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Reply #205: What doesn't work with the current policy? [View All]

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scribble Donating Member (129 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-17-10 01:38 PM
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205. What doesn't work with the current policy?
On Usenet political newsgroups, I notice that trolls and flames always appear on any message list and most posters and lurkers just don't read them. I don't think DU has a big problem here, compared to those old Usenet posting days.

Posting useful, on-topic messages works better than moderation to take care of trolls and flames. On newsgroups, I find that making sure we post five to eight good messages a day tend to "shape" the message list in a newsgroup, and strongly discourages off-topic messages of any kind. They still appear; just not as many of them, and a useful post encourages a flame or troll to stay on-topic.

Most threads end after three or four back-and-forth replies... longer threads tend to shrink to just two or three contributors and don't tend bother anybody else, especially if those replies are just back-and-forth flames. The flames just became buried.

Over-moderation works better than anything I know, to kill a newsgroup, an email list, or a message thread -- whether it is on Usenet, Yahoo, or a political website. Even good third-party posters are left feeling "chilled" when they see a post has been deleted. This mild, temporary dismay decrease their posting frequency. If a good poster sees moderation that leaves him/her "chilled" more than two or three times in the space of about a month; they tend to go away and not come back.

So: I personally don't think that a complicated moderation process will work. I think that posters will take care of most trolls and flames in the course of posting. You can't eliminate all trolls and flames from a popular thread; only control their frequency. I think your current moderation methods already control this.


I know that DU has problems that newsgroups and email lists do not have, and threads here still probably need some moderation. I think that DU already does a good job of recognizing harmful and threatening messages without giving undue power, either to grammarian-moderators or to the kiddies and krypto-Republicans they chase through the threads.


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