Tobold's Blog
Friday, January 23, 2009
Anonymous commenting disabled

I was toying with the idea to take up the challenge of one of the anonymous idiots and demonstrate that if I stop blogging you'd be losing more than I do. But then I realized that this would hit exactly the wrong people, because the trolls would just carve another mark into their keyboard and go and hassle the next blogger.

So I decided to take a different step to preserve my sanity, and improve the quality of my comment section by disabling anonymous comments. From now on, if you want to leave a comment, you must be registered *somewhere*. That can be Blogger, Google, Wordpress, OpenID, or any other system on the dropdown menu. You don't have to leave your real name, but at least we'll be able to follow who is who among the trolls.
No problem here. Those of us who follow your blog have one those accounts usually anyway.
Good choice, hopefully will cut down the trolling.
That's the option I picked on my blog a while ago and it seems to work well, though you have an order of magnitude more traffic than anyone I know :P Hopefully doing that helps you out though.
Doesn’t actually matter. We’re still essentially anonymous with no accountability…
This will hopefully be nice (Even though I'm one of the people who dislikes this week's patch rant posts.). It does seem a lot of the bad quality posts on the blog come from anonymous people.

(Though I do hope some of the better anonymous posters have a place to set up a name, though it shouldn't be too hard.)
I think a better solution is to just weed the comments ruthlessly. I've had plenty of good commenters that started out anonymously. When I wrote a post on blogging, I suggested:

"My advice is to just delete comments that are insulting or pointless. Try to delete such that people see "This post has been deleted by a blog administrator" or similar message. People tend to follow the social norms already established on the blog. If everyone else is insulting or trolling, then they will insult and troll, push the boundaries a little bit more. Step on it early, delete the first offenders aggressively, and it will keep your blog from becoming like the official WoW forums. Of course, it is important to differentiate between honest dissent, and people being stupid. But in general, people who are worth listening to can phrase their disagreement in an appropriate manner."
I have to say I prefer Tobolds solution to yours Rohan. I think the fact that Tobold allows every type of comment on his blog (short of outright spam) is a great thing. Weeding out comments is censorship however you look at it. Requesting commenter to registers and use some kind of name is not censorship.
Concerns about censorship are overrated. They can always start their own blog.

I'm with Elitist Jerks on this. Highly aggressive moderation is the only way you can get a decent signal-to-noise ratio. In particular, you underestimate the effect that commenters have on each other. Useless comments have a feedback effect, and send the conversation spiraling downwards.
Try to delete such that people see "This post has been deleted by a blog administrator" or similar message.

Hmmm, not sure I can do that on Blogger. At least the "buy WoW gold" spam comments I deleted up to now just disappeared into nothingness, without a deletion notice. And Blogger certainly doesn't give me to option of leaving a comment WHY a particular post has deleted.

But I do agree that I should delete more comments. It'll be the next step if this solution isn't working. grand dad used to say "illegitami non-carborendum" - "pseudo" latin for "don't let the bast**ds get you down." Your thoughtful work is regular reading out there for many of us. Your thoughtful insights have sparked more than one conversation on the "No Prisoners, No Mercy" show (including 1/4 of the show last week). If you were to quit blogging there would be a big empty space in the blogging community. Why should the rest of us suffer for a few thoughtless gits?

Keep up the good work,

Julie Whitefeather
When you delete a comment on Blogger, there's an option like "Delete Forever". If you choose that, there's no message, the comment just silently disappears. If you don't choose that option, the message pops up automatically. At least that's how it works on my options.
Why whine about censorship on a blog anywho? It's Tobold's place, let him clean it up however he wants. He is the dictator for life; live with it.
I always liked Slashdot's approach. Just put "Anonymous Coward" instead of "Anonymous" for the name. This helps to keep the moronic comments in perspective :)
Just to clarify when I said "why should the rest of us suffer for a few thoughtful gits" my concern was your comment Tobold: "...and demonstrate that if I stop blogging you'd be losing more than I do" you are quite correct. Don't even consider stopping just because someone else wants you to...only if you want to. I, and many others like me, consider your insights an irreplaceable part of the blogging community.

p.s. Censor away.

