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.


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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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