Some Thoughts On The AVC Community

The community here at AVC is possibly it’s greatest strength. But like most things, it is also it’s greatest weakness.

Over the past five years I’ve gone from the most active community member, to a regular participant, to an observer, to an avoider.

I wrote yesterday’s post for an entrepreneur (and every entrepreneur) who wanted to know what the Trump election means for startups.

As I wrapped up the post, I thought very seriously about closing the comments because I knew what they would become. But I didn’t do it. Because that’s a slippery slope. What is the bright line test for when I should open comments and when I should close them? Frankly I’d rather just shut them down rather than turn them on and off whenever I randomly feel like I should.

But I cannot accept the behavior that goes on in the AVC community whenever politics, or gender, or race, or taxes, some other hot button issue is raised, either by me or by the community when a thread gets hijacked and goes astray.

There is a lack of respect. There is a lack of civility. It makes me crazy. So I just skip the whole damn thing.

But I am enabling this behavior because I choose to make AVC a community instead of just a blog. So it is on me that AVC turns into a cesspool some days

As you can tell I am struggling what to do. I’ve thought about banning certain long standing members of the community. But I also don’t want to censor people. They should censor themselves though.  That’s the problem. They can’t

So that’s where I am. Fed up to my eyeballs and pissed off and struggling with what to do.

If nothing else, consider this a warning. If you don’t police yourself, the community here will be history. There is a very big piece of me that wants that to happen.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Anne Libby

    Let it happen, Fred. This has been a great place, but maybe its time and purpose have passed. The real relationships that happened from here will endure, and people will move on.

  2. William Mougayar

    I hope we don’t ever get to the point where you decide to close comments for the above reasons.The sad part about some members that can’t censor themselves is they think it’s ok to behave that way. First rule of self-change is to admit that what you’re doing needs to change.

    1. Twain Twain

      Sadly, consideration for others and self-awareness seems to go out the window when discussing issues as tinderbox as Trump vs Clinton.Fred had set the frameworks for the discussion: how it affects startups.Before we knew it, some folks were going off-track into really horrible personal attacks and gloating.As much as possible I kept my comments to adding perspective on the Valley & finance sector’s views on Trump, what entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson and Peter Thiel thought about him, what the implications are for US technology vis-à-vis other countries and especially wrt AI.

  3. falicon

    I’ve mostly dropped off in the past couple of years too for many of the same reasons…but have to share some thoughts on a few things:1. The community can’t be censored – that cat’s out of the bag. It may be mutated, and dispersed into other online spots…but it’s going to exist one way or another, one place or another. My thought is, better here than anywhere.2. Many of the opinions and reactions to certain things can be guessed by any long time participant/visitor to the group…and the newer readers/members learn really quickly. It doesn’t make it OK, but it does make it something people learn to deal with (and process) pretty quickly.3. This is one of the few places were you get outside of the filter bubble and still have somewhat of a reasonable discussion…or at least a peek into the alternate thinking of “otherwise intelligent” and def. experienced people. This is something *you* and many of us have been saying we want/love…so you can’t throw out the baby just because the bathwater gets a little dirty sometimes.4. Engage or Ignore. IMHO – Those are your best options and I still do both depending on my mood, my experience, my knowledge, my energy, my focus, and my passion for a given topic.5. Over the years – you and your moderators have done a good job slapping trolls into line and keeping things fairly civil…it’s a thankless job, but it’s what built this community in the first place. Keep at it. The benefits *way* outweigh the costs (at least for the rest of us).6. Without the ability to lurk the comments, I wouldn’t learn nearly as much as I do from your daily thoughts…and as much as I like/value your opinion and getting a peek into your head daily, I’m fairly certain my daily habit would turn into a weekly one…then maybe bi-weekly…monthly…then randomly sporadic…until…nothing. Please don’t let that happen….

    1. fredwilson

      i agree with all of this Kevin

      1. Mario Cantin

        He’s said it all indeed….

      2. Adam Sher

        Seconded. What made yesterday’s conversation different, and harder to police, were many of the most vitriol arguments occurred between some of the most active and well known participants on AVC.On the other hand, the discussion within this VC / startup community was a perfect microcosm of the general election. I am heartened because this demonstrates the diversity of ideas that exists among this community – even if the opinions are poorly expressed.Minor sidestep, I met a member of this community last week while I was on a work trip. Sitting down with that person and hearing the nuance of his experiences reminded me that I flatten the meaning of the things I read – we all do this. I hope to meet more of the AVC community, and it will improve my understanding of the things written here.

      3. Rob Larson

        #6 is a major risk. Exactly this happened to me many years ago after I made a deliberate choice to save time by not reading the comments. One day I realized it had been almost a year since I’d checked in. I then reengaged, and went back to reading at least the first few comments, if not more, which is what I’ve found cements the every day habit.

    2. scottythebody

      Yup. There are certain people here who have that “we are so smart because we subscribe to a viewpoint that we believe superior and everyone else is an idiot” method of “debate” so popular in certain media outlets. But I agree that this is one of the better comment sections and I learn a lot from it. Even those most guilty of belittling others or behaving “poorly” have, at one time or another, opened my mind to something I wouldn’t have considered otherwise.I have been here, although not such an active participate in the comments, since nearly day one and I’m still coming back. Its a great blog with a good comment section and it’s worth my time. The debate here doesn’t really happen the same way anywhere else. I don’t even really care that much about VC, but I still love A VC.

    3. Matt A. Myers

      Hey Kevin – hope you’re well.Read my comment here… first for some context…Re: 1, 2 and 3 – I agree we need to allow a fully open place where everyone can engage, however I disagree that it needs to be the only option available. My idea in the comment linked above would solve this. Would you be opposed to that solution and if so, why?We shouldn’t have to spend time to learn to ‘quickly’ ignore regular commenters that I know are going always going to full of shallow commentary and responses that show sociopathic tendencies.It’s too much energy to constantly filter out people – at minimum you still will read part of their comment.My time and your time is worth more than that.IF I am in the mood and IF I have the energy, then sure, I’d maybe go to the ‘open comments’ section – however once there is a good vetted group (new people welcome as well) then I doubt I’d check the open group often. For the same reason it’s a bad idea to check the “New” section on Reddit – it’s non-curated and painful.

      1. falicon

        I think your heart is in the right place (it always has been), but you end up with the same solution you are actually fighting against (segregation, walls, and banishment are the weak way to deal with bigotry, hatred, and other socially awkward and uncomfortable situations).Education, time, patience, and endless effort are the only ways to (eventually) win this thing…prob. won’t be in our lifetime…so don’t look for immediate fixes or solutions but instead think about how we can make the next generation a little more aware, a little more civil, a little better to each other than we have been…it’s evolution, and it takes time. Lots and lots of time.In the meantime we try to control our own emotions, our own reactions, and the little things about ourselves and how *we* react to others and situations…but we can’t stop pushing for the evolution, and we can’t stop working on ourselves.Open beats closed. Tolerance beats bigotry. Community beats seclusion. Time & patience win every time (eventually).I think it’s all we can really do.

        1. Matt A. Myers

          There is a time and a place for supporting open discussion with everyone involved – however everyone needs a sanctuary too.It’s true, Fred could want AVC to be that open place where everyone is involved – however then it’s not going to be a sanctuary, which is what it seems like he’s looking for or in need of. – especially if it makes him angry enough to apparently call someone a ‘dickhead’ – which I didn’t see; unfortunately ‘dickhead’ is a derogatory word for male anatomy, asshole would have been a better word to use – as everyone has one and waste/shit comes out of it.Segregation in this sense is the same thing as shaming — and some things should be shamed – like racism, sexism, etc.The bigger problem is there are also sociopaths. There are literally people who will kill other people and think or feel nothing of it — and we segregate them from society.We don’t segregate children for making mistakes or doing bad things so long as they learn – and we hopefully give children additional attention of they need it. The problem with adults is they are bigger physically and the problem with the internet is they can be keyboard warriors.If open beats closed, tolerance beats bigotry, community beats seclusion – then why don’t you hangout in chats and forums that are primarily Trump-supporters? It’s because if people aren’t incentivized to change their ways, they won’t. Unless someone has something to gain from you they aren’t going to seriously consider much of anything you say.So yes, in conclusion, I don’t actually want anyone ban – I do want the ability to filter people out and only view that filtered information – and to easily switch to the unfiltered view if I feel like jumping into a futile situation.

        2. Girish Mehta

          “Open beats closed. Tolerance beats bigotry. Community beats seclusion”.+ 1 million.Sometimes these statements are used as cliches.But they are not cliches. They are fundamental. Sometimes these things need to be said and repeatedly. This is one of those times.

        3. VincentWright

          Your response was almost perfect. Only thing that’d make it perfect for me, is changing “…don’t look for immediate fixes or solutions but instead think about how we can make the next generation a little more aware, a little more civil, a little better to each other than we have been…” to something like: “… LOOK for immediate fixes| solutions … AND … think about how we can make the next generation a little more aware, a little more civil, a little better to each other than we have been…”Fred’s post makes clear that he desires an almost immediate respite from noise and stridency.If it chose to do so, the community could come up with Immediate things which can be put in place to help him with those…

          1. falicon

            You are right – there are almost always some things we can do right now to make changes for the better. Great point.

    4. ShanaC

      I’m turning into you but I moderate, and I don’t like it.I want to know what happened

      1. falicon

        Hey it’s not so bad being me! 🙂

        1. ShanaC

          except I need to be shana, curly hair, glasses, and all!

      2. Cam MacRae

        For me the tipping point was 3-4 years ago when some overt racism was allowed to stand. I switched from being a daily contributor to sampling at that point.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          So that’s what happened. You are one of my favorite commenters and I feel your absence. Overt racism? Must have missed that. Thankfully.

          1. Cam MacRae

            And you one of mine. I do miss our conversations.

    5. Rohan

      So true Kevin. I value the diversity of thought. But, the conversation here has become so predictable. Share your sentiments 100%. 🙂

    6. PhilipSugar

      Of all the places I go this community seems the best. Offensive at times? Maybe but never really awful.

      1. falicon


        1. PhilipSugar

          I really alway enjoy your comments.

          1. bsoist

            I agree mostly, but sometimes it is “really awful” – the comments here, not @falicon:disqus ‘s comments, specifically, of course 🙂

          2. PhilipSugar

            The only ones I have seen that are “really awful” are the misogynistic ones and I have seen those. I have called people out on those. I do not believe supporting somebody or disliking somebody is misogynistic.

    7. Donna Brewington White

      Thanks Kevin. Always love when you show up.

  4. TejDhawan

    I’m here purely for your thought and analysis. You’ve engaged the community, when needed, on twitter just fine.

  5. charlieok

    This is all too fitting, given the current context. An article I just read includes a quote making the analogy of online comment sections to the election explicit:> Standing nearby was Chuck Johnson, the self-proclaimed investigative journalist and> pround internet troll, who offered a variety of slogans and predictions. “The trolls won,”> he said, calling this election, “the comment section against the article.”…

  6. Elia Freedman

    my two cents: I enjoy the comments here on many topics. I usually read the first few threads. Often times, in those cases, an amazing amount of additional information is added by a well informed community member. (I’m on the west coast and find that most anything I would say is said by the time I am paying attention.)But when it comes to political blog posts, I just skip the comments. Rarely do I find that the conversation is anything more than ideological yelling.Given that, Fred, it is your blog and suspect you will do what is best for your sanity. Good luck with a decision.

