March 27, 2007

Moderation. I don't like it... but....

I've got to do it. Moderating the comments again here... for a number of reasons. Please keep commenting. Be patient. It shouldn't take me long to get to them.

Suggestions for avoiding deletion: 1. Don't be someone I've banned. 2. Don't just insult me.

35 comments:

Beth said...

Haha. I like reason 2. Insult me, but don't JUST do that.

That's reasonable, moderate even.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well unfortunately it seems that discussion nowadays isn't complete without an insult tossed in for good measure. To me that's the equivalent of having to swear like a truck driver to make your case; you don't have one too make.

Fritz said...

I don't understand why blogger doesn't have a mechanism to activate an ignore function. I truthfully would rather on occasion read Delusional Check than wait for a post when I'm engaged in a debate.

Snow said...

It is ironic that this post comes just above a post in which you proclaim yourself to be an avid supporter of free speech and an opponent of censorship.

A bit of a dichotomy.

Simon said...

"3. Use the preview button."

Anthony said...

It is ironic that this post comes just above a post in which you proclaim yourself to be an avid supporter of free speech and an opponent of censorship.

Hardly.

Maxine Weiss said...

Paradox:

Althouse 2/1/07:
"My readers are abandoning me!"

Althouse 3/27/07:
"You know who you are."


Peace, Maxine

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Snow: She paid for this microphone.

the Rising Jurist said...

@snow - The free speech angle doesn't hold up in blog comments for a variety of reasons. People attack the blogger and other commenters in ways they would never do in person. And because the comment is effectively made into the ether, there is no real chance for immediate rebuttal.

The net result is that especially active blogs end up with a dizzying mess in the comments. It's not conducive to discussion at all. It's just dozens of people cursing each other at once.

When Ann is forced to moderate, she is choosing order over chaos.

Fen said...

The free speech angle doesn't hold up in blog comments for a variety of reasons... The net result is that especially active blogs end up with a dizzying mess in the comments. It's not conducive to discussion at all. It's just dozens of people cursing each other at once.

Exactly. There's a difference between free speech and shouting someone down with a megaphone. For example, interrupting a Clarence Thomas lecture with shouting, cursing, and chants is NOT free speech. Its an attempt to limit the speech of others and should not be tolerated.

Internet Ronin said...

No dichotomy, Snow: it is Ann Althouse's blog and Ann Althouse sets the rules for participation. It is NOT public property. a street corner, or a city park despite the fact that some people want it to be and feel the need to relieve themselves in public as if it were.

Anyone who doesn't like the rules is free to set up their own personal blog and set their own rules of behavior.

Simon said...

the Rising Jurist said...
"When Ann is forced to moderate, she is choosing order over chaos."

Right - and it does have advantages.

Maxine Weiss said...

Decisions, decisons....

Non-Moderation:
Element of surprise, greater degree of intimacy/immediacy, abundance of creativity, imagination, extemporaneous and timely.

Moderation:
Sterile, stale, controlled, generic, filtered, censorship.


Peace, Maxine

Lance Burri said...

When you say "don't just insult me," do you mean don't JUST insult you, or don't just insult YOU?

Patrick said...

Moderation here is a lot more like closing the bar at 2AM. Sure there might be some good conversation going on but the drunks have really taken over, are yelling and fighting, and basically ruining the whole mood. Closing the bar is the only way to get them to go home and sleep it off.

People get drunk on rudeness and the euphoria of their own perceived moral superiority, and even if they claim it's all just good fun, they're trashing up the place and making fools of themselves in the process.

A bit of a bother for those who can control their drinking, but we'll get over it and come back the next day, like we have for years.

Management does have a right to refuse service to anyone.

mcg said...

My kingdom for a "ban this loser" button on Blogspot!

Pogo said...

Maxine, a year ago I would have agreed that unmoderated meant creative and spontaneous, now it just seems to suggest immoderation, "so's-yer-ma" witticisms, and zoo animal poo-hurling.

The angry commenter types are a serious bore, and their solipsistic sociopathy is just an act of vampiracy.

Suzanne said...

Yeah I know. You only want to hear from those who will be "nice" to you and not call you a histrionic bitch.

