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Monday, July 23, 2007

Re: Comments on Comments

posted by on July 23 at 12:32 PM

Slog has been wrestling internally (and publicly) with how we should deal with obnoxious commenters.

Meantime, over at HorsesAss, Goldy is taking a stand.

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so, does this mean you'll actually highlight Stranger staffer comments so we know they're legit, and consider some method of registered user names, while still allowing people to make up new ones?

Um, ok, but that still won't do anything about ecce homo and other slime.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 23, 2007 12:41 PM

The Stranger wants to set standards for comments?

Have we stepped into Bizzaro World or what?

Okay, playing this logic here...So we are talking about standards--no abusive, ad hominmen remarks, name calling etc.... But how can Dan or Josh get through the day without "asshole" "fuck you" etc.

Unless you're talking about standards that apply to everyone except Josh and others who are setting the rules.

Hypocrites one and all.

Posted by Just asking | July 23, 2007 12:56 PM

I don't like "registered user names." It doesn't hurt anyone if posters use more than one nom-de-post. Using different names can be very effective, and very funny (sometimes both).

But boring/redundant content - hell, show it no mercy. Take stupid posts out back and kill them.

Posted by anon. | July 23, 2007 1:01 PM

The whole "obnoxious commentators" thing is pretty vague. Why don't you throw up some examples of "problem threads" to elucidate your concerns?

Posted by dirge | July 23, 2007 1:07 PM

I do wish the troll who keeps hijacking threads with diatribes about Dan's former position on Iraq would just up and die. OK, we get it. It's all Dan's fault we are in this war. Bush & Cheney had nothing to do with it.

Posted by elswinger | July 23, 2007 1:17 PM

oh what a bunch of pussies we are. let the trolls troll, it's what they do. it's the cosmic order. i eat hate mail for breakfast! god bless the trolls!

Posted by adrian! | July 23, 2007 1:29 PM

If you change the comments policy then the terrorists win!

Really though, the Goldy analogy is a bit different. That is HIS blog, not the blog of a news publication.

I wouldn't mind having the job of deciding what stays and what goes.

Posted by monkey | July 23, 2007 1:32 PM

All I ask is that if registered usernames are put in, that we be given a "preferences" tab that allows us to ignore posters-including entire SLOG entries. If I can tick a box taht makes Charles go away, I would be happy. ^_^

Posted by supergp | July 23, 2007 1:34 PM

Personally, I haven't seen the same problems here on Slog as I have on HA. It's not the invective or the language that I object to, but the deliberate efforts to kill discussion by driving comment threads off topic. I've even had professional trolls whose sole purpose is to diminish the utility of HA, or use it to spread their own propaganda. It's like custom, hand crafted comment spam.

Posted by Goldy | July 23, 2007 1:48 PM

@5 - good point

And all I ask is that when I get the power to approve all posts that anyone who objects to my choices be declared an enemy war combatant.

You can keep the seized property.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 23, 2007 1:49 PM

Keep in mind that you have a self-selection problem here. You're asking the people who currently comment here whether they like it the way it is. They're always gonna tell you 'yes'.

I think you should design your comment policy to support the type of conversation you want. No moderating leads to a predominately male, aggressive commenting community with "thick skins". If you want women and marginal voices in your commenting community, you must moderate or they'll get blasted out.

Decide what you want your conversation to look like first, then create the conditions that support that conversation.

No matter what you decide, I would love to read your reasoning.

Posted by Megan | July 23, 2007 1:57 PM

I would just put a strict and stingy length limit to the postings. Most of the "Dan is a pro-war faggot" stuff takes up more than a page. And maybe add one of those generally annoying 'captcha' [illegible letters you have to decipher type in] thingies at the bottom.

Forcing registration would stifle too many ideas.

Posted by KISS | July 23, 2007 1:58 PM

"Decide what you want your conversation to look like first, then create the conditions that support that conversation"? In that case, why invite comments at all? Charles Mudede can simply post fictional dialogues between Sartre and Frank Lloyd Wright all day long...

Posted by Trey | July 23, 2007 2:06 PM

Just asking @ 2: I can't think of a single time Josh has said "fuck you" to a commenter. Your complaints would be more credible if you were complaining about something, you know, real.

Posted by ECB | July 23, 2007 2:27 PM

Deleting comments from known trolls is a good thing.

