This is meta, if you’d rather skip it.
I think we’ve got a good community of commenters here, and in order to encourage a more perfect expression of interactivity, I’m going to implement a few new things.
First, the stick. I’m posting the Pharyngula filter file contents in that Dungeon tab at the top of the page. Now you can see a list of everyone who has been banned from commenting at this site, with some short comments about why. Try to avoid joining them, OK?
Second, the carrot. I know most of you probably have favorite commenters here—people whose names you look forward to seeing in the list of “Recent Comments” on the left sidebar, and who you read avidly, perhaps more avidly than the posts of yours truly. I’d like to start acknowledging those good people.
Here’s the deal: every month, I’m going to put up a post like this one asking you to nominate and vote on a great commenter. It can be someone you’ve found consistently wonderful and insightful, someone who you think routinely elevates the discourse around here. It can be just someone who wrote what you thought was the most hilarious or enjoyable or deep comment that month. Name them, say something good about them, link to a favorite comment, spread the word. If there is consensus on one person, they win; otherwise, I’ll be the arbitrary judge of the nominees and pick one.
Winners will be inducted in the distinguished Order of the Molly. There will be a page dedicated to the winners, which will also be on the tabs at the top of Pharyngula. There may also be some other perks made available, depending on how easily my tinkering with the page templates turns out to be. No prizes, though, just recognition. Shouldn’t that be enough?
Oh, and about the name…when one thinks of a great raconteur, someone with wit and humor who was also uncompromising in standing up for principle, who comes to mind, who do you consider a role model and someone whose writing skill we can all admire? Yeah, me too, so I thought I’d name it after the late Molly Ivins. We’re aiming high here, gang.
Comments are open for nominations. Who should be the first winner of the Molly Award for excellence in commentary at Pharyngula? I’ll name your choice on Sunday evening. If there are more that you’d like to see acknowledged, keep in mind that I’ll do this every mid-month.