Commenter Tribunals



Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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21 Responses

  1. I think the League should err on the side of doing the exact opposite of Gawker.Report

  2. Avatar Trumwill says:

    My only hesitation with this plan would be that it’s hard for a group of people to agree with what is controversial or offensive. Calibration sessions can be time-consuming.

    Here’s a slight alteration worth considering: Give people the power to put comments in moderation. Have them do so and send them to you. That way they’re out of the public eye while it’s decided whether they are appropriate or not. You can be the final authority, but without having to read all of the comments.Report

    • Avatar Will says:

      I think that lack of calibration is a feature, not a bug. Presumably, members of a commenting tribunal would have such a diverse range of opinions that only the truly offensive stuff would get called out.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        Have the comment threads been particularly bad lately? To be honest, I’ve been so busy that I’ve posted comments on a few threads without checking the responses. It does seem like there’s been more concern among commenters about the coming League crackdown on free speech, but I figured that was hyperbole. Has there been a surfeit of boors here as of late?Report

        • “Have there been a surfeit of boors here as of late?”

          Some of the commenters have been rather surly about the Arizona shooting. There has been a plethora of Hitler jokes and f-bombs.Report

          • Avatar Rufus F. says:

            (You’ll notice I went in an edited my comment for grammatical correctness.)

            Okay, I did sort of tune out of that discussion. I guess, if I had to choose between one of us making calls on comments versus the readers making the call…. I’d have to go with some sort of mutual discussion. The only time I’ve ever removed comments from one of my threads, they were comments that Jason and I had made and decided later were a bit inappropriate. But, if people here have a problem with certain comments, maybe they could email the author of the thread, who could then bring it up for discussion? Maybe it would be less problematic than just leaving it to the posters here to remove comments and commenters at their discretion. I don’t know. Admittedly, my posts about Plato and Herdotus have never been as controversial as I expect them to be!Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            There has been a plethora of Hitler jokes and f-bombs.

            Those are usually my fault.

            Sorry, yo.Report

            • Avatar mark boggs says:

              No apologies, Jaybird. The place would be less exciting without them. And a day without f-bombs in my world is like a day without air.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I have *ZERO* doubt that when 95% of the folks on here read “There has been a plethora of Hitler jokes and f-bombs.“, they thought “oh, yeah, Jaybird”.

                To notice but not acknowledge would not be cool.Report

            • I also thoroughly enjoyed the Hitler jokes, and in fact, Hitler jokes are one of my passions. F-bombs are also nice from time to time, but overuse can make them particularly meaningless. It’s the slippery slope concerns really. The League is that rare animals where the commenters rise to the level of the contributers. A site like, say, Balloon Juice, on the other hand, has great content, but the quality of the comments pales in comparison to the League. Snark and inside jokery remain more important than thoughtful response. And, snark and inside jokery are fun sometimes, but contagious. I guess I just don’t want to witness the decline of the Roman Empire here.Report

        • Avatar Will says:

          I think our comment threads are uncommonly good. I threw this out there as an idea worth considering, not because we’ve been flooded with assholes.Report

  3. I would leave it up to the League writers (and specifically, I think if someone writes a post they should be obligated to be active in the comments until it dies a natural death. That’s just good blogging form IMO). So basically, you write it, you patrol the comments.

    Moderators, ie people who are granted special powers by a site owner to enforce the rules, usually end up as petty tyrants and are the exact reason I left the chat boards in favor of the (usually) calmer heads in blogging. I would strongly advise against that.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      I’ve always followed the comments on my threads and never been remotely offended by any of them. The only thing I could imagine doing is, if someone posted the “f-word”, I might change it to “fish” to amuse myself. But it really seems unlikely that someone will drop a lot of f-bombs in anger at my thoughts on Thucydides.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        “…it really seems unlikely that someone will drop a lot of f-bombs in anger at my thoughts on Thucydides.”

        Sure, but I could see Aeschylus provoking some nasty replies, because, well, you know.Report

    • There gets to be a point beyond which it is unreasonable to continue monitoring a thread. But I tend to agree that a reader-moderated sort of system would tend to reward popularity rather than insight.Report

  4. Avatar North says:

    I’m gonna humbly throw my two cents in with Mike. I don’t think the League’s commentariate is broken yet so while ideas of tribunals and the like are interesting as thought experiments I don’t think there’s a big enough problem yet to justify trying them. I mean, hell, the League has banned all of, what, two people? Also I’m lazy.

    That said I applaud that you’re keeping an eye on the subject and consider it important.Report

  5. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Congratulations, you invented the Bury Brigade.Report

  6. Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

    The first rule of audit is that you must remember that almost all audit is 100% overhead. It’s the worst incarnation of opportunity cost.

    If an unacceptable action is rare enough, formalizing an audit process governing the scenario is literally not worth the time you spend on formalizing the process, let alone implementing it.Report