Salon is closing comments for good. Here's why

Conversations are mostly happening in different ways now, and it makes sense for us to adjust

By Mary Elizabeth Williams
Published August 31, 2021 7:42PM (EDT)
Salon (Salon)
Salon (Salon)

It's time.

Like Ben Affleck, we here at Salon have been in a two decades-long, on again, off again relationship. For him, it's with Jennifer Lopez. For us, it's our comments. On Friday, September 3, we will be eliminating the comments section here, consciously uncoupling for good.

The media landscape is vastly different than it was even just a year ago, and enormously different than the last time we changed our commenting platform in 2018. (You may have noticed we don't have any comments that stretch back earlier than that.) Conversations are mostly happening in different ways now, and it makes sense for us to adjust accordingly.

The name Salon has always stood for spirited conversation, diverse opinions and above all, true community, and that has never been a one-way proposition. Over the years, that imperative has taken numerous forms, from message boards to an in-house blog system (a space where, among other things, "Julie and Julia" was born) to traditional story comments. The comments appearance and infrastructure has changed over time, and we've even gone long periods without having them at all. We've always tried to stay attentive to the ways in which communication evolves, and that is a process that continues today.

I got online almost 30 years ago, on an antediluvian modem that tied up my landline (ask your parents) and showed me the world. Communication and connection are the twin pillars of my adult life, and Salon's comments have provided me a space to practice both.

For the past three years, you've seen me in the comments: moderating, kicking trolls and spammers to the curb, and talking with you, honestly, about Salon's stories. I feel I've grown to know a lot of you personally, even though we've never met. You've made me think and you've made me laugh and you've moved me with your candor and vulnerability. I am so grateful for that. I'm looking forward to continuing the conversation in new ways as my role here as a senior writer expands.

In fact, there are many places for Salon's passionate, opinionated community to engage, and we'd love to see you there.

You can find us — and join the discussions — on:

. . . and even TikTok!

Do you like Reddit? You can often find our stories being shared and discussed in places like r/politics and r/futurology. Jump in!

Want to keep track of your favorite writers? The best places to find them on social media are listed at the bottom of all their stories. 

Have you signed up for our newsletters? "Crash Course" is your morning run-down of Salon's news and commentary; "Standing Room Only" is Amanda Marcotte's twice-weekly rowdy politics wrap; "The Vulgar Scientist" is a weekly round-up for science enthusiasts; and coming soon is "The Bite," our weekly food newsletter. 

If coming here has become part of your daily routine, this would be a great moment to become a Premium subscriber if you haven't already, or renew that subscription if you have. Not only do premium members directly support Salon's journalism, they also get the ad-free experience plus unlimited views on our app, among other benefits. And we have some cool opportunities in the works for members and Salon's writers and hosts to connect — stay tuned.

So while comments are going away, this isn't an end of the conversation. It's just time to change the channels we use to talk — and listen — to each other. I know we all still have plenty to say.


Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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