@codinghorror: Jeff, I’m going to try to speak not only to the things in the post I’m specifically replying to, but also to some of the things you mentioned further down. Thank you for the technical notes, BTW, very illuminating.
It is true that disemvoweling is an aggressive action towards a poster that some people will interpret as mockery. But I think this is the least valid of all your points - because removing or entirely obscuring or forcing revision of a post is far more aggressive, and on this forum, at least, anything that would be a candidate for disemvoweling is likely to be extensively mocked both before and after disemvoweling occurs. People here appreciate the snark, and indulge it.
If it’s mockery, then it’s not a reward, is it? But actually I agree with you that the system should not bring extra attention to offensive content. I do not believe that disemvoweling, in practice, does that, though. Perhaps other people find it easy to read disemvoweled text, but I find it tedious and unrewarding, and after the first couple times I never did it except when the resulting non-disemvoweled replies revealed that something worth the work was in there. Have you actively participated in a community that used the technique? I found it to work very differently, in action, than in your blackboard analogy.
Extremely good point. Technically it is not challenging, but in a community with high turnover the operational aspects for end users are confusing. In practice people do exactly as you suggest - they solve a few in order to figure out what’s going on and end up being annoyed or offended. The more stable the community is, the less of a problem this will be, but you’re still absolutely right. I argue that it’s worth the complexity, but I recognize this is just opinion.
Moving on to the workflow model - what prevents an endless edit cycle, in cases where a dissenting voice (such as my own, or Mr. 44s, for example) is being targeted not for their text, but for their political, philosophical, or religious views? What prevents a small group of people from just making posting too onerous, and re-creating the disqus echo chamber where there was a steadily decreasing amount of variation in viewpoint concerning gun policy, (anti)religious dogma, and political partisanship? Hopefully this is the only paragraph in this post requesting an answer from you - it’s already too long! Sadly I am not known for terse prose.
@Donald_Petersen: I believe the reason disemvoweling was removed was because it was being done entirely by hand, by Antinous, and it was simply too much work to be manageable on a forum this size. There may have been other reasons, but I know it was unsupportably tedious, which is why I’ve asked for a discourse function to do it.
@Chenille: this is exactly what I’m talking about! You get it! Those are the kind of posts I would specifically like disemvoweled. I want people to be able to refute such nonsense, in the interest of enlightening the entire portion of the human race who might have these hateful beliefs and visit this forum, and in the interest of making people’s record of behavior accessible, rather than enabling them to hide from their own words, or force them to re-edit and re-publish to appear reasonable.
@Chuq_Von_Rospac: I find your ideas intriguing and would like to receive your newsletter. Just kidding; disemvoweling should definitely be a feature of discourse that could be turned on and off by site admins, and I assumed that given Jeff’s code so far that’s how he’d implement it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about another way to achieve the same or similar goals.
@daneel: thank you for engaging rather than flagging. It’s simply better; we’re not finite state machines. That being said, flagging is a good and necessary feature.
Finally - it’s true I have not seen any evidence that dissent is being suppressed today, and I agree that moderating is lighter at the moment (for good or bad). But keep in mind I have been making the same comments and requests for the entirety of the Disqus era of BoingBoing - I’m not basing my request on what’s happening today, but rather with a long-term view of the site’s past and future. Obviously not everyone agrees, but I think disemvoweling was a big part of how this community came to have its unique flavor, and I think the community became far more bland and less thought-provoking when disemvoweling went away.
I hope that covered everything, because I have to leave soon & am unlikely to be back online before Monday. I have to replace some burnt switches on my antique electric tractor…