Blog moderation and hypocrisy

There’s been a bit of a spat on Twitter about lack of moderation at Kiwiblog, with a number of people joining criticism of David Farrar’s hands off approach to moderation.

It’s well known that Kiwiblog comments can at times get very abusive. I’ve commented there a lot in the past and often confronted the worse of the abuse, and have been abused and lied about there quite a lot, sometimes in reactions to confronting them. Several times I reported abuse to DPF, and on one occasion  I had him remove defamatory comments, which he did as soon as I contacted him.

I have also been subjected to a lot of abuse and mob attacks at The Standard, and have been banned from there several times for confronting some of that.

So I was a bit bemused when Stephanie Rodgers joined in put me up alongside Farrar in the Twitter spat.

SRTwitterModeration.jpg

There’s a bunch of irony and hypocrisy in that.

King Kong is a regular abusive figure on NZ blogs. Yet you never see them on mine, because – radical – I moderate them.

Yes she does ‘moderate’. But one person’s moderation can be another person’s message control or even censorship.

Bloggers like DPF and Pete George want to pretend it’s hard to moderate out abuse, and it simply isn’t.

Rodgers has made that up about me. It can be easy to moderate out abuse.

What is difficult is getting the balance right between enabling and allowing free speech and free discussion but minimising abuse and personal attacks.

It can be particularly difficult to keep their own views and disagreements separate from moderation.

Likening my moderation to DPF’s  shows quite a degree of ignorance.

DPF’s moderation is very hands off. He relies on people reporting abuse to him, and rarely engages in comments threads. With the number of comments at Kiwiblog it would be a huge job to vet each one.

I am actively involved in moderation here as much as time allows. I actively discourage abuse and act on it whenever I see fit. It isn’t required often, apart from the occasional burst from individuals, because the regulars here understand my aims and support and help achieving a reasonable balance between robust comment and debate but avoiding personal attacks.

It’s imperfect, and it is hard, nigh on impossible, to please all of the commenters all of the time. But it moderation is a continual effort for improving the commenting environment.

You just have to give a damn about not publishing pointles personal attacks – instead of actively encouraging them.

This looks like blind hypocrisy from Rodgers. As has been noted here in the weekend there was a typical mob attack on me at The Standard in the weekend, starting here.

That not only involved abuse, it was an obvious attempt to discredit, shut down, shout down and get me banned by someone some of the numpties there – a number of familiar names.

And Rodgers joined in. That’s a form of active encouragement.

For people like Rodgers moderation seems to be a tool to shut down comment they disagree with and shut out people they don’t like, but to allow attacks when it suits their prejudices and agendas.

it helps not to nurture a commenter base made entirely of deplorables.

But then who would comment on DPF’s obvious flamebait?

Rodgers seems to be blind to the culture of the commentariat she is a part of at The Standard, where flamebait and deplorable abuse are allowed by moderators like her.

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46 Comments

  1. Fair comment is welcome here but please avoid personal attacks or abuse.

    Reply
  2. Gezza

     /  21st September 2016

    I do feels at times at you let young Blazer get away with being a little harsh on Al, who only ever thoroughly deserves it.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  21st September 2016

      Altho I commend you for allowing a modicum of personal abuse towards feckin iPads as long as it doesn’t get out of hand.

      Reply
    • As i said, you can’t please all of the commenters all of the time.

      despite what Rodgers claims it’s quite challenging getting the balance right between freedom of speech and freedom from abuse.

      I don’t intend to ban banter, but that can often nudge fine lines.

      Reply
      • Nick Ellis

         /  21st September 2016

        When you’ve left this sitting on your site for a year, she may have a point.
        https://yournz.org/2014/08/16/apology-to-stephanie/#comment-27583

        Or maybe she was thinking about the low wage workers posts more recently, and the vitriol toward a young woman that was allowed to stand?

        Or maybe…..

        As for the Standard, “creeping stealth”, how could she? That’s terrible. What a cruel jab.

        Reply
        • Kevin

           /  21st September 2016

          And The Standard isn’t a Labour party mouthpiece? I suppose it isn’t a left wing site either, lolz.

          https://thestandard.org.nz/indias-general-strike/#comment-1230980

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  21st September 2016

            Had a read of the link. In terms of moderator moderation style, I have a slight preference towards PG’s I think. Seems a bit less apolectic.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  21st September 2016

              *apoplectic. Flaming iPad.

