What you think of Lib Dem Voice’s comments policy… your chance to comment!

by Stephen Tall on May 14, 2011

In our most recent survey of Lib Dem members signed-up our discussion forum, we asked what folk think of the comments posted by our readers on the public blog.

We’ve tried different approaches to comment moderation on Lib Dem Voice. Initially, we were uber-liberal almost laissez-faire, only moderating comments which we judged were legally risky. Then, at the start of 2010, we decided in response to feedback from readers (including from those who ‘lurk’ but rarely comment) to moderate more actively, declining to accept comments which were at all abusive, or were completely off-topic. Our aim was, and is, to create an online community that lives up to its billing as ‘Our place to talk’.

It’s fair to say that our comments policy has been tested more than we might have expected, especially since the formation of the Coalition. Most of our threads contain comments from readers who are hostile to the Lib Dems, or at least to the policies the party has signed-up to as part of the Coalition. So we thought we’d try and find out what our readers who are party members think.

First of all, we asked: Do you read readers’ comments on Liberal Democrat Voice’s public blog?

    76% – Yes
    24% – No

To be honest, I was surprised the figure was as high as 76%, even among those who responded to our survey (who, it’s true, are more likely to be Lib Dem Voice regulars).

Of the 76% who answered ‘Yes’, we asked the following question: Do you think the comments threads enhance or detract from the site?

    66% – Enhance the site
    15% – Detract from the site
    19% – Dont know / No opinion

By some margin, more than 4:1, Lib Dem party members who read the comments on Lib Dem Voice feel they enhance the site.

Of the 24% who answered ‘No’, we asked the following question: Is there any reason you don’t read the comments posted to Lib Dem Voice?

Here’s a flavour of the comments:

I procrastinate enough as it is!

Have you not read them…….

It’s the internet. It’s going to be full of trolls…

More important things to read and do.

Too many Labour trolls or angry ex-Libdem voters who hate the coalition & say they won’t vote Libdem ever again.

Go straight to member comments, public blog is rent-a-quote

They are so vitriolic & depressing. In fact they put me off reading LDV at all (I prefer sticking to the Members’ Forum)

Comments are full of nutters, surely everyone knows that ;)

The Labour trolls just don’t seem to tire themselves out

Ignorance – will take a look

I used to read them, and contribute, but they usually deteriorate into arguments between activists of all parties, instaed of being a genuine debate within the party. I am not prepared to participate in fending off the hatred of Labour activists.

No – I just read the articles

Blogs comments are usually low quality; good comments are usually worth expanding on in future posts

They are generally childish and seem to be posted mainly by non Lib Dems

Can’t imagine my life being that empty! the main articles are often good however

What do readers make of Lib Dem Voice’s comments policy? Or the quality of debate on the public blog? Let us know what you think here…