you have kids and a family to support. (And assumes your wife would even go along with it).I’m not in favor of “the gamble” if your intuition is more negative than positive as you say “About two years ago I was on the fence”.Others of course will shout out “go for it!” all in unison but will not be willing to sacrifice one iota to help you out in any meaningful way if the decision they are encouraging you to do is wrong.

          10. LE

            that great weakness…actually my biggest daily regret is that I can’t do more and explore even more random ideas…It prob. puts a cap on the success Unfortunate that people have to be almost apologetic about being curious and being on a never ending quest to satisfy multiple interests. And that popular culture doesn’t really reward or highlight that. (Sometimes they actually make fun of it.) It has no halo.Society and social groups, my observation has been, tends to reward people who are focused on a singular goal and manage to achieve that goal. There are of course no reliable sources of information on all the people who have tried that approach and have failed. But by definition of what people view as success most must have failed because it’s a pyramid. It’s great of course if you get to be pope.I think what people don’t realize is that being the way you say you are (I am the same way), well, it allows you to be a survivor in the long run where others, when they lose their job or aren’t in favor anymore, will flounder and fail. Because they know and understand one marketable thing. And have little ability to learn or adapt to any change.Because they can only do one thing very well and have no other skills to rely on or knowledge or curiosity to figure anything else out. And they require an extensive support system to get anything done.

          11. falicon

            So far the only real side effect my approach seems to have is that I’m less likely to land seed investment than an unknown and unproven player.The reality is that, because I have lots of little-to-medium wins (and lots of “didn’t works”)…but no huge wins…I have to build more, sustained, traction than the average person before I’ll be able to get outside money involved.It would be great to land enough money to focus on my own thing full time (and hire 2-3 people to also jump in)…and I’m sure it would speed things up by a magnitude of years for me…but I’m not wasting time, energy, or resources beating my head against that wall (no matter how many people from the outside tell me it should be easy for me to raise money — because my experience proves that it is not).Instead I just go ahead and build the things I need, I want, and especially the things that my customers and users want…and really I only worry about what they say/think (my customers and users) and not about raising money or positioning a project so it can raise money.

          12. panterosa,

            Where to reply in this thread is the question from a fellow boil the ocean type. One lobster pot, or pool, or bay, at a time. I do hope we meet soon because we have some same nemeses from same issues.

  3. Tom Labus

    Long time coming!It’s a full time job these days.Good move

  4. Cam MacRae

    @falicon’s greentile breakdown might function as a decent heuristic approach to lessening the load. No doubt he’ll have a direct feed hitting your inbox by breakfast.

    1. falicon

      +100 – I built it to test some gawk stuff, but this use-case is specifically how I use it now too πŸ™‚

  5. Anne Libby

    Fred, this is great, +1000. I often sense that your desire to be as open as possible creates a bit of stress. If that’s true, I hope that this boundary helps.

  6. Francois Royer Mireault

    I’d enjoy reading a bi-weekly post about top discussions on the blog. I feel I miss out on a lot.

    1. William Mougayar

      You can sort the comment thread by Best, and hone in on that. Sometimes what might be interesting to some, is not to others. Better is to dive in and pick where you’d like to engage, instead of having someone else point it to you, no?

      1. Francois Royer Mireault

        Agreed. You convinced me to start using Disqs for real. I always saw it as a commenting tool but I need to use it like Twitter.

        1. William Mougayar

          Yup. There is value in following the comment stream of people you’re interested in. It symbolizes their real engagement.

  7. pointsnfigures

    Love your rules. The reason I do is too many times we try to make hard and fast rules that clearly delineate lines. But, in this case, the community decides. It’s a free market. Free transparent markets decide better than centrally planned markets. They are more efficient, and grow.

  8. David Semeria

    It’s great being above the fold, but not so great being an example of a flaggable comment πŸ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      yeah, i thought about that but i figured you and everyone else would realize it was not a flaggable comment, but just a demonstration

      1. David Semeria

        I was joking Fred!

