We are reviewing our commenting policy and want your feedback

We are reviewing our commenting policy and want your feedback

We are reviewing how we present readers’ comments – and we want your feedback.

The comments you make on our articles are an important part of how this website is perceived.

So, we would like you to give us your views now on any improvements you think could be made to the quality and presentation of comments.

Some websites that employ significantly more staff than this one have fulltime designated people “moderating” the comment stream. These people read the comments as they come in – before they are published – and decide whether they are appropriate to be published on the website.

Comments that are not seen as appropriate may be “spiked” by the moderator before they ever see the light of day.

We don’t like that approach. It almost looks like censorship. And pre-moderating slows the discussion down.

We like to think that our readers are always looking to make comments and remarks that add to the debate.

But, we will always reserve our right to remove from articles comments that we think don’t add to the quality of the debate or become unduly negative or critical. Likewise we will reserve the right to bar people from making comments.

We want to have the most intelligent and articulate – but still robust – commenting of any New Zealand website. We will be taking all your views on board with a view to refining our comments policy.

At the end of that process we will be coming out with a definitive new policy to cover all those commenting on our site. So, please do give us your views now.

Either comment in the usual fashion on this article, or if you wish you can send your feedback to me directly at: david.chaston@interest.co.nz

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

57 Comments

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Count me as happy with how things currently stand. Our community of commenters are on average:

  • intelligent
  • funny
  • civil
  • representative of a wide range of views

 
While I obviously epitomise these attributes you outliers are not so out there that I can't live with you.
 
What makes this community work is the speed with which we interact so I vote against any procedural change that slows things down.

I think it's great - don't change it.
 
I particularly like how the columnists engage in banter with the regulars.
 
I don't like the NBR and how it has to be approved and moderated.  Namely because the NBR is in the pocket of many of the companies they write about (my opinion only) which means they don't let the comment debate be as free as it otherwise might be.
 
I personally think interest.co.nz is the best financial and economic news source in NZ.

I think it's pretty good as it is now.
 
Possibly some way to improve the threading of conversations could be a nice improvement. For example when there is a first level comment A, then a reply to it, say AA, then replies to that comment, AAA, AAB, AAC, ... AAJ, then a second person replies to the original comment A, creating AB, it can be tricky to follow from AA to AB because there are a zillion comments (AAA-AAJ) in between at possibly different depths.  ie, it's presently displayed depth first.  Maybe some way of collapsing the 'branches' could be nice - eg. if I don't want to read all the replies to AA, then I can collapse them down and so then I see the list A, AA, AB presented.  Hope this makes sense. :-)
 

A?

Agree with Kumbel - I like the way it works now. I never post on and rarely read those sites that have pre-post moderation (and hence a delay).
 
One thing I do wish one could do here is find/search all posts (in date order, most recent post first) by username. 

+ 1

Leave well alone. It aint broke.

The reply link and search enhancments cover my thoughts precisely. The timeliness and quality of some comments here make this site. 

moderation - Is alright so long as it's overt and not covert - do it openly - and say so
 
BusinessSpectator operates a pre-publication moderation. In the initial years I would post the occasional (un-controversial) comment. Rarely ever did they get published. Nearly always suppressed. The only time my posts were accepted was when they supported the proprietors hot-topic hot-button bias. Which then raised the question - how many others were getting supressed. What arent we seeing. Are we being manipulated. Then in 2008 when the Labor Government proposed an MRRT tax, Gottliebsen publicly supported (in print) Mitch Hooke the front-person for the Minerals Council (lobby group) who violently opposed the tax. They ran a $100 million negative-campaign against it. BusinessSpectator never once published a counter-balancing view and censored (suppressed) all comments that supported it. Thats when I discovered and came over to interest.co.nz

Interest does not have the huge readership needed to sustain viable crowd moderation of comments. As it is a fresh, frequent news site, the comments let interested people add context in a rapidly moving news stream. Heavier moderation would risk loosing the good with the bad. 
There does also seem to be an evolution where some commentators work up to writing full guest articles on topics they are interested in, you probably wouldn't have got that if people had been less engaged in the comments.
There are a few mechanical issues with they way many deep comments display within a fixed width area & similar. But on the whole I can't see the advantages in dramatic changes.

how about a word count limit per post - so we dont have to wade through screeds of mind numbing blurb from hugh!?