    1. markslater

      totally agree – you said it better than me…..I could be NLP on a JLM response to a political post….no?

    2. bsoist

      I told @fredwilson:disqus years ago that posts about politics and gender issues were it for me – I try to completely avoid the comments on those.

  7. awaldstein

    I’ll stand up as one of the people who can’t stomach the bullying marauding bands of hateful folks that work the comments like yesterday.It’s topical and predictable certainly yet still not acceptable.Sure I can stay away and I do, but I’m part of the community so it grates.Fred–I applaud you for being so honest bout this. Thanks!

    1. PhilipSugar

      I just went and read the comments from yesterday. I saw very few that were even mildly offensive. I certainly have seen some before that were offensive, and I called people out on that.I’m always amazed at the number of comments some people can produce. I really do try and stay away from the political comments, sometimes I can’t restrain because I think in general I think the group is an affluent well educated one that doesn’t understand what most people think and are.We have this thing in Delaware called Return Day where the opposing candidates have to ride in a carriage together and they literally bury a hatchet in sand: http://www.delawareonline.c…Here is a picture of Biden on election day. He waved and said hi, but I was happier that the cleaning lady told him he (me) always says hi and what a great job I do (she does and she is a fixture of Newark DE) If you are wondering about security, there are some huge dudes right behind me. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

      1. awaldstein

        There is no real topic that is offensive to me.There is behavior like bullying and piling on people for there views that I saw happening all over honestly.I know that I am not alone as i received emails from a number of people who were pissed off.Or if it is just me, hey, that is an easy solution then but I don’t think soThe first two hours of my day are my favorite and most formative to the day. I want them to drive me forward not piss me off.Thanks!

        1. PhilipSugar

          I think this election cycle was just really ugly, I mean really ugly. I even went back and deleted some comments.

          1. jason wright

            Art imitates life.

  8. kidmercury

    time for change….drop the ax! a vote to close comments. communities are only good when they are centered around a mission. the community here is a bit purposeless (not a criticism of anyone or anything), and purposelessness breeds problems.

    1. fredwilson

      i’m siding with you in this beef 🙂

      1. markslater

        And seriously – just read some of yesterday’s comments…..another texan military wankfest by JLM…..I get it….you went to military school, you want to be seen as right, smart, and successful…..awesome – well done…..snoooze…..

        1. DJL

          Very interesting. So is this post – a total disparagement of another contributor and their opinions – your version of “polite”?

        2. Dan T

          I really enjoy the diverse opinions and comments of people like JLM and Andy Swan and Charlie C. And William M. That is what makes this interesting and educational for me. I will bite my tongue and a avoid judging others specifically.

      2. Dale Allyn

        Fred, Count me as one who has always valued the comments/discussion of the A VC community. I learn far more than from the actual post, which to me is a catalyst for the discussion.Sometimes it’s just a helpful link from someone, and sometimes it’s a point of view I hadn’t considered. This election cycle has taken its toll, and too many are unwilling to consider the views of others. I believe things will improve, but it will take some time.All that said, online behavior does matter and there’s no excuse for abuse or disrespect.

    2. JamesHRH

      Lack of purpose is the issue.

    3. DJL

      This is simple: If you want to build a community of people that agree with you on everything, then censor people you don’t like. You are creating a fan base. If you believe that you can learn from other people, then you leave it open. “You can’t have Falstaff and have him thin.”If you want to talk politics or religion – you need a thick skin. That’s why our Mama’s always said “Don’t talk politics or religion with dinner guests”.

    4. Rob Larson

      Closing comments will have a significant negative impact on daily readership. It is extremely hard (practically impossible anywhere but here) to find a comment section discussing entrepreneurship that’s worth reading, with insights from a diverse set of experienced entrepreneurs, who often provide value far above that day’s post. That combined value pulls people back daily, in a world that offers far more articles worth reading than hours available to consume them.Time is scarce; people have to make hard choices. Community engagement tips this blog into the “must read” column when prioritizing what to consume. For example: Ben Evans, Albert Wenger, Brad Feld all have brilliant content but a small fraction of the audience – the community makes the difference.

  9. Vitor Conceicao

    I think you have the right approach. When the trolls hijack it leave it to them and ignore. Its the best practice and most of us have enough experience with digital communities that we know when to ignore comments altogether.This community is rich enough on most topics to let the trolls close it down. Don’t feed the trolls, its the best thing to do. I’m mostly a lurker here but I think its great and you have great help from the other moderators.

  10. Dana Hoffer

    Fred, It is probably time to do something else. Not necessarily permanently but for a brief time at minimum. We all need breaks and when you feel the way you do, well, it is time for a break. Thanks for your generous giving of yourself and your time. Dana

  11. David C. Baker

    I owned the largest BMW motorcycle discussion board on the planet, and the “Other Topics” section turned into the same thing for me. I felt a certain responsibility to keep it civil, but I found that I hated going to my own board at some point. So I gave the board to someone who had the energy so that I could regain some of my emotional health. I’ve never looked back and never miss it. On my own business blog, I never allow comments because usually it’s some keyboard hero or intellectual loser who is given a platform that they shouldn’t otherwise have.My advice is to slap some hands and see if it gets better, but don’t do it yourself. Let the moderators handle it. And if you still feel the same way after a 2-3 month test, just close them down.Are YOU learning from the comments? There’s no significant bump that even matters in terms of organic search, so if YOU aren’t learning things from others, close it down. Life is too short to have your blood pressure rise from the constant keyboard heroes who have a platform from their basement. 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      chris poole eventually did that with 4chanbut i am not giving AVC to anyoneit is me and i am itthe community may have to go though

      1. David Semeria

        I can see you’re a bit grumpy Fred, but consider this: the US can fix this mess in 4 years time, but for us English, Brexit will be permanent. I was in a foul mood for months after the referendum and I still haven’t fully recovered. So I can totally relate to how you feel right now.

      2. Morgan Warstler

        Fred, I fell off when you started pushing your social conscience. I don’t mean that in a bad way, to each his own, I just mean… I came for VC tech perspective, but Im a world class debater, so I don’t care about your good feels. Once you try to spin me, I want to spin you harder. On public policy I’m a wonk’s wonk. But, I wanted all your market and investment insights!So sitting here after Trump, i thought I wonder how Fred is handling it. I land at this post… I think he’s GOT to be talking about JLM.I’ve met JLM and we’re about to meet again.Let me just pause here and say you were wrong on net neutrality… and on Trump…Uber and Netflix got chased out China and Bezos is about to crash Amazon into the same brick wall. And it’s TRUMP he’s going to need. The very jerk who bough WaPo and turned it into pure drivel to stop the one man who will end up saving him over there.Thiel gave speech 2 and NAILED the problem with trade, our capital HAS to be able to buy up and own markets in trading partners. Unfettered access to China’s 1.3B consumers for our software players is the price of trading with US.And if they don’t like it.. Chinese kids don’t need to go to US universities.And you missed that too… but don’t feel bad everyone but Thiel missed it.So I read about half of the comments on the offending post and DUDE, thats what winning a debate looks like!So I’m just going to put this out there… don’t ever get pissed when you aren’t the smartest guy at your party. And if you can’t beat JLM (and assorted miscreants) perhaps… just perhaps you are really good on tech, and on social conscious stuff you are still a lesser mortal.Again, LOVE YOU man. When you see GovWhiz you’ll sh*t. But JLM is a 95% carbon copy of Trump…so if you don’t like Trump, but you do like JLM… I’d suggest you have a Wapo’d view of Trump. and should give him another chance because JLM says it’s worth it.

        1. Ronnie Rendel

          My teacher a mystic master always says that when a conversation becomes a “debate” you should immediately go silent.

          1. Morgan Warstler

            Stupid teacher – signed Western Civilization

        2. fredwilson

          you can’t get half of me Morgan. you have to choose all of me or none of me. either is fine. but i am who i am even if you don’t like half of it.

          1. Morgan Warstler

            Of course I get this! As I said. I don’t expect or ask you to change. It takes all types to make world go round.BUT, on the Trump stuff, the actual DEBATE in the thread with JLM…I’d urge you to consider, the link tech / VC where you are “expert” class… the reason you feel so flummoxed with JLM… is bc he’s THAT GOOD at subject matter… his analysis is expert class.And if he’s OK with Trump, maybe give Trump another chance. Just like if he didn’t candy to a tech investment, but you did…I told Albert early today, the entire idea that SV is a progressive social change agent.. it’s very likely going away:…FINALLY @fredwilson:disqus years ago I urged you to give it your best on comprehensive reform, since you had the feels, but be ready to snatch High Skilled if we could get it,And we can. If you listened carefully to GOP debates, where everyone came out was this:H1-B as practiced where Wipro and Tata etc snag a ton of visas and than rent them out to Coke and Disney etc…. those are jobs for MSFT old hands. Natives.That’s GONE. And that’s good. BUT!!!!We can get ALL the H1-Bs for startups and US based IP companies (non-consultant service players)…. so yes to coders, no to operations… honestly I think we can as many H1-Bs we want!This would be GREAT for startups.Finally, TRUMP’s Immigration plan is really smart. It’s US as Country Club for top 5% of Earthlings: 1) Earn $75K+ a year 2) Like bikinis 3) just your wife and kids get in.This is creative destruction firm theory writ large. Bran drain the rest of Earth and drive the terrible smaller firms out of their old cultures.You’re gonna love GovWhiz!

  12. JimHirshfield

    I avoided the comment section yesterday. I always do when politics are served. Could Disqus add features to address?

    1. Ana Milicevic

      Yes. Time-outs. If > N people flag your posts, you can’t post for Y mins. For duration of time-out all posts by that person ribboned as being on time-out.Here’s hoping users on time-out would use the time out to think why they’re on time-out.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Yes, something like that. Would only work for users that want to retain the account in question. Real troublemakers just create new accounts and continue their nonsense.

        1. Ana Milicevic

          Yes – still helps to see that a post is flagged if you’re just joining the conversation and I imagine Disqus already has folks working on combatting troublemaker & abuse accounts. This would be more of a tool for managing established communities – to munge two pop culture references together: it’s like with drunk uncle at Thanksgiving, when the call is coming from inside the house.

          1. JimHirshfield

            There’s a UX issue that comes up with too many ways of classifying troublemakers. If Disqus provded flags for spam, troublemaker, foul mouth, etc, users would abuse those and start flagging people they disagree with. It happens.

      2. leapy

        A naughty step! 🙂

      3. Rob Larson

        Great idea.

      4. pointsnfigures

        that’s an interesting idea. if the community is going to police itself, it needs the tools to do so. people cannot mind read intent when it comes to email, comments etc.

      5. ShanaC

        disqus doesn’t have a time out tool

        1. Mac

          My wife does. Uses it daily.

    2. Mario Cantin

      BTW I love that I can prevent someone from following me — that’s original.There’s already a down vote feature, but no one here wants here to be that person who uses it.

      1. JimHirshfield

        The down vote gets used a lot more than anyone suspects. It is an opaque feature in that no one knows you down voted someone else.

    3. conorop

      I’d love a personal shadow ban option. They can post all day long, and I never have to see it. If someone wants to see that person’s comments, they can view and engage on their own will. To the house party reference above, there are a ton of interesting view points from people who aren’t nearly as vocal, but the loud mouths tend to take over.

