It’d be an interesting experiment.
[quote=“Wired”]Patient Zero here is Slashdot, the tech site that pioneered one elegant way to police trolls: crowdsourcing. Slashdot has an automated system that randomly picks a handful of readers and gives them, for a day or so, the power to describe others’ comments with terms like “funny” or “off topic.” Those descriptions are translated into a score from -1 to 5. Readers can set their filters so they see only comments with high ratings—and trollery effectively vanishes. One academic study found that the majority of Slashdot readers filter out comments rated 2 or lower. Indeed, the concept of crowd-voting has worked so well that sites as high-traffic as the The New York Times now use it.
Here’s another hack: selective invisibility. It was invented by Disqus, a company whose discussion software handles the threads at 90,000 blogs worldwide (including mine). In this paradigm, if a comment gets a lot of negative ratings, it goes invisible. No one can see it—except, crucially, the person who posted it. “So the troll just thinks that everyone has learned to ignore him, and he gets discouraged and goes away,” chuckles Disqus cofounder Daniel Ha.
My personal favorite innovation is disemvoweling, a technique pioneered by Teresa Nielsen Hayden, who moderates the discussion threads at the geek-culture blog Boing Boing. Whenever Nielsen Hayden encounters a nasty post—an ad hominem attack, for example—she leaves it up but removes all the vowels: y r fckng sshl, for example. The result is incoherent enough that it’s neutered, yet coherent enough that no one can cry censorship. The comment hasn’t vanished.[/quote]