        1. fredwilson

          great πŸ™‚

    2. John Revay

      I thought the same thing – is Fred pointing out a comment that should be flagged…then when I went back to read it – I concluded “nothing there” …”There is no such thing as bad publicity”

    3. andyidsinga

      david – when I saw you in there I was all : ohhhh david is so hellbanned!

      1. David Semeria

        Badge of honor!

    4. Rohan

      I dutifully flagged it, David.Just following instructions…. πŸ˜‰

    5. Techman


  9. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Good grief, I don’t know how you’ve done it. If you’d like more moderators, I’d volunteer.

    1. fredwilson

      i would defer to william and shana to determine if we need more resources we may

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Roger that.

        1. William Mougayar

          there comes a point when having more people multiplies the complexities of management and communications. i think it’s currently light and right-sized, plus the disqus algorithms are getting better and better, so we rarely intervene in reality.

          1. Anne Libby

            William, do you think that “fewer people” is more important when managing a network (as opposed to managing in a hierarchy)?

          2. William Mougayar

            If adding people helps, all for it. If it doesn’t, then why do it.

          3. Anne Libby

            Curious, because I’m a leader of an alumnae network, and we’re trying to figure out where that tipping point is. So far, we erred once to the side of too many people. (Painful.)

          4. William Mougayar

            Ah, it depends. Like too many chefs in the kitchen will spoil the sauce type thing.

          5. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Roger that, too πŸ™‚

      2. ShanaC

        the only change I want is to have one person who is on west coast or asia time for when everyone else is asleep

  10. Thomas Mullooly

    We have learned a huge lesson following your blog – comments, and your interaction – are what make the community so sticky. To the point we are considering turning back on the comment section on our blog as well (turned off for a few years now). Reviewing comments can be a chore when you have as many as you get here Fred, but clearly your involvement has made it worthwhile (a nice problem to have πŸ™‚ right?). Thanks. Tom

    1. fredwilson

      if you do turn on comments, please consider using disqus.

  11. takingpitches

    Wisdom equals Addition by Subtraction

  12. AlexHammer

    You are the model of how to build a strong and vibrant community on your blog. Very impressively done.

  13. Elia Freedman

    I don’t now how you’ve done it, Fred. I’ve had a few really well read posts over the year with hundreds of comments. I lost entire days to the discussion, which was not good at all! I assume you get better at managing it when it is every day, but still. Congratulations in insisting in some sanity in your life.

    1. Anne Libby

      Even one day of this is a lot.

  14. Raymond Duke

    Seems everyone is on Disqus nowadays (including myself). I personally think they could do things a lot of things better, but who am I to judge? It’s obviously working out well for you.Congrats on the community you’ve built here. I’m probably the least technical person here – I’d rather stab my heart out with a spoon than learn how to program, but I still follow your blog and what you are doing because it’s great insight into the tech/startup culture; which IS something I am very much into.Communication is an infinite process. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t rest. You take part in it, or you ignore it. It doesn’t go away. Commenting is a way to strengthen something that’s already taking place.Anyway, keep up the good fight.RayP.S. Your moderators are awesome.

    1. ShanaC

      you’re welcome

    2. fredwilson

      Disqus has a few things close to launch that will address a bunch of issues people have with their serivce

  15. Semil Shah

    It would seem that “tagging” someone (like you) in the comment may be a more efficient way to transition and allow you to focus on those which mention you and/or are directed at you vs the other conversations.

    1. ShanaC

      if he hasn’t commented yet then you can tag him. Which is insane, but how disqus works

  16. ShanaC

    PSA:Guys – please be more aware of 3) we don’t like abusive comments, particularly when they are targeted at members of the community. if they are aimed at me, we let them stand. i can take the heat.We don’t take down comments in political discussions – but you should be aware that sometimes people do get very heated and can get nasty to each other very occasionally.I can’t stop people from having strong political opinions – but please remember there is a guy/gal on the other side.

