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We spend a lot of time reading story comments. We receive over 1000 comments on most days here at The Augusta Chronicle. We catch most terms-of-service violations, but the sheer volume guarantees we will miss some objectionable material.

I think we do a good job, but the best comment moderators are our commenters themselves. They read most of the comments and have at least as good an idea of what's going on in the comment threads as we do.

I regularly see posts decrying our moderation inconsistencies, often citing recent examples where someone was insulted or a poster used a cleverly concealed bit of profanity. I can assure that if we fail to remove a violation it is because we missed it. That is where you come in.

The best tool to improve the quality of our comments is the "report" link located above every comment. I have been encouraging our posters to use this feature from the start. Some are hesitant and prefer to hash it out amongst themselves, but this often leads to the petty bickering and fighting that we are trying so hard to eliminate.

The report feature is, for the most part, anonymous. We know who reports, but that information is never shared.

The report feature is to alert us to violations of our terms-of-service contract, not to complain about opinions you might disagree with. We don't want to limit the free expression of opinions. We want a civil debate that includes all points of view. If you don't agree with a comment, give an opposing view. We are all about the debate. Nothing pleases me more than seeing a contentious topic effectively debated.

If the debate degenerates into insults and name-calling use the tools we've provided. Report any borderline comments or TOS violations. We won't remove every reported comment, but we want to know when things are getting too heated. The report link guarantees we will give them a close look.

If you respond in kind to hateful comments, you run the risk of your comments being removed or your profile being banned. Let us handle it. We may not catch it immediately, but rest assured we will shortly.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

A commenter recently asked if we could remove the offensive word or phrase from a comment instead of removing the entire comment.

At times I wish we could, but early on in our discussions, we decided that, for ethical reasons, the Chronicle staff would never edit a comment - we may remove it, but we will not change it in any way. The only instance I can think of where we would change a comment is if the profanity filter accidentally catches a non-profanity word. In that case we would return the comment to its original form. It is important you know that we will not be altering your opinions.

Thanks for reading. Have a good day.

 

 

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Comments (21)

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Rolling Eyes
236
Points
Rolling Eyes 03/27/10 - 05:22 pm
0
0

"The report feature is, for

"The report feature is, for the most part, anonymous. We know who reports, but that information is never shared." It isn't anonymous if you know who is doing the reporting.... ;-)

Connor Threlkeld
488
Points
Connor Threlkeld 03/27/10 - 06:03 pm
0
0

Knowing who reports something

Knowing who reports something has a small role to play in how we handle abuse reports. If we know from past history that user A reports everything user B says simply because he disagrees with it, we know to take the report with a grain of salt.

If user A makes a joke about user B and user C reports it, unaware that they joke with each other every day, we know we can let it slide.

We had one user about two years ago that sent us about 75 abuse reports (resulting in us getting about 75 system-generated e-mails) for the same completely legitimate comment in less than an hour, so it allowed us to identify and ignore those reports rather quickly.

Some users are better about reporting only comments that are true violations of the TOS, so it helps us gauge how serious the problem might be, allowing us to sort through reports more effectively.

We certainly won't ignore any abuse report based simply on user name, but it helps us manage the ongoing feuds and understand the user relationships that might impact whether or not the comment being reported is abusive.

CobaltGeorge
138472
Points
CobaltGeorge 03/28/10 - 11:47 am
0
0

Sean, I have to give you a

Sean, I have to give you a very high score and a letter of appreciation on your paid responsible job. You have been handling AC debate with Common Sense. Good Job

Trey Enfantay
9
Points
Trey Enfantay 03/28/10 - 12:04 pm
0
0

"The report feature is, for

"The report feature is, for the most part, anonymous. We know who reports, but that information is never shared." That is an outright lie, I have the proof. We have years of archives. Would you like it privately or in public? But overall, I agree with George, it's moving in the right direction. I'm prepared to name names and call folks out both on the commenter and staff side. I thought you were still working photo editor duties 2 years ago? I'm willing to let dead horses lie there, but if you want to revisit it, I'm prepared. Otherwise, let's have some fun and spirited exchanges.

Ayetidiosi
1
Points
Ayetidiosi 03/28/10 - 12:16 pm
0
0

Filtering acronyms that MAY

Filtering acronyms that MAY have other meanings is incorrect and should be revisited. The acronym for Perfect Obama Supporters is the same as the acronym for portion of excrement.

Your robo filter cannot determine context. A biblical term for rooster is deleted by the robo filter, regardless of context.

Either do it with people, or don't do it at all.

