Tablet magazine’s new commenting system

by marjorieingall on February 9, 2015

Tablet’s comment section has tended to be pretty vitriolic. In the comments I have been called everything from a “latte-swilling,” “spoilt,” “knucklehead” “hypocrite” (as I said a couple of years ago, it’s like a Zagat review of horridness!) to the kind of American Jew responsible for the Holocaust. I have been told I am a terrible parent whose children should be taken away, a person who has sacrificed her children on the altar of her ideology (I’m not sure what that means either) and the kind of mother whose children will not identify as Jews. I have been told I am a liberal moron and a Zionist apologist. (Yes! Both!)

I don’t mind a little name-calling (I eat your hate like love, as someone once said), but Tablet’s comment section was a chum float of people hissing and shrieking at each other and at the story’s writers, with a lot of random anti-Semitism and some context-free Jesus thrown in. With some intelligent commentary popping up like bits of tasty krill. I am losing control of this metaphor.

The last piece I did for Tablet was a quickie (poor word choice, sorry) on the contents of everyone’s favorite kosher whipped topping, Cool Whip. I mentioned that it includes polysorbate 60, an ingredient in many sexual lubricants. Just a passing mention! In an 800-word piece! One commenter went nuts about my mentioning sexual lubricant in the same story in which I mentioned my daughter, and was I going to talk to HER about sexual lubricant, and how Tablet is coarsening Jewish discourse by TALKING about sexual lubricant and why is sexual lubricant relevant and what is wrong with American Jews that they talk about sexual lubricant and…well, basically, he said the words “sexual lubricant” a whole lot more than I did. But I can’t tell you exactly what he said because now Tablet’s comment section is GONE.

Temporarily. Tablet is trying an experiment in which folks who want to comment on stories and read other people’s comments will have to pay for the privilege. Many online publications are eliminating their comments systems entirely. Tablet’s hope is that by raising the bar to entry a bit (commenting is cheap but not free), we can elevate the tone of the discourse a lot.

And of course on Twitter and Facebook you can still call us all the names you want for free!

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