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Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools

Friday, October 29, 2010, 8:27 AM

Nearly every day, I read at least one email or reader comment (sometimes a LOT more than that) requesting better tools for preserving the integrity and civility of our forum and discussion threads.

We're widely regarded as having the most thoughtful and well-managed communities in the econo-blogosphere. We at CM.com are committed to keeping it that way.

The intelligent discourse, idea debate, and knowledge-sharing that you members generate are tremendously valuable for participants and lurkers alike. This high-utility community content is a big driver of new users to our site and a huge reason why they stay. It should be clear to all why protecting and fostering our community is a top priority for the CM staff.

Managing a community isn't easy. It's a daily exercise in proving you can't please everyone all the time. And I can't continue further until giving a shout out to our moderators Jason and John for the heroic work they do. Moderators are our main resource for making sure posters follow community rules and intervening when they don't. It's no fun being the 'heavy' on the site, but they take their role very seriously and handle difficult judgement calls and emotionally-charged situations with a professionalism and conscientiousness I've not seen rivaled elsewhere on the web. (They do all this on a volunteer basis, by the way) So please, treat these guys well and maybe thank them next time you see them stepping in to ensure the dialog on the site remains up to our standards.

But while moderating is essential to successful community, it's not a cure-all. A lot of behavior falls into gray areas of tough subjectivity, and there are simply too many threads for a small number of moderators to be everywhere. And in certain cases, there are posters whose ideologies are so incompatible that their endless back & forth generates long threads where the volume of the disagreement drowns out any real constructive debate (anyone else thinking of the Glenn Beck thread?)  

Okay - now to the reason for this post: We're launching two new tools today to improve the quality of the comments on this site.

The first is one of the top features I've been asked for since joining: an 'Ignore user' button. If there's a poster you've truly decided you'd rather not read in the future, you can now have their posts hidden from view. Simply click the 'Ignore user' button at the bottom right of one of their comments.

In the future, you'll see that the user has made a comment, but the contents will be hidden by default. You have the option of unhiding that comment if you like, or "un-Ignoring" the user at any time.

I sincerely hope this goes a long way towards meeting the needs of those who has been requesting such a feature. Your passionate desire for this has been obvious. Any feedback from those using this new feature will be much appreciated.

The second tool is a more intelligent spam-fighting safeguard. The rise in spam postings over the past few weeks has not escaped us. The software we're implementing should be largely invisible to you, but hopefully you'll notice a marked reduction in spam comments over the next few weeks as its algorhythms get smarter. 

Hope this news brightens your day a bit. Feel free to let me know in the comments below - I promise not to 'ignore' you :)

cheers,

Adam

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16 Comments

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3125
Re: Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools

Well done Adam.  I think these features will improve the Chris Martenson "experience."

DougSmile

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1891
Re: Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools

Thank you, Adam!

I think for now I won't be using the "Ignore User" button. The people I may not agree with still have insight I may find valuable. (I think it would be funny to see someone quoting something really important from someone I set out to ignore, and realize I had missed out!)

And how else would I know to help flag something as spam or offensive if I can't see it? But thanks for the feature, which I'm sure I may end up using sometime if something really dramatic comes up. :-)

I would love an "Ignore Thread" button, though, to ignore the Glenn Beck zombie thread JUST WON'T DIE!!

Poet

 

sjmvideo's picture
sjmvideo
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 2 2010
Posts: 34
Re: Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools

Ooooh! I love the idea of an "Ignore Thread" button even more than "Ignore User"

Farmer Brown's picture
Farmer Brown
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 23 2008
Posts: 1503
Re: Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools
Poet wrote:

Thank you, Adam!

I think for now I won't be using the "Ignore User" button. The people I may not agree with still have insight I may find valuable. (I think it would be funny to see someone quoting something really important from someone I set out to ignore, and realize I had missed out!)

And how else would I know to help flag something as spam or offensive if I can't see it? But thanks for the feature, which I'm sure I may end up using sometime if something really dramatic comes up. :-)

I would love an "Ignore Thread" button, though, to ignore the Glenn Beck zombie thread JUST WON'T DIE!!

Poet

 

 

Poet took the words out of my mouth.  The Ignore User button is useful, and an Ignore Thread button would be extremely useful. 

While I'm at it, I would also suggest the following:

Instead of displaying a continuous rolling display of each and every posting, perhaps there is a way to display three separate "blog rolls", one for each E.  This would require users to select an "E" category every time they started a new thread. 

There is no doubt that the vast majority of the blog posts and content of CM is on the economic front.  Keeping the other two E's in view would help keep them in mind.  Also, I often miss important posts that have to do with the other two E's because they get burried in the flurry and mountain of the economic postings.

