Power to (from?) the People
Short, concise description of the idea
Community maintainers should have the ability to disable comments on any particular post.
Full description of the idea
Recently, there have been a few 'controversial' posts in the community promo journal. While I respect freedom of speech, I do not think that people should also have unlimited speech. There are proper channels for abuse queries and less important things like shouting matches, and c.promo is not one of them. In an effort to encourage people to talk things out in e-mail, where site liability is more limited, I believe a maintainer should have the power to say "enough is enough" and deactivate comments on the edit entry page. The comments are not deleted from the server (please correct me if I'm wrong) and at any point commenting can be turned back on for review by abuse@ members.
My main argument is that the 95% of us who have no agenda at all should really not be subjected to a lot of petty bickering by people with differing senses of humor. The role of the community I run is to promote communities. If you like the community, join. If not, ok. Move on. But some people don't subscribe to this philosophy.
This suggestion would also go for a per-entry screening option, as suggested here. The poster would of course retain the right to receive e-mail replies or not as designated by themselves and only by themselves.
Referenced posts: http://www.livejournal.com/talkread.bml?journal=community_promo&itemid=1500519
An ordered list of benefits
More orderly running of communities. Communities would remain more focused and on-topic without having to delete comments on a comment-by-comment basis (again, correct me if disabling comments also deletes comments received) retaining offending comments for review by abuse. There would be less escalation, which would lead to fewer <lj comm=ohyeah_thenf*ckyou> comments later in the week, again, retaining focus and community atmosphere.
Less contention, or less apparent contention. Queries and quarrels would have to be directed in e-mail, whether to the original poster or abuse. If the poster does not have an e-mail address listed, my address is always available on both the community page and my own info, and I may then reactivate comments and leave a kinder message to the poster than they would have done unmediated, if I deem it necessary upon review.
If a poster deliberately posted something which is obviously offensive or intentionally off-topic and then disabled comments, I can re-enable comments to leave them a message (if an e-mail address cannot be found) before deleting the message so that I can explain to them why the post was deleted as well as whether they have been banned or not. This is not as relevant if they have e-mail replies disabled, but it's better than nothing, which is what I have now.
Decreased vexation. All parties concerned would have less aggravation overall, and there would be less anger. Posters who take exception will have to follow protocol which may help calm them down. There would be fewer don't-think-just-post comments which lead to arguments, thus turning a moment's discomfort into several days bad mood. Heck, some people don't even mean to start fights but get dragged into it when someone misinterprets something they said or just decides "hey, everyone's picking on someone but me." It's all a big mess.
Prevention of non-abuse matters escalating to abuse matters, including on-site flamewars and worse that should be done in private on e-mail if they need to be done at all (which they don't, not really). Livejournal does not need to facilitate these 'wars' nor do they need to be implicated in anything pertaining to them by anyone. Not that lj is liable, but it's unpleasant word-of-mouth-wise especially and there are abuse issues that are more prone to arise.
An ordered list of problems/issues involved
Increased responsibility for the maintainer. Increased e-mail volume (slightly). Maintainers will have an obligation to remain accessible if they chose to exercise this option. Increased accountability in terms of "Why did you do this?" (but decreased in terms of "Do you know what's going on in your community?")
Poster's loss of freedom.
Limiting of reader's ability to comment (vent? rant?) which will probably frustrate them if they feel there is some great injustice.
Potential for abuse. But all the official communities are pretty closely watched and if someone's being a tyrant in a non-official one, you can usually find another community that's comparable (or start your own). Still the most serious drawback.
The poster can always toggle the option back. There doesn't have to be a way to prevent them from doing this (their post vs. my (our) community; it's a fine line) but it's something to look into.
An organized list, or a few short paragraphs detailing suggestions for implementation
Currently, maintainers have the prerogative to delete a post either on the web or via in any of the various livejournal clients. They do not have the ability to edit the text of the post or any of the settings, which is as it should be (except maybe the date, but that's not a biggie and only matters in communities where posting frequency is an issue). I am assuming there is a setting which can be set that will OK the maintainer's userid to toggle this specific property without altering the established parameters of what else they can and cannot do.
Thank you for reading this rather lengthy suggestion, borne out of frustration more than good will (unfortunately). I apologize in advance for any errors or oversights; it's very hard to proofread in these tiny boxes and I seem to have lost my ability to edit posts made to this community (I know, so has everybody, but harrumph nonetheless).