New comment moderation policy

I began working in virtual worlds in 2009 in Second Life, migrated to OpenSim soon thereafter, and along the way discovered Hypergrid Business. Some of you may know me from my sim, Serenity Island. My career has been as a computer consultant, artist and educator.

As a reader of Hypergrid Business, as well as a writer of some articles, I’ve taken an interest in the reactions to various stories.  Unlike many online news publications, Hypergrid Business has no moderation. As a consequence, the comments section sometimes breaks down into derisive personal attacks.

Duelo a garrotazos by Goya

Duelo a garrotazos by Goya. (Image via Wikimedia Commons.)

While this is nothing new in the world of online expression, most professional organizations have taken steps to establish guidelines and walk the fine line between interfering with discussions and preventing vitriol.

Upon writing to Maria about this issue, she invited me to be a volunteer moderator. As Hypergrid Business has consistently encouraged an open discussion about all issues relevant to virtual worlds, including Hypergrid Business itself, it made sense to write an article proposing the kind of moderator activities we have in mind, as well as foster subsequent commentary and discussion.

As guidance, we both find the community standards and participation guidelines used by The Guardian to be a good example of best practices. Their guidelines have been developed over several years, with input from representatives of the Guardian News Media editorial staff, as well as readers and content creators.

There are many levels of moderation practiced across organizations. For Hypergrid Business, the moderation functionality would be managed using the Disqus moderation tools.

The initial plan is to maintain the current discussion style of interaction by allowing most comments to pass through unchecked, since filtering all comments before they are posted would require considerable time and resources, which is not practical. However, a simple pre-approval process of comments would be in place for guests with unverified emails.

The final details of implementation will be worked out based on system performance and effectiveness. And although a comment may initially be posted, it will still be subject to subsequent removal if it does not adhere to the established guidelines. The final form of the guidelines will be made accessible as part of the About section of Hypergrid Business.

Many readers and contributors of comments have grown facile at ignoring vitriol as childish banter. Yet, when the comments grow off-topic and amount to a smear campaign, they no longer add value to the original discussion and become an unwarranted distraction. Besides the personal toll this can take on contributors and readers, outright defamation of character carries with it legal ramifications. For these reasons, moving forward with moderation will be a best practice activity in response to the challenges of providing open forums of discussion.

In writing this article, the intention is to generate feedback and discussion on this issue. What is your view?

lawrence.pierce@hypergridbusiness.com'

Lawrence Pierce

Lawrence Pierce specializes in new media design and production. He began as a computer game programmer and has been a systems consultant to corporations such as DuPont and the J. Paul Getty Art Trust, art director on the first computer game for MTV and a featured artist in the Hollywood Reporter.

  • Lawrence has been a long-time reader of Hypergrid Business, and has often emailed me with suggestions and ideas for improving the site. I’ve also known him to be even-handed, and not personally involved in any of the major political controversies surrounding OpenSim.

    But, most of all, he really cares about civil discourse.

    I am very happy about having him step forward to help with moderation and wish him all the best! And, to our readers — please be kind! We’re all here because we love virtual worlds and want to see them flourish. The fact that we have different ideas about how to accomplish this is a good thing — the more avenues are being explored, the higher the likelihood that we’ll find the sweet spot, the killer app, the approach that really makes this sector take off!

    • lmpierce

      Thank you Maria.

  • Hannah

    Well, this will be interesting. One thing that people tend to forget is that a certain amount of conflict -“drama”- not only brings in pageviews, but also encourages involvement (we get involved in things we care about, and stop caring about things we’ve no stake in).

    On the other hand, the comments have gotten really trashed for the last several months, to the point where it wasn’t even worth my time to bother with them (and I’m a veteran of some rough forums).

    So, I’d encourage you to keep a light touch and remember that when people argue it’s as much a sign that they have some investment as much as anything else.

    • lmpierce

      Good points Hannah. Debate, differences of opinion, passion – we agree these add life to the comments, while disparaging a person’s character for having a contrary point of view has sometimes taken the place of encouraging further discussion. Yes, a light touch is what we propose.

      • wolftimber

        So much for the “light touch” as I found out the other night!

        • lmpierce

          In this thread, comments on moderation have been accepted as part of the discussion on moderation. The discussion guidelines do, however, indicate that “Questions or comments about moderation should also not be posted as comments.” Please note that this is why comments about moderation have been removed when they have appeared after the moderation guidelines went into effect. Also, please note that posting additional comments that include comments that have been removed are also not accepted.

