Michael Gerber
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Hey there, folks.

Last night, I had an epiphany—I was sitting here typing away at 12:30 am, crafting long, thoughtful, hopefully thought-provoking responses to a person I didn’t know and would never meet, about a topic I’ve probably written 100,000 words about. They didn’t seem to like me, and my considerable personal affability (ask anyone!) was beginning to wear thin. Why? Because I’d been here tens, hundreds of times before. I knew that nothing I’d write would ever convince them, and that if necessary they’d just switch the topic to some other thing — some other fact, some other era, some other band—to prove that I was wrong. I mean, maybe I AM wrong; but I’ve spent forty years delving into the nuances of the Beatles, and that should be respected…plus I’m one of the proprietors of this site, so people should be polite to me, at least. Not for the first time I thought, “I used to like Beatles fans. I should’ve just written a book, cashed the check, and gone onto the next project.”

Then I realized something…

This blog belongs to Nancy and me. I’ve been running it since 2008, she joined in 2010, and all told, we’ve spent about $25,000 to keep it running over the last 14 years. Hey Dullblog is not Twitter. Hey Dullblog is not for the commenters, nice or nasty. It’s a hobby of OURS, Nancy’s and mine, to give US pleasure. If other people want to chime in, fine, but they’re going to do so only when it interests us, and in ways we want. Dullblog is a way for us to explore Beatle-related topics we’re interested in, without apology or even a thought to anybody else’s obsessions or fascinations. If a commenter expresses an interesting viewpoint very well, we might go down that path a bit with them. Or not, but it’s always going to come back to what Nancy and I are interested in.

Fewer and fewer people are commenting, and those few are commenting more and more, about the same topics. We know this site is read by hundreds of people a day, and suspect that the toxicity of the comments are discouraging new, more interesting commenters. Our commenters seem to be engaging in less and less nuance, and threads—even when they stay on topic, which is rare—never reach any kind of synthesis, which used to happen a lot. I used to learn quite a bit from our commenters; now, not so much.

So, as of today, 2/22/22, here are the rules commenters must follow:

  1. Certain topics are done, because we’ve already addressed them fully. If you are interested in them, go read the previous posts about them, and the comment threads under those posts, which are beyond voluminous. These topics are:
    1. McLennon. We are done discussing whether John Lennon and Paul McCartney had a sexual relationship, romance, or love affair.
    2. The breakup. The breakup was a complex, multi-year process between four complicated, egotistical people who didn’t/don’t always tell—or know—the truth. We’re especially sick of comments slagging Paul on this because that has been the story since “Lennon Remembers.” We are slightly less sick of the mid-2000s counter-narrative, put forward by Mikal Gilmore and here on Dullblog as well, that John broke the group up, but regretted it immediately. But really? We’re sick of all of it.
    3. John’s sexuality and/or psychological disorders. We have talked this to death and frankly, most of the comments about it don’t bring any data, just the commenter’s personal need to portray John Lennon as psychopath or saint. I am particularly sick of having to explain why it’s not mean or unfair to delve into these matters. John was a public figure whose seeming honesty invited this kind of speculation. He wanted to control it, but that was impossible then and immaterial now. John was likely bi-curious, but  that’s well-trodden ground and, in the absence of new information, doesn’t seem to have impacted his career or art in any meaningful way.
    4. John vs. Paul. Who was better? Who gets treated unfairly? Who was a genius, and who rode on the other’s coattails? Swear to god, if you think about The Beatles for more than six months and don’t conclude that both guys were amazing, unique, and divinely complementary, you’re either 13 years old or need therapy.
  2. You are welcome to submit a comment for moderation. Comments are expected to be well-written, concise, thoughtful—and funny if you’re a good enough writer for that. They must be polite to us—you don’t know us, and this is OUR place—and respectful to the community. Comments can and will be trashed by us for any reason, without explanation. If this seems harsh or unfriendly, please remember that Nancy and I are both professional writers/editors, and we have just read your work without compensation. Over the decades, that adds up to a fair bit of unpaid labor. We won’t charge you, because this site is a hobby we do for fun, but our rule is law, because this site is a hobby we do for fun. If you feel aggrieved, start your own Beatles blog. Opportunities to communicate are beyond plentiful, and there’s no reason we should pay to host one single comment we don’t like.
  3. You have no right to freedom of expression. This is our website and we are not the US Government. We are not “censoring” you. We are editing our website. If you burn to express something, go put it on YOUR website, Twitter, or scream it out your window.
  4. Comments are more likely to be trashed if they are abusive, reactionary, or addressed to another commenter. The quality of comments on this site, which used to be ferociously high, has declined in proportion to the amount of cross-talk. State what you have to say to and for the group.
  5. Even when approved, comments may be edited in any way Nancy and I see fit. Don’t like it? Don’t comment.
  6. Nancy and I will, in certain cases, declare a thread closed, or tell a commenter to “move on.” This can be “move on to another topic,” or “move on to another site, please.” You’ll know; we’ll be clear.

I can’t stress enough that these rules apply to commenters, not to Nancy, myself, or anyone we invite to post to the blog. We can talk about anything we like, in any way we like, for as long as we like. Because this is our site (you may sense a theme developing).

I don’t mean to come off as mean or aggressive, but you have no idea how wearying it is to moderate comments on this blog. It’s literally one of the worst parts of my day. It has been infuriating and saddening to see our once-high level of mutual investigation and respect decay and decay as the standards of friendliness and propriety on the internet have declined. I am beyond fed up with a few of you, yet have continued to engage out of Midwestern politeness, but enough is enough. Why on Earth you’d continue to lob in your opinions is beyond me—it’s clear we don’t see eye-to-eye. Just go start your own thing.

There is so much good writing and interesting Beatle-thought on this site. Nobody should really be commenting before they’ve read—at a minimum—our “best of” posts. You will enjoy them and read more deeply, or hate them and move on. Either is fine, but the commenting culture here WILL change, even if it’s just Nancy and I talking to each other.

Thanks for reading.