Forward to next post: “And lightly drizzled with a glistening varnish of epic fail.”
Time magazine has noticed that comment threads exist.
The article is called Post Apocalypse (heh-heh, get it?) and it starts like this:
Last month a woman who worked for the Stranger, an alternative weekly in Seattle, quit in a huff. She had been writing for the paper’s blog, the Slog. The problem was the comments people were making on her posts. She couldn’t stand them anymore. “The word I would use is cruel,” she wrote in her sign-off.
Actually, if cruel was all they were, she got off pretty easy. …
In theory, it’s a great thing. We’re giving the people a voice! But the reality is that commenting either attracts loathsome people or somehow causes ordinary people to express themselves in a way that is loathsome.
The solution to the problem isn’t given in the article, or even suggested. The solution is strong moderation. If the Slog had had a moderator (Yog and his minions, for example), the Stranger lady wouldn’t have been driven out.
Here’s what moderators need to know:
a) Sure, there’s freedom of speech. Anyone who wants it can go start their own blog. On Yog’s board, Yog’s whim is law.
b) Yog is an ancient ghod of chaos and evil. And he doesn’t like people very much.
c) Moderation is a subjective art, and the moderator is always right.
d) The moderator may have minions. They need to have a private area where they keep the buckets of Thorazine and the cold-frosty bottles of cow snot.
e) The minions speak with the voice of Yog. Yog backs his minions up.
f) There is always someone awake, and in charge, when Yog isn’t around in person. The minions know who the Duty Yog is.
g) If someone starts off as a spammer, troll, or flamer, he is a spammer, troll, or flamer forever and is liable to instant deletion/banning with no recourse and no appeal.
h) If the moderator ever needs inspiration, he can re-read Jonathan Edwards’ Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God and recall that the posters are sinners and he is Ghod.
i) Rules? In a knife fight? Yog and his minions have standards, but they don’t need to tell the posters, lest some of them attempt to game the system. Attempting to game the system is, all on its own, a deletable offense.
j) ALL CAPS posts are deleted on sight, unread. Mostly ALL CAPS POSTS are ALL CAPS.
k) Anyone who doesn’t space after punctuation marks is insane, and can be deleted/banned on sight.
l) Personal attacks against Yog and his minions are ignored. Personal attacks against anyone else are deletable on sight.