The site is open now but comments are closed. Executive Editor Jim Brady writes:
As you might expect, we're getting a ton of e-mail on this, and while I can't answer those e-mails individually, I'll address the two main points being made, that 1) we're afraid of being criticized and, 2) that were no personal attacks, profanity or hate speech in any of the comments.
On the first point, washingtonpost.com has done an awful lot to be as transparent as possible. We've started a ton of blogs, we've linked out to bloggers who are writing (often negatively) about Post content and we've made journalists from The Post and post.com available to answer questions online on a daily basis. So I find it hard to make a case that we're unwilling to be criticized. What we're not willing to do is allow the comments area to turn into a place where it's OK to unleash vicious, name-calling attacks on anyone, whether they are Post reporters, public figures or other commenters. And that's exactly what was happening. That leads into the second complaint. The reason that people were not routinely seeing the problematic posts I mentioned were that we were trying to remove them as fast as we could in order to preserve the reasoned arguments many others were making. We removed hundreds of these posts over the past few days, and it was becoming a significant burden on us to try and keep the comments area free of profanity and name-calling. So we eventually chose to turn off comments until we can come up with a better way to handle situations like this, where we have a significant amount of people who refuse to abide by the rules we set out.
UPDATE: Mike McConnell unearths some comments from Yahoo.
Via The Commissar.