AOL's digital destination Politics Daily prides itself on polish, with proofread articles, original reporting, and some big names (Walter Shapiro, David Corn) nabbed from the print world. But the site's buffed finish doesn't mix well with Internet trolls--those much-lamented Web denizens who specialize in scurrilous trashtalking in comments--and Politics Daily's editor-in-chief Melinda Henneberger has had enough. Responding to nasty (now-deleted) comments posted on an obituary for a fellow journalist, she says:
To readers who think it is their God-given right to throw rocks on our site, under the cowardly cover of anonymity, think again; this is a business, and some modicum of civility is our version of "no shirt, no shoes, no service.''In a word, she tells baleful readers to take a hike:
To those who are constantly threatening to take their clicks and go elsewhere when their more pungent, "Pls. die soon" comments are deleted, I say: Promises, promises. This is really not the site for you.With Politics Daily's huge audience, will her ultimatum provoke a backlash? Whether due to culling or reader receptiveness, the commenters are responding well so far to the call for better manners. "Melinda: Thank you for your efforts to establish an island of civility on this site."