Commenter Tribunals

I think the League’s reader community is pretty great, but it’s basically impossible for a bunch of amateur bloggers to mediate comment threads full-time. One possible solution would be to borrow the idea of player tribunals from the gaming industry and empower certain commenters to render judgment on controversial or offensive-sounding comments. I can think of more than a few problems with this idea, but the tribunal structure Riot Games has adopted is pretty interesting, and it’s a shame that the quality of a commenting community tends to be inversely correlated with a blog’s popularity.

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21 thoughts on “Commenter Tribunals

  1. My only hesitation with this plan would be that it’s hard for a group of people to agree with what is controversial or offensive. Calibration sessions can be time-consuming.

    Here’s a slight alteration worth considering: Give people the power to put comments in moderation. Have them do so and send them to you. That way they’re out of the public eye while it’s decided whether they are appropriate or not. You can be the final authority, but without having to read all of the comments.

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      • Have the comment threads been particularly bad lately? To be honest, I’ve been so busy that I’ve posted comments on a few threads without checking the responses. It does seem like there’s been more concern among commenters about the coming League crackdown on free speech, but I figured that was hyperbole. Has there been a surfeit of boors here as of late?

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          • (You’ll notice I went in an edited my comment for grammatical correctness.)

            Okay, I did sort of tune out of that discussion. I guess, if I had to choose between one of us making calls on comments versus the readers making the call…. I’d have to go with some sort of mutual discussion. The only time I’ve ever removed comments from one of my threads, they were comments that Jason and I had made and decided later were a bit inappropriate. But, if people here have a problem with certain comments, maybe they could email the author of the thread, who could then bring it up for discussion? Maybe it would be less problematic than just leaving it to the posters here to remove comments and commenters at their discretion. I don’t know. Admittedly, my posts about Plato and Herdotus have never been as controversial as I expect them to be!

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            • I also thoroughly enjoyed the Hitler jokes, and in fact, Hitler jokes are one of my passions. F-bombs are also nice from time to time, but overuse can make them particularly meaningless. It’s the slippery slope concerns really. The League is that rare animals where the commenters rise to the level of the contributers. A site like, say, Balloon Juice, on the other hand, has great content, but the quality of the comments pales in comparison to the League. Snark and inside jokery remain more important than thoughtful response. And, snark and inside jokery are fun sometimes, but contagious. I guess I just don’t want to witness the decline of the Roman Empire here.

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  2. I would leave it up to the League writers (and specifically, I think if someone writes a post they should be obligated to be active in the comments until it dies a natural death. That’s just good blogging form IMO). So basically, you write it, you patrol the comments.

    Moderators, ie people who are granted special powers by a site owner to enforce the rules, usually end up as petty tyrants and are the exact reason I left the chat boards in favor of the (usually) calmer heads in blogging. I would strongly advise against that.

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  3. I’m gonna humbly throw my two cents in with Mike. I don’t think the League’s commentariate is broken yet so while ideas of tribunals and the like are interesting as thought experiments I don’t think there’s a big enough problem yet to justify trying them. I mean, hell, the League has banned all of, what, two people? Also I’m lazy.

    That said I applaud that you’re keeping an eye on the subject and consider it important.

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  4. The first rule of audit is that you must remember that almost all audit is 100% overhead. It’s the worst incarnation of opportunity cost.

    If an unacceptable action is rare enough, formalizing an audit process governing the scenario is literally not worth the time you spend on formalizing the process, let alone implementing it.

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