Ticalc.org News Chaos

(Taken from ticalc.org news feature)


Newsboard Anarchy Trial
Posted by Magnus on 25 October 1999, 12:24 GMT

As any regular visitor to our site knows, there have recently been a lot of controversy about the comments on our newsboard. In accordance with our site policy, we have deleted comments that we have considered to be in violation of the guidelines or completely off topic. This has rewarded us with everything from "thank you"-notices to being called communists. It has also taken up a lot of valuable time from our staff members.

It was clear that something had to be done about the situation. As we saw it, we had three alternatives. We have tried the first one, are right now trying the second one, and would like to avoid the third one if possible.

The first one was to disable the posting permissions for the people who posted most off-topic or abusive articles (which accounts were affected is not relevant here). Naturally, this was done after multiple warnings to the persons in question. This was done a couple of weeks ago, the result of which each person can evaluate for themselves. The trial was in force around Oct 9th to Oct 19th.

The second one is the one we are trying now. For this two week period, we will no longer delete off-topic posts. We will let any kind of discussion go on. We will still delete articles that are clearly out to disrupt the page layout (such as 10 pages of blank lines), or that can be considered illegal or highly inappropriate (such as pornography links or anything like that). Apart from that, anything goes. Please note that there is no change in our policy as to what we will answer in this. We will still not answer off-topic posts. If you want to get in touch with the staff, use e-mail.
This trial will run from the posting of this article for two weeks, and will close on Nov 7th.

The third option, which we would like to avoid but will have to fall back to unless the situation is resolved, is to turn off the commenting on our news articles. News would continue to be posted, but the user commenting would be disabled. Discussions would be referred to the mailinglists where appropriate. While we think that this would remove value from our site, there is a limit to how much we can provide as a free service, and we have been pushing close to that limit.

Once the current trial is over, on Nov 7th, a survey will be posted, in which we will ask you, our visitors, which way you think we should handle the situation. The survey will be open for one week. This survey will be purely suggestional - we will make the decision based on the result of that survey and based on what we think at that time ourselves. The survey is not decision-binding. However, we can guarantee that the result of the survey (as well as the result of the trial in whole) will have great influence on the decision.

We have been accused (by certain parties, as far as we have noticed it is not a general concern, but we would still like to address it here) of not listening to the voice of our community. We feel that this has not been the case before, and certainly will not be in this case. But as usual, we ask you to send your constructive comments to our staff directly at gro.clacit|swen#gro.clacit|swen (assuming it is about our news system). We do not constantly monitor our comment board for site suggestions. We do, however, keep all mail we receive to the appropriate mailing addresses, and we take into consideration every idea that is proposed to us.

We regret that the situation has gone as far as it has. Any other suggestions on how to deal with it are very welcome - drop us a mail anytime.