"Shadow Banning" and LiveLeak.

There's a lot of noise in general online regarding shadow banning and questions here about what our approach to it is regarding the "risky commenter" group.

Previously if you were placed in this group for having a track record of bad comments you would simply be disallowed from posting in many threads. Full stop, end of story. We changed the system to allow you to comment but the comment is only visible to yourself, the mods, and your subscribers. We thought this was a reasonable approach. However, people are now complaining about "shadow banning" when they don't have any restrictions on their account which is obviously of some concern.

Outside of the user group there are no tools for "shadow banning" nor would you be placed in the risky commenter group because of your political, sociological or religious beliefs. That's not how it works.

Firstly, there are occasions - during backups of the comment servers or CDN issues - where comments can be delayed from appearing or even not appearing, appearing on a refresh, then disappearing again. This is your comment going across the serves and CDN and being delivered to everyone. While we have improved this over time we'll never eradicate it entirely. On some occasions we've been told comments have vanished entirely but this appears, so far, to be a random occurrence so obviously hunting down a cause is awkward. Sometimes it's even a case that someone didn't actually hit submit, most likely getting sidetracked, then came back wondering what happened. This is pretty rare though I would have thought.

So, the risky commenter group. Whenever I question this group I'm shown that folks in it rarely get back on the "straight and narrow", regardless of this I remain convinced we could handle this better so we're going to be bringing in measures to make it less arbitrary and allow the user more of an opportunity to question their inclusion in the group among some other things.

Frequently I'm told "I'm never racist I shouldn't be in the group" but it isn't down to the one single factor or behaviour. We just need to find a reasonable balance of allowing freedom of speech with protecting the platform. I'm not going to get into the "freedom of speech" issue here because it's an endless and circular argument. Needless to say our rules do not prevent the discussion of anything but sometimes members can't seem to manage it. Because of this we're working on ways to help correct the behaviour but you only have to look around the net these days to know the thumbscrews are going to be on all of us before too long if we don't all play smarter.

And yes, mistakes can and do happen. Neither the system nor our moderators are infallible. All we can do is continue to try and improve consistency and look towards a little more transparency.


By: LL_Hayden (2855.81)

Tags: LiveLeakBlog, Yoursay