Feedback

Thanks for all of the feedback on yesterday’s post.

There have been about 250 comments to date and a similar number of email replies.

Not surprisingly the feedback from the email replies was overwhelmingly supportive of removing the comments. It seems that most of the people who read via email don’t wade into the comments. And they email me directly with comments which often leads to a one to one private conversation.

The feedback in the comments was overwhelmingly to keep them. And there were lots of strong arguments for that.

I did get one email from a reader who told me the ability to engage in the AVC comments helped him get through a difficult time in college. That got my attention.

I also got a ton of suggestions on how to modify the comments to make them more manageable (limiting the number and length of comments, limiting the time allowed to post one, charging people to comment, etc). I like that line of thinking a lot but I am limited in terms of what I can do by the Disqus feature set.

I will ponder all of this for a bit and let it all sink it. Thanks for taking the time to tell me what you all think.

#Weblogs

Comments (Archived):

  1. LIAD

    250 email replies! Surely a strong argument for turning off email!

    1. Lawrence Brass

      GO Liad! Let’s make it number one. 🙂

      1. David Gobel

        I will pay $10 a month to continue to have access to and sometime comment. Further, I agree that there’s a potential business model that’s being missed by just about everyone.”Shut up and take my money!”

        1. obarthelemy

          I’m uncomfortable with access to speech and communities being paywalled.

          1. David Gobel

            I agree with you. However, I wasn’t prescribing a paywall. I was merely saying what I myself was willing to do.

    2. obarthelemy

      The issue with email replies is that, however nice they might be for Fred (I don’t know what the signal to noise ratio is), they’re a complete write-off for everyone else.If anything, comments should be expanded to automatically include mail replies, so those benefit everyone.

  2. Adam Parish

    Thanks for asking for feedback. I think the comments on AVC are the exception to the general rule, “never read the comments.” *Not* pandering. If other VCs engaged and built digital communities we could improve America’s reliance on geographically clustered knowledge centers.

  3. Pointsandfigures

    Maybe you got some ideas for Disqus to implement!

    1. awaldstein

      is there really a company that does that any longer?

  4. awaldstein

    As I tweeted to you this morning:”Thanks Fred. While this is not a consensus decision, the openness of the process adds to the tenure of the community which I and many have valued and participated in for a long time. Such a great experiment in finding shape for a living narrative.”

  5. JimHirshfield

    The inability to comment will, no doubt, leave me speechless.

    1. Dorian Benkoil

      LOL. Impossible.

    2. kidmercury

      yesterday somebody mentioned, maybe it was even fred i think, about moving the comments over to reddit. at first i didn’t think much of the idea but then i thought the name of the subreddit could be FREDDIT, which of course changes everything. i felt a bit of pride for that hirshfield-ian idea.

      1. Mark Essel

        I dig it.

  6. JamesHRH

    Fighting two urges:1) begin a discussion on the bogusness of every Democrat candidate in every race in 2020, by leading with Kamala Harris virtue signalling that she smoked pot in college (graduated in 1986) while listening to Snoop (first album 1993)2) writing a 5000 word comment.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      Don’t fight either!I had my say on 1), including Harris, in myhttps://avc.com/2019/02/opt…Between now and the 2020 election there will be so many opportunities to post that I am collecting and have collected some statements, for my own thinking, and also to post. So, for each low life candidate, I want at least one well referenced disqualifying statement, fact, etc. For Harris that is what she said during the Kavanaugh nomination about “believing” the Ford accuser, especially being unable to find a motive for Ford, first grade stuff for a prosecutor. For Fauxcahontas, she is proposing clearly unconstitutional outright confiscation. For AOC, she would destroy about $1 T of our electric grid infrastructure, turn out the lights, have the wheels stop turning, and kill 10s of millions of US citizens. Etc. For AOC, if she is just lying, that is bad. If she believes it, about the worst ever to befall humanity, that is MUCH worse.But no worries, Mate! Just look athttps://twitter.com/DanScavinoThat’s a video clip of the Trump rally in El Paso, and that clip is only of the overflow crowd in 45 F weather! Watch the speech itself and see that Trump is very much in line for a big margin in 2020.Before Fred pulls the plug, get in your contribution!!!

