« Because the calendar suggests I should, here is a round-up of some recent posts from Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform | Main | "Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if.... ....it means lying or making up stories" »

April 21, 2018

Seeking reader input for possible blog redesigns/improvements

I have the great fortune of getting some terrific help from some terrific students exploring, in their words, a "number of different options to improve the layout and interface of the blog platform."  In furtherance of this work, these students have designed an easy survey for readers to gain insights into readership and blog users.

Here is a link to the survey, which can be completed in about a minute.

It would be very helpful if readers will take a minute to fill out this survey.  Many, many thanks!

UPDATE: Scrolling now to the bottom of the comments on this post will reveal that David Behar has agreed to not comment here for 30 days  to see if his absence can allow the comment discussion to grow in quality and quantity.  So, in addition to urging readers to take the survey linked above, I think some might find it especially useful to start commenting more on other posts.

April 21, 2018 at 08:43 AM | Permalink


The most important change would be the editing of comments and the deletion of comments. The second would be to have conversion of URL lings to a preview. Now, they have to be copied and pasted.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 29, 2018 4:52:35 PM

I do hope the basic design is not changed, the current rather minimal layout makes it rather easy for me to use with my screen reader.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Mar 29, 2018 5:44:51 PM

I understand that Professor Berman is a busy man but my own view is that I'd like to see more of Doug and less linking. Further, as a long time reader my perception is that the creation of his blog to romance the Mary Jane also has caused this blog to suffer.

One thing that other blogs have done is to share in the hosting/posting duties. Getting other law professors to assist in the blog--beyond merely guest posting--would be a positive development.

Posted by: Humdee | Mar 29, 2018 8:10:07 PM

Do these students understand they are being indoctrinated, not education? They are being forced to believe in and to use supernatural doctrines from the Medieval church in a secular nation. They will then join a criminal cult enterprise trying to destroy our nation for a few lousy jobs.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 29, 2018 8:38:44 PM

The format of the blog overall seems pretty acceptable for what you wish to do and seems to work okay on my phone (to the degree I need yet more opportunity to go online). The tags are helpful to go to related content.

I do wish there was a means to edit comments after we post or delete them. Realize that is largely the fault of the writer & usually the mistakes aren't THAT important. But, find blogs that allow deletions or five minute editing windows etc. copacetic.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 29, 2018 9:57:06 PM

The format of the blog overall seems pretty acceptable for what you wish to do and seems to work okay on my phone (to the degree I need yet more opportunity to go online). The tags are helpful to go to related content.

I do wish there was a means to edit comments after we post or delete them. Realize that is largely the fault of the writer & usually the mistakes aren't THAT important. But, find blogs that allow deletions or five minute editing windows etc. copacetic.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 29, 2018 9:57:10 PM

Thanks for wanting more of me, Humdee, and I often wish I had more time to do original commentary. But, candidly, after commenting on many of the same basic matters in this space for now nearly 14 years, I often have a been-there/done-that feeling as I gear up to comment. But especially as the semester winds down, I hope to get original a bit more. And, I always welcome other into this space. But there a now so many major on-line outlets for CJ commentary (and many folks are now content with twitter threads).

That all said, thanks for the feedback.

Posted by: Doug B | Mar 29, 2018 10:34:09 PM

David, the students helping me on blog are not law students. Though your comment reminds me that I should ask about how to automatically delete any comment you make that includes the phrase criminal cult enterprise.

Posted by: Doug B | Mar 29, 2018 10:36:24 PM

As a professor, your duty is education. Upon starting indoctrination, you should disclose that switch. You need to warn students you are about to begin a discussion, with persuasion by authority, of sick, delusional, crazy supernatural doctrines. When I say, persuasion, it is really coercion on pain of shunning by the criminal cult enterprise, and the loss of their ability to make a living.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 30, 2018 12:12:58 AM

doug, this blog is a very helpful tool for serious people doing serious and important work. It is not Speaker's Corner at Hyde Park. There is no First Amendment right for anyone to post whatever they want on this wonderful resource. Please banish people like Supremacy claus, and others, who detract from that goal.

thanks for your huge effort in helping us be better attorneys.


Posted by: bruce cunningham | Mar 30, 2018 3:34:08 AM

I notice that my comment was posted twice.

