Kiza’s comment mirrors something I did indeed observe: every time I post something at the Unz Review the exact same group of commentators immediately rush to post an X number of negative comments and the real conversation begins only further below.
Unlike Kiza, I am not sure that this is the result of some targeted Hasbara effort, though this is very possible, of course. What I thought, at least until today, is this:
Thanks to the efforts of my moderation team there is a not trivial amount of folks who hate my guts which have been shown the door and which cannot spew their hatred of me on this blog. That state of affairs immensely frustrates them, and so they go to other “related” sites (Unz, Russia Insider and others) to keep up their personal little anti-Saker crusade elsewhere in the hope that somehow this will “unmask” me. To the extend that this affects me me, it only results in me having a good laugh at their frustration and rather lame efforts (-: like when they call me by my first name – Andrei – or full name – Andrei Raevsky – not realizing that this is a pseudo-secret everybody knows about and nobody cares about :-). I am also very encouraged that these anti-Saker crusaders have failed to get anybody else to join their crusade (which can be clearly seen by the lack of support their posts get from others).
I think that it is important to recognize that the only thing standing between us all (me, and you, the readers and members of our community) and these rabid hate-filled maniacs are the moderators. I personally simply do not have the time to deal with moderation. As for the moderators, they provide me with a 2nd opinion of sorts since they only “set aside” the posts which they flag and then send them to me for final decision (fwiw, I estimate that I overturn their decision in no more than 1/5th of the cases, which means that in 4/5th of the case I can only agree with their decision).
As I wrote many times already, moderators are truly the unrecognized heroes of our community. Think of it, their role is the only one in which you never, ever, get a “thank you” and the one where the only form of “recognition” you get is in the form of an angry criticism.
So let me say this: I have had MANY cases of people emailing me to complain about the mods (even though that by itself is a blatant and direct violation of moderation rule #13), but NOT A SINGLE ONE where somebody would offer to step in and actually do a better job. Not ONE!
I am deeply grateful for the invaluable service the moderators provide our community. If not for them, our comment section would instantly turn into a cesspool of name calling, trolling, “hasbaraing” and plain idiocy. I can promise you this: if I ever get any semi-decent form of financial support from some kind of private or corporate sponsor (hope dies last), the mods will be the first ones in line to get some kind of compensation, however small, for their efforts (right now they are all volunteers!).
In conclusion, my request to you all is this: try to imagine what the comments section would look without moderation and please keep that in mind if you ever get moderated in a way you do not approve of.
Hugs and cheers,