As the 2020 Democratic Primary Begins, is My NYT Commentary Being Throttled? | Blog#42

As the 2020 Campaigns Begin, is My NYT Commentary Being Throttled? | Blog#42

The New York Times’ commenting system has suffered its share of problems in the past couple of years, with bugs, database crashes and other issues. Then, the Times decided to end its verified commenting program which it established a few years ago, when they picked commenters who garnered a high number of recommendations from readers and gave them the ability to post at will, bypassing moderation. None of us asked for this special status. A green check mark appeared one day next to our names. That was a little over ten years ago.

I noticed, in recent weeks, that my New York Times comments sometimes vanish. One such comment was taken down last weekend. I don’t always email the NYT to complain, but out of curiosity as to what I’d written to merit the deletion, I went ahead and asked. The reply I received yesterday indicated that the deletion was a case of “moderator error.”

Minutes later, after commenting on two breaking news items and not seeing my comments appear, I sent out an email. Later, when I commented on Paul Krugman’s op-ed right as it was published and watched the comment section populate with comments that were posted much later than mine, I decided to reply to the first comment that was published. Within the hour, other people’s replies were published. More were published overnight. I wasn’t until 3:30 p.m. EST today, subsequent to my emails, that my reply and original comment were published.

The reason that my comments were “delayed,” I was informed, is that while the verified program was supposed to be decommissioned at the end of last year, it wasn’t, due to a bug. They finally ended the verified program yesterday, coinciding with my delayed comments, and that the wait was due to my comments awaiting moderation just like everyone else. I posted my comment on Krugman’s op-ed just as the comment section opened, at 3:56 p.m. EST, 4:04 and 4:08 EST on March 7th. That comment didn’t get posted until 3:40 on March 8th. If my comments were indeed in the same queue as everyone else’s, awaiting moderation, then they would have been moderated at the same time as the earliest comments that were posted yesterday.

A friend who also comments in the Times saw a delay, but it was relatively short. I hope that this is a blip and not a sign of some kind of selective muting of particular viewpoints.

If you can’t find me anymore, look inside my Things Trump Did While You Weren’t Looking [2019] post. I will include links to my comments when I post them.

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