I felt it was time to post an update about the issue of our "Community Suspended Content" feature which I presented to the ChristianBlog.Com Community a little over a month ago.
One of the big issues behind this new feature is whether it would work or not. Another big issue was whether it would be abused or not.
Thankfully the latter issue has proven to not be an issue. However, the first issue has proven to be an issue and that is an issue I need to find a solution for - or find a viable other solution to replace it with.
A Trial Has Been Tried:
On March 31, 2009 ChristianBlog.Com Moderators went "hands-off" from doing any Moderating on their own. We are now 36 days into our trial of whether the Reporting Scoreboard feature is solid enough to justify ChristianBlog.Com doing away with full-time Moderators and depending upon the "community at large" to Report content that the ChristianBlog.Com community believes is unacceptable Published Content (content that is in violation of our global policies.)
The statistics I will be sharing below will be from April 14, 2009 forward until today. The first 13-days of April had NO Reports at all submitted by the ChristianBlog.Com Community.
The Hard Facts:
Since April 14, 2009 there have only been fifteen (15) Reports by ChristianBlog.Com members.
Of those 15 Reports five (5) of them were reports asking us to "remove duplicate posts" - something we do not do. If Blog Comments are duplicate so be it. If a Blog Entry is posted twice, it is up to the Blog Author to go into their "My Blogs" page and use the "delete blog" option available to them. So, this takes our 15 Reports down to ten (10) Reports.
Of the 10 remaining Reports:
One was a Prayer Comment which was Suspended (by ChristianBlog.Com) due to it being outside the parameters of what a "prayer response" should be.
Two were for a Blog Entry that was a "test blog" but not posted within the "Blog Testing" Category. It was Suspended (by ChristianBlog.Com) for failure to properly utilize the ChristianBlog.Com Category system.
One was a Blog Entry that was Suspended (by ChristianBlog.Com) for violation of the ChristianBlog.Com Global Policies.
Another one was a Blog Entry that was Suspended (by ChristianBlog.Com) for violation of the ChristianBlog.Com Global Policies, which also resulted in the Publisher having their account terminated for Global Policy violations.
One was allowed to remain in an "open status" to see if any other ChristianBlog.Com Members would report it. It was a Blog Entry that contained advertisement and (borderline) anti-Biblical content. In the end it was given a "Dismissed" status due to nobody else reporting it. So, this is one case where the Reporting Scoreboard failed to result in Published Content from being suspended that would have normally been suspended by the ChristianBlog.Com Moderators.
Another Report was about a Blog Comment that somebody felt was off-topic. We felt it was and decided to keep it public to see if anybody else would submit a Report about it. Nobody else has. So that makes two cases where the Reporting Scoreboard failed to result in Published Content from being suspended that would have normally been suspended by the ChristianBlog.Com Moderators.
Another Report was a "Profile Report" (our only one ever submitted) and there was concern over the persons age. Upon investigation of the Report we determined it to not be an issue. It was a simple mistake on the part of a new member. What this does is present an interesting situation. What if 2 or 3 other people would have reported this issue? It would have resulted in something that was a simple mistake on the part of a new member, having their account suspended. This is an "interesting situation" because it enforces the fact that ChristianBlog.Com MUST continue to closely monitor the Reporting Scoreboard to ensure such a thing does not happen - and if it does happen we need to be quick to resolve these situations.
Another Report was in regards to a Gallery Upload. Somebody felt it violated our Global Policies. I agreed and suspended it before it could receive any further Reports. It was not worth leaving it up to see if anybody else would report it.
The last of the 10 Reports was a case of Advertisement via a Blog Entry. As much as we would have liked to keep this Blog Entry public to see if others would have reported it, the severity of the Advertisement was to such a degree that we deemed it necessary to Suspend the Blog Entry as soon as it was Reported.
So, that makes 10...
Actions I Personally Took:
Now allow me to explain what actions ChristianBlog.Com took WITHOUT anybody Reporting Published Content that was in violation of our Global Policies. What this involves in Published Content that I (abelajohnb) personally Suspended due to violations of our Global Policies. These are cases where I saw something that had been published and had not gotten reported, yet needed to be removed. Had the ChristianBlog.Com Moderators not been in a "hands-off mode", there is a very good chance that they would have suspended this content rather than myself.
Three Blog Entries were suspended due to Advertisement violations of our Content Policy.