            • Kevin

               /  21st September 2016

              When your run a heavily commented blog and regard those same commentators as “freeloaders” you’re bound to get rather angry.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  21st September 2016

          What vitriol? That woman has some serious problems with reality and even listening to what anyone else says let alone learning from it. In that state all you can do is diagnose and leave her either to come to her senses or live out her life with consequences her problems ensure. That is what happened.

          As for Ms Rodgers, silverbullet obviously is not impressed and says so. As the only comment, everyone else is apparently content not to bother with her.

          Reply
          • Nick Ellis: “the vitriol toward a young woman that was allowed to stand?”

            The same woman who essentially thought it mean that we disagreed with her extremist views and who failed to answer even the simplest of criticisms about her poorly written ‘hit’ piece?

            Considering her style of writing is basically one big swear-fest I suggest the banter here about ‘low income workers’ was in comparison very moderate in tone.

            Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  21st September 2016

      Gezza, poor Blazer is as innocent as driven snow. ⛄

      There are times I admit when I feel like I just skied over something soft and smelly. It reminds me of the dead whale I accidentally walked on once at Bland Bay.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  21st September 2016

        Blazer has accepted the Mace Format for your Great Debate next week, Al.

        I let him know I’ve got your back.
        https://yournz.org/2016/09/20/social-chat-tuesday-9/#comment-134014

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  21st September 2016

          Yes, that gives me a warm oily feeling again, Gezza, not unlike the whale blubber I mentioned.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  21st September 2016

            Just lulling him into a false sense of security Al.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  21st September 2016

              How on EARTH could someone walk on a dead whale ACCIDENTALLY ?

              They’re hardly so small that that one could fail to notice them. And the smell alone would be a hint that they are there.

            • Gezza

               /  21st September 2016

              Over to you, Al.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  21st September 2016

              Because it was washed up in a storm and covered with sand, Kitty. Then when I walked my dog on the beach the little ridge sticking out an inch or two looked like a ridge of clay or sandstone. Until I stepped on it and kind of squelched. The dog wanted to eat it but it would have taken a year or two. Eventually the Maoris came and officially took the bones, I presume for carving. It had died at sea long ago and partly broken up. When they uncovered more of it with a digger the smell was not good.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  21st September 2016

              I bet that the dog reported you to the SPCA because you wouldn’t let him (a) eat it (b) roll in it. Shame on you.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  21st September 2016

              Oh she did roll on it, now I remember. And stank till it got washed off. She loved getting something really revolting smeared on her shoulder.

            • Gezza

               /  21st September 2016

              Her name’s not Monica, is it?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  21st September 2016

              It was Billie. She died aged 18 and was also a kelpie-cross collie. She loved rounding things up. One day a herd of cattle got into our yard and she had them rounded up so tight I had trouble getting them out of the gate. Another time the cattle were out of their paddock beside the beach but I told her they were allowed to be there. But when we got to the far end of the beach and turned around she spotted one actually on the beach and took off like a rocket about half a kilometre to chase it back into the paddock.

              Another funny time was when she and my daughter’s old lame German Shepherd were out together and Billie spotted a rabbit and took after it like a rocket. The rabbit went around a farm shed but Jessie had lumbered the other way around it and as it came round the corner got it with one chomp. She carried it home very proudly while Billie who had done all the work was very pissed off behind her.

            • Gezza

               /  21st September 2016

              Old dogs can usually teach young dogs old tricks. Look at Winston.

            • Gezza

               /  21st September 2016

              Really looking forward to that debate. 😀

            • Nelly Smickers

               /  21st September 2016

            • Conspiratoor

               /  21st September 2016

              When do you open the betting G? Have we got a debate or is the thing still a duet?

            • Gezza

               /  21st September 2016

              The date has yet to be agreed. Next week some time, c.
              The Mace format has been agreed (audience participation) modified I expect to fit the online forum, & I imagine time limits are unnecessary.
              The judging has not been agreed. I suggested one nominated judge from each side with the third being the YNZ forum host – this was met with ignore, however.
              I don’t mind if it’s only a duel, it’s the quality, not the quantity.
              But of course there is still time for participants to negotiate terms, numbers etc.

