Moderation at The Conversation

The Conversation has a new set of moderation policies which is motivated by a desire to improve [their] climate change coverage. It involves a zero tolerance approach to moderating climate change deniers, and sceptics. Not only will their comments be removed, but their accounts will be locked.

I have to admit a slight negative bias towards moderation at The Conversation. This is mostly because I had my comments removed and my account locked. This was – I think – because I was violating one of their comment policies by not using a real name. Fair enough, it is one of their policies. However, it did happen just as I added my actual name to my Twitter profile (which was how I was logging into my The Conversation account) and also happened at about the same time as I was involved in a discussion with a well-known “skeptic” who was using multiple identities in a single comment thread. It also came without any warning and appears to be final.

The motivation behind requiring real names is to maintain a transparent forum. The problem with this is that anyone can make up a real name; it all seems rather pointless if there isn’t some way to actually check that this really is someone’s actual name. An identifiable pseudonym seems as transparent as someone with virtually no online profile who happens to be using a real name (their own, or otherwise). Anyway, their site, their rules.

As far as their new moderations rules go, I’m somewhat uncertain as to whether or not these are a good idea. I’m all for strong moderation and I think the help I’ve had on this site has improved the comment threads. However, I don’t simply delete comments and ban people because they’re climate change deniers/sceptics. It normally requires a series of comments that don’t confirm to the moderation policy, or comments policy.

If the plan is to simply delete the comments, and lock the accounts, of climate change deniers/sceptics, who gets to decide? How do you avoid banning those who really are trying to engage in good faith, but are saying things that make them sound like they’re “sceptics”? I know it’s unlikely, but maybe some people are actually trying to learn something, rather than be disruptive. Also, where do you draw the line? I think there is a difference between someone who disputes that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and someone who thinks climate sensitivity is probably going to be low. It’s also possible to agree about the science and disagree about what we should do. How are they defining a climate change denier/sceptic?

I think arguing about the science is often pointless, but there are certainly some things worth discussing, and we should be able to discuss the possible policy responses, even with those with whom we largely disagree. So, I tend to think that this new The Conversation moderation policy is not well thought out and will probably backfire. On the other hand, having spent a number of years running quite an active blog, I’m well aware how difficult moderation can be. So, maybe it is worth trying something like this. Wait and see, I guess. Of course, since I can’t comment there, I’m not going to be too bothered one way or the other 🙂

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61 Responses to Moderation at The Conversation

  1. The moderation plan at The Conversation sounds a little heavy-handed. Got blocked? It happens. Michael Mann blocked me on twitter. I get it, he’s put up with enough criticism and attacks that he doesn’t want to be pushed to be more pro-active in his approach.

    All that said… toss out the deniers, the bad faith commenters? I say yes, let’s do that. We know the ones who are not dealing in good faith. Kick them to the curb. I am ok with that.

  2. I have run a blog constantly since 2004 and have never moderated any comment, other than running the anti-spam Akismet. I haven’t required any login verification either. I think this has a lot to do with sticking to technical commentary and being able to defend any of the findings presented.

  3. small,
    Indeed, I agree that some people have an understandable low tolerance. The Conversation can do as they wish, but it might seem ironic that an organisation aimed at promoting conversation is essentially banning people on the basis of some group they are perceived to belong to. Each to their own, of course.

    Paul,
    How many comments have you had since 2004?

  4. In 2004, blogging was a lot different than it was now, when it was actually popular and the only game in town. Now blogging is just about dead. The best approach now if you really want the eyeballs is to make a YouTube video instead of a blog post and you will get many more views.

  5. anoilman says:

    There’s no real names on the internet. I dunno where that idea comes from. Prove it. And saying he checked the box saying, “yeah, uhuh, its mine”, doesn’t make it real. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, buts its getting harder and harder to prove who you are in the real world.

  6. They could require users to have an orcid account, might work for that particular forum ?

  7. verytallguy says:

    Here’s an outlandish suggestion (or two, to be precise):

    If you don’t like their moderation policy, don’t comment there.

