Much ink has been spilled regarding predictive policing tactics as of late. Numerous law enforcement agencies all over the U.S. are relying on historical crime data, metropolitan topographical features, and other pieces of information to data model crimes yet to be committed.
We lack those pieces of high-tech gadgetry here at TTAC, yet I (and many others) predicted exactly what was about to happen in the comments of an incredibly well written and thoughtful story about a girl and her car.
That saddened me — and then I reached for my therapeutic ban hammer.
Two articles were posted today that I knew would elicit a certain response from the “Best & Brightest.”
The first post, Jack’s take on masculinity and crossovers … and a lot of other things … drew people in with the well-crafted prose one expects from Jack. The comments lit up. Members of the B&B were either in absolute agreement or violently opposed to the piece. Many hundreds of comments later, I haven’t moderated a single reply or banned a single person.
Then, later this morning, we posted a story from David Holzman about a girl who loved her car so much that she had it transported from Massachusetts to Hawaii. Some people thought this would be the best opportunity to express their new-found “masculinity” and take the story’s protagonist down a peg. Why those particular commenters felt the need to attack someone for enjoying and loving what they already have is beyond me.
Many comments were edited. Some comments were deleted entirety. And two users — RideHeight and CJinSD — have been given one-week bans.
So, you may ask, why the inconsistency in moderating comments and users between the two pieces?
Unlike these new-fangled predictive policing methods, I’ve taken a very reactionary stance toward comment moderation: if nobody complains to me directly about unruly comments, I leave them alone. However, I investigate immediately when someone picks up the phone and dials 911-TTAC.
Today garnered no moderation requests on Jack’s article, but it sure did on David’s. With the additional factor of the person in David’s story not being here to defend herself — not that she should/would want to be here with this crowd — something needed to be done.
Now you know. Clean it up.
[Image: Marcus Yeagley/Flickr]