Friday, June 19, 2009 meets, discuss moderation guidelines advises "diligent moderation" for new site. The most important topic (judging by its position in the content czar's story about it) was how to moderate comments on the new site.

I hope they didn't pay a lot for the donuts and coffee to come up with that suggestion. I think any blogger who has been doing this for more than one month and who gets a fair number of comments will learn that comment moderation is necessary if you want to keep things fairly civil.

Even I could have told them that and saved them the price of the donuts.

Here's a summary from the czar's post:

"Our Web advisory panel met for the first time this morning in a community room at the Ann Arbor Public Library to see how our site is developing so far, to ask questions and give us input. We listed the names of our advisory group in an earlier post.

They urged us to take a strong hand in moderating conversation on right from launch. One warned us that the failure to do so could allow our site to degenerate into a "wretched hive of scum and villainy.''

To avoid that, we should have norms for conversation on the site, clearly enforce those norms, and be transparent about what we're doing.

That's interesting, because I talked about our plan to moderate "aggressively'' in an earlier post, and that intention was immediately challenged by blogger Mark Maynard. In the spirit of viewer discretion, I should mention that if you follow the link to Maynard's blog, the comment thread includes an impressive array of vulgarities. Even Maynard was moved to joke that "On second thought, maybe aggressive moderation is a good thing.''

Despite having already been taken to task on this subject, I still believe our technology advisers are right on this one, and that we'd better be prepared to moderate conversation consistently from the start. We've begun work on guidelines for moderation, and will share them here prior to launch."

As frequent readers here know, there are loose guidelines for posting here. The rules are mine and are meant to keep comments in hand. If, on the other hand, starts using those rules to clear out comments that are critical of them or talk about competitors, then that would be a mistake.

Also in that post it appears that learned its lesson with the New York designed "Acorn" logo and hired an Ann Arbor marketing firm to help them.

I hope "The" appreciates all the traffic I send their way. If you put into your browser you will go to


Anonymous said...

Well, Jim, I'm just happy to be among the scum, villainy and "characters" to hang with you here ...


Everything in moderation, sir, everything in moderation!


Edward Vielmetti said...

There weren't any donuts or coffee at the meeting (it was in the library; and besides, there are no real donuts to be had in downtown Ann Arbor).

Anonymous said...

Booth managers certainly would know "scum and villainy" when they see it.

Jim of L-Town said...

No coffee or donuts! What kind of a meeting is that? I guess in Ann Arbor it would be more appropriate for scones and bagels, anyway.

Thanks for the update.