    If you enjoy whinging, there are much better things to whinge about.

    [Ok, a bit harsh, sorry about that, probably best if you just ban me 😉 ]

  8. My sOulton is to ban people who don’t give straight answers to direct questions :o)

  9. vtg,
    Indeed, you are – of course – correct 🙂 . I was thinking that it might be difficult to identify climate science deniers/”sceptics”, but in retrospect, we probably all recognise the signs pretty quickly. Maybe their plan will work in some sense (although I can still see it potentially backfiring).

  10. Requiring an ORCHID account only makes it harder to comment, but anyone can make one. Just like The Conversation not being able to check what is a real name, ORCHID cannot check who is a real scientist.

    I moderate strongly, so I will not complain about The Conversation. Climate “skeptics” can exercise their free speech on WUWT, on my blog I determine what is published.

    One should not only think about the people writing the comments, but also about the experience of the readers and the people forced to debunk tired old talking points once they are published to deceive the public.

  11. Victor,
    Yes, I agree that ultimately the blog owner decides what gets published, and that you do have to think about the readers and those who might spend time trying to debunk tired old talking points. I have no problem with strong moderation. I think there might be a difference between strong moderation and simply deleting and locking the accounts of those deemed to be climate deniers/sceptics. I may be wrong, though. Moderation is difficult.

  12. “Paul,
    How many comments have you had since 2004?”

    I don’t know, probably lots. On one blog I help out with, a recent top-level post on RCP8.5 has got 490 comments so far. I can’t name the blog here, otherwise the comment won’t appear.

  13. Paul,
    Why would the comment not appear if you named the blog?

  14. Likely because you have a filter for energy terms. I mentioned it once a few years ago, but anytime I have mentioned it since, the comment disappears.

  15. ATTP:

    The Conversation page you’ve linked to declares its allegiance to the agenda of last spring’s CJR/Nation Institute conference,

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2019/05/for-sixth-extinction-you-need-sixth.html

    an event about as scientifically disinterested as an average issue of Jacobin or The Graun, witness that it lead to a rewrite of the style manual of the latter:

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2019/05/who-can-argue-with-angela-merkelthe.html

    This sort of climateball sportsmanship is giving semantic agression a bad name.

  16. Paul,
    I don’t have a filter for energy terms.

  17. Steven Mosher says:

    looks like facebook will have a supreme court of moderation.

  18. Moderation, is this a nice moderate word for censoring unwanted opinions? Let invent a new rule; (It is not new at all and I didnot invent it. Someone else already did but it is a really nice rule.) Everybody is entiteld to his own opinion (and can’t be banned for it) but nobody is entiteld to his own facts (and can be modderated for this, after proper warning.).
    Some how this see4ms to be so much nicer. But ofcourse we don’t live in a nice world.

  19. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Moderation, is this a nice moderate word for censoring unwanted opinions?”

    no, it is a word for preventing unwanted behaviour. You can’t have rational discussion of opinions if one side refuses to admit when they are wrong, or refuses to answer questions that clarify their position, or ask questions and do nothing with the answers, or repeatedly raise points that have already been addressed etc.

    For science blogs at least moderation is not about censoring opinions, it is about preventing rhetoric (of the bad sort) from obstructing rational discussion of opinions.

  20. I don’t have a filter for energy terms.

    Sounds like the Artificially Intelligent filter figured our himself that people talking about thermodynamics on blogs are almost always a problem.

  21. Moderation, is this a nice moderate word for censoring unwanted opinions?

    How about calling it freedom of speech? On my blog I determine my speech.

    The percentage of people using the term censoring right is comparable to people talking correctly about thermodynamics.

    You could complain about Twitter or Facebook using their Constitutional Freedom of Speech to delete comments because they have a near monopoly. My suggestion would be to require them to abide by open standards so that their monopoly can be broken, not to destroy the Constitution.

  22. I did a test of the link — which is to another WordPress blog – and the comment disappeared.
    If you want to get to the bottom of it, could check the Sp@m or Tr@sh folder.

