It seems there is a new sheriff in DC’s digital town, and she goes by the name Molly Merrell. This new member of DC Online has just delivered a smackdown on rowdy posters at DC’s Source blog:

mollymerrell says on March 16th, 2011 at 3:31 pm :

Due to the inappropriate comments on this post, we will no longer be allowing comments on The Source until further notice.

My sincere apologies to those who came to this blog to actually discuss DC Comics and their books, but this back-and-forth has gotten out of control on this blog.

Posts have been – and will continue to be – deleted on both sides of this conflict. Your post may not have included any offensive words, but by continuing this dialogue, you are only escalating the problem. Therefore, any comment that is part of this back-and-forth will be deleted.

For those users who had nothing to do with this, I am very sorry for the inconvenience. We are working to make this site more hospitable to those who choose to comment properly and not take part in these offensive and inappropriate disputes.

Although we’re guessing the most offensive comments were removed, what’s left is typical internet fol-de-rol:

eldonte says on March 16th, 2011 at 2:39 pm :
Dubstep Remix. This one’s more better suited:
Ya I know my grammar is wrong. Eat pie.
floydlawton says on March 16th, 2011 at 2:40 pm :
I think Flash is fastest than Superman.
jorel1983 says on March 16th, 2011 at 2:41 pm :
@Floydlawton LOL best comment all day
floydlawton says on March 16th, 2011 at 2:44 pm :
Flash faster.
eldonte says on March 16th, 2011 at 2:46 pm :
Flash is more fastest runner. Superman is more faster flyer.
neodegenerate says on March 16th, 2011 at 3:06 pm :
To get back on topic: Krypto would beat them both to wrap up 2 races in a under a month.

As we know all too well, left fallow, the internet will breed monsters. The need for steely moderation at the DCU blogs is unfortunate, but it comes with the territory.


  1. I’m actually surprised it took this long for DC to crackdown on their comments. It’s been a snipe-fest there for a while now.

  2. Other posts before that one are still open to comment.

    The one after is closed.

    Good for DC. Let the mean kids go play somewhere else.

  3. Nice way to discourage what few remaining fans they have left. Overly militant moderators pretty much kill off any commentary excitement; and eventually, substantial message board visitors (except the rubes) usually all leave for more democratic pastures.

    If DC truly wants to cut down on the online sniping, they should work harder to create better comics and stop attacking their fan base.

  4. Reading the various posts by Ms. Merrell, it seems DC’s policy is civility, not censorship.

    Criticism of the books seems to be welcomed, but not personal attacks. If that policy works, then great. If not, well, DC doesn’t lose much… the snipers will find somewhere else to type.

    With the relaunch of DC’s letter columns, DC could moderate their boards in much the same way. Select the best comments, add social network links, and let the general public comment about the letters elsewhere.

  5. I’ve often wondered how people ever managed to post there to begin with, given the trouble I had just registering — never mind trying to get my password reset when I lost it. I think they’re system just didn’t like my email address, but I was too stubborn to register a new account.

    Not that this has anything to do with the quality of comments, but I did occasionally want to offer some thoughts or info…or smack someone with a clue-by-four.

  6. I’m glad to see it. Alot of good conversations have been derailed by trolls over the years. Nice to see DC taking a stance.

  7. Ugh, why does DC care about this stuff? Maybe instead of worrying about this stuff, they could’ve hired an assistant editor devoted strictly to making sure that Batman, Inc. and David Finch’s Batbook actually ship.

  8. Speaking as one of the “lead trolls” from yesterday – it needed to happen. The problem at the Source is that they allow trolling to take place. 99% of the posters there don’t do anything but bitch & moan about Ted Kord or Wonder Woman’s pants.

    The two worst offenders, Wildclaw & Jorel1983 (the latter of whom actually threated to physically assault another poster at Comic-Con) turn each & every thread into a bitchfest. The Superman post yesterday was no different. Wildclaw had to chime in on how lame he thought JMS is, 7 months after the fact. Any time you call him on anything, he gets all butthurt & offended & runs to tell mommy.

    I do think it’s epically hilarious that this made mainstream comic “news” though. LOL.

  9. So after years of making hateful, nasty, mean-spirited, ugly comics, DC is shocked to find that its remaining fans are hateful, nasty, mean-spirited, ugly.

  10. “If DC truly wants to cut down on the online sniping, they should work harder to create better comics and stop attacking their fan base.”

    Really? So you CAN please all the people all of the time?

  11. Obviously this needed to happen. It is a good thing that they no longer have the chance to wildly claw at the most assinine reasons to hate on creators.

  12. I’m impressed with people’s concern of DC’s use of its time and resources. I’m sure it’s done out of love and concern, and not a reaction to the bitter taste of being told to sit at the kid’s table until they learn to behave.

  13. Rob, it’s not out of love/concern OR a supposed bitter taste. It’s that it’s an ineffective use of an employees time and a company’s money, both of which could be better spent making sure that they have good, or at the very least, on-time comics.

  14. Also: trying to make people be nice on the internet is a worthless task. Never gonna happen. They’d be better off not allowing any comments on the DCU blog at all. And don’t even get me started on how worthless the blog is. First off, no casual fans would bother checking it, so it’s only reaching hardcore fans. Hardcore fans generally know what they want to buy, and aren’t swayed by a preview or a cover or an interview.