    1. Mac

      Shana, while we’re on the subject, there’s a comment I’ve wanted to make for a couple of years. The two things I’ve seen that can tear families (or communities) apart are money and politics.Everyone who follows Fred can find political commentary from numerous blogs and news feeds. That’s not why I-and I suspect the same for many others-come to A VC. Because this community has such a diverse group of commenters, representing the full spectrum of political beliefs, the tread becomes unproductive I realize it’s Fred’s blog and he can throw open a discussion on any topic. But, I invest my time each day turning to A VC, and the A VC Community, for it’s strong suit: experience, entrepreneurship, venture capital, startups, planning, modeling, scaling, founders, management, compensation, team building, etc. (along with the occasional giving and gifting that strengthens this community)I’m not complaining. As a student at A VC, time spent on this blog is an investment that has proven invaluable.

  17. Mac

    Fred, have you thought about taking the weekend off entirely. I think most everyone would understand. You give a lot during the week to this community, your USV responsibilities and other interests. Also, thanks Shana and William.

    1. fredwilson

      I do take Friday and Saturday offIts the Jewish approach to taking the weekend off πŸ™‚

      1. falicon

        The only prob. with that approach is that football is on Sundays πŸ™‚

      2. Mac

        It’s kosher.

    2. LE

      I think most everyone would understand.I think you have to be careful when you make a judgement as far as what someone can or should do with their time.I’ve gotten things like that my entire life with people judging how I should spend my time. I never listened to them and in looking back they were wrong and I was right as things played out. Meaning I can tie specific benefits today to time that I spent working 15 years ago or 30 years ago. When people were whining and trying to tell me what I should do. (And of course they wouldn’t be there to clean up the mess if they were wrong I would be.)People think that you can modulate time spent as if you are working a job and all we are talking about is getting “a little less pay”. And then they throw in that stupid death bed “nobody ever on their deathbed said they should have worked more” cliche.Now you could say that someone like Fred has all the money he needs so he can “work a little less and it won’t matter”.But someone like Fred (note I said “like Fred”) has other motivations and things that are important in terms of self esteem or boat floating.Whatever is important to you (or to me) isn’t the same as to Fred or anyone else.

  18. Aaron Klein

    I’ve become convinced that, once something has traction, time allocation becomes the most important thing. Without exception.I have – at most – 60 solid hours a week to accomplish my mission. I have 200 hours a week of things I could do.It’s all about making the right combination of choices now.

    1. Anne Libby

      Yes. I’m re-reading the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People this weekend…

      1. Aaron Klein

        I should probably do that!

        1. Anne Libby

          This is my third time, and astonishes me how much has become part of how I think. And — bigger — how much more of this wisdom I could implement. #keeplearning

          1. Joseph Galarneau

            Reading “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” seems to be the eighth habit…

          2. Anne Libby

            The first time reading, I dismissed it. The second time, realized the impact it had had on me.A client teased that he’d have to hide it while reading on the train. That’s what e-readers are for!

          3. karen_e

            So true, Anne. Ditto *Getting Things Done* by David Allen. I re-read it and my husband moans. I say, “I know, I am such a loser!” just so he feels better. But really I feel like I am supersmart for re-reading it.

          4. Anne Libby

            Yes. I feel like I’ve absorbed David’s philosophy, and yet his system itself eludes my grasp…

          5. Rohan

            Agree. It’s a top book. πŸ™‚ A new learning every time..

  19. Martin De Saulles

    I’ve been reading AVC for 6 or 7 years and it’s been really helpful in helping me keep up-to-date with some of the teaching I do around information technologies and innovation. The comments have been a a key part of this. Only time I switch off is when the conversation turns to politics and/or guns – as a Brit some of those conversations feel like they’re coming from another world. This isn’t meant as a criticism, just an observation.

  20. PhilipSugar

    I really like Paul Graham’s concept of doing things that don’t scale at the start.This comes up so often, and it is peaceful to think that its ok, I know I am not going to do this forever, but its what I need to do now.You get so many negative nellies that will tell you we can’t do it this way it doesn’t scale, which is really an excuse to do nothing.

