Until now I’ve let the commenting run freely: to date I’ve only edited/deleted/moved comments when the author has asked for a change and deleted the odd duplicate comment (mistakes) and few of one commenter’s comments where the content was a repeat of what was already in the main post (added no value, just took up space). Obviously I also delete SPAM, no one here wants to read about the joys of using Viagra and where to buy it cheap, I hope not anyway :-)
With the general election 2010 site becoming more and more popular, some of the pages comments have become practically unreadable for new visitors, the Who Will You Vote For In The 2010 General Election Poll page has over 1,000 user comments and with about 6 months before the most likely date for the next UK general election it’s set to get much, much bigger!
With 1,000+ comments on one post there’s no way a new visitor to the site can find what they might be interested to read/comment on, if this was a real forum where registered users can make new threads this wouldn’t be a big issue, but all pages are created by me, so there’s only going to be a finite number of pages to comment on. I’ve installed a couple of new plugins to the site to give me the option to move comments around to more appropriate pages and thread comments not threaded correctly.
After moving a lot of comments, it should make it much easier for new visitors to read about and comment on what they are interested in, if a visitor is interested in economic policies, they don’t want to have to read through 1,000+ comments on a poll page to find a relevant comment they agree/disagree with.
I hate to do this, but I think it will enhance the user experience on the site and make it more enjoyable for all.
I’m also going to delete any small comments that add nothing to the debates (there’s not many of them fortunately), this could be considered censorship (it does make me cringe deleting real comments!), but if all a visitor has to say is:
“Vote for party X”
It doesn’t add value to the users visit and with so many comments now it takes up valuable space, if you have a serious comment it will not be deleted.
I’m sure I’ll get some flak for this :-(
I’d really appreciate visitors trying to put their comments on the most appropriate page (there’s a search box on the top right corner of the site for finding relevant posts). I have access to the web sites log files and although the poll page with 1,000+ comments is the most popular post on the site there are also some other very popular pages, see Popular Political Articles for examples (I’ll update the above list monthly), if I wanted my comments read by as many people as possible, I’d look at the Popular Political Articles list and comment on those pages.
If you have a comment on Labour Economic Policy for example it might get more readers in the first few days if it’s posted on the general election poll page, but with so many comments on that page long term it would be read more between now and the general election if it was posted under Labour Policies : Labour Economic Policy.
So far this month (half way through December) this page UKIP Policies : UK Defence Budget is the fourth most popular page visited (almost 9,000 views) and it has no comments! Whoever comments on that page will have thousands of visitors reading their views.