Sound advice on dealing with trolls
This is one of those bank-shot sort of things where I read a post on one blog which points to another, and in this case, a link in a comment to that post points to yet another.
I saw a post on Atrios which points to a post at Firedoglake, who is dealing with a recent uproar on the Washington Post's online site. Evidently, there was a deluge of comments and the Post actually discovered trolls, prompting them to feel the need to delete hundreds of comments. This sparked a discussion on blogs vs newspapers trying to blog, the handling of comments and the inevitable trolls, and how to best manage comments and a blog community.
A comment at Firedoglake pointed to another blog post at "Making Light". This blogger was responding to a request to participate in a panel regarding "Spam, Trolls, Stalkers: The Pandora's Box of community". They laid out some simple rules or guidelines for dealing with comments which, thought experience, I very much agree with.
If you have any interest in such things, it's a good read. Here are a few of the things they list under Some things I know about moderating conversations in virtual space:
More at the links above.
- There can be no ongoing discourse without some degree of moderation, if only to kill off the hardcore trolls. It takes rather more moderation than that to create a complex, nuanced, civil discourse. If you want that to happen, you have to give of yourself. Providing the space but not tending the conversation is like expecting that your front yard will automatically turn itself into a garden.
- Once you have a well-established online conversation space, with enough regulars to explain the local mores to newcomers, they'll do a lot of the policing themselves. [I wish!!!]
- Civil speech and impassioned speech are not opposed and mutually exclusive sets. Being interesting trumps any amount of conventional politeness.
- Things to cherish: Your regulars. A sense of community. Real expertise. Genuine engagement with the subject under discussion. Outstanding performances. Helping others. Cooperation in maintenance of a good conversation. Taking the time to teach newbies the ropes.
P.S. I found this post and the resulting comments pretty damn funny. Mostly because the fake comments look vaguely familiar. But BEWARE... really bad words are used.