          We understand that these guidelines may not be a suitable fit for all readers. We do allow links to be added to comments that guide readers to other blogs where discussions started here may be continued.

  • Danko Whitfield

    Glad to see this. I agree with Han on the quality of discussion here and I too had stopped reading the comments. You probably will have to use a light touch, I suppose. Too bad.

  • Interesting-)) Personally I always prefer unmoderated places, while at the same time in things I have the controls of, I sometimes add light moderating options…never much, and often none, but my finger is always ready.

    I mostly prefer that people have their say, and often they are obvious in their comments, so it’s all to the good, to my thinking.

    otoh, I had been thinking removing guest account access would sure help around these parts, at the very least, which I guess is what you will be now doing.

    otoh, I would never have suggested such a thing myself, though…not saying there is any problem with others doing so, of course, I just don’t feel qualified.

    However, these things do tend to have a slippery slope, and if that happens here, that is fine as well, as far as I am concerned…I will still read here as the information is usually pertinent to what interests me, and as long as it interests me.

    My question would only be in the nature of this:

    http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Defamation+of+character

    “Defamation

    Any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person’s reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person.”

    Where noted in the article, as in with the oft beaten to death content discussions, often people who do not know any better, will scream libel or defamation or whatever, which often really only results in a chilling effect, and can run off otherwise sincere commenters with valid opinions.

    The key to it actually being an issue is the first part, “Any intentional false communication” which often also leads to misinterpretations. What some person who knows little says is defamation, to another who knows more, it is truth.

    For example, I have often said things here that I know are truths, and I have, for the most part, documentation of such things. I don’t feel obliged to report such information here, or anyplace, other than a court of law. And, in point of fact, it would be stupid of me to do so from a legal standpoint. [I am not referring to my silly comments…lol].

    And any person who has dealt with lawyers much at all, knows well how the “truth” is what can be made to be the “truth” in front of a jury or judge.

    This does not especially matter to me, I always use my one disqus account [purposefully], and I will still comment however I wish to, and never cared if they got removed before, and won’t still, but I think it does bear some thinking…and some way of not having it make a similar problem to how it was for a couple of months or so when you, Maria, informed the masses how they could flag comments [who otherwise apparently did not know that], and the comment threads got so crazy even the crazy people stopped commenting [and, THAT is very, very crazy!!]

    Anywho, it will be interesting to see how it goes, regardless, and I wish you well, Lawrence, in the matter-)) as well as you Maria…

    • lmpierce

      My role as moderator will be to evaluate comments using the published guidelines. I raised the issue of defamation because when defamation occurs, there is the possibility of liability against the publication. This is one of the reasons why many publications institute moderation of comments. However, in the guidelines, personal attacks are considered unacceptable, whether they rise to the level of defamation or not.

      By having guidelines, participants know what to expect, both as readers and contributors. The goal is to maintain the comments as an inviting space. And as some have noted, this has not always been the case.

      Thank you for the well wishes. This is a little experimental, but we think it will be a positive step all the way around.

      • Understood. As I noted, I also had thought the need for removing guest accounts to comment, willy nilly, might have seemed a worthwhile thing.

        I certainly do not want it to devolve further, either, as I like commenting here.

        Having no clue what your definition for personal attacks, or defamation, is, or Maria’s, it will be interesting.

        Ad hominem attacks are not worthy debate tactics anyway, the same or similar thing can be easily stated often, and better, otherwise.

        I rather would rather like to see elevated conversations, anyways, but know full well that goes against the nature of many humans.

        I also know that while some [not referring to any others here, of course, just a general “some”] would like moderation, it is often moderating of “others” and not “them”

        We shall see how it goes.

        [did a small edit after the first post]

        • lmpierce

          I appreciate your points. As you suggest, this is still in the discussion phase, particularly the community discussion phase. And, case in point, I am not yet removing comments myself.

          I have worked with Maria on crafting the Discussion Guidelines which are now available via a link at the bottom of Hypergrid Business site pages, labeled: Discussion Guidelines. Naturally we encourage people to read the guidelines. My feeling has been that we cannot expect people to abide by guidelines until they are available.