  23. Paul,
    Yes, it’s ending up in spam. I’ve got it out.

  24. izen says:

    As someone whose blog has only had just over 100 comments in ~4 years, moderation has not been a problem !

    However when one infamous poster took issue with back radiation and the S-B constant, repeatedly, I explained that I would refrain from responding further because it felt like I was ‘punching down’. attacking someone lacking the ability to respond coherently.
    That I would not block any further post he made, but would add this comment after any he did.

    “-This post is retained as a matter of record.
    Please do not use it to attack or disparage this poster. –izen”

    Seemed to work, never heard from him again.

  25. V V said:
    “You could complain about Twitter or Facebook using their Constitutional Freedom of Speech to delete comments because they have a near monopoly. “

    A most evil approach is one that YouTube uses (or at least did at one time). They would allow the comment to appear, but only you could see it. You can shout all you want in an empty theater.

  26. John Ridgway says:

    ATTP,

    “So, I tend to think that this new The Conversation moderation policy is not well thought out and will probably backfire.”

    And I tend to agree. As a case in point, the following article has appeared at The Conversation:

    https://theconversation.com/groupthink-is-it-a-valid-argument-against-climate-science-123050

    It is an article defending climate scientists against accusations of groupthink. Unfortunately, however, it is posted on a website that now, as a matter of policy, rejects any attempt to post criticisms of that group’s thinking. As a result of the new moderation policy, the comments thread for the above article is nothing more than a vacuous orgy of agreement to the effect that groupthink does not exist, peppered by the moderated comments of those that had disagreed. Hardly the data one would want to see accompanying a thesis that denies the existence of groupthink.

  27. I noticed that there is an updated article about their moderation policy.

  28. Jim Hunt says:

    ATTP – “The problem with this is that anyone can make up a real name”

    Such as “Steve Goddard” for example? Or even “Snow White”?!

  29. Willard says:

    > Hardly the data one would want to see accompanying a thesis that denies the existence of groupthink.

    Identifying that thesis might be nice. From the aforementioned post:

    [D]oes the accusation of groupthink stack up when it comes to climate science? No, not at all. Science thrives on debate. It lives by argument and counter-argument. It handsomely rewards breakthroughs that upset the status quo (Albert Einstein comes to mind). If someone could publish a paper tomorrow that provided a rigorous and scientifically defensible alternative interpretation of human-made global warming they would become a (science) superstar.

    https://theconversation.com/groupthink-is-it-a-valid-argument-against-climate-science-123050

    If that thesis is ever made regarding comment threads from blogs, here would be data that may deserve due diligence.

  30. Steven Mosher says:

    “There’s no real names on the internet. I dunno where that idea comes from. Prove it. And saying he checked the box saying, “yeah, uhuh, its mine”, doesn’t make it real. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, buts its getting harder and harder to prove who you are in the real world.”

    self sovereign identities.

    In some places around the world you need to prove who you are just to get on the internet.
    Korea is one. national id card, phone number, ect.

  31. izen says:

    @-SM
    “In some places around the world you need to prove who you are just to get on the internet.”

    This is not a good thing.
    It is part of the denial of personal privacy by the surveillance State.
    When the Government requires much greater knowledge of the actions of individuals than individuals have of the government the politics is fascistic.

    Always pay in cash, it is the only untraceable means of exchange.

  32. angech says:

    I think I am registered there but have not commented or read it much as it was already very balanced.
    The name suggests a discussion of viewpoints but if it rules out viewpoints that it disagrees with it will end up just another chamber of Unitarian views. A bit like the Handmaids Tale.
    Thank you for your refreshing viewpoint.
    Reading the comment put up by the editor makes it very clear he is not going to change his mind. Perhaps he should however change the mission statement to reflect that it is no longer a conversation.

