Saturday, November 04, 2006

We're afraid it's come to this


At first it was an occasional hurtful/racist/sexist/hateful comment. We would pull the comment and hope for the best. Then the "crazy" bloggers found us, posting wild rants. We moved to a "moderated" comment format. But while we were protected from inappropriate comments, we lost the immediacy of the back and forth exchange that makes our bioethics community so powerful. We went back to an “unmoderated” system. But alas, the Internet stalkers have found us - last night we had six random postings in the space of a few minutes. We are going to reinstate the "moderated" comment option. We aren't the only blog with this challenge - Bioethics.net implemented the same policy a few months ago. We'll do our best to "publish" comments quickly, but unfortunately, we are not always online. Thoughts?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Only ban the troublesome IP addresses?

BuddhistValkyrie said...

That picture looks entirely too much like my reaction this morning to being out of milk for my coffee...


Oh, reaction to moderation? I don't know what Bloggers options are for moderation, so it's kind of hard to say anything with any weight behind it. You could consider allowing folks you know (or who have Blogger accounts) to post unmoderated, if that's allowed, and only screen non-Blogger accounts/anonymous posts. You could ban via IP, which seems sort of tedious, or just have moderation. Sure, it kills a bit of the immediacy of the comments section, but for those of us who've been online long enough, that just means comments become more like BBS (bulletin board system) or Usenet threads used to be - it's not like the Internet was 24/7 immediacy all the time. ;) And besides that, how many of us really have the time to sit around and hit refresh on what people are saying in posts? Sure, you might get the same people saying the same things, instead of replying to something someone said, but that just means you'll get the same concept expressed in different ways.

For example, Lifeethics and I both agreed on the UW ethics committee ruling for treating a severally developmentally disabled child with growth-stunting hormones to keep the child tiny, but we approached it from different points of views and used different reasoning to get to the same conclusion. That then gives readers a broader base to work from, and see how those of us who have fundamental differing starting points can reach similar conclusions (not to mention work with one another to get there).

Now, in the situation I mention, she and I posted quite a bit apart, but the function is the same as if we had posted while one of us was in queue. And there's nothing that says we can't come back and comment later on what one another has said.

I know on the AJOB blog, there's the ability to track threads, if you're so inclined, to be notified if something new has been posted (I assume that's how Wesley always has something new to say). And if you take a look at the recent Michael J Fox advert controversy, you'll see that having someone moderate comments didn't stop that thread from arguing, and growing rather long. (Of course, Glenn and Art are cyborgs who don't sleep, and I suspect at least one has a direct internet connection implanted subdurally, but that's beside the point.)

Hmm. That was a very long way of saying "I don't see any issues with moderating", wasn't it? I should go find coffee that has milk in it. Or the grocery store. Something like that.

editor, Sustainability Southeast said...

You may find your needs outgrow the services of blogspot.com. I use blogspot for my low-profile personal blog, but for a more sophisticated organization site I chose a blogging software package supported by a general-purpose web hosting service. The platform we use seems to have a pretty good mix (so far!) of spam filtering, moderation of some "suspicious" comments, and automatic publication of unflagged comments.

(Perhaps the new Blogger beta offers similar features. The beta roll-out has been somewhat bumpy, so I haven't explored it myself.)

Feel free to contact me via SustainabilitySoutheast.org if you'd like to know more.

Regards