The Question of Moderation
Sometimes people on this blog are civil. Sometimes they say negative things about each other. I recognize that moderating this has been uneven. That is for at least two reasons: 1) it is hard to be consistent over time, especially when one is in a hurry due to other obligations and 2) several people have the authority to moderate comments and we probably don’t have the same worldview of acceptability because we are all dealing individually with 1), in addition to our own differences.
I myself have been accused of being unethical, a consort of the Sith Lord, etc., but while it doesn’t bother me (sticks and stones and all that), I think by it does pollute, albeit perhaps subtly, the atmosphere of the blog. We have plenty of great policy questions to debate without accusing others of bad intentions or self-interest or whatever.
I think we have erred in the direction of quickness, so the dialogue is real time, and generally probably been too easygoing about the effects on the atmosphere, which is not necessarily a good thing. Hence, this discussion.
So I have exhorted people not to do it. And they don’t, for a while. And then someone starts.
The alternative would be for me (and possibly the other volunteers if they agreed) to spend a lot more time editing comments, or to not approve them and email people to tell them why, or not approving and having people figure out on their own as to why. None of these seem like desirable alternatives (to me) because they displace the responsibility from the writer to the volunteer blog administrators.
Even though I plan to spend more time on the blog in the future when I retire, I’m not sure that micro-editing snarky statements would be the best use of my time. It would be much better for people to police themselves.
But in reality that does not seem to work. So here are a couple of other ideas.
1. Others on the blog could step up, perhaps, and say… so and so, you are over the line. Now this tends to happen only across philosophical lines, perhaps each group could form a team and police their own?
2. Maybe we could find a charity that funds civility and get a grant for a “civilizta” to patrol the site.
I’m interested in what others think:
Do you think moderation is a problem?
If so, What are your ideas for a solution?