miss_s_b: Abby Scuto says Awesome (Feminist Heroes: Abby Scuto Awesome)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I see that circumstance has given you an opportunity to restructure. While I am sure you will feel the loss of Count Packula keenly, it would be a shame if you did not treat his departure as an opportunity for reform, particularly of what happens below the line. I'm sure you are aware of the dissatisfaction many of us feel with the way comments are run on LDV. But I'm not here just to whinge! I'm here to propose solutions.

1, The number one most important thing I would suggest is to follow the advice given in this article on the Online journalism review. If the author of an article isn't prepared to engage in the comments, there is no point offering comments on that article. I don't propose to retype Robert's article here, but I suggest you all read and digest it.

2, Please, please, PLEASE enable comment subscription. If you don't enable comment subscription the only people who are going to return to the comment threads are the combative arseholes who obsessively hit refresh to see if whoever they want to attack has replied so they can attack them. This does not foster a positive commenting experience.

3, You should read Anil Dash's article about how to foster a positive comment space, digest it and implement it. I think Anil's comment that if you allow arseholes to foster you're an arsehole yourself is possibly a bit harsh, but the advice he offers on how to stop arseholes fostering is sensible and easy to implement, and most importantly it works.

4, Don't be afraid to wield the banhammer. If a person came into your house and behaved the way (to take two random examples) jedibeeftrix or Simon Titley do, you would not put up with it. Lib Dem Voice is all our house. Don't be swayed by the free speech argument; you're not affecting someone's freedom of speech by banning them from LDV. They are quite free to go and set up their own blog and scream abuse at you from there. Freedom of speech necessarily involves the freedom to ignore and/or respond however you wish.

ETA 4a, If you wield the banhammer, do it publicly, with reasons. This way everyone knows what the rules are and how they will be applied. Vituperative trolls will see that they won't be tolerated and eventually stop bothering to comment at all. This will make life immeasurably easier on your moderators.

5, It's not about whether or not someone uses their real name or a pseud - Simon, bless him, is ample proof of that - it's about how they behave towards other people. If someone is constantly aggressive and arsehole-ish that's going to put other people off. Active moderation will need to be strong in the beginning, but people will eventually get used to it and you'll find you need very little moderation once it's bedded in. I can't remember the last time I had to delete a comment on here, but that's because I have always, consistently, had positive comment policies and been clear about them. The best thing is, because all my regulars are comfortable with what my policies and comfort zones are, on the rare occasion an arsehole does turn up, my regulars generally deal with him or her before I even notice they are here.

I expect this post to cause some controversy. I also expect it to not make a blind bit of difference. But I feel better having put it out there.



Date: Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 12:26 pm (UTC)
hollymath: (liberal)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
I agree with this post.

Date: Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 12:33 pm (UTC)
hollymath: (liberal)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
Well I thought if you were expecting controversy I, as someone who usually nods along, could speak up for once :)

Date: Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 12:42 pm (UTC)
markpack: Photo of me (Default)
From: [personal profile] markpack
You make some very good points, especially the one about how commenters behave being in large part down to how a site is structured and run. We've seen that already with the previous round of major changes to LDV's commenting policy, so it's also something that clearly applies not just in theory or to other sites but very much to LDV itself too.

I also think it would be a missed opportunity if my departure doesn't result in things being given a fresh look and approach, whatever form that might take. Organisations normally flourish in my experience when things like the departure of a long-standing member results in an injection of fresh ideas and approaches rather than simply everyone carrying on as before.

I don't know what the team will decide to do with the site in future. I look forward to seeing what it is!

Date: Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 12:52 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] magister
"It's not about whether or not someone uses their real name or a pseud - Simon, bless him, is ample proof of that."

#collapses in giggles#

Date: Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 01:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fabulousblueporcupine.wordpress.com
I think, looking at it now from a distance, there is a bit of a problem with the whole way the site works. It's neither solely an opinion piece blog, nor is it a self-directed forum with faceless moderators on high. The editors are, on the whole, visible and known to be willing to give the party a generous hearing. They can write good forensic opinion pieces, of course, which may be quite critical. But on the whole I don't feel they carry that forensic,er,nessthingystuff into their quick "here is some news" posts, and it does make it all sound a leetle bit quasi-official. They slightly lack credibility as moderators of people who are disagreeing with them, and I suspect they are aware of that. They know if they moderated more intensively they'd get a fair bit of stick for being party mouthpieces. But they've really set themselves up for the stick in the "high church Lib Dem" way they write, and the solution is to take the stick away, not live in fear of it.

I suspect all this is to do with the fact that one of the original purposes of the site was to push a moderate Lib Dem perspective on a subject up the google results. And to that extent, the current system works. It just doesn't necessarily work in other ways.

Conservative Home solves this problem by having a running post every day with links to stories as they come out, and any accompanying ed comment is usually a factual one-liner. That avoids the churchiness, but then on the other hand the comment threads are rubbish because everyone's talking about different things.

Date: Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 05:14 pm (UTC)
ext_392011: (Default)
From: [identity profile] rankersbo.wordpress.com
I think a problem with blogs and forums is that the squeeky wheels get the oil.

The ranters and ravers get people reacting, but the nice thoughtfull people get ignored. I find it a bit dispiriting to be honest. I think it should be part of the remit of the mods to encourage nice people like me. Just a short positive reaction would do.

Although I am reminded the worse piece of online bullying I have recieved was at the hand of someone in the position of moderator. Not so much that it happened but the fact I was left out in the cold when I attempted to stand up to it. 8 years ago, and still it comes back to me.

Date: Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 05:24 pm (UTC)
ext_392011: (Default)
From: [identity profile] rankersbo.wordpress.com
Arrgh... I missed out a bit, sorrysorrysorry.

The bit about online bulling should have read "on an email list at the hands of" to make CLEAR it wasn't on LDV. 'Cause while I too have had issues with the mods on LDV not dealing with problems, being bullied by a moderator wasn't an issue I expreienced on LDV.

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