Wednesday 10 August 2016

IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO READERS: Moderating Comments On "Bowalley Road".

A Simple Message: All I am asking from those who wish to participate in this blog is a modicum of self-discipline and a generous helping of courtesy.

READERS’ COMMENTS to the postings on Bowalley Road constitute an integral part of the blog. That is why I do not intend to follow the example of Radio New Zealand and The Spinoff by switching-off the comments function.
I do, however, understand why those two sites chose to do so. The viciousness and crudity of anonymous commentators is extremely wearying to the spirit. Though the worst examples are swiftly deleted, they must first be read – and that is not a pleasant duty. Also vexatious are the tangential conversations and ideological disputations that ramble on between commentators. Though obviously engaging for their participants, they contribute very little to the overall enjoyment of the blog.
With these issues in mind, I have decided to tighten-up the moderation of comments to Bowalley Road.
The first and most important change relates to anonymous commentators. From now on all anonymous comments will be deleted without being read. My strong preference is for commentators to use their real names. I do, however, understand why some people feel very uneasy about doing so – especially on such an overtly political blog as Bowalley Road. Accordingly, I will continue to accept pseudonyms, but only with the proviso that commentators, having chosen a name, stick with it. The use of multiple pseudonyms, if detected, will result in the offender being permanently banned from commenting on Bowalley Road.
The second change in moderation policy will be to shut down all tangential conversations and/or slanging matches between commentators. Those deemed to be straying from the issues raised in the posting will be warned once to stay on-topic. Persistent off-topic commentary will be deleted.
With these changes, I hope to restore Bowalley Road’s commentary threads to their former high standard of tone and content. In essence, all I am asking from those who wish to participate in this blog is a modicum of self-discipline and a generous helping of courtesy.
Chris Trotter.

 This posting is exclusive to Bowalley Road.


Tiger Mountain said...


good move Chris, your posts are well researched and thought out whether readers agree with the analysis or not and deserve some respect, there is a surfeit of places online already for those that need to regularly treat others as human punching bags; the “anonymous” posters were putting me off from commenting here more regularly (heh, my fans will be pleased I am sure)

greywarbler said...

We will all take that to heart I am sure Chris. I did a deep search to the ends of your posts list and came up with this heartfelt thought you had in December 2008. I thought it a good endpiece to your post above. It is still so relevant to the Left - can we `make it so'.

If, instead of by turns praising and lambasting one another in the splendid isolation of the blogosphere, or at conferences attended by nobody apart from the usual suspects, the revolutionary "philosophers" of the Left were willing, for just three years, to put to one side their fiery principles, and devote the many and considerable skills they undoubtedly possess to developing a much higher degree of emotional congruence between the leadership and the rank-and-file of the New Zealand labour movement, they might be surprised at how much of the world they could change.

Jack Scrivano said...

An excellent decision, Chris.

Joe-90 said...

Hi Chris, nice of the other anonymous responders to ruin it for the rest of us but I understand what you are dealing with so am happy to comply. Could I add one further request - some sort of limit on length? If there is one I haven't found it yet, maybe I've never blathered on long enough. I think concise feedback from lots of people is more interesting for readers (and a better discipline for responders) than seeing (say) 3 long tedious responses from the usual suspects. Maybe ask Danyl McLauchlan what system he uses as he seems to have comments well sorted there - many of his blogs get 20 - 40 mostly pithy responses that massively amplify the value, stimulation and impact of the blogs themselves.

David Stone said...

Hi Chris
I have noticed that people stray into private conversations and the evidence is there that I have been drawn in to responding to it myself. would it be possible , without requiring your constant implementation , to set up a system where participants could choose to be connected privately and carry on their conversation off your page?
I hope you don't get so irked with us that you toss it in.
Cheers David

swordfish said...

Oh Noes !!! What ? You mean no more endless debates about immigration and multi-culturalism in comments to posts that make no mention whatsoever of such issues ???

Whatever will become of us all ???

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Well done Mr Trotter.

Your controls do nothing more than require civil tongues and good manners.

Nick J said...

I've been disagreeing with you lately Chris....surely a good sign. Keep us all honest. Appreciate you do this for love so much appreciated.

Dennis Frank said...

I'll endorse the initiative & prior comments. There's a paradox around free speech: support the principle & you inevitably encounter its downside, so pragmatism kicks in to compromise the principle.

Looks like there's a rule of commmunity that applies; any group will form a consensus to eliminate threats to the quality of group discourse. Any person seeking to contribute offensive comments provokes retaliation, but the culture of individualism makes it bipolar - unless others are sufficiently concerned to form the consensus.

Thus verbal pollution of the group mind can trigger a natural quality-control reaction. The blogger, host of the group of commentators, eliminates the pollution for the mutual benefit of all participants (other than the would-be nonconformist). Very green. An exemplary demonstration of the relevant Green Party Charter principle (appropriate decision-making).