Third, if a new thread cannot be categorized as one of the "E"'s, it can go in another category, "Other", but this will not be displayed on the main page (GB Thread, anyone?). 

I am typing this as I think, so probably a lot more thought has to go into these concepts.  The goal would be to keep attention focused on the purposes of the site, while still making other topics welcome. 

 

bluestone's picture
bluestone
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 29 2008
Posts: 263
Re: Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools

I would like to see an ignore "Glenn Beck" thread button.  Not that im either for or against Glen Beck, but that thread just keeps going on and on and on.

Brian

earthwise's picture
earthwise
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2009
Posts: 846
Re: Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools

 

Can you rig up an "Ignore Kids"  button? That would be really useful!   (An "Ignore Wife" button could prove painful.)

nickbert's picture
nickbert
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2009
Posts: 1207
Re: Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools

Like Poet I don't expect to use the "Ignore User" function often, as I do want to hear opinions from people I don't agree with.  I think it's best suited for the rare poster whose posts are often unnecessarily confrontational or offensive (intentionally or unintentionally), but usually left ambiguous enough to skirt the boundaries of the forum rules.... those grey areas you spoke of.  The "Ignore User" function is a better way to address this than involving moderators, whose intervention is best left to spam and clear violations of forum guidelines.  It makes it harder for said users to bait other posters, and if they notice a pattern of very little response to their posts they have more incentive to either be more civil or they will go elsewhere.

Thank you for your efforts,

- Nickbert

JAG's picture
JAG
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 26 2008
Posts: 2492
User-specific RSS tool?

Is there a way to subscribe to a particular author via RSS? I know this is common feature with Wordpress and other blogging platforms. I have used the email subscription to posts from various users (h/t to Davos), but it would be great if I could populate my NetNewsWire RSS or Google Reader with posts from  specific CM users. 

Thanks in advanced....Jeff

Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 9 2009
Posts: 1443
Re: Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools

Whoa.

So could I like "Ignore User' myself?

Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 9 2009
Posts: 1443
Re: Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools

Apparently not Undecided

Jim H's picture
Jim H
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 8 2009
Posts: 2379
Re: Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools

Thank you Adam!

I would like to respectfully argue against the idea proposed by Farmer Brown.... my view is that one of the unique aspects of the CM site is in fact the integration of the three E's, which I believe reflects the holistic way they interact and intertwine in our economy and our world.  I would prefer the threads remain integrated with respect to the three E's. 

 

Now, about that, "Send a Polonium 210-laced Fruitcake to user's home address" button that I have been asking for Adam.......

 

Woodman's picture
Woodman
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1028
Re: Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools

A college professor once taught me the difference between students and writers.  Students write believing their teacher will read their writing because they have to.  But good writers know that no one has to read anything they say; good writers know it is their responsibility to engage the reader with something of value.

I try to keep that in mind with every post. 

Dorrian's picture
Dorrian
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 15 2009
Posts: 28
Re: Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools

First, let me thank you all for your work to keep this site running and on this high Level of quality.

Second, let me thank you for the "#comments" anchor in the pagination links, which was my "most hated usability flaw". This was fixed just recently.

Third, please keep up the good work. Unfortunately, the world is full of stupid and annoying people. Many boards and Blogs on the internet are flooded with flames, conspiracy theorists and annoying stuff. What I like at CM.com is the fact that beside the blog posts and daily digest, there is an intelligent and mostly sympathetic community around. This is what made me enroll to this Site. Though I do not participate much by myself, but I read alot. :-)

Greetings from Hamburg,
Dorrian.

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Re: Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools

 This is probably a very good thing .... We could all be tooting our own horn, talking to ourselves , blowing in the wind ...oh wait maybe I already am .

 Blocking yourself JO  now that is good !

  FM

cleo0801's picture
cleo0801
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 7 2010
Posts: 12
Re: Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools

Thanks for the upgrade!

Can we have an ignore Glenn Beck, Jon Stewart, etc option?  I refer to any of these media personality types as ratings whores and am so suprised by the number of people who are graduates of popular culture.  I see this site as a highly intelligent source on how to research the issues rather than give in to a sound-bite driven education.

Sadly, there is no safe place in today's world...

agitating prop's picture
agitating prop
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: May 28 2009
Posts: 854
Re: Don't Ignore This: Announcing New Community Tools

Thank to the mods for ongoing support of the Glenn Beck thread, an essentially post-political thread, where some of the best posters on the site encourage people to dispense with Mainstream media, altogether.

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