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Tag: comments

The Trouble with Comments (on alternative media)

If you are short of time, just skip to the Six Battle-tested Rules to Help Publishers Nurture an Intelligent Comments Section.

I’ve been participating very actively in political conversations on various alternative sites for the last six months and recently over at MoonOfAlabama.org. I’ve also been involved in a very involved internal comments-or-not debate for a high profile and widely read international political site recently. Professionally at Foliovision, we develop what is the most powerful freestanding (software, not a service) comment moderation software, Thoughtful Comments1. Commenting has been on my mind would be an understatement.

MoonOfAlabama is not the only anti-Empire alternative media site who suffers from comment issues. Here’s a short list of some sites with whose comment sections I’m very familiar.

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How to defang machine enhanced human trolls

Over at MoonofAlabama.org, the publisher b faces an ongoing battle with ever more sophisticated professional posters. These posters appear to be part of the (dis)information services of one government or another (US DoD, MI5 among others have openly advertised such vacancies over at least the last two years.

The rules over at MoA are fairly strict. Simple name calling or out and out falsehood or MSM appeals to authority (i.e. NY Times) won’t fly there. So visiting would-be trolls are always experimenting with new techniques.

The latest tactic is early thread jacking. There’s a character by the name of Paul who always posts an anti-Russia or anti-Putin diatribe, whatever the post subject. Defanging his venom always grabs the attention of a few of the keenest mind and any thread quickly goes off track. If the deliberate derailing wasn’t bad enough, “Paul” now posts first on a regular basis, killing every thread dead in his tracks. Whoever is posting as Paul is clearly using software to get new post alerts.

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