  33. John Ridgway says:

    Willard,

    You are reading too much into the sentence quoted. I never claimed that the moderation disproved the thesis that climate scientists were immune to groupthink. I was simply pointing out how such claims are devalued when climate scientists become surrounded by a broader group of journalists and non-climate scientists who clearly aren’t. Remember, it is that broader group that provides the interface for most laypersons engaging in the subject.

  34. Willard says:

    > You are reading too much into the sentence quoted.

    Alternatively, you got caught injecting a known contrarian talking point by exploiting an amphibology.

  35. Willard says:

    > Perhaps he should however change the mission statement to reflect that it is no longer a conversation.

    Even mundane conversations have norms, Doc. Contrarians seldom cooperate. They break most maxims. Uninformativeness. Sloganeering. Little to no reciprocaction.

    Take your trope. It’s obvious the “conversation” refers to the pieces they publish:

    The Conversation’s editorial process is deliberate and collaborative. Editors pay close attention to the news environment to identify the issues citizens are concerned about. They reach out to leading scholars across academia and work with them to unlock their knowledge for the broad public.

    Through a Creative Commons license, we share Conversation US articles – at no charge to news organizations – across the geographic and ideological spectrum. We pay particular attention to strengthening news organizations that are severely under-resourced. The Associated Press distributes The Conversation US articles daily to thousands of newsrooms.

    Importantly, The Conversation US is committed to information transparency and credibility. Authors are only allowed to write on a subject on which they have proven expertise. They must sign a disclosure statement outlining any relevant funding or affiliations. We ourselves disclose all of The Conversation US’ funders on our homepage and elsewhere. Our goals are summed up in our editorial charter.

    https://theconversation.com/us/who-we-are

    And please don’t get me started on your “refreshing.”

  36. anoilman says:

    Steve Mosher: I need to be identified as well. I’m just using my local evil telco. Going further than that is of course any totalitarian’s dream. (Shh… I do use non-tracking non-identifying credit cards on the internet. My wife doesn’t know how much I spend on video games.)

    Identify theft, and just plain identifying people is a problem in the real world where there are real world consequences. I know that in Toronto, scammers have stolen whole houses. (The lawyers were lazy, and they were supposed to check the identity of the people they were working for, but they didn’t.)
    https://www.comfortlife.ca/blog/how-to-protect-your-home-from-mortgage-and-real-estate-title-fraud-6397/

    In a digital world, its easy to just to try all kinds of things and see what works. If the men in black plug that hole, the ‘internet’ will find a new one. The internet just routes around problems like pesky nosy men in black.

    Once you are on the internet its all bits and bytes, it can be faked or broke. Remember how SSL used to be secure? Now we have widespread use of deep packet sniffing. But hey, we have proxie routers, VPN, Onion Networks, and Freenet.

    More germane to Ander’s post, even knowing someone’s ‘name’ doesn’t tell you much. It could be faked.. Victor mentioned that its also hard to identify academic credentials as well, “… ORCHID cannot check who is a real scientist”.

    Its pretty squiffy pretty quick. Is that a real university, or just a web site that says it is? Is that a real journal, or is that a fake journal willing to publish anything for money?

    Even in a real world sense this is a problem. Under what jurisdiction is that legally what it says it is, and how does that compare to this jurisdiction? (That is an amazingly loaded question.)

  37. Tadaaa says:

    I agree with every post on here

    Especially Izens on back radiation (a great thread btw)

    I always view people on the internet as 1’s and 0’s – it somehow seems appropriate!!!!

    and an_older_code is not my real name

  38. izen says:

    I suspect the change in moderation policy reflects the changing ecology of those with an interest in the subject, and those with an interest in rejecting the conclusions of climate science.

    There was a similar transition some years ago on discussion forums that were concerned with biology.
    At one time there would be a significant number of participants eager to present their favourite refutation of evolution, especially the neo-Darwinian synthesis. Most of the time they would be tolerated and shown the errors of their ideas. Some sites had specific threads that invited discussion of the issues in the vain hope that Creationists could be educated, or at least any lurking neutral would be exposed to the strength of the arguments for, and paucity of the arguments against.

    However after a while, the Creationist enthusiasm for participation on biological science forums seemed to wain. The posters rejecting evolution by natural selection dwindled to a few increasingly dogmatic fanatics, spouting the same zombie arguments everyone had heard before. Any benefit that might come from engaging with the few die-hard Creationists shrunk towards zero, they ceased to contribute even as examples of the mistaken ideas that some might have about evo-devo. The same few voices would disrupt discussion of the biological science with arbitrary, unrelated, and irrelevant objections to the basics of the science. It became counter-productive to allow such assertions of Biblical/ID attacks when most posters were interested in the developing details of how epigentic networks shaped the mode of action of genetic expression to determine anatomical form.

    At that point many biology forums imposed moderation to exclude such intrusions because they had nothing to contribute to the science except their personal rejection.
    I find it a positive development that this may now be happening in the field of climate science just as it did in the field of evolution/creationism disputes.

  39. John Ridgway says:

    Willard,

    I should remind you that it was me, not you, who first drew attention to the fact the article was referring to an accusation of groupthink, but only within the community of climate scientists. So, when I concluded by referring to “a thesis that denies the existence of groupthink”, the normal assumption should have been that I was referring to the absence of groupthink only within the community of climate scientists. No ambiguity, no ambivalence, and certainly no amphibology. Consequently, it should be clear that the talking point I am ‘injecting’ is the potential counter-productivity of the Conversation’s moderation and how it could devalue any posited absence of groupthink within climatology.

    As a matter of fact, I am trying to studiously avoid discussing what I actually believe regarding the article’s thesis, since that would be injecting a ‘known contrarian talking point’ that I know would receive little sympathy on this site.

  40. Willard says:

    > when I concluded by referring to “a thesis that denies the existence of groupthink”, the normal assumption should have been that I was referring to the absence of groupthink only within the community of climate scientists.

    Yet here’s what you concluded:

    Unfortunately, however, it is posted on a website that now, as a matter of policy, rejects any attempt to post criticisms of that group’s thinking.

    If I tell you I can’t challenge your own group’s thinking, what would be the “normal assumption” implicated?

    As a hint, please confer to what I call the Very Intelligent stance:

  41. The idea that scientific progress is held back by group think that could be solved by blog comments is amazingly funny.

  42. anoilman says:

    Victor… I concur. Group Think happens… but to think that’s the norm in science is outright nuts.

    It precludes understand what journals and conferences are. By definition, scientists are promoting contrasting and competitive ideas with one another. Scientists are always arguing.

    A scientific paper is merely a properly formed argument.
    A journal is a pile of arguments.
    A conference is a presentation of arguments.
    There is no point to any of that if it simply agrees with what you already know.

    A good journal has papers the are new, challenging, interesting and well vetted by proper peer review. That way I don’t waste time attempting to apply the results in my own work. Missing on those points implies I don’t need journals because they have nothing new to offer.

    Group think? I call BULL.

    [Playing the ref. -W]

  43. “Victor… I concur. Group Think happens… but to think that’s the norm in science is outright nuts.”

    Groupthink happens everywhere (like least in science). My argument was, what the rest of your pot hints at, that the good new ideas will come from scientists discussing at conferences and publishing in the scientific literature, not by uninformed politically motivated comments below a blog post. If at all, it would happen in a well-referenced blog post.

  44. Groupthink happens everywhere (likely least in science). My argument was, what the rest of your post hints at, …

  45. John Ridgway says:

    Willard,

    I’m sorry to say that I am no longer at all sure what is going on here. I think the best thing for me to do is to make one last attempt to explain my point, and then call it a day.

    When someone is so concerned about the potentially deleterious effects of groupthink that they seek to defend a group (it doesn’t matter which group or the substance of the defence) against accusations of such, then they should take care not to publish their defence on a platform that invites feedback whilst employing groupthink tactics to thwart any attempt to refute their argument. By doing so, they appear to deplore groupthink whilst being happy to benefit from it, and I don’t think this is helping their cause (or indeed that of the group they seek to defend).

