Moderating a Blog

I am a docent at OlyBlog, which is dedicated to hyperlocal news and discussion of topics related to life in and around Olympia, Washington. OlyBlog's mission is to promote citizen journalism and to provide a resource for sharing knowledge and discussion about Olympia (and immediately surrounding areas.)

OlyBlog is awesome and fun. However, throughout much of the history of OlyBlog (over 2 and 1/2 years now) there have been users of the site who participate in a way that is disruptive and discourages participation by a broader audience. Personally it has been aggravating and frustrating to deal with some of these individuals, there are about 10 or so of them, who bring an attitude of prejudice, of combativeness, of aggression and intolerance for any ideas but their own. Some users' behavior is downright nasty, hostile, provocative, antagonistic, hostile and dishonest. (sorry, yes I realize this isn't a thesaurus.)

Having rational conversations with some of the individuals who have been disruptive has been difficult - even so much as nearly impossible, at times. Recently, a crisis of sorts has developed that may require serious disciplinary efforts and actions. A group of some disruptive individuals have taken up questioning and personally attacking anyone they disagree with. An atmosphere of acrimony and discomfort has developed to make me question my own involvement and continued participation with OlyBlog. It is sad, because I like OlyBlog; I think OlyBlog is great. I am also sad because I feel somewhat powerless and frustrated with my seeming inability to argue effectively with these disruptive individuals and I question my own abilities and it's not pleasant. But in reality I think it is due more to the obtuseness and intellectual dishonesty of those disruptive individuals than to any shortcoming of my own, that the difficulty in interpersonal relations can be attributed. Maybe I sound like an egoist for saying that, or that I am scapegoating my frustration on someone else and choosing blame. These individuals do however, clearly exhibit decidedly anti-social and anti-productive tendencies and an intent to disrupt conversations to their own advantage. I am resolved to be more proactive in how I deal with offensive, abusive and hurtful behavior as it is expressed on the blog.

A variety of disciplinary measures have been considered. It appears that the current experimental model will be to remove the ability of those who are considered as disruptive and antagonistic to comment until such a time they post three blog posts of a verifiably hyper-local nature.

I am not completely convinced of this measure, but I am willing to give it a try. I do like the restorative aspect of this measure. My biggest concern with the "three posts remedy" is that it connects posting blog content with something that is separate (though not unrelated.) I feel it is best to keep it straightforward and simple that abusive, nasty, hostile, antagonistic (etc.) commentary is not allowed on OlyBlog. The goal is to provide a forum where everyone feels comfortable to participate.

Oh to OlyBlog...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Aldo Leopold: "We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."

keywords: peace, justice, truth, love, wisdom, common sense, ethics, nonviolence, compassion, communication, community, egalitarian, equitable, society, culture, future, politics, government, public interest, sustainability, economy, ecology, nature, beauty, urban issues, environment, wilderness, energy, industry, reciprocity, karma, dignity, honor, patience, life, photography, music, flowers, and more!