          Since disagreement is often a driving factor in online discussions, it will certainly be a challenge to make sense of some comments. However, moderation decisions are not legal indictments or personality assessments, but rather preventative measures. Therefore the standard used is that of appearances. If a comment appears defamatory, it may be removed. Whether a court of law would find the comment legally defamatory requires a different level of evaluation. Likewise, if a comment appears discriminatory it will be removed.

          Insults are a bit tricky. Sometimes a disagreement causes offense. So in those cases, the context and intent will be important. If someone is using insults as a response to another person’s position on an issue, that would be cause for moderation. If someone feels insulted because a business uses an economic model they despise, that does not merit moderation. That’s a pretty obvious example. Naturally there are circumstances more subtle, but this expresses the gist of my point.

          As you say, we will see how it goes…

    • i’ve only ever banned one person from my blog and in my past 4 year daily grind at it, i’ve had over 12,600 posted comments

      i think peeps kind of regulate themselves and for anyone being “bad” there are typically several others that set them straight

      to me, it’s a community and maybe i was just lucky, but i absolutely love my community and have learned far more from them than i have taught others =)

      • Hannah

        The stakes are different at your blog, there isn’t a commercial/promotional advantage to playing the one-up game over there. But here -there’s percived to be an commercial or ideological advantage to be had, so the gaming and flaming has gotten out of hand.

        • i had not thought of it like that Hannah but you are right. i tried running ads a few times but that felt “commercial” plus i’ve never billed myself as a business blog or as any kind of expert

          i have endorsed services though, including SL, Reaction Grid, Simhost, and Kitely but they never paid me

          thanks Hannah for framing this point so clearly =)

  • Vanish

    Hm. I’ve had an issue with commenting here for a while, and since this seems to be the post about the comments, I might as well talk about it here: I don’t like Disqus.

    I don’t like Disqus, both as a commenter and as a blogger. As a blogger, it takes the comments, which are the more interesting and exciting part of a blog, away from your (the blogger’s) control and puts them into the hands of a third party. By doing that, you’re locking yourself in with that third party, because switching *back* to your own comment system is almost impossible, and certainly puts you at risk of losing all the comments that were posted to Disqus. What if something better comes along? What if you want more control over the look, behaviour or features of your comment section? With Disqus you get what Disqus offers. With your own comment section, you got everything wordpress, the plugin coders and the WWW offers.

    As a commenter, I loathe creating accounts, just to be able to comment somewhere. I believe something should be as easy as possible to make participation straightforward and unencumbered. With Disqus, I have to sign up to a third party who not only accumulates all my comments from multiple blogs I comment on, but also tracks me across the web as yet another tracking service that doesn’t serve my interests, but the ones who want to and know how to abuse that kind of data. I’ve got several measures in place to make tracking me harder, but honestly, I don’t think I should. I think as a blogger, I should make sure that my readers (the ones I write for, after all) aren’t exploited by third parties or being put at risk or even harm.

    So, my one suggestion would be: Get rid of Disqus and switch back to the wordpress comments. Then, let’s talk about how to best do them.

    • Hannah

      >As a commenter, I loathe creating accounts, just to be able to comment
      somewhere. I believe something should be as easy as possible to make
      participation straightforward and unencumbered.

      I log in via the twitter acct I already had set up, personally -no registration required. I simply give it permission to post and I’m on my way.

      • Vanish

        But that *is* registration! Disqus creates an account of you based on your twitter credentials. That’s not any better than signing up with an email, only that instead of an email you give them your twitter connection. They still keep an account on you and everything you comment on under that account, anywhere on the web, including tracking you with cookies. Even worse, now they also have your twitter handle!

        Heck, I’m pretty sure Disqus also keeps an account of people who posts as “guests” without registration, simply collating all comments based on the email I’m oblieged to give them.

        • Hannah

          My twitter handle is public anyway? There are tools to prevent information from being used on third party networks (ghostery, noscript and these days adblock plus).

          If you want to talk about ease of use, which is what I thought we were discussing about registrastion; the disqus system is easier than registering through email.

          If you want to discuss privacy issues, etc -that’s a different issue; and “the only way to win is not to play”. The ad corporations have invaded the network and the only way to cope is to either use ghostery, etc or to not participate in the conversation. As much as some of us would like to, we’re not going back to 2000 any time soon.

          • what happened in 2000??? what did i miss???? y2k?????

