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Guido to introduce community rating system to blog

(or, ‘how many times can we use the word ‘comment’ in one blog post’?)

Guido Fawkes got the comments going today with a post that said he is ‘mulling over’ whether to moderate comments over the holiday period. He also announces that in the new year a ‘community rating’ element will be introduced to his blog (details at end of this post).

Guido Fawkes, aka Paul Staines, referred back to November, to the Goldsmiths seminar on media ethics and a comment from the Times Comment editor, Anne Spackman, who said that TimesOnline spends ‘six figures’ on pre-moderating online comments [unclear over what time period - Journalism.co.uk will follow-up soon. UPDATE 19/12: Anne Spackman told Journalism.co.uk that the paper cannot currently clarify exact details, but that a six figure bill is paid to another partner.]

Fawkes said today on his blog:

“It is certainly expensive in time, every morning Guido deletes a load of comments which have, in his rather arbitrary judgement, just gone too far.”

Journalism.co.uk was also at the Goldsmiths event and spoke to Fawkes afterwards. He told Journalism.co.uk that he doesn’t moderate comments – ‘it has to get pretty gynecological before I do’.

In regards to the BNP list (which had leaked that week): “I did allow it. oh terrible, terrible, terrible. Oh well…”

“I deleted the stuff about Baby P,” he told Journalism.co.uk.

“I noticed it [information about Baby P] was still on the BBC’s website. I called them up, and they said ‘we’re not taking it down because the order doesn’t apply’.  I said ‘well, is it because it’s an order or because it is right or wrong?'”

Fawkes said that if he is found to be ‘in the wrong’ he’ll take something down, but added that ‘it’s very difficult to send me a writ.’

“Unless you catch me having a drink here, where are you going to send the writ?”

“There’s no bricks and mortar,” he said.

While Guido Fawkes says on his blog post that he takes a ‘sticks and stones view to a large extent’, he outlines a number of changes to be introduced in the New Year:

“[Y]ou [the users] will still be able to say what you like (within somewhat arbitrary inconsistent limits) without pre-moderation or registering. However there will be incentives for those who produce better quality commentary based on a new element of co-conspirator community rating.

“Good comments will be more prominently displayed, disliked comments will be less prominent. The biggest innovation is that it will be possible for readers to set their own tolerance thresholds. Poorly rated comments will be invisible to those who set their preferences accordingly.

“If you only want to see comments judged by co-conspirators to be witty, amusing or illuminating, set your threshold to ‘Recommended’. Don’t want to read foul language? Set your threshold to ‘U’. Want to see all and any comments no matter how foul? Set your threshold to ‘XXX’.

“If your commentary is consistently recommended your comments will automatically be more prominent in the future and may even get highlighted on the frontpage.”

Unmoderated comments follow his post.

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  • http://www.bloggerheads.com/ Tim Ireland

    The BBC carried an historical/archived item about the main arrests in the Baby P case, with no mention/link to the hot keywords ‘baby p’. Staines ran a contemporary, popular and keyword-rich post about Baby P with poorly regulated comments that allowed the repeated publication and dissemination of names in clear violation of a court order.

    The two are chalk and cheese, and Staines’ attempt to spin and shift blame/attention to the BBC is laughable.

    When it’s information about himself that he would rather did not come to light on his own site, Mr Staines is usually very quick to introduce pre-publication vetting, but he did not do so on this occasion. Either he approves of mob justice or (more likely) he just doesn’t like to admit when he’s wrong:
    http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2008/11/baby_p.asp

    The same could be said of his ‘innovative’ solution to comments. Staines’ site has been an open sewer for years. The solution he’s hinting at looks like it’s designed to improve readability to some small degree while doing nothing to limit the damage of his self-serving sewerage.

    As for Staines and his claim to having no bricks and mortar presence in Britain, perhaps this is something one might hope to discuss with Jag Singh, his business partner (or is that ‘former business partner’?) who, incidentally, is on Draper’s invite list and the most likely source of his pathetic breakfast scoop.

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