That's okay.

But you have completely through your actions discredited yourself. It's really a shame because I think you are cabaple of being both smarter and tougher than that, but....

Wow, what an embarassment you are.

Go eat some chocolate, honey.

NSC said...

Element of surprise, greater degree of intimacy/immediacy, abundance of creativity, imagination, extemporaneous and timely.

About the only thing of valid concern is timeliness. Cursing and insulting require little, if any, imagination and creativity. As to intimacy, well, I for one am glad a computer and the internet separates me from some of the Professor's more infamous commenters, and even then I sometimes want to throw a plastic sheet over my computer just to make sure I don't catch anything.

Snow said...

Oh. I didn't realize the post below this was referring to public parks or street corners or Clarence Thomas speeches. I thought she said on the internet. My bad. I really should use that preview button.

Gotta run and go pay my blogger bill before Google cancels my account.

Eli Blake said...

Maxine:

It is true that moderation doesn't allow as quick a turnaround on ideas. On the other hand you won't have to pick through as much of the intervening garbage if you get on for a while every few hours like I do because some of it will be gone.

But look at it this way-- Ann has a very successful blog and that is part of the price for it. Trolls go where there is food.

I get about two comments a day on my blog even when I put up a particularly thought-provoking post (i.e. today, examining the effect of the 22nd amendment and suggesting its repeal)

Daryl Herbert said...

Free speech is not a big free for all. It matters whose turf you're on.

It doesn't make sense to talk about "the Internet." The Internets are a series of turfs.

On the internet, this little piece of property is Ann's turf. No one has the right to shout her down, or drown out any other voices she would like to cultivate here.

You have the right to stake out your own turf, start your own blog, and say whatever you like. And I don't have any right to go over there and shout you down.

And because none of the free speech advocates are advocating forcing people to accept being heckled on their own blogs, there's nothing hypocritical about shutting it down.

Revenant said...

I don't see the free speech issue here. People who want Ann to hear a point can send her email. People who want to publicly proclaim a point can start a blog. Access to Ann's comments section isn't a requirement for either of those things.

ron st.amant said...

(Patrick,
Nice analogy. I was going to say it's more like throwing drunks out of your house at 2am.)

This is Ann's bar (or house) and if you don't want to follow the rules you get bounced.
It's not an attack on free speech because you are free, should you choose, to open up your own bar right next door and serve all the patrons Ann won't let in.

Synova said...

Moderation can mean stale and lifeless but it can also mean the difference between functioning and not.

I've done usenet newsgroups for years and on one group we resisted moderation no matter how bad it got, preferring a free-for-all. And after years of wonderful noise and mayhem and *life* a single determined person has shut the group down.

Liberty requires voluntary restraint every bit as much as it requires tolerance.

And moderation doesn't have to mean moderating the life out of something.

I can only say what I'd do if it were me. Everyone agreeing is no fun at all and I don't mind some spicy language and I rather enjoy a good flame war. If Ann pacifies the life out of the comments I won't bother to read them anymore.

But she's been getting comments that aren't just spiced up with some insults, they are nothing but insults. This isn't disagreement, it's more like the fellow who shut down the newsgroup I used to be on, there is no disagreement at all, just spammed insults and cries of censorship and persecution.

I can tell the difference between a spiced up contrary opinion and a content free attack. One of them spurs on debate, even a heated one. The other is just nastiness for the sake of it.

Bissage said...

Ann Althouse said: "Moderation. I don’t like it... but...."

But sometimes it’s better than the alternative.

I'm sure many of us remember when Tibore said that everything he needed to know in life he learned from cartoons.

Well, he was right about that.

So moderation it is, at least until some commenters remember that "part of being human is having self-control."

(The foregoing was inspired by Patrick’s 1:54 p.m., so blame him. And Tibore.)

Heh.

Maxine Weiss said...

Isn't that the point, though?

You've got to kiss a lot of frogs...

It's like panning for gold.

Peace, Maxine

Smilin' Jack said...

