Dagger (garnetdagger) wrote in suggestions,

Screening wars: Maintainer should have the final say

Screening wars: Maintainer should have the final say

Short, concise description of the idea
If a comment has had its screening status set by a community maintainer, the entry owner shouldn't be able to change it.

Full description of the idea
It's possible for a community member (or even a non-member, in the case of a community with open posting or a member who has left the community, been ejected from a community, or even banned from a community) to get into an "edit war" on the screening status of comments in that entry.

Ordinarily, it's not an issue if the creator of an entry unscreens a comment (for example, if to defeat spam, the community has comments from non-members automatically screened, and it's a legit comment) or screens a comment that's a problem for some reason. However, sometimes the screening or unscreening reverses the decision of a community maintainer.

The community maintainer has no recourse to prevent this: banning will not remove an entry owner's control over comments to that entry. (Things get more complicated when it's a locked entry.) The only thing the maintainer can do is prevent the entry owner from commenting (by banning them), delete comments, or delete the entire entry. Deleting the entire entry may be overkill, in some cases, or actively counterproductive (the user is screening comments that ought to remain visible, and deleting the entry would delete the comments too).

There are a couple ways this could be done if it is to be done, giving varying amounts of control; I've listed the ones that make the most sense to me:

a) If the change in screening status was done by a maintainer, it sticks, period, no matter what the entry owner does (the entry owner can still delete a comment)

b) If the entry owner is not a member of the community, they cannot unscreen comments (period) and cannot screen comments that have previously been unscreened by a maintainer

c) if the entry owner is banned from the community, they cannot change the screening (or probably freezing, either) status of any comment (but can still delete comments, or still delete the whole entry) (yes, there's a fix to allow entry deletion in all cases coming down the pipeline; keep an eye on lj_releases)

An ordered list of benefits
  • More maintainer control.
  • Less havoc wreaked by rogue community members, non-members granted the ability to post, and banned/ex-members.
  • There really isn't any such thing as "free speech" in an LJ community, given that maintainers have the final word; this would be a logical extension of those powers.
  • Entry owners who don't want a particular comment to display can still delete it (or the entire entry).
  • Fewer edit wars!
An ordered list of problems/issues involved
  • Less control for the entry owner.
  • Supposing a maintainer makes public a comment that violates someone's privacy, or that is otherwise abusive! (The entry owner could still delete it, however.)
  • If the maintainer has made a mistake, the entry owner has to flag down a maintainer to correct it, rather than being able to correct it themselves.
  • Since I'm not familiar with all the games people play involving screened/unscreened comments, this could break some obscure use of LJ.
  • Edit wars over comment screening don't seem to be really common.
  • Wouldn't prevent maintainer vs. maintainer edit wars.
Tags: comment screening, communities, community maintenance, § no status
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