There is a glitch that sometimes causes that problem, often because it takes a long time to complete a post, and it seems like it didn't go thru at all. Don't know if that can be addressed.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 30, 2018 10:52:06 AM

Bruce. But there is a Free Speech right. It is the sidewalk of a private property, not the dining room. One may not exclude others from the sidewalk, despite its being on private property. The world is invited here, and it is the biggest sidewalk of all. All the protected classes are invited, along with all viewpoints. If I wanted to have a loud, raucous, profanity filled, personally abusive protest in front of your home, you could not stop in the proper time and manner. Not even the prototypical lawyer dumbass, Eugene Volokh is able to understand that concept.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 30, 2018 12:57:29 PM

Bruce. You are serious about procedure, your way to make a living, adding no value to our economy or to society or even to your clients' fates. I am serious about policy, especially on the victim side. We should learn to respect each other.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 30, 2018 1:00:16 PM

Humdee. All guest bloggers will be pro-criminal. The rare pro-victim lawyer, like Heather McDonald, a researcher senior to Prof. Berman in every way, would never appear here.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 31, 2018 11:23:37 AM

The most compelling change is to change the substance of the blog. Now, it is a repetitious, dull, posting of the Democratic Party platform. It endlessly and sickeningly includes the false propaganda that the crime rate has decreased. I left once because of this intellectual waste of time. Then, Bill asked me to return to speak for crime victims.

It would be more in interesting, and would increase readership to add variety, such as libertarian, and conservative posts from guest bloggers and criminologists. It would be more compelling to have actors in sentencing review and justify what they do, such as the writers of algorithms. Judges could comment on past real world decisions, the consequences, and any regrets. Street lawyers could work out the intellectual content of their motions and trial tactics, from both sides of the sentencing law and policy. In accordance with academic ethos and responsibility, it could stop being a form of cheap and ineffective indoctrination, and start to be educational and stimulating.

The greater variety and sources of the posts would increase the utility and influence of this blog.

Posted by: David Behar | Apr 1, 2018 9:09:46 AM

Wow, David, you have a great vision for another type of blog that I would look forward to reading and linking to. I hope you take all the time you waste on impolite comments here and develop the resource you suggest.

Posted by: Doug B | Apr 1, 2018 10:35:53 AM

Prof. Berman. Thanks for the support. I am not into sentencing. It is of interest as the biggest failure of the lawyer profession, the failure to protect the public, the protection of the criminal, and rampant criminality.

Posted by: David Behar | Apr 1, 2018 1:07:48 PM

Doug, I like the current format. Although I offer very little at the level of many, I like expressing my .02 worth. My mispellings are many and Am not happy with them. The higher intellect of the many that drop short sentences, with much content, is why I like this site.

Supremacy can and should make much better posts.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Apr 1, 2018 7:20:40 PM

I like the roll of recent comments you have in your Marijuana Blog.

Posted by: David Behar | Apr 2, 2018 10:05:39 PM

Do not adopt Disqus. It is slow to load, or fails to load at all.

Posted by: David Behar | Apr 2, 2018 10:13:53 PM

"You need to warn students you are about to begin a discussion, with persuasion by authority, of sick, delusional, crazy supernatural doctrines."

I think its more important that high school students are taught how to critically-think and identify commentary from education, than that college professors tell students that they are switching into commentary mode. If they have to tell the kids that because the kids can't tell the difference, it won't help them--in class or reading the news. If the kids can recognize it themselves, that WILL help them.

Also, the kids who are signing up for his (or anyone else's class) probably know what they are getting into. If you get accepted into, say Yale, and don't know ahead of time that they back Obama and resist Trump, telling you after you get to class will be meaningless.

Posted by: Ann Coult45 | Apr 3, 2018 2:01:58 AM

I would like to see more comment threads like this one. It was an emotional rollercoaster reading through this!

But seriously, David Behar, shouldn't you be defending yourself against a medical malpractice suit, or trying to sue an attorney for abuse of process, or maybe suing to have a medical law ruled unconstitutional?

Posted by: Anonuser879 | Apr 3, 2018 2:34:56 AM

879. You are obviously not a lawyer. Go in peace. Have a blessed day.

Posted by: David Behar | Apr 3, 2018 8:20:16 AM

The number one thing you could do to improve this blog is ban abusive and boring commentators. These few people drive so many others away and add nothing of substance.

