Friday, August 03, 2007

jdunderground is going down the tubes.

it seems that some posters of xoxohth discovered jdunderground and are taking it over. whereas the rude posts were mostly contained in the past, about a week ago several racially tinged (and homophobic and misogynistic) posts designed to cause flame wars appeared on the site, and now the board has more distracting content than useful material.

the admin has a tough job. on one hand, you don't want to be a fascist and start deleting posts en masse, because that will anger people. and the types of people who would be angered by such content control are generally the types of people who will then try to flood the board with vicious comments in an attempt to bring it down. also, selective enforcement ticks people off, and as a human being, it's almost impossible to be completely objective when it comes to content control. offensiveness is essentially subjective.

but on the other hand, the spate of racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments will drive away half the people who would otherwise post, and furthermore, if someone crosses the line and another person is hurt, the admin could go the way of anthony ciolli, which would be sad because the admin of jdunderground stays far away from the offensive posts and doesn't encourage them. however, being associated with rude, offensive, and unprofessional activity could affect your employment down the line. that's just a fact.

trolls are just bad news.

there have been several attempts by jdunderground posters to limit the inflammatory threads by calling out the xoxo trolls but to limited success.


emily1 said...

i'm torn over the subject of content restrictions and censorship. if the posters are threatening people, posting their private information (phone numbers, SS numbers, and the addresses of their workplace and homes), i think it's fair to delete the posts and ban the poster. when it comes to deleting content that is offensive or disgusting, i'm far less supportive of deletion and banning.

for some purposes, censorship is appropriate. when someone wants to create a friendly online space for respectful discussion of feminism, for example, it is impossible not to ban people and delete their posts because so many angry men with chips on their shoulders simply will not allow the other participants to have a discussion without throwing a royal tantrum because they aren't talking about his personal problems.

emily2 said...

he has a policy of deleting posts that contain real names, which i think is a sound policy.

yo, i just tried to call you.

emily1 said...

i know, but i'm at work and don't want to take personal phone calls here.

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to use a jockstrap metaphor here.

Years ago I saw a sneaker commercial (no, I don't remember what the brand was) where a team of angry, pumped-up, ready-to-take-on-the-whole-damned-world football team was the locker room before the big game. Just before charging out onto the field, they bellowed, "This is our house! Don't let nobody disrespect it!"

I don't think that's a bad rule to live by, especially when the goal is self-preservation.

Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely a believer in a robust, emotionally-charged exchange of ideas, but not at the cost of civility, and I think what fuels these savage tribe of cyber-goblins is blood, nothing else. They're not looking for answers to complex problems, they just want to hurt somebody.

When that happens then, as H.L. Mencken so famously remarked, "spit on your hands, haul up the black flag and start slitting throats." Don't let trolls disrespect your house. A difference of opinion is one thing, but a hateful, ill-informed slur is another.

The late great Steve Gilliard was ruthless when it came to eradicating trolls from The News Blog, because whenever idiots got out of hand, he stepped in and kicked their asses. brutally. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

A person's blog is a sacred place. It's where people go to learn, to join with their community, and to feel safe. It's home. But when an intruder breaks in and begins trashing it, well--you have to do whatever you have to do. It's not wrong to protect yourself.

It's your house. Don't let anybody disrespect it.