    4. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Might be interesting to be able to block specific users from seeing *my* comments…

      1. JimHirshfield

        I would never want to miss out on your comments 🙂

    5. Dale Allyn

      Hi, Jim, take a look at Twitter’s mute button. Over the past few weeks I’ve muted a number people (and did so yesterday again), but will un-mute them when things cool down vis-a-vis the election.

      1. JimHirshfield


  13. Joe Cardillo

    Fred, if you know or have a connection to Rob Malda from Slashdot you may want to drop a line, he’s written a few things about this (e.g. https://blog.coralproject.n… ).The only other item that I’ve seen from good community management + painful lessons from Reddit, is that free speech on the web doesn’t mean you have to listen to whatever vitriol people throw out there. It’s ok to have a point of view about what civility is, and to enforce that.And for what it’s worth, along with many other folks I value this community and hope you’ll make whatever small changes you need to in order to keep it a place of thoughtful, challenging conversation.

  14. VincentWright

    Fred:It’d be a critical (and unnecessary) error to close down this community.1.) People can’t get “noisy” in such a place as AVC without feeling that they “belong” to a place worth venting themselves in. (However idealistic in may seem to some, yesterday I tweeted: “Friends let friends vent. (And then help those freshly vented friends get back to the business of living all the life we can live…)”…2.) Why “punish” those of us who value this community by closing it … especially when closing it is such a non-creative approach to SOLVING A PROBLEM…? (As a non-VC outsider, I consider you to be one of my favorite “problem solvers” … primarily because of your writing style and your very healthy, ahem “temperament” 🙂 )3.) SUGGESTIONS: A.) How about voluntary “moderators”? Or “community brand ambassadors”? (If you have something good and it’s beyond your current ability to still handle it all alone, do as Jethro suggested to Moses and delegate some of the stuff.) B.) Borrow some of the rules from entities such as IETF and discuss setting up some *comparable* to the ones used by such professional organizations… (*Some* of IETF’s rules may seem like overkill for AVC but, their rules keep a lot of strong-willed engineers respectfully communicating over the years.)4.) IN CLOSING: My personal circumstances don’t permit me to check in, read, and comment every day but, as someone who’s been involved in thousands of online communities over the past 20 years … some of them quite rowdy … AVC is one of those rare communities which I’d plead with the owner to keep going… “by any means necessary…” (ahem 🙂 ) … the community is more valuable than the noisemakers are troublesome …Hope you’ll keep the community around for another 20+ years, Fred…#KeepSTRONG!

  15. Howard Mann

    A mutual friend of ours, Hugh Macleod, gave me great advice when I started blogging. Your blog is like hosting a party in your living room and everyone here is a guest in your house and should behave accordingly (He added some extra color about not letting someone go to the bathroom on your living room rug). Too many think this site (or any site) is a public space. AVC is your “house” and we are all invited guests.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      Love this!!!!

      1. Dorian Benkoil

        yep. Agreed. It’s a party you’re hosting, Fred. Part of the host’s responsibility is to create a welcoming environment for all. If a guest ruins that environment, what would you do?

    2. Matt A. Myers

      Yup — ban the shit people and I’d be back here on a daily basis.Sure, the shitty people may have been ‘successful’ in business and have experience to boot, be a good writer, however if everything they say is shit-stained and sometimes you get a smell of it — do you really want them to be guests if they’re also sociopathic and can’t learn, don’t have empathy and can’t grow their thinking?Fred’s highlighting the problem with the business world: no one wants to make ‘enemies’ in case it spoils a relationship or a business deal. This is why the world has been able to get to the shit place we’re at — we need more confrontation, and providing support and love in such situations, and I don’t mean macro confrontation like war. If someone doesn’t learn from said confrontation of what’s acceptable for whoever is the ‘lead’ role model, then they should get detention.We all have to be role models and if someone isn’t getting it, then there needs to be something that makes them stop and think. Maybe if Fred bans them then that’d be the impetus they need; probably not, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respond accordingly. We are all parents and we are all children. Would you let your children stand in the room and throw shit around – even if they could do so skillfully?Honestly, another solution I’d like on Disqus is the ability to segregate communities. E.g. Either I can block and hide specific people from showing in comments OR there can be invite-only commenting areas enabled or simply that can curated by anyone – to include or exclude whomever is desirable and vetted – so the commenting section a visitor or reader can exclude regularly racist, sexist, egotistical, sociopathic personalities. Fred, get me in contact with Disqus and I’d be happy to guide the UI/UX for this.If the shit-throwers only have each other to throw shit at – are they going to keep throwing it?Anyway, black and white / all-or-nothing solution isn’t a solution at all. If Fred – of all people – just closes the commenting system down instead of supporting a technological solution then that’ll be hilarious – and sad.

      1. V Tyree

        P.S.: Hey Matt A. Myers, If I may. Disqus has a section where you can make suggestions for improvements or changes. Be well. v

      2. ZekeV

        I do not find this comment appropriate. Nevertheless, I would not choose to ban you b/c I am used to being offended, and think it is useful to be able to read offensive views — sometimes there is a nugget of truth in there, or something that makes me think twice about my own views.

    3. jason wright

      A house party has a guest list of the invited. AVC is a public bar. Is there a dress code? Is there a doorman?The HTTP/ IP protocol does not regulate for discourse. People are decentralised, as are opinions. It is essential that this remains so or society will be in big trouble.Fred can pick and choose his guests, and that may result in a culture of convivial conversation, but also a self selecting and self congratulatory nothingness is an obvious danger. Inbreeding is bad. New blood is good.

  16. kevando

    The best move in these situations is to just ignore the riffraff, so I feel your pain that you can’t really, because you’re the mayor.I believe this problem boils down to a lack of empathy, and for what it’s worth, I built an app aimed at helping people build empathy. It’s small, but someone’s gotta hack at the root.If anyone reads this, shoot me your email and I’ll send you a download code 🙂

  17. Bill Carrier

    Thank you for authentically sharing your internal struggle on addressing community. Online communitities are like family, you can’t pick who is in and who isn’t. Like family, you can choose who is allowed into your house.Community discussion on a forum you curate is not a free speech issue. People repeatedly disruptive to the discussions have not earned the right for continued participation. “Disruptive”can be defined and need not be a slippery slope. I have little fear as one of your readers that you might “ban” people who disagree with you. The value and intellectual discourse should be protected and not allowed to turn into hateful, personalized cesspool of discourse. There are plenty of forums elsewhere for people to yell their opinions.Businesses “fire” customers all the time. Curating an online community can do the same, particularly if you clearly define the expectation for civility.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      Yes! I love that you used the word “Curating.”

  18. Vendita Auto

    Guess you might already have lost good people for the post rationale ? You have my respect even if you put another brick in the wall

  19. Jess Bachman

    “This too shall pass”-Abe Lincoln

  20. Josh Grossman

    I rarely leave comments on any blogs, but feel compelled to do so on this post. I read the AVC posts in my email, and if I feel like there might be interesting commentary I click to read the comments. In almost all cases when I click over from my email to the comments someone has an interesting take or contributes information that I would not have otherwise known about. Please leave the comments open for us Fred!

  21. Julien

    In a perfect world, the web would be your community. I’m ok with you closing the comments here but we need better discovery mechanisms at the web scale to find related and valuable responses.

  22. Erwin

    “But I also don’t want to censor people.”Then don’t. Instead, set some rules about behavior (not content). Then give warnings to those who break the rules, and finally ruthlessly cut those who ignore the warnings.This, of course, is work and soaks up time. But self-policing doesn’t work when everyone knows they are on the “right” side.

    1. DJL

      There is a huge challenge here. What seems like a perfectly reasonable comment to one person is “insulting” to another. I have seen (and experienced) that many times. Its a tough call in any open forum.

  23. Mike

    You can’t dictate civility. You can ban anonymity. Mike Wheeler

    1. fredwilson

      hi mike. the problems here are commenting in their own names or with profiles that link to their real identities. anonymity is not the issue here

  24. creative group

    FRED:NO! NO! NO!This isn’t Russia or China.We are frustrated that the Progressives which appears to be the majority have been unwilling to challenge the Right Wing rhetoric, assine talk radio and Fox News outright lying talking points.We are definitely without a doubt Independent. We equally question and retort both sides. It appears at times unevenly. We go off topic after a topic is addressed and post a off topic warning.If our contributions on off topic or addressing outlandish opinion points is beneath the intent of your blog we will refrain from participating because this blog was created by you and serves as a vehicle for your thoughts.No matter how we feel your position is on not addressing directly the contemptible interaction on your blog it was created by you. Taking your ball and going home is your right. Different upbringing, different experiences, different views and coping mechanisms.We have engaged with bullies our entire life and sorry they will not go away. We have never been one to have our lunch money taken or run home ever.Progressive elites for the most part have no stomach for what they attempt to engage. Civility isn’t a character trait with this current evolution of the Right Wing. Kumbaya isn’t working. Good luck with that. Marshmallows around the camp fire is being laughed at and frowned upon.Hope you are not under any illusion the Right Wing wouldn’t be using racial epitaphs, gender slurs, crude slants if it wasn’t under the current restraints. And thinking they are your so called friends is more of an mental exercise.Tumbler and other sites USV have seeded provides the real thoughts they hold.

    1. lauraglu

      You are right – this isn’t a country. It’s a blog community run by one person who can set the standards as he’d like to.

  25. Cookie Marenco

    I feel your pain. Am going through the same decisions and wondering what it means on a bigger level. Where does vitriol become “ok” in a society? Can we raise a generation that doesn’t hate? Has the internet contributed or has it always been lurking and is allowed to be exposed behind the safety of a screen? Do what you think is best.

  26. Michael Jordan

    Is there a more global solution for communities? It seems like AVC comment section is plagued by the same disease that we see in most online commenting.I assume you could build an auto-moderator via NLP and machine learning. Establish an “abuse score” and posts that exceed that are not allowed. This score can be used to identify abusive language and score posts based on language they use. I’ll play with it this evening to see if I can create this “abuse score” and see how it matches up with your intuition of what comment sections feel abusive.

    1. Tom Hughes

      The reputation-driven system that underpins Stack Overflow (and the constellation of Stack Exchange sites) seems to work well.

    2. Rob Larson

      Machine learning not even needed. Can accomplish this with abuse flags generated by the readers, which can lead to time-outs as Ana suggested above, to give a less draconian punishment than banning (though triggering a certain number of time outs could potentially lead to being banned)

    3. pointsnfigures

      AVC has traditionally been significantly better than most comment sections I have seen. It could be that Fred shuts them down on political posts-and on pure tech posts opens them up-first commenter that brings in overt politics goes away.

      1. Michael Jordan

        I agree AVC has higher than average civility.The question is… can we build a tool that allows Fred to post more controversial topics to encourage discussion without abuse turning off those that would add valid points.We got ourselves into this situation by red ignoring blue and blue ignoring red. It seems like a step forward for us is to build tools that encourage differing opinions without abuse turning off valid disagreement.

  27. Tom Hughes

    The AVC community is my go-to example of a successful online-comments community that draws together people with a shared interest and diverse opinions; and I’ve always thought that your engagement, Fred, was the foundation of that. It is also the case that all good things must come to an end. Truthfully, I find it easy to ignore the trolls and troublemakers, but then, I’m mostly just in the audience — they are acting out on a stage that you rightly feel responsibility for.All this is a long way of saying I’ll understand whatever choice you make.

    1. bsoist

      The AVC community is my go-to example of a successful online-comments communityIt was for me too, until 3 years ago.