    I mention this for no other reason than to demonstrate how moderation can backfire, and to illustrate my agreement with ATTP. I make no claims here for, or against, groupthink within climate science. Nor do I claim that groupthink within blogs supporting the climate scientists is tantamount to groupthink within the community of climate scientists. To discuss such issues would be off topic.

  46. John,
    IMO, the problem is that the Conversation moderation policy is aimed at people who are promoting ideas that are almost certainly wrong (it is now very clear that humans are causing global warming, that most of the recent warming, and that continuing to increase our emissions could have serious negative consequences). Strongly moderating a site that includes an article about groupthink doesn’t somehow imply that there is groupthink.

    I do think that there moderation policy could backfire, but that’s a somewhat different issue.

  47. Joshua says:

    John –

    > I mention this for no other reason than to demonstrate how moderation can backfire, and to illustrate my agreement with ATTP.

    “Backfire” implies movement, in a particular direction, relative to a particular target.

    What target are you thinking about, and what is your evidence of movement relative to that target?

  48. Willard says:

    > To discuss such issues would be off topic.

    Your “case in point” was already off topic, John:

    “So, I tend to think that this new The Conversation moderation policy is not well thought out and will probably backfire.”

    And I tend to agree. As a case in point, the following article has appeared at The Conversation:

    https://theconversation.com/groupthink-is-it-a-valid-argument-against-climate-science-123050

    That contrarians complain (e.g. “rejects any attempt to post criticisms of that group’s thinking”) is par for the ClimateBall course. That contrarians use this as a bait for whataboutism (e.g. “hardly the data one would want to see accompanying a thesis that denies the existence of groupthink”) is also par for the course. Neither are relevant for AT’s point: moderating websites based on real identity is a bit silly when no due diligence is being done to the identity in question.

    To cite one example, Michael Brown (pers. comm.) witnessed a commentator identify as “Michael Brown” and nobody verified. Yet Michael is an author at the Conversation. And to put “but groupthink” into perspective, here’s a comment from one of his latest interactions:

    Michael Brown’s latest reply only supports the claims in the paper that this number is “rather poorly defined observationally”, and that our number is “reasonable” and “within the range usually given”.

    This statement is false

    79 kpc is roughly a factor of 5 larger than the radius than the stellar disk and roughly a factor of 3 smaller than the virial radius. R_G does not fall “within the range usually given” for any of the observational parameters the authors have suggested it could match.

    https://theconversation.com/keplers-forgotten-ideas-about-symmetry-help-explain-spiral-galaxies-without-the-need-for-dark-matter-new-research-121017#comment_1997274

    The Conversation’s editorial policy to moderate what I call the climate contrarian bingo carries no implication whatsoever regarding groupthink. All it means is that the usual climate contrarians will get replaced. Considering that the contrarian bench is thin, what may resurface is constructive criticism from people who may not wish to comment on sites that tolerate contrarian bingos.

  49. mjibrown says:

    I’m not completely convinced by The Conversation’s moderation policies, and how they were announced and implemented. That said, I do have some sympathy for their situation as the large number of bad faith and off topic comments from climate cranks can be disruptive to any conversation. The moderators also have to look after many articles rather than focusing on a single blog post. Their “real name” policy definitely has serious limitations but it did improve the tone of the comments overall (as did tougher moderation of tangential comments and 72 hour limits).

  50. Late to this thread.

    I’ve been watching the comments post this decision and there are certainly deleted comments but it does not appear to be a total eradication of “decent”. There are actually quite a noticeable number of comments from people disagreeing with the pro-AGW (apologies for clumsy catchall) theme of the article.

    I put this down to the comment being devoid of the usual phrases – leftist, greenie, religion etc – having a level of respect for the subject and posting an opinion that does not require the rewriting of physics. It doesn’t mean they are moderate deniers at all, as the denial seeps into their comments. I think this speaks to the fact that it wont be easy to get the right the moderation they think they are aiming for and that it might be hard to maintain unless resourced well.