      1. cavepainting

        Comments like this make the case for shutting down comments.

    2. Donna Brewington White

      You only fought one urge.

      1. JamesHRH

        No I didn’- oh, well, sort o……… nuts.

      2. Girish Mehta

        Ha ! Nice.

  7. Rick Robinson

    Disqus… get ready 🙂 “I like that line of thinking a lot but I am limited in terms of what I can do by the Disqus feature set.”

  8. Jim Borden

    I think without the comments you lose the community feel that you have created. I noticed that Seth Godin has provided some suggestions; have you thought about asking Gary Vaynerchuk what his thoughts are?

  9. Pete Griffiths

    I’m not surprised this has come about. Frankly I’m amazed you have been able to sustain the pace of maintaining the blog and its comments for as long as you have. Whatever you do – thanks, it’s been great.

    1. Jim Peterson

      Agreed!

  10. Lawrence Brass

    Didn’t come to the bar yesterday so I was rather surprised to read the sign on the wall. Got some Carnegie Deli blues. Déjà’vu.I have participated in online communities before and what I have seen is that you can’t move a group intact to another place, without loss. There is a quality unique to the group, a character often grown on its own under the care of the community leader but with its own dynamics. Also, there is repetition and gratification, known places.Whatever results the polls produce or if you finally engage creative destruction, please don’t forget the nuances, the details.. and that L’important c’est la rose, Mr. Wilson.It will be OK. 🙂

    1. awaldstein

      True and nicely said.I think the idea is not to move it but create something new.I wrote this years ago and your comment made me search it out.You can’t airlift community http://arnoldwaldstein.com/

      1. Lawrence Brass

        Thanks Arnold.What you wrote is totally relevant for Fred’s bar renewal project. I enjoyed reading it. Hope Fred reads it too.

        1. awaldstein

          Glad you liked this.Fred knows this I’m certain. We’ve been part of the experiment in communities together and on this blog and on mine we’ve shared a lot.

          1. Lawrence Brass

            Yes. In fact, he commented it back in the day, just checked. The details.. he is in good company.

      2. Adam Sher

        Great post, thanks for resharing it. In it you said Disqus enabled intra & inter community interactions. Is Disqus still the best at that?

        1. awaldstein

          Dunno.Back then they were on that track.Now I think not but don’t have any other places to point you.

      3. JamesHRH

        Good post AW.

    2. Vasudev Ram

      >or if you finally engage creative destructionHa ha.My Indian (actually Hindu) mythological take on it:Brahma (creator) -> Vishnu -> (preserver) -> Shiva (destroyer) -> Brahma …According to Hindu mythology, the world is created, runs for some time, is destroyed (by the primeval (primordial?) mythological flood (called pralaya in Sanskrit) – something like which is also recorded in many other civilizations’ history worldwide) and then recreated, over and over again, with a duration of some zillions (don’t know exact number) of years – which are , of course, as the blink of an eye to the gods up there.Fred’s blog, if it closes, will probably come back (reincarnate) as a blogchain version. And maybe he will charge us some amount in the current coin du jour to comment.https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

      1. sigmaalgebra

        > Brahma (creator) -> Vishnu -> (preserver) -> Shiva (destroyer) -> Brahma …So, THAT’S some of how India works. I was born in the USA; my father’s background was English, and my mother’s, German. So, I could never make any sense of hardly anything from India. Some of the best from India in science and math have been terrific. Clouding this is the sense, I suspect, of some acceptance of just overwhelming, grinding poverty and suffering. A lot of the culture looks mysterious to mystical, as if resigned from The Enlightenment, The Age of Reason, and Western civilization since Galileo, Newton, Gauss, etc.So, good to seeBrahma (creator) -> Vishnu -> (preserver) -> Shiva (destroyer) -> Brahma …as an explanation!If want to assume that the transitions are as in Markov process, then there is a quite nice theory with a lot of quite good results. A good intermediate level presentation, not all measure theory, is in the E. Cinlar text on stochastic processes.Let’s see: The transitions form a stochastic process. Every stochastic process is a sum of a predictable process and a martingale, and an L^1 bounded martingale converges a.s. to a random variable. Hmm. Details are in J. Doob, M. Loeve, J. Neveu, L. Breiman, several Russian writers, etc.