  28. laude05

    Selectivity is not censorship. I too value opposite points of view, as Carnage said “I never learned anything from a man who agreed with me”. At the same time a blog owner has the right and perhaps the obligation to enforce standards of behavior. No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service doesn’t affect the right of free assembly!

  29. markslater

    I think i’ve been a participant / follower of you / this blog since you invested in delicious! I extracted huge value from the conversation as i was about to embark on building a startup.Over the last 3 years or so i’ve gone from participant to reader, to checker, to “not sure why i bother as its basically a corpus”.It feels like the community is a collective of 8 super opinions – each one trying to out bullhorn the other….all predictable in response.Not trying to be a downer here – i’ve gained huge value and insight over the last decade. For me does not feel like it has the same fiery authenticity anymore….is it me!!???

  30. Ana Milicevic

    If we can’t be civil in a forum that mostly tackles investing, entrepreneurship, global perspectives, technology, education, etc where can we expect civility to survive?

    1. Matt A. Myers

      We do it by sticking with those who have the same level of empathy and compassion, so we can support each other, and let those other people stir in their own shit. At the same time we use our support to help make the world a better place – including for those stuck in their shit – and try to make it better so new humans born into this world have better opportunities to learn, better role modelling to learn that racism, sexism, bigotry and sociopathic behaviours aren’t acceptable.Read the solution I propose in my comment here… – you’d be in my curated list. 🙂

  31. Michael Ferrari

    As a previous founder of a fintech startup, I shared similar emotions with our company’s blog whenever we had to share news with our community that would not be well received. Such as an interest rate drop or a feature being removed. Eventually the post would get hijacked and all hell would break out. And many times I would consider shutting down the comments section entirely. But in the end, I felt like complete transparency would always prevail and the community would respond accordingly. For a personal blog such as this one, I rarely if ever read your comments. I assume many comments are from people looking to impress you in some way. And there are times where you ask the community for help or suggestions and those are at times quite helpful. I look forward to your insightful thoughts of the day and selfishly look for relevance and meaning in my own life. But Fred, you know what you will get with a political post. So you either open the comments and get what you get, or close them. If people disagree with you, they will take it to twitter anyway. The thread here provides a more direct view that is certainly more uncomfortable to see than random twitter posts. If I were you, I wouldn’t care. Post what you want. Let the comments section be open and call it a day and move on to the next day. That’s like making a tweet and telling people they can’t respond to it on twitter. If you do choose to close them down, I wouldn’t care, but it would certainly restrict your daily post content to more general statements as to those that ask the community for input.

  32. Guy Lepage

    A couple of recommendations in community management. We have had to deal with, albeit only a few, unsavory community members and comments with our growing community. Our rules are simple.1. Everyone should have a voice. Freedom of speech, right or wrong, is something that is of the highest value in a community. It also offers the opportunity for the community to convince those with less tasteful views that they may want to reconsider their view point.2. Banning members is a last resort, unless they are being vulgar and or are making threats. A quick warning and then swift removal of that member seem to work well.

    1. Guy Lepage

      @usvcom-693e29accbb1b61290966b5e76551181:disqus, I would also like to recommend writing a “code of conduct” for the community members. That way everyone is aware of the guidelines and rules of the community. Here’s a great reference.

  33. Susan Rubinsky

    I think, perhaps, a guiding note from time to time helps. I do this myself on my Facebook page. I have a large group of people from all political persuasions and sometimes it gets ugly.During the last few weeks, I’ve been intervening and redirecting. I also posted an announcement on 10/28/16 about what my expectations were for the people commenting, as follows:”A gentle reminder to my friends on Facebook:”Please don’t post comments that are disrespectful to others on items that I post. I don’t mind if you don’t agree with me or with others but I only allow respectful, thoughtful dialogue on my wall. If you post something that’s not respectful, I will delete it. If you consistently do so, I’ll probably unfriend you.”I’ve seen disrespectful posts from all kinds of people lately. I don’t care whether you’re a liberal or a conservative, a progressive or a libertarian, an anarchist or an authoritarian, if you post something that is well thought out and reasoned, then I am glad you are here in my tribe. I care about you all and I care about learning about our differences and our commonalities and finding ways to find solutions that benefit us all.”Lets all try our best to be kind. And when we falter, let’s find ways to apologize and make amends. Love and blessings to you all.”Yesterday I saw lots of ugly comments on Facebook and on my posts. I had to keep reminding people to be respectful. I also prefer to give people an opportunity to apologize. We human beings are imperfect. We make mistakes. Sometimes we say things at the height of passion or anger that are not our best selves. I try to remind people of that and also ask them to consider apologizing and making amends to those they have offended once the mood has settled down. I have found that, overall, people respond to this. There are always a few outliers. I then have to watch those outliers and make a decision about whether to unfriend them. I usually send them a private message first, outlining why I am doing so and also giving them an opportunity to make amends.Maybe I am too kind, but it works for me. Maybe there can be some kind of small manifesto on here outlining the rules of engagement.

  34. Steve_Dodd

    Hey Fred, tough question. But please remember that random spikes (anomalies) will happen when passionate issues are discussed. However, it passes. Please don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. You also have many investments in social media properties who experience similar situations and their users have thrived from them. Would you give them similar advice?

    1. DJL

      Sage advice. This was a brutal time with lots of passion on both sides. Time to mend and move on – not censor or kill.

  35. Verlton Gordon

    You have never spoke truer words my brother!

  36. Rob Underwood

    I don’t know if this could be technically enforced through Disqus, but at a minimum you could insist on real names – first AND last, for everyone, and no initials in place of names – for everyone.I don’t think using real names will fix all the issues, but people are a lot less likely to say crazy things when they can be associated with organizations at which they work and found in real life.Newspapers have long had a ban on anonymous letters to editor for very good reason. That technology makes it possible to be anonymous doesn’t make it a good idea.If people can’t and won’t use real names, then they have something to hide. They are trying to use asymmetry to have it both ways. They want to say things without putting their personal reputation and economic well being at risk. Don’t allow it/them.

    1. fredwilson

      that is absolutely not true. the worst offenders here, and i know exactly who they are, comment using profiles that are linked to their real identities. the ones who comment anonymously are often the most polite

      1. Rob Underwood

        You of course know better than me, including who the worst offenders are in your view as the owner/moderator.But I see/saw comments from people who use initials, use just their first name, use a screen name/handle, etc. Sure, some of them have more info on their disqus page that links to the real person, so that’s some accountability. But I think it’s further step to put your first and last name right next to comment, right there. I’m suggesting no handles, initials, and first name only names. First and last name next to every comment.BTW, I had to deal with similar issues when I started the NNTP newsgroup in 1995. People get really heated about sumo!Sorry this is happening and I respect that you’re trying to make it work.

        1. Anne Libby

          Rob, I might share your opinion — had I not watched my business school’s Linked In group (member-only, moderated by Alumni Relations!) devolve to flame wars dominated by a small group of people.When I approached Alumni Relations, they told me, sorry, “free speech.” Lol. I freespeeched myself out of the group.

          1. Rob Underwood

            Got it. I’m not arguing that real names (and a recognizable picture) would solve every issue. But I think having full name and picture right by the statements you make can help. My observation from yesterday is there are were some people about which I think this post was mostly written who use abbreviations, initials, or screen names and my wonder if is having a name and picture right next to comments doesn’t in part ameliorate. I’m looking at what I guess is the most upsetting/offensive branch of yesterday’s discussions and the comments that stand out to me are those made by people who are using screen names, some tied to private disqus profiles, or abbreviations. Some use pictures in which they are not recognizable, or pictures that are just icons/graphics. So I guess I stand by my assertion that it might be worth trying a policy where everyone uses a real photo (i.e., a head shot or something similar to what our host has) and their real name first and last. That was definitely not happening yesterday from what I see.People need to be personally identifiable by all, not just some, to have the collective accountability. You want to find out who I am, where I live, where I work – it’s there for you to find out because I tell you who I am. So if I say something crazy there is accountability for it. This is sort of the transparency, end of privacy point Albert makes at times. It’s also a huge issue with Twitter where you have some people who have chosen to be personally identifiable being attached by people who hide behind screen names and anonymity. Why bother if anonymous trolls can come after you and plausibly figure out where you live and work but that doesn’t go both ways (and actually why I’ve somewhat counter to this point gone private on Twitter — the pain and hate of trolls far outweighs the fun of engaging with a stranger).Of course, the distance of tech makes it easier to say thinks we’d never dare in real life. Witness the interaction of the President and President-Elect today. When you’re with someone live in person it’s a lot harder to be mean, vindictive, etc.A good rule of thumb is to read something aloud and wonder if you’d be comfortable saying that to someone’s face. I will fully admit I’ve not always followed that rule, but it’s a good one. If you’d not be ok saying it to someone when you’re looking them directly square in eye, maybe it’s something to keep to yourself.

      2. DJL

        Just a quick gut check – in your mind are all the “offenders” the ones that disagree with you, or do you see problems on both sides? That will tell you something.My hope was that we would all follow the lead of Trump, HRC and Obama and try to mend fences. But its your world. I am more than happy to bow out and plan to anyway (per my previous post). Just tough to leave a Trump victory just hanging there after all we’ve been through.

      3. Barak Ben Canan

        Your blog posts are as much a part of my daily routine as anything and I look forward to it every time. Howard Stern moved from 5 to 3 days a week. And he takes plenty of days off. But he’s still on the air. The comments on political posts are ones I always skip. But your business advice / commentary, and the community comments where you or someone else that’s thoughtful responds, has been invaluable. And fun. I hope you stay on the air.

  37. JP Winker

    I’ve been a reader for about a year, but haven’t commented. I’m in a corporate role and far from the startups that I used to work in, but I find value in your posts.I strongly empathize with your frustration, and am working through similar decisions regarding social media, friends, and family members. This week I became the angriest member of my community and have had to take a step back to avoid lasting damage. That said, I hope you continue the blog (for my own selfish reasons), which is to say I hope people in the community behave themselves. This requires a commitment to constructive dialogue here and going elsewhere to vent – take it outside, so to speak.

  38. Vitomir Jevremovic

    Been here for many years. More passive then active though. Things changed. People changed. Maybe banning people is like unfollowing. Maybe Disqus should implement that in a way.. Tough times indeed.

  39. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Whatever you decide, I’m grateful for AVC and everything I’ve learned here, and most especially for the people I’ve met here! I’ve made what I anticipate to be lifelong friends here. How amazing is that???

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Read the solution I propose in my comment here… – you’d be in my curated list!

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I’m honored :-). I like your ideas. Also I’ve suggested a little AI to Twitter which would work great here IMO. Before a comment gets published, there could be a gentle suggestion if there’s anything that appears to be uncivil. So for example (granted, an easy one), if the f-bomb is found in the comment, the poster might see a prompt like, “Hey ther, looks like you’re droppin’ an f-bomb. That kind of thing can be offensive in some contexts and possibly get you banned on this blog. Sure you want to post it? Or would you like to edit first?”

      2. Drew Meyers

        A curated list would largely make the comments useless for most, no? All the regulars/curated list would then just comment among themselves — and other occasional commenters would probably just stop contributing entirely.Seems disqus could just enable people to only see comments by people you’re following? I suppose the problem is then it’s just further helping the world expose themselves to viewpoints similar to their own rather than differing views/opinions/perspectives.

