Comment on Commenting Policy by David.

“David, you say that posting on your “privately owned site” is a “privilege not a right” surely this is hardly correct as You say that setting up & running sites like this is your business and that your remuneration results from the traffic generated, so by definition it is an open site!”

No, I didn’t create the site to make money from, it’s made just over £100 in 6 months which is nothing compared to my other sites (I make money from all my sites BTW). I could close the comments and still have made that £100 odd as regular visitors DO NOT click ads (it’s the regulars who tend to comment here), it’s new visitors that tend to click ads. Also visitors are more likely to click an ad when they DO NOT find what they are looking for, finding interesting debates in the form of comments is bad for making money :-) It’s weird, my most commented sites make least money relatively speaking (comparing 100 visitors from different sites). My second most money making site has no comments for example.

“Yes I understand that there have to be rules and you can ban posters, unfortunately it seems to be one way, anti BNP! Other uaf type posters CONTINUALLY denigrate pro BNP posters with terms such as knuckledraggers, thugs, criminals, nazi’s etc and occasionally resort to foul language, with not one peep from you to moderate them!”

I prefer not to have foul language on the site and the first person I ‘told off’ for using it was Vote No To BNP. I’d like the site to be accessible to school kids, so there are limits of what commenter’s should post, but I’d prefer them to self moderate (I realise it’s going to get heated at times).

I don’t have a big issue with the calling one another names like BNP thugs/UAF thugs type of stuff, both ‘sides’ do it.

As I said to Terence I’d rather comments not go that way and if they do it opens the commenter up to receiving similar in return: my Liebor/British Nazi Party comments.

I don’t think Terence understood I was suggesting he self moderate, (I could have deleted or edited his comments easily) he can’t expect to be able to call the Labour party liars and not have similar mentioned about the BNP in return, that wouldn’t be fair: if Labour are liars, the BNP are Nazi sympathisers.

I’d rather not resort to that type of debate, but not going to sit by and let commenter’s like Terence constantly berate the main three parties unchallenged.

Actually it’s hard to ban people, (there’s no registration required to comment) I can ban static IPs easily from every site I own (block the static IP from accessing the dedicated server my sites run on), but if you are on a dynamic IP (your ISP gives you a new IP every time you go on the Internet) I currently can’t ban you (could delete the comments manually, but not a ban). There’s probably a WordPress plugin to help manage persistent trouble makers on dynamic IPs, but I’ve not had to look into it.

I’ve banned one pro BNP visitor (was on a static IP) for homophobic/racist comments, no one really complained at the time presumably because those types of comments are bad for the BNPs image (bad for a site as well, hence the ban). Do you think I should have let Crispin continue to post as he was, it hurts your cause?

Had my aim being just to harm the BNP I’d have let Crispin comment as it made the BNP look bad, but it resulted in everyone commenting on the nature of his comments and not policy and important issues (damages the site).

With regards moderating copy and pasted articles I’ve edited all the ones I could find (there was 3,000 comments so could have missed a few). Vote No To BNP had posted multiple articles in full and I edited them down exactly the same as any other commenter (I even edited some of my own comments). Take a look at the old comments I tried to edit them all without bias (although I didn’t add a moderator note to my own comments I edited).

I plan to remove all the Moderator notes on those comments, just wanted them up a couple of weeks so everyone got the new commenting policy. Not really fair on the commenter’s to leave it up forever as at the time they commented that way I didn’t have that commenting policy in place. When I’ve removed those moderator notes those comments will no longer stand out and will be more useful as they reference the original articles now (took ages for me to find all those references!).

Now Terence (pro BNP) is the only other commenter I’ve had to put any serious moderation effort into, he’s the only person currently on the site who was posting a LOT of small, useless party political comments. Terence is on a static IP so I could easily ban him, but he’s not done enough to even consider it.

If a commenter wants to end a useful, interesting comment with “vote BNP”, “don’t vote BNP”, “vote for your Mothers armpit”, I don’t care as long as it’s not offensive.

As a side note Terence made me aware of a commenter who had used a mildly offensive user name, I edit the name to AH.

I want this site to generate interesting debates and not just be used as a promotional tool by people like Terence who apparently lack the ability to form logical arguments and have to resort to pointless party political rants!

If Vote No To BNP posted comments like those I’d delete them as well. If Terence put more effort into his arguments there would be no problem, I’d argue with him of course, but it would be about the issues not the promotional nature of his comments.

If you can show me another multiple anti-BNP commenter who has posted in a similar way to Terence I’m open to moderating them the same way.

“You say that you wanted to encourage open & free debate, yet continually post anti BNP sentiments whilst openly supporting labour”

Yes I’m anti BNP and vote Labour, I’m one of the 45 million odd British voters who have the right to vote at the next general election and I have opinions. This is not Question Time where the host (moderator) is meant to be impartial/unbiased, it’s a website.

I bet the webmaster of the BNP’s site gets involved in the comments and if anyone is anti-BNP he’ll state his case just like everyone else?

Would be real boring running a site like this without getting involved in the discussions and arguments.

I try to be fair, but I accept I have an agenda and I’m not perfect.

I would rather have Labour win the next general election than the Conservatives. When I started the site, didn’t care too much how the BNP did, now I’d rather they not gain one MP.

What is wrong with me being pro Labour and anti-BNP, doesn’t stop anyone debating here in a reasonable manner following some very simple rules?

You are actually looking for me to be politically correct and I don’t like political correctness for the sake of it (something I have in common with the BNP). If I was pro BNP I’m sure you’d be 100% behind me and asking for commenter’s like Vote No To BNP to be banned and all their comments deleted!

“and actually state on your heading “is not pro BNP”, when it would have been more neutral to say that ALL shades of political opinion were welcome providing they adhered to guidelines set by you!”

BNP supporters are perceived online as not allowing anti-BNP comments on their sites etc… If new visitors have that perception and enter my site believing it’s pro BNP they might not post (expecting their comments deleted by pro BNP moderators).

I agree I’m being a little unfair on that one, but I’ve been getting comments (by email) that when new visitors are entering the site they think it’s a BNP promotional site (owned by a BNP member or something). If you can give me a better way to make it clear this is not a BNP supporting website, I’m open to suggestions?

“You have also openly broken one of your own rules by posting IN FULL one of browns speeches!”

Must have missed one, will check it out, thanks.

“Finally, what happened to the rule that once a post got more than a certain number of thumbs down it would be hidden?”

When I first installed the comment rating plugin it had all sorts of styling etc… and it made a bit of a mess of the colours of comments (remember the pink background!) so I disabled that part of the plugin. I’ve also found a LOT of readers are clearly voting down comments because of who posted them NOT what they posted. So I’ve put the setting high to make it hard to make a comment high/poor rated:

Highly-rated comments have (Likes – Dislikes) = 100
Poorly-rated comments have (Dislikes – Likes) = 100
Hotly-debated comments have (Likes + Dislikes) = 50

By default it was high/poor settings of about 5 thumbs up/down and if I left it like that 90% of comments would be hidden and it makes it difficult to navigate: there’s a bug in the plugin code that requires 2 clicks to see a hidden comment!

So for a comment to be hidden it needs 100 more negative votes than positive.

BTW I can set it so my comments can’t be rated either way, but to be fair I’ve enabled the option to vote mine up/down as well even though I tend to get more thumbs down than up (nobody loves me :-().


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