Today I received a comment from Manda who was kind enough to offer her advice in running this blog. I did not post her comment immediately because I wanted to have a chance to read it and write a response. Following is her comment:
Manda has left a new comment on your post "Not Sure What To Do Here Folks!":
I Guess We Have Nothing Better To Do, I have to ask: Do you get it now? Do you understand why GWoP may be selective about comment moderation? The comments showing up in your queue and making it to the posts are exactly why GWoP moderates so heavily. Search through their comments and find one instance of this type of poster bashing. You may find "I disagree", "I strongly disagree", even an "I hate to tell you but..." or “Are you serious?” but you will not find this type of childish nonsense in the comments. What part of this is at all about Jon and Kate and their show and the issues on the show? I see nothing but hateful attacks of other posters and websites. For instance, the “All Aboard” post, you get very little commentary on the show, but for the most part it’s people talking about GWoP comments and posts and ripping them to shreds! Did you want to start a blog to talk about the positives of the show, or was it just a guise for people to be able to come here and bash GWoP posters and others who do not agree with Jon and Kate's show? GWoP is not about attacking another posters views, and you know, I honestly believe that is what you attempted here also. But it's like a snowball effect; you let one in and before you know it every post disintegrates into why the poster is such a horrid person, horrid parent, the state of that poster's marriage, or challenging how another poster would handle a certain situation since most certainly they "don't have 8 KIDS!!! 8 KIDS, people!!!".
GWoP started out not allowing any comments that even hint at veering off into that direction, even if it contained otherwise relevant commentary, and they have stayed true to that commitment. There are a number of things taken into consideration when moderating comments, as you evidently are starting to realize. GWoP has NO PROBLEM publishing comments that defend Jon and Kate as long as they are well constructed, mature and not taking the opportunity to be rude and condescending to another poster for their views. That means posts that name a specific blog editor, call out a specific commenter or addressing "You people...", as in "You people who sit around and think about this all day are crazy. Why can't you do something better with your time?" are not allowed. Also, a comment that would come to GWoP and say, for instance, “Did you see what those loons over at ___(fill in blank with any random Gosselin support site)_____ said? I’ll bet that site ___(fill in the blank with any random bash session about other site)_____.” It’s irrelevant to GWoP’s purpose, unprofessional, immature and it is simply not going to be tolerated. Again, find one place where GWoP has allowed such bashing of an entire website, even if it disagrees with their POV, much less an individual poster. GWoP is above that, and quite simply put, defend Jon and Kate all you want and sing their praises as much as you can, but when you scrape the bottom of that barrel and have no where else to go, GWoP will not allow you to personally attack the administrators, moderators, or the audience, on either side. Sorry if that offends. Believe it or not, comments attacking the fans and followers of J&K have been and are denied just as quickly as the ones who attack the "racists/stalkers/hypocrites/sanctimonious gasbags/haters", as people here so eloquently categorize those who are critical of Jon and Kate. On the other hand, you also won't find a ton of 'high 5's' and "ITA" posts that add nothing substantial to the discussion. The people whose posts make it through on GWoP have taken their time to carefully construct their posts or comments and don’t deserve to be subjected to that type of juvenile behavior. And, honestly? It's boring.
So, good luck with your site here, I Guess We Have Nothing Better To Do. I am only speaking for myself, but I wish you nothing but success. It just seems you are in the process of learning a very valuable lesson that maybe GWoP already knew going into their venture. To run a successful blog takes heavy, levelheaded moderation and it can't be a free-for-all situation. It is YOUR blog. Take control of it. Set a standard as the rule maker and stand by it. If it ticks off people from either side who only want to hurl insults at other posters for their views and run it into the ground as a hate-filled site, then eventually the riff-raff will find another corner to hang out on and that’s just quicker you guys can get down to business maturely discussing the positives of the show you seemed to initially want to highlight.
If GWoP had not taken that approach it would have self-destructed within 2 weeks.
Did you want to start a pro-Gosselin site or anti-GWoP site? By virtue of the fact you seemingly mirrored this site off Gosselins Without Pity, i.e., Gosselins Don’t Need Our Pity, right down to the email you created parodying the administrators own, “ninabell”, in deference to your audience, I can almost see where they may think it could be a forum where anything goes in bashing GWoP, and if that was your intention, then lie in the bed you made for yourself with it. Otherwise, it may be a little too late to change course and suddenly try to make it something it never really could be in the first place, a happy Utopian Gosselin Is Love Land where everyone sits around playing Duck-Duck-Goose, lamenting over laundry and sharing organic recipes with one another.