  40. DJL

    My simple recommendations would be this (1) Stop writing posts about politics if you are unhappy with the results, and (2) per others, write some “suggestions” for your community.There is no open online community that does have this problem. But you control the stage. I’ll bet in the early days you spent more time talking about business and investing and less about politics. I think we all would benefit from that and much of the audience might come back.- Respectfully, Dickhead

    1. ShanaC

      hey, don’t call yourself a dickhead 🙁

      1. jason wright

        Echo chamber

      2. DJL

        Someone else on this blog called me that a couple of times, so I thought I would be funny. Just kidding! ;>) Have a wonderful day!

  41. Tom Labus

    That you no longer hang out here, tells you what you should do. Maybe close comments for a few months.

  42. JLM

    Fred –This is your blog and it has been a work of genius. I don’t know how you are able to put it out every day. Nothing short of miraculous.The topics you pick will dictate the nature of the convo. An open discussion is of interest to a greater cross section of folks than an echo chamber.If you inject a political note and then are personally judgmental — calling people dickheads and telling others they have their head up their ass — then you send a mixed signal, which your post today suggests you did not intend to send.In the end, a community is really a two way street and folks will go where they can get a good cup of coffee, meet interesting people, have a free exchange of ideas, learn something, and feel unfettered in their convo. That is the way it works in a bar or at a party.They will not patronize an echo chamber. There is a difference between a fan club and a community.I suspect you are a little down at the prospect of the Trump win, so I caution you to consider it carefully as that will feel a little different in a month. Also consider the possibility that the comments that trouble you are those which don’t agree with you. They are not necessarily offensive on their surface, you just don’t agree with them.Whatever you decide to do is completely and totally your prerogative.I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog and I have gotten to know a lot of interesting folks here and learned a lot. I have met several persons face to face. Some of the folks I like the best are those with whom I have had apparent disagreements. I have had a blast meeting them when I travel to NYC and, frankly, I like the ones I disagree with most and find them to be the most interesting people.Nothing but good things to say but I am checking out. Best to all.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. DJL

      Echo chamber, indeed. Best wishes. (Back to say good-bye)PS – This has become a case study of Liberal hypocrisy. If you are going to lose an argument (or an election) – then bully the opponent, call them mean names and then pat yourself on the back for being superior and polite. It would be funny if it wasn’t so painful to watch.

      1. Lawrence Brass

        Just saw a deplorable stampede leaving the bar when I was coming in, what’s going on? Moving to Washington DC?JLM you are kidding right? You don’t remember what you did yesterday you drunk? You did a victory dance naked, for hours.. it was.. nasty. 😉

    2. cavepainting

      I do disagree with you on many things but have indeed enjoyed sparring with you. I hope you would reconsider your decision. I would also love it if you make an attempt to see the situation from the other side. There are few things in life where we are right 100%.

    3. Donna Brewington White

      If you are saying what I think you are saying, a grave loss indeed.

    4. Mac

      Hold on there, Hoss. Take a couple of BRC road trips over the weekend and call us Monday morning.

  43. Alex Griffiths

    I visit to read what is on your mind and expand what I’m thinking about. I have no interest in the comments. They add no value to me, only noise. The only time I’ll glance at them is if you call them out. If they cause you distress or take up too much time then do it. It’s not censorship, it’s just choosing not to have an open house policy (borrowing from the Hugh Macleod analogy). They will find another house with a rug to crap on.

  44. Chris Phenner

    Immediately reminded of Twitter’s issue with hate speech & trolls.

    1. fredwilson

      yup. same issue. when a few readers encouraged me to ban a few people (and everyone knows who they are), i replied that I don’t want to go down that road after watching Twitter go down it.

  45. Bob Schechter

    FWIW I read your blog pretty much every day and value it. Rarely, if ever, do I look at the comments so I wouldn’t care if there were none. But keep the blog going.

  46. JamesHRH

    I am a much less frequent consumer of AVC, for a variety of reasons.I still think very highly of many regulars and some of the regulars that are new to me.The days of Fred opening the VC kimono are long gone. VC investing is likely going back to traditional high capital entrrprise infrastructure plays. I can’t imagine that Fred learns much here at this point.Every bar runs its course and closes. I wouldn’t close the comments. I’d close the blog.

  47. Matt Zagaja

    My friend (and Berkman Klein affiliate) Nathan Matias has been working on randomized controlled experiments to make interventions that improve online communities like ours. He did his first one with /r/science on reddit:…. It may be worth e-mailing to talk to Nathan about potential changes you can make and/or having the AVC community participate in one of his experiments.

  48. Dan Epstein

    “Community policing” might be an interesting feature for Disqus. The blog owner could decide what it takes to get a comment booted (e.g. a block button in addition to the upvote/downvote). Would have a setting where the blogger decides how many “blocks” it takes before a comment is removed. Could also have an option for how many blocked comments lead to a commenter being banned.I love the blog. I often love the comments. It may be an interesting time to have the comments open. Thanks either way.

  49. Nathan Lustig

    Hi Fred,I rarely post, but read daily.It would be a shame if you closed down the comments section. There is so much good that comes out of it. I met an awesome person working in my industry who I didn’t know existed only a few weeks ago after your post about Mexico City. We met via phone and will do business together. That doesn’t happen without your comments section.I think most of the people in this community respect you a great deal. You’ve used the bar metaphor many times here. Some bars have alcoholics who can’t follow the rules. Some bars continue to serve them and let them pollute the rest of the bar. Others cut them off and ask them to leave, to take their behavior elsewhere. Most don’t shut down completely because of the bad behavior of some.Have you tried writing the biggest offenders personal messages with what you expect of them? And if they don’t follow them, you’d ask them to leave, just like any bar?This is your bar. Make the rules you’d like to see followed and ask the people who don’t follow them to leave. I understand you’re busy and it takes time, but I bet you could empower your moderators or community to help out.Thanks for creating this community and giving us a place to connect and exchange ideas, in addition to you dropping the knowledge direct in your posts. Your blog is one of the reasons I’ve started to write more about entrepreneurship and investing on my personal blog. I hope you keep it up, even if its a bit of a thankless job!

  50. leeschneider

    Frequent/daily post reader, usual comment section reader, occasional comment section commenter.My opinion: Frequent/daily/usual learning/knowledge extracted from comments > occasional lack of respect/civility found in comment section.

  51. Rob Larson

    It would help to automatically pin a list of “comment rules”, 3-5 guidelines as a reminder at the beginning of each comment section. (Disqus should add that feature immediately if not currently available). The automated daily reminder should be highly effective. People respect that this is your space and you set the rules. However it is easy for people to forget where the line is demarking acceptibility when they don’t have that constant reminder.

  52. ErikSchwartz

    I have been a member of this community since 2006. The erosion has been gradual but viewed over a longer time frame becomes really obvious. I know I participate MUCH less than I did in the past and a lot of that is because of tone.Many of us disagree about many things. Those disagreements used to be civil and respectful (although sometimes with a dash of snark thrown in). Not so much now.

    1. David Semeria

      Hi Erik. I don’t think it all boils down to tone. The nature of the conversation has changed. A few years ago there where real debates about things that were highly relevant to the start up sector. I remember an epic debate with Fred over liquidation preferences, for example. Now I see a lot of photo and video posts which don’t really add much to the debate.When I was younger, I used to go to several bars that were really buzzing but started going downhill when the punters began to get married and went out less. These bars are still relatively busy, but the atmosphere is not the same as it once was.I still pop in to these bars occasionally for a quick drink. But I always leave feeling sorry for the owner — slumped in the corner, talking about the good old days….

  53. JimHirshfield

    Yes, that’s how it works. I just down voted you comment above (for demonstrative purposes). Please don’t take it personally.

    1. Girish Mehta

      That was funny Jim.

      1. JimHirshfield

        And I just up voted you for up voting him

        1. Girish Mehta

          “Its no use, Mr James – its turtles all the way down”.

          1. JimHirshfield

            peace. out.

    2. Mario Cantin

      Seriously you didn’t, but if you had, would the digit 1, in this case, show up next to the down arrow. It would have to I think.

      1. JimHirshfield

        I guess you never noticed that there are no vote counts next to down votes. Only displays them next to up votes. The Disqus backend does count/track the number of down votes, but it doesn’t display them to users. They found it snowballs and spurs negativity. Seeing the down vote counter, I guess, has a negative influence on others.

        1. Mario Cantin

          Ahh! I had deduced that everyone was just too nice on AVC to down-vote anyone — again I misplace my faith in humanity….

          1. JimHirshfield

            I would just say that the feature is working as intended:”everyone was just too nice on AVC”

          2. Anne Libby

            I have never downvoted you. Or @JimHirshfield:disqus

  54. Chimpwithcans

    Been longing for election season to end, because this blog is infinitely more interesting sans politics. Keep going Fred, you enable an amazing thing here, which is not an echo chamber – that is very valuable.

  55. Salt Shaker

    Context and topics matter. When you throw accelerant on a fire, whether intentional or not, you’re gonna get an inferno. Your post yesterday comes on the heels of the most contentious election in U.S. politics. The results were shocking and dispiriting for many, myself included. To expect a different outcome from the community than what transpired yesterday, even in retrospect, is prob not a reasonable expectation. Emotions were (and still are) running quite high.I went back and re-read yesterday’s discourse. There def were several comments IMO that were OTT and could use civic massaging, but by and large the thread was civil and informative. Comments are an integral part of this blog’s experience and strength of community. They add perspective and insight to your post. If people choose to ignore to read, then that’s cert their prerogative, but excising comments would be like cutting off a limb. Set some ground rules, and perhaps you implicitly have by virtue of today’s post, and move on. When you ride the NYC subway there used to be signs (maybe there still are) saying: “no smoking, loud radio playing and spitting,” or something to that effect. (I honestly haven’t seen a spitter in quite a while). Expectations and decorum may seem to be self-evident, but in the absence of explicit instructions, they often aren’t.Whatever you decide, thanks for the ride!

  56. Gringo Gigante

    Hi Fred. I am a long time lurker and very seldom post anything. I love your blog and reading the comment sections even though I disagree with your political viewpoints 1000%. I live in Mexico City and have several tech businesses down here so I see both sides of that particular issue. I want to see if I can articulate OUR viewpoint. It really makes me mad when so many people post about, this mess, or Trump is horrible, etc.. I have the exact same feelings about Obama and Clinton. I do have the discipline and respect not to lash out that anger via comments or bad behavior. I would love to have a civil discourse about the issues but that isn’t possible for the most part. When you are called stupid, dumb, deplorable over and over again you take offense to it and unfortunately some people lash out in inappropriate ways. I hope people can understand the “secret trump” voters syndrome. I am also ashamed of people on “my” side that cant control their anger. It is embarrassing and doesn’t help. I wish there was a timeout or ignore button for those times when people get out of hand but I do hope you keep the comments open and know that it isn’t personal. PS. I truly believe that the country is getting ready for a boom and the policies of Trump will trigger that boom. We should be encouraged about that possibility.

  57. David A. Frankel

    The impersonal nature of the internet makes it extremely limited as a medium for intelligent, civil discourse, particularly on personal topics like politics and religion. At this point, everyone should know this.So while I get agitated by the lack of civility, respect and empathy I see online, I think the best course of action is to “go high when they go low.” I say keep the great content coming, the comments open and the discourse flowing. If we all exercise restraint (not just here, but everywhere online) by not engaging when things get out of hand, things will naturally regulate themselves.

