When the solution is worse than the problem


My wife added her thoughts about the recent site changes that disallow comments on ALL posts after 30 days.  She adequately described what I would like to see happen. “merge the two features (moderation/30 day policy) so that you have the ability to re-enable comments on posts older than 30 days but at the same time only activate moderation on the 30 day+ posts.”.  We should move on this soon since the public already perceives this poorly as seen here:

“Oh!!! Bad... This is really bad news. This is killing entire idea of blogs. Openness.  http://blog.msdn.com will slowly convert to http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ and http://msdn.microsoft.com/flash/ or http://msdn.microsoft.com/msdnmag/

Entire idea of blogs was comments and views different from original posting.
Now after 30 days (IMHO, not a really big time for Internet) all postings will be set in stone. No changes or alternative opinions will be allowed.”

For now, if you have an opinion that differs from mine or just a general comment, and it’s constructive please use the contact form or send mail to jledgard@microsoft.com and I’ll post it as a new entry with a reference to the original post.  I hope I don’t have to do this for very long, but killing off the conversation is going to shoot us in the foot.

Comments (10)
  1. Stephane Rodriguez says:

    I can’t believe that great minds like those who made .Text and so on have to take this bad and sad inroad of offline moderation. I find it hard to believe that comment spam as you name it can’t be overtaken by submit-time pattern tracking resulting in some comments being automatically deleted (or forged comments net getting through, which is the same in the end).

    If I were hosted in MSDN blogs, I would immediately host my blog somewhere else.

  2. Stephane Rodriguez says:

    Forgot to say, rule number one of the internet is persistency. By giving an incentive to people to move, you are spoiling your own seeds, and accessorily speaking wrecking google results for the time being. It’s a lose-lose IMHO. Make sure people don’t move.

  3. jledgard says:

    I agree, it would be bad if people moved. We can’t prevent it, but we can hope to assist getting better changes in place sooner.

  4. jonpoon says:

    great.. just when i started to do a msdn blog, i get all these upgrades that make it hard for me to have a real blog.

  5. jledgard says:

    One Note: I’ve been reminded that AT (the quote I have) doesn’t speak for the "general public".

    jonpoon: You have a real blog. This change, I think, came into being becuase in the 90% case comments are generally made only on the most recent posts and SPAM doesn’t care about the age. So you do reduce the attack surface. It’s just my opinion that, in this case, the 10% matters.

  6. AIM48 says:

    Perhaps an idea.

    MSDN could set up a group of "Post approvers". These would be a group of "trusted" well known (not necesserally microsoft employees) people who would be able to log on at any time of the day and approve any post that is waiting (similiar to the moderation system on the ASP.Net forums)

    However only the blog author would be able to delete a pending post. The approvers would just ignore (or perhaps mark as questionable) a bad post.

    Perhaps a scoring system would intice the approvers to do more work etc…

    The advantages: For one – you have a trusted human looking over a post before it is posted. Also since you have a large froup of approvers posts will be approved at all times of the day (and night). Another thing is that people will not be able to claim that there is whole sale censoring because any of the approvers can approve it.

  7. josh ledgard says:

    AIM48: I’d like to think we could do something smarter that doesn’t involve as much labor as the moderation you are describing. Most of the SPAM is the type of stuff that should easily be caught by a filter.

  8. AT says:

    Josh:

    Yes. I cannot represent opinion of all blogs.msdn.com visitors (Multi multa sciunt, nemo omnia)

    Even more – you has quoted "comments and views different from original posting".

    I’m big supporter of discussions.

    Sending email to you is not best way to initiate discussion. You will create new post only if you agree with me, but if you disagree – I will have to defend alone or surrender. No others visitors of your blog will be able to assist you or me.

    You are not reducing attack surface.

    If all your spam was entered manually – this will simply result in spam migrate to recent (<30 days) active discussions. Spammers are pretty smart people.

    But if spam source is automated submissions – Turning tests (images with words) will solve this problem.

    You need to trust people posting comments by default – but you must check whom you trust (Fide, sed cui fidas, vide).

    I prefer current post-moderation policy. Instead of approving good comments – delete bad one.

    I’ve already proposed/aggregated a lot of ideas how to do this in Gretchen blog.

    AIM48 proposing the same idea – so it looks like correct one.

    P.S> Taking in account amount and size of my comments on blogs.msdn.com I’m going to create my own blog to support discussions.

    This will also give me real experience of fighting with comments spam problem.

    I hope trackbacks from trusted sites (like my future blog) will appear on blogs.msdn.com site unmoderated.

  9. josh says:

    AT: Good to see you are getting your own blog. You write enough for one. 🙂 I never suggested sending me mail was the best way. It’s just the only way right now for posts older than 30 days until we get a better solution. I agree with you with regard to the spammers being smart enough to do <30 days old check if they cared.

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