    3. Vasudev Ram

      >.. and that L’important c’est la rose, Mr. Wilson.Are you by any chance an Easterner or from the New York Times, sir?It’s usually only they who use words like “Mister”.Out here, in the West, and Texas, …

  11. Mark Annett

    I would suggest you turn over comments to a group that wants to manage them. That way, you could be a member of the group, if you want, but don’t have the responsibility of managing them.This still gives people the ability to comment, if they want, but reduces your burden and liability for nonsense.Many bloggers people do this through a FaceBook group for instance.

  12. Nicholas Osgood

    Love the comment section as a “viewer” but I rarely engage in commenting. But I tend to read them daily.

  13. laude05

    I read using Feedly (the blog aggregator) to collect all the stuff I want to read in one easy location. I get enough email that adding all the blogs I follow would be a huge load to paw through. I the current system.

  14. Rick Mason

    Fred quite frankly I’m surprised that you didn’t call out for a startup to solve the problem that you’ve got with comments. I notice an increasing amount of comment spam on blogs. It is not an unsolvable problem, Google does a pretty fine job with GMail. Unless of course you’re an investor in Disqus and in that case never mind ;<).

  15. Amar

    This feels like a feature gap in the twitter roadmap. A blog post (without comments) should translate seamlessly into a conversation thread on twitter. The key there imo is twitter creating a clear “conversation” experience with deliberate swim lanes.It helps me to think of the “comment” piece as having its own lifecycle independent of the original post. The post is fairly static and one person’s POV. The “comments” are dynamic, iterative, and reflect the views of a village.Disqus tried to solve the latter within the lifecycle and scope of the former and I think that approach is hitting its limits. Medium extended it a bit. I see it happening organically with newsletters that provoke a lot of discussion – stratechery is a good example.

    1. Girish Mehta

      Your dynamic vs static point is important (which is separate to the one person pov vs group pov). A comment thread and sub-thread evolves. Both the reader’s perspective and the writer’s perspective get an opportunity to evolve with the thread.Also, see -https://www.recode.net/2019…

  16. obscurelyfamous

    I just made this suggestion in your last post, but I like the idea of limiting the commenters so that it’s a very small panel of regular commenters (like 5-10 people) that will react to your post. Everyone else will be on Twitter. The problem is the overhead in selecting and managing such a list.You can combine that with limiting the number/length of comments (pretty sure you can do that with Disqus now but I don’t see Disqus ever implementing charge-to-comment features). But none of this really addresses the overhead issue that you brought up yesterday.

    1. awaldstein

      community at its core, cross all kinds, is about openness on the supply side, the commenters which ties it together.sure you can have a panel but it is simply something different and the core group of 10 people who show up here is part of the issue imo.remove 3 people and a high percentage of all of this goes away as they are talking to themselves. To me–and fine to be in the minority–this is the problem in itself.

      1. obscurelyfamous

        I agree that it would be different. And maybe not right for this community. But I think it can work in many similar situations.

        1. awaldstein

          dunno.haven’t seen it as such but community forever surprises me.

        2. Robert619

          Dear Daniel- I would like to know who to email regarding so many of my posts being “removed” as of late. There is nothing provocative or inappropriate about my posts yet many are being removed. You used to have an area for complaints and now it is no longer available. I am not alone in my anger over this. Many users are experiencing the same kind of issues. If your company has changed the rules and regulations then we as users of Disqus should be notified that there are changes. However I again am going to emphasize that in no way are my posts inappropriate. In fact innocuous posts like mine and others are being removed . I attempted at times to repost some and experienced them being blocke again. Also why is a gossip entertainment site allowed to use certain verbiage, however a user is blocked from doing the same? Please advise me and the thousands of others users too who are randomly having posts removed. We deserve, as users of your company’s site, to know the reasons. I will be waiting for your response. Sincerely, Dr. Robert Bennett

    2. JamesHRH

      Fred recently said he is not a billionaire, but, unlike most of us, to get to his net worth from a billion, you would use a fraction with a single digit denominator.Solving the overhead problem is pretty easy.