  58. Michael Shaler

    Fred, I am a lurker and a fan–of you and this community. I can easily imagine that you are done with everything that happened yesterday. I can imagine the question becomes this: why have another echo chamber when there are already far too many out in the wild already?I am selfish here: if you shut down comments, I will learn less. I don’t want to see that happen. I know you don’t want any more yesterday’s, and I don’t know that the commenters pissing you off will get any better behaved any time soon. Thanks for creating an environment that still offers me and many others a lot for learning.

  59. someone

    Depressing that JLM is leaving.He knows more than most of us about a lot of things.Sadly predictable that he would be disparaged here.Bye.

  60. Sam

    WaitButWhy did a “WaitButHi” experiment last August where people from all over the world who share the blog as a common link got together to have a meal together. The results were awesome and documented here:…AVC is that rare kind of community that could pull off an event like that, and as I reflect on why that is, the comments are a big reason why.

  61. Frank Traylor

    My vote is to keep the community. I’ll be contrarian with the view that it was a useful conversation to me. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on in our country. There’s always a lot to discuss in politics, what’s changed is the anger. The discussion was an example of this challenge. Two intelligent, well informed people at each other’s throats. Many in our country are less informed but still at each other’s throats.Fred, I don’t blame you for rejecting vitriol (even mixed with good argument) on your blog. Although a republican I see myself as centrist. In presidential elections I’ve voted R, D, D, R, D. I voted for Clinton. I saw both candidates as flawed, Clinton less of a risk.I believe the problem in the country is our disrespect for each other and differences of opinion. I have embraced the fact that we have a new president and despite the issues I have with him begin from position of cautious support and vigilant monitoring.Unfortunately, I don’t see that acceptance from others. Not only are people rioting against Trump, they are rioting against the “racist” “ignorant” people that elected him. That kind of disdain for fellow citizens will drive us into the ground. I felt those emotions were exhibited on your blog yesterday.We have to find a way to respect each other. Our differences of opinion have become hatred. I’m trying to understand it so I can process it. Ignoring it won’t help me just as turning off your comments won’t help us. Your post today is instead the proper direction. An exploration of civility and expression. Thanks for posting everyday. I learn a lot.

    1. David A. Frankel

      @fredwilson:disqus Civility, respect and most of all EMPATHY needs to be points of emphasis in order for us all to move forward. Strongly suggest members of the community watch this great short from Brene Brown on the topic:

  62. V Tyree

    11 10 2016 Hey Fred Wilson, A suggestion: let time pass… Your mood will change. The trolls have low moods and mental health issues, no insight, and may be helped with counseling; who knows? If they are alive, there is hope. I learn from your posts and laugh; thank you! I agreed with the conclusion that not responding to the trolls, they eventually go away… Be well. v

  63. Ben Longstaff

    I have been reading your blog since 2006, it has been extremely valuable for me and I am sure countless others. It is sad to hear of your frustration, it sounds like a very difficult decision to make, I hope that whatever choice you make it brings you happiness.

  64. Ian Rae

    It seems that there is “job to be done” here. Fred is too busy to moderate but it needs to be done (someone has to enforce traffic rules or there are no rules). Seems like a startup idea – rent-a-moderator that works closely to provide the level and type of moderation that the blog owner wants.

  65. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    This erosion has surely been simultaneous to a rise in polemics as an alternative to debate that we see in the political world.Maybe Avc on such days is faithfully reflecting public standards.If so exploring this at a meta level has potential value

  66. Kent Karlsen

    Fred, I really like your blog posts. I really like it most when you talk about business and investing. And what you think and like. Hope you find a solution to your problem. Suggestions: Time delayed posting and “flag: Go to chat room/twitter” (off topic, rasism, agitators etc).

  67. jason wright

    This post would have been perfectly timed for tomorrow with an alliterative and pithy title.I suggest you write posts for the next seven days but only publish the title and not the text, and close the comments. People will then ponder what they might be missing, and reflect on how they might feel if AVC shuttered permanently.P.S. calling someone a “dickhead” was your low point. We can all be angels. We can all be arschlocks.I would miss your blog if you stopped. Does disqus allow you to limit the number of comments a member can post in a time period/ per post?There has to be a blockchain solution. Each member is a delegate, we all vote on comments, and that operates a regulating mechanism that throttles open and closed the further entitlement to comment.

  68. Andrew Badr

    Fred, do you think it’s possible for a business to solve moderation-as-a-service in a scalable way?

  69. Dayna Gant

    Fred, you know I rarely comment but have been a reader since the beginning. I couldn’t wait to read your post election post and after I read it I thought, that is the most brilliant post you’ve written and the next thought was, oh god, there are going to be some bar fights. I skip watching the fights, they are boring. What I want to urge you to do if nothing else, don’t stop blogging. Your thoughts, passions, humor and intensity reach thousands and thousands of people, and I may be reaching here but I doubt it, you change peoples lives for the better. Very few humans can say that, and you do it regularly through your blog, your work and your passions. Whatever you do with the comments is for you to decide, but I think you really got your point across today, as you usually do soooooo well.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks Dayna

      1. Jeff Hohner

        Thanks Dayna – I couldn’t agree more. Fred – it must be exhausting some days, but your impact has been immense – especially for all the younger readers who are looking for direction and ‘mentors’ – there are very few out there one can count on to always be there. You are one of them in my books (and many I meet have told me this). Comments are so rich and provide a lot of extra value for sure, but your views and opinions (the real you) are the real reason people drop by and stay to become part of the family. AVC is you. Your tool, your diary, your notebook – all out there for others to see. A good part of your brain put out there for others to leverage. Experience shows that certain people start to take things (and certainly people) for granted – and don’t realize how lucky they were until they are gone. From one of the people you have had a profound impact on – keep up the great work and thank you for all that you do.

  70. tnic99

    Fred, just to remind what you already know, shut it down and “they” win. This is a large problem to be solved, it extends well beyond AVC. That means large opportunity. Someone is figuring it out. Let me know when you find them, I’d love to invest.

  71. ShanaC

    Thank you

  72. Jeff Gray

    I read through the comments from yesterday and didn’t see much there that raised an eyebrow — unlike like the stuff that has been hitting my Facebook timeline.

  73. denmeade

    Fred, thank you for this and for all the ideas you put out in the world. I’m a long time reader but rarely comment. I respect the time many smart people have put into freely sharing their perspectives and knowledge but have been put off reading the discussions lately by the unpleasant edge in some of the interactions.

  74. Pete Griffiths

    I think it is absolutely worth not censoring anything other than the most heinous excesses because there are people here who have completely different views from mine but who are extremely well informed and make me think (e.g. JLM) and I like being forced out of my bubble.

  75. Lawrence Brass

    It would be very sad if you have to shut down the place.It has been a long and ugly process, everybody is stressed out. Please make your decision with a cold head.I am for diversity, and that sometimes means dealing with diverse temperaments, stances and cultural differences. Write a code of conduct for us to follow.++ We can vote down, why nobody use it? Maybe because new clients come, see that no one uses it and follow.

  76. Crocodile Bungee

    I am afraid that I do not comment here very often. Mostly because I am from the UK and while I am, yes, a struggling-for-air entrpreneur looking for clues, I am a European one, and it’s a somewhat different environment. And speaking as the most Liberal person I know, the political adjectives mean different things too.Yesterday was a shock for you all – even those who “won”. What should be most shocking though is the personalisation. The parallels with Brexit might seem uncanny but in reality there is just one parallel. A great many of you voted one way in a highly emotionally-laden election, and a very simialr number voted the other way. The politicians allowed the conversation to become charged like that – they encouraged it and banked on it really – and they carry the can for the aftermath. We did the same with Brexit, and the day after continues even now. So am I a xenophobic Little Englander or am I an in-the-tent-pissing-out elitist? You’ll have to guess. Clue: I am neither of those things.Cheer up! It will be fine.

  77. george

    Yesterday – possibly a social crash-test…Wish I could buy everyone a drink, this community has much, much more beauty, than beast!

  78. Yinka!

    Too little too late: The atmosphere you describe is why many like me keep away (and rarely dip into comments when I drop by) because there are other venues available where similar topics are discussed and differing views engage (even on very touchy topics) with less animus.Differing views are good but when negative patterns result in the same few loud voices and prevent a well-rounded convo, then it’s obviously not even about the actual views but the poorer quality of discussion. It IS your bar/house/party and allowing certain toxic tendencies to flourish is implicitly condoning it, as is your right. Doing nothing to curb negative patterns you see is prioritizing the need to not be seen as censoring above the cultivation of a richer community. If you are concerned, then consider that you wouldn’t let such ruin an actual gathering at your house and do likewise here: Curb egregious speech/behaviour that is ultimately denigrating to the community (in line with how you’d moderate your house party) or close comments (it’s understandable if you cannot find the time to do it or inclination to have others do it for you).

  79. ZekeV

    Personally I came here to talk about bitcoin. I stayed to read folksy editorials from a Texas viewpoint, which for the record I have always enjoyed and have never offended me even though I disagree on politics. Let’s go back to talking about bitcoin, and the politics can take place in the real world over beers. Or in the vile anonymous comments section over on Slate.

  80. creative group

    William Mougayar:The ignore button should allow the ignored not having the ability to see the one ignoring them post. What use is the ignore option. Might not be possible.

  81. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:Progressives are in denial regarding the strong racist, bigotry, misogyny and xenophobia of contributors already possessed. DJT only spoke what they actually thought. Let the excuses and denial fly.

  82. Mac

    Whoaaa! Haven’t logged in this week and feel like I just stepped in front of a tsunami. Fred, not having read yesterday’s post (and not planning to), maybe I can objectively offer up some advice given to me by a very respected financial planner.He said that after forty years the most important thing he learned was that no two things break up a family (or community) faster than money and politics. Thus, he knew when it was time to pass the pipe around.Simple solution:1. Avoid “hot button” topics.2. When you feel compelled to post “hot button” topics, just close it to Comments. Get it off your chest and head over USV for another day of moving the needle.Besides, that’s not why most ‘regulars’ come here. We can find “hot button”posts anywhere. You’ve distinguished yourself among VC bloggers and thus attract high caliber commenters. That’s why I signed up for this class years ago. I’d hate to see it end just when I’m beginning to understand some of this.With compliments. Mac

  83. Lee Dale

    Having read through most of the comments on yesterday’s post, I’ve got to say, aside from being an aggressive segue from the post itself, and the odd personal attack, the discourse was generally reasonable and the varied viewpoints quite refreshing.That thread was one of the best views into the varied perspectives of the Republicans I’ve seen, going much deeper than mainstream media’s deplorable sound bites, and certainly getting into more detail than most social feeds.I’d consider it a win that the discussion didn’t devolve too far into standard internet comment territory (though that bar is so so low), but I’d also say it was a real pleasure to see how varied the AVC community is and have the chance to read the different perspectives on the potential economic impact and other AVC related topics.It’s good to keep things civil, but I think there was a heckuva lot more value in that thread than you’ll get anywhere else and I think you’d do the community a disservice if you turned the comments off if that’s as hairy as they get.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      It is one of those comment threads that I will probably go back to for reflection when not feeling so raw. There was so much pain there and in the country at large but a much better discussion than anywhere else and some gems worth revisiting in trying to understand the election results.

  84. cavepainting

    I have learnt a lot from the debates and discussions on this forum. But… I will be lying if I say I have not had some moments of deep discomfort with knots forming in my stomach. It is high time for all of us to reflect a bit on the type of discourse we want to have, and how to disagree without being nasty.Free speech works better when there is some restraint and humility.