    1. awaldstein

      Me as well. The hardest thing is not finding a model for me it’s finding something that the market pulls to.

    2. Andrew Hoydich

      I agree and am grateful this concept has been validated. I think it’s very intuitive in a way but is easily mistaken for the wrong way to go about getting something done.I was doing a 1000 piece puzzle with my girlfriend yesterday and thought to myself -“If we sat here and tried to organize every single piece right now and build a concrete foundation to move forward from, we’d never get to the move forward part. We’d also probably end of finding flaws in our organization that would take away from the potential value in doing it.”So we just ended up organizing generally by and whether it was an edge piece. Not scalable at all but it allowed us to make solid progress that wasn’t totally hindered by the lack of organization while also being able to actively learn about the puzzle and provide information that could be used to take our organization to the next step.Overthinking simple things ftw

  21. JimHirshfield

    I am asked multiple times a week about best practices for comment management, and the #1 practice I tell bloggers and publishers to do is participation. No matter what commenting platform you use, you must get your authors and editors “speaking” with your readers (the “people formerly known as your audience”).It astounds me how many people think commenting threads are “a cesspool” of spam and trolls, or so vitriolic and racist, that it’s unmanageable. Many of these critics even use the cocktail party analogy (kind of like the pub analogy here at AVC) and yet they fail to point out that if you host a cocktail party, but hide away in your bedroom, how can you expect it to be a successful party?It only takes one person to ruin a party, but if everyone else at the party is engaged, feels welcomed, and feels like the host is listening and responding, then the problems can be addressed collectively.Disclosure: I work at DisqusI could write a whole blog series on the misperceptions and mistakes I see in commenting communities around the web. But I’ll end this uncharacteristically long comment by saying that one of the most obvious signals of publishing failure to me is when a publisher turns commenting off altogether. Giving up is not the answer, IMHO.

    1. LE

      Great thoughts (and obviously it would be a good idea to write the blog series if you have the time).I think it boils down to the same thing as always. People want results without putting in any effort.But that’s where the opportunity is because there is that obvious barrier to success. And most people want something that is quick and easy and no effort to just work.

      1. JimHirshfield

        β€œNothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”― Theodore RooseveltThat said, I don’t know that comment moderation and conversation management need to be hard. But as you point out, those not willing to put in the effort surely won’t end up satisfied with the results.

    2. Mark Gannon

      My local newspaper has embarked on a project to ban anonymity from their comment sections for just the reasons you list. Their approach to the comment sections has been from that of a traditional journalist and not that of a blogger curating a conversation. Its also a loss for Disqus, since they used a very old version and their proposed new one won’t be based on Disqus.

      1. JimHirshfield

        I’m well aware of the situation with the McClatchy newspapers. It is unfortunate turn of events and I’m sorry to see them leave Disqus. Beyond that, no comment. (pun intended)

    3. awaldstein

      Way rather have the comments off then the author not engage.I don’t comment where I don’t get the engagement which is honestly most.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Agreed. Feels like a huge waste of time, no relationship is possible – I don’t want the internet to be the same as a TV where you can mostly only consume content.

        1. JimHirshfield

          Agreed. But I’d still want to talk to you EVEN if Fred didn’t participate. You’re still interesting to me. πŸ˜‰

          1. Matt A. Myers

            But I don’t stay or check back regularly to a place unless there’s that interaction / reason to interact – so it’ll be tough to run into me! :)An author is usually a pretty solid catalyst to start the cycle of building community..And, thanks.. I feel the same about the majority of people on AVC.

        2. jason wright

          exactly. one way is no way.

      2. JimHirshfield

        I’m not so sure. You’re advocating silencing everyone because one person hasn’t acknowledged the conversation. Might be extreme.

        1. awaldstein

          Im advocating nothing Jim. This is simply my own method that I use for myself and my properties.

