A number of commenters have been confused by why their comments are no longer appearing immediately but instead showing this message:
This is because we have changed our comment policy. Comments by visitors without a verified email now require manual approval by a moderator before they will appear publicly. We began experimenting with this change on Friday and have now decided to continue with it.
Visitors who comment with a verified Disqus user account or log in with a Facebook, Twitter, or G+ account should have their comments appear immediately without requiring manual approval by a moderator. This is because your email should have been verified when you got these accounts.
We encourage you to either log in through these methods or easily register for a Disqus account by simply picking a name, entering a valid email address, and choosing a password. Doing so gives you a number of benefits including the ability to edit your comments, get notifications of replies to your comments, downvote comments in addition to upvoting, and follow other commenters you find interesting.
The reason why we are once again requiring verified emails is to better combat a number of negative trends that continue to plague our website’s comments section, often in repeat and willful violation of our comment policy.
These include individuals who create multiple aliases to appear as more than one person, or otherwise repeatedly change their aliases for dishonest and deceptive purposes. Another negative trend includes flame wars where individuals trade personal insults repeatedly to a point where it floods the comments section and becomes a disruption, or when individuals begin harassing each other across the website in conversations unrelated to the original disagreement they shared. Last but not least, we want to create a higher bar and a filter for what is known as “drive-by commenting”, where random individuals will use random names and fake email addresses to post random hateful comments simply because they can, without any intention to return to the discussion and who may never return to the site entirely. This is a form of vandalism and pollution that was becoming unmanageable.
This change to our comment policy may be an inconvenience to a number of legitimate commenters who don’t log in or have a Disqus account but otherwise respect our comment policy and genuinely comment in good-faith. We hope you will be understanding and recognize that this is an effort to improve the quality of the comments section.
The material that our site seeks to translate is by nature often controversial and emotional. Those of us who help run this site do so because we believe this to be an interesting and often fun way to learn more–but of course not everything–about modern China and Chinese society. China has a very large internet ecosystem and it influences real life just as the internet does everywhere else. It’s an imperfect medium–just as we are–but one that can be fascinating and reassuring as much as it can be upsetting or demoralizing.
When commenting, please keep in mind that there are people of both genders, all races, different countries, and a broad spectrum of backgrounds that are reading who are more likely than not reasonably decent human beings just trying to get by in the world as best they can. We recognize that there will be arguments, even heated arguments, and there will be clashes between personalities and politics. This is not a problem and to be expected, but please be civil to each other by avoiding pettiness and malice.