Is ‘the mob’ censoring discussion in the comments at Synthtopia?
Reader Someone Dudeus (we suspect that might be a nom de guerre) contacted us to complain about ‘mob rule’ censoring comments on our site:
You run a forum where the mob can censor ideas.
I agree – if comments in the forum is obnoxious or otherwise containing no content but innuendos and personal attacks and foul language – you remove the post.
But to have people “like” them and remove “disliked” posts is something completely different.
Not letting the guy thinking outside the box having a fair chance.
Other smuck sites can do that but U should not.
Here’s a little background on how comments are handled at Synthtopia:
- We use an automated system, Akismet, to filter out comments that are clearly spam. It does this very effectively.
- We delete comments if they are clearly spam or if they cross the line into things like hate speech or personal attacks. We only need to do this a few times/month, because most readers respect having the opportunity to have an intelligent discussion about synth news.
- Finally, we let readers give comments the thumbs up or thumbs down. Comments that get primarily negative feedback eventually get ‘hidden’, by default. If this happens, the comment doesn’t get censored or deleted, but it doesn’t waste other readers’ time, either. We know that some people are going to try and manipulate and abuse the system, but we’ve set the thresholds high. As a result, it’s actually pretty rare for comments to get buried and, most of the time, it’s for good reason.
This system isn’t perfect, but it’s as good as any we’ve seen, and it allows for posts to regularly get dozens and even hundreds of comments, while keeping the discussion relatively free of spam and other garbage.
If you’ve got feedback or suggestions on the way we handle commenting, please let us know. Thanks!