Moderation on NAR comments

The post introducing this forum said we can expect more moderation in the comments of stories. What kind of changes will there be?

I would really like some moderation on people who regularly attack other users and post hateful bigoted comments.


I think we currently have report and block options, which can lead to orphaned threads. It’s good for my peace of mind not to read some of the hateful and idiotic comments, but then I read a reply that seems reasonable and am left wondering if the person I’ve blocked has made a good point on this post.

Maybe moderation on monopolising a thread? Sometimes the comments get derailed by someone who just won’t take no for an answer, or accept that their world view is different to others (and apparently the irony of which site they are using to do this on escapes them!)


What are your thoughts about people using their knowledge from news and books about how BIPOC experience every day life and supposedly “jump to conclusions” in some ways about that the OP (or another character) in a story might be BIPOC? That’s a problem, some people, like me, have done that (use our knowledge of the BIPOC experience from news/books) and say in the comments that “Maybe OP or (other character) is a BIPOC?” And in the early days people were jumping on me ("claiming I was “jumping to conclusions” when I suggested it despite the clearly evidence in the story that is evidence of such things. Like when I got on my computer today to read stories. A comment I made on the “Sarge” story… which says something about OP being BIPOC and an another commentor said “I was being racist” . I mean the very fact in the “Sarge” story is that an employee in the story thought OP was shoplifter or something. And the employee? Management? was shocked to learn that “Op” was the cop’s boss.

I can see the benefit of guessing minority status as a way to speculate on someone’s actions and motivations, and I can also see how “maybe they’re x” can be harmful and off topic.

I’m more urgently concerned with regular posters who name-call other commenters, post bigoted things, are obvious trolls, etc. Things that are clear cut and will only go away with moderation.


thanks for the reply! I just was curious… because some people just don’t read between the lines of me. Like in the Sarge story I meantioned (It’s the only one that came to mind).

I agree I remember those Ohio library stories where at the beging its explains that the libarary is in a an area where there are a poor marginalized community of Hispanics and BPOC and the LD (Library Director) is a racist. Even if you guys did post the same story twice in less then a year about LD implying that all the people using it should be in prison. That in the two stories there was the ONE person in the comments who didn’t get the fact the racism beside the LD’s prejudice to the point that everyone blocked them.

I wholeheartedly agree. I wouldn’t want bans to be handed out every time someone is less than kind, but the rest of us shouldn’t have to put up with constant nastiness from the same few jerks for years on end.


Does that mean we can’t tell the regular anti-masker what we think of them anymore?

TBF, what I want to see is actual staff members… which their fancy moderator badges… posting among the Disqus comments section, same as they’ve been doing on the forums.


I have gone through the stages of shock, then trying to win hearts and minds, then playing to the crowd, then snark, and now I’m just tired and don’t want to see it anymore.

It just really creates a poisonous atmosphere that makes me not want to read anymore and it shouldn’t be on other readers to police the comments section.


“Less than kind” is subjective as well. Plus, we know tone doesn’t translate well to text or there wouldn’t be the need for /sarcasm or /gen (for genuine - I just learned this one today!)

And everyone has bad days when maybe they post a response that, has they not been in a mood that was triggered by a story or comment, they regret mere moments later - in heightened emotions, our impulse control dips below ideal, and sometimes a re-read (especially after some calling out responses) can bring guilty clarity.

So a warning system - like a penalty box or a three strike rule? - might bring to the offender’s attention that they’ve had a bit of a wobble and give them a chance to get back on an even keel. And apologies go towards repairing reputations.
(I know I’ve been called out for posting something that, it turns out, got a bit lost in cultural translation, for which I am sorry! /gen)


I have seen comment systems where comments downvoted enough are not deleted, but just collapsed out of sight with readers being able to look at them if they will. I kinda like that because I rather judge people based on what they said, not on how they got moderated even if it was fair moderation. So if any moderation is implemented, automated or people driven, I’d wish it to be in a manner that still gives an option to check the comment if you want to see what it was about, steeled to know it was bad enough to get hidden.


The only worry I have with that is that people can weaponize such systems using cronies or (more commonly) bots to downvote comments into oblivion, hence suppressing their content and in some cases predisposing people to disagree with the comment (since people are social animals and we thus take cues from what other people around us appreciate and dislike).

Granted, I don’t anticipate that being as much of a problem here as it might be on other websites— it’s not as if we’re on the radar of any oppressive regimes! But I know there are a few people who just randomly downvote comments for no reason besides wanting to mess with somebody else. I worry that a collapsed comments system might encourage them to take it further and target random comments or even people with downvote bots, since the system inherently gives the downvote more power.

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I’m guessing BIPOC means biracial/person of color?

It stands for “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color” as far as I’m aware!


Thank you. I took a stab in the dark.

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A poster asked what BIPOC means:
black, Indigenous and people of color is the most common short answer :slight_smile:

I finally got to the right thread, I have no idea where my previous reply ended up. BIPOC means black, Indigenous and people of color – this is most common brief answer.

some people aren’t dong it for “just a bad day” Like in one allgery story on the site someone who had the username “deadpool” didn’t think it was their business for being the responsbile for somebody with an allgery. It’s the story I believe where a resturant claimed to have a “gluten-free” menu but gave OP a dirty spoon for dessert. And the person kept aruging with Everyone about it.

Or the one story which was repost about LD in Ohio library who indicated the library in a certian “low-class” neighbour with BIPOC people might as well be a prison (and OP of that story, commented saying that the same director had refered to BIPOC children as “little beasties”. Well in the original post and the repost someones (two different people) aruged with me and others about “there’s nothing racist in the story” “and the descrption of the low-income neighbourhood of BIPOC and Hispanics mean nothing and it could be high crime area” in their words . Despite us telling them that it;s clear what the LD thought about BIPOC and Hispanics of the area.

For that reason I’m not vouching for the automated system either. What I tried to express is that I wish that whichever system is used, even if it’s moderator driven, it would only hide/collapse the offending post, not delete it, so people can judge the persons comment for themselves if they want to, even if it’s hidden from the readily visible conversation flow.

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Yeah this is what Reddit does for me on mobile. I do like it because it means I don’t skim awful takes that nobody likes.

Personally I don’t think the comment section is in need of extensive/heavy moderation. But there have been times where someone with authority should have told someone to chill out, or deleted straight up hate speech, that kind of thing.

Can any of the editors speak to what changes if any are in the works?