  17. Peter J. Mills

    Fred appears to be a victim of his idealistic philosophy on the free and open internet. Commenting carries no cost, so people are over-using it – to their advantage and his detriment. Some options, to right the balance:* Carry advertisements and create an income stream.* Raise the bar of entry. For example, BrandBucket won’t let people participate in its Slack forum until they’ve done a certain amount of business. I’m personally not there yet, but I’d like to be.* Consider the Seth Godin model (on Facebook) of mining the responders for Likes and Shares.* Create an AVC membership or supporters group that requires a subscription.* A freemium model in which the free version carries severe restrictions, eg 100 word limit, or one comment a day.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      > Commenting carries no costAny comment of any value, and except from my comments, AVC is awash in them, takes effort and, thus, has cost. As I reported here yesterday, I’ve posted well over 1.7 million words at AVC; even if worthless that’s a LOT of typing and “cost”.”Cost”? Okay, but what about value? I’ve been a B-school prof in their MBA program, and comparatively there’s a LOT of value in the comments at AVC. The better comments (i) are closer to real business, (ii) have more expertise in business, and (iii) are basically more advanced, in management, finance, marketing, information technology, etc.

      1. Peter J. Mills

        If you consider commenting to be a cost, then why not use your real name? Then your career will stand to benefit from the exposure of your ideas.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          I’m not ready to be a public person. I’m not sure I’ll ever want to be a public person: I don’t seek the fame, and I wouldn’t like the costs and threats.Some people, likely enough, here at AVC know my real name, address, phone number, etc.I see no upside for my “career” from using my real name. My career is based on my startup, and it doesn’t need my real name: My startup is just a Web site. The joke goes that on the Internet no one knows you are in your pajamas or are a monkey. Neither of those hold for me, but Web site owners don’t always need to be public persons. E.g., Google is used by many people, but only a small fraction know anything about Page, Brin, or Schmidt.My view is that in the US now, anything like a traditional view of a career is dead, so dead that pursuing it is financially irresponsible or worse. Instead nearly anyone who seeks any significant financial security must, MUST start and own, hopefully 100%, of a successful business.While I very much like Trump, especially compared with the alternatives, and while he does seem to be helping the US, the economy and much more, my view is that now the US is essentially a quite poor country, so poor people are largely unable to be successful at basic family formation — and that is necessarily in nearly any historical terms, REALLY poor.I believe that the US is so poor primarily because of decades of just totally wack-o, brain-dead government, especially just absurd foreign adventures, especially Viet Nam, Iraq, and Akrapistan. My back of the envelope arithmetic indicates that without those three and the brain-dead nonsense of the financial crashes of 1929, after the Viet Nam war, 2000, and 2008, and without the scam of importing cheap goods and slave labor, the US would be very successfully family friendly. There are also dozens of smaller but still quite significant cases of harmful and just demented stupidity.My view is that just since the crash after the Viet Nam war, some millions of quite good US citizens died early deaths for no good reasons due JUST to the garbage of DC.Now, in particular, there are essentially no “careers” — one must be an entrepreneur. If I hire, I will do the best I can for my employees, but I likely will NOT be able to give them what they really SHOULD have — to get that, we have to fix DC.No, neither socialism or conservatism is the answer. The answer is simple, just common sense — just QUIT throwing away our blood, treasure, and country, QUIT being so darned brain-dead, hopelessly STUPID.

          1. Peter J. Mills

            Your first three paragraphs answer my question, thanks. The remainder of the response has no relevance to this forum.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            > The remainder of the response has no relevance to this forum.Your insulting, patronizing response is noted. Just simple reading comprehension would show that the remaining paragraphs show the reasons for the first three.

          3. JamesHRH

            What is the point of this comment, other than to reinforce your view of yourself to yourself, which, undoubtedly, is quite different from the view of you held by everyone who meets you?

          4. JLM

            .Charm school dropout?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  18. Salt Shaker

    Two streams: An email stream communicates w/ Fred directly (a community too, but a closed one), while comments on Disqus affords interactivity w/ a broader community, that doesn’t necessarily require Fred’s add’l participation and engagement.So, what’s your objective, Fred?If time mgt is a large issue, and perhaps the largest, then the solution is pretty obv.Regardless of outcome, there does seem to be a fair amount of passion among the proletariat, which is a pretty good thing. Speaks to strength of brand and experience.

