All of the Roanoke.com bloggers got together Thursday for a confab and lunch at which we discussed changes that will be rolled out with Roanoke.com and the blogs over the next two months or so. To make a long story short, the blogs are going to be more a more prominent and important part of Roanoke.com than ever.
One of the questions we touched on was civility in the comments, something we regularly push the boundaries on here, the “Rants and Raves” blog. I won’t bore you with all those details — the entire FAQ on that is here. Below are three of the salient questions it addresses.
• Who moderates the comments?
• What are some reasons why my comment might be rejected?
• Why do the rules of engagement seem to change from blog to blog?
To sum it all up, we’re aiming for a more civil atmosphere. Already on this blog we don’t allow racial slurs or cuss words like the S-word, the F-word, the MF-word and so on (you know them) or potentially libelous attacks on individuals. But we’re going to try to reign it in just a bit more:
- We should try to stay on-topic, while keeping in mind that there will always be some drift in conversations in the comments. As in the past, there will be daily (or near daily) open threads on this blog for topics readers want to address that don’t fit neatly into other blog posts.
- We should do our best to avoid schoolboy-style name calling, both toward each other (example: “troll” or “grandad”) and public figures we’re discussing (examples: Obuma, Rmoney). That kind of stuff doesn’t strengthen debate; it childishly demeans it.
Having said that, strong language is encouraged here as always. But use it to attack arguments, not each other. Don’t call other posters imbeciles. If you feel that way, explain why their argument is imbecilic.
There also are some changes on the admin side of the moderation system that you won’t notice (though I will). As time goes on, those are likely to result in more frequent out-of-order postings. For example, the numbers on comments you see may change depending on the order in which the comments come in and are approved, as a thread is active.
For that reason, it would be best not to respond to a comment with “#35, wonderfully put” because that comment might end up as #36 or #37 or whatever, later on. Instead, copy and paste the text you agree with and lead off your comment with that, in quotes, then respond to it. I usually put the words I’m reacting to in italics.
If you care to, you all can do that too, with the following coding:
<em>text you want in italics.</em>
This is no requirement, though. Just make sure that if you employ the coding, you use the forward slash in the HTML character set at the end of the phrase you intend to be in italics. Otherwise, they won’t be turned off and the whole post will be italicized.
As always, your comments and questions are welcome. If you spot egregious violations of the policies, bring them to my attention in the comments. But try not to be a blag nanny about it, OK? Notice the large gray areas in the border of the graphic above. Those will remain — and anyway, I still have columns to report and write!
Thanks folks, and carry on!