One member had two of his Blog Entries suspended due to abuse of our "Blog part 1,2,3" rules - in which we state that multiple blogs should not be posted for something that is longer than the allowed Blog length. While we are not "hard and fast" about this rule, excessive abuse of it is enforced... and in this case I enforced it. A couple of days later this same member had his account Terminated due to Content Policy violations. It was clear from the moment the member joined they did not have good-intentions.
I also found the need to suspend two (2) "Status Updates" due to violation of the Content Policy (Advertisement).
There have also been 19-people who have had their account Terminated since April 14th.
9 of them for Terms of Service violations (Identifiable Information).
3 of them had their accounts auto-terminated by trying to post their email address. (Content Policy: Private and Confidential Information)
3 of them had their accounts terminated for advertisement violations. (Content Policy: Advertisement, Fundraising, Marketing, and Philanthropy)
1 of them had their account terminated for Denominational Abuse. (Content Policy: Denominational Abuse: Anti-Christianism)
The last 3 had their accounts terminated for violations of Flaming/Trolling/Hate Speech violations. (Content Policy)
What Does All That Mean?
First and foremost I think this shows two things:
(1) That the ChristianBlog.Com Community has a VERY SMALL percentage of it's membership that is willing to Report Published Content that is in violation of our Global Policies. This is the most concerning issue. Of the 10 value Reports we have had since we started this whole system only FIVE (5) people have used the Reporting System. (interestingly, all five of them are premier/gold members) Considering we have over 100+ people log into ChristianBlog.Com every day, and the large majority of them members who log into ChristianBlog.Com every day, this is a percentage that is scary. I'm no math genius but that percentage scares me. Why does it scare me? Because if we do not have any Moderators in the future, and I am not around for a few days to be "big brother" (not that I am, but a lot of folks seem to think I am) and only 5 people out of a 100 decide to report something... and if something really bad does get published, and something requires 5-points in order to get suspended (5 points based on our Reporting Scoreboard) that means that three of those five people are going to have to (a) actually log into ChristianBlog.Com within a short period of time after the "bad whatever" gets published, and (b) they are going to have to actually see the "bad whatever", and (c) they are going to have to take the time to report it and not depend on others to do so - sigh. Needless to say, these are not "good numbers" and "good possibilities" from where I sit. So, more on this in the next main section.
(2) The second thing these numbers show is that I am still doing 90% of the work in removing Published Content that is in violation of our Global Policies. The whole idea behind setting up the "Reporting Scoreboard" was to off-load the amount of work I and the two other people with the ability to suspend content had to invest in being "big brother". More on this in the next section.
The "Ugggh" Situation:
If we look at hard numbers:
In the last 21-days the ChristianBlog.Com Community accounted for four (4) pieces of Published Content that truly justified being Suspended and that the ChristianBlog.Com Community Reported BEFORE it was suspended by ChristianBlog.Com overseers (which would be just me over the last 21-days since I asked the Moderators to not doing anything during this trial period.)
That is 4 out of 23 total items (35 total actions; but 9 of them only I have the ability to deal with, and 3 of them were self-termination-actions) that the ChristianBlog.Com Community could have Reported and joined together to have suspended without the involvement of ChristianBlog.Com involvement.
The "Uggh situation" is... what does all of this mean if I decide to take a few days off and ChristianBlog.Com gets attacked by anti-Christians and all kinds of "bad stuff" starts to get posted while I am away?
What does it mean if only 5 or so of our daily active members decide to report something? (and those "five people" we have to remember spans not within a single day... or a single published item... but five people spanning 21-days and 10 validly-reported items)
Well, as the owner of ChristianBlog.Com I think I have to conclude that ChristianBlog.Com is not yet ready for me to be able to say that ChristianBlog.Com can NOT have Moderators around to oversee things. I also have to conclude that ChristianBlog.Com is not ready for me to walk-away from ChristianBlog.Com for more than a few hours at a time. At this point I pretty much monitor ChristianBlog.Com throughout the entire day (while I am away of course) by remaining logged into the ChristianBlog.Com website and checking every-single-thing that gets posted to the website. Can anybody say "the thrill of my life"? I don't mean to sound sarcastic but being "big brother" is not what I signed up for when I first started putting the whole concept of this website together. Sure, I knew it would require certain amount of oversight on my part... but I always figured it would be through a reporting type of system. And, now that we have a solid group of members who visit ChristianBlog.Com every day... and now that we have a solid Reporting System in place... I figured it would allow me to finally be in that place I had always imagined I c/would be in. So, I guess all I am doing now is moaning to people I have no right to be moaning too. So, everybody out there, I guess I just need to say sorry and ask for your forgiveness for moaning/complaining/blaimming(?)/whinnying to you about something I have no need to be moaning/complaining/blaimming(?)/whinnying to you about in the first place.
