I've thought about whether to post this article, but having received feedback from HotWhopper friends, I've decided to let people know about a couple of changes I'm making.
First of all, in the interests of everyone, I've amended the comment policy.
Very rarely HotWhopper attracts unsavoury comments that are from real people, not your regular spam. (I'm not referring to comments from contrarians here.) Up to now I've been very liberal and, apart from rare extreme cases, I've shown where a comment has been removed, explaining the reasons.
With the growth of readership, there is the risk that more people will happen upon something quite ugly in the comments. It happens only very rarely (barely half a dozen times since HotWhopper was born a year ago, including yesterday and today by a past transgressor), but HotWhopper now has quite a large stream of visitors each day so even a very rare comment may be seen by a lot of people. And showing deleted comments and the reasons doesn't add any value, in fact, the reverse.
That's not the experience I want people to have when they visit here. So I've amended the comment policy and will now delete extreme comments, without explanation and leaving no record of their existence on public display. It's not pleasant to come across and there is no reason for me to make everyone suffer for the sake of being "open".
In the same manner, comments from banned people will also be deleted. (Only
three four people have been banned so far and, with around 600,000 page views to date, to my way of thinking that speaks to the high calibre of the readership overall.)
In regard to comments about science, they are more than welcome. That's what HotWhopper is all about.
I draw the line at maligning scientists, repeated disinformation, thread-bombing, circularity of discussion and other Gish gallop techniques, persistent tone trolling and comments that are way off topic (ie deliberate thread hijacking as opposed to alerting people to something topical of interest to readers).
I hope that these small changes are viewed as a positive for everyone.