Word limit is good.  But on the other hand it is sort of self limiting anyway.  I don't think I have ever got more than 10% of the way into a Hugh post.
Premoderation just messes up all the interesting things.  It takes the edge off completely.
Removal of posts for abuse.  Yes.  And even more than now.

A way to alleviate long comments interrupting the flow is do what many other platforms do and only display maximum first 100 odd words and have a 'read more' button. 

Perhaps something along the lines of Reddits comenting system, where irrelevent coments have less visibilty and those considered important get more weighting. Comments are upvoted/downvoted.

some of the best comments here are overlooked by most.....lets not turn this into the format of the daily mail comments!!

It is fine how it is.  Even if I mutter sometimes about some of the comments :-)

Leave it be, might not be perfect but nothing is.

change...so ok a word limit...and a rant rule...and more cartoons!
Pity the best of the best are tossed out....have a special basket of the best.

It is important that, somewhere in NZ, we have an unfettered forum. The mainstream media should be doing the job, but are failing. That leaves sites like this, and it's an important job.
 
Folk who peruse, will fall into two categories; those who want their preconceptions reinforced, and those who are willing to think and learn, sans emotion/baggage. The first are not worth catering to, the latter need to be able to discuss, robustly and without censure.
 
Perhaps the length thing (I don't mind length, if it has content) could have a 'more' fold at a certain point, but it's not a biggie. And I think the slanging is acceptably-managed - those who come here with thinking ability, can see bombast for what it is, and rate the bombastards accordingly.                             :)
 
 

Agree, especially in the field of economics/finance, and one thats not censored politically...already have lots of those....and one constant view point isnt much use.
regards

Please leave the comment stream exactly how it is, sometimes I find the discussion at the bottom of articles more informative than the articles themselves, not criticising the quality of the reporting but obviously your poor understaffed reporting team don't have the time to research stories to the enth degree and can't possibly be experts in every aspect of the subject they are following. If you want to change something a spell check would be a useful enhancement. Cheers and keep up the good work.

I detect a few holes in curd in the making of the above comment, but I guess that's the whey of it.   :)

Bingo, thumbs up for that one Cheese. Only one I would always read would be the 90@9. everything else I scan before heading to the comments, which is what I really want to read and where the treasures usually lie.

The comments stream is one of the two main reasons I visit the site- the much appreciated and generally good articles are mainly catalysts to start the conversation. The comments it seems to me are a pretty good discipline on the article writers, who no doubt know any logical or factual flaws are going to get challenged, so for the most part the articles are well based. (And those that are not are good fun). As others have noted above, the instant speed and feedback of the process is essential. I assume your concerns are defamation, abusive language, quality of conversation, relevance and interest to other visitors. Am not sure which ones concern you most. Defamation is presumably the one that gets your lawyer interested; although I rarely see anything here that threatens that.
A reasonable length limiter would probably be good for me; if there's a long way and a short way to say something, I often choose the long one. Occasionally though there does seem the need to really go to town on a subject.
The losing of what you have written because of the time out can be very frustrating; not sure if you can put a warning up or a save option up.
Some feedback that comments, or commenters, are either apparently very interesting- different to being liked-  or in fact boring the pants off people, would be useful to see. Not sure if you have any mechanisms to measure that. You presumably have our email addresses if there are concerns either way.
Keep up the good work.
 

"The losing of what you have written because of the time out can be very frustrating; not sure if you can put a warning up or a save option up."
Absolutely.
 
I like the idea of being able to vote negatively in some differentiated way, maybe as follows: diasagree with; badly expressed; insulting; boring; off topic; too long. It's a thought anyway.

They need a bigger server or split off aplications, though its not been as bad lately, maybe they have.
regards

I do like the comment stream on interest.co. Often the specific backgound of the commenters is very helpful.
 
