Tobold's Blog
Monday, March 01, 2010
Result of the free speech experiment

After letting run the free speech experiment with zero comment moderation for a week, it is time to look at the results, and draw a conclusion. Here are my observations on how the experiment went:An experiment serves to learn something, and hopefully to improve things by what is learned. I ran this experiment because I didn't have an answer to what the best form of comment moderation is, and because I wondered whether I could relax some moderation rules without doing too much harm. For me the lesson is relatively clear: Moderating comments before they appear is not necessary, as long as I turn off anonymous commenting.

Thus I declare this experiment as ended. I am turning anonymous commenting off again, with apologies to the tiny minority of people who can't or won't sign up for a free account with OpenID or Google or somewhere to comment. But unlike before the experiment, I'll leave comments to appear immediately when written. I *will* start deleting comments again, be that for trolling or ad hominem attacks. But I'll use the deletion option which replaces the comment with an "This post has been removed by a blog administrator", so there will be more transparency, and you'll see that I don't actually delete all that many comments. I think it is the existence of comment moderation by itself that keeps comments in line.
Bravo, Tobold.

I think your choice is the best one - the few moments it takes to create or sign into an account is trivial to someone with something positive to the discussion, but quite a deterrent to someone who wants to make quick remarks to inflame others.
I'm glad the experiment worked out favorably. I wonder what the future holds: "Is Tobold's blog too popular to be bad?"

A fake you sounds amusing, now I have to search for him. What could he possibly parody? "I think that Darkfall had potential as a concept but was released too soon!" or "People should play whatever game they want and different choices do not make them fags."
Very sensible conclusion and it's the option I would have picked had we been voting.

Hope it works out well and doesn't become too onerous again.

Best of luck!
That's my favourite way to deal with spam. Is it actually poassible to ban accounts like GevLon from posting on this Blog?
I couldn't have hoped for a better outcome, good man.
Sounds like a good compromise to me Tobold.

I would like to speak in defence of Gevion. When started posting it was a cleverly executed and quite humorous troll. I know it derailed a thread or two but on balance I think it was worth it for being a funny joke. Once he was called out by you however the joke was over and I hope that he has the sense not to continue it. In fact I think I saw a post where he said he will stop.
Maybe you should leave Google for another blogging service? It seems like their customization options are poor for your community. Ever thought of a donate button so your community can pay for a better host?
You spend more time worrying about this than any bloggers I have ever seen. This is your 5th or so post about it since I have read you.

Just turn it on and leave it on. See, there ya go. Now back to writing!
It is only human that people who blog also care a lot about blogging and how to do it.

If you don't want to read such posts, just don't do it.

I have only recently started following your blog (among other WoW related blogs), but I think you made the 'right' choice. Clearly, SOME moderation will always be neccessary (like in all online forums) and a reactive moderation is much more reader-friendly than a proactive moderation.

It's good to see that the unavoidable few spammers and flamers didn't deter you from reaching a objective conclusion!
Sounds like a good solution to me! Thanks for taking the time to investigate.
Like any good experiment, I would suggest doing a 'control' as some point in the future.

Allow 'free speech' but don't tell anyone about it.

I would suspect that the number of debates on moderation and the subsequent announcement opened the floodgates on this occasion...

Thank you for your support. It was never my intent to harass Mr. Tobold or any of his blog's visitors. If one or two posts were... derailed... well... i was having a lot of fun :D

By the way, i'm not Marko (even he was mistaken once, on Gevlon's own blog and before he had all the comments even more censored. Nor i am spanish.

Farewell and have nice social activities, like mating or playing MMORPG.

Nice! Glad to see the outcome and I think your changes will improve things for your readers tremendously. I'm new to your blog, but have really enjoyed your posts and the comments that come from them. Now back to our regularly scheduled program!
I am happy that this is the conclusion you reached :)

Also, I like that this blog also discuss blogging as such and how to do it. I find it interesting.
Good choice. Also stimulated me to make an openID account (or at least start using it).
a fair conclusion! Fun to watch.
I'm glad to see the experiment is over. I was beginning to think it was useless.

P.S. Where is this REAL Gevion? I have only seen the Gevion knockoff, Gevlon.
Sounds like a good system, Tobold.

Just delete troll posts, and any response you think just furthers the troll's thread derailment. I don't think too many people are too worried about seeing a "comment has been removed" message. Most of us won't respond to trolling idiots anyway.

I'm glad you've gone back to instant comments. It's your blog, but your readers who comment like to have conversations based on what you wrote. I think it makes your blog a much better read with instant comments, and the conversations can give you ideas for future posts.

I think your experiment went well.
I think your new system sounds perfect for this blog.
Tobold I appreciate your process for determining how best to allow us to comment on your blog. Very straightforward and reasonable.
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