          • Hannah

            2000 is before the age of tracking. There may have been some cookie-based shenanigans I’m not aware of; but not nearly as pervasive as there is now.

        • wolftimber

          Solution to that is use a temporary email like this one to confirm: http://10minutemail.com/
          Theres nothing thta requires anyone to USE twitter if they sign up, if you sign up using that 10 minute mail you’ll never see junk mail or even have to bother with it or twitter.

          • V

            Sorry, that’s not a solution. It’s not about your email. It’s about the service Disqus keeping a track of everything you do on its service. They don’t track you through email, they track you through cookies when you’re logged in (and you need to log in when you want to comment).

        • wolftimber

          See that? I already get this from replying to your post:

          Your comment is awaiting moderation. See your comment.
          This comment is awaiting moderation.

          • wolftimber

            And sure enough, this was removed from another thread:

            “Maria keeps saying you give 1 region free 100K prims when in fact you do
            not give that region FREE. You give 6 hours credit for the user to use
            the region. Free is Free and never charged.”

            My reply:

            You should know by now as an adult that there is no such thing as FREE, or
            free forever, there is ALWAYS a catch somewhere, it could be as simple
            as signing up- providing your email and contact details (like when you
            sign up for Farcebook) and then they turn around and SELL that
            information to spammers, advertisers and more- the name and email, and
            other details are worth MONEY, companies, magazine pubvlishers,
            newspapers etc all make a fortune “renting” out mailing lists to other
            companies per thousand names or hundred thousand names.

    • I don’t follow this logic. Isn’t wordpress, itself, a 3rd party tool? [maybe not for you, but others].

      And isn’t any commenting process, and in fact, any written words on the net trackable?

      Just rhetorical questions, really, not a request to debate such things…lol

      My personal take on disqus is that it allows me to show people, easily, some of how I think…what they make of that is up to them, of course, but I like being transparent.

      Options, to me, are especially important, and disqus has some nice and easy to implement moderation tools which I am able to use, per page, on my own blog, if I wish to, or not.

      Disqus, as with any service, can sell information, go away, or change in such ways as to be unuseful for some…it is the nature of the net that this happens all the time.

      And some service, offered free especially, can do pretty much what they wish to, regardless of what they say in some TOS…and they do, all the time.

      I once used a rather cool net based phone type service. It got so I did not like how they changed it, and I canceled the service. One of their reps or owners sent me a rather insulting reply, which was weird…lol. Later, the email I used for it started getting spammed and I found they had closed up and sold their email lists [which they said in their TOS they would never do]…nothing I could do about that but filter it to junk. It had been around for years, however, and was widely used, at the time.

      • Vanish

        WordPress is free software, so if you install it as a software on your machine, there is no third party involved. If you click yourself a blog on wordpress.com, then yeah, they are a third party, but then, Disqus would be a *fourth* party you’re sharing user data with.

        The problem is that *every cookie* that is set on your machine makes it possible to track you across the web, and the services that set those cookies, especially the ones that are free and have no clear business model other than to exploit their user data, *do*! Every facebook “like” button helps facebook spy on your readers, every Google “+1” button helps google spy on your readers. And every Disqus instance helps Disqus to spy on your readers.

        That’s bad. That’s a bad bad thing. And by doing that, you’re becoming part of the bad bad thing. Because all that data, as it is collected, will be exploited, abused, and is eventually at the risk of falling into the wrong hands. Someone getting a hold of Han’s Disqus profile can not only see everything she posted on every Disqus-enabled blog she ever commented on, they can also see every Disqus-enabled blog she ever *visited* without commenting, merely because Disqus has a cookie set. On top of that, they can also see the twitter account associated with that, can know who her friends are, who she’s associated with, and if they have the twitter cookie data as well, it all goes even further from there.

        All your data can, and will, eventually be used against you.

        • wolftimber

          Thats another reason I don’t like that stupid G+/youtube connection, Disqus etc

      • [to Vanish’s flagged comment]

        Well, like I said, I don’t wish to debate such things, though your opinions and observations are worthy, of course.

        Someone flagged you [and I expect we will see more of that for a while, and I think I will remove myself from looking here for a time also…g+, if desired], so I will copy some of the relevant part of your response to me, for preservation sake.

        “All your data can, and will, eventually be used against you.”

