Thursday, February 10, 2011

Write it Moderate it at Huffington-Post

There's been a lot of censorship on a blog entry on homeopathy by Dr. Larry Malerba  at Huffington-Post
Homeopathy College: Now You Can Get a Doctorate in Homeopathic Medicine

The moderation was bizarre, because thecomments weren't rude to Dr. Malerba, but rude to homeopathy.  I couldn't understand it.  Then I saw the community moderator 1 badge and put two and two together and got four.  So I wrote a few comments accusing Dr. Malerba of censorship.   And I wrote Huff-Po.

I got back an answer that at first blush clears Dr. Larry.  I even wrote an apology comment.  But the response isn't as clear as it should be --- it clears Dr. Malerba as a community moderator.  It doesn't clear him as an author. So I don't know.

I admit I'm astonished. I didn't think that authors had special moderation  privileges over what they wrote. 

Here is the response which I'm free to pass on, the email address for responses is

That comment was sent to me for investigation.
Let me first address your accusations against docmalerba. I have checked his account, and although he has a CM1 badge, he has not flagged a comment in over 6 months, so your accusation is unfounded. 
Next, there are several misconceptions you have about the privileges assigned to our Community Moderators. CMs can only take action on comments that have already been through the moderation process and have been published. They have nothing to do with the pre-moderation of comments. CM1s only have the ability to flag comments, although their flags assure that a staff moderator will review a comment they have flagged. Staff Moderators still review all flagged comments and either clear the flags or remove the comment, based on whether it meets our guidelines or not. 
Blog articles - those appearing in the leftmost column of the site, and authored by one of our bloggers, as opposed to a staff writer or editor, are always fully moderated by our Staff Moderators.
 Bloggers can, if they choose, moderate comments on THEIR OWN articles, but otherwise carry the same privileges as normal users. I am not aware if Ullman moderates his own comments or not, but that is his prerogative, and we usually defer to our bloggers, unless there is a compelling reason not to. A quick check of a few deleted comments on his latest article show no deletions by him - only our Staff Moderators. 
I do not have the time or the resources to do a full review of every comment on the article(s) in question, but if you can provide some general information - article URL, approximate time/date the comment was submitted, text of the comment, etc. I would be more than happy to investigate. Please pass along this offer to other users that may be having problems as well.

In the meantime, I will visit the issue of moderation of homeopathy articles with our Comments Ombudsman, and see if we can get a more consistent result with comment approvals on those articles.   [emphasis added, slight change to formatting]

1 comment:

  1. This is a pretty good reply.

    Do you have dates/times for comments moderated off? Or will it be a case of tracking the details from here?


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