Trotter tightens moderation

All blogs and social media forums have their own moderation policies. It is obviously up to each how they want to run things.

There have been a number of sites that have  put comments in the too hard basket and shut them down altogether, notably RNZ and The Spinoff and some have suggested that NZ Herald seems to effectively be doing similar.

This week Chris Trotter announced that he would continue allowing comments but under stricter moderation.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO READERS: Moderating Comments On “Bowalley Road”.

READERS’ COMMENTS to the postings on Bowalley Road constitute an integral part of the blog. That is why I do not intend to follow the example of Radio New Zealand and The Spinoff by switching-off the comments function.

I do, however, understand why those two sites chose to do so. The viciousness and crudity of anonymous commentators is extremely wearying to the spirit. Though the worst examples are swiftly deleted, they must first be read – and that is not a pleasant duty. Also vexatious are the tangential conversations and ideological disputations that ramble on between commentators. Though obviously engaging for their participants, they contribute very little to the overall enjoyment of the blog.

With these issues in mind, I have decided to tighten-up the moderation of comments to Bowalley Road.

The first and most important change relates to anonymous commentators. From now on all anonymous comments will be deleted without being read. My strong preference is for commentators to use their real names. I do, however, understand why some people feel very uneasy about doing so – especially on such an overtly political blog as Bowalley Road. Accordingly, I will continue to accept pseudonyms, but only with the proviso that commentators, having chosen a name, stick with it. The use of multiple pseudonyms, if detected, will result in the offender being permanently banned from commenting on Bowalley Road.

The use of multiple pseudonyms is a common problem where malicious people try to avoid moderation, some repeatedly.

But it can be difficult to differentiate between legitimate use of a pseudonym versus anonymity being used to avoid being linked to past abuses.

I tend towards giving people with pseudonyms the benefit of the doubt. The small number of serial abusers are usually easy to identify – the more they try the easier it is to pick up red flags.

The second change in moderation policy will be to shut down all tangential conversations and/or slanging matches between commentators. Those deemed to be straying from the issues raised in the posting will be warned once to stay on-topic. Persistent off-topic commentary will be deleted.

Chris can obviously do what he likes but I disagree with this approach, especially on ‘tangential conversations’. The more comments there are on a post the more they can naturally diversify. Often that diversification adds to the discussions in a very good way.

Trying to judge what is too tangential or off topic risks leading to selective pruning that can fit your own preferences, something I want to avoid.

There can be a fine line between banter, vigorously contesting opinions and slanging matches. Things can go to far but again I prefer to lean towards allowing freedom of expression. Otherwise there’s a risk of stifling discussion and picking sides (or a perception of picking sides).

With these changes, I hope to restore Bowalley Road’s commentary threads to their former high standard of tone and content. In essence, all I am asking from those who wish to participate in this blog is a modicum of self-discipline and a generous helping of courtesy.

Most of us would like that.

But ‘warts and all’ robust discussions are an important part of politics, as long as it doesn’t go to far, too personal and too abusive.

How to moderate is an ongoing challenge but I will continue to lean towards fair and balanced freedom of expression as much as I can.

This won’t be to everyone’s taste but there is a shrinking number of forums relatively free of restriction so I think it’s important to keep at least one going.

 

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10 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  13th August 2016

    Ronya PG. Ya blog’s ace. Ya a good bloke, ya do a good job, & ya a charmer. ❤

    I reckon ya probably *do ok*. 😎

    Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  13th August 2016

    who cares?Trotters blog is one of thousands,if he wants everyone singing from the same songsheet,why even bother?

    Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  13th August 2016

    I think you’ve got it right, PG. This is the most enjoyable blog I’ve seen by far.

    Reply
  4. Nelly Smickers

     /  13th August 2016

    And whilst he would probably never admit it……I know for a fact, Wayne *really does have the hots* for our Kitzy ❤

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  13th August 2016

      Let’s face it, Nelly … who doesn’t? Blazer follows her around like a puppy dog doing all that pretend *I hate you … I hate you* stuff, but he’s fooling nobody eh. 😎

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  13th August 2016

      PS: Ya song done the best @ *Woodstock* last nite, tho I reckon people probly voted on personality rather than performance imo.

      Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  13th August 2016

      Wayne may, but it’s neither appreciated nor reciprocated, especially in my situation. Tell him to find someone who’s not single because they have been widowed.

      Reply
      • Nelly Smickers

         /  13th August 2016

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  13th August 2016

          Maybe you’d better explain to him what a widow is and why it’s usually considered poor taste to make crude remarks to or about one, especially when it’s a fairly recent bereavement. He won’t understand a long word like bereavement, but you can put it into simple words for him. Perhaps then he’ll stop-or you can stop repeating his unwanted, unfunny comments. I can’t stop him making these remarks about me, of course, but I would appreciate it if you would stop repeating them.

          Reply

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