    1. JamesHRH

      Fred likes the closed, 1:1, controlled email experience.Things out here can get noisy & unruly.

  19. Teren Botham

    Fred, I wonder how, without comments section, would you even be able upgrade yourself to the zeitgeist and stay up-to-date. Nigh impossible for you to turn it off.I am sure the comments section over the years may have provided you a lot more therapeutic value despite the occasional hatred at times.For someone to build this big of a thing that you are doing with the community , you still remain as a blessed man all your life.

  20. sigmaalgebra

    USV has been something special — Twitter and Disqus itself.AVC has also been something special.As Fred has implied many times, the two have been symbiotic.It’d be a shame to change/end either.Fred can easily hire an intern to moderate AVC — just follow any of the nearly standard, now highly polished fora content guidelines. Actually the existing AVC guidelines seem to be fine.It’s now clear enough to me that my startup and I will never shake hands across a deal table with a VC: Why? (i) I’m a sole, solo founder, and VCs want teams. It is accepted that disputes in founding teams are one of the main reasons for startup failures; I will never have that problem; yet VCs still want teams. (ii) The crucial core technology, intellectual property, technological advantage, secret sauce of my startup is far too advanced for the information technology VC community to evaluate, appreciate, or not be afraid of; such people would feel that they would be being irresponsible in their fiduciary responsibility to do good due diligence, and they would be correct. (iii) Any BoD of mainline business people would bitterly and profoundly hate and despise every major step I took in running the company until at least six months after the fantastic financial results were fully clear and in the meantime would never understand the steps and would do all they could to stop me. E.g., commonly they would be pushing on me high school level math from the computer science community where I’m a proven talented, published, experienced pure/applied mathematician holding a Ph.D. from a world class research university — BUMMER. (iv) I’d have no patience with all the effort required to keep a BoD happy. (v) I’d be just terrified to report to a BoD. (vi) Since I have no patience with the usual business group decision making and work processes, I want to keep as much control as I can, even if the growth rate of the company suffers. (vi) While in the past a $1 million round would have helped the progress, now that’s too late. I no longer need the funds, and I don’t want the deal terms, the loss of control, the lawyers, the overhead, the C-corp, the BoD meetings, or the BoD.E.g., when I was at FedEx, the BoD was a frequent obstacle. Twice I rushed and did work that made the BoD happy and stopped them from killing the company. One of the work projects helped the company a little; the other one, a lot; but in both cases the BoD was the all time MVP Drawback on the team.E.g., when I was at IBM, I watched the mainline business people ruin the company — at top management meetings in the meeting room near a corner of the CEOs office in Armonk, conclude just that “God had ceased to smile on IBM.”. No: The leaders of IBM were brain-dead, and Jobs, Gates, etc. beat them like especially dumb “rented mules”. At the time, IBM was the leader in 100% of computing, right down to the feel of the keyboard keys and with terrific R&D, development deployments, right on target industry projections, etc. yet with high determination consistently extracted miserable defeat from the jaws of magnificent victory. First, Gates used the 8080 series chips and a toy operating system to destroy the typewriters. Soon they also destroyed the dumb terminals. Then they grew into crucial tools for office productivity, spreadsheets, graphics, desktop publishing, simple database. By the Intel 386 chip, the Microsoft operating system was one of the real deals in computing, comparable with Multics, Primos, VMS, and MVS. With a TCP/IP stack and a Web browser, Microsoft was well on the way to destroying IBM. Now current Intel and AMD chips and Microsoft’s client, server, database, and system management software, Microsoft is one of the most important pillars of the world economy and civilization. Similarly for Apple, Cisco, Western Digital, etc. The mainline business management of IBM flatly just didn’t get it. I don’t know; maybe now they do get it, as they work in front of products from Microsoft, Apple, Intel, AMD, and Western Digital, but for IBM, without radically better leadership, it’s too late.I want no hint of such brain-dead nonsense in my company or a BoD.Net, by the time my financial results have any VC willing to invest, I, as a sole, solo founder, won’t want, need, or accept their deal. So, VCs and I won’t do a deal.Still, AVC has done a LOT to help my startup. If AVC will stay up at least much as it is, then I will be able to use it to announce my alpha test, closed, and beta test; there AVC will help my startup still more.It’d be nice to have AVC just keep going essentially as it is. An intern moderator should be sufficient to take the routine work off Fred’s hands.

