Moderation problems and what can be done.


By mattpryor
September 24, 2010
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First of all, in spite of what some people have said, I don't think the JC moderators are biased in favour of anti-Israel sentiments. I think they try very hard to appear balanced and impartial, but in doing so are in danger of giving the impression of favouring one side of the debate over the other due to inconsistently applying rules.

However, there does appear to be a few problems and I wanted to start a constructive "suggestions" thread.

Banning users

I think it's outrageous that Blacklisted Director was banned for expressing his genuine views while proven frauds, liars, anti-Semites and propagandists are given a free reign to spew whatever hatred they like. This gives the impression of restricting opinions on one side of the argument while endorsing views on the other. This is not a good way to run a community site as eventually you will start to lose valuable contributors to other websites. I have seen it happen elsewhere, and what happens is eventually you end up with a community full of haters which no sane person would want to go near. I myself have felt the need to take a "break" from visiting as some of the posts can be really quite upsetting.

I don't agree with banning people unless it is for a very good reason and as a last resort. As a community I believe we are articulate, knowledgeable and smart enough to expose liars, frauds and propagandists for what they are and in that sense the JC can be self-policing.

Moderation

Pre-moderation of posts doesn't work well as it destroys the real-time feel of posting. I also post on the Times quite a lot (usually trying to combat the visceral hatred of Israel that appears on articles there) and it is a bad system. Perfectly reasonable posts have a habit of disappearing - probably because the moderators cannot keep up with the volume of posts - which gives the impression of editorial bias and generates a lot of ill feeling. However racist, untruthful or offensive posts should be moderated quickly and efficiently, and I also think that the moderators should give the reason that a post was moderated. Even if it's just a one-line explanation (e.g. anti-Semitism). The same goes for blogs - rather than just delete the blog I think it would be better to delete the text, prevent it from being edited, and stipulate exactly who wrote it and why it was removed. That way the user that wrote the offending article can be held to account for it in the future, which seems right.

Prematurely closing discussions

I know this is a bug-bear for a lot of people. It is very frustrating to see a good blog post which generates an interesting discussion get "closed" after a very short time with no explanation. I really don't understand why you do this, and again the rule appears to be applied inconsistently. If people want to continue discussing a topic, why not let them?

Navigation

Navigating between blogs is a very frustrating process. The list of "live" blogs is very short and good posts can easily be lost, especially when someone comes along to post three or four blogs in quick succession. I realise there is a separate page which allows you to navigate through older blogs, but it's not very handy. A better system of navigating between blogs would be very useful.

Final words: I love the JC community, and I really enjoy a lot of the conversations we have here. It feels like one of the few places left on the internet where sanity still (generally) reigns. It would be very sad to lose people because of the disruptive behaviour of a few agitators, and I beg the editorial staff and moderators to not let this happen.

Please could the editors / mods contribute to this discussion?

Thanks!

COMMENTS

Jon_i_Cohen

Fri, 09/24/2010 - 10:35

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Well done Matt !!
What must be remembered is that this is the Jewish Chronicle.
There are plenty of other forums for the anti-semites to spew their hatred.


mattpryor

Fri, 09/24/2010 - 11:18

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True Jon but it would also be a bit dull if everyone agreed about everything. There are a lot of posters who I disagree with and would like to engage with, and I think that can be an informative and sometimes cathartic process.

There are also some people who are just nasty pieces of work and deliberately go out of their way to offend. These people should be ostracised, but I don't know if it's up to the mods to decide who those people are - we probably have a better idea than they do.


Yvetta

Fri, 09/24/2010 - 12:32

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I agree wholeheartedly, Matt.


ibrows

Fri, 09/24/2010 - 13:36

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matt

your right that a blog is about debate. But you have ignored the fact that it consistently people who post comments that are critical of Israeli policies towards the Palestinians that are routinely branded as 'anti-Israel' or worse. When in fact, like you said banning bloggers simply because they have a different view is completely wrong, and unjust.

As you rightly stated:

'This gives the impression of restricting opinions on one side of the argument while endorsing views on the other. '.

You have to separate offensive comments such as anti-semitic remarks, from those that are simply critical of Israeli policies, and while you may not agree with these criticisms yourself this is not sufficent grounds to call for someone to be banned.


zair (not verified)

Fri, 09/24/2010 - 13:50

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I get that this blog is linked to the JC so it's reasonable to have a set of basic rules.

Banning users - tricky one this. I think some lines need to be drawn in the sand, eg adopting the EUMC/FRA definition of anti-semitism as guide.

Moderation - agree, posts which are offensive can be flagged and I think they are, although I haven't flagged anyone yet, even amber when s/he accuses me of being a hater of multiple kinds

Prematurely closing discussions - agree

Navigation - strongly agree


ibrows

Fri, 09/24/2010 - 13:56

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Zair

precisely, offensive personal attacks should be moderated in my opinion.

However, its hard to draw a line, when it appears that many on this blog tend to totally misleadingly associate anti-semitism with any criticism of Israeli policies and the Israeli occupation.


mattpryor

Fri, 09/24/2010 - 14:55

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Piss off ibrows, you fraud.


amber

Fri, 09/24/2010 - 16:05

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Well said Matt.

