Although most of the commenters on this site add insight to the topics posted, there are a few very obtuse trolls who love to make insulting comments.
Anonymity helps their courage.
Now, this post does not apply to all the great commenters on Frank Report, such as Peaches, Mexican Lady, Natashka, Fool Me Not, Paul, Anonymaker, Alex, Scott Johnson, Gin an Juice, Shadow State, Nut Job, Heidi Hutchinson, Anna Lee, Ice-Nine, Mitch Garrity, Flowers [most of the time], Samir Sardana, Fred, Shivani, Just Sayin’, Ken Gibson, Python Swoope, L, smtolle, Erma Gerrd, Diane Lipson, Captain Moonbeam, Kim, Bill, LaLaLad, Retired Inspector, Alabama Man, even Pea Onyu, and Yolanda Cortez and, of course, hundreds of others who use no moniker and appear as anonymous.
Last week, I posted in general terms my new comments policy: redacting portions of certain comments, deleting other comments, and, in turn, hearing the howls of a few trolls who want to disrupt whatever they can.
It seems there are trolls on many, many sites.
Most sites that get readers have to deploy a policy for comments to stop toxic commenters. This is not an attack on free speech since anonymous toxic trolls are free to speak elsewhere [wherever they are wanted] or start their own websites.
In order for Frank Report to maintain and secure more ad revenue, it needs to make the time spent worthwhile – which means that toxic commenters have to be banned.
Comments have to conform to reason. It’s really easy. The rules have been devised by other publications.
Here are some that others use:
The New York Times
Our standards for taste are reflected in the articles we publish in the newspaper and on NYTimes.com; we expect your comments to follow that example. A few things we won’t tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence and SHOUTING….
The New York Post
… If your contributions don’t meet [The Post’s published] standards, your contributions may be removed, and you may be removed or banned. Please note that comments may be edited by the moderator for any reason… keep your comments relevant and respectful….
… Do: Focus on intelligently discussing topics by furthering the conversation and informing the participants with resourceful and constructive ideas.
Don’t: Attack NYPost.com authors. If you find an error, please alert us kindly. We understand and recognize that we make mistakes and will do our best to correct errors as soon as possible. If you disagree with an author’s point of view or writing style, we respect your opinion. However, share your thoughts in a rational and respectful manner. We will distinguish between constructive arguments and smear tactics. Any misrepresentation will be deleted.
Do: Point out positive attributes of articles and let authors know when they’ve done a good job. We invite you to ask authors your questions about the article topic if you’d like more information.
Don’t: Debates are great, attacks are not. We understand that you won’t agree with everything that NYPost.com community members say. Please state your opinions in a constructive and respectful manner. Profanity, hateful speech, prejudice, persistent trolling and mindless abuse will not be tolerated. Respect others’ values, beliefs and emotions. Refrain from posting offensive, obscene, threatening or abusive comments. We reserve the right to remove any content that might be found extremely offensive or threatening.
Do: Engage in polite and valuable conversations with fellow readers, and keep your language in check. Vulgar posts may offend other readers. Our filters are fairly tolerant, allowing for quite a bit of colorful/questionable language, but too many obscenities may prevent a comment from posting. In some cases, if a post is still too vulgar, a moderator may remove it.
Don’t: Use profane, inappropriate or abusive language or belittle, harass, insult or threaten others. We encourage you to take responsibility for the quality of the conversations in which you’re participating. Maintain intelligent discussions in the NYPost.com community by being respectful and considerate. Anything defamatory, obscene or vulgar will be deleted….
Do: Stay on topic. Comments should be related to the topic discussed in the associated article or blog post. Off-topic comments may be edited or removed.
- You will stay on topic.
- You will not post comments that are spam.
- You will not attack or harass other users. While spirited debate is welcome, attacking other commenters is not.
- You will not include links to websites and videos unrelated to the article topic.
- You will not post the same comment multiple times on the same or different articles.
- You will not solicit anyone to buy or sell products or services, or to make donations of any kind.
- You will not post anything libelous, defamatory, harmful, threatening, harassing, abusive, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful, racially or ethnically objectionable, or otherwise illegal.
- You will not post content that is sexually explicit or contains profanity.
- You will not make threats of violence.
- You will not violate any applicable local, state, national, or international law, intentionally or unintentionally.
- You will not “Stalk” or otherwise harass other users.
- You will not impersonate any person or entity, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity.
- You will not post identifying information about other users or members of the public (known as Doxing)
Comments that violate the Code of Conduct will be removed by cmmtr staff or by our partners that use cmmtr as their commenting platform.
…. We don’t allow comments that degrade others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, political beliefs, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classifications….
Comments posted must be appropriate for all ages. Any profanity or cursing is prohibited. That includes any attempts to curse with special characters (!@#) or spacing.
Discuss and criticize ideas. We don’t allow comments that intend to intimidate, demean or harass other readers in any way….
Large media operations have found it necessary to limit trolls in order to encourage intelligent comments. In a way, this may actually be encouraging free speech.
And Frank Report will follow suit.
I don’t actually need any trolls to remind me that I did not adopt this policy earlier. I am aware of this. And I had my reasons at the time – which I explained here.
Our advertising revenue is increasing and new advertisers are asking to come on board. I am not going to allow a few trolls to ruin that opportunity. Thanks for understanding.
So here are 10 rules for commenting [borrowed from the publications shown above]. Some might be redundant:
- Make articulate, well-informed remarks that are relevant to the article.
- Comments should be civil and avoid name-calling.
- No personal attacks, vulgarity, profanity, impersonations, incoherence, and SHOUTING
- Strong opinions and criticisms of our work are acceptable. However, personal attacks against the staff will not be permitted, and any criticism should relate to the article in question.
- Hateful speech, prejudice, persistent trolling, and mindless abuse will not be tolerated.
- Respect others’ values, beliefs, and emotions.
- Refrain from posting offensive, obscene, threatening, or abusive comments.
- Do not post anything racially or ethnically objectionable, or otherwise illegal.
- We don’t allow comments that degrade others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, political beliefs, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or other classifications.
- Trolls who violate these rules may be banned.
I know this is going to make anonymous and cowardly trolls unhappy.