My CiF-posting alter-ego has finally had enough and will no longer be taking part in debates BTL. The moderation is random, argumnts and debates are subject to random deletions and the engagement between most of the professional staff and the commenters is not so much minimal as non-existent.
Is Comment Free? Ethical, editorial and political problems of moderating online news
“Sometimes, users want to know why a certain comment was removed, but we don’t enter into discussion about individual actions in public.”
Meg Pickard, Head of Digital Engagement at the Guardian
the newspapers claim that they do not keep any official data on what sort of comments are being deleted
there has not been a decisive change in power relations between the media and its consumers. The media still frames the discussion in the following
It dictates what is a worthwhile subject by letting readers comment only on certain articles
It deletes what it considers inappropriate comments as well as those that raise legal concerns
The Guardian does not allow people to question and comment the moderation itself in discussions
Mainstream media may have aspirations to be a platform for free speech online but in practice freedom of expression is actively controlled.
The Guardian attach[es] great importance to freedom of expression, and critical debate. Like much of traditional media they claim to do society and
democracy a favour by offering free debate and public expression. But readers are, in a sense, being misled.
Mainstream media still has the monopoly over conversation and that debate is not entirely free. Traditional media still define what is worth discussing
and what is not
Moderation is being performed on the terms of the newspaper and is a product of a relatively narrow policy.
The Guardian trys to reduce the need by moderators by “managing the conversation”, with journalists, community coordinators and moderators joining the debate.
Guardian Ethics – Protecting Sources
In 1983, the paper was at the centre of a controversy surrounding documents regarding the stationing of cruise missiles in Britain that were leaked to The Guardian by civil servant Sarah Tisdall. The paper eventually complied with a court order to hand over the documents to the authorities, which resulted in a six month prison sentence for Tisdall though she served only four. “I still blame myself”, said Peter Preston who was the editor of The Guardian at the time, but he went on to argue that the paper had no choice because it “believed in the rule of law”
Posted on 04 April 2011.
Jane Da Vall
Our new, more community-based approach to how we edit Comment is free has had a noticeable impact on the quality of debate – and this is something we will continue to develop with our users and writers.
Editor, Comment is free
The Job of a Moderator- no thinking required
“Michelle you are speaking a load of crap excuse the language!!” one poster writes.
“This one that says ‘crap’,” she explains, matter-of-factly, “I know I’ll just delete that straight away.”
We peer at Kitchener’s special moderator’s view of comments, in which sensitive words are highlighted in red, such as “crap”, “teenage” and even “hun” – an abbreviation of “honey”, I’m relieved to note, rather than a reference to wartime Germany.
Quickly it becomes apparent that, in the squeaky clean corporate world, anything contentious gets removed without a second thought. Only occasionally does Kitchener need to exercise judgment
A reader (Jay Reilly): ‘Cif’s moderation is broken, and this seriously damages the site’s debates’
I was banned in May 2009, and the experience was surprisingly distressing. A moniker might just be an irritation to a moderator, but it is someone’s link to a community they may have spent years debating with. I was fortunate to have my ban eventually lifted after one month, but many others were not so lucky. An ill-conceived “three strikes” policy has seen some brilliant posters seemingly tossed aside like dirt, yet often they left a far richer and more vivid impression than many above-the-line writers ever manage.
In my experience, the Guardian’s moderation is frequently arbitrary, partisan and at times plain farcical. Worse still, the Guardian still seems to be in a state of denial about the scale of the problem.
The moderators are a fickle bunch. They are at times permissive, at others Stalinist, “disappearing” vast swathes of commentary from the record. For certain writers, they don the robes of the praetorian guard: even polite criticism or gentle mocking are scythed down indiscriminately. As you pick your way through the wreckage, it becomes impossible to follow any thread of debate. Irony, humour and even simple analogies can incur their capricious attention. Claims that deletions and disappearances are always in line with “community guidelines” have moved from questionable to outright preposterous, as you, and thousands like you, will no doubt have seen with your own two eyes – repeatedly. You can email the moderators to question their actions, admittedly, but the problem is the return journey; it doesn’t tend to exist.