Don't you just love how ibrows and zair try to sound all reasonable, when in truth all they want is a platform from which to spew their Jew hatred. There is no debate to be had with someone who equates Deir Yassin with the Holocaust, or those who vilify Israel to the exclusion of all else. For these two, Israel can do no right - ever - and desreves an endless and obsessive stream of venom heaped upon her.

The exclusive singling out of Israel, holding the Jewish state to different standards -that is antisemitism, and these two are guilty of it in spades.


Watchful Iris (not verified)

Fri, 09/24/2010 - 16:27

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Matt, that wasn't nice.


Harvey

Fri, 09/24/2010 - 16:30

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Hi Matt

A lot of good input there.

The problem as I see it is the fact that individuals with an extreme anti Israel bias are continually allowed to post above the line . The JC remains British Jewrys flagship publication and should represent the views of the majority and that includes supporting and identifying with Israel as an independent Jewish homeland .
That is not to say that Israel is above criticism ,but such criticism should be contextual ,objective and constructive .Invariably this is not the case with those who use criticism as a means to delegitimize and demonise Israel at every opportunity . These individuals have come to the conclusion that existential wars followed by the two Intifadas have failed and that Round 3 is now through BDS .

I have no idea who these individual are.They could be JFJFP or even worse opponents of Israel.

I read the JC because I support Israel and believe that is the position of the JC. If I wanted to read and counter hate blogs I can go to MPAC, Lenins Tomb, Viva Gaza etc etc .I dont have to read it here.

Its not about moderation or premoderation .Its about preventing those who seek the end of Israel as a Jewish state posting ATL on a Jewish paper/website .

It needs to stop or else the JC becomes in effect a mouthpiece for the foul individuals who post their hatred with impunity .

I realise the readership of these blogs is minute but that is not the point .

In the meantime the best thing is not to respond to a single post. These individuals require the oxygen of response.Without this they will, in Matts words simply piss off .


mattpryor

Fri, 09/24/2010 - 16:38

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Harvey, you have a point. We know that Iran employs people to spread their political message over the internet, so for all we know these anonymous defamers could be SAVAK operatives. We just have no idea. But that way leads to paranoia, and I don't really see what they'd achieve.

I've been accused of working for MOSSAD in the past for defending Israel...

You're probably right that the best strategy is to just ignore them, but that can be easier said than done.


Harvey

Fri, 09/24/2010 - 19:13

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Its not really difficult. Simply don't rise to the baitby replying. Composing long diatribes and not eliciting a response is deeply frustrating .Eventually the post is reduced to a mere one liner accompanied by a dubious link .The more we respond the more elaborate and time consuming the next post. Simply bite your lips and sit on your hands next time ,Amber,Yvetta ,Johnathan ,Cityca et al .
If everone adopts the same approach these scum bags will troll somewhere else.


Yvetta

Sun, 09/26/2010 - 15:50

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Well, at least this thread hasn't been prematurely put to bed!


telegramsam

Sun, 09/26/2010 - 16:21

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And at least Jonathan has been moderated elsewhere. Kol hakavod, Jc.


telegramsam

Sun, 09/26/2010 - 16:23

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And at least Jonathan has been moderated elsewhere. Kol hakavod, Jc.


ibrows

Sun, 09/26/2010 - 19:23

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once again criticism of Israeli policies is wrongly perceived as 'anti-Israel' bias and anti-semitism.

I am heavily critical of many states, not just Israel, in a democracy its possible to be critical of states such as England, to oppose some of their policies without seeking to delegitimise the English state or being 'anti-English'. Yet by some random logic, any criticism of Israeli policies is somehow attacked as anti-Israel, regardless of the evidence that underpins the remark.

My last blog for example simply sought to draw attention to the denial by Israel of Deir Yassin, through the prevention of a commoration, how this can be interpreted as anti-semitic is beyond me?

Plus, as i pointed out previously but has been ignored, great offense is often posted on this blog, such as personal vilification of other bloggers and attacks such as claiming all Palestinians are terrorists, such blanket statement are deeply racist and just as offensive as claims that 'all Jews are X, or Y'. Yet these posts persist in their hatred for Palestinians unchallenged.


Stephen Pollard

Fri, 10/08/2010 - 10:41

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christ mark

Tue, 11/09/2010 - 13:08

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Its informative post,Yet by some random logic, any criticism of Israeli policies is somehow attacked as anti-Israel, regardless.Thanks for this kindness,

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Anthony Posner

Tue, 11/09/2010 - 13:30

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Matt,

At the time I was even "blacklisted" from accessing The JC site, so I missed this blog.

Just to say, many thanks for your support. A few people chirped up in my favour and I appreciate it.

But I won't be blogging on this JC site for much longer. I think that I've done my time here.

Blacklisted Dictator.


telegramsam

Tue, 11/09/2010 - 13:33

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Promises, promises


Anthony Posner

Tue, 11/09/2010 - 14:19

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I have noticed that many of the discussions that get closed down ,often emanate from the blogs of the various JC journalists. Some of them seem reluctant to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous blogging.

For example, quite recently, a discussion on Lipman's blog about The EDL was closed down. The JC seems opposed to anybody who asserts that The EDL is not a danger to Jews. It is quite pathetic. They treat their readers like mindless children... "Now The EDL are very naughty boys and you mustn't have anything to do with them."

Obsessive political correctness on behalf of The JC kill their blogs and publication.

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