Milestone: WP Tavern Publishes its 30,000th Comment

When I founded WP Tavern in 2009, comments were an important part of the site’s initial success. After six years, the site has published its 30,000th comment.

The 30,000th Comment
The 30,000th Comment

At a time where large websites such as Copyblogger and the Toronto Star are closing down comments in favor of social media, the Tavern continues to be a source of open conversation about WordPress. However, 2015 has been a tough year as a moderator.

A Year of Firsts

For the first time in years, I created a comment moderation policy to establish a baseline of expectations for moderators and commenters. Also for the first time in the site’s history, I banned an individual from leaving comments on the Tavern.

In the Tavern’s early days, I looked forward to discussing things with people via the comments and did everything I could to encourage them. Some of the conversations over the years have been great and have led to positive changes in WordPress. Six years later, many of the comments on the Tavern appear to be filled with anger, mostly from the same people. Dealing with so much negativity all the time makes comment moderation difficult.

Taking a More Active Role in Discussions

One of my New Years resolutions for 2016 is to take a more active role in the discussions on the Tavern. I want to reestablish the feeling the Tavern had a few years ago where everyone is welcome to share their opinions as long as its done in a respectful way.

Comments are a great way to share feedback, ideas, opinions, and look at things from a different perspective. But when the conversation turns into a mud-slinging contest which has recently happened too often on the Tavern, it turns into a pile of meaningless words.

Commenting Goals for 2016

In 2016, let’s try to having meaningful conversations where words transition into action. Let’s discuss ideas, opinions, and perspectives without getting or taking things personal. Let’s encourage collaboration instead of infighting. Let’s assume the best in someone’s words instead of the worst. In the New Year, I’ll do my best to try to lead conversations in these directions but I need commenters to do their part as well.

Thanks to everyone who’s commented on the Tavern over the years. Your feedback is and continues to be a valuable asset to this site. Instead of leaving the lights on, we’ll leave the comment form open and we encourage everyone to continue sharing their thoughts and opinions with us.


24 responses to “Milestone: WP Tavern Publishes its 30,000th Comment”

  1. You do a great job of moderating comments. It’s ironic that the name of the site is Tavern, because that’s sort of the vibe I get from the community that spends time here. Lots of strong opinions, some people just passing through, and some people just looking for a fight. You’re like thebartender that has to keep everyone happy, cut people off when they’ve had too much, or sometimes call closing time. Tough work. But I still think there is way more positivity and good ideas that are shared than drama and infighting. Many of us have been hanging around WP tavern since the beginning, and even if we haven’t met each other in person, we have a good idea of who’s who and the personalities that comprise the place. So for the most part, it’s in everyone’s best interest to act civil, be empathetic and respectful when appropriate, and mind our manners in the comments.
    Your choice of interesting topics, people, and an attempt at neutrality is a big help too.

  2. Jeff, as questions about the impact of wordpress table size on performance are very common on stackexchange, can you share some insight about it? For example do you have anything (caching or otherwise) to make comment admin to work smoothly?

  3. Hooray for you. Let’s toss the negativity and keep the craic that belongs in a tavern!

  4. 30,000 is really something! Congrats on managing that.

    I don’t know the reason for the increase in negativity but I’ve noticed and it has discouraged me from participating as much. So, thank you for doing everything you can to keep things civil. I know that’s a lot more work than flipping the off switch.

    High quality content deserves high quality discussion.

  5. Holy horses: 30,000! That really is something! I had no idea there were to many on the Tavern. Here’s to the next 75%… oh, wait, I mean: next 30,000! ;)

  6. The milestones add up, and make you a little proud, don’t they?

    My biggest site,, is approaching 11 years old now, running WordPress for all but the first 6 months or so of that time. In that time we’ve racked up almost 16k posts, over 42k comments, and quickly closing in on 750 podcast episodes. The site started out with me plus 2 other editors and a random assortment of contributors, and an entire cast of scifi geeks talking about movies, tv and interviewing actors, directors, producers & scientists, but now it’s down to just me and a fresh new bunch of movie reviewers. I think I’m still pulling in some cool interviewees, though.

