Two events last week have convinced me that I’m going to have to crack down on some of the comments being made, as much as I would prefer not to.
The first is that due to comments being made on the Shane Wenzel thread, somehow I have been summoned as a witness to a civil case in the Auckland District Court. I now have to consult a lawyer and find out if I can avoid this, or just supply the info they want (details of who made certain comments) and who if anyone reimburses me for my time and expense of getting to Auckland.
The second was a phone call from someone who has never posted on my blog, yet has had one of the more excitable commenters (currently banned) call her all sorts of nasty names. I hadn’t seen the comments myself (I now read probably less than 25% of comments made) but having had them pointed out, they were pretty bad and I empathised with her.
So I am going to clamp down on abusive comments. And this will be subjective calls – abuse is like spam and porn – hard to define but you know it when you see it. But I am going to ask for some volunteers to help with the job and protect people against arbitrary decisions.
I am after five volunteers who can moderate. This won’t be a huge time consuming task. You don’t need to be reading every comment. Just someone who regularly reads the threads. I’d ideally like volunteers with a politically diverse range of views. E-mail me if you are willing to volunteer.
How the moderation will work is like this:
1) Moderators will gain editor access to the blog.
2) Any individual moderator may edit or delete a comment [other than by me or another moderator], noting in the comment what they have done and why. They will also formally warn the commenter that their comment was abusive or disruptive.
3) Once someone has had two formal warnings, they are liable for suspension if they infringe for a third time. But all five moderators need to agree that a suspension is warranted.
4) A 1st suspension is for one week. A 2nd one for two weeks, a 3rd one for four weeks and doubling everytime.
5) A decision of the moderators can be appealed to me. But don’t get your hopes up.
6) Moderators will be rotated every so often, maybe every six months or so.
Now I don’t want this to suppress lively debate. In fact my policy will be to be far more tolerant of shall we say strong language of people participating in a debate, than of similar language about someone who isn’t there to defend themselves. And if it proves too stifling I will reconsider after a couple of months – think of this as a trial. But the status quo is not acceptable when it means me having to worry about court action.
So again, if you are willing to help moderate then contact me. I am sure I will have far more offers than I need, so don’t hold a grudge if not initially asked to help.