A few words on rating comments at Bleeding Heartland

The past few days have been intense for candidates and their advocates, and unfortunately we’ve run into some problems with how comments at Bleeding Heartland are rated.

I take part of the blame for not posting clear guidelines on this subject before now.

You don’t have to rate comments (my personal style is to be sparing in handing out ratings), but if you do, you can give five possible ratings.

“4” is for excellent. That means the comment has valuable insight, original information or analysis, and makes a strong contribution to dialogue at Bleeding Heartland.

“3” is for good. You might use this if you largely agree with someone’s comment, but not with every point he or she makes.

“2” is for marginal. You might use this if you strongly disagree with the content of someone’s comment. Also, a 2 rating could be a “shot across the bow” to warn someone that the line of argument in the comment didn’t do much to advance dialogue here, or comes close to crossing a line.

“1” is for unproductive. If you not only strongly disagree with a comment, but feel that it detracts from the atmosphere here (for instance, because it is disrespectful or contains ad hominem attacks), you might give it a 1.

“0” is for troll. If more than one user gives a comment a zero, it will be hidden so that some Bleeding Heartland readers cannot see it.

Never use a zero rating to express disagreement with the argument someone is making. That is ratings abuse, and if you do it repeatedly, Bleeding Heartland administrators will either take away your ability to rate comments or potentially ban you from posting here.

A zero rating should be reserved for extreme circumstances, when the comment deserves to be hidden. For instance, if someone is impersonating someone else by choosing a different real person’s name as a screen name (for instance, if I signed up as “Leonard Boswell” and posted ridiculous comments pretending to come from him).

Comments that use racist or otherwise bigoted language also would merit a zero.

Trying to expose the real names of Bleeding Heartland users who choose to write under screen names will not be tolerated either.

Slanderous, ad hominem attacks could get a zero rating too, but be careful not to accuse other posters of slander just because you disagree with their point of view or interpretation of events.  

  • Thanks

    Thank you for posting this.  Is there a way to ensure that new users see this information right away when they register?

    I’ll try to be more careful with my own ratings and get out of the bad habit of rating at extremes to balance out other extreme ratings.  There are a lot of blogs I’ve been to where the only way to keep things at a reasonable level was to rate at the maximum or minimum.

    • I should add...

      It’s good to see that it’s not the case here that extreme ratings are necessary, and that there’s a fairly decent level of civility in most cases.

    • I will ask the blog administrator

      if there is a way to make these guidelines more visible.

  • Sock puppets

    …are severely screwing with the ratings right now.  I’m seeing a lot of ratings from users that only registered very recently and have absolutely no comments.

    Is it possible to grant the ability to rate comments to users only after a certain amount of time has passed or comments have been made?

  • ratings

    I agree that the ratings are being misused. Several of my comments have been hidden–and I really think that I have been reasonable. I know I haven’t been a contributer for very long. I wouldn’t care if I couldn’t rate comments. I just don’t want mine being unfairly hidden.  

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