Enda en runde med debatt om nettdebattenes kvalitet, men kommer egentlig så mye nytt fram nå? Enkelte i “kultureliten” kjemper med nebb og klør for forhåndsmoderering og fullt navn i nettdebattene (noen ville nok helst skrudd klokka tilbake til leserbrevenes tid, der har Omdahl sikkert rett). Kanskje disse ville gå inn for å kopiere Sør-Koreas lov som pålegger nett-tilbydere (ISPer) å kreve fullt navn og personnummer av sine brukere?
Blant kommentarfelt-deltakerne er meningene delte, men det er nok av dem som mener anonymitet/psevdonym fortsatt må tillates. Dagbladet.no står fast på de sistