Sunday, November 25, 2007

Why moderate?

Teresa Nielsen Hayden – writer, editor and moderator par excellence – has some words of wisdom about why comments need to be policed and moderated. 

Her observations come in the middle of a long thread of posts on Boing Boing sparked by a video entitled "Fox News Porn - the prurience of prigs." Predictably, that attracted Fox defenders mounted attacks on the poster and the commentary deteriorated from there.

Reading the whole thread, which you can find here, is instructive. Because it's buried in the middle, I'm reposting Teresa's primary observation here at length (my emphasis):

Not enough people seem to remember that the main reason Boing Boing's first set of forums got shut down was that the Boingers didn't have time to moderate them, and they went septic. Every large general-interest web forum that's worth reading is moderated, many of them far more strictly than Boing Boing.

The "come and see the violence inherent in the system, help help I'm being repressed" crew are less of a puzzle than they initially seem. Their own online activity tends to be dull and disruptive, but they think they're entitled to the kind of large audience for their behavior you can only get by being interesting. This is why they don't actually want free speech. All that would give them is the freedom to call the shots on their own websites. What they really want is someone else's audience.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:02 AM

    We need to stop supporting newspapers that want to give drivers licenses to illegals!