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How to tame comment trolls April 2, 2009

Posted by jeremyliew in comments.
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Clive Thompson has a good article in Wired about some effective ways to tame comment trolls.

The four ideas he proposes are:

The standard approach:

Most told me that if you’ve got a high-volume site with political content—like Whitehouse.gov—you’ll also need to moderate postings by hand, hiring staff to look over each comment and delete the truly crazy hate-speech ones. The Huffington Post employs up to 25 people at a time to comb through its 35,000 comments a day.

The Slashdot Approach:

Slashdot has an automated system that randomly picks a handful of readers and gives them, for a day or so, the power to describe others’ comments with terms like “funny” or “off topic.” Those descriptions are translated into a score from -1 to 5. Readers can set their filters so they see only comments with high ratings—and trollery effectively vanishes.

The Disqus Approach:

In this paradigm, if a comment gets a lot of negative ratings, it goes invisible. No one can see it—except, crucially, the person who posted it. “So the troll just thinks that everyone has learned to ignore him, and he gets discouraged and goes away,” chuckles Disqus cofounder Daniel Ha.

The BoingBoing approach:

Whenever Nielsen Hayden encounters a nasty post—an ad hominem attack, for example—she leaves it up but removes all the vowels: y r fckng sshl, for example. The result is incoherent enough that it’s neutered, yet coherent enough that no one can cry censorship. The comment hasn’t vanished.

Best of all, because disemvoweling is visible, it trains the community. “You’re teaching the other commenters what the lines are by showing them comments that have stepped over the line,” Nielsen Hayden says.

Comments»

1. nick - April 2, 2009

Excellent ideas – I like the disqus one.

2. TJIC from SmartFlix - April 2, 2009

> Best of all, because disemvoweling is visible, it trains the community. “You’re teaching the other commenters what the lines are by showing them comments that have stepped over the line,” Nielsen Hayden says.

“The line” that TNH enforces over at Boing Boing is one that allows extreme partisan attacks from one side of the spectrum, and disallows even emotionally flat, purely factual posts from the other side of the political spectrum.

She’s a bit of a joke – she fancies herself an expert at building community, but, in fact, she ruthlessly selects for a monoculture of like-minded sycophants.

3. Tom - April 3, 2009

Boing Boing is an awful example of “moderation”, in form as well as in execution. It’s certainly not moderation in any sense of impartially keeping the peace or other such conventional notions.

For a prime example, if long, read the thread “that violet blue thing”. Which apart from moderators running amuck also happens to be a live tutorial of all sorts of astounding brand destruction, by displaying just the behaviours one has made so much fun of in stodgy old media companies.

4. Strip Business | Strip News | ArtPatient.com | ArtPatient.com - April 7, 2009

[…] I liked learning about the different ways that sites handle troll comments. […]

5. Jon Addams - April 11, 2009

SCRW THS BLG

6. Jeraldine Guile - December 20, 2010

Lol wow, i had never believed about points like that before, but you do provide up some interesting details. nice post


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