    4. Matt A. Myers

      Some places you can openly comment,and has an active community, though where your view will be downvoted to hell.Even if 60-70% of people would agree with you – it gets downvoted, and out of view for most people to never see. That’s why I don’t like downvotes.You can’t call them trolls either, it’s just that it’s not moderated nor does enough mutual respect exist to allow differing opinions to be seen.You’re right overall, though you don’t need trolls and spammers to make it an unsafe environment for sharing ideas and thoughts – and those who are most actively engaged in having their ideas heard and only their ideas heard – will be the most active to quickly bury different ideas, and will be the ones who maintain a silo-view. Not good for anyone.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Any system that allows a user to down vote a comment more than once, is broken. Not aware that that’s the case, just sayin’.Where there are groups of people down-voting other people’s comments, it’s usually not a conspiracy. But it does happen. We make it a little harder to do that by requiring users to log in to down vote. We understand that this is controversial to some, but it seems to be working.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Not sure if you remember when downvotes were announced – I was quite upset over it.Imagine how would you picture downvotes working if they were mirrored into reality.. it’s not very civil.

          1. JimHirshfield

            Downvotes in real life:- Not replying to someone’s email.- Not agreeing to meet for coffee.- Excusing oneself at a cocktail party.- Shaking one’s head in disagreement.- Flipping the bird to the obnoxious driver in the next lane.- Face-palm when someone says something stupid.These aren’t all civil, but why should they be?

          2. Matt A. Myers

            Do any of those add value to a conversation or help the other person learn?

          3. JimHirshfield

            Yes.Feedback isn’t always civil, but negative feedback is helpful in the way that all feedback helps people learn.

          4. Matt A. Myers

            I feel that’s a bit of a cop out. Negative feedback in the right context causes that person to become voiceless.The result will be those people not engaging in that community any longer.Is that what you want or think is most valuable?

          5. JimHirshfield

            I think you’re thinking in extremes. I agree with you as regards harsh, excessive criticism. But I don’t think a down vote is harsh or excessive.

          6. Techman

            I’m sorry, but if someone shoots the bird at me I’m going to shoot them back. I don’t roll like that.

          7. JimHirshfield

            No need to apologize. I was just giving analogies IRL to down votes. I didn’t mean to imply one has to grin and bear it.

          8. Techman

            Oh, okay. Also, RE to your rhetorical question, was there supposed to be tone in that comment? Seems like you typed that comment in a rather annoying fashion…

          9. JimHirshfield

            The tone was LOL self-effacing with a dash of “you know there’s no straight answer to that question”.

        2. Techman

          When will moderators be able to see when someone down votes? There is still trolls who get around your road blocks.

          1. JimHirshfield

            When’s the last time we told you or anyone when a particular feature was going to be released?(Rhetorical question)

    5. awaldstein

      Since you volunteered.Can you provide a short list of a few blogs outside of tech that have dynamic communities around them?

      1. Mark Gannon

        Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic regularly writes about difficult issues power and race and has an excellent community. He does aggressively use tools like banning, deleting comments, and closing the discussion in order to protect the community.

        1. awaldstein

          Thanks!Don’t know what ‘protect the community’ really means but I just read a few columns and was dragged in.Appreciate this.

          1. JimHirshfield

            Well, that’s the thing: not only does “protect the community” mean different things on different communities, but “community” itself varies from place to place.That’s the basis for Disqus NOT setting community guidelines. Each publisher sets their own as these vary by large degree from site to site.

          2. awaldstein

            HmmmIs Disqus an expert on community really? They built the syntax for comments and the best one most assuredly.To me not the same.

          3. JimHirshfield

            I never said Disqus was an expert on community. “Expert” is your word. :-PI said (my opinion) that community means different things to different publishers. And by extension that each sets their own guidelines. The reference to Disqus in the aforementioned comment was to state that Disqus does not set the guidelines for communities. Each does that themselves.

        2. JimHirshfield

          Mark – you beat me to it. Ha!

      2. JimHirshfield

        Ta-Nehisi Coates’ blog on on TheAtlantic is often cited by others as a great community.

        1. awaldstein

          Funny–just was recommended twice! Thanks Jim.

