Turning inner space into outer space

May 8, 2012

From a moderator's point of view, Disqus 2012 looks good

We pulled the trigger and went live with Disqus 2012 at the Kamloops Daily News website. So far, there has been mixed reaction from users, but my first impression as a moderator is that there has been a big improvement.

Over the weekend, one of the threads had devolved into a back-and-forth of off-topic squabbling. It was disappointing to say the least, and I felt embarrassed for readers who were exposed to it. So on Monday morning I closed the thread.

Later that afternoon, I went live with Disqus’s new system, which, among other things, allows readers to vote comments up or down. I went back to the awful thread that I had closed earlier and noticed a welcome difference. The bickering had completely disappeared — pushed to the bottom by positive and constructive comments that had received likes under the old system. What a relief.

Then something else happened that made my day. I wrote an article explaining the updated Disqus to readers, and soon after one of them posted to brag about all the down-voting he would be doing. It wasn’t long before other readers voted him down to the point where his comment could no longer be seen. Self-policing is a wonderful thing.

There have some worries about censorship, but I’m cautiously optimistic this will work itself out. People who see their nasty remarks voted down will have to ask themselves if maybe they could have expressed themselves in a way more in keeping with what is expected by their fellow readers.

Yes, peer pressure can be a double-edged sword, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on how all this works out. Stay tuned.