Comments in Pre-Moderation – The saga continues…

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So the story so far…  The Guardian has started pre-moderating my comments after I was flagged as a risk to their ‘comment community’ over two apparently innocuous comments about articles by Laura Bates.  So… for as long as this ‘temporary measure’ is in place, I’ve committed to adding at least one comment a day and document what is and isn’t deemed acceptable…


EiB: I thought I’d take a little break this week and see if I got a response from the Reader’s Editor… no response whatsover… and I’m still getting the special moderation treatment, so…. I’ve decided to change my approach…

All will be revealed in good time… 

I did a few quick replies to comments about Laura Bates’ latest masterwork which all got approved in real time.  I’ll have a few comments of my own tomorrow….



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So Readers Editor says not their problem and sends me back to moderation team: I replied to clarify that moderation have already ignore / dismissed my complaint but no response so far…

A quick google does establish that reader’s editor who ‘is not involved in moderation’ does tend spend a lot of time talking about it, for example here  and here 

and here 

and here 

and here

and here and here  and here  


EIB: So the Reader’s editor won’t hear my complaint and has just referred it back to the moderator… Quis custodiet ipsos custodes indeed?


Dear EiB,

Thank you for your email. The readers’ editor primarily deals with complaints about Guardian articles, and is not involved in moderation. You should get in touch with the moderators directly, however I will pass your email on to them for you in this instance.

I have also copied some information about commenting, that we send out to people asking this office about moderation.

Best wishes
Anna Clarke
Readers’ editor’s office



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EiB: Today EYE submitted my equal opportunity complaint to the reader’s editor…

EYE also tried yesterday’s comment again but this time without the link to my blog post that proves Toksvig’s claims about equal pay are extremely questionable and this time it was…




Article: This week in feminist news

So Sandi has decided to stop smugly sniping from the sidelines and enter the murky arena of politics eh? Mind you her plan to push for equal representation for women in mainstream politics by starting her own ‘womans party’ sounds a lot like smugly sniping from the sidelines as apposed to getting properly stuck in….

Still it would be nice if she could commit enough time to get her facts right before claiming there is a massive part-time wage gap…


EiB: I’m getting bored now.


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No submission today, instead let me tell you about the outcome of the complaint I submitted to the moderation team.  You can read the full exchange here but in summary they essentially stonewalled my attempt to submit a complaint under the Guardian’s equal opportunity policy.

Instead they focused on attempting to justify censoring one of my submissions on day 20 by suggesting that…

Comments such as:
‘Dr Martin, are you aware of any research to establish if there is evidence of direct sex discrimination arising from the way moderators currently moderate?’

which break point 8 of the community standards:

8. Keep it relevant. We know that some conversations can be wide-ranging, but if you post something which is unrelated to the original topic (“off-topic”) then it may be removed, in order to keep the thread on track. This also applies to queries or comments about moderation, which should not be posted as comments.

So the article was considering why Up to 80% of comments on some news sites are left by men.  You can read the article and judge for yourself but I’m satisfied my question was entirely on topic and I think the moderation team’s perception of things was quite telling…

Your comment was made in an article regarding extreme sexist abuse against women on social networks [bit of a loaded interpretation to say the least] The Guardian’s moderation policy is completely off topic in the context of this discussion. [Except I didn’t mention The Guardian or their moderation policy]

If the topic was the Guardian’s moderation policy or even a discussion about comment moderation in general your comment may have been kept, however that is not the topic of this article [except it kind’ve was] and in this case your comment was off topic.

To be continued…


EiB: 2 more approved comments and another change of gear.  I’ve mailed the moderation team to establish how I complain…


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Article: women-are-silenced-online-just-as-in-real-life-it-will-take-more-than-twitter-to-change-that

Dr Martin, are you aware of any research to establish if there is evidence of direct sex discrimination arising from the way moderators currently moderate?


EiB: EYE also did a quick reply to this guys comment…

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EiB: This guy also replied but his comment was removed..
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EiB: Meanwhile although mine initially slipped thru moderation but then creepily it was later unceremoniously stuffed down the memory hole without so much as a censors footprint left to remember it by… I guess the Guardian doesn’t do irony…

Reply to davidabsalom:

Ignorance is Strength

War is Peace

Comment is Free



EiB: Good news, improving trends all round.  My EYEisBlocked comments haven’t been removed and today’s EYEisBloke efforts all went thru almost instantly, well with one exception which I can forgive as being not entirely on topic.


WooHoo! EYEis being treated Equal!


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EiB: I suspected this one wouldn’t stand a chance but I thought I had a duty to at least try…


Article: you-can-trace-a-lifetime-of-gender-inequality-through-everyday-sexism

 When I read this article it occurred to me that it might be an interesting experiment to use some of the 100,000 testimonies that got left behind on the cutting room floor to look at the concept of inequality and sexism from the perspective of men.
And so… in the interests of promoting equality and using only submissions to the #everydaysexism hashtag on the day of it’s third birthday, I have very quickly pulled together a quite interesting snap shot of life on the other side of the ‘sexism’ coin…

EiB: Still no word from my appeal… EYE thing they’re just ignoring me.  I’ve been meaning to press on with submitting a complaint but it’s been a busy weekend.

So I had a read through the ‘community standards’ again and I’m pretty sure today’s comment is in full compliance even with the link to ‘on topic’ content. With that thought in mind I thought I might as well take a more flexible approach to my immediate circumstances, resulting in a more equitable outcome…


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EiB: Third time lucky… 


Article: you-can-trace-a-lifetime-of-gender-inequality-through-everyday-sexism

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Article: you-can-trace-a-lifetime-of-gender-inequality-through-everyday-sexism

Was my previous comment censored cos EyeisBloke?


EIB: Day 13 also happened to be the 3rd birthday of the #everydaysexism project… unlucky for me though it turns out that the Guardian decide that my birthday question somehow breeches their guidelines…


Article: you-can-trace-a-lifetime-of-gender-inequality-through-everyday-sexism

Happy birthday #EverydaySexism – is it time to come of age and start acknowledging inequalities experienced during the lifetime of men & boys also?

#everydaysexism indeed…


EIB: Thought I would show some solidarity with Sue on behalf of the decent blokes of this world…


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EiB: Still in pre-moderation but it seems like normal service is resumed…
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