January 22, 2006

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:
  • 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.
More at the links above.

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.


At 1/22/2006 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never seen bad language from the people on your site, Even those terrable Jacob's.

At 1/22/2006 12:44 PM, Anonymous BIGBROTHER said...

What gives you the power to determine what should be censired and what should not? Do you have some kind of special blog censoring powers?

The Internet should be free from censorship and government regulations, but when blog owners censor comments that they can't refute or don't agree with, it may be time to regulate this medium! Too bad really!

At 1/22/2006 8:07 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Headusher writes:
"What gives you the power to determine what should be censired and what should not? Do you have some kind of special blog censoring powers?"

Why yes, as a matter of fact, bonehead, I do. As does every single one of the tens of millions of other bloggers.

How can you possibly be so clueless?

I own this blog. I am the "blog owner". I launched the blog, I produce the blog, I design the blog, and I maintain it. It's a lot of work.

Are you under the delusion that this is some government operated entity that has some legal obligation to let trolls like you spew all the disruptive and dishonest non-sense they want?

I didn't think it was possible, but you're truly stupider than I thought. If you have a job, they better not give you a coffee break or they'd have to re-train you.

Go start your own blog. I'm sure tons of people would love to read your stuff.

But no one wants, nor should they have to be afflicted with your willfully ignorant brain droppings around here.

It's dim-bulb stalkers like you that make moderation necessary to begin with. We all own you a great debt.

And I must say, it's a distinct pleasure to dump every one of your ridiculous comments into the trash. (Actually, Sparky, the Inside Dope attack kitty takes care of this for me.)

Now that you've been banned from Capitol Fax, The Passing Parade, and this blog, who will you harrass next?

You really ought to get a better hobby.

And I'm sure your proposal to impose government regulation on blogs will go over really well, senator.

I assume we can expect the press conference on that soon?

I think you should get right on it. It's a winner.

At 1/22/2006 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are doing a great job Dope keep the jacobs' away from us.

At 1/22/2006 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stalker, are you crazy? Well that is a silly thing to say of course you are. If you feel that this is stalking then you truley need help.

At 1/22/2006 9:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations, You have joined a long line of censorers throught time. If you feel that it is ok because others are doing it then fine. Your soul will rot in hell!!!




At 1/22/2006 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why can't you let us see what the headusher said for ourself. Why must we believe what you say he has written. I have some great shots of you posting and then taking down. I will keep them for safe keeping for now. Tread lightly good man.

At 1/23/2006 3:30 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Hmmmm "good man"? I might be a "bad woman", you know.

You get to see what the Headusher says, after all, he and his cronies are just posting under different names now, having at least gotten that wise.

But the reason I trash most of them is that it's a bunch of crap which A. Doesn't address the issues in the post, B. Contributes nothing to the discussion, C. Consists nearly entirely of lies and whacky distortions of fact.

Newspapers don't run every crazy letter to the editor they receive. Blogs don't run every whacked out comment that comes along.

I routinely publish comments which disagree with me or are very critical of myself and the blog. That is not the issue. I have always been fair in that regard and will continue to do so.

It's never been a "right" to have your comment published. If you can't conform to the very permissive expectations here, then your comments will not appear.

And if you can't understand that, or the dozens of other times I've explained it, then please, just don't come here.

I'm not explaining it any more.

And you keep those shots of my posting and then deleteing comments. A fat lot of good they'll do you.

I've had to delete comments ever since I went with the policy of opening up comments to all, rather than registered users.

The fact you think this is really bad shows what has been obvious for a long time, namely, that you don't have the slightest clue about blogs or blogging, or you do and like always, you ignore the facts and reality in order to try to smear people.

Why you think you can bitch and complain and act like you think I'm doing something wrong when you don't know anything about what you talk about is pitiful, and one more reason such comments get tossed.

Every blogger out there that gets any number of comments at all has to police comments in order to weed out those which don't serve any purpose or which aren't appropriate for whatever reason.

If you think the fact that I moderate comments is some big bad discovery that I'd be ashamed of, guess again.

You really owe it to yourself to have some sort of clue about what you're talking about before continuing your smear attempts.

At 1/23/2006 7:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go get them I don't like the Jacobs and their followers either. Ban them for ever

At 1/23/2006 7:47 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I wouldn't go as far as saying I don't like any Jacobs. But the comments from them and/or their close supporters here are disappointing, to put it mildly.

Their wiling and constant dishonesty in their efforts to attack and smear various targets is appalling and truly sad to see.

One would expect better.

But thanks for the moral support.

At 1/23/2006 7:20 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Dope, some newspapers do run every crazy thing they get - see the Dispatch -- "Speak out" which allows anon kooks to poke at anyone freely......

Some great journalism huh??

At 1/23/2006 9:01 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Not sure about that. Speak Out is, at least to me, and I can't remember the last time I even saw it, is about 1/3 purient interest and 1/50th interesting comments.

I hope readers will beat those odds here, and so far, with notable exceptions, they certainly have.

Also, it's a one way communication, as newspapers are for the most part. Though I do notice that some die-hards actually go to the trouble of responding to previous off-sounders. Pretty remarkable.

I'm trying my level best to have this be something utterly different than sound off. But in addition to my efforts, it will rely to an enormous extent on the commenters themselves.

I haven't lost faith yet, and that's saying a lot!

At 1/23/2006 9:46 PM, Blogger EAPrez said...

Who are the 'Jacobs'?

At 1/23/2006 9:49 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Um... anyone want to take this one? Anyone?

Drop me a line and I'll try to get you up to speed eaprez.


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