When I founded WP Tavern in 2009, comments were an important part of the site’s initial success. After six years, the site has published its 30,000th comment.
At a time where large websites such as Copyblogger and the Toronto Star are closing down comments in favor of social media, the Tavern continues to be a source of open conversation about WordPress. However, 2015 has been a tough year as a moderator.
A Year of Firsts
For the first time in years, I created a comment moderation policy to establish a baseline of expectations for moderators and commenters. Also for the first time in the site’s history, I banned an individual from leaving comments on the Tavern.
In the Tavern’s early days, I looked forward to discussing things with people via the comments and did everything I could to encourage them. Some of the conversations over the years have been great and have led to positive changes in WordPress. Six years later, many of the comments on the Tavern appear to be filled with anger, mostly from the same people. Dealing with so much negativity all the time makes comment moderation difficult.
Taking a More Active Role in Discussions
One of my New Years resolutions for 2016 is to take a more active role in the discussions on the Tavern. I want to reestablish the feeling the Tavern had a few years ago where everyone is welcome to share their opinions as long as its done in a respectful way.
Comments are a great way to share feedback, ideas, opinions, and look at things from a different perspective. But when the conversation turns into a mud-slinging contest which has recently happened too often on the Tavern, it turns into a pile of meaningless words.
Commenting Goals for 2016
In 2016, let’s try to having meaningful conversations where words transition into action. Let’s discuss ideas, opinions, and perspectives without getting or taking things personal. Let’s encourage collaboration instead of infighting. Let’s assume the best in someone’s words instead of the worst. In the New Year, I’ll do my best to try to lead conversations in these directions but I need commenters to do their part as well.
Thanks to everyone who’s commented on the Tavern over the years. Your feedback is and continues to be a valuable asset to this site. Instead of leaving the lights on, we’ll leave the comment form open and we encourage everyone to continue sharing their thoughts and opinions with us.