A Call for Civility and Reform on the LGF Comments Section
It’s my opinion that the comments section in LGF is in need of increased moderation and/or reform. In this post, I will try to convince you why the status-quo is unsustainable and possibly harmful.
Before I continue, here’s a snippet from the posted rules on the comments section:
# Disagreement and debate are welcome, but insults and abuse are not, and may cause your account to be blocked.
# REMEMBER: posting comments at LGF is a privilege, not a right.
First, a quick background: Yesterday I wrote something that was wrong. I failed to get my point across, yet I owned up to my mistake later on in thread. Beforehand, some disagreed with me and provided their feedback, which is fine. Others down-dinged, which is fine too.
Let me say that I don’t have a problem with fellow lizards disagreeing with my comments or ideas. What I do have a problem with is the use of personal insults, which happen to be a blatant transgression of the commenting rules, and the vibe of mean-spiritedness. Also, the up-ding/down-ding system in this case was abused to promote a transgressor’s comment at my expense.
In this instance, I was called a “jerk” by one lizard, while six other double anonymous (I use the term “double anonymous” because no usernames are displayed for those who click the “plus” or “minus” button) lizards up-dinged the comment containing the personal insult. That’s disappointing to say the least. Ironically, a comment that should have been deleted due to breaking the rules ended up getting positive points. In a way, this behavior is even more outrageous than the original “jerk” comment. It’s like a virtual school bully who attracted a few low self-esteem classmates to egg him on.
To summarize, there’s a loophole here. In theory you can get banned by breaking the rules or at least have your comment deleted, but as long as the comment stays up, anyone in the LGF community can feel free to up-ding the personal insult comment without fear of punishment.
To remind everyone, calling someone who participates on these forums something relatively benign like a “jerk” is still an insult and a case can be made that it borders upon cyber-bullying.
Cyber-bullying as defined by Wikipedia:
Cyber-bullying can be as simple as continuing to send e-mail to someone who has said they want no further contact with the sender, but it may also include threats, sexual remarks, pejorative labels (i.e., hate speech), ganging up on victims by making them the subject of ridicule in forums, and posting false statements as fact aimed at humiliation.
Suffice to say that I’m concerned about the pile-on dynamic in the comments section even without the use of ad homonym attacks. In my opinion, debating someone’s point by using “WTF” or similar phrases is mean-spirited, and even if it doesn’t break the rules, it degrades the discussion. The intention is to bait a fellow lizard and is not worthy of this blog.
Finally, I recommend giving the benefit of the doubt for comments you don’t agree with, especially if the lizard has a long, positive track record. A simple “can you clarify your statement” would have been much better.
Let’s hope for some lessons to be learned and a more civil atmosphere in the comments section at this excellent blog.