I'm all for improving the signal-to-noise ratio, whether it's through disabling anonymous comments or active moderation. The first is easier, and gets rid of 90% of the trolls.
I just delete troll comments though my traffic is low enough where its only one or two a month. Disabling anonymous commenting is probably the right method for you.
"you'd be losing more than I do"

I would bet the farm that this is a lie. :)
You just love the audience!
I have just started to read your blog and I really enjoy it. Keep up the great articles and don't let the trolls get you down.
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Your blog is great, keep up the good work... begone Trolls!
Sounds good to me, I don't have that problem nobody reads my blog :)
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I don't agree with everything tobold says on this blog but i think hes 100% right to do this

He puts himself and his views in the firing line, if someone wants to argue with his views they should be prepared to do the same.

Penny Arcade summed it up much better than i ever will years ago

John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckward Theory
Must admit I'm... I suppose somewhat annoyed at the disabled Anon. It removes possible advertisement for me ya see :P

Before I could post something semi-intelligent and possibly get people clicking on my name and popping over to my blog once they've finished reading yours. I won't have that chance anymore :(
It's a shame it's come to this, but it's a lesser evil than having the blog ruined by spammers & trolls.
I agree with removing the anomymous posting. I've agreed and disagreed with you, and other readers in the past, but keeping the comments clean and not pissing contests is a good thing. Especially with a blog like this one, where people from all sorts of games and places can get together to have some rational discussion with a real life moderator who is intelligent and reasonable.

As long as the trolls and the people who feel entitled to tell you what you can and cannot talk about leave you alone (and us, by the way), it should be good enough. But if there are still trolls being idiots and leaving stupid comments, I'd figure out if you can show the last two places of the posters' IP address, such as XX.XX.51.12, and block the major proxy servers so people can't be "anonymous" through those either. Include enough of the IP to know who is a troll making multiple accounts, etc, and who actually wants to participate in discussions in a rational manner. Ban the bastards who have nothing to say except general trollery and idiocy.

It's your blog Tobold, and you can do whatever you want. I'd say a majority of your readers would rather be forced to log into whatever options you have to leave a message, than for you to either stop blogging, or disable commenting altogether. Blog about whatever you want, no matter it be politics, religion, or the state of Death Knights. Readers who have anything of substance to say can do so rationally and won't mind logging in to whatever. Only trolls and 11 year olds will be upset that they can't post as Anonymous...and I think we're much better off without their comments to begin with.
hmm tob you dont have to read all the negative / trolling comment.

instead of saying 'GTFO if you dont like it' (not a nice language imho), you should use 'if you dont like my blog the start your own blog' advice .. the same advice you gave me in the xfire-warhammer blogpost commentary.


Anonymous removal removes just a part of the trolls. I often delete non-anonymous ones (granted, my blog has more controversial topics). I just say you can't get rid of trolls by administrative methods. You have to delete them one by one.
As a 3 year daily reader, I have to say that these types of things do add drama to your blog, and drama is entertaining. I don't want to be entertained at the price of your sanity, though. Edit away.

Look at all your defenders coming out of the woodwork! You don't have to defend yourself, let your fans do it for you.

I like the idea of disabling Anon posting. If nothing else, it allows us to identify trolls by name, and kind of prevents them from creating multiple posts and making it look like they are coming from separate people to support their arguments. As an example, I already feel that "Jason DPS Liberation Front" is a confrontational person that likes to use straw men arguments. I can now read his posts but take them with a grain of salt.
I'd say all you need to do is just "tune out" the troll noise, but then, I don't have a blog with new content posted every day. I suppose it gets to you after awhile, and if that's the case for you, then yes, to preserve your sanity, if you find it necessary, for sure you should disable anonymous commenting (as well as posts from people like myself who put too many commas in the same sentence). It should also cut some of the "comment spam" which you no doubt moderate, as I expect to see much more and have been pleasantly surprised to see little, if any.
Good idea, make them come out of the woodwork or go away. :)

Keep up the good work, mate.
Keep the blog as successful as you can Ras, no matter what the trolls throw at you - do what you need to keep the blog yours and your readers wont mind, i know i certainly wont

Keep on doing your thing

Yay! I can comment again! :)
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