Dear friend of the Saker Community and beyond,
I have to tell you that the COVID19 crisis has hit the Saker Community pretty hard. So far, I know of nobody who has a confirmed COVID19 infection (2 suspected and unconfirmed), but that is not the only way that this pandemic has affected us. A lot of us are now under house quarantine or have already lost their jobs; other are worried for their spouses (due to age, comorbidity, etc.). Some are sick with other conditions and now cannot get treated. And, finally, it is pretty evident that things will get only worse before they get better again. So here is my first request to everybody:
Please cut us some slack, including the moderators, translators, IT-specialists, webmasters and, finally, yes, even myself. Please understand that we are all doing our best in the midst of a plague (literally!).
The blog itself was also affected directly by the huge shift in comments quality.
The most remarkable and disturbing development was a major spike in all sorts of trolling, ranging from government paid trolls to various “spontaneous nutcases”. Just as shocking as the absolute nonsense most trolls were posting (remember the “it is a racist bioweapon which affects only Asians” for example?) was the ugly nastiness of many commentaries. Normally, we have about 2-3 well-known trolls which always post the same insults (literally) and which we have banned a long time ago. Other intercepted comments broke a posting rule, but were not necessarily that nasty. This has now changed: we are dealing with about 30-40+ per day (on top of the normal comments!). This is not acceptable.
Furthermore, when toll “X” had a comment intercepted, he/she would usually come back with another flurry of comments protesting against “censorship” even though these folks typically never even bothered to even look up what the commenting rules on this blog were (they are here:https://thesaker.is/moderation-policy/). In particular, I want to draw your attention to the new rule I added today:
19) New! I am banning any comments which mention, even indirectly, the medical aspects of SARS-COV-2/COVID19 including, but not limited to: origin, prevention, effects on health, treatments and putative “non-existence” (including the “its just like the flu” kind). However, I am specifically ALLOWING comments about the political, ideological, social and economic aspects of SARS-COV-2/COVID19. Any attempt to “smartass & bypass” this ban will result with an immediate removal from the infringing comment. A second attempt will result in a permanent ban. Finally, the sole exception to this rule is the Moveable Feast Café https://thesaker.is/category/moveable-feast-cafe/.
I took this decision because not only because of trolls.
Here is the second phenomenon which we all have observed during the past weeks and months: there is an immense tsunami of misinformation and rumors drowning our already suffering planet with false hopes, dangerous fear-mongering and simply good old baloney. But cutting out any and all discussions about the medical aspects of this crisis we cut out an entire army of self-appointed SARS-COV-2/COVID19 “specialists”! True, the same can happen with the non-medical aspects, but here I and my moderators do have the expertise to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Last but not least, this is not a medical blog and the Saker Community is not a medical one.
Frankly, by flooding the blog with SARS-COV-2/COVID19 related articles and comments we are suffering what economist call “opportunity costs”, that is we are not posting something else which might be far more appropriate for our community.
For this reason and starting Monday I will not be accepting any submissions (articles/SITREPS/etc) which will discuss the medical aspects of SARS-COV-2/COVID19. If I get one today or tomorrow Sunday I will still post it, but I will not allow comments.
Besides, I can refer you to other websites/blogs which do a very good job discussing this pandemic. They include all the following ones:
- Saker Community’s non-medical health forum: https://saker.community/forum/health/
- Moon of Alabama: https://www.moonofalabama.org/
- Reminiscence of the Future…: https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/
- The Unz Review: https://www.unz.com/
Finally, in a couple of days I will post a short appeal for donations. Here I will just say that my family and I have been hit hard by this pandemic and that we will lose most of our regular incomes every coming month, for as long as the pandemic will threaten the USA (which will be a very long time, in spite of what Trump says). This time around I plan to leave the appeal up simply because now your donations will be the main source of income for my family and myself and I have no other option (I still refuse to make readers pay for content or accept advertisements).
That’s it on my end. If you have a question or comment about this, I invite you to share them with me and the rest of us.
May God always keep you and your loved ones under His Protection!
Hugs and cheers to all,