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How The Dilbert Blog Avoids Uncivil Arguments In Comments

dogSomething rather interesting about The Dilbert Blog is that you never see the sort of uncivilized comments that are so prevalent on Digg and other weblogs.

I think it’s something to take a look at, because Scott Adams posts about some rather politicizing topics. So how does he keep his blog in check? How does he prevent an assortment of infighting in comments?

First, he holds all comments in moderation, and then approves them in batches. I’m not sure if he intended for this outcome, but it’s absolutely brilliant for a blog with lots of traffic. Since it can take a while for your comment to appear on the site, most of the participants in the dialog do not have a chance to read many other comments before they write their own. A large number of the comments come within an hour or two of when Adams publishes his post.

The second thing that Scott Adams did was choose to publish comments in reverse chronological order. Newer comments appear first, and older ones at the bottom of the page. This is probably the most effective tool because reading a thread becomes a bit tricky.

It’s a great approach and improves the overall value of his blog by keeping comments on-topic.

(Hat tip to Tom for this post idea)

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  1. “great approach, brilliant for a blog with lots of traffic, improves…”

    I’m not sure. Depends on your public, your time as administrator and the mix of conversations you like to have.
    I wouldn’t advocate upfront barrier methods like making treads difficult to read, delaying and slowing down conversations in general since it lowers the number of comments, commenters and conversations in general. But then again it depends on your public behavior too.

    It depends. Its a tradeoff.

  2. Another thing to think about would be comment overlap (E.g. Since we don’t see comments as they appear, you might get 2 or 3 versions of the same comment in the thread, or having to be approved).

    I am guessing this might be part of his filtering process, but had they been displayed real-time the other users could have seen the comment they were initially going to post and perhaps offer a response and further thoughts on the topic. So yeah….I just repeated what Choco did in much longer fashion…”it slows down conversation” 😉

    …that’d be the trade off.

    …maybe a solution to the chronological dilemma would be to maintain the order (top to bottom) of posts, but have a ‘recent comments’ dialog/window immediately visible as well.