  22. William Mougayar

    Since this is a topic today, just saw this in my inbox. This told me there was a flurry of spam (and there were more), so I checked and they were all caught by Disqus, so I blacklisted that spam user just to be sure. So this is no glamorous work. It’s just diligence.

    1. fredwilson

      Thank you so much for doing this william

      1. William Mougayar

        no prob. it’s a habit.

      2. LE

        William and Shana are great.In support of only the current moderators I point out (as I have pointed out before) the fact that one of the big differences in the community here vs. on, say, on HN at least moderator wise is that there is very little censoring here as a result of having only 3 moderators who follow your lead.On HN there are (from what I observe – of course it’s a deep dark secret society that has no transparency) so many moderators “alum of YC” and cooks in the kitchen that there appear to be lots of banning, hellbanning and slow banning. [1] And that’s in addition to the extensive downvoting that goes on that chases many people away.Not that the size of the community doesn’t play into that as I’m sure it does.But the fact is it reflects negatively on the guy at the top that allows much of this to happen as well as discourages many valuable people from commenting.My point being is that when you start to exceed a certain amount of moderators you have less individual accountability and then as I like to say the nature of moderation will change because you can only be as honest as your “competition” (if you want to call it that). And people start to adopt the screwy behavior of others.[1] Hellbaning is where someone can still comment but nobody who doesn’t have “show dead” on can see their comments. Slow banning is where the site is just slow for those that have been slow banned.

        1. fredwilson

          That is good validation of our approach here. Thanks Larry

    2. JLM

      .Everything you do is glamorous. That’s just the way you roll.JLM.

      1. William Mougayar

        haha. well played!

  23. jason wright

    something would definitely have popped by now if i’d been doing this for ten years straight.what’s the secret?

    1. JamesHRH

      iron will.

      1. jason wright


  24. andyidsinga

    no guilt for skimming! Thats your optimization that allows you to stay engaged – and stumble on random interactions that can be so valuable.hmmm . how valuable would a “random filter” be, that randomly allowed a certain # of non-direct-to-you comments through? (cc @falicon:disqus)Maybe that could help with the taxing nature of it all.

    1. falicon

      So many comments make no sense out of context though…the greentile thing (that I just updated the design for today because this post finally kicked in the motivation to do so) starts by listing out the unique set of people that have commented on a given post…it sorts it by most active to least active…and it denotes (with little icons) some special achievements (like most liked, caused the most direct replies, caused the most replies overall, and contains links or not)….once you expand a given user, you see the details of their comments (but for them to make sense I had to include the parent comments — which makes the system a bit complex for 1st timers, but once you get a feel for how it all works and is organized, it becomes a really good system for quickly catching up).The good option for Fred would prob. be to use greentile to quickly see who is commenting that he doesn’t recognize…this way he can at least continue to engage with any/all new commentors…and he can also use it to quickly see what the most active/engage thread is for the day (and decide if he wants to jump in or ignore it)…

      1. andyidsinga

        nice – I’m looking at it now. Like the icons. I think you’re right about its utility for Fred to quickly find new folks. Should give it some state (cookie or local storage) so that user can see “whos new to you”. #hereIGoAgainGivingUnsolicititedQuoteAdviceUnquoteBTW – Can you add this feature: var dudePicUrl = “…”; if ( isInListWhoReveresTheDude(username)) { addDudeIcon( dudePicUrl ); }Then add me to the list πŸ™‚

        1. falicon

          I have toyed with the thought of ‘new to you’ or at least a ‘mark as read’ bit in the past as well…haven’t thought of a nice, clean, UI/UX way to make it work (without being more code than I wanted to write for this little service)…but perhaps a simple cookie timestamp approach to start would be enough? Maybe I’ll throw that in a ‘labs’ mode…along with your Dude list idea πŸ™‚

