I got perma-banned. Know why? Me neither. I have an idea which comment did it, but more importantly, I had no warning from the mods or anyone, just logged in one day and learned the hard way. I guess this is an efficient way to deal with trolls, who's very nature makes such action necessary, but somebody saw my comment and posted it in the offensive posts thread or somewhere and boom, no questions asked, the deed was done. Had anyone taken the time to actually investigate, i.e. read the profile of the offending user (which is usually posted with the comment(s) in question). This would reveal that I've been a loyal reader for years, making thousands of posts that raised no eyebrows whatsoever, and this one instance would be recognized as anomalous. In this case, I would have to suggest a warning paired with a day/week/month long ban, perhaps even a 'mark of shame' which would haunt the user into keeping in line.
This is, yeah, a huge drain on manpower, except I don't see where too many people are being reported, and one guy who is inexplicably doing this job AND being David Wong, because this is intern drudgery at best. The process above takes literal minutes of work, and from what I remember (I can't even get on the forums to fact-check this little critique) the 'Offensive Posts' thread grew like a page a month, so there cannot be that much work involved to justify this much carelessness. Why in the bloody hell is the senior editor the one taking a specific kind of complaint that, by his own admission, concerns a demographic he doesn't appreciate? Is it therapeutic? Because that brings up my next point.
Commentators are, generally, not the best and brightest of the internet community. But they're a part of your audience nonetheless. Dropping them at a stranger's sample-post can cause some adverse effects among your generally well behaved readers, such as realizing you're forever (FOREVER!) banned from taking part in something that you really did enjoy, even though some people can't see the value of it, or by George actually think less of you for it, which leads some to pursue drastic measures of their own (e.g. running ad-blocking software, like I do now). Point is, it's just stupid image management, especially in the entertainment industry, to treat loyal fans as if they actually are trolls just because of how they choose to interact with the site, and then to remove them from the equation entirely if there happens to be exactly one instance of behavior reminiscent of what you're actually trying to remove.
I've heard the argument "you're still going to read, so they won't care about the individual," which is true, but I didn't go back to reading for about a month myself, seeing as how I knew I couldn't comment, and that I would definitely want to. Eventually, I figured it out, got on a different network and made a new profile, but I'm spiteful, so I made sure I had something to keep you guys from benefiting. It almost hurts me, but then I notice you have more writers now than you know what to do with, thus more articles and ad money, so meh.
Here's my proposition: Assign the job of moderating the comments that other people tell you about for free to somebody who has the time to take a minute and decide whether or not they're dealing with an actual troll or just some regular user having a bad day. The Senior Editor of the site has too much shit to do to be doing this. If it's the former, perma-ban away, trolls are gross. If it's the latter, then maybe try a temporary ban, as I mentioned in a previous volume of this manifesto, with a detailed (or not) message as to what's going on, why, and how long. Yes, it seems like a lot of work to someone who doesn't see the benefit of a comments section, but that's just a stubborn old man's viewpoint, which fails to see that comments are the internet at its core, and good or bad as they may be, without them you're just a digital magazine.
I would like to elaborate (this is abridged), and perhaps go into other pieces of advice, so if anyone from Cracked is reading this and actually cares about the site's reputation (this is a big issue outside of your bubble, which actually surprised me as I was under the impression I was being an intolerable baby about it), feel free to email me. Some sort of confirmation that this was at least read and somebody mulled it over, and un-banning of this account, will mean I stop using the ad-blocker and sharing your sordid ways with the world.
P.S. I'll do the comment moderating for fucking free, if need be. I usually have a few hours a week (cumulatively) that I just don't know what to do with, and at the moment I'm just spending it practicing to poop, so no excuses on your part, really. Stipulations apply, of course, on the good chance there's more to it than that. But I'll be cheap, is what I'm saying.
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