Interesting thoughts from Anil Dash about building healthy online communities. How are we doing on OP?


Editors seem to be posting an interesting array of threads. I appreciate that anyone can post or start a thread.  My two cents: have as few rules as possible, and enforce those rules fairly and quickly regardless of politics. Be more NPR-ish than Fox News-ish. The next round of elections will be an interesting challenge for editors. That said, I think the site is a great public service and I thank Ruby and her posse.As for Brooks and Steve's exchange, if they both ask to have their posts removed, I think that request should be honored. 

Barbara, thanks for your thoughts. Are there too many rules?Regarding the deletion of comments, there is a technical limitation to what you propose. Deleting a comment means also deleting the replies to that comment. Some replies to the comments by S and B are by people other than S and B. Unless those authors delete their replies, the comments by S and B can't go anywhere.Of course, the editors could remove all of the comments. We possess immense power. But we aren't interested in setting that precedent without adopting a rule that could be applied consistently in future cases. (Another rule!) At the very least, we would need permission from all of the authors whose comments would be deleted. Even then, I would hesitate to expose the editors to all sorts of requests from authors to delete their no-longer-desired comments. A happy solution: S and B ask the the folks who replied to their comments to delete the replies. Then S and B can delete their own. Deletion by committee; teamwork through erasure.

Wait a second, you're an editor here too?  I thought you were just a guy that worked for the Independent that happened to post here.  Geez, there is so much cross pollination.  Ironically, there's not a lot of independence.  Anyway, I'm in that thread and AFAIC you can delete whatever you want of mine.

I thought you were just a guy that worked for the Independent that happened to post here.

You must have me mixed up with someone else.

Okay, sorry, I must've gotten  you confused with somebody else.  I think someone else on here works for the Independent.

I would add one more rule: if someone asks the editors to delete their comment, the editors will delete it regardless of who replies. You could replace the post with "Comment deleted at author's request." You could even leave responses to the deleted post if you are worried about censorship. It would be an easy thing for the editors.  

It would be nice if there were post ratings on two dimensions: content and courtesy/sportsmanship/respect for others.  There are times when someone has a post full of good ideas but acts a bit like a bombthrower, and there are times when a poster with what I would consider bad ideas for the community is polite and courteous in every respect.  I'd prefer to be able to rate posts both ways. 

I like that suggestion, Patrick. At this point I'm still trying to get ratings to work at all! But once I do, perhaps we can think about refining it further.

Until Ruby can get some sort of ratings system going perhaps we can just politely inform (as many already do) posters when we think they've crossed the line .  Both Terri B and Steve Wells told me they thought I had done so in my criticism of Jose in a recent thread and after I reflected upon it a bit I agreed with them.  Perhaps if there was a 60 min delay on the submit button we'd all be better for it but until then perhaps we can just slow our fingers down a bit.  I'm certainly going to try to do so.

You had a post during one of the Community House threads reminding us all not to villigy the neighbors. That post caused me to step back and reevaluate the passion with which I was arguing. There's always a human person on the other end of any discussion. But it's so easy to forget that when all we are looking at is a computer monitor.


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