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Troll Patrol

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I should assert foremost that anonymity is crucial for the web to continue as a force of innovation and good in the world. I believe any solution that involves removing anonymity from commenters would stifle discussion, both productive and non. But I do understand why a news web site specifically would want to maintain civility in its comments section.

 The piece in question offered a number of solutions, most of which I find ineffective. A number of them involved making new blog posts out of individual comments. This is the last thing I want to read. It would pit the commenters against each other, vying for the coveted separate post.

The most effective tactic detailed in the article was that of having the journalist stay involved in the discussion. This way, at least there is someone to steer comments in the right direction.

Trolls, despite their best efforts not to, can actually provoke some very deep conversations between people of dissenting opinions. It’s really all about how you handle them.

Lines still do need to be drawn. I support a system that gives users a rank based on how many upvotes or downvotes their posts get. It isn’t a perfect system, but it would serve to give people an indication who is insightful and who is not.

Obviously, bans and moderators can be used as well, but I firmly believe this should be an absolute last resort. These should be relegated mostly to spammers and people who are completely distasteful. But overzealous moderation leads to a decrease in commenting.

The best method remains to just not feed the trolls, because they will always be there. And moderating too aggressively will not help that cause. In many cases, it makes them try even harder, because they’re now out to spite the moderators.


Written by kolchak

March 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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