Wait… There’s a Comment Limit… What’s Going On?

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By David M. Greenwald

We keep getting questions on what the rule is.  So it makes sense to clarify what the rule is and who it applies to.

The basic rule: five posts, per commenter, per article, per day.

The purpose of the rule was twofold.  First, posts tended to become repetitive and more personal after a while.  Second, a number people would pop on, want to make a comment, and found a long string of back and forth comments by two or three commenters and decide not to bother.

By limiting the comments to five per article, we could reduce that and also with an average of 10 to 15 articles per day, generate discussion on a broader number of articles.  I am slightly revising it, and allowing people to come back and resume a discussion on day two, three, etc.  If it seems to become repetitive and nasty (more so than now), we will reconsider that in a month or two.

Exceptions to the five person rule:

I call this the Tia Will rule, but it makes sense to me.  The person authoring the article has invested time, energy to the subject and material, and should have the opportunity to defend their work.

It makes sense to me, imagine a scenario where six people came on, each criticized the author, are you telling me it makes sense that the author shouldn’t be able to respond or clarify to each?

We actually want to encourage authors to engage.

As editor and site administrator, I often end up in the role of defending authors particularly the interns and responding to questions.  Plus most days I have my own article or two.

So here are the rules:

  • Commenters – five comments per article, per day
  • Authors – can exceed five comments on their own article
  • Moderator – can exceed five comments in the course of moderating
  • Site Admin/ Editor – can exceed five comments
  • Interns – normal rules apply unless they are the author of the piece
  • Board Members – normal rules apply unless they are the author of the piece
  • Vanguard staff – generally they have not posted comments, but could exceed five comments

Finally, on moderation.

Please direct complaints over comment removal to Don Shor.  I only very rarely will pull comments.

If you believe someone has exceeded five comments, we probably missed it.  Simply report the comment and someone will take a look.  There is not someone monitoring the board 24/7.  There is no automatic wizard to remove comments.  If someone has posted six or seven comments, someone removed them.

If your comment was removed there are probably four reasons for it: (1) personal attack or tone; (2) off-topic, (3) exceed the number; (4) caught up in the moderation of another comment.

You would actually save more time if you simply rephrased the comment 9 times out of 10 then by questioning and arguing for reinstatement.

Finally, I encourage people to engage with the board if you wish to see these rules revise.  You can send me an email to send to the board.

I hope that helps.  Have a good weekend.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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17 thoughts on “Wait… There’s a Comment Limit… What’s Going On?”

  1. Keith Olsen

    Second, a number people would pop on, want to make a comment, and found a long string of back and forth comments by two or three commenters and decide not to bother.

    This is something that I’ll never understand.  No one is forcing them to read any comments so all they have to do is post their comment, make their point and be done.

    1. Edgar Wai

      When I read a long string of comments, oftentimes I make a mental note that “I should read what others have said first so I don’t repeat something that is already said.”

      More often than not I end up doing something else.

  2. Bill Marshall

    If someone has posted six or seven comments, someone removed them.

    No… some have posted up to 8, despite your clarifications (appreciated)… and none were removed…

    Be honest… some will “fly under the radar”, and fully get away with it (in last 3 weeks)… it is what it is… don’t pretend otherwise… not honest…

    Two “rules”, unstated but exist:

    The ‘golden rule’… “them that have the gold, make the rules”

    (paraphrase)[from G Orwell]… “all posters are equal, but some are more equal than others”…

    Those are the unstated “rules”… own it… it’s reality…

     

    1. Bill Marshall

      The VG should re-define them as “guidelines”, not “rules”… subject to ‘possible’ enforcement… then, it would make sense… you point out that there is no 24/7/365 “hall monitor”… you have owned up to that… that is honest… but, please don’t be capricious or arbitrary in the enforcement of the guidelines/rules… that would not be ethical…  rational ‘judgement’ is a different standard… and I defer to that

  3. Ron Oertel

    Glad to see some clarification regarding this, but I have a question in regard to the following.

    I call this the Tia Will rule, but it makes sense to me.  The person authoring the article has invested time, energy to the subject and material, and should have the opportunity to defend their work.

