How Many Rejected Comments Should Op-Ed News Allow?
"Disagreement is totally acceptable, regarding ideas, issues, behaviors, statements. Ad hominem personal attacks are not acceptable." - from Op Ed News Writers Guidelines "In accordance with our Guidelines and Policies, we reserve the right to remove any post at any time for any reason, and will restrict access of registered users who repeatedly violate our terms ... OpEdNews welcomes lively, CIVIL discourse. Personal attacks and/or hate speech are not tolerated and may result in banning."
- Located just below "post article comment" on everything Op Ed News publishes "We welcome flagging of inappropriate content. Thank you!
But abuse of flagging, usually from people who want to annoy the comment poster or if they just disagree, will subject them to loss of posting privileges."
- Located on the page used to flag comments This is a site for opinions and editorials, and most of the people who post and read on Op Ed News are passionately opinionated. It goes without saying that some people have a better grip over their passions than others, and head-butting and rivalries will erupt, along with arguing, sniping, and flame-wars. Some can disagree while being civil, and some can't be civil while disagreeing.
The ability to flag comments has been given to us, as readers and contributors to the site, to help the editors moderate the fray. And people can be booted and banned by them at any time for any reason, of course - such is the nature of the site. That said, one can't help but wonder if there shouldn't be some kind of standard "hard limit."
If someone's proven, time and again, that they can't disagree with people without acting in a mature, civil manner, why should they be kept around? And why shouldn't the number of rejections be used as a barometer of someone's ability to contribute to the site in a positive manner?
As a poster, I'm starting to think that there should be a limit of rejections. If they get too high, the poster should be tossed out, either for a period of time or permanently. I am not certain if the programming of the site would allow for this to be done automatically (I hope not, see below) or if this would be registered by a moderator and dealt with accordingly. But I think it's something to be considered.
I'm wondering, however, how other people who post here feel on the subject. I'm used to boards that don't tolerate flame wars and other foolishness gladly. Do others have the same expectations?
On one hand, such a policy could deter certain individuals who have a problem keeping a civil tongue from posting a knee-jerk, ad hominem attack every time someone they disagree with disagrees with them. This would doubtless make certain members post less, if not more carefully. On the other hand, it could have a stifling effect on certain viewpoints, which may only be able to be communicated in a less-than-bloodless fashion.
It could also cause certain people to try and egg on those who have a problem keeping a civil tongue, in the hopes of getting them banned. Or, worse, it could encourage certain factions to "gang up" on someone and flag his every comment, in the hopes of getting them automatically flung out (the reason why I hope this wouldn't be part of the code, but rather done by a moderator) What do you think?
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