  21. SFG

    The comments have helped me professionally in so many ways, and I’m old! I can’t imagine how amazing it must be for a young person to sit side-saddle with so many unique, smart and diverse kick-ass professionals.It’s sad to hear that it’s been a burden for Fred and the MODS.The chemistry here is very unique = value.Even if just a couple of people truly benefit and grow personally and/or professionally, then that’s some good mojo be grateful for.

  22. creative group

    FRED:this medium, blog, postings, community got us through two difficult documented losses.We realize nothing lasts forever. If Fred closed down the entire avc.com life will continue to go on. Change is enviable. Those who sent the emails to close comments we assume posting contributions are limited. Just close down the email portion! No more private discussions. Keep it open and transparent. We never gravitated to weak personalities anyway. Never had our lunch money taken.Fred take your ball and go home. What you provided will be appreciated but missed just like when Google creates a good platform to eliminate it when usage is up.Don’t think we are not aware you have benefited from this blog promoting all you wanted. Only the naïve would think you created and maintained this blog for them.Captain Obvious!#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

  23. VincentWright

    Over the past 15-20 years, I grew up on the email discussions and generally prefer them but, in the specific case of AVC.com, I think it’d be a rare strategic blunder for you to remove comments or even limit their size, Fred.I love the idea that you’ve used both. (I remain amazed at your alacrity in responding to email messages, by the way…(especially considering your *real job* of managing so many portfolio companies..))The choice is yours but, selfishly, man, I wish you’d just leave it as is until 2020 (|2025 :-))…

  24. jeanpierra

    Two ideas:- Turn off comments by default, and switch them on on specific posts.- Let some members of the community moderate. Like on a subreddit, some of the members are moderators. Not sure if Disqus supports this.

  25. Morgan Warstler

    I used to come around for the comments, then as you went off deep end with Trump Derangement, I didn’t like always having to come play goalie to make sure normal America won the day. Personally, I think you are better off dealing with folks who cheer trump and make great arguments that piss you off. It’s not good to retreat from reality (normal America). We’ve been here before. Obama is LBJ. Trump is Nixon. and what coms next, just being honest about recent American history is TWO DECADES of Dems wandering in desert. TWO DECADS of AOC / MCGovern etc doing super dumb shit. Two decades of GOP getting “nicer” after that meanie Nixon / Trump. Two decades of young dumb Millennials learningAmerica is center-right and small states have massive anti-democratic power. It takes TWO DECADES @fredwilson:disqus for Dems to finally run 2 southern Bubbas on the Age of Big Govt is over. If we are lucky we can speed this process up. The fever left is in fever dream.They think MOAR LBJ / OBAMA is right around the corner. They need you to turn on them Fred, they need you to be willing to vote GOP (Nixon won in 1972 by 23 points and 49 states) so they learn this lesson faster! Dems need to be run by the moderates. We gotta get them back there ASAP.

  26. TellTheTruth

    HelloI have screen shots of your moderators using two profiles to make fake posts. I’m wondering if you even care or will take this seriously.I’m only asking that you use the script you wrote to go through and see who has been using other accounts to post comments using another person’s account.I’m trying not to turn this into a big deal but it has happened now three days in a row. I have the screen shots of this happening. I wonder if the companies that license your app script would agree with this behavior or if the domain host/registrar would find any violations of the end user agreement.

  27. awaldstein

    nice to see you my friend.speaks to how in the original community early days, these offline friendships were really formed which have stuck.to me that is the greatest value–and I of course include Fred in that list.

  28. BillMcNeely

    Like the college student, the avc community really helped in my darkest hours of veteran transition between 2012 to 2015 super grateful.

  29. JamesHRH

    Jeez, someone’s dough isn’t rising.

  30. Donna Brewington White

    Good to “see” you, Charlie.