  3. Conspiratoor

     /  21st September 2016

    I followed your link pg. It took me to a place called ‘the standard’. I got the impression this was not a Pete George fan club. Accusations of boring and victim complex seemed to be a common theme but no-one appeared to want to address the subject you raised.
    But as you say moderation is an imperfect science and I think you’ve got the balance pretty right here. Cheers,c

    Reply
    • One ironic thing with that wee exercise at The Standard is that the topic is something that most would agree with there, but their animosity (of just a small minority but allowed and unchallenged by others) takes precedence.

      That is a symptom of left wing politics – they hate someone other than them proposing issues they seem to think they own.

      Hence the flag debate, where many of the left supported a flag change (including the Green and Labour Party) but attacking John Key for enabling a choice was their response.

      Reply
      • artcroft

         /  21st September 2016

        I had to laugh at some tosser over at Ruminator who wept over how he wanted to change the flag but couldn’t vote for it as Key had politicised the whole debate. Huh? He’s part of the left which lives politics and to whom all things are political. Go figure.

        Reply
      • Kevin

         /  21st September 2016

        Disagreeing with an author or raising a counter-point will pretty much get you banned over at TS. Talk about a virtual echo chamber.

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  21st September 2016

        It was a shit flag though Pete. And a shit process.

        Reply
        • The only problem with the flag referendum was that people got all soft over the black component of the ‘silver fern on black’ flag which if a contender would have easily beaten our current flag.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  21st September 2016

            Hawaii John O said it looked to much like the ISIS flag…..he’s …great…isn’t …he?

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  21st September 2016

              He said that the colour combination was like that, not that the design was, as I remember it.. The black/white flag is also the Jolly Roger skull and crossbones colours.

              That design looked like a sports event banner.

  4. Kevin

     /  21st September 2016

    “Rodgers seems to be blind to the culture of the commentariat she is a part of at The Standard, where flamebait and deplorable abuse are allowed by moderators like her.”

    Abuse is allowed over there so long as it’s not “pointless.” Funnily enough, most of the time the person who gets to decide if the abuse is pointless or not, is the person doing the abusing.

    Reply
  5. Nick Ellis

     /  21st September 2016

    Bloggers like DPF and Pete George want to pretend it’s hard to moderate out abuse, and it simply isn’t.

    Rodgers has made that up about me. It can be easy to moderate out abuse.

    Without looking too hard (actually just looking at posts tagged Moderation) find you saying….

    “It’s difficult enough moderating a small website with a modest number of comments.”

    “It’s challenging enabling online debate on contentious issues …It requires hard work and time.”

    “But it can be difficult to differentiate between legitimate use of a pseudonym versus anonymity”

    Seems that, rather than making things up about you, she is taking you at your word

    Reply
    • Kevin

       /  21st September 2016

      Except it isn’t about moderation, but moderating abuse. Moderating abuse is easy. You simply don’t allow it whether the abuse is pointless or not.

      Reply
      • Nick Ellis

         /  21st September 2016

        “It can be easy to moderate out abuse.”
        Notice Pete didn’t say ‘ It IS easy’, the word ‘can’ denotes that it can also be hard.

        Reply
        • Nelly Smickers

           /  21st September 2016

          Looks easy how *these guys* do it……

          Reply
          • Nick Ellis

             /  21st September 2016

            “Comments on Times stories are moderated by a team of 14 people known as the community desk. Together, they review around 11,000 comments each day for the approximately 10 percent of Times articles that are open to reader comment.”

            Sounds easy enough, only 785 comments each. And a google algorithm.

            Reply
  6. Gezza

     /  21st September 2016

    Blog wars are just so tedious. I try to rise above it all and soar like a pukeko.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  21st September 2016

      So blog wars aren’t tedious..unless you are a Bald Eagle.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  21st September 2016

        Exactly!

        (Eh?) 😳

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  21st September 2016

          I saw a white duck coming in to land today. It was flying very low along/over the road (a beautiful sight with its wide wings) then did a perfect landing, running for a few steps when it landed. It was a lovely thing to see.

          Reply

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