I suppose the "Uggg Situation" here is just that... if all of these numbers are solid numbers (which I have to conclude they are) than I think I am going to have to go back and re-think the entire process of how to keep ChristianBlog.Com a "Family Safe" and "Content Filtered" website.
ChristianBlog.Com tries to set itself apart from other websites in the way we present the Services that ChristianBlog.Com provides. Our "About Us" page states the following:
Family Safe! We have dedicated volunteers who review each and every Christian blog entry to make sure that all content that is posted is family safe and Christian based. This means (for some) that ChristianBlog.Com might not be the best place for you - especially if you find yourself being negative, unable to control your temper, or have a loose tongue... err, fingers ;)Â - however, for those who desire a safer Christian-based community to be a part of, ChristianBlog.Com is here for you! We invite you to read some of what others have to say about ChristianBlog.Com!
Right now we have three ways of fulfilling this:
(1) The Community-involved "Reporting System". This is at the heart of what all of this is about. By providing the CB Community at large the ability to have direct access to "reporting" content it ensures that every piece of published content IS VIEWED and CAN BE reported by "somebody"... i.e.: all of you who are members and reading this become "volunteers" in the greater community that IS ChristianBlog.Com
(2) Two volunteers who make up the "Moderator Team". These are two people who have been around ChristianBlog.Com for a very long time. One of them since the very beginning of ChristianBlog.Com -- but we all have to realize that these two people cannot be here "24/7/356" and we should not expect them to be either. We also have to remember that these two people helped write our policies. They know the ChristianBlog.Com Policies just about as well as I do. They can just look at something and know if it is a violation or not. These two people and learned "the moderating ways" right along with myself, over the last few years. We have to remember that training new Moderators does not "happen overnight". I have also trained four other people to be Moderators. None of them have lasted for more than two-months before they threw in the towel and decided it was not for them. I totally understand why they choose to stop. If I could, I would do so myself. So, the option of "training more moderators" is not something that can be done overnight. It can take up to two months to fully train a new person to be a moderator. Why so long? Well, because I usually only get 30 minutes to an hour a night try work with new people, before they have to go to bed or get off the computer. Things here are not like a "9 to 5 job"... everybody is volunteer and we have to respect what little amount of free-time people can give and have. So really, at the end of it all... volunteer Moderators are not a really good option over the long-term of a website like ChristianBlog.Com
(3) Me, myself and I. At the end of all of this... (well, until something big changes) there is simply no way around it. I have to continue to be involved in ChristianBlog.Com on a near hourly-basis throughout the day, every day. There are no "days off" for me so long as ChristianBlog.Com presents itself has having people around 24/7/365 who "review each and every" bit of content that is posted. Some of you are aware, and the rest should just reasonably understand, that I do not intend to continue doing this for much longer. This is not to say I am going to just up-and-leave, but it is to say I do not plan to be big-brother for the rest of my life. I truly love ChristianBlog.Com and love the ministry that is has become, but I cannot continue to neglect the other ministries that the Lord has me involved with. Something has to change - and soon.
To Wrap This Up:
To wrap all of this up, I think what I am going to need to do is sit down with those people who help me govern ChristianBlog.Com from both the inside and the outside to gather further creative suggestions on a long-term solution to the future state of our ability to maintain ChristianBlog.Com has a Service that provides 2100% content-review to ensure the website is family safe and that our Global Policies are being upheld.
While I fully understand that our "Reporting Scoreboard" is a new feature to ChristianBlog.Com, our entire Reporting System has been around since the ChristianBlog.Com Services went public back in 2006 - and for a feature that has been around for that long, and to look at the solid numbers I've presented here, and for them to reveal that less than 10% of the Content Filtering that has taken place was a direct result of the ChristianBlog.Com Community involvement, and that zero-percentage (0%) of the Published Content that has been suspended was because of ONLY the ChristianBlog.Com Community reporting it, well I think that this is some pretty solid evidence that it is time to change things.
