13 Jul 2006


In response to an article by Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian, I posted the following:
There are many ways that a blog site might be moderated or trimmed of the fat.

  • The Wiki method condenses opinions to a single article presenting all sides, and is easier to read as a long-term resource. It is, perhaps, what should be done to each thread at the end to summarise the views expressed.
  • Threading allows side discussions and flame-wars to be ignored.
  • Ratings identifies the degree of support that each statement has, but can be abused by multiple registrations to pump up the posts of an egotist.
  • Polls do this a little better, and usually allow each IP address, as well as each registration, only one vote.
  • Killfiles - ignoring specific posters who have a tendency to be offensive - are a good option, and can be used as a signal to moderators that particular posters are worthy of a ban.
  • One method I recall combined polling with commenting. You could vote on the options in the poll, or add your own option and vote for that. It tended to get silly, but at least the comments were limited in length.

So how about something like this:

  1. Each article has a poll.
  2. All users can vote for or against each option - one vote per IP address.
  3. Registered users can add one (and only one) additional poll option.
  4. Each poll option has a pop-up window containing an explanatory note, linked to a separate discussion thread on that option.
  5. Poll options are limited to, say, 60 characters.
  6. If an added option receives more than double the number of rejections than approvals, and that number is more than 10% of the total number of people voting, it is removed.
  7. Original poll options by the article author do not get removed.
  8. Discussions are moderated by the author of the poll option, who has deletion rights on any comment.
  9. Posters (not the posts) are rated by other registered users on several different scales:
    • Manners
    • Agreement with opinions
    • Clarity of arguments (even if disagreed with)
    • Openmindedness (the ability to concede points)
    Opponents can therefore express respect for each other without confusing it with disagreements on matters of opinion.

Comments and suggestions for elaboration will be welcome here.

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