2 March 2012

Not Liberal Democrat Voice

Lib Dem Voice has introduced a tough new comment censorship policy. The unintended consequence has been that loyal Lib Dems who want to robustly defend the party against often obvious political trolls find their comments censored while the original attacks remain.

Here's what I tried to post this evening in the comments thread to the interesting op ed Liberal Left have short memories...

One of the failures of the self styled left (both within and without the Lib Dems) is an arrogance and certainty that they are the sole keepers of the progressive faith and that only solutions approved by themselves are valid ‘progressive’ solutions – you only have to read the comments page in the Grauniad to see this false consensus. And it is this false consensus that believes that the Tories are ineluctably evil and only interested in lining the pockets of a small minority of very rich people. Which if true would make it difficult to explain how they manage to win so many elections.

So any policies that might be suggested – such as selling council houses (for example) – would be immediately discounted because they don’t fit this view that the Tories are only interested in a small group of vested interests. I’d also assume that any policy outcome that didn’t involve the public sector would also be excluded for the same reasons.

Edit - in the interests of fairness this comment has now been published by the LDV team.


  1. Dan,

    Far be it for me to suggest that you haven't told the entire story but...

    The reason why your comment triggered LDV's auto-moderation was the use of the word 'evil' and it was approved by a moderator within thirteen minutes of your posting it despite it being after 11 p.m. on a Friday night.

    The moral of the story? If you use the word evil, expect your comment to be delayed by the need for it to be moderated.

    Oh, and yes, the comment moderation policy was changed more than a year ago...

  2. Thanks for commenting Mark - and I do appreciate the work moderators have to do. But surely the moral is that the automoderation policy needs to change so that perfectly acceptable comments are allowed?

  3. Interesting what words trigger the auto mod. I wonder what the others are. I remember on the harry potter forums they used to get triggered by pocketwatch bvecause it has twat in the middle of it.

  4. We do keep a close eye on the words in the filters - both checking to see how many 'false positives' the words generate (in case words should be dropped, refined etc.) and also checking the comments that got through but were subsequently moderated to see if there are good candidates for adding in new words.

    One pattern that the latter has not infrequently picked up on is that there are some words or phrases which, whilst in theory fine, are in practice almost always used in a comment that is deserving of moderation. "Evil" being one example - an unlucky example in Dan's case as his comment was one of the exceptions that put the "almost" into "almost always".

    It's worth remembering what the implications of this are. Yes, sometimes a comment gets held up. In Dan's case it was only 13 minutes between him posting it and the comment appearing (which means he's an impressively fast person to have got a post up here and also posted a comment on the LDV forum along similar lines in that short period of time!).

    However, we do read all those comments and those that have been inadvertently caught are published.

    There is also an upside about the filters - which is that when they are doing their work correctly (which is nearly all the time), they're helping keep the comments thread to a more polite and relevant level which our party members in our surveys have said they value greatly - and that the comments threads have improved over the last year or so.

    A footnote - thanks to Ryan's wizardry words hidden in words can be skipped, so we avoid the equivalent of Jennie's great example.

    1. Liberal Democrat Voice seems to have been "off line" for quite a lot of the time recently: any comment, Mark

  5. When I worked for East Sussex County Council, we had great difficulty with the Council's filters which banned the word "sex" which of course prevented us from looking up almost all county bodies until they changed the filter to " sex ". Let's see how LDV does with it.