Moderating LifeSiteNews comments can be brutal
Since LifeSiteNews added the powerful Disqus commenting feature we have received many thousands of comments from readers under our news reports. However, we quickly realized a strong moderation policy was needed or the commenting would be totally dominated by pro-abortion, pro-homosexual and other persons posting frequently offensive comments, propaganda or other useless gibberish.
This had to be dealt with, especially after regular readers began complaining about the shocking things they were reading under the stories.
Moderating comments posted to this website has been a difficult lesson in the reality of the wide variety of human characters and personal formation – from the most disturbing and vile imaginable to wonderful persons who skillfully share moving personal testimonies or provide very helpful, additional information to a story.
Many hours have been spent in developing our comment policies and procedures and especially on the daily moderating, as best as possible, of newly posted comments.
This is one of the more difficult LifeSiteNews tasks. It daily exposes moderators to many wonderful comments, but also to the task of reading and having to remove frequently disturbing posts from seemingly unbalanced, uncivilized or ego-centric persons.
Many just type whatever pops into their head and lack any common sense or tact on how to effectively convey points without personally assaulting others or showing some personal dignity for themselves by taking the time to compose a thoughtful, useful comment.
Our comment moderation efforts have, in the end, resulted in a substantial rise in the quality of the commenting to the benefit of all LSN readers.
However, there are days when it becomes more challenging and hair-raising than others to maintain a level of respectful, quality commenting. The worst times are when controversial moral issue stories are picked up by major mainstream sources that bring into LifeSiteNews a large volume of readers used to the more typical free-for-all, no rules, principles or respect for others type of commenting that is common in much of the Internet.
This past weekend was one of those difficult times.
There were two reports that especially generated a high volume of problem commenting. The biggest by far was a story by Ben Johnson last Monday about the death of abortionist Joseph Booker that was picked up by the giant Drudgereport.com website on Saturday evening.
The other was Thursday’s follow up story about the lesbian waitress who allegedly wrote an anti-gay message on a customer’s bill and claimed discrimination over this.
But this time, there was also a different problem from the usual. That is, there were all the usually expected pro-abortion, pro-gay diatribes and propaganda, but for us, much worse was the flood of horribly low-grade responses from “anti-abortion” persons rejoicing over the death of abortionist Booker and wishing him to be in Hell. Literally hundreds of these had to be removed because of the hatred they reflected.
I call these commenters “anti-abortion”, rather than pro-life, because that is what they were. These were unlikely to have been persons involved in the pro-life movement which strongly discourages hatred towards abortionists, their staff and women seeking abortion. Many of the comments from this anti-abortion mob were also downright racist.
The movement long ago learned that the way to save babies is through their mothers’ hearts and to work for the conversion of abortion center workers. That way of approaching these people has proven to be very effective.
No one is ever written off as unredeemable because everyone, no matter what they have done or are doing, is understood to have been made in the image and likeness of God, by God, who wants every single one of them to spend eternity with Him. Pro-lifers have seen their task as partly one of helping that to happen, not just for the babies and their mothers, but also for all those involved in the abortion industry.
The other story, about the lesbian waitress had a similar result, with many shocking personal condemnations of the waitress who is obviously a troubled person and part of a larger movement of very troubled, vulnerable persons who need help, if they will accept it.
Hard truths still need to be said, and what she did was wrong, but that cannot justify anyone trashing her as a person. That approach is guaranteed to make it far more difficult to change this dangerous cultural development. Again, we need to reach the hearts of lesbians and homosexuals.
The many comments that had to be removed were clearly not from those involved in the pro-life, pro-family movements. I say that because they would know better than to be so reckless and damaging to the cause of protecting family life and respect for traditional moral culture. These were from more typically red-neck, far right and not particularly religious persons – who also need our help.