  51. Michael,

    That said, I do have some sympathy for their situation as the large number of bad faith and off topic comments from climate cranks can be disruptive to any conversation.

    Indeed, and having been involved in moderation a reasonably active blog, I realise how tricky it can be. The conversation clearly has many more comments than I’ve ever had to deal with.

  52. That said, I do have some sympathy for their situation as the large number of bad faith and off topic comments from climate cranks can be disruptive to any conversation.

    The site is called The Conversation. When adults want to have an interesting diner conversation, the disruptive children are send outside.

  53. John Ridgway says:

    Joshua,

    “Backfire” had been ATTP’s term. Perhaps you should seek clarification from the person I was quoting.

    Willard,

    I have already retired from my debate with you. You are not saying anything to make me change my mind.

    ATTP,

    But I have not claimed here that strongly moderating a site that includes an article about groupthink somehow implies that there is groupthink. The groupthink is implied by the nature of the moderation. For example, comments suggesting that the moderation policy has not being properly thought through are being moderated. As far as The Conversation is concerned, you are a denier.

  54. Joshua says:

    John –

    > > I mention this for no other reason than to demonstrate how moderation can backfire, and to illustrate my agreement with ATTP.

    There could be different notions of backfire, theoretically. What was the “backfire” you were demonstrating? I don’t really see it, but you indicated that you had demonstrated it. No one else could really answer

  55. mjb said:
    ” (as did tougher moderation of tangential comments and 72 hour limits).”

    3 day limit to comment? The issue with social media is that it attracts quick-draw artists, and not deeply thought out ideas. Over at Baez’s Azimuth Project forum, we’ve got a comment thread that’s 5 years old and still manageable. (Although I have a feeling that Baez is selective about who he allows to join. It might be locked down for all I know)

  56. John,

    For example, comments suggesting that the moderation policy has not being properly thought through are being moderated.

    Well, we tend to moderate comments that comment on moderation. It’s get too circular, and disruptive, if you let discussions about moderation occur in the comments.

    As far as The Conversation is concerned, you are a denier.

    I doubt this is why I was banned. It might have been nice to have been aware that it was likely to happen, but maybe they just don’t have the resources to actually do that (i.e., just do it and move on).

  57. John Ridgway says:

    ATTP,

    “Well, we tend to moderate comments that comment on moderation.”

    And yet you’ve written a full article commenting upon moderation and it has attracted a host of un-moderated comments on the subject. I can see why you would moderate comment on specific instances of moderation, but here we are talking about the principle of moderation.

    And I wasn’t suggesting why you might have been banned, I was simply pointing out that many of the statements made in your article would not now be tolerated on The Conversation.

  58. Willard says:

    > You are not saying anything to make me change my mind.

    I’m not here to “debate” you, whatever that means. I am here to tell you that you’re using AT’s “backfire” to inject the usual “but moderation” and “but groupthink.” Both are in the Contrarian bingo. You’re a contrarian. There’s no reason to expect that you’ll change your mind on this.

    There are 36 occurences of “groupthink” in this thread so far. The first was yours. In your first comment alone, there were four. In your “change my mind” comment, that is after being told thrice that “but groupthink” was OT, there were three. Your best one had six. All the other occurences are in response of your “but groupthink,” including those in this very comment.

    You’re peddling “groupthink.” Please desist.

  59. Willard says:

    > but here we are talking about the principle of moderation

    No we are not. That’s your pretext to inject “but groupthink.”

    AT was talking about moderation at the Conversation. His title was “Moderation at the Conversation.” He clearly stated that he’s for strong moderation.

    Who do you think you’re fooling?

  60. anoilman says:

    Guys… Any suggestions on how to do moderation on a budget? I mean, assuming you don’t have a Willard, or an army of Willards, what could you do to reduce the volume of toxic content?

    For instance, what about limiting posts to 1 per hour? I mean.. half the issue with trolls will the instant gratification of attacking people, but if they can’t get enough hits on your site, maybe they’d go away?

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