  85. mikenolan99

    Thank you Fred.My wife was crying this morning. She was trying to prepare herself for the day after the day. It’s her job to support the counselors in 30+ schools.The day before a line of white boys had yelled, jeered, and even spit on students of color. At another, “go home to Africa” was scrawled on a students locker. And, at yet another school, a 16 year old Somalia American girl was afraid for her life.I called my daughter, and was told that someone had spray-painted “Ni***r” on the St. Thomas campus. Twice she heard “go back to where you came from” shouted on campus.I don’t have the lens to fully appreciate the trauma that this election has caused. I know my wife and daughter are hurting. I know my daughter, and her black girlfriend, feel unsafe, and under attack.I just read a read a friends’ post “…these {protesters} need to find something productive to do….” Sigh…. I am ashamed at this privileged viewpoint.We, and many of our friends, come from a world of privilege. Our voices are easily heard.Other voices can only be heard through protest. It is their right. It is all they can do to try to be heard. Listen.There is no denying that the bigots, racists, xenophobes and homophobes feel emboldened by Trump.I am ashamed at those who looked past this foreseeable outcome, looked past the pain and divisiveness, to get the man they wanted.If this is the price of fiscal conservatism, the price is too high for me.

    1. ShanaC

      *hug* for you and your family. I wish I could do more right this second.

    2. JMorphy88

      shitthatdidnthappen.txtSeriously, we’ve been hearing these BS stories for days now, nobody believes them, nor should they. Try a new tactic.

      1. mikenolan99

        Sadly, these are not news stories. These are first hand accounts. My wife is President-elect of the Minnesota School Psychology Association, and oversees councilors, psychologists and special needs at over 30+ schools. Ping me if you want her phone number. Seriously. You need to hear some of these accounts.

        1. JMorphy88

          So, she deals with mentally ill people? Any possibility they could be making things up to get attention, or as a general symptom of their condition? This would hardly be unprecedented behavior from the mentally ill left… most “hate crimes” are completely fabricated.

  86. alive88

    Can you get a feature added to disqus that allows the viewers to toggle shitheads in and out of the conversations? more curation w/ filters than moderation/banning. maybe some AI/cognitive analysis to do this automagically.

  87. Kirsten Lambertsen

    You know, after looking at the commentary today, it seems like you have a fascinating opportunity on your hands, really. Most comment shit-shows are *blatantly* horrifically bad. The kind of bad that anyone can spot.I’m bemused by how many commenters here today almost can’t figure out what all the fuss over yesterday is about. The kind of disrespect that went on is indeed harder to spot. It’s subtle, passive aggressive (and to give the offenders a sliver of credit, possibly unintentional).Twain Twain’s share yesterday about the AI that predicted Trump’s win early on made me think about the AI possibilities with commenting. There’s a startup out there now (a Chrome plugin, maybe? I forget…) that helps people write less sexist, racist, etc. job listings, and other communications, using AI to get better and better at it.It would be fun to participate in some application of that kind of thing here in the comments at AVC. And I think these comments would be a *great* test case because we’re talking about something more sophisticated than just detecting f-bombs.It’s what I wish Twitter would do. Have an AI gently nudge you when you’re about to post something potentially disrespectful, cruel or threatening. It would be a private, non-embarrassing, non-condemning way for people to learn why and how they’re offending others. Plus it could help *prevent* offense in the first place (rather than mop up the mess afterwards).All these years later, no one’s created a non-binary tech solution to comment trash fires. The community here could help do that.

    1. Twain Twain

      THIS: “All these years later, no one’s created a non-binary tech solution to comment trash fires. The community here could help do that.”The unfortunate thing is that current data sets used to train the AI to detect subtle nuance and sentiment aren’t up to it. And nor are the algorithms and frameworks like Word2Vec and skipgrams.There were articles yesterday on how Facebook and Twitter’s algorithms may have affected the election.*…*…It boils down to the inadequacy of existing data sets and the Cartesian logic and Bayesian probability+statistical methods used in Natural Language understanding.https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c…For all the smart people in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, the way in which the algorithms reinforce binary biases and can’t understand language and values hasn’t been something on must-do lists.The algorithms are set up to simply count and optimize $ clicks.Moreover, it means taking a hard look at Descartes and Bayes’ frameworks which have been around for 450+ years and which are the roots of today’s binary data and algo problems. It means taking hard looks at the psychometric frameworks that have been around since the 1920s with the development of surveying systems and Likert’s scale in 1932.How many in SV with its short-termist and narrow windows geared towards customer acquisition, retention and $clickbait have the knowhow and willingness to take that hard look and invent solutions to resolve the inadequacies of the data and Descartes and Bayes?@fredwilson:disqus and @wmoug:disqus know I’ve been coding a system to deal with those problems of data and AI’s binary biases.Maybe the issues raised by this and the Brexit election about what tech can / can’t do for opinion surveying, democratic representation and understanding what people say and mean will make Silicon Valley take that hard look at those deep-rooted problems with binary data, biases, inclusion and probability+statistical methods.And, you’re right, it’s a fascinating opportunity and there are several people here who are technical who could help build those non-binary AI comment filters that would act as better checks and balances for the community.Wider afield, there’s a very real need for data and AI to represent and serve ALL of us. That’s what this little ant plugs away at.

    2. bsoist

      I’m bemused by how many commenters here today almost can’t figure out what all the fuss over yesterday is about.I know, right? I am reading through these now, and I can’t believe it.

      1. JamesHRH

        Does it ever cross your mind that you & Kirsten are in the minority?Lots of people find what happened on the 9th intense but educational and challenging. Bring your PoV A game days.Fred used to love it when all hell broke loose on a topic he was interested in when did not have a horse in the race (yet). He had a big bet on this and now he is not happy with the conflict.

        1. bsoist

          It’s about where I spend my energy, James. I am not sure I’m in the minority, but I do know I could bring some perspective on certain days, but I have other battles to fight – some I’ve been fighting for decades.I don’t want to make this personal, but you leave some of my least favorite comments. You have a very off-putting way of barging into other people’s discussions. Your comment here is a case in point – it’s very presumptuous of you speak for @fredwilson:disqus and tell me where I should be spending my time.I have spoken to Fred more than a few times about the comments over the last four years. I don’t want to make the same mistake you did above ( speaking for him ), but I think you have it wrong in your comment.If you want to respond to the conversation @MsPseudolus:disqus and I started, then stick to the substance of the comments we posted. She was surprised that people in this thread are talking as though they don’t even know what was wrong with the comments on 11/9. I agreed with her. You disagree? Would you be willing to re-read the comments from 11/9 with a fresh perspective to see if you see what I see?

          1. JamesHRH

            I did that last night. I didn’t find much that was offensive.I certainly don’t find the word ‘nonsense’ offensive, just a bit of a challenge. I did think that @JLM:disqus was a little less tolerant of opposition than is his typical mode, but the guy went all in on Trump 6 months ago and he was right. I consider my self neutral on US politics and even I have salted him with some fire on Trump, during the campaign.I have now evolved to the tentative position that President Elect Trump ran a brilliant – if both divisive and dangerous campaign – and that Bill & Hillary Clinton’s craven self-interest and mafia style approach to their career aspirations will likely leave the Democrats int he wilderness for a decade or more.Passionate big money donors like Mr. Wilson have a lot of reasons to be very, very angry.Jeff has every reason to be frustrated that commenters on AVC apply so little rigour to their political thinking. He is distinctly in the minority in this forum, given his military service, real estate career and, frankly, age. I have always thought that AVC was lucky to have his perspective and that it said a lot about Jeff that he actively sought out a chair at the AVC bar. He can be insensitive, but most exceedingly effective people are, at times.I feel that I have to defend my own conduct, given that @MsPseudolus:disqus has accused me of the over-used (IMHO) transgression of ‘mansplaining’. I feel I commented in my typical direct, curious and informed (when I am informed) manner. Its not for everyone, but its not offensive by most common standards.I am aware that it bugs some people, as I state what I state like it is correct. I’ve done my homework and I think through my comments if I challenge someone on their statements (Charlie comes to mind). I am factually accurate more than most people.Its hard to feel that I was trolling, when I apologized for a joke and provided a lengthy explanation of my position. To me, that’s not offside.I think, as a starter, it should be noted that Charlie started the off topic political discourse, with conjecture that was both partisan and pejorative.Next, I think you should know that I am not surprised that my comments are some of your least favourites – we appear to be extremely different in our natures. Would it surprise you that the majority of your comments are among my least favourite? I am sure you find my directness stressful as I find your self involvement annoying. However, I am quite sure I have learned things from both you and Kirsten that were of value. Perhaps you cannot say the same about me.Now, to the heart of the issue: the idea that someone can ‘barge into’ a comment thread is not something I would ever conceive of suggesting about the comments section of AVC. Its a public blog, with an open comments community and something like 50,000+ MAU. Private conversations in this forum are an attempt to deny reality (to me).That is what I find interesting about your and Kirsten’s approach – you expect others to conform to your mode, where as I do not. What is even more unusual, is that you – as sensitive introverts – expect people to communicate to you in a way you find appropriate in a forum that is the online equivalent of a town square full of 1000’s of people.As a detached extrovert, my view of the forum (and its affect on me, mostly energizing) is much different. C’est la vie. Different strokes for different folks.And yes, I am aware that my approach is, naturally, more amendable to a raucous public forum. I like crowds and a good disagreement. My philosophy suits my nature. I think that holds true for all of us.Finally, I can tell you for certain that I find your approach to this interaction completely arrogant, self affirming and a form of entrapment.The substance of the comments you ask me to respond to require me to accept that my behaviour broke some sort of conduct code that is netter explicit nor shared by all regulars. Its the age old ‘when did you stop beating your wife?’ routine.It certainly does not bode well for your case that the words you and Kristen prefer are: subtle, passive-aggressive & bemused. I get that the core of your being is your belief that you see things that others do not. However, that does not mean that you are right.As I mentioned to Kirsten, I would happily have her explain my phantom mansplaining transgressions to me (same goes for you)……the obvious question is why is it that neither of you will do so?There are three obvious answers:- explaining makes the code of conduct explicit, which means you then lose your self perceived control over me (and others) because publicizing the details of the code of conduct means you can no longer be the sole arbiter of a code of conduct known only to self perceived insiders- you lose some or all of your self perceived insider status by explaining it to others- you actually can’t explicitly state it, because there actually is no code, just a self-perceived council of self-perceived insiders who self-perceive themselves as arbiters of conduct (but who are actually just sensitive, and are using this ruse as a form of passive aggressive self defence and to support their internal superiority complex monologue).In there words – its a petty small ‘p’ political parlour trick.As for your erroneous assertion that I spoke for Fred and your high handed name dropping that you have spoken to him and he agrees with you (let’s just say that I would need substantially more proof of that, from a less self-interested source), you should know that I based my comments on……wait for it…..the written record of AVC, which includes several references by Fred that the conflict on the blog has informed him on many topics. His most typical comment in this regard is that he ‘has profited far more significantly from AVC than anyone else’.And, his all time favourite regular is Kid Mercury – a battlebot of epic reputation.For what it is worth, I gave Fred a book called The 9 Ways of Working several years ago (I am 99% sure he never cracked the cover). It contains a simple, elegant and very effective personality model. It explains the 3 natural ‘currencies’ of people (ideas, emotions, social state) & the 3 naturally occurring perspectives of people (I control, others control, no one should control). It allows you to quickly, albeit roughly, put people in one of 9 personalities / philosophies / natures and to understand ‘who’ people are and ‘what’ they desire from life.It also makes it baldly apparent that it takes an incredible commitment, from both sides, to connect with others in a mutually productive fashion.I doubt you, I nor Kirsten will make that effort in this forum. I too dedicate my energies elsewhere.But I strongly recommend you read it. Its the framework I use to accurately unearth the motivations of people I interact with and to protect my self from their occasional spurious attack on my behaviour and, obviously, to help me convince people to see my side of an issue.PS -Please don’t respond with a side step like “I do not have time or energy to pull you from your Luddite status into the light.’ – Kirsten’s favourite dodge. Not because its not true, but because it will only confirm to anyone who reads this post that I have accurately outlined your & Kirsten’s nature, motivations and methods (looking out for you here).If you wish to respond and prove me wrong (and even explain my phantom transgressions), nothing would make me happier.PSS -You may have forgotten that my father practised criminal law for nearly 50 years, is regarded as one of the most gifted courtroom figures in CDN legal history and had a reputation as ‘a human Xray machine’ for his ability to quickly and accurately unearth a person’s nature and motivations.Again, just looking out for you here – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