Both of these situations showed me that pro-life, pro-family movement leaders, and especially religious leaders, have a very large task ahead of them. There is a lot of evangelization needed to those both pro and con the issues we cover, who are outside of the regular movements. The people in the movements are heroically already doing a near impossible job with very limited resources.
Frequently they are having to do this with very little support from religious leaders who would rather avoid the challenge of preaching about controversial moral absolute issues that could result in criticisms, negative media publicity and loss of collection plate donations and lucrative government relationships.
Let me share with you just a tiny number of the comments that you will no longer find posted under the two stories. That is because they were removed. And these are far from being the worst. But it gives you some idea of what we have to deal with on sometimes a daily basis.
Please be warned. These are harsh comments.
Under the death of abortionist Joseph Booker were the following:
Couldn't have happened to a better douche bag. From a Christian perspective, one would hope that he repented and is in a better place. But from a Christian FATHER'S perspective, I hope the sonofabitch roasts in Hell forever!
May he burn in eternal Hell fire, amen.
Burn in Hell.
He'll be rotting in Hell. Good riddens.
Too bad abortions couldnt be retroactive.
He is now roasting in HELL.
May he burn in hell. Such a monster.
Hope it took a LONG time for this POS to drown in his own misery. I spit on his memory
Baby Killer dies. HaHa LOL.
good riddance you worthless ape
I am heartily glad this butcher, baby killer, is dead and gone. Good riddance. Once less worthless subhuman infesting this earth is a good thing indeed.
May this money-grubbing fascist dirtbag burn in hell. Liberalism is the mother of the cult of death. A day is coming where retro-active "abortion" can be rationalized, proving again "progressivism" is indeed a sociopathic mental disease.
I'm in favor of 100 percent mandatory abortions for blacks. That would solve so many societal problems in just one generation!
As you can see many hoped that the abortionist is now suffering in Hell, which hope or wish is in itself a grave offense against charity since even God Himself would not wish that worst possible end for anyone. Everyone who posted such comments is in some ways as offensive to God, if not perhaps more, than the person who they wanted to make sure was suffering eternal damnation. They have no comprehension of authentic Christianity, which condemns such hatred that violates Christ’s command to love your enemies.
Under the story about the lesbian waitress were the following (but much, much more as well):
This queer psychopath should have to wear a sandwich board that reads, "Do not trust me I am a queer and a liar."
She has no conscience. She's a narcissist and probably a sociopath.
What a terrorist whore.
It is pathetic how the "Christian Values" come into play on stories like this.. She is a chronic liar, nothing more. she might have a mental disorder, but sympathy or prayers are nto going to help.. heavy drugs & a mental institution might..
What a douche bag!!!
I hope she dies of aids soon, she needs to rot in hell and gallop Asian bistro needs to refund the families entire bill and shut down
Oh, another sexual pervert lying...So what else is new in this perverted world we live. This is no surprising at all...A lying pervert...She will get her karma one day!!!
Such hate from these critics of course only breeds more hate. Nothing good can possibly come from this abuse of the freedom to express one’s views.
On the other hand, there are others who go too far in the other direction and are offended by those who express strong, but measured offense or alarm over dangerously immoral actions by certain individuals. That is, they oppose anyone judging wrong actions when in fact we must do so or how else how will resolution come about and those involved ever come to understand the harm of what they do.
There is a balance and we try to teach our commenters how to be effective in commenting without violating basic principles of decency and charity. This is not an easy task because of the horrendous and deeply offensive developments that we often report.
To bring about cultural change, those who are alarmed about the behavior of certain groups or persons must learn how to communicate in a way that is productive. To communicate in a way that might change them, if they found themselves in life situations that resulted in them being the ones who had committed the reported terrible or objectionable deeds.
We cannot achieve anything be being overly nice and not telling people uncomfortable truths about their behavior and we will also not achieve any good result, in fact will cause harm, by going overboard in letting off steam with reckless personal condemnations of evil-doers.
We can, and should call for justice and accountability, but there is only one person who can do personal condemning – and that is not us.