    And yes, that site’s database is largish but still speedy in response time; for me, the biggest challenge I’m STILL trying to recover from is 2 years of Panda punishment from 2011-2013 because one of the other editors posted tons of junk & thin content for that 2 years and I was too busy with all of the sites and my own freelancing to notice what he was doing until it was too late (I fired him once I figured it out). First thing that made me realize there might be a problem in the dropoff of organic traffic was the large decline in the number of comments I had to moderate every day! :) Yes, I still have a lot to learn about SEO, but I started paying attention to it when I uncovered that mess, let me tell ya.

    Here’s to 2016 and more milestones for us all!

  7. This is the only site I comment on more than once or twice. It’s far easier to use Twitter rather than login to comment moderation or third party services. WP Tavern is different, comments are easy and welcome. Your information/ posts are good but being able to leave a comment is the real reason I continue to drop in and read here.

    Congratulations on the comment milestone, especially in a time when fewer people are leaving comments.

  8. Speaking as a former forum moderator, yes it can be tough to have to moderate forums. It’s never easy having to deal with the worst the Internet has to offer at times.

    There have been pleas from other sites for more signal than noise, which has never always been entirely successful. I personally made a comment policy when I started my personal blog for exactly that reason – I’ve learned the hard way.

    Happy holidays! Good luck next year.

  9. Nothing wrong with the Toronto Star closing their comments, the Toronto Sun closed their comments.

    Toronto Star leans to the left of political scale
    Toronto Sun leans to the right of political scale

    Both had total garbage in most comments.

    Both TOStar & TOSun had trolls among them and since Toronto Star’s parent companty is the biggest media outlet out there in Canada, it gets targeted by trolls.

    During our recent federal elections in Canada and our 2014 municipal election in Toronto, it was full of trolls. right-wing trolls would bomb out the TOStar comments and left-wing trolls would bomb out the TOSun’s comments.

    WPTavern comments are nothing comparing to TOStar/TOSun comments. Imagine Jeff makes a post tonight (at 02:17 as I type this), he goes to bed, and wakes up at 10am. Imagine he then has 8,000 comments to moderate. Is he going to go through all 8,000? Of course not.

    Obviously TOStar & TOSun each must have more than one person moderating the comments.

    I don’t know about media outlets in your communities but both TOStar and TOSun have “Letters to the Editor” sections.

    I wrote an article on Crimea annexation by Russia. I went to bed, by the time I woke up, went to work and so forth…I had 65,850 comments on it. It took me most of the afternoon to go through those comments.

    Main reason why comments get shut down is because it can be too much work to moderate them.

    If you delete a comment, that author will bitch about free speech.

    Even though the site is a private website and no one has any right to comment, only what the website owner gives out on his/her own website.

    • The reason comments are pointless in most big media sites is that no one actually cares about what is written in them, especially not the author of the article to which the comments apply. With no guiding hand to ensure that the comments are on topic and are not repetitive they just become a ground for trolling as there is nothing more useful to do with it.

      For good commenting moderation you can look for what john scalzi (you don’t know who is he? be so ashamed of yourself ;) ) does on his blog, he is not only blocking trolls but also closes down discussion which he think got to the stage of “more of the same”, and if the subject is one with a potential for a shit storm he is not too shy to simply close comments when he is not online. End result is that the noice/substance ration is very low and people can actually find interesting content in the comments even when there are many of thems.

      • for most big media sites, there are 4 people involved per article

        1) Author
        2) Editor
        3) Headline writer (the authors of articles don’t usually write the headlines)
        4) someone else who watches over comments. article author never does, nor cares.

        • And none of them care about the content of your comment. And since no one cares about those comments it makes more sense to just close them down and save the money you pay to the person that has to monitor them.

  10. Congratulations!

    Any uptick in negativity is offset a thousand fold by the value of the content and comments on this site. In case you don’t hear it enough, I think everyone involved with WP Tavern does a great job. The fact that so many people of prominence in the WordPress community participate by commenting is a testament to that.

    Keep up the great work and don’t let the bad apples bring you down. This is a site you can be proud of.

  11. Jeff, the Tavern is still the first site I visit by choice most mornings, and some days are so busy its the ONLY site I choose to spend any time on. I like Michael’s analogy of you being the “bartender” that has to keep order, but the tavern comments are more than that: I’ve oftentimes learned more from the discussion in the comments than from the original post, and, on several occasions, the answer to a pesky problem. “Worth its weight in gold”–Congratulations on this milestone and thanks for your commitment and diligence in keeping it that way.


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