  15. I’ve been swayed by plenty of stuff I first read about on that blog. Most recently, finding out that Cliff Chiang would be drawing some Zatanna issues got me to pick up the most recent storyline.

    And I’m sorry, I simply don’t buy the “waste of time and resources” argument. They definitely need someone to run & administrate the blog and the online presence — whether or not they police comments. Monitoring and occasionally deleting some comments isn’t going to require any new hires. Once the laws on the land are established, it’ll barely make a dent in anyone’s day.

    It’s not either police comments or hire a new assistant editor. That’s ludicrous.

    Besides, you can complain about DC here! Easy-peasy!

  16. Rob, we all understand that DC doesn’t actually HAVE to make a choice between making books ship on time and checking blog comments. The point is that one should be a priority and the other should either be extremely far down on a to-do list or not on it at all And when DC chooses to do this, instead of making sure that two of the very select few books they publish that can break 50k in sales, they look foolish.

  17. DC’s hiring of a blog monitor will not affect timely release or quality of books one bit. But it can improve the internet experience for those of us who are tired of having discourse dominated by trolls. Incorporating the assumption that merely having a blog monitor is evidence that other things aren’t a priority is just plain silly.

    Good on DC.

  18. I agree that getting those top-selling books out on time should be a priority. Which is why I’m so upset that they’re getting all those other, lesser-selling books out on time! That just makes them look foolish.

  19. No one’s upset, Rob. It’s an issue of wasting resources on a low-priority issue when there’s a much higher-priority issue at hand. Like when Senator Chuck Schumer gets in front of any camera that will have him to talk about the wait on airplane runways when we have two wars, a screwed economy, illegal immigration, etc. It’s a matter of looking foolish and ignoring the real issues.

  20. But the person handling the web presence isn’t a resource that can be used to speed things up on those books. They’re a resource that can only be used to make DC’s web experience better. Which is what they’re doing.

    Regardless, I’m done wasting my own resources arguing with you. Surely we both have better things to do.

  21. The only usable message boards left on the internet are those catering to a small and specific niche which rarely attract spammers and trolls, and those with effective moderators. I’m all for free speech, but providing a megaphone for retards and sociopaths only adds to the general noise level, and drowns out actual communication.

  22. I’d say the person handling the web presence IS a resource that could be used to get books shipping on time. Instead of having them check the blog every x number of times a day, you could have them emailing/calling late creators x number of times a day.

  23. “So after years of making hateful, nasty, mean-spirited, ugly comics, DC is shocked to find that its remaining fans are hateful, nasty, mean-spirited, ugly.”

    Yeah. Cause we all know that sites run by fangirls have nothing but kind things to say about everything. With that comment, you deserve whatever troll response you get.

    Boo Hoo. The internet was mean to me.


  24. Hmm? Unmoderated comments? Websites just bring it down upon themselves don’t they?

    Hey why don’t they register for this one? Not pointing fingers..*cough*

  25. LobsterDragon: While it is all well and good to say that Ms. Merrell should concentrate on getting DC books out on time….IT ISN’T HER JOB TO DO THAT.

    Reading about her past jobs, they all seem to be working with the public, Public Relations jobs, and she was Manager of Communications, Marketing and New Media for ECHL.

    Nowhere does it say that she is an editor, writer, or ‘higher up’ at DC that is in charge of making sure books get out on time.

    I assume that those positions are already taken, but not by Ms. Merrell.

    Don’t blame her for something that has been a problem at many comic companies (not just DC) over the history of comic publishing.

  26. I don’t know which is sadder. That a bunch of nerds got their underoos in a twist in the DC blog comments over the so-old-it’s-boring debate whether Superman or Flash could win in a race. Or that DC felt they needed to crack down and moderate the all too colorful commentary.

    You can’t have an internet forum and expect the discourse to be as civil as an old letters col. If you want that, then need to edit the posts before they go public. Yet that takes a ton of effort. It’s rather all a no win situation in what DC is trying to be.

    Plus we all know Batman could beat them both if given enough prep time. Duh. Bat-winning.

  27. If trying to keep commenters from insulting each other is such a waste of time, imagine how much more time they’ll have now that comments are dialed entirely!

    Seriously, as someone who has run several blogs and a mailing list, and participated in innumerable forums, you have to do SOME sort of moderation, our else you end up at one of two extremes:

    No comments at all.
    A board filled with spam and trolls.

    And I don’t just mean “dumb” arguments, I mean flame baiting, personal attacks, racial slurs, what have you. Have you ever read Slashdot with the moderation filter set to -1?

    You can mostly automate the spam filters, but some spam will slip through and some real comments will get caught, and you have to deal with that. And getting rid of the trolls improves the signal to noise ratio and keeps people coming back. There are ways to semi-automate that too, like holding comments work certain patterns outer from new visitors for approval. WordPress, which is what DC, The Beat, and my site all use, has some good tools to streamline it so you don’t have to keep liking at every article to seed if something’s new.

    Yes, it takes time, but unless you want to host 4chan, it’s worth the effort.

  28. @ron thibodeau – perhaps it would be more accurate to say that DC needs to fire her and use that salary to pay someone else to assist in the production of their books to be sure they come out on time.