  25. Jason

    It was your comment interaction and startup digest that were my only windows to this world before I moved to NYC two years ago. (Coming from Vegas there was no Vegas Tech and it was all about building a platform alone in a room to make it here, because there was no one here to interact with – even you said there were no mentors you knew there at that time.) It always made me wonder how much more deal flow, innovative insights, and other nuggets of value have been acquired from this format – and what impact they’ve had on your investments.This community, co-working at GA, and startup weekly newsletters supercharged the fire to get here. The industry is evolving, and even though commenting for me ended when I got here (building a product is just a start… coming here with close to nothing meant dedicating all time to navigating a path to being a signal from the noise) – reading this blog is part of the morning paper that keeps it real when you’re so deep in it. Whoa and Kudos Fred – cheers to finding the next big thing for all your efforts here. I still think you are absolutely crazy for dedicating yourself to reading every comment for so long.

  26. jason wright

    a networked community can never be permanently wired up from a single node. if it is and that node ‘fails’ what then happens? the Tech Ops post covered this.

  27. ν™μ •ν›ˆ Chunghoon Hong

    thank you

  28. panterosa,

    The question is following what interests you in the time you have. That is life no?What a luxury to know you run a bar where you don’t have to moderate everything and know certain conversations are ones you want to join! We can’t ever join everything, and wouldn’t want to. Hosting in itself is an acknowledgement of that, whether a party or a blog. Hosts hope the right people find engagement with people who they engage with well, and that is curating the experience.William and Shana do an amazing job of moderating and I have no idea how they manage it but I am always impressed! As mentioned here, sometime the discussion moves out of my preference or tolerance or tone, and I usually remove myself if so, and complain if it seems off color.

  29. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Do you remember pantomime (or is it uniquely English) ?Villains in dark capes are boo’ed by the audience, Heroes (pretty or handsome and chock full with wholesome values ) are cheered.These moral tales are aimed at children for clarity -the world is not so cut and dried.I think of down-voting and flagging as identical. A down flag is a poor comment or a distasteful one, an up-vote is interesting or challenging.Whether I agree with a comment has (I hope) no bearing on whether I vote it up or down.I vore for heroes

  30. Sean Hull

    Yep. The comments here are a great value. Glad they’re here & open for all to take part in.

  31. Andrew Hoydich

    One of the most amazing things about AVC is that everyone’s voice is heard. That wouldn’t be the case if the culture of the blog wasn’t influenced by this very principle/practice.Thank you Fred!

  32. Cima

    Some of the stuff being discussed in the blog post and comments have already been talked about before. But it also shows the effort of curating the discussion and keeping it current that goes on for this community as well how “organic” it has become. Kudos to @fredwilson:disqus and the moderators!

  33. Mark Gavagan

    Suggestion: Instead of skimming most everything, perhaps Disqus should implement a flagging system for high-volume blogs whereby a pool of trusted readers could identify items as especially worthwhile or Fred-centric (these flags would only be visible to Fred)

  34. Carl Rahn Griffith

    This will be a fascinating A/B test.

  35. Robert Holtz

    Candidly, Fred, I will miss having such a direct line to you. That said, I’ve always marveled at how you’d taken on supporting so much daily correspondence while still making your blog posts AND making your meetings AND being a family man. I suppose none of those things scale very well. Thanks Fred for all you’ve put into AVC. It has made the difference for a lot of us and we appreciate you more than words can express.

    1. fredwilson

      i am not sure you are going to lose that direct linei am not leaving the commentsbut reading every single one, particularly the stragglers, is quite a burden

      1. Robert Holtz

        Thanks for the reassurance. Your response right here speaks volumes in the way of affirming your ongoing involvement. You’re also demonstrating a good example in organizational delegation, so it is a good lesson for us all. Gratitude my friend. Gratitude.

  36. fredwilson

    i agree and i am commenting less tooand your suggestions are fantastic

  37. Emil Sotirov

    This is inevitable when there is no mechanism to “disperse” the conversations and the people into separate spaces. That’s the difference between a community (closing upon itself) and a network (opening out). But that’s the architecture of the classical single blog+comments system. And Fred is pushing the limits of it.Enter the new USV network site: