43 Comments
May 23Liked by Nate Silver

Comments are hard, and I'm very sympathetic to the idea you don't want to spend time policing them and it's not your priority to hire somebody to do it for you. I think locking comments down to paid subscribers is worth a good shot.

More than that, though, I just think it's good when people explain what they're doing and why they're doing it, even if I judge that their final decision stinks.

Expand full comment
May 23Liked by Nate Silver

I've found other substacks to have higher quality comments when it's subscriber only, and I think it's a nice perk as a paying subscriber to have my occasional comment a higher chance of being read.

Expand full comment
May 23Liked by Nate Silver

Hi Nate -

"This post had a relatively civil and constructive comments section despite touching on a lot of third-rail topics, for instance..."

This is linking to a private post. We are not able to open it.

Expand full comment
author

Fixed, thank you for catching!

Expand full comment
May 23Liked by Nate Silver

Not a big ommenter but like anything that will improve the discourse

Expand full comment

You should hire one of the Slow Boring interns to curate your comments section. The folks at Slow Boring have done an industry leading job with lightly curating comments. The range of acceptable expression is broad, the top comments often show deep personal or professional knowledge of the topic, and the tone is quite civil.

Expand full comment

The interns didn’t do that (they often exacerbated hot button issue debates). Most of the commenters are just highly conscientious with data-rich backgrounds.

Expand full comment

Plenty of people have been pushed away over the years, which is why smart people spend time commenting on SB. You can say smart, controversial things without being called names or screamed at too often. It’s nice.

Expand full comment

You’re right— but I don’t think you can hire zookeepers for that. You can just attract the right chimps.

Expand full comment

Nate’s work should attract better chimps than Matt’s. And yet…

Expand full comment

Shooting from the hip here, but having read both of them religiously for >10yr I feel like the big difference is likely their public profile. My read is that Yglesias is a big deal for people who are really serious about center-left politics...but has next to no visibility to casual political hobbyists. Nate on the other hand got legit famous way back in the 2008 cycle to the point where he licensed his own personal website to NYT and then sold it to ESPN/ABC. That naturally has raised his profile with the hobbyist twitterscreamer class.

Basically, I can say "folks like Nate Silver" as shorthand for political quants and all my just-sorta-political friends will know exactly what I mean. But if I mention Yglesias to them, they won't know who I'm talking about even a little bit. Your typically drive-by troll is likely much more attracted to the former.

Expand full comment

> hobbyist twitterscreamer class

Perfect, no notes.

Expand full comment

Fair. I view them as similarly smart but Yglesias has much deeper knowledge of history and Silver is more of a quant who knows enough history and politics to inform his models and blog.

Expand full comment

Well, back to 4Chan I go, then.

Expand full comment
May 23Liked by Nate Silver

Ok so prices will be stable unless there is inflation of 211%

Expand full comment

Man, this is really going to hurt us subscribers if we have an intense deflationary period.

Expand full comment

Maybe prices could be auto linked to CPI?

Expand full comment

Interesting thought process on it…I really hope you can make the hires you need to make this great. I really miss what 538 was for sports and all things statistics and probabilities…you made them cool, mainstream, and interesting even to people who weren’t as into them as “we” are.

Expand full comment

All in favor of locking down comments. The best comment sections are ones for which the highest percentage of comments are left in good faith. Drive-by and anonymous commenting can have a variety of motivations, but they are typically not good faith contributions to a community-based conversation.

Expand full comment

Appreciate your justification for subscriber comments only, but I implore all bloggers to never apologize for filtering trolls. If only aggressive debaters could model how it was done back in the day (watch HBO's John Adams series), I would look forward to reviewing the comments. Until then, I'll just enjoy Nate's commentary.

Expand full comment

Civility is a big plus. If a velvet rope is the only way... well, it makes sense.

Expand full comment

Thank you for addressing the toxic comments. This seems like a good strategy.

Expand full comment

Nate, I struggled to find the subscriber Q&A submission so I just figured I’d post it here:

Is there any data or do you have thoughts on voters choosing Trump just out of fear of another January 6th, or similar violence/unrest? This seems negligible to me but came up in a discussion with friends recently and thought I’d ask you. Thanks

Expand full comment

Wow, really? Choosing Trump because if he doesn't win there's going to be violence? Yes, but what do they think is going to happen if he DOES win? 🤦 I hadn't thought of that one before but people choose who to vote for based on all kinds of strange reasons, so thanks for bringing it up. Yikes.

Expand full comment

Choosing Trump because in 4 years we can maybe elect a Democrat president. Will the senate map look better? Chief justices up for election? Could Nate map out these probabilities?

Expand full comment

I subscribe to read what you, Nate, think about politics and sports. Despite your miss in the 2016 presidential, I have been a loyal reader/viewer of your insights. So I have no interest in the "Comments" section. That said, I am using the Comments section to register my opinion!

Expand full comment

I subbed recently, and started to write a subscriber question but it got out of hand even in my mind while writing it. Happy to see sane limits in place.

Expand full comment

Ditto immediate below: "I think locking comments down to paid subscribers is worth a good shot."

Let's think of being a paid subscription as like having a "I voted sticker:" it's really a "bitch ticket," i. e.,If you ain't avotin', your opinion's verboten.

Expand full comment