A Call for Civility and a Change in L.A. Streetsblog’s Comments Moderation Policy


Image: ##http://amuseorbemused.com/2012/02/flashback-t-fiddlesticks/##Amuse or Bemused##

For years, Los Angeles Streetsblog has had one of the loosest set of rules governing our comments section.  In the four and a half years we’ve been publishing, we’ve maybe deleted 10 comments (not including spam) that were too over the top, slanderous, or sexist to let stand.

However, in recent months, we’ve noticed some warning flags. In some comment threads the language is getting a little more abusive. In other ones, people are mis-representing who they are.* It’s time to make a change before things get out of hand.

As of right now, we’re going from a policy that was basically “don’t be racist, sexist or say something that can get us sued” to the policy used by all the other Streetsblogs. That policy can be read here.

So, who decides whether a comment has “ad hominem attacks, unnecessary or uncreative profanity, off-topic posts, lengthy or poorly written rants, flat-earth arguments, etc…”? We do. If an article is written by Kris Fortin or Sahra Sulaiman, they will have the ability to edit or moderate the comments. If it’s written by anyone else, that power resides with me (or if I’m away, whoever is the acting editor in my place.)

And yes, a comment written by someone who is logged in or well known might get more leeway than an anonymous one of one by a first time poster.

Personally, I hate moderating comments. The decision to change our policy was not made lightly. We discussed it at our most recent Board Meeting and it was unanimously decided that we needed to make a change.  When we meet in the fall, we’ll see how the policy is working and make tweaks if we need to. We don’t want to stifle debate, but to encourage a healthier and civilized one.

If you have any comments, questions, or want to tell me where to stick this policy, you all know how to express yourselves.


 *- (I mean, I can see the url’s, there’s no point in having a conversation with yourself…)


Unfortunately, too many people see our allies as the bad guys. Is there anything we can do to change this? Photo: Vision Zero Network Los Angeles

How Is This Happening?

A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting the Mar Vista Farmer’s Market with my seven-year-old son. Seeing a group gathering petitions for Restore Venice Boulevard’s demands that the road diet on Venice Boulevard be immediately ended, I turned off to go in through the side. Earlier in the week, a tweet condemning the person […]

Mobility Plan Re-Approval Passes Joint Council Committee Meeting

The city of Los Angeles’ progressive Mobility Plan 2035 was re-affirmed yesterday at a joint meeting of the City Council Transportation and Planning Committees. In August, the plan was approved on a 12-2 vote of the L.A. City Council. Under the scrutiny of a lawsuit challenge, the city is in the process of removing some allegedly […]

Insurrection at LADOT

“The rank and file has lost confidence in our general manager,” thundered Mike Hunt, an LADOT engineer and “proud” SEIU Union Steward. “He doesn’t listen to us. He ridicules us every chance he gets. He puts the blame on us for doing our job, and implementing the policies he put forth for us.” Hunt was […]