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How can we manage the comments of our blog? Tim O´Reilly give us the answer. noviembre 13, 2012

Posted by Adrian Almeida in *First Post, Word Press 1213 posts.

[This text is a summary of Tim O´ Reilly´s these three articles: Call for a Blogger’s Code of Conduct file, Draft Blogger’s Code of Conduct file, Code of Conduct: Lessons Learned So Far]

Summarized by Adrian Almeida:

Because of the violent comments that Kathy Sierra suffered in her blog, Tim O´Reilly author of the conference “O´Reilly” and his colleagues, talk about what kind of conduct is the best one in order to manage blog´s comments.  That is a really controversial issue for lots of bloggers on the Internet   around the word. As a result, O´Reilly give us magnify ideas to tackle bad comments.

The first idea is related with the expression “YOYOW”. This expression “Your Own Your Own Words” is considered, nowadays, obsolete by this group of experts because our blogs comments words (all of them) have to be evaluated as our own words; so we have the final responsibility in comments that in our blog are. Around this idea we have to be very conscious and don’t allow unacceptable content, which according to the Blogger Community Guidelines that  Tim O´ Reilly collect  to the article  summarize here, is a content associated with abuses, stalks persons, violates the privacy or moral, advertising links, publish elements with copyright  without  the permission of the author and so on.

The comments, we have to remember, are also our blog and they can show a wrong and poor image of it. Because of that, we should think in the possibility of doing away with comments. This idea is a good idea, but we can´t turn ourselves into censors, because comments are precisely to comment, to express ideas and to criticism. We have to delete only comments that are unacceptable content (one behavior that a lot of persons who had a blog didn´t consider to do) and leave the other comments despite of the fact that they can criticize us.

Other interesting idea in order to avoid unacceptable comments can be create icons or badges to warn people about what comments they can write.  As article says, obviously places which accept the bad conduct, won´t put bad conduct icon but the classification, in general, may be a good option. In the same way the comments can be classified according to the importance and conduct, and isolate unacceptable comments.

On the other hand, it´s very important be careful with identity of comments. If they are anonymous, they can be deleted because they are ignoring the rules of identification. Anonymous comments can take advantage, logically, of anonymity to put unacceptable elements in blogs. But as we said, we have to be very careful since anonymous opinions could come from political dissidents. The anonymity can provoke, as well, that shy people participate in discussions.

Other suggestion that in my opinion is really interesting is ignore comments with trolls. All of us know how are the disqualifications in comments, so the advice of Tim O´ Reilly is avoid public tussle, because “never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it”. According the example that we can read in the article, comments are dangerous starting point to misunderstanding the information which they contain. What it´s more, they can become ridiculous place to discuss different things in emotional and cocky way.

In relation with that, it´s important to say that bad conducts, may be consider as stalking behavior, or as a threat, and especially when they are anonymous, have to be reported to the person or to the police. To conclude this first part, the most important advice is for me: “don´t say anything online that you wouldn´t say in person”; common advice to use in all platforms which the Internet offers.

Now we are talking about some points that could create a discussion and which are deduced from ideas of the first paragraph.

First of all we have to talk about badges. Tim O´ Reilly describes conduct alert badges as a good idea, but according to the comments of his blog, the positive badges are preferable. In other words, badges have to show and express positive meaning instead of negative and repressive image, although they could be practical to avoid bad conduct. For instance, O´Reilly give us the case of Sheriff´s badge; bad and inappropriate icon since it regards the Internet as a place very similar to American West, where Sheriff´s symbol is necessary to try to die down the activity bad-comments gunman´s. Positive and less aggressive icons can give a better view which can be more simply and offers us more information about what kind of comments and conduct we expect. These icons (as O´Reilly describes) have a big utility. Icons like Creative Commons badge, link their property policies. We can do the same with one icon to which we link the conduct policies in our blog.

As regard to how express in icons the conduct that we want to our blog, is necessary to keep in mind the idea of module icons in our blog. Nowadays there are a lot of different icons that generally speaking, don´t show, as icons, our idea of comments policy. People usually don´t understand all of icons because of “the lack of granularity” and because there are different. At the same time, icons ought to show properly right and specifically one precise policy; that is, it´s essential to generate icons which are representative, for instance, of civility or anonymity, and in the same way we have to create them separately from each other. In any case, particular “axioms” have to be created.

In the contrast, the icons or badges don´t obligate people to write as icons policies suggest. One solution for this, according to Tim O´ Reilly explanation, can be mark with flag the comments. In other words, participants of our blog can marginate bad-conducts, putting red flag which alerts of inappropriate behavior. As the president of O´ Reilly Media says, there is a very useful application, Slashdot´s. With this app readers have an opportunity to make bad conducts comments invisible, if they don´t respect the policy of the blog. The unacceptable comments don´t disappear, so we aren´t using the censure and “the conversation can also continue”.

As we said in this summary of the information collected from Tim O´Reilly articles, anonymity could be very useful if it is used to help people to make their comments in totalitarian regimes, to distinguish personal opinions from belonging company, encourage shy people to take up writing comments.

On the other hand, drive with anonymity is a risk.  Pseudonymous and identities can be in the majority of cases to make bad behavior on the net. These kinds of behaviors and comments generate conflicts thinking about legality that involve the owner of the blog and people who make comments. Terminating discussion O´Reilly proposes a “compromise with acceptable behavior of bloggers.”   Avoid unacceptable behavior, but tolerate discussion, debate in civilized standards. We have to avoid as well emotional opinions, creating a fluent comments based only on the reason and in the moderation of participants.

What I personally would do, was mark unacceptable comments with a red flag, because you are not doing away with different opinions. Thinking about the idea of icons, I agree with O´Reilly. We need to decide a very specific and non-ambiguous system to alert people of what kind of comments we are expecting , and what is more, non-repressive badge and understandable in all over the world.

In any case and to conclude it´s important to say that we have to consider the Internet  as a good platform where opinions fly. But, these opinions have to be done in the same way as they are done in a real life, so in civilized way.


O’ReillyTim, 2007. Call for a Blogger’s Code of Conduct. O´Reilly radar. Available at: http://radar.oreilly.com/2007/03/call-for-a-bloggers-code-of-co.html.

O’ReillyTim, 2007. Draft Blogger’s Code of Conduct. O´Reilly radar. Available at: http://radar.oreilly.com/2007/03/call-for-a-bloggers-code-of-co.html.

O’ReillyTim, 2007. Code of Conduct: Lessons Learned So Far. O´Reilly radar. Available at: http://radar.oreilly.com/2007/04/code-of-conduct-lessons-learne.html.




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