    • wolftimber

      Not to mention the format tree-like function of this comment thing really sucked from day one, the “tree” gets narrower and narrower the more people reply to a post untill it gets like 3 words wide.
      Persoanlly I prefer standard forums with subjetc categories and threaded posts, so much easier and people can include images too.

      WordPress has the built-in ability to allow and moderate comments…

  • Suzy Silverweb

    I agree with Vanish on Disqus…yet another account to keep track of. I
    used Facebook to log in though. Perhaps the social media access is a
    reason for preferring it over WordPress?

    Lawrence, good to see you as a volunteer moderator. I’m in agreement with Maria, and, while there is ongoing competition and many differing views, we should all be mindful that newcomers are continually discovering opensim. The comments they read here would be in all our best interests to provide a welcoming feel and encourage them to want to learn more.

    I’ve been taken aback by some of the comments previously, and simply stopped reading them… and most likely missed something important. So this is a good step, and I’m looking forward to reading and joining in on some positive discussions in future!

    • lmpierce

      I especially like your point about making a good impression for newcomers…

  • Jim Neighbor

    Moderation has been spotty and at times a heck of a lot unfair towards many people

    Example

    K****Y G**D main spokesperson comes in and calls another grids founder ‘Mentally Ill’ with ‘Cancer in the Brain’ then someone speaks up

    Then the person who spoke up is labeled as a troll then that posters reply is pulled While K****Y G**D main spokesperson is allowed to continue to bash folks
    while her boss continued to verbal debate anyone in the forum who stood in his way

    I myself took a huge offense considering my father passed away last year from brain cancer but instead of this ‘real troll’ being set strait Maria rewarded them with article writings instead

    That’s an example of the past

    My future advice is simple be fair to everyone regardless of were they come from then you will find all so called trolls are now just good neighbors

    • lmpierce

      Hi Jim,

      When well implemented, moderation is intended to minimize the kinds of breakdowns in discourse that derail the whole concept of having comments in the first place. Maria and I hope to set a course with moderation based on guidelines that everyone can understand and relate to. I want to emphasize that moderation won’t settle disagreements or a run-of-the-mill poor choice of words – it’s not that proactive or severe. It will however, hopefully, prevent people from feeling driven away by setting some limits on the negative ways criticisms and reactions might otherwise be expressed.

      My role will be to apply the guidelines appropriately. It’s quite a challenge. But, since I’m new to this, my attitude is that we all have a fresh start. Like you, I have been concerned about the tone of some past discussions. Maria will be posting the formal guidelines and we hope everyone will read them, and if so inclined, comment as part of this article on their own views looking forward.

      • ok, let me finish up on this topic [but while still reserving the right to say more, for myself, if I wish to]…

        For example, and I assume this is still in the discussion phase, and not written in stone yet, I just flagged the comment above, from this Jim Neighbor guy.

        Now, I don’t know Jim Neighbor, from Jim Bean, and I doubt it is his real name, just as the one I use here is not mine, and it does not matter to me what he/she or whatever says.

        But for purposes of trying to find out what I, personally, will decide about all this, I flagged it as it is an obvious attempt to not only try to be insulting, but to attempt to push disinformation which is not even true….and obviously it is referencing some comment I personally made, and also Kitely/Ilan.

        While it mixes in feelie words, which you answered to, Lawrence, it is still a simplistic insult comment, full of disinformation.

        Anyone can do such things, really….which then prompts those who actually care, to respond, if they feel provoked enough and are invested enough.

        Personally, for myself, I could care less, the point being, that others would.

        Dunno, really, I don’t envy you….lol

    • Hi Jim,

      Kitely doesn’t have a spokesperson nor does it outsource that role to anyone else. Kitely, like many other popular grids, has users who express their own personal opinions on various matters. I am not their boss nor do I always agree with their stance on things.

      I debate issues with people who make misinformed statements about the company I’ve spent the last 5 years building from the ground up. Statements such as the one you just made. What I don’t do is spread innuendo about people.

      Moderators should be equally fair to everyone who debates issues instead of making personal (open or veiled) attacks against other people who disagree with them. They should also equally prevent potentially libelous statements from being spread via the comments, no matter who spreads them.

