Quick note about comments

As the number of people using OpenSim grids rises, emotions seem to be rising, as well.

I’ve been seeing it the comments on posts lately, and have had to moderate comments or close comments altogether.

I want Hypergrid Business to be a place where people debate things in a nice, calm, civilized way. But I also don’t want to go around deleting comments because they are rude or disagreeable. What’s rude to one person is just the blunt truth to another.

In addition, we don’t have the money to hire someone to moderate comments full-time. By the time I’ve seen a comment — especially an inflammatory one — it will have been commented on and debated on by several people. At that point, deleting the original comment would be unproductive and leave the replies without anything to reply to.

Now, there are certain things that automatically get a comment sent to the moderation queue, where it will sit until someone looks at it, and, most likely, deletes it. That includes spam and bad language, and when a reader flags a comment as inappropriate.

I urge people to use the flag feature if you see a comment that doesn’t belong on Hypergrid Business. It will send the comment to the moderation queue. So far, this feature has rarely been used. Maybe people don’t know about it. If I see it abused, I have the option to change the point at which a comment is sent to moderation — after three flags, for example, or more.

The other feature that our Disqus comment system now has is the ability to vote comments up and down. I urge people to take advantage of this, as well. Unproductive, nasty, or off-topic comments can be pushed to the bottom, where nobody has to read them unless they really really really want to.

Disqus doesn’t make it easy to figure out how to flag or vote on comments. To flag a comment as inappropriate, you have to mouse over a blank area at the top right of a comment, click on the down arrow, and then click on “Flag as inappropriate.”

To vote a comment up or down, look to the bottom left of a column, where you’ll see a down arrow and an up arrow. Voting a comment up will move it up higher in the comments, voting it down will move it lower.

By default, viewers see the best comments first. If you want to see the latest comments first, there’s an option at the top of the comments section called “Discussion.” Clicking on it gives you the choice of “Best,” “Newest,” and “Oldest.”

And please remember — if I leave a comment up it’s not because I agree with it. It’s either because it stops short of being unprintable, because I haven’t seen it yet, or because a lot of people have already responded to it.

maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • And the inappropriate flags have already begun to come into the moderation queue…

    If your comment was flagged as inappropriate and you’re upset about it, this is a good opportunity to step back. Take a few deep breaths. Ask yourself whether this discussion is the most important thing you could be engaging in today.

    Wait a day to see if the comment is approved and comes back. If, after a day, you still want to make your point, make it again, but without the personal attacks, the generalizations, and the kitchen-sinking. (Anyone’s who been in marriage counseling will know what I’m talking about!)

    And if you’re really upset, write me directly: [email protected].

    • Linda

      Thanks for clearing this up a bit Maria. I understand that you don’t want to babysit the comments 24/7 and you shouldn’t have to. Sometimes it is important for people’s peers to call them out if they are flaming. Even if it’s not something that would get their comment flagged. Everyone is held accountable and if they post something then they should be prepared for people to post different viewpoints (as I have found out many times).

      I don’t want to be the person that stands back and watches a good, important topic get derailed by someone. But almost anytime comments are allowed people will drift off of the topic and many times will get into heated debates.

      Most of the time I would like to see the debate continue because I learn from it. Which is why I was serious when I said I wish you had an unmonitored forum page where we could say “This is off topic but I would love to talk more about this with you on the forum” and then continue there so that a good news piece doesn’t get it’s thunder stollen by off topic jibber jabber. So just sayin…. if you put up a forum I would write there. 🙂 And I bet it would become pretty busy and would be a good place to sell ad space too.

      • SnootsDwagon

        Thanks for posting this Maria. Is good information. And you give good advice: if we see a post we find offensive or inapplicable to the thread, it’s best to flag it as inappropriate rather than replying to it. It’s nice to know that’s possible.

        Linda once said “I love a good debate”. So do I. Debates can be a spice of life. A good debate will present logical, reasonable, respectful opinions on both sides of an issue. A good debate is educational and fun.

        Trolling, intentional derailing of a thread, or people using a thread (or multiple threads) for their own agendas have no benefit. When someone resorts to personal attack because others don’t agree with their opinion… they’ve lost any claim to valid debate. Drama, flame posts, insulting, slander and intentional misrepresentation of fact do nothing but detract from what might be an otherwise valuable and informative discussion. It makes no difference if such tactics are accompanied by smiley faces or mock-politeness. The idea is to respectfully discuss issues, not harass other users, businesses or organizations.

