Sunday, March 20, 2016

Back to Moderation


So sorry but apparently there are just people in this world that have nothing better to do than troll blogs.  It's sad, it's pathetic but there you are.

So I have turned back on comment moderation.

Interesting that I was reading an article about how Hillary Clinton can't attract young people (especially young women) and the author said this:

I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a celebrity. I do, however, write for a reasonably well-read online publication almost every day, and put my name to my opinions both here and on a handful of other platforms where basically anyone can offer unsolicited feedback with a few strokes of a keyboard. I’ve had people call me awful names. I’ve had people condescendingly explain things to me that I already knew. I’ve had friends, family, and loved ones in more private-facing lines of work express horror at things that, for me, are just a minor drawback of my job. And I’ve known that a good chunk of all this wouldn’t be happening if my name were Alexander and not Alison.

I'll be honest - some of that rang true to me.  When I read other public education blogs, I do notice a difference in comments when the writers are women vs those whose writers are men.  I don't know if this is a real issue at this blog but sometimes if feels like it.

Can we just discuss education issues of the day and not make it personal?  That's actually what this blog is for.  


Anonymous said...

Sorry Melissa. It is amazing what some pathetic cowardly people feel they can get away with on the Internet vs what they would say face to face. I used to blog & tweet - under my full name - and finally had to shut it all down and return to using pseudonyms because I had one persistent male troll who finally made a comment that scared the crap out of me (referred to something I was wearing one day - which meant he either saw me at home or at work). Unfortunately that experience caused me to move, change jobs, and make a few other changes, so I have appreciated having your blog as a source of information as well as an outlet for the occasional education-related outburst. You and your blog fill in an important gap in the public education world of SPS, as well as the state. It is a shame these petty, immature little trolls can't find any other outlet for their general hatred, misogyny, and boredom. Perhaps this troll is as full of self-hate as the one Lindy West dealt with & finally talked to.


Anonymous said...

I think CT is right, and those who truly troll, versus those who might express anger from time to time, for legitimate underlying reasons, are sad little people who deep down either hate or blame themselves, but can't face that fact, and therefore must project and spew that hatred and drivel at others. Hey! Misery has always loved company, and that's what many trolls are trolling for.

Unfortunately, moderation slows threads and communications to a crawl, which is just too time-consuming and distracting to live with.

I haven't been posting on this blog very much over the past year, mostly because my kids are aging up and keep me busy as hell, balancing work and family life, but this blog has always been a terrific source of critical information, delivered rather promptly, which is key to it's appeal and effectiveness.

So, while I understand the thoughts behind moderation, Melissa, it chills, if not cripples, the free flow of information.

Might I suggest you instead turn off comments as soon as they get nasty? And tell the a**holes to knock it off or they'll stay off? Much like a referee blows the whistle and stops play? Maybe you have tried that and it hasn't worked, but I think the time delay involved with moderation saps the blog of the energetic free-flow of information that occurs beside the sniping, snarking, and general a**holishness behavior we see from time to time. My .02. WSDWG

Anonymous said...

I second WSDWG's thoughts - moderation has a tendency to stifle. I understand the thinking behind it, but in some ways, doing so essentially lets a "troll" win. They "got" to you enough to make you change your pattern of behavior, which is, ultimately, the goal - attention at any price.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks for that psychoanalysis but since it's me taking it on the chin, I will be the one to decide when the moderation comes off and of what use it is.

Sam said...


I saw the post that caused Melissa concern. Not only was the post inappropriate, it was down-right disgusting and deeply disturbing.

Frankly, there is an individual that does not have a sense of appropriate boundaries. Frankly, I feel a sense of deep concern.

Anonymous said...

I disagree WSDWG and reader47. Trolls win when they can post anything and get their screed seen before it's taken down. With moderation, those who have something significant to add to the conversation will, and you won't have people hanging around just for the comments scrum.

The most important thing about your blog Melissa, is dissemination of information which comes mostly from you, but also gives an outlet to many people who know a lot about a particular realm. (I rarely post, and only when I think I know something that most people don't.) Moderation won't cut into anything truly valuable in this regard.

Thanks for what you do and I am glad you are protecting yourself.

Teach Everyone.

Anonymous said...

Have it your way, Melissa. But when an HCC thread gets only 11 comments, and the rest after this one are in single digits, well, guess why?


Jan said...

Yes, Melissa. Have it your way. It is your blog, and many of us are so glad it is here. No doubt, there will be fewer posts (I will think twice about "me too!" posts knowing you have to read and approve everything. But that is a reasonable price to pay to shed the trolls and restore your peace of mind.

For what it is worth, I agree with Teach Everyone. Trolls who just argue can be overcome by merely ignoring them. Trolls who post offensive material win as long as it is up and they can imagine, in their sick little minds, people logging on to discuss education issues and having to read through the dreck they have posted.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say I'm so sorry this keeps coming up. Bleh.

North End Parent