  • Sammy Greenway

    We no longer live in a free nation it seems, no one has a right anymore to express their views of individuals or situations without being threatened with a lawsuit or jail. This is how third world dictatorships and communist governments work. Granted as one who tends to be Libertarian in most things, I believe the publication has the right to censor as it wills. I don’t have to read it anymore. Real life is more important anyways. I enjoy virtual worlds for fun, its an escape, but when it becomes politicized and policed, I’ll leave. 🙂 So who will be the one who will reply and argue that my points of view is wrong. Go ahead :).

    • lmpierce

      Hi Sammy,

      Hypergrid Business is not a government, so like most publications it is working within a pre-existing political framework. As a U.S.-based publication it enjoys significant freedom in what it publishes and as an American myself I was raised in a freedom of speech cultural milieu. I would not tolerate the suppression of ideas or thoughts, or their peaceful expression, for one moment.

      As for the moderation of comments, the activity of moderation does not change or deny the expression of any thought or idea, unless the form of expression is damaging, or the intention of the idea is to cause harm. My role as moderator is not to judge the merit of a comment and censor its contents, but to compare it to the published guidelines to ensure that the content is not expressed in a way that causes unwarranted harm to others, or Hypergrid Business.

      The discussion guidelines are posted on the site (see link at bottom of any site page) and the community has been invited through this article to comment on the idea of moderation, much as you have done. We think the guidelines will actually improve the freedom of discussion, because as some have noted, the comments were at times becoming toxic, and driving people away.

    • wolftimber

      The previous moderation scheme worked fine, Maria simply locked the thread up.
      I agree there Sammy, when these forums and commentary outlets on news sites and elsewhere go down the “must use Farcebook to log in with now” path requiring every user to have a verified Farcebook account with their full real name on it and all that, the handwriting is on the wall- time to move on to other venues.
      Maybe someone will start their own forum for those of us who don’t need hand holding, or I might even re-activate one I had on one of my domains.

      • lmpierce

        Hi wolftimber,

        I’d love to have a system in which boundaries were managed in a better way. Maria’s system of locking down discussions that had gotten out of hand is certainly one way to go. Moving forward, she and I would both like to see something more nuanced. We feel that preventing excesses in discussions before they spin totally out of control makes more sense towards the goal of keeping discussions alive and inviting.

        The various options for joining a discussion give most users a choice, and as you have noted in another of your posts, people can set up accounts just for access to public forums with no traceback to the originator. The requirement for verifiable email isn’t about your access, it is about the incessant trolling that occurs. Most of us don’t see it all the time because there are moderation systems to minimize it.

        In as much as it takes effort to make a posting to comments – the comments don’t write themselves, I see the effort to logon as a fractional increase in the total process. And to be clear, anyone who is interested in making a comment, can make a comment. Although there is a process for accessing the discussion, that process is not discriminitory and can be done with complete anonimity.

        • wolftimber

          Well Impierce I have no further interest in participating in here any further, the hand writing is on the wall. I wish you good luck in your forum here, take care!

          • Wolf — You are still free to post anonymously. It may just take a little bit longer for your comments to show up. If they take too long — ping us!

  • Vanish

    As a sidenote: “a simple pre-approval process of comments would be in place for guests with unverified emails” does not make a whole lot of sense when a person replied to directly by a guest can see the comment anyway, even without approval.

    • lmpierce

      Hi Vanish,

      You’ve highlighted an obvious shortcoming of automated systems, which is why moderation will require human intervention.

  • Having been subjected to personal attacks myself which I know are
    intended to intimidate and drive me away I agree with the need for
    some form of moderation, at least to deal with the worst cases. At
    Opensim Virtual in G+ I wrote up a guideline of sorts which basically is
    intended to keep the comments on topic and free from foul language and
    abusive anger. I was once accused of running OV with an iron fist but I
    think we have been able to maintain a fairly friendly community with our guideline and I certainly would never have allowed some of the personal attacks I have
    seen in comments on HB. The whole point of OV was to support cross grid
    community and I always felt HB had a similar mission so I agree it is
    important to head on into 2014 with better attitudes and a more
    welcoming outlook.

    That’s not to say there should never be disagreement. That always happens but even handed moderation can keep it calm so I support this.

  • People who think their comments were moderated by mistake — sometimes, for example, comments are automatically caught by spam filters even though they’re not spam — have usually emailed me directly to get their comments posted. Now, you can also email Lawrence, at [email protected]. If you lose that email address, he’s also on our Contacts page, and on the Community Guidelines page (both of these links are in the footer). Thanks!