Should Realneo Comments be edited and unpublished by admin?

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Fri, 10/21/2011 - 10:51.



A number of dedicated Realneo users are discouraged by, and therefore discussing ways/means to moderate/eliminate, the recent uptick in incivility on Realneo. 
Unfortunately, ad hominem fighting between Realneo users is a temptation some cannot resist.    Then the blame game becomes the topic.    Reporting new news becomes forgotten as the fight becomes entrenched.
Many reasonable readers don’t want to wade through the animosity crap so they change the channel – leave Realneo for more moderated web sites - which effectively undermines and dilutes the work many civic activists try to accomplish at Realneo.
In the long term it seems that the solution will be to upgrade the Drupal software modules in order to allow each individual user to view or hide every other user – in essence each user will be their own admin.   The present (old) Drupal software behind Realneo will not allow this option.
The image above is a screen grab of the present moderation queue as viewable by a Realneo administrator.
An administrator can “unpublish” selected comments without completely blocking the user. Unpublishing comments will require more admin time but may work as means of moderating incivility - a light slap on the wrist.
Maybe the personal fight will then be directed at the administrators!  Ha  They will love that!
Commercial spam has been unpublished for years by realneo admin.  
Realneo users, please provide your thoughts as to whether or not comments - if the comment is an ad hominem attack or provides no community benefit to the thread under discussion - should be unpublished by one of the admins .    
Thanks for your input. 
best, Jeffb











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Allow posts without comments

Just let some of the folks who are harping about it--post their comments without the option to comment.  It should solve the problem. 

In a nutshell, Jeff, Yes

 There is a difference in inciting passion and inciting anger.

I previously posted that I was embarrassed to post on realneo. I still feel that way. However, there is something too good here to just let wither away. Maybe it was reading all those early posts by a variety of people concerned not just about Cleveland, but also about the world around them.

Laura's comment about the "harpers" strikes me as just the type of comment that is really a jab that is not helpful; should it be deleted? No. Can Kathy Wray Coleman express that the Guy Fawkes mask offends her? Yes. Can she then go on to accuse posters and realeno of racism because the image is still up? No, and that should be deleted because 1) it is a personal opinion that is being used to oppress the rights of another poster and 2) the accusations show a lack of proof other than personal opinion.

One of the rules was that unfounded accusations would not be allowed. We all have the right to express ourselves, but we do not have the right to bury this site using our personal opinion to attack other posters, and also public figures. I am all for going after public figures; they are fair game but that has to be some substantiation behind the accusation.

Anyway, just some early thoughts on your post, Jeff. There will be more as I think about your questions. I am glad to see that you are handling this in a proactive manner, and I think that this is the right thing to do.



Debate rules could govern comments...

Thanks DW for your considered response. 

Good point between inciting passion and anger...

Are their any debate-type rules available that you know of so that an admin will not be left up to their own on what to unpublish and what to leave? 

Unpublishing comments will be a thankless job.   If there were guidelines for the comments - similar to debate guidelines, perhaps that would help.   

Any rules out there that you are aware of?

This is a universal problem for every open web site.   Whatever we can do here at Realneo to improve the civility formula will be important for the global community.  


Jeff b

debate vs. dialogue

 Jerry Springer vs. Oprah Winfrey.

Do you want debate or dialogue?

Do you want spectator sports or journalism?

If you truly want realneo to be a journalistic accomplishment, think editorial policy and editorial content. It does not mean that a person has to be a good writer to post, but it does mean that the post has to be credible. It means when a claim of some sort is made against another, that the editor must then require that the claim be substantiated.

 No topic will be off limit. All voices need to be heard. All voices need to be responsible. No one caves to a person who demands that a post be deleted because it is offensive to them. If it violates the credibility and substantiation rules, that is another issue. 

The wheel does not need to be reinvented to bring the required rules of behavior to realneo.

Shift thoughts and think outside the box. This is a new world here.

There are journalists out there out who are respected that can act in an advisory capacity to an editorial policy panel that can set the ground rules that the administrators follow.

Comments can be shut off for every blog - dull, but no fighting

Hello lmcshane, 

Turning off the comments is another option to stop people from bickering.   But this would create a pretty drab site. 

Users would be posting to their own blogs in a vacuum.   

One benefit about open comments is that open comments allows people to make an ass of themselves with their rank incivility.    A Google searchable data base of incivility is available for such individuals.  

It is good to know who is incivil in the community.    Not pleasant, but good to know. 

Then you can be wary...