Saturday, April 19, 2008

Roamfree post and comments policy

I cant believe it. I have been deep in business travel. Have taken the long way round to London. As a result I have not had a chance to look at the blog or my timsboot gmail account since Wednesday. It is now Sat Morning UK time and I have discovered 82 comments associated with my post about redundancies at Roamfree. To put this in perspective my post on BAR in the hotel industry was previously the number one commented with less than 10. Most of the comments are informative and insider tips but far too many are just vitriolic rantings. Seems like the post became a defacto message board for the angst being felt by ex-Roamfree staff over the redundancies.

The point of this blog is an industry news source and analysis forum. It is not a place to make personal comments about anyone.

Recently I made comments open precisely because with my travel schedule the delays in approving comments almost negated the reason for having a comments section. As I post this I am going through the comments and deleting a number - almost all those that talked about an individual and their skills, abilities or character. I have kept those that quote public statements of people or express generic comments. Thanks to all the informed commentators and apologies to anyone that saw a comment that they found offensive (that hopefully should now be removed).

Should I revert to having to approve every comment? Let me know if you think a comment that is still there should not be.

23 comments:

Travolution Blogger said...

No, keep it open. can you imagine how frustrated those roamfree people would've been if they couldn't comment? or had to wait a period of time to see how the conversation was flowing. (or in the case of that post, gushing!)

Tim Hughes said...

Kevin - thanks. I think I will keep the comments open but as the same time will take a tough line on deleting anything that criticises an individual. Unfortunately is the safest course.

Anonymous said...

Tim

Are you playing God or what?? I agree that one contributor was way off the beam with his choice of expletives, fair enough for that post to be removed. As for the other posts that you have arbitrarily removed, poor show. Let the people have their say! Are you afraid of civil litigation or something?

Anonymous said...

I agree with comment 3. Yes, some posts add nothing and should be removed, but there is a fine line between moderation and censorship.

The most popular blogs are those who accept and encourage comments/discussion between readers. Check out techcrunch as an example.

Alistair said...

Tim,

I think you should leave them open, you can always remove the ones that you don't feel fit the bill after the fact and in more cases than not, leaving them open will harm no one.

Al.

Tim Hughes said...

To Anon 1 - this is not a message board or an open internet service. This is my Blog. I run it, I own it, it is published under my name. If people want to have their say then they should stick to a message board. I think I should - in fact am probably legally bound - to remove any comments about an individual that are insulting or likely to defame. Is not a question about God or not, but rather a question about what should be the tone of things published on my blog.

Tim Hughes said...

To Anon 2 - I do not think that my removal of an comment that is full or profanity or insulting to an individual can be considered censorship as that commentator (who is usually anonymous) is free to publish there comments anywhere else. I is not like I am a piece of state owned media in Zimbabwe and the only place in which travel industry people can be be heard.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tim, Anon 2 here.

I actually suggested that you remove some of the comments as they added nothing and were abusive in nature and I believe any personal attacks should be removed.

The point I was making is that the current setup is best where comments show automatically and the administrator remains objective and removes only those that are abusive or spam without the net being widened and becoming a net of censorship as opposed to moderation.

I would have thought you would be thrilled at the response you got to the article and would hope for a similar response to future articles?

Tim Hughes said...

@Anon 2 - I agree with you and think I will keep the approach of letting the comments go live and then look at them.

I was thrilled and scared all that same time. Actually jumped out of my seat when I logged on and saw 80 comments. Thrilled because I saw my second and third best traffic days ever. Thrilled because a genuine blog conversation was going on. Scared because I knew that I could not keep some of the comments live on the blog. There one wishing sexual assault on people and others personally attacking people that I don't know. I knew that taking them down would cause a stir but keeping them on the blog was simply not an option.

This post clearly gave Roamfree people a chance to vent their emotions about what would have been a very stressful period. While I would love to continue to be that place I think it is better to keep the BOOT away from attacks on people. I mentioned in an update to the original post that if someone wants to set up a message board for RF people I will happily point to the link (though not endorse the content)

Anonymous said...

Some of my posts have been deleted. They contained no offensive language. They contained no sexual references or content. They contained no defamatory comments. They contained no vitriolic rantings. They only contained facts. My apologies are extended to fellow posters who may have been offended by my remarks.

Tim Hughes said...

Anon 3 - hard to know which comments you refer to as you have chosen to be Anonymous. Posts that said "person x is an idiot" or similar may sound like facts but are still not of the type for this blog.

Anonymous said...

Dear RF ex employees,

while remaining anon can you shed any light as to the internal ventures that are producing money. How did the AAA deal go and is it successful?

Is there GAS thing ever going to ork ?

Is their channel manager still buggy ?

Anonymous said...

Also, who was/is RF looking at purchasing?

Tim Hughes said...

Thanks to the last two Anon commentators. These are exactly the types of questions and comments that I would hope form part of analysis and discussion on this blog. As to the answers - dont know...

Anonymous said...

Yes it was successful.

No it is not buggy.

Anonymous said...

and before i was removed, there were a few plans though revealing those would point to who i am, so just stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

according to your posts and those of others many plans where not placed into action... how would you know these wont fall by the wayside as well ?

Anonymous said...

i can't really give much detail as i said before it would point to who i am. Though some plans were put by the way side as others were seen as more financially viable, as in all business.

You see a better idea so all your other ideas go to the "to-do" list.

The idea's coming up are included in the "better ideas" group.

Macca said...

I think it's fascinating to see the difference between such close attention being paid to a travel specific blog and no comments on a traditional "news" story covering the same events...

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,20797,23561746-3122,00.html

Anonymous said...

i can tell you USA will not happen as we where asked to give a reference

ironflex said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

What to keep and what to throw away can be a challenge. I think it is important to delete the comments where people are getting personal and attacking the audience and the blogger. If they just express themselves differently, without personal attacks, maybe ok. But it is your blog.