Following is my response:
Thank you so much for your thoughtful letter and your desire to educate me as well as put me in my place. It is very much appreciated and maybe we could have coffee sometime because I can tell we would quickly become great friends. I originally thought that you were a representative of GWoP but we cleared that up today when you responded with – “I am not one of the administrators of the blog. I have on occasion submitted recaps and comments (and comments that have been REJECTED, thank you very much). I do know a couple of the editors and administrators there and they saw my comment I sent to you before I submitted it to you and by the feedback I received were in full support of it.”
Let’s discuss some issues you brought up. Do I get what now? Do I get the fact that GWoP moderates and rejects most posts that are positive about the Jon and Kate plus 8 show ? Until recently, they were very hard to find. Can I find instances of poster bashing? Probably not and I am surely not going to take the time to look. However there have been hundreds of posts of Jon and Kate bashing and many far worse than what you see here. Could you tell me what the difference is? What gives you the right to dissect, pick apart and attempt to destroy every aspect of their life as you do so well. A human being is a human being and we all deserve respect.
I respectfully disagree with your take on GWoP when you say they “have no problem publishing comments that defend Jon and Kate as long as they are well constructed, mature and not taking the opportunity to be rude and condescending to another poster for their views.” To be honest with you, that is one of quite a few reasons why I started this blog. Because I could not get one comment posted unless I agreed with them. And at times I do. Every single one of my comments that were in agreement with GWoP was posted. Every single one. Not one of my comments with a different point of view made it. Are my comments only constructive, mature and respectful when I have the same opinion?
Maybe one of the problems with the inconsistency with posting comments on that site is having quite a few moderators. One of the moderators who has visited here lately has said herself on this very site, “We do have several mods and we each see things our own way. What one of us can see as fine and inoffensive, others can see another way. I'm tough on profanity and others don't even blink at it. That's just being different people.” So I wonder how much they really have this down to exact science as you say. However, I really do appreciate all of your suggestions on moderating and will definitely take them into consideration since you have so much experience in that area. Oh, that’s right, you are not one of the administrators there (but it sure seems like you would jump at the chance to be one.) I also would like to note that I have a lot of respect for the moderator that I quoted. She is a good example of the fair and balanced discussion that I look forward to having here.
I am not a Jon and Kate defender or lover. If you have read any of my posts you will see that I just really enjoy the show. Many of the other people who hang around here are not pro or anti- Gosselin. They also just enjoy the show. This blog is for entertainment purposes only. We have no goal or mission statement other than to have an opportunity to discuss openly and intelligently the show and the ISSUES surrounding the show. People from GWoP somehow have the impression that this blog was started to just discuss what happens in each episode. Sorry, you do not tell us what we discuss or blog about. Yes, we might discuss GWoP because that would come under "issues surrounding the show." And at times we intend to have some fun. You will see that in my polls. Sometimes that might be at the expense of GWoP but it will never be at the expense of the Gosselin family.
You are right, it is my blog. BUT this is not my life. If it self –destructs in 2 weeks, so be it. Life goes on. Also, this is not a pro-Gosselin site. This site was NEVER intended to be a happy “ Utopian Gosselin Is Love Land” whatever the hell you said. But heaven forbid if we have some fun over here. Heaven forbid if I try to post some family pet pictures or some good books I read. We have a war and an economy to worry about. Do we really need to take on the Gosselin family?
I would also like it not to be an anti-GWoP site but I would like to have fair discussions with people from that site that have different opinions than mine. I think it is called open mindedness. That was another reason I started this site. To have a balanced discussion. I don’t believe that happens there. I am willing to post articles with views from both sides. I am not sure they are.
Finally, Manda my dear, Nina Bell was my grandmother’s name and also the name of my 1958 Buick Century. The reason I bought the car was because my grandparents use to have one and would let me drive it. I use Nina Bell as a user name quite often in my life because it brings back memories that are dear to me. Honestly, I didn’t even see Serena’s e-mail address. She just posts as serena. But even if I had, I would have still used Nina Bell. And the name of the website – this is America isn’t it?
As a side note a poster left this comment for Sharla-
"Since you're here, would you address the moderating policy over at GWoP? It seems to have been the experience of a number of posters here that they had perfectly civil posts rejected, presumably for being insufficiently anti-Gosselin."
And Manda responded with this:
I'm not Sharla, but I posted a very succint explanation to this today that would have cleared up much of this confusion but your admin here chose not to publish it.
August 7, 2008 6:48 PM