I have a few niggles that may or may not be fixable. First, I am thin skinned, so I get very put off when people attack me. Second, I quite often express things in an inappropriate manner. Third, I usually spot a missed word, or spelling mistake after I have posted. Fourth, some commenters irritate me. Not sure why these things happen or what can be done but any help is much appreciated....

The mix should be tinkered with carefully as the dynamics that make the site work could be lost.
I'd rather see no changes than lose what has been built up.
regards

Give Wally back his name. The cad that purloined it has never used it. And limit steven to only 1000 posts per day.

Not sure about everyone else but my login never gets remembered and I don't get notified of replies to my comments. Otherwise it's pretty good.

good idea
 

I'd like to be able to upvote a comment without needing to log in.
 
It would be nice to be able to sort comments on an article in order of most liked (with the default view being the current one).

how would you stop 1 person voting 100 times? or say 5,  100 times each?
The problem I have with the upticks is I dont think they are very positive and useful as they dont add to the quality and depth of the discusion..but no biggee.
 
 

Keep it as it is. Otherwise the conversation tends to get steered towards what the moderator will allow thru, not what really needs to be said.
Or,
Maybe have a three stike rule, where your email and IP address gets sent to a spam email data bank somewhere in the depths of China/Russia if you keep crossing the collective boundary. At least then you'll be able to console yourself with the box loads of penis pumps coming (sic) your way on those lonely blogless nights.

 
I think comments policy is good as it is. As long as nobody threatens physical violence of any degree. Robust debate of a wide source of information is the very heart of democracy. Remaining how it is, is the only way to be one of very few that can seriously claim not able to be captured by vested interests to become just another indoctrination platform, but a comfortable place to increase the sum total knowledge of wider society.
The comments that cant hold the interest of the forum suffer a natural moderation by way of falling through the cracks. The thumbs up I take note of at present to decide what I might view when not having much time.
A search facility that you can type in commenters name and it will come up with a list of their comments in order of most recent by date and  which also displays heading of the post to which they were made.
 

Click on the users name, then the Track tab, I think you will find what you want.

A way to alleviate long comments interrupting the flow is do what many other platforms do and only display maximum first 100 odd words and have a 'read more' button. 

How about a breath alcohol limit? By the nature of comments on occasions they must be pissed. But then so am I from time to time :-)
 
Seriously though, this forum is probably about as good as it is going to get given human nature. Tamper at your peril I would say David as there really is no where else to go should this decay.

I agree with what everyone is saying - Leave it alone.
 
Bernard gets a very hard time so maybe we should go easy on him.
 

One of the better forums - a wide range of what seem to be considered opinions

Having a spell check would be fantqstic! I totally enjoy the forum and try and read what other posters have to say everyday. The links to articles posted by other posters has been sometimes astonishing.
 
It would be good to be able to post pictures and cartoons. I have never been offended or greatly anoyed by what anybody on Interest rates dot co has ever said, and have been regularly enlightened Well done you lot- this is a fantastic site- IMO the best on the Internet! I love it the way it is.

I think it's great - don't change it.
 
I particularly like how the columnists engage in banter with the regulars.
 
I don't like the NBR and how it has to be approved and moderated.  Namely because the NBR is in the pocket of many of the companies they write about (my opinion only) which means they don't let the comment debate be as free as it otherwise might be.
 
I personally think interest.co.nz is the best financial and economic news source in NZ.

Leave as is. I get infuriated, entertained and informed in equal measure. 
 
As far as abuse goes there are a few repeat offenders on the site that need to recognise the difference between stupidity and a difference of opinion.  I.e. just cause I don't agree with you doesn't mean I'm stupid or don't understand what your saying. 

