As I previously indicated, I plan to make some changes around moderation of comments effective 1 October. While I am firm in deciding to make change (and it is my blog) I am keen for feedback on various changes that may or may not be made. I plan to do this via a series of posts discussing some issues.
I still want this as a forum for robust debate, and knocking back of ill informed views. But I want it to be a place where more people are keen to engage.
The two initial issues are this
1. Should there be more moderation in posts on specific issues and a lesser standard of moderation in General Debate?
My thinking here is that people go to General Debate just to have a vigorous exchange of views on, well pretty much everything. Only hard core readers go into it, unlike other posts where people with an interest in the topic may want to go in and contribute.
So as a way to still allow people to vigorously debate issues and personalities, General Debate would have very light moderation (defamation, extreme abuse ruled out only). However all the other posts each day would have tighter moderation, with comments that are disruptive to the discussion earning some sort of sanction (which I’ll discuss in a separate post) or being edited or deleted.
To me it seems this would still allow rather robust debate in one area (think of it as a quarantine), and more focused debate in the other posts.
2. Should greater leeway be given to people who post under their own names, or are clearly identifiable?
My default thinking is that if someone is willing to make comments under their own name, and accept the consequences of those comments being attributed to them, then they should get greater leeway to comment robustly (short of defamation or over the top abuse). The fact they have to “wear” their comments tends to act as a incentive to be less inflammatory.
However I am a strong believer that people should be able to post under a pseudonym here. Many people have a very valid reasons to not want to post under their name – for work or family reasons. However if you choose not to use your actual name, should there be less tolerance of comments where (for example) you may attack actual identified people. It is a bit unfair to those who do post publicly, to have comments made by those who won’t accept responsibility under their name for comments.
This would not be a black and white situation where those posting under their names can get away with saying anything at all, and those using a pseudonym can’t criticise others at all. It is more than in situations where the comments are marginal, those posting under their actual names would get the benefit of the doubt more.
Welcome feedback on these two issues. I’ve also got two polls in the sidebar so you can vote on them, if you don’t want to comment. I recognise again that some people may think there should be no change at all, but there will be change.