Originally posted on ‘Tales from the Ratcatcher’s Wife’ in August 2011. Originally posted on ‘Tales from the Ratcatcher’s Wife’ in August 2011.
I read an interesting blog post recently. It is called “if your website is full of assholes, its your fault”.
The author Anil Dash notes that “many of the most visible, prominent, and popular places on the web are full of unkindness and hateful behaviour”
I found it strangely comforting to know that I am not the only person who is saddened by the comments that are frequently displayed beneath internet newspaper articles.
Nor am I the only person that is at a loss to understand why we give bitter and twisted people often clearly in a dubious state of mental health, such a prominent public platform from which to propagate their distorted views.
Bad behaviour on the internet can seem to be the norm these days, particularly in many internet forums where little ‘gangs’ of bullies purvey their own particular brand of rudeness and intimidate those who attempt to follow real life social niceties like saying ‘hello’ and getting to know a person before you take them to task on their views.
Often intimidating those who attempt to follow real life social niceties like saying ‘hello’ and getting to know a person before you take them to task on their views.
Another blogger has posted on the subject, specifically about the well know Mumsnet website. Her post, ‘who’s brave enough to take on Mumsnet’ makes interesting reading.
I post from time to time on a number of doggy internet sites.
Some of these are reasonably well moderated, others are not and allow spiteful and bullying behaviour to take place on an almost daily basis.
Rudeness to new members that commit some kind of unspeakable faux pas (buying two puppies from the same litter for example) is commonplace even on the nicer forums, and any objections to aggressive or unwelcoming posts tend to be brushed aside.
Bad behaviour is often justified in the interests of ‘plain speaking’ and ‘putting dogs first’.
More extreme individuals in online communities are often able to promote pseudoscientific nonsense unfettered. So that fake and potentially dangerous health remedies are recommended to vulnerable members who lack the ability to judge what is effective and what is not.
Strong moderation can greatly reduce the impact of both bad advice and rudeness, in forums and on interactive websites, if it is implemented wisely. But setting up reasonable moderation policies and implementing them is time consuming.
And the answer is?
I don’t have all the answers I’m afraid, but I have to agree with Anil Dash, who concludes that no matter how they attempt to abdicate responsibility through ‘terms and conditions’, ultimately the responsibility for the behaviour of those posting on any website lies fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the website owner.
I’m sure I don’t always succeed, but I do strive to shoulder this responsibility myself, on the websites I own. Finding moderators with good reasoning skills and sound judgement is part of the answer.
Anil’s argument in support of this belief is eloquently and compelling. A ‘must read’ for all forum administrators throughout the net. Anil’s argument in support of this belief is eloquently and compelling.
A ‘must read’ for all forum administrators throughout the net.
p.s. if you would like to visit a friendly doggy forum, try the labrador site
You might also enjoy The Ups and Downs of Running and Online Community