I think the current system is fine, though I do wonder why you can't make the 'indented reply' or 'sequential with link to up comment' a user specific option with and override on each article, which would keep everyone happy, 

Is this a bring back Spondre campaign...? ah those were the days eh..!, niggly journos taking one for the team arrive back at base to share the niggle, determine infringements upon sub judice...and generally warn people for not being ................nice.
 You have a rare and good thing here David, to a certain extent self regulates well, and as and when lines a crossed a simple poke back in the right direction usually suffices....so what's the problem...?
 It's that bloody Dunne isn't it..? using his fleeting portfolio to pressure you to ban me for saying things about his hair,  his disposition, and level of trustworthyness....well he's done David..dunne's done , cooked, like a turkey at thanksgiving....looose lips, gobble gooble.
No me ol chum you get a good rap from a lot of young readers I know ,who don't post here, but love a read warts n all.....and of course a little education along the way.
 P.S. give Wally his name back.....I think it a good idea too..! 

We want to have the most intelligent and articulate – but still robust – commenting of any New Zealand website. We will be taking all your views on board with a view to refining our comments policy.
Hey, just a minute there David.....dyslexia's not a crime you know, if it were, you could lynch half your posters.....besides, never slowed me down any in business....or ,come to think of it Bernard, as I'm sure you will appreciate , the duty of care door should swing both ways in the interests of intelligent, articulate , accurate, reporting...or theorising.
I'm thinking Stephen H could get a mite lonely here if that's your model.

It's great how it is. I've even changed my opinions on some things from well argued comments.

Suggesting a new policy:
 
Comments will only be published by people who provide an full and identifiable name.
 
This will hold liars to account - and do wonders for getting rid of the junk commentary that readers otherwise have to wade through. In a lot of forums I give up looking for what could be good content for the wake of rubbish coming from poorly considered opinions and sometimes "invented" facts. It will also cut down on abusive comments.
 
This is not censorship - it's transparency. Freedom of speech? Sure. But not freedom to hide behind anonymous, please.

I like the fact that it is unmoderated and instant.  I can just write "poo bums!" and there it is.
Pseudonyms should be kept.   Yes, they can be a cloak for dribbllingly inarticulate trolls, but those guys are generally hoist by their own petard soon enough.   If you want to have an opinion on something without getting your employer unnecessarily into the mix, then a pseudonym allows you to do that.    An alternative is to put a long disclaimer at the end of a post, but that's just silly.  

Pseudonoms are good. Some people might work in industries where they couldn't otherwise post so freely.

I am okay with the present comments format , it enables me too see what people really think about current events as they unfold .
When KIWI's verbally tell you what they think, they are much more PC, often saying what they think you would like to hear . 
I am happy to use either  my real name or a psuedonym.

apart from a heavy dose of Maltusianism affecting some contributions regardless of topic,  by and large the current system is working well. But is  the free- for- all putting off your getting a sponsor  for 10 at 10 ....!

Interest.co.nz is reviewing its commenting policy and wants its commentors to give their opinions.
I think the comments section of the website is the embarrassing part of the website. Too often - not always - its filled with people banging on in their limited way about their pet issues all the time. Unrelentingly so. And almost always under the cloak of anonimity.
Nothing much intelligent about a lot of the comments on the site that I see. And very few of the commentator's minds are changed in the course of a debate too, I reckon. Instead, most people just dig in.
There are certainly some informative and intelligent articles on the site, and some similar bloggers here too, but sadly, when I see most people's name I immediately know exactly what point they will be making.
Boring! And not at all enlightening. If I want intelligent comment on economic matters I certainly don't go to interest.co.nz
My suggestion is limit people's number of posts. Please.
No doubt some here will be grumpy about my comments but I suggest to them that the bosses at interest.co.nz must be concerned about the image the site has if they are thinking about its content.
I am not totally negative about the comments stream though. As a chit-chat place for relatively impoverised cynics, this site is brilliant.

you don't have to read the comments.

YLandlord " I certainly don't go to interest.co.nz"  so which NZ site do you go to then?
 

@ Your Landlord
You say
If I want intelligent comment on economic matters I certainly don't go to interest.co.nz
Click on your name and it will go to your Profile, then click on track an look back at your comments
 

With mainstream media now being censured there is less and less opportunity for the freedom of speech of the individual. This site has been available to the individual to voice their views (right or wrong) and everything possible should be done to protect that right. Interest.co keep up the good work.