A Message to Our Readers

Why we chose to shut down commenting on ABAJournal.com

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As of Monday, April 29, we will be disabling comments on ABAJournal.com.

There has been a long, ongoing debate with our staff over whether to retain comments or discard them as many other publications have done.

We have made this decision in consultation with the ABA Journal Board of Editors for a number of reasons, including:

  • The tone of the comments has become rancorous and uncivil, with substantive commentary being drowned out by partisanship and namecalling that violate the ABA Code of Conduct.
  • Our existing commenting system is vulnerable to trolls.
  • Moderating the comments has become an unsustainable burden on our staff.
  • We have fielded a number of complaints from members about individual comments and the tone of the comments as a whole.
  • With our large social media presence, there are a number of platforms for readers to engage with and discuss our journalism.

Our readers have a wealth of interesting, constructive things they can add to public discourse. One substantive comment coming from an informed legal professional is worth more to us than one hundred off-topic, inflammatory comments by trolls; it’s been our reluctance to lose the former that has kept us putting up with the latter as long as we have. But there are many more channels for public discussion and ways to reach out to the ABA Journal in 2019 than were available when we launched this website in 2007. With that in mind, here are answers to some questions we think will arise immediately:

Will commenting be gone forever? That’s not our current intention. Ideally, alongside other changes in the works for our website, we will be able to create a new commenting system that would allow you to make an account with a verified email address and a consistent username. There are a number of possibilities on the table, one of which is that commenting will be reserved for ABA members. This is still in flux, and we welcome your feedback at [email protected]

I have a strong opinion about a story or related issue to bring up! We are all ears, and we want to hear from you. You’re welcome to write a letter to the editor at [email protected]; we’re going to be thinking of more ways beyond the print magazine that we can be spotlighting letters from readers. You can also comment on our social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

How do I propose a new development or story idea I thought of after reading a story? We welcome tips and pitches! Please send your story ideas and leads to [email protected], or fill out the form on our contact page.

What if I spot an error in a story? Please do let us know at [email protected] or by emailing the reporter who wrote the article. You can also fill out the form on our contact page.

Have old comments disappeared forever? We have hidden them for the time being from public view.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.