Actually, I never found the trolls to be that much of a problem here. It only takes a fraction of a second to scan a post and see that it's just trolling, whereas it probably takes the troll several minutes to write one. And their posts aren't going to change anyone's mind about anything. So aren't we all better off if the trolls waste their time commenting here rather than, say, working for the Obama campaign?

Old Dad said...

It's Ann's show, and she's the ring master.

Based on what she's let through above,(in a very few instances} clearly there is no ban on the stupid, profane, or insulting.

johnstodder said...

I hope that, as happened last time, moderation is like a cold compress to bring the fever down, and then we can get back to civil discourse.

It just baffles me that Ann gets called things like "histrionic bitch." Am I on drugs? There are probably 500,000 bloggers to whom that appelation applies more than Ann who, even at her crankiest, remains composed, calm and logical -- with rare exceptions.

To repeat myself: It must be that the biggest threat to ideologues (especially of the left) is to have their stated beliefs subjected to dispassionate analysis leading to an unpredictable response.

There are plenty of right-wing, Bush-loving sites where the "daves" of the world could shout "brownshirt" with confidence that among his ideological soulmates, he's spot-on, no need to discuss it further.

Here, at least some independent-minded liberals might be induced to think for themselves and, who knows, might stray from the plantation. Horrors. I think that's why the name-calling gets so bad here sometimes.

Ann, why don't you just ban obscenities? Not like I'm a prude, but it's kind of like the "broken window" theory of policing. For every F-bomb you let go, property values go down, and the sniping gets worse.

Mr. B. said...

Hmmm...

Why don't you just snuff the occasional idiot when you notice obnoxious comments on your blog?

Having to go to the trouble of looking at each one as it is posted seems a little painful and a waste of your time.

Ciao,
Bonzo

me said...

Isn't it kind of a futile effort? Can't people just create a new blogger account?

Ann's blog has a pretty varied mix of opinions but clearly some individuals are dreaming if they think a few superficial comments on a blog are going to convince people of changing their view points.

Save the keystrokes.

Sorry you have to put up with this complete waste of time. Sort of akin to cyber terrorism.

Simon said...

johnstodder said...
"There are plenty of right-wing, Bush-loving sites where the "daves" of the world could shout 'brownshirt' with confidence that among his ideological soulmates, he's spot-on, no need to discuss it further."

Ironically enough, I am in fact presently wearing a brown shirt. LOL. I didn't even think of that - dave, it's your moment to shine!

me said...
"Ann's blog has a pretty varied mix of opinions but clearly some individuals are dreaming if they think a few superficial comments on a blog are going to convince people of changing their view points."

I've changed my mind - or at least, modified my view - about things as a result of posts and comments here. It's not impossible; clearly, there are some issues on which convictions are so deeply-held that they're aren't going to change (no one is ever going to persuade me that Scalia's Morrison dissent was wrong, for example, and I didn't ever expect to convince RC that the only reason he disagreed with me was because he's a collossal idiot), but clear, rational argument can and does change minds. And that's to speak only of commenters, and you must keep in mind that for every commenter here, there are hundreds of people who are not so emotionally-invested on a given point as to descend into the fray to argue for or against it, but who merely read. I mean, when I argue with Freder, I know he's beyond hope - I'm never going to convince him. But does that make the discussion valueless? Of course not! It's still valuable to me, because to write is to force into (sometimes uncomfortably) clear, concrete form one's own views. And much more than that, I still hope to reach you -- you, who's reading this; you, the regular commenter who hasn't formed a strong opinion on the subject at hand; you, the lurker; you, the reader who doesn't comment; you, our Hostess; and so on and so forth -- to appeal to your sense of reason, to make arguments that convince you. Writing is inherently valuable, even if you don't expect to make a convert.

hdhouse said...

Hmmm I find interest in some of the "far to the right of Attila" types on here who celebrate the moderation as to bring order but then decry regulations and government "interference".

Can there be a link? Or a disconnect?

Simon said...

hdhouse said...
"Can there be a link? Or a disconnect?

Not unless you don't see how the rules governing private fora are distinguishable from government regulation (even assuming that "government regulation" is a monolithic concept - there are a lot of things that I don't mind the state of Indiana doing that I don't want the federal government doing, and vice versa).