"Throw the bums out"
Here’s a New Year’s resolution every news site should make: Throw the bums out! There is no reason to allow a small number of bullies to corrupt a community discussion forum. If your message boards, story comments, or blogspace has turned into the kind of place where decent people can’t have a decent discussion, bring the hammer down … on behalf of the rest of your users.
I’ve made that decision on a number of occasions during 2006, and got rid of quite a few “bums” on Aftonbladet‘s forums. Though did I do enough? Or too much?
A community can be sensitive to both extremes, and it’s exceptionally hard to find a good balance between getting rid of trouble-makers and keeping a free debate. It’s something I and the moderators of the forums discuss every week.
“An online community needs an explicit social contract”, Yelvington writes. That’s certainly worth a thought.