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  • Comment Moderation

    Posted by Jonathan on February 17th, 2008 (All posts by )

    I’ve reconfigured the blog so that all comments have to be approved by me before they appear. The idea is to discourage trolling. I don’t know if this is the best way to do it, but I want to find out. Comments, complaints and suggestions are welcome.

     

    11 Responses to “Comment Moderation”

    1. joseph hill Says:

      The problem is that you assume that all comments that disagree with a perceived Truth at this site can be dismissed as trolling. As will be the case, doubtless, with this comment.

    2. Jonathan Says:

      Oh, you poor, persecuted thing. This blog is unfair to trolls, as they always remind us when we cut off their privileges.

      To be clear about what’s going on, I am not deleting your comments based on your disagreement. I am deleting them because you are hijacking comment threads by injecting off-topic political arguments, and because when I delete your comments you continue to leave new comments under different aliases and from different IPs.

      Disagreeing comments, including vehemently argumentative disagreeing comments, are welcome here. What aren’t welcome are personal attacks, habitual attempts to redirect discussions, and sock puppetry.

    3. outraged Says:

      Do most forums like these edit comments? It’s bound to restrict discussion. One man’s apt comparison is another man’s “troll.” But if you want a mutual admiration society (usually dangerous for actually learning), that’s fine.

    4. Jonathan Says:

      Everything restricts discussion. Not filtering comments restricts discussion by making all readers hostage to a small minority of manipulative loudmouths. The central problem is that there’s an asymmetric payoff to being a jerk in the comments section of an established blog. The question, IMO, is how to block the jerks without chilling everyone else. Until now I’ve been deleting plainly abusive comments, as well as borderline comments from people who have histories of bad behavior. But I’m weary of doing this, partly because the jerk often comes back under a new alias and starts trouble before anyone realizes he’s the same jerk, and partly because I’d rather train the dog (or, if that’s not possible, lock him out of the house) than keep cleaning the carpet. We shall see how well my new policy works.

    5. Shannon Love Says:

      Jonathan,

      My two cents is that this will overload you and slow down postings to the point that it will restrict an even flow of dialog. I would suggest just allowing individual authors to delete post they think off topic and encourage everyone to do so aggressively. I note that Jospeh Hill behaves better in my threads since I bumped a couple of his post for being off topic.

    6. Jonathan Says:

      Individual authors have always been able to delete comments on their threads. Ideally they would also have the option to moderate all comments to their threads if they wished. Maybe there is a way to implement this. I’ll look into it.

      Maybe comment moderation will restrict dialog excessively, maybe not. It works OK on some blogs. If it doesn’t work here I can go back to the old system.

    7. renminbi Says:

      How long would be the delay while a comment was held?Please consider this.This is a really nice site and the comments are generally useful. That’s a lot more than can be said for most blog sites.

    8. Jonathan Says:

      Thanks for the feedback.

      If I’m working at my desk the delay should be only a few minutes. The question is how to handle things the rest of the time. I’ll have to think about this. I’m not going to continue the experiment if it causes more problems than it solves.

      What I’d really like is a WordPress plugin that gives readers the ability to hide all comments by specified commenters. This might require commenters to register, but I think that would be an acceptable price for de-leveraging the trolls.

      In the meantime I’d like to give my experiment in comment moderation enough time to see if it works. I know several blogs that moderate all comments and still host good discussions, so it can be done.

    9. Tyouth Says:

      “Do most forums like these edit comments? It’s bound to restrict discussion. One man’s apt comparison is another man’s “troll.” But if you want a mutual admiration society (usually dangerous for actually learning), that’s fine.”

      Someone has used my moniker: Tyouth didn’t write the above.

    10. Jonathan Says:

      Thanks for clarifying, TY. I’m glad you didn’t write that.

    11. Tyouth Says:

      “The question is how to handle things the rest of the time.”

      I expect there is no great need for consistency Jon. In behavior mod./control inconsistency of (controller) input is quite effective in getting a desired effect.