On January 6, the National Catholic Reporter suspended and hid all comments indefinitely, citing the proliferation of “malicious, abusive, and vile” comments. 

In September 2013, the traditionalist blog, Rorate Caeli closed comments, citing overload:

Moderating so many comments is becoming close to impossible at this point -- we simply cannot keep up with an international readership commenting around the clock. ...

Unfortunately, we cannot keep comments open and not moderated. Yes, from time to time, tired and weary moderators do let some go through we wish we didn't as there were many in the queue and we didn't have time to read them all. But, for the most part, we do well keeping the more eccentric ones out (and trust us, there are many of them!) 

I've heard of a trend toward eliminating comments on other websites as well. And I know of blogs with increasing readers but decreasing comments. 

Is the era of expanding blog discussion winding down? Collapsing under the weight of neuroses and the inability to self-censor? Is the commenter pool getting more vile? More immoderate? Are reasonable readers more likely to pass up a discussion these days?

Many of our readers read and comment at several sites. I am interested in your impressions. What do you think is happening?

Rita Ferrone is the author of several books about liturgy, including Pastoral Guide to Pope Francis’s Desiderio Desideravi (Liturgical Press). She is a contributing writer to Commonweal.

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