        You’ve shown us how to handle such posts here in a non-adversarial manner. One feature I wish Discus offered is a post automatically going to “flag” state once it’s been voted down a number of times. That would be neat. So would endless cookies. And rums in kawfee. 😀

        Overall, this info sounds good to me. Thanks for showing us how to help you defend HB against negative posts and attitudes. Appreciated. : )

      • Aren’t there already active forums already out there? Like SL Universe forums? Does Grid Press have a forums page — I have no problem sending folks there. Or to a Google Plus discussion.

        • Linda

          SLuniverse is “SL” or so the name would imply. Grid-press doesn’t have a forum yet. There is a G+ one called OpenSim virtual but that is monitored with an iron fist and nobody better go off topic there.

          Maybe I will start a forum. Everyone likes to have a place to just go crazy and say anything they want.

          • GRIDGOD

            Hi Everyone,

            Perhaps we would like to volunteer, We Just registered the DOMAIN GRIDGOD.COM dedicate to Opensim, And found this discussion about forums creation and etc, We would love to volunteer and dedicate a forum for this purpose . Should anyone be interested to volunteer as a moderator and writer please contact us. We would also like to put HyperGridBusiness.com link on our Forum as a preferred opensim blog. Hence we invite all opensim industry player to take part and make it a dedicate opensim discussion forums.

            P.S Maria ,Linda and the Rest. Hope we can work out on the new forum together on this . We will try to make the forum advertising free.So you wont see any advertising banners for this current time.

            http://www.gridgod.com

          • GRIDGOD

            Dear Linda Maria & everyone,

            Thank you for you guys encouragement, I am currently installing the Ning platform on the domain gridgod.com , My idea is to have a universal forum board based on mostly Opensim and Aurorasim. There are too much board and discussion forums about Second Life and i think its time for a dedicated forum for Opensim & Aurorasim. Please let another 24 hours for the DNS to be fully propargate.

            P.S Maria thank you will be creating a new banner and logo soon, And we will link your blog on our main page.

            Will keep update.

          • Linda

            I think this is great that you put up. I hope that it won’t be TOO moderated so that people can be allowed to have a spirited debate. I think we all need a place to voice our views even if it causes a bit of drama. I signed up there and will help you get the word out. I hope that we will be allowed to talk about Aurora-Sim as well as OpenSim.

          • Gaga

            Interesting that Linda says Opensim Virtual is monitored with an iron fist when it was the one social network in the forefront of the recent OSgrid debate and a lot of support was given to the people who got banned from OSgrid and they were allowed to enjoy freedom of speech. OV has grown rapidly because of the friendly atmosphere and support for the free Metaverse as a whole. All grids are allowed to promote themselves and members are invited to post topics about their worlds and products as well as Events. blog links and News.

            Currently, OV has 243 members and there has been over 600 topics posted with nearly every topic getting comments. There have been some very lively debates too. You can visit the Google Plus community here…

            https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/116284417302234467612

            Anyone visiting can see for themselves that Opensim Virtual is already a very popular and well established Metaverse community with a lively good natured membership sharing and helping each other.

          • It is very popular. And people do really l like it. But you do monitor it very closely. And I was talking to maria about getting a forum where people could post without being called to the carpet for being off topic.

            Congrats on your G+ community. It’s not the type I want to be in but it has done very well and you can be proud.

          • Gaga

            Yes, I am very proud of it because Opensim Virtual didn’t grow by stopping people having their say for being off topic. People have been off topic many times but the one issue I know you are referring to was more than a simple case of off topic and even Sarge Misfit who posted the offending topic admitted it was out of line. You, however, came into it and took offense when I had made no demand the topic be removed. It was just a reminder what our guidelines say and Sarge agreed. You promptly left OV and hold a bad opinion of our community standards based on one inflated incident in a tea cup.

            Now, we have crossed swords in the past Linda but when you joined OV I was willing to let the past go and show you respect or I would not have accepted your request to join the group. In turn I hoped you would show respect for the community standards and just get involved and enjoy the company of like minded folk. No more than that was asked of you and I certainly never banned you and I would have been hard pushed to so as well.

            You see, believe it or not I think all the drama and rubbish spilling out onto blogs and forums is damaging the free Metaverse and, call it an iron fist if you want, but I didn’t want OV to become a drama fest too.

            You have friends that respect you and even love you for what you do and who you are. That is influence and you could use it to spread good will which is all I have tried to do with OV.

          • I didn’t say there was anything wrong with you ruling it with an iron fist. Apparently you want everyone to stay on topic and all that. That’s fine. I left your community when I found out that it was you running it. With our past I figured I it was best for me not to be around you. I have managed to avoid you for some time now. And after I post this last comment here I will continue to avoid you.

            You manage your G+ community very well. So well, in fact, that I had no idea it was you. It’s a good place for people to gather and post.

