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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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…