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Comments vs Forums on F4A

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We are at a crossroads when it comes to allowing comments on the site for each news article. We encourage you to read the item below and share your thoughts and suggestions afterwards.

Based on the poll in the top right, its a 50/50 split on the use of Forums vs Comments. The F4A Forums are hardly used, but attract spam registrations at the rate of around 100 per day, and so are time consuming to maintain despite the lack of actual postings.

Some would say the forums aren’t used much because comments are being used instead (a chicken and egg scenario). That argument confirms that comments are the easier and more convenient method people are taking, and thats what we have been trying to encourage, open conversation and debate around Futsal. Having to click to go to another area to read discussion on a topic will immediately reduce participation significantly as the majority of people simply won’t do that.

Prior to F4A being established, there were very few places to discuss our sport and what was available was highly specific to each state (see the Forums section on our links page). Allowing debate to cross state and country lines was a factor in enabling comments. Allowing people to comment on controversial topics was also a factor.

The ability to use aliases, whilst havings its downsides, also increases the amount of discussion, as being anonymous has that effect. One of our previous Futsal Polls specifically asked about the use of Aliases (check out the polls archive). 54% said no aliases, 46% said yes to aliases. Maybe we put that poll up again after the recent debate.

Overall, 98% of the > 5200 comments on this site are fine, and self moderated by many people (there is no swear word filter, people are putting the *’s in themselves). Putting it in context we have an average of 1000-1200 visits from people per day.

Another point raised in the comments is the one “We should put a good face on our sport so new people aren’t disturbed by what they read“. Why? If that is what people in our sport do (show their ugly side), then why shouldn’t it be reflected here warts and all. F4A was not created to only ever show the positive side of the sport. As per our stated goal “This site has been put together with the view of becoming a one stop shop for Futsal News, Events and Discussion within Australia and New Zealand”. We will publish the good and the bad. Our sport has divisions, and likely will always have divisions, lets not kid ourselves regarding this and F4A shouldn’t just gloss over this fact either.

In terms of forcing people to register before commenting, and having F4A verify the user first, its not a foolproof method. F4A isn’t in a position to be able to verify a users identity any more than any other user on the site is able to. i.e. If Joe Blogs registers, says he is Joe Bloggs, and emails from jblogs@hotmail.com, it could still be a fake account set up for the purposes of registering for comments.

At this point in time comments will likely stay but with additional moderation and possibly registration (up for debate).

So moving forward, we have a few options :

  • Comments will be allowed, but will be moderated to stay on-topic to the News article they are connect to.
  • Possibly force registration to allow comment posting, but allow aliases. 99.9% of forums/discussion sites on the internet allow aliases. 
  • People who repeatedly try to take things off topic will be banned from the site entirely after two warnings.
  • Any new discussion will be directed to the Forums. Forums will be upgraded and a seperate moderator/admin will keep things in check there.

Feel free to discuss/suggest/flame these ideas below…

Comments 12

  1. I guess since I have contributed to the start of this topic, I will add my 2 cents worth.

    I understand showing ‘warts and all’ and the ugly face of this sport, however, defaming ppl as a result of this is not necessary, dont forget these are just the ‘opinions’ of ppl, there is always another side to a story. One can debate a topic, yes its a free country, but seeing some of the comments regarding coaches, refs and the players in general is quite demoralising. Giving your opinion about the strategic side of a game or ways to improve it is one thing. This is called constructive criticism. Personal attacks is not. If one has a personal agenda against someone they should take it up personally, not on these forums. What ever happened to diplomacy?

    Also, many of the ppl who have been victimised, coaches and players alike, have contributed many unpaid hours trying to make it work. What ever happened to gratitude?

    Information is power, defamation is not!

    I think this forum is great, I have certainly learnt alot thus far, however, am saddened that the minority use it for the wrong reasons.

    This is the opinion of a mother who enjoys the sport and hopes it to get bigger and better in years to come!

    KEEP FUTSAL FUN!!!!

  2. I think some of the problem with people commenting on news stories and not using the forums is that the “recent comments” are displayed quite prominently on the right side bar. If you removed this feature from the website, I think most discussion would be driven back to the forums.
    I also think that people should have to register and be logged in before they can comment on stories, this would allow you to monitor more accurately who is posting.
    The other thing I have had experience with is the spam registrations issue, to fix this problem it should be as simple as adding another module to your registration form.
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/sabre/

  3. Personal abuse, or defammatory remarks should lead to immediate suspension from the site.
    Comments that go off topic should be removed.
    No swearing.
    A more rigid form of registration for users would be desirable.
    I don’t like aliases and have never used one on any forum to which I’ve contributed. The majority or users posting under aliases do behave themselves however too many people take advantage of their “anonymity” to slander all and sundry. Freedom of speech is not about being able to concoct fairy stories and rants about someone you have a grudge against.

  4. I agree also , at the same time personal attacks from a member of the stand in committe and a club official on Facebook is not on.If we want the sport to go forward these people should lead by example.mseeto, frank and the other members of the stand in commitee need to look into this incident as its not a good look for the game.
    Also the Benfica club needs to have a chat to this individual as he has lowered the clours of his club.
    If we are not going to get serious on that level then the sport has no chance!

  5. Hmm, I’m a little lost here? Where did the Benfica individual use this forum to indulge in a personal attack or abuse of anyone? Rather, another contributor aired a private issue between a club and player on this forum for his own reasons. Instead of the person from Benfica being dragged over the coals maybe All Stars might like to ask a few questions of the person from their club; like what business is it of his?
    This is yet another example of someone using the forum to carry out a personal agenda. The last post from Let’s Get Serious has nothing at all to do with this topic either.
    In my opinion the whole post regarding the Benfica/Player issue should be removed from the forum.

  6. Great work Futsal4allAdmin for removing comments unrelated to the topics, you are commended!

  7. I think you will get more officials commenting and providing information on this website if the personal abuses from contributors hiding behind an alias were stopped.

  8. I think there will be a lot less usage of the comments if the anonymity is taken away, as people need to vent and get things out.
    Something which cannot always be done under their own name, because some clubs and officials are that vindictive that they take it out on the children that are playing.
    Taking it to the club heirachy does nothing either. Look at the mother who followed a player(into the dressing room apparently) to abuse her for injuring her daughter during a game.
    That is child abuse(as the player was U16).
    What happens to that parent SFA?

  9. Should identity features be activated you’ll find anonymity will still remain. The futsal commmunity will still voice their opionions whether good or bad and should be allowed to do so.

    The forums are purpose fit for discussions and conversations and are moderated regulary. Lets use them.

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