The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

The Delete Button is Mightier Than the Pen

Nobody Loves a Moderator

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Complaints today that dozens of messages have been zapped from NJ.com’s Bloomfield Forum. Here’s a bit from one message, which was not zapped.

In Bloomfield, we regulars have a lively debate about any number of issues — from goose feces on our middle school fields all the way to the national election. We live only a tunnel ride away from where the Twin Towers once stood. We live only 5 miles from the Pru building in Newark — one of the most recent terror targets. Our neighbors and relatives are serving in Iraq. We have lawn signs and will write letters to the editor, supporting one or the other prez candidate. The national election and national issues are entirely relevant to Bloomfield, but the posts keep getting pulled.

NJ.com’s response:

NJ.com’s Bloomfield Forum is intended for the discussion of local issues in Bloomfield. Based on your description of the posts, it seems clear that they were off-topic for the forum in which they were posted; we remove off-topic posts to keep forums more useful for their intended purpose.

Meanwhile, the ubiquitous Alison Meyer, who routinely posts four- and five-part missives about Board of Ed meetings on NJ.com’s Bloomfield Forum, reminds that she has her own forum too, and she says she won’t delete anything unless it’s “racist, profane, threatening, or an advertisement.” A new thread in her forum is titled, “You Can Talk Politics Here.”

Bloomfield Forum on NJ.com seems to have a cybernanny who is deleting posts like a house on fire. Voltaire said “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.” There ya go.

UPDATE: The folks at NJ.com have asked us to point out that all those conversations are welcome at other forums such as this one and this one. For a list of all NJ.com forums (includes ones about the Yankees, the Sopranos and the Boss), go here.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Warning: Star Ledger Board Moderator is on a **huge** power trip.
    The latest is… I wrote to the Ledger and asked **why** were the posts removed. Doing my best to provide a public service, I cut and pasted my email and the Ledger’s response to the Bloomfield forum. Can you guess what’s been deleted now? Yup.

  2. Not just Bloomfield. Glen Ridge’s board has a huge percentage of deletes. At one point I calculated that 25% of postings were removed. NJ.com has a problem–they want to run a community forum, but don’t respect the community itself.
    Many, many of my posts were deleted, to the point where I couldn’t bother to post anymore, except on a rare occasion. My user ID was deleted, and no explanation was ever given, despite emailing NJ.com and asking for one. At least the Bloomfield forum moderator gave a response, even if only a canned one. This has caused me to stop going to NJ.com, unless I’m really bored. Their loss, your gain :-).
    One route for NJ.com would be to have a filter that either shows all posts or only those not flagged by the moderators. For people like me who appreciate the forum for its rough and tumble name calling and rumor monging, leave the ‘Moderated’ check-box unchecked. For my grandma Censoritta, check the box and read only the ‘Who has the best pizza’ posts. They could call it ‘The Rose COlored Glasses.’
    I propose civil disobedience, of a sort. People should start complaining about every post, pushing the alert button and complaining. The moderators will be inundated and may rethink their policies, or at least make them more transparent. The problem with starting new forums is that, bacause of their affiliation with the Star Ledger, new people will end up at NJ.com rather than the new forum. Not much of a community then.
    OR… our discussion loving Barista could host a whole set of discussion forums, draining the whole flame-throwing, cat-calling, property-tax-whining, goose-poop-cleaning crowd into her own ad-supported fiefdom.

  3. To that point, it’s actually much smarter for a company to just post an end to a thread by posting something saying “this should be moved to ‘forum x'” or something like that. It’s much less unsightly and having that many deleted threads starts to cause a stir no matter what things were about. The problem is that spammish/annoying posts are deleted with those that are on the border of the forum topic. Directing people to someplace else is a smarter decision, IMHO.

  4. Regarding that update: Except the Ledger didn’t let on that they delete like crazy in the White House forum, too. Or, if one believes the regulars there, they delete all the anti-Bush posts. Oh well. Voting well is the best revente.

  5. Ok, there’s lots of crazy stuff on that Bloomfield Forum, but somebody over there went nuts with the censorship, because they’ve deleted every post from “AlisonMeyer” including her carefully transcribed notes from the Board of Education meetings! The censors said, only talk about Bloomfield! But they kill the best “Bloomfield” posts on the board.

  6. Yep, and that’s why I started my own forum (link here at home page, thanks Miss Barista!) In fact, I have been deemed so subversive that my e-mail is no longer valid, making it necessary to use a different one to start a new account. There has been no explanation, no response to e-mail, nothing. In my decades online (starting in the early 80’s, when we all had c-64’s and 1200 baud was ripping speed) I’ve never had an account deleted, and I was far more of a fearsome user back then.

Comments are closed.