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A Little Housecleaning: de-Trolling Neato

I went out of town for a few days and was surprised to come back and find that the blog has caught some comment trolling sniffles. You guys are usually very good, so what happened?

Anyways, it's time for a little housecleaning.

If you find your off-topic comments about McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden gone, then they've either been deleted by me or by the post authors. I'm generally against censorship, so I tried to preserve some of the comments that seem to have genuine point of views. Silly ones, those with name-callings, or those impersonating famous persons have been nuked. Let's hope we won't have to do this again.

Just to get it out of your system, here's the one post that you can have at it.

Ah good to hear! I think often the problem is one or two trolls show up to a website like this and use a bunch of different aliases. So then it looks like you are over-run with bad mouthing 12 year olds. But maybe I'm wrong, I can't view the IP addresses.
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I'm a bit sad that some of my comments were deleted. In my defence, I'd like to say that I only make political comments:

(a) As a direct response to political comments previously posted by someone else;

(b) As a response to explicitly political blog posts.

I would prefer that Neatorama be apolitical. But, sadly, it seems this is not possible.

In future, I will post political comments only on threads that are explicitly political, such as this one. I hope this will be acceptable.
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Thanks...sometimes the comments get a little crazy. I come to this blog to get away from all the political garbage.

It's easy to see how this kind of commenting can get out of hand so it's nice to see that hateful comments are being taken care of.

If only trolls could just be ignored.
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Sorry, Evil Pundit - I did my best to preserve the comments that had political view points (yours included) in this link. Even though your comments are response to someone else's political comments, they're still not in context to the post.
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Censorship is erasing valid speech which disagrees with your own. Deleting trollisms is just taking out the trash. Mixing valid speech with trolling remarks makes this distinction harder, but I'd rather you delete until the comment can be resubmitted without the taint. Is that too much to ask?
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Alex has the ability to filter, quash, edit, censor, or otherwise interfere with any comments he wants to. The reason he doesn't, of course, is because people would go elsewhere. China gets away with it because they "own the store".

A certain amount of censorship is necessary - spam, excessive vulgarity, and other offensive or libellous items can be weeded out according to the desires of Neatorama and its audience.

Hopefully, the filters won't get too crazy - it'll be almost as bad as the spammers and trolls.
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I'd be happy to see this site free of any political agenda as well, unlike sites like BoingBoing. (OT: BoingBoing is ironic and disappointing in its own way that they advocate against censorship but they have their own post-deleting and de-vowelizing moderators.)

I do not mind cleaning up of trolls - many blogs desperately need that scrubbing like a dirty suburban pub! The climate here is generally calm and nice, and that's why I would read the posts on this site. Great job!
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There's nothing wrong with political discussion, even if sometimes it gets out of hand. However, I do agree with the decision to delete vitriolic or off-topic comments. It seems stupid to click on a link with a video of a friendly deer and rabbit or something else that really shouldn't spark any kind of argument and finding that within four comments it degenerated into a flame war about Palin.
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Ive noticed that all of my comments have this "Oops, something in your comment triggered the blog engine to request a moderation. Don't worry - someone will take a look at it manually soon! There's no need to re-submit the comment." I'm not a troll and I don't go overboard on political conversations. So why is that always there? =S
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@CheeseDuck - it's something in your link. We had an episode of kongregate spam in the past, so we filter it out. I've taken it off the filter for now.

@ted - very, very few comments on Neatorama are censored. A bulk of those that do get quashed are silly comments like gibberish characters or "first first first" type comments.

We used to run a "politeness" filter that quashes vulgar words but that was an exercise in futility. It turned out not to be necessary either. Not a lot of comments are nuked solely because of vulgarity.

I'm hoping that the recent trolling activities will cease - but who knows. It is the Internet, and it is election season.

@PK - thanks! I hope Neatorama continues to be a friendly place to hang out online.
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Ah! So that's why I stumbled across the odd comment in the old posts. I was gone for a few days and wham! the trolls amass at the gates. :o

Lets keep this place clean folks! :)
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Yes, Alex, I realize that very little is censored. I was pointing out that you certainly have the right to censor whatever you like. But, if you did actually censor a lot, your audience wouldn't bother reading you anymore. It can be a fine line, but with obvious spam and trolling, I can imagine it's not a difficult decision.

I just didn't agree with Siteseer's definition of censor, as if "censoring" were always a bad thing.
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@Alex - You were right to remove the off-topic comments, of course. I'm sorry for contributing to them.

However, it's obvious that political passions on all sides are running high as the election approaches. Perhaps it might be useful to create an appropriate topic for discussion every now and then -- or perhaps not. It depends on what you want your blog to be.
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