Some advice:
1) Don't waste too much time trying to devise a formal policy identifying what is and is not trolling - you'll never get it exactly right.
2) Focus on commenters who consistently lower the quality of the discussion over a period of time (e.g., ecce homo, josh/christina/shoshana). Unless someone has a track record of posting shit, give them the benefit of the doubt if/when they occassionally post something cranky or ridiculous.
3) Deleting should be a last resort, or you'll end up with a vanilla flavored blog.
4) Require commenters to login to an account. That way everyone knows that a comment came from the real "Sean", "Mr. Poe", or "elswinger", even if they don't know who their actual identities.
5) Comment threads would be really nice.

Posted by Sean | July 23, 2007 2:35 PM

Obnoxious as in assholism for it's own sake or simply annoying due to a difference of opinion.

I try not to be the former but have often been the latter.

Clarification please.

Posted by Irascible | July 23, 2007 2:35 PM

If one wants to host a public forum for discussion (such as the Stranger has done and I thank them for doing) you are going to put up with a lot of bull shit postings. That is part of what we get to deal with in a free society with the free exchange of ideas.

The idea that there is talk of what is nothing more than censorship on Slog even under the guise of keeping on topic, or whatever criteria is decided upon simply censors what anyone will be willing to say. Even the most innocent plunge into the pool of controlling what people can say or post simply snowballs into pure censorship. Yeah, this is my libertarian streak coming into play (which fights my New Dealer FDR admiring mind set) but frankly it is a microcosm of the nanny state put into play on Slog.

Besides, some of the boneheaded remarks I have read make for some entertaining reading. Except for the idiot who posts the stuff Dan wrote four years ago. But then I just ignore him.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | July 23, 2007 2:36 PM

@12 - it would be nice to be able to flag spam posts as exactly that.

@14 - give Josh time ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 23, 2007 2:37 PM

"4) Require commenters to login to an account. That way everyone knows that a comment came from the real "Sean", "Mr. Poe", or "elswinger", even if they don't know who their actual identities."

No way. This isn't a problem, and I doubt anyone (including, say, Mr. Poe) worries about brand dilution. No logins are needed or wanted. You don't happen to work for the government, do you?

"5) Comment threads would be really nice."

I find Crosscut's comment threads annoying.

FWIW, the Slog set-up seems really pretty good as is. The signal-to-noise ratio is good (at least in the threads I've read . . ..).

Posted by volcanic glass | July 23, 2007 2:54 PM

Erica @14:

Not sure about Josh, but one of Dan's more infamous posts was entitled "Fuck Garrison Kiellor". Given the standard set by the editor (which is a fine standard as far as I'm concerned), it would be both hypocritical and beneath The Stranger's standards to delete a comment simply because it contained, for example, the phrase "fuck [insert name of Stranger staffer here]". Besides, occassionaly you guys deserve an F-bomb or two.

From a reader/commenter perspective, the real problems are the repeat offenders like those I mentioned in @15. Going after others would be a mistake.

Posted by Sean | July 23, 2007 2:54 PM

Goldy's is playing power mod, which will only further accentuate his distorted view on reality... which, I guess, figures. I don't bother with his blog for a reason.

Fnarf had a better approach in Amy Kate's Comments on Comments thread.

Posted by Gomez | July 23, 2007 3:04 PM

If you create your account with an anonymous email address, you are just as anonymous after logging in as you are right now.

And impersonation has in fact been a problem. Now please stop using my name.

Posted by volcanic glass | July 23, 2007 3:04 PM

Also, Goldy, you don't think everything you mentioned happens here?

You a very polarized left-wing blogger. You're going to get attacked by trolls and criticized by others. Eventually you won't know how to draw the line and you'll just delete and ban everyone who dares to challenge your world-view.

Posted by Gomez | July 23, 2007 3:09 PM

I know that Sean has a hard on for me personally, but I think it would be really lame to censor my comments just because they aren't the same sentiments as some of the rest of SLOG devotees.

I had no idea that the goal of SLOG was to manufacture consensus of the 20 something seattle yuppie petite burguosie. Since I think most of that is complete bullshit, and a few people don't like what I have to say, I need to be censored? What a bunch of BS.

Typical children.

Posted by ecce homo | July 23, 2007 3:09 PM

I don't think it has been a problem, @22.

Posted by volcanic glass | July 23, 2007 3:24 PM

And how do we deal with "obnoxious" stranger staffers?

Posted by ecce homo | July 23, 2007 3:35 PM

What's funny about this whole thing is that the slog is, in my mind, an outpost of congeniality on the internet, at least for something serving its demographic.

Megan @11, has a valid point about the tone here being thick-skinned jostling, though I disagree that it drowns out marginal voices. Those "voices" don't go away, there's a permanent record of them for all to see.
You could open a "family" version of the slog, full of respect and open discourse, where topics are tossed around the circle like a ball of yarn till suitable consensus is weaved.
Nevermind, leave that to the Weekly.