    So yesterday, David had at least 8 comments (last time I checked), despite not authoring the article.  Does the 5-comment limit not apply to him, based upon the following?

    Site Admin/ Editor – can exceed five comments.

     

  4. Ron Oertel

    I also have another question.

    In the past, some suspected that some commenters established multiple aliases, to hide their identity (and to put forth different “personas”) when commenting.

    Some have noticed a similarity regarding the writing style of a couple of current commenters, compared to an established commenter.

    Other than the “honor system” by those in a position to administer the rules, do readers have any assurance that this is not still occurring – thereby also bypassing the “5-comment” limit?

    1. Moderator

      I also have another question.

      In the past, some suspected that some commenters established multiple aliases, to hide their identity (and to put forth different “personas”) when commenting.

      Some have noticed a similarity regarding the writing style of a couple of current commenters, compared to an established commenter.

      Other than the “honor system” by those in a position to administer the rules, do readers have any assurance that this is not still occurring – thereby also bypassing the “5-comment” limit?

      I can verify that this assertion has been false since the requirement to provide a clear identity at the time of registration. I am aware of some of the instances prior to that.
      It has not occurred for quite awhile.
      The people who you have personally suggested were doing that were/are, in fact, all legitimate commenters.

      1. Ron Oertel

        Thanks, but those who have the power to “approve” registration would be able to bypass this.  And in fact, that’s what’s speculated, based upon similar writing styles and rather generic names.

        I can provide specific names, if that helps clarify.

        Of course, if an administrator (for example) is not subject to the 5-comment rule, then the remaining incentive to establish another identity would be to establish a different “persona”, and to put forth a more-aggressive stance (under a different identity), for example. And to make it appear that a position has more support than it actually has, while challenging commenters who ARE subject to the 5-comment limit.

        1. Keith Olsen

          Of course, if an administrator (for example) is not subject to the 5-comment rule, then the remaining incentive to establish another identity would be to establish a different “persona”, and to put forth a more-aggressive stance, for example. And to make it appear that a position has more support than it actually has.

          Eggzactly!  I have my suspicions too.

        2. Moderator

          Thanks, but those who have the power to “approve” registration would be able to bypass this. And in fact, that’s what’s speculated, based upon similar writing styles and rather generic names.

          I can provide specific names, if that helps clarify.

          I see the registrations. The assertion/speculation is not correct.

        3. Ron Oertel

          I see the registrations. The assertion/speculation is not correct.

          I don’t know what this means, but that type of answer would not suffice if the process was audited to ensure integrity. And that goes for whether or not there’s a (current/ongoing) problem.

          Of course, another thing that could occur is if someone with similar views “allows” their name to be registered, for use by another whom they trust.  Or, if individual commenters share their login information with others whom they trust.   (This type of thing would not be limited to an administrator, and is a different issue than the one I mentioned – but one which may have similar results.)

          As I recall, the Vanguard does not require much personal information/verification to register.

  5. Bill Marshall

    I can provide specific names, if that helps clarify. (Ron O)

    Eggzactly!  I have my suspicions too. (Keith O)

    “fish or cut bait”… You accuse folk of lying… come forth with your evidence (name ‘names’), or shut the ef up…

    The innuendo and accusations are more than “tired”…

      1. Ron Oertel

        Not only that, but I have provided the names to Don and David.  Don acknowledges this, above. They’ve never responded. And truth be told, Don rarely responds to ANY moderation concerns expressed. Though he usually ends up deleting comments that are inappropriate, if pointed out. (There was an example last night, in which this did not occur.)

        He is quite adept at counting comments, except for those from David. And now we know the reason for that.

        Of course, none of this (including the comment limit, or the requiring of full names) has reduced the number of nasty comments, nor has it increased participation from more commenters. In fact, it seems like the determined “nasty” commenters are among those who remain.

        In any case, I’m not sure that it’s appropriate to list the names of those in question, here.

        But again, if the process is weak, there’s nothing to prevent it – regardless of whether or not it’s still occurring.  “Personal assurances” are not relied-upon, in actual audits.

        Hey – I think this is my fifth comment! 🙂

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