Monday, 8 December 2008

Broken windows

Despite what his/ her name might lead some of you to conclude, I have no idea who the person who posted a comment as 'labourparty' is. But I think his/ her 'broken windows' link is excellent, and worth drawing to wider attention rather than just languishing in the comments. Here's an extract:

"Much of the tone of discourse online is governed by the level of moderation and to what extent people are encouraged to "own" their words. When forums, message boards, and blog comment threads with more than a handful of participants are unmoderated, bad behavior follows. The appearance of one troll encourages others. Undeleted hateful or ad hominem comments are an indication that that sort of thing is allowable behavior and encourages more of the same.

Those commenters who are normally respectable participants are emboldened by the uptick in bad behavior and misbehave themselves. More likely, they're discouraged from helping with the community moderation process of keeping their peers in line with social pressure. Or they stop visiting the site altogether.

Unchecked comment spam signals that the owner/moderator of the forum or blog isn't paying attention, stimulating further improper conduct. Anonymity provides commenters with immunity from being associated with their speech and actions, making the whole situation worse...how does the community punish or police someone they don't know? Very quickly, the situation is out of control and your message board is the online equivalent of South Central Los Angeles in the 1980s, inhabited by roving gangs armed with hate speech, fueled by the need for attention, making things difficult for those who wish to carry on useful conversations."

I don't know about reading 1984; maybe everyone should be reading Lord of the Flies instead?

13 comments:

timbone said...

For a fleeting moment, I thought that 'labourparty' was Paul Flynn, maybe not. Fascinating link, I even caught a glimpse of myself, I wonder if you can guess who that is. It's OK, no need to tell me, I don't usually get a response. It is interesting that I have noticed recent activity on your blogsite which has caused you to have to moderate it. The person who was most personal and provocative got the most responses from yourself.

Kerry said...

Maybe I should be watching Supernanny instead of Jeremy Kyle, and then I'd know not to give the naughty kids all the attention!

Leviathan said...

The problem with moderation is that nobody knows what criteria is used to assess appropriate commentary. You may claim that moderation is necessary to prevent vulgar, racist or irrelevant commentary building up, but how will people know that it is not being used to censor opinions that you disagree with?

Having seen most of the commentary posted on your blog, I have to conclude the majority of posts are not racist or intimidating. They are merely the result of frustration that an elected representative has backed in Parliament immensely unpopular programmes such as ID cards and smoking bans, while voting against a transparant Parliament or an investigation into the Iraq War.

You decide the agenda (often trivial non-stories about TV or trips here and there) and when anyone attempts to challenge it, you resort to weasel words to denounce them while ignoring their concerns and failing to reveal your own opinions for fear of jeapordising your political career.

You are a poor public servant, Ms. McCarthy. That's as moderate as I can be.

Kerry said...

It's entitely up to me if I want to be trivial, and judged on beig trivial - this blog is extra-curricular after all, and feedback suggests people actually quite like the lighter-hearted posts. You seem to forget that (a) I'm under no obligation to blog and (b) I'm one of the few that does. I work damn hard for my constituents. (Not to mention the fact that it's nearly 3.30am and I'm replying to you!) If that makes me a poor public servant, what does it make the rest?

On the voting issues, I will be lenient and respond to them on this occasion. I don't agree with you that the smoking ban is unpopular, and it's arguable about ID cards. The so-called vote on 'a transparent parliament' was nothing of the sort, as I've explained on here before, and voting against an investigation into the Iraq war was because I thought it would be a complete waste of time and a distraction from sorting out the mess we'd got ourselves into. I would not have voted for the war, but wasn't in Parliament at the time.

I don't think I can be accused at all of failing to reveal my own opinions; presumably you're trying to suggest that I secretly agree with you but have to pretend I don't, for the sake of 'my career'? It's far simpler than that.

Kerry said...

BTW I've only rejected one comment since I started moderating them, and it was someone plugging his own (deeply unpleasant) site yet again.

Martin J said...

Kerry,

Let me, if I maybe so bold, put to you the other side of the argument to that of "labourparty", as I would lay you a pound to a penny that they don't have their own "zany" blog of which to speak of .

Where by the blogger posting as "labourparty" may well speak a certain factual truth, he/she forgets to mention that all popular blogs need a certain je na se qua, that sets them apart from others, that compete for the curious readers attentions in this modern age.

Therefore dissension and disagreement is a must for all that are popular, as if you take away this fundamental part of a readers digest, then blogging itself becomes lame to the point of insincerity.
Now from this time onward, if you pick up a handful of comments broadly agreeing with everything that you espouse, then forgive me for asking, but why would you bother blogging at all?
We can all guess as to who is the major instigator of your displeasure in this stance, and I would doubt anybody agrees with everything he says, but he does court controversy, his views are both irritating and irksome a lot of the time, but he writes in a way that makes others instinctively wish to read what his words might be. I guess that's why hes quickly becoming so popular throughout the whole of the blog sphere....Controversy.

Now, You can disagree with each and every word that I have written, indeed that is your right, but it wont only be a lack of opposition bloggers that disappear from your web space, as your own public with little to annoy or fluster them, will slowly forget why it was they crashed headlong into your domain in the first place.

The name of the game in this particular genre is to come up with either edgy posts or fueled debate, or otherwise you'll find yourself courting tumbleweed......

That's just the way it is in all levels of: quote, unquote - entertainment these days.

LWTU said...

"I don't agree with you that the smoking ban is unpopular, and it's arguable about ID cards."

It's "arguable"? I'm still waiting to see just one person entirely unaffiliated with the Labour Party Government who would claim such a thing. Not even your own voters want it.

But let's say it once more - its not the ID card that bothers people as much as the database it feeds into. Show me someone that wants the *database* and I'd probably drop dead with shock.

labourparty said...

It's his.

I'm deliberately staying under the radar as who I might be is of no importance. Let's just say I'm a friend of Labour, shall we?

labourparty said...

Matin J:

"labourparty" does have a blog and, with all respect to Kerry, it receives considerably more visitors than her own (but then it may or may not concern politics!). What it doesn't have is a free-for-all comment policy (which pours a little cold water on the rest of your comments).

Basil Brown said...

"labourparty" ...

It is Flynny! I'd recognise those typos which tend to happen to oppo's names and huffing references to democratic "free-for-alls" anywhere.

Flynny certainly does moderate comments - edits out the sentences and paras he doesn't like [i.e. the best ones] then displays the rest.

timbone said...

"Flynny certainly does moderate comments - edits out the sentences and paras he doesn't like [i.e. the best ones] then displays the rest."

Does he really Basil? I am not so sure. I have made comments on Paul's blog which are very, how do you say, direct and pulling no punches - just like his. I did have a problem once where I was told by his 'filter' that I was spam, (there is a song about that you know), and I emailed him, he apologised and on it went.
I think some people have thought their comments disappeared because they didn't see the tiny arrows at the bottom when a page is full, I certainly did.

La Bete said...

Kelling & Coles' Broken Windows theory has been pretty thoroughly debunked. It just does not hold up to any kind of critical thinking.

Still, it made for pithy link :)

Basil Brown said...

I replied to you Tim, but it looks like it didn't get past moderation.

I'd linked to my own blog and presumably that's verboten now.

If you search for "Paul Flynn" on Smoke Alarm, you'll see the evidence.