For Christ's Ministry,
John B. Abela
I'm pretty new and still finding my way around. I'm one of the 100 that login daily - and while I"m new - I quickly became a premier member because I could quickly surmise that this is a site that is much needed. That said - I can only speak for myself when I say - give us another chance. I will try to be more diligent.
Thank you for all that you have done and all you continue to do.
I found this very interesting. I was shocked to learn only five people reported anything. I really was. I know I've suggested it to people before if they happened to mention to me they were concerned about something but most of the time they seem reluctant to do that so I guess maybe this shouldn't have surprised me.
I was just thinking that just a couple of people trying to keep a "community" safe just doesn't do the trick in the "real" world. I think the same applies to a community like CB. If we want to keep our community safe, then it requires an effort on the part of everyone.
I do know an issue for me and perhaps others, is concern that if we report regularly, it might seem like we're abusing the system. Of course, if more people would report their concerns it wouldn't seem like the same old people are complaining/reporting over and over and over again.
Like any other community, there are rules here for without rules you would have chaos. If we truly care about this community we will do what we can to help ensure it remains a safe community.
John, I just want to take a moment to thank you for taking such pains to ensure the safety of this site. I know its no fun having to deal with all the logistics and whatnot, but its certainly worth it!
I was just revising a couple of older blogs and I suddenly realized just how incredible this site really is. When I remember back to how things were here just a little more than a year ago vs. how they are now, feature wise, the difference is amazing. Just the â-œmy blogsâ- page is so easy to use and gives you everything you need regarding blogs written all on one colorful and easy to use page. I know of no other site on the internet which makes it so easy and simple to manage oneâ-™s blogs.
The technical advances that have been done on this site in the past year are staggering. There are more features available, more simple tools for ease of communicating and security here than on sites with 1,000 times more members or traffic. I feel all of us have come to take for granted all the time consuming work and expense that has been put into this site, mainly by John Abela the owner.
It truly pained me to read this blog for I felt so convicted. I tend to get so busy that I donâ-™t make the time to help function as a watchdog. Somehow I must make the time to help pick up the slack. It is the least I can do to help repay the debt of gratitude in my heart for all this site offers.
A few of us are totally committed to the success of this site and to the goal of allowing John to follow the Lordâ-™s prompting to do as He wants him to do and where he needs him to do it. As much as we would all love to have â-œbig brotherâ- watching over this place 24/7, it is not possible nor is it fair.
Just as last month the call was for the community here to rise up financially (and it did), so the call this month is for it to rise up and accept more responsibility for what gets posted here and to report it. I confess that I have been negligent on this matter and will try to play a more proactive role so as to help us see growth in this category as we have seen in the financial realm.
Thank for bringing this up and as for me, I will try and do a better job of helping do more than just write blogs and comments.
Blessings 2 You (B2Y)
[quote]Thank for bringing this up and as for me, I will try and do a better job of helping do more than just write blogs and comments.[/quote]
I make this commitment along with B2Y.
so sorry John, I will be more deligent in reporting any blogs that I feel is not appropiate and does not follow the rules. We need to stand up and help John out. I know I will do my part how about the rest of you?
now John, go make you a quesadilla and we will watch out for you.
I do have a question though, if we encouner a blog that seems to be looking for a fight, can we report that?
I just had another thought, maybe if someone was to put the info on what can be suspended up on the news section or maybe a bullentin at the top of the page and once we read the message it will go away. Maybe some people may be scared to report a blog or comment because they think that the other person can see who reported it but they can't. I know that many times I have commented to some people hey did you read such and such I think I should report it. They always say yeah you should and they agree that the content should be reported and they don't report it themselves. hmmm, makes me think. I am going to be more proactive.
First thank you to all who have commented for the various reasons.
I am going to keep my comments brief and only address the questions that come forth from this Blog.
Right now that is only this one:
[quote=angelita]I do have a question though, if we encounter a blog that seems to be looking for a fight, can we report that?[/quote]
There is a section within the ChristianBlog.Com [url=http://www.christianblog.com/content_policy.php]Content Policy[/url] that deals with this. It would be located within the [url=http://www.christianblog.com/content_policy.php#contentabuse]Content Abuse[/url] Section, under either "Trolling" or "Flaming" - depending upon the situation. I have to leave it up to you, the individual member of the ChristianBlog.Com Services, as to the determination of the exact legal interpretation of each of those Policy Sections and if you feel such a situation is applicable to them - as I cannot provide legal council.
John B. Abela
Thanks John for the clarification on my question.