Zalbarath’s commentary

June 13, 2007

Zalbarath has replied here to my previous response to him about the draft of rules for the Theistic Satanism Blog Network.

Zalbarath wrote:

5. Topics to be avoided under some tags, but allowed under others.
The most complex and treacherous tag or topics would be Satanisms and society – exactly as it is with TS-eth-pol now. I’m glad you explained broadly what topics are to be placed under this tag but I don’t agree with the rule about even not mentioning some topics (I mean in comments, I assume blog owners will show more carefulness in main entries). If the main content holds the borders and just slightly (I know it’s very unspecific) goes beyond them I don’t see need to undertake any special treatment (like creating a new entry with forwarded part) but only if someone would want to go further in that subject then new thread with an appropriate tag would be set.

The problem is that, if a comment contains even a very brief offhand borderline political remark, even this can have an extreme “red flag” effect on many of the people who have strong disagreements with the political viewpoint in question.

I’ve added a bit more to the paragraph about political topics in the section on Blogger discretion on comment policy. That paragraph now reads:

It is recommended but not required that posts with the Theistic Satanists only or Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tag end with with something like, “Comments requested from Satanists and Pagans and occultists only. Please avoid digression onto sociopolitical topics.” When a comment thread on a post with the Theistic Satanists only or Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tag nevertheless begins to drift onto a sociopolitical topic, one possible response might be for the blogger to post a comment like, “No more comments about issue X here, please. Debate that issue in reply to the following post instead,” followed by a link to a separate post with the Satanisms and society tag. Or, if the blogger prefers to keep the discussion where it is and not redirect it to another thread, another option would be simply to change the tag of the original post to Satanisms and society. Yet another possible approach (the one I myself will probably use, in most cases) is to refuse to approve or unscreen any sociopolitical comments at all in threads with a Theistic Satanists only or Satanists and Pagans and occultists only tag, but instead to post copies of those comments as quotes in new posts with the tag Satanisms and society or Theistic Satanism troll playground, as appropriate. Still another possible solution (perhaps the easiest) would be to let the borderline political comment through, without redirecting the discussion to another thread, but then immediately reply with a statement forbidding further discussion of issue X but also (and this is important) pointing out that Satanists hold many different political views and that not all Satanists would agree with position X. (The latter disclaimer, without actually debating about position X itself, would help to mitigate the “red flag” effect of the borderline political comment, by preventing readers from jumping to the conclusion that we all agree with position X, an impression which otherwise would likely cause some readers either to react very angrily or to leave us in disgust. Such a disclaimer is especially desirable in response to any claim that any given sociopolitical stance is mandated by Satan or is otherwise “truly Satanic.”)

Note the additional alternative I added at the end.

Zalbarath wrote:

The problem is that in many posts people tend to mention some topics which according to you belong to TS-eth-pol/Satanism and society and they do it unaware. It’s quite pissing to write a post in a good will that it holds to rules and to find out that just one sentence or short fragment violates the rule and moderator cuts the post, place it elsewhere and so on. It could be felt as humiliating or be too catchy about “stupid” rules. I think it would be sufficient to add disclaimer that socio-political topics (or particular one mentioned in post) should be avoided but if some wants really to discuss it further a new thread will be created after responding on that subject. If there would be no further interest in that direction it would be not necessary to move original comment. What I want to tell is that only by clear development of discussion in that direction it would have sense to create new entry with forwarded fragment and it’s not necessary to enforce it every time it appears. It had point on your Yahoo groups but on blogs to forward new entry every time when someone goes beyond permissible topic seems to create “empty” entries waiting for response but without having one. So act only by response not by mentioning.

You would not necessarily have to forward the comment. I’ve suggested several alternatives. However, in my opinion, something should be done immediately in response to even the first hint of a sociopolitical digression, to mitigate the red-flag effect, rather than waiting for it to turn into a full-blown political debate.

Probably I won’t have too much trouble with managing tags because it’s quite possible there will be not much traffic on my journal. I don’t post too often and feel much better in answering, responding and my original posts here, as you probably noticed, lack of substance.

You’ve actually posted a fair number of substantial posts over the past month.

Hopefully there will be enough other interesting stuff going on, on the blog network, that you’ll feel inspired to post responses.

How would you manage appropriate tagging or other moderation problems? Via personal email or maybe through forum or blog? I recall you mentioned a special yahoo group for it. Is your idea still current?

The first step is a preventive measure: Requiring all new bloggers to engage in discussion about the rules on their blogs, as a way of trying to ensure that they all understand the rules. It probably would be a good idea to have a private Yahoo group for the bloggers as well, so that ongoing issues can be dealt with in a semi-private manner.

Near the beginning of his post, Zalbarath wrote:

What I find worrying is that maybe first TS BN users – owner of blogs will try to keep your rules scrupulously but assuming that in the future there will be more willing persons (and not exactly pedantic ones) I can’t imagine that all of them will maintain their blogs so well as you wish to because it’s want you want – you want us to moderate our blogs so strict as you.

Bloggers in the network don’t necessarily need to be quite as strict as I am, but they should at least take the rules seriously. Those who repeatedly just plain ignore the rules will lose their ability to post (and have their posts show up on the blog network pages) using the most restrictive tags.

Jason King mentioned also lately on TS-eth-pol about time factor and I think he’s right about it. Having to moderate own blogs is maybe much less work as the entire forum/blog network but anyway for many it won’t be main activity so some discussions could stick in dead point from the lack of time or irregularity of blog owner. That was also probably one of very important factors why you haven’t found too many co-moderators.

But I’ve had much better luck finding bloggers than finding co-moderators.


One Response to “Zalbarath’s commentary”

  1. […] BN rules discussion II It’s a response on Diane’s post. Diane The problem is that, if a comment contains even a very brief offhand borderline political […]

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