If you can’t do it right…. then what?

One of our local councillors (@lisanova) has just posted this on her blog.

It’s about commenters on our site and what responsibility we have to moderate them.

On the one hand, she’s entirely correct. Comments on this story started badly and got worse.

On the other hand, none of the points she suggests are we in a position to implement. Our moderation policy (in that we don’t moderate) is dictated by group-wide legal advice. We can’t require people to register with their real names as we have absolutely no means of checking whether they’re telling us the truth.

Point four we do of course stick to, with the proviso that we don’t moderate, so we can only act when something is drawn to our attention.

Point one, the community manager, is in many ways what I do, although it’s not my job description and not a position that would be recognised by anyone else in our newsroom. I also don’t work 24 hours a day.

Point two – have reporters respond to comments – is a brilliant idea in theory but in practice is hard to implement (willingness, experience, confidence all being factors here, in management as well as reporters).

In an ideal world, you see, I’d post a response to her blog. But I’m not sure what I’d say. Is she right? Probably. Is there anything I can do about it? Not at all.

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