Posted by dirge | July 23, 2007 3:41 PM

We ignore them.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | July 23, 2007 3:43 PM

"Those "voices" don't go away"...

sure they do. i rarely bother to comment on stories anymore because if you have a different opinion you get shouted down and called a troll (even when by "troll" they mean outside common opinion).

hence the "brand" (cute, 19).

making a formal policy to get rid of people like EH will only make group think official rather than de facto policy.

Posted by trolly mctrollerson | July 23, 2007 4:11 PM

No respect! No respect, I tell you, It's hard work being up here every night, what with the hecklers, rubes and drunken injuns, and don't even get me started on the management. These guys couldn't manage a 7-11, and yet they're always trying to censor my "edgy" witticisms, and delusions of humor...sheesh these guys.

Let me tell you about this one time in Akron, it was a mixed crowd, not unlike yourselves, so I knew I had my work cut out for me, you see I'm up there doing my schtick when some of the coloreds get all upset and start in with their hip-hop heckling...well suffice it to say I let 'em have it, and finished by telling the "bro's" they oughta be in back with the latinos, washing my dishes. The management was not pleased, but I told them as I often do "It's not racist if its true"

anywhoo...This comedy thing, its tough, tough I tells you...It's not my fault if people get offended, really its not, it's you ladies and germs that are the problem, not me.

And another thing, whats the deal with all these 20 something hipsters around here acting all tolerant? like it's 2007 or something, it's like that joke...
"how many hippies does it take to change a lightbulb, None, hippies can't change shit" ha!! there take that hippies! They sure don't write 'em like that anymore.

well folks I hate to hate and run but I've got a hot date/another gig at the glory hole....

don't forget to tip "the help"
---ecce rimshot

Posted by ecce rimshot | July 23, 2007 4:56 PM

That is offensive, and you seem to be somewhat using my username. Yes, I know its a little different, but you are not fooling anyone. How about dealing with my points on their merit instead of empty and childish insults.

Posted by ecce homo | July 23, 2007 5:18 PM

How about dealing with my points on their merit instead of empty and childish insults.

You make the broad assumption that we believe your posts have merit and are not just empty and childish insults.

Posted by LT L | July 23, 2007 5:36 PM



Posted by Mr. Poe | July 23, 2007 5:57 PM

I have a right to be here, even if I am just a poor man's Ken Mehlman.

The silent majority of Slog readers love my comments, and they are not fooled one bit by these shananagins. One day they'll speak up, and then we'll see who has the last laugh.

Posted by ecce rimjob | July 23, 2007 7:41 PM

Ecce rimjob is using my personae and style of posting. He is defacto using me to make a place for himself.

Not funny, cowardly, and unoriginal. At least come up with a unique name.

Posted by ecce homo | July 23, 2007 7:58 PM

I fully support both ecce homo and ecce rimjobs' right to post here. Seriously.

Posted by supergp | July 23, 2007 8:40 PM

Alright, perhaps I've overlooked ecce homo's potential as the subject of satire. That's certainly a legitimate contribution. Keep up the good work, ecce!

Posted by Sean | July 23, 2007 9:52 PM

Gomez @23

You a very polarized left-wing blogger. You're going to get attacked by trolls and criticized by others. Eventually you won't know how to draw the line and you'll just delete and ban everyone who dares to challenge your world-view.

See... I'm having trouble understanding the logic behind a critique like that, when I have taken a hands off approach to my comment thread for three years, to the point of even allowing people to post death threats against me. The result is that my threads have been abused, making them unreadable for the vast majority of people.

All I'm doing is banning off-topic trolling, sock puppetry, and copyright violations. And that somehow brands me as somebody who is afraid to have my world view challenged? Give me a fucking break.

Posted by Goldy | July 24, 2007 10:13 AM

I din't think radio hosts were allowed to use that kind of language.

And I think his point was that this is how it will develop, not they way it is currently.

Posted by ecce homo | July 24, 2007 10:31 AM

ecce homo,

I'm not allowed to use language like that on the radio. The FCC has no authority over what words I choose on my own time. (For the moment.)

Well, by predicting that I will not tolerate dissent, Gomez clearly implies that I cannot tolerate dissent, which is bizarre, because I can think of few people who have freely opened themselves up to public criticism (and indeed, ridicule) the way I have. No blog of any measurable traffic has left their threads as unmoderated as I've left mine, and yet the moment somebody's comment gets temporarily caught in my spam filter I'm accused of being a coward and a fascist. I just find it a little galling.

Posted by Goldy | July 24, 2007 3:52 PM

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