Programming Notes: Comments Moderation News (And No, You're Not In Trouble, Really!)
Pony image via, background muffins (modified) by Marufish, Creative Commons license 2.0. Yes, I wrote 'background muffins.'

Hey kids, just wanted to let you know we've added a new feature to our comment moderation system! Starting immediately, or actually Saturday afternoon, all new commenters will be subject to pre-moderation for a short while before they're allowed free range commenting privileges. It's a new option that Disqus, our comment moderation system, has rolled out, and we're going to give it a try to see how it works.

Pretty weird for a site that doesn't allow comments, we know.

(Fun Fact: Disqus is the commenting system only, so if the whole site goes down, that's a problem with our platform, not Disqus. Now people who remember that can feel superior.)

Fun With Premoderation!

Here's how Disqus describes the pre-moderation feature:

It sets up a kind of parking lot for new commenters, while allowing known commenters to post without delay. New commenters are held for evaluation in a pending queue for a predetermined timeframe that [the moderators] control.

This should help us reduce both spam and trolling, and while I know a lot of you filthy fuckaducks like batting around poisonous trolls, they really do drag down the Level Of The Discourse from the already dubious standards we already have.

Now, I don't actually know yet whether pre-moderation will apply only to newly-created accounts, or also to existing Disqus commenters that have been posting at other sites but are new to Yr Wonkette. Just from the short time the new commenter screening has been in operation, it appears to be the latter. I've left a question on the Disqus moderation blog about what counts as a "new commenter," and I'll let you Terrible Ones know in an update to this post when I get a more definite answer, likely on Monday.

In practical terms, this means that comments from new commenters will go straight to moderation for approval. If it looks like a new commenter is a good fit for Wonkette (update: i.e., in compliance with the commenting policy we already have), we have the option of approving all their comments going forward, or just approving comments one by one for a few days. Obviously, a really determined troll or stalker could game the system by posting acceptable comments for a bit and then turning toxic, but that's what flagging comments for moderation is for.

That seems like a pretty good system, since at least one of the spambots we've been contending with seems to work by taking over unused accounts, possibly those with crappy passwords (I'm no geologist, just guessing there.) It should also help us protect regulars here from stalkers who try to follow them here from other sites. Fortunately, that's relatively rare to start with.

The new pre-moderation system should, I hope, prevent problems with that one jerk who has a vendetta against a longtime Wonkette user (not naming the victim in case the asshole searches the username). That troll works by posting porn from multiple lookalike accounts using spoofed IP addresses.

As for everyday ordinary trolls, I'll hang out with you doofuses in the comments and see what the general consensus seems to be. My own impulse is to banhammer 'em as soon as they arrive and say Joe Biden's a commie agent of George Soros or that Hitler did gun control.

But I know some of you love to bat around the occasional visitor from Breitbartland (or the increasingly rare visits of Turgid Love Muscle Guy), so I'm not absolutely unopposed to letting the occasional troll in from the moderation queue, for a few posts, at least, unless they're screaming bigots. No need to subject anyone to that. The nice thing about the new system is that if an asshole who's never been here does show up, they can be shut down before they've spewed tons of hate.

Update: A few replies to my brief announcement of the premoderation feature yesterday expressed concern that we'd be censoring new commenters on the basis of ideological purity. Nope, except, as I say above, we won't be letting people just roll in and start spewing hatred or spam. If a new commenter expresses disagreement with an article, that's perfectly fine (apart from screaming hate, libel, or the other stuff that is already covered by the comment policy). It would be difficult to enforce a Wonkette party line, seeing as how we often disagree about stuff in the ChatCave.

Also Too

1) In other moderation matters, I just wanted to remind you all that plain old filthy talk is welcome here at Yr Wonkette, but that we have added the gendered insults c**t and tw*t (no, not "twit") to the word filter, yes even though they were formerly tolerated. This has been the case for months now, so you probably should be aware of the change. (No, please do not type in George Carlin's "Seven Words" routine to test it. Really.) For the most part, it seems to me that all of you scabrous bastards have done a pretty good job of policing misogyny in the comments, so let's keep that up.

Astonishingly, the best way not to run afoul of the commenting policy is to talk about rightwing people's terrible politics and statements, not what they look like. WHO KNEW.

2) Also, keep in mind that while Yr Editrix is sympathetic to people in trouble, there's also a general ban on non-Wonket fundraising in the comments. The name of the top crowdfunding site is in the word filter for that reason. Yes, even if you're not actually linking to a campaign; it's really the only way we can prevent such links. Technology really is clunky sometimes.

Be patient, and if your comment goes to moderation because you said it's a goddamn crime that people have to set up a [brand name of top crowdfunding site] to cover medical bills, it'll be approved. Or you could say "crowdfunding campaign" and stay out of the filter!

UPDATE: C) How could I forget this helpful hint? Because a lot of our spam traffic consists of just a URL with no actual comment preceding it, you should probably avoid posting such bare links, lest they be mistaken by other readers as a spammy thing.

So instead of a comment reading

You can avoid being mistaken for spam simply by adding a brief comment:

There are two exceptions: if you post the URL of a YouTube video or a tweet, with comment text or not, Disqus will automatically embed the vid or the tweet.

Here, have a Thornton photo. He's such a doofus. Won't sleep in the little basket bed when it's on the floor, but if it's up on the recliner, where I put it to get it out of the way of the Roomba, he'll happily curl up for a nap there. Hence, I don't usually bother putting the bed back on the floor until I want to use the recliner.

Have yourselves a lovely afternoon and remember we love you. It's now yr Open Thread!

[Wonkette Comments Policy / Disqus / Pony image via, background muffins by Marufish [modified]; Creative Commons license 2.0.]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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