            I even still read there sometimes. But I left to keep myself from ever posting there.

            So let me end this by saying… you have done a wonderful job with that G+ community. I wish you luck with it. And I hope that you understand that I wasn’t putting it down when I said that you rule it with an iron fist. I do understand that if you are not on top of that stuff it can get out of hand.

            I honestly don’t remember what sarge posted… my leaving wasn’t anything about that.

  • Gaga

    Personally I think you have given people the means to shut up opposing views simply by crowd abuse of the flagging system. You have probably given yourself extra work as well deciding what should be censored or not. If it were me I would simply leave it for people to get on with what they are saying and if it’s obviously abusive then delete the post regardless. Why make a load of work for yourself, Maria? I would not employ any of those systems

    Honestly, in my view there are some people that are so full of their own beliefs that they will not give up until they have bored all opposition into submission with endless nitpicking every last detail of an issue and going on and on in long winded statements that probably don’t get fully read anyway. They just have to have the last word and half the time they are not debating, they are dictating and flooding the comments. I have seen it here time and time again of late so I have stopped even reading some of the articles that I think will just bring that kind of a response. Or, at least, I will read the article and ignore all the comments.

    I have learned one thing about so-called debates on blog comments, and that is if you argue with a fool enough no one will be able to tell the difference.

    Good luck with it anyway.

    • SnootsDwagon

      Gaga: “I have learned one thing about so-called debates on blog comments, and that is
      if you argue with a fool enough no one will be able to tell the difference.”

      LOL… that’s really good. : )

    • Spam and swear words are already filtered out. If your comment is otherwise totally inoffensive, and still ends up in the moderation queue, Disqus may have mistaken it for spam.

      I would prefer that people vote down offensive comments that they don’t like. I don’t want to see folks flagging as inappropriate comments that they simply don’t agree with.

      Voting a comment down is just as good — it allows you the opportunity to get your response in, and most readers won’t get far down in the comments, so all they’ll see is the most useful, on-topic comments. (Especially comments correcting mistakes I made in a story! Or providing a contradictory opinion.)

      If I see the moderation queue start to fill up with “gray area” comments — somewhat off-topic, a little insulting or personal, but not outright rude, and offering a useful tidbit of information or a useful viewpoint — then I will set the flag threshold higher — so that, say, three flags are needed before a comment goes inito moderation, or five, or whatever.

      I think some of the issues that keep coming up over and over again have to do with the basic future structure of the metaverse. Things like content ownership rights versus creator rights. Grid governance issues.Openness versus security.

      These can be very emotional issues for people, but they’re also not trivial issues. Something someone says might spark an idea with a designer, or developer, or community manager, or entrepreneur, and change the course of the future metaverse for ever.

  • Linda

    After reading the comments from Gaga and Snoots I realize that I may have read this wrong. I read it as people should flag something if it’s something with swear words or racist etc…

    I thought basically what you were stating is that people will get off topic but you don’t want to squelch their freedom of speech by taking those comments down and so you ask that people flag the ones that are spam, swearing or hate speech. This leaves people free to do honest debating even if off topic.

    Am I wrong in how I am reading this? Gaga says it will make more work for you. I saw it as it would make less work for you.

    I mean what I got out of this was basically “Stop whining about people being off topic and just let me know if something really bad is going on”

    Some places over monitor and jump in every time you get a bit off topic or if you post in the wrong category. I hate to be babysat like that by control freaks.

    So I appreciate that you give us the freedom to write off topic and to have a good debate. And if that gets out of hand you allow their peers to point that out. I appreciate that you do that as well.

    • Guest

      I agree with both Linda and Gaga in this one. I luv lively debates, but where I draw the line is intentional trolling, flaming, slander and misinformation. There been a lot of that going on in comments lately and there here not to inform,but to attack a specific grid that doesn’t warrant such repeated attack. Then those who defend that grid are themselves attacked.

      That’s not what these blogs are about. I perceive HB as being an informative, educational blog. Negative comments “with attitude” give people a bad impression. No matter how long or short a comment is… it’s the content that’s important. And we’ve found here that long, dogmatic diatribes can be found on both sides of an issue. So I’m for any reasonable solution that can help reduce this continual problem.

      Of course the flag system itself can be used by the trolls as a weapon but as you say… those who abuse the system, lose the system. : )

  • It seems that some folks have been abusing the flagging system, flagging every comment no matter how innocuous, so I’ve raised the number of flags required to make a comment go into the moderation queue. If this continues, I may also increase the level of identification required by Disqus to, say, disallow anonymous comments, or start banning folks who continually post personal, off-topic attacks.