On comment abuse
Posted Nov 20, 2003 16:30 UTC (Thu) by zone
Parent article: On comment abuse
1) If it is necessary to take severe action to correct a problem with the comment system, then please do take that action. It is much better to step on a few toes then to lose yet another comment system (and the best one in terms of signal to noise).
2) A "Good LWN Citizen" should never have to read a troll or spam posting, unless it has just been posted.
3) By and large, everyone reading LWN comments should see the same comments as everyone else, in the same order. This is essential to maintain the coherency of the threads and the spirit of LWN. Personal filtering, sorting, and killfiles might seem like a good idea at first, but I really think it will diminish the continuity of the comment system.
4) Speaking as someone with staff experience with a large community site, I can say this: Staff moderation works. You know what a troll is, we know what a troll is. You know what spam is, we know what spam is. Giving readers even the _option_ of marking a poster's comment as a troll or spam introduces a whole new mentality to the comment system, and it's one you want to avoid if at all possible.
Given LWN's track record as a trustworthy publication, I believe most readers would be willing to allow the staff (and trusted users) to rule the comment system with an iron fist. The benefit of maintaining a high quality comment system to go along with the high quality content, as well as removing the psychological pitfall of community moderation, is huge. And of course, all removed comments could be available on a separate page on the LWN site for periodic review by the readers.
That said, if you do opt for a system that allows for reader input on comments, I would hope for it to be as simple as possible. As described by james above, a single link to mark a comment as a troll or spam, which would hide the comment after a certain numbers of subscribers give their input, would go a long way to fixing the problem. I think, however, that subscribers' posts should not be subject to this system, to avoid the potential factioning and polarization among members that is so common on other community sites.
And thanks for taking comments on this issue; it's good to know the editors are concerned with getting reader input and doing the right thing.
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