Today, we’re unveiling a new comments moderation policy and inviting those of you who maybe haven’t been hanging out there in a while to give it another try.
The policy fits in a tweet:
Toxic comments are like porn: they’re hard to define, but you know them when you see them. To safeguard comments as a space for meaningful discussion, Caracas Chronicles applies normal editorial standards to comments, deleting disruptive, disjointed or dyspeptic material.
Our goal is to improve the quality of the reader experience, by deleting toxic comments within a reasonable delay.
Deleting toxic comments is not a punishment, it’s a defense mechanism for the discussion.
Isn’t that censorship? It’s not, not any more than the newspaper deciding which of the Letters to the Editor it will publish is “censorship”.
It’s normal editorial practice, aimed at making the site more interesting for everyone.
Why are we doing this? Because the free-for-all approach had set off an adverse selection process, with terrible commenters driving insightful ones away. Our most interesting readers consistently told us they didn’t open it, and were appalled at the vile on offer when they did.
Our goal is to reverse that.
Think of our comments section as our Living Room — if you wouldn’t say it over beers in a friend’s living room, don’t write it here. If your comment doesn’t meet the minimum standard of civility reasonable people would respect in that kind of setting, we’re going to delete it. It’s not a punishment, it’s a defense mechanism for the discussion.
We want to turn our comments forum into an attractive place for smart, engaged people to dive into quality debate about Venezuela.
There’s no ideological filter here, but there is a civility filter. Disagree vehemently if you need to, but keep it civil.
So buck the trend: read the comments!