Get rid of the dead weight and watch the discussion grow in quality and quantity.

Posted by: justme | Apr 3, 2018 8:41:54 AM

Justine. What you proposed has happened several times. None of the changes you wish for took place.

Posted by: David Behar | Apr 3, 2018 7:10:31 PM

How about we run an empirical experiment, David: make ZERO comments over the rest of April and lets see if we get more comments in your absence. I think "justme" could be right, but we may only know if you go away for a number of weeks to see what happens.

Posted by: Doug B. | Apr 3, 2018 7:18:36 PM

It has been done, several times and for many months. Nothing happened here. But you are getting on my nerves, and you have a deal for 30 days. Count the comments for the past 30 days, and for the next 30 days.

Posted by: David Behar | Apr 4, 2018 5:48:28 AM

Huzzah. And if we get a lot more comments over the next 30 days, you will stay away (or at least limit yourself to a comment a day)?

Posted by: Doug B | Apr 4, 2018 10:55:56 AM

Why do I get the funny feeling that David Behar and S.C are socks for Doug?

Posted by: fred | Apr 6, 2018 2:39:33 PM

I can assure you, fred, I am not David Behar or S.C.

Posted by: Doug B. | Apr 6, 2018 3:30:53 PM


When I first came to this blog I wondered the same thing. This is especially true since Doug B. has stated in the past that he like to "stir things up" in order to drive blog traffic. But I have come to the conclusion that it is unlikely. First, the professor is a very busy man and it wouldn't be an effective use of his time; this blog just isn't that important to his career trajectory. The second is that Behar has another blog, the one he links to, and it just don't sound like Doug is that person. Of course, anything is possible but I think it is highly unlikely that it is all one big act by Doug B.

Posted by: Humdee | Apr 6, 2018 3:47:55 PM

I'm a professor and we are hardly "very busy.' People who work in coal mines are busy; not us.

Posted by: fred | Apr 7, 2018 7:20:34 PM

i wish we could "like" the comments of others if we find them interesting.

Posted by: defendergirl | Apr 19, 2018 9:46:04 AM

Very interesting idea, defendergirl. Thanks!

Posted by: Doug B | Apr 19, 2018 10:27:50 AM

@Doug, defendergirl

One aspect of this blog that I have long appreciated is that it doesn't have a voting system. The problem with voting systems as evidenced by sites like reddit and the Washington Post is that they are means of privileging some user generated content over others. This has the salubrious effect of weeding out trolls but it also has the enfeebling effect of silencing well-intended but controversial data and opinions, which is to say in my experience voting promotes a herd mentality.

This blog doesn't attract that many visitors. What is difficult about a comment saying, "that was interesting to read XXX, thanks for sharing."? If the blog started generating hundreds of comments like that one then maybe an up voting button might be worthwhile but as of now...I don't see it.

Posted by: Daniel | Apr 19, 2018 11:02:57 AM

Doug, former student writing here. Resist changes to the layout! This old-school minimalism serves the blog well. Design revamp wholly unnecessary.

Posted by: AJ | Apr 19, 2018 2:06:50 PM

I agree with AJ. The only improvement the blog needs is some way to rid the otherwise valuable comments section of trolls.

Posted by: career AFPD | Apr 20, 2018 9:25:02 AM

Other than David Behar, are there any other trolls you have in mind, career AFPD?

Posted by: Doug B. | Apr 20, 2018 12:43:56 PM

Did Bill Otis really encourage Behar to keep posting here? That's interesting, since Behar routinely incites violence against attorneys and judges

Posted by: RW | Apr 22, 2018 12:13:13 AM

Behar is of course the main issue,and getting rid of him would solve much of the problem. federalist is sometimes troll like but not always . Otis was clearly a troll,but he's been gone for years now . No one else comes to mind.

Posted by: career AFPD | Apr 23, 2018 10:01:31 AM

Perhaps one of the factors that could be looked at is how frequently a reader comments. Infrequent rants are tolerable repetitive rants are not.

Posted by: John Neff | Apr 23, 2018 2:10:25 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB