In praise of moderation

One of the reasons the various blog fora are valuable is because they moderate comments: which is to say, some are deleted/not posted. The obvious advantage is that this keeps out spam from the porno and online poker folk, rude and abusive nonsense, and the nutters. The obvious disadvantage is that none of the nutters think they are nutters and tend to whine about censorship. This is difficult: no-one is going to spend time and effort writing interesting comments if they think they will be blocked. But my spam/trolling/incivility threshold may be different to yours.

To use an example thats deliberately not the one you're thinking of, over at RC recently one John Dodds has been pushing his own wacky theories of GHE (or lack thereof...); see comments on this thread - 16, 18, etc. RC has probably been too gentle in handling him (nonetheless we (I) got bored in the end). The problem with that stuff is it disrupts the flow of sense.

James Annan suggests posting to sci.environment. If you have no proper newsfeed, go to groups.google.com and its fairly easy. Sci.env has the advantage (?) of being unmoderated, and of course it could aggregate stuff across many blogs, instead of the balkanised blogscape that exists. Why not try it? If your comments here are sufficiently valuable, post them there too, and watch them drown under a sea of junk. An interesting reverse experiment is being tried by mt, who has tried copying a posting from sci.env to his blog to try to have a more sensible debate there, but it doesn't seem to be working.


Blogger James Annan said...

The other obvious problem with moderation is that someone has to do it...absent that, it is worth remembering that any decent newsreader will support a killfile which enables one to easily eliminate most of the nutters on usenet.

9:44 pm  
Blogger Belette said...

Yes I forgot that problem, but it is a real one for any kind of volume.

Kill files: I've recently been converted. The only problem is when patient sensible people reply to the nutters and point out their errors...

10:02 am  
Anonymous TCO said...

I'm not crazy about moderation. If someone is spamming the board with viagra, I want them off. But the random ad hom should be allowed. And it is way too easy to see moderation used against one's "enemies" in the rhetorical debate. I'd rather err on the Wild West side. But I'm a manly man...

Steve's blog has good content and discussion. You should come aver and get into it. You can get pretty mathematical if you want. He allows it.

12:09 am  

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