Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
 
Explaining comment moderation

Ah, christmas holidays, I love this time of the year. But of course not everybody does, and family reunions and giving each other presents is also a source of tension for some. At least that is what I figured when over the last few days I had to censor half a dozen or so angry and insulting comments, more than usual, especially surprising since I didn't even post much contentious stuff these days.

Nevertheless one guy felt the need to tell me how dumb I am, another called me a troll, and another guy called me a whiner. The latter posted the identical comment twice under different names, probably confused why his first comment was never posted. So I thought I might have to explain Blogger's comment moderation to some people.

It is really very simple: Every comment you post does *not* directly appear on the blog, but at first only on a comment moderation page. I visit that page several times a day, read the comments, and can then decide for each of them whether to publish or to reject them. In short, I have ultimate censorship powers, not just after the fact, but everything has to pass by me before it is posted. Thus if you post a comment saying "Tobold, u r so dumb", I will reject it, and it will never make it to the blog. Not just because I don't appreciate being called names on my own blog, duh! But also because thus comments tend to disrupt any other polite and intelligent discussion going on. How do you write an intelligent argument to counter a "u r dumb" comment?

Look at it that way: Imagine you think your neighbor is dumb. You certainly can mention that thought privately. But spraying a "U R DUMB" graffiti on your neighbor's house wall is already not covered by any freedom of speech rights you might think you have. And asking your neighbor for permission to allow you to spray "U R DUMB" on his house wall is obviously not a good idea. Not only will your neighbor certainly not permit it, but he will also conclude that it isn't him who is the dumb one in that story. Trying to call me names on my blog with comment moderation on is exactly the same thing, with exactly the same results. An intelligent person can find a way to disagree with my points of view without calling me anything, even without using the word "you" (or "u") at all.
Comments:
I wish there were some more sophisticated method to get rid of trolls. Like shared black and whitelists, commenter rating, silent commenting (troll sees his own stuff but no one else does) and such.
 
I think it's an issue that will stay with us because of the way MMOs work.

Forum-whining has a huge impact on balance which is an issue widely understood by players. As a result MMO official sites encourage both participation and irrationality.

If I and hundreds like me don't constantly complain that Ret Pallies are underpowered then sooner or later Ret Pallies will get nerfed. It is in my interest to complain about how underpowered they are at all stages of the nerf/buff cycle.

Next intelligent discussion is not the most effective way to generate interest. Syncaine has demonstrated that very ably recently. A highly intelligent blogger his badly thought out assault on Lum attracted over 100 comments including many high profile members of the blogging community. If he had written an intellectual piece not many people would have commented.

So people are being taught passion > all and defend your viewpoint like you would support a sports team. And are being rewarded in terms of game balance, blog hits, etc for behaving like this.
 
It's a terrible shame that things have got this bad, Tobold. Whilst I can fully understand why you've made the decision you have, it does have the unfortunate side-effect of disrupting the flow of conversation between the more thoughtful posters, which was one of the things I found most useful about your blog.
 
Thank you for making me laugh over my morning coffee Tobold!
 
Is there at least a blacklist you can set up for individual sites? Seems like that would be useful for repeat offenders.
 
A troll filter would be a good idea. A few ideas:

-Any poster with a name that has a number. Gamekiddie123, UberDPS666
-Anyone using abbreviations like "u", "r",...
-Anyone using "lol"
-Anyone using leetspeek. "Y0u 4r3 dum8"
-Anyone using more than one fuck in a sentence
 
Gevlon: You could probably implement those kinds of features on a privately-hosted blog with minimal coding - I use Wordpress to power my own blog, and the range of plugins available is ridiculous. However, I have the ultimate troll filter: I get far less traffic than you guys, so comment moderation isn't much of a problem :)

And Tobold: I just wanted to say, while I know it's probably a chore to filter everything by hand, as a long-time reader I appreciate the efforts you take to keep the discourse civil here. This is onjavascript:void(0)e of the few blogs where I actually try to read all of the comments, because the content that comes out of the discussion is usually almost as good as the original blog post itself.

Happy holidays!
 
After years of the internet I've learned to easily dismiss troll posts. This isn't to say I'd be okay with them on my blog. I would, because any comments right now is better then none, but I digress, the point I'm trying to make is:

As a reader of a blog, troll comments aren't really bothersome because I just ignore them.
 
The problem with moderation is that "insult" is a very large umbrella.

I was the one who called Tobold a troll. But me calling him a Troll was a small sentence in a paragraph. I said he was a troll on the context of one post and explained why. But it was deemed insulting and not published. This is Tobold's house and he does as he pleases but on the other hand Tobold will gladly allow very rude posts provided the target is PvP'ers or Syncaine. One would think that Tobolds definition of politeness is "people not calling ME names".

Besides, it's far easier to feel insulted for being called a troll than to address the reason one was called troll in the first place.

As for Gevlon, dude, it's HILARIOUS reading your blog and then reading you whining about trolls. A dude who thinks he's a big shot for having reached the gold cap and goes on a vanity project to raid in blues calling others morons and slackers? Cheesh, I wish I had your free time, son.
 
It seems they have been worse the past few days.
 
Explaining regulation to the regulated is a fruitless endeavor.
 
I agree with Gevlon actually. Having silent commenting would be beautiful. These people could work out their frustration in apparently the only way they know how, no one has to deal with their nonsense, and they are left wondering why no one is paying attention to them.
 
Silent commenting made me a laugh. It's funny, we've seen cases of people creating multiple profiles within a community and then fighting with themselves! Seems that some people just have that need.
Did you ever see CoComment? You could start a CoComment community conversation on a webpage but that wasn't seen in the standard comments. Maybe some sort of TrollComment service could work? -Darika
 
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