Ayetidiosi
1
Points
Ayetidiosi 03/28/10 - 12:23 pm
0
0

There are seven words which a

There are seven words which a robo filter should catch every time. psfccsmft. Any thing else is contextual.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 03/28/10 - 08:32 pm
0
0

Monitoring comments must be a

Monitoring comments must be a full-time job that runs around the clock without time off for vacations, holidays or even potty breaks. The Chronicle owns this forums, and I'm impressed with the way it has maintained civility (especially in our community, which isn't always civil). As for Trey, I don't understand your comment.

seenitB4
72428
Points
seenitB4 03/29/10 - 11:14 am
0
0

Don't mind helping

Don't mind helping Sean....but will my name show up on the payroll?

Sean Moores
72
Points
Sean Moores 03/29/10 - 11:50 am
0
0

Rolling Eyes and Trey, While

Rolling Eyes and Trey, While moderators know who has reported a comment, we don't share that information with other commenters or the poster who has been reported. That was what I meant. If you report a comment, we will keep your identity secret.
I can't speak to every incident in the past, but we have discussed this and we will not reveal identities.

Sean Moores
72
Points
Sean Moores 03/29/10 - 11:57 am
0
0

Aye, If we see an acronym

Aye, If we see an acronym that we consider a violation of our terms of service, we remove it. Anyone who has had a comment removed can send me an email to explain their reasoning, but as you know there are very creative ways to get around our profanity filter. We look for those too.

Sean Moores
72
Points
Sean Moores 03/29/10 - 12:05 pm
0
0

Insider Information, Comment

Insider Information, Comment moderation is a time consuming job. I started training two new moderators this weekend as a matter of fact. We want to keep the number of moderators small enough to ensure some consistency but large enough to let us get our other work done.

seenitB4
72428
Points
seenitB4 03/29/10 - 12:40 pm
0
0

Thank you Sean...just

Thank you Sean...just wondering, is this a college degree job? Happy to see we are making jobs for people.. I can assure you with the posters we have today that will be a steady job for your folks...Don't worry rators, we will keep you in your JOBS!

Sean Moores
72
Points
Sean Moores 03/29/10 - 01:25 pm
0
0

seenit, We appreciate your

seenit, We appreciate your efforts. All of our moderators are adding this to their regular duties. That's another reason the report button is so valuable. You can alert us to questionable posts more quickly then we can catch them - less chance of missing something too.

Riverman1
70307
Points
Riverman1 03/29/10 - 08:13 pm
0
0

Have the political columns

Have the political columns been removed from the "HOME PAGE" or am I doing something wrong? Sylvia Cooper's City Ink used to be easy to find, but not so easy now.

Riverman1
70307
Points
Riverman1 03/30/10 - 01:23 pm
0
0

So is something up with

So is something up with Syliva Cooper's column???

Chillen
16
Points
Chillen 03/30/10 - 01:32 pm
0
0

A few friendly comments.

A few friendly comments. When you go to someone's "page" you are unable to see their older comments - that tab doesn't work. Also, the title of the article they commented on should be on the first line in bold - not the first line of their comment which just repeats below it.

Sean Moores
72
Points
Sean Moores 03/30/10 - 02:12 pm
0
0

Riverman, Sylvia's column is

Riverman, Sylvia's column is prominently displayed on the home page every Sunday and usually on Monday too depending on breaking news, etc. If you don't see her smiling face on the home page, hold your cursor over "News" near the top of the page and the City Ink link will appear in the tan bar underneath.

Sean Moores
72
Points
Sean Moores 03/30/10 - 02:17 pm
0
0

Chillen, I thought they were

Chillen, I thought they were going to remove that older comment link. It was accidentally added when we were setting up the new site and has never worked. We are shooting for adding that functionality in our upgrade later this year.
I'll add the story title to my list of improvements to suggest.
Thanks

Riverman1
70307
Points
Riverman1 03/31/10 - 09:23 am
0
0

Sean, thanks for the info

Sean, thanks for the info about how to find Syliva's column. I should have known that. :)

happychimer
13223
Points
happychimer 04/01/10 - 02:49 pm
0
0

Sean I have a question.

Sean I have a question. Sometimes a comment will have an arrow above the avatar. This is what it looks like. I will copy and paste one. -->

happychimer
13223
Points
happychimer 04/01/10 - 02:50 pm
0
0

What does that arrow mean?

What does that arrow mean?

Sean Moores
72
Points
Sean Moores 04/01/10 - 05:06 pm
0
0

happychimer, that arrow

happychimer, that arrow signifies...nothing. As far as we can tell it is just a bit of misplaced computer code. It's harmless, so we haven't spent any time tracking it down. You're only the second person to ask about it. You get one point for your observation skills.

happychimer
13223
Points
happychimer 04/01/10 - 05:40 pm
0
0

Thanks Sean.

Thanks Sean.

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