          2. bsoist

            There is something you really don’t get, James. You don’t get to make the rules. You are doing it again – explaining to me what the rules are. I have no responsibility to come to Kirsten’s defense. Just because you say that my lack of a defense is an indictment of her, doesn’t make it so.I consider JLM a friend and I didn’t mention him in my comment at all. I value his perspective. He and I agree on quite a lot, actually. I’m sure he doesn’t need you to defend him against me. (BTW, I also called a Trump victory before he was even considered a serious contender for the nomination. I also agree with Trump on a few things. Imagine that from a sensitive introvert.)I also find it perplexing that you think I’m a “sensitive introvert.” I am, in fact, a sensitive extrovert. Sensitive or not, though, I piss people off all the time because I have opinions, based on logic, and sometimes that makes people angry. You and I would actually find a lot of common ground here, I think. I just don’t run around trying explaining to people what they should be doing or stirring up old arguments just for the enjoyment of it.RE: barging inI was not implying the conversation was private or even that you were not welcome. I’m referring to your habit of changing the subject. You did it here so I’m not sure why I have to defend my assertion with more examples (though I remember very clearly being pissed at you for picking at old wounds in the comments back in November 2014).You went on a little bit of a rant about some “code of conduct” which you, correctly, point out does not exist. I didn’t ask you to conform to anything. I did not ask you to change your behavior. I did not even call it wrong. I simply said I didn’t like it. I don’t like it when people pick fights with people. Simple as that.You stated that Fred “used to like it when all hell broke loose” which, in context, implies two things – 1) that he no longer does, and 2) that what he “used to like” was similar in nature to what he was pissed about now. I think you are wrong on both counts.

          3. JamesHRH

            I find a significant amount of inconsistencies between this statement & others: I prefer this one.I don’t like it when people publicly state opinions that imply negative things about others and then raise their hands to say ‘What, just saying what I think……’ as an excuse. You & Fred & Kirsten have done this. Not a fan of that behaviour.Let’s leave it at that.

  88. Julian Raphael

    Fred, I’ve been greatly enjoying A VC and its community for years now and the greatest learnings came from the combination of both and especially when there were disagreements. A community of such bright people should be able to police itself eventually, don’t you think?Yesterday’s discussion has been as emotional as the whole election has been. Actually, it still was much more civil! During my last visit (October), you could feel the divide in the air everywhere, in the last days it has become more than obvious and it’s places like A VC where smart people from both sides of the spectrum need to start focusing on making the best of the situation.

  89. Anon

    Don’t do it Fred. It’s not”censoring”. It’s realising that cruelty, disrespect and dehumanisation exist out there, and should be fought. Sometime the fight is blocking comments.

  90. Aviah Laor

    The comments here, and the outlet for open speech and discussion is too important. Especially now.

  91. Bdub

    Help me understand… a couple of unique snowflakes need a safe space after blistering criticisms of their prophecies of doom and falling skies being “nonsense”?Gosh, better clutch some pearls.

  92. Donna Brewington White

    Fred, this is your blog. You have been generous to maintain this as a community even after signalling by your minimal involvement in the comments that the community is no longer of direct benefit to you.Naturally others have filled the void and while the community has had more vibrant days in the past it has remained vital.When it comes to difficult topics this has been a reliable place to hear an intelligent yet diverse exchange of ideas. Even people whose comments I once skipped over I have learned to value. I have learned so much… and this just doesn’t happen anywhere else to this degree.In the past, there have been brutal yet at the same time tremendously valuable discussions on AVC.So why this question now?I have encouraged several people in my life not to make any big decisions right now. Especially those mourning (or even devastated by) the results or the aftermath of the election.Anyway, do what you must. And thank you very much for what you have provided. This community has helped to change my life.

    1. fredwilson

      i am not making any decisions Donna. I gave a warning

      1. Mac


  93. Mike Cautillo

    I know for me, I believe the internet is one of the greatest means of communication ever built/known to mankind, though it comes with some interesting trade-offs. It seems to me anyway, that some feel entitled to express groves of unlimited babble (for lack of a better word). It also gave many a new sense of confidence/courage which they otherwise never had. Great for innovation, though we’ll need to brush up on the human relations! I suspect that if every online conversation was a Skype video call, things would be different….at least that’s the way I try to approach it.

  94. Chris

    I hope you don’t close the comments. I believe the only way we improve the divisions that are going on in our country is through engagement with one another and a sincere attempt to have empathy for each others point of view. This is one of the few places that I can go and get points of view on a variety of topics I care about from people who have opinions across the spectrum. I’d be all for a set of rules of engagement (must be respectful of one another, no personal attacks, etc) but I think we take steps in the wrong direction when we move away from one another. Obviously your call. My 2 cents.

  95. JaredMermey

    Pretty sure Trump proved AVC thesis of networks over historical hierarchical/bureaucratic structures.

  96. Tom Hart

    This was very sad to hear. Be nice people, for Fred and the imperfect humans on the other end of their computers doing the best they can. Thank you Fred!

  97. RichardF

    This is addressed specifically to you Fred. I actively avoid commenting on political posts because being British my views/knowledge is not sufficient. But what I will say is this we had Brexit and it polarized people for a while, then we got over it! I was passionate about not leaving and probably a pain in the ass to some of my friends on social media. Its a process.As far as AVC is concerned its changed and that has been happening for a while primarily because you have stepped back. You used to interact, now you don’t. So its taken on a life of its own. The community were “self” policing because actually your presence policed it. At the moment there are a few people who are dominant here who are boors quite frankly and need slapping down and maybe you are the only one who can do that.I don’t blame you if you feel like switching AVC off if it doesn’t interest you anymore, life’s to short.I check in here every day, the community has changed and that’s bound to happen but if you are not engaging then the quality of comments are not going to improve

  98. Willy Voet

    I am a long time, but infrequent, reader and commenter. I read the pre-election posts and comments, and I think one simple solution would be to add quantity limits: comments per person per day/post or simply comment length – 250 word limit. A loudmouth ruins a community. A loudmouth ruins a party.

  99. Michael

    No need to struggle nor to go to the extreme of throwing out the good with the bad. Just throw out the bad and enjoy life.

  100. Carrie

    Hello Fred,This made me happy. To know you are fed up, you want to have a community that self censors. That you want to go be a part of. This is why I think it might be time for some other voices to start talking. Tonight I could not sleep. Maybe to censor the voices we do not want to hear the best thing to do is start talking. To drown’d out the trolls.

  101. Twain Twain

    You’re a better man than Trump, Charlie. He only knew how to sell hate & fear.https://uploads.disquscdn.c

  102. PhilipSugar

    Here is the thing I believe. We have checks and balances that have kept this country (civil war exception) together for more than 200 years. Once you are elected you are elected.I have told people in my office there is no discussion of politics here. When an official (been happening a lot lately)comes we give him or her the respect of the office. I actually use the term this is our house and when somebody comes to our house we treat them well.Now I wouldn’t mind if Fred said talk politics here and you are out. Sexist and you are out (now that needs to be overt, which I have seen here, out. Religious other than to just understand…out. But then just like me at my office you have to follow your own rules.(we occasionally discuss religion but only to understand….for instance did you know that if you are Hindu before your male child can have his first haircut you have to back to India where he gets dunked in the river and has his head shaved. Over a ton of hair at this one temple a day!)

  103. awaldstein

    You are a straight shooter.Looking forward to a meal in the future.

  104. Rohan

    I wouldn’t generalize that to Hindus. The % who follow that tradition is very small. There are some 700 million of us. 🙂

  105. cavepainting

    Philip, I am a Hindu and it is a tradition in my family. But I know of many people who do not follow it. It does have some religious significance but objectively speaking, there is nothing really good or bad about it. Some people follow it and some don’t. It is an individual choice that does not hurt or affect anyone.

  106. PhilipSugar

    I am sorry that is how it was explained to me…so you are saying it’s a tradition even if you are not Hindu?Every Friday happy hour we have a tradition. We learn a slang word in Hindi, Russian, Romanian, Spanish, and EnglishWe speak only English in the office but we celebrate our differencesToday we had our monthly potluck lunch. (Management is not invited to the weekly Friday one. Where one person makes We go out)I brought an entire applewood smoked pork shoulder. Now I know that my Indian and Jewish colleagues can’t eat but they don’t care. We have plenty of things and now that apples have been picked I can get the prunings.We laugh together as they try and get me to eat some vegetarian vindaloo that is ungodly hot

  107. Rohan

    I am saying it isn’t a Hindu tradition overall. It is true that a certain group of Hindus in the north do the dip in the Ganges. But definitely not the case all over the country.For example, a group in the south insists on going to a famous temple for the first shave. 🙂

  108. PhilipSugar

    He went to this one:…He said he really isn’t too religious but his wife is and he needed to go.

  109. Rohan

    Aaah! That’s exactly the temple I was talking about. That’s a tradition that a lot of folks in 2 southern states – Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh follow. 🙂

  110. PhilipSugar

    You have the pictures in your inbox. He was explaining and we said…what???We celebrated the differences.

  111. PhilipSugar

    There is nothing but good. See my comments below, we celebrate the learning of a different culture. To try and understand different cultures and religions is nothing but good.

  112. PhilipSugar

    And this is a good discussion. I misunderstood.

  113. cavepainting

    No worries. I understood the larger point you were trying to make.

  114. Ayush Neupane

    And that is about Indian Hindus. Nepali Hindus do it differently 😉

  115. PhilipSugar

    Yes, that is good to know. This is why I don’t mind discussing religion in the office if we are trying to understand and celebrate differences.The problem is that is hard to do with politics because supporting one person means not supporting another.But we can celebrate understanding our differences. Ask Rohan, the pictures are priceless. He sent them back to the office and we just had a hoot.I now know that this is much more of a regional tradition rather than a religious belief. Great!It’s one of the reasons we have those potlucks. I think food is the greatest thing to celebrate differences. I travel extensively. I always eat local food. Everybody knows I do not want to have somebody in a foreign land try and serve me something that they think I am familiar with. I want to eat what they eat. (Now that is easier for me because I will eat and stomach almost anything, and really don’t have any restrictions)The only time I ever got sick was on a Subway Sub in Singapore. (they bought them for a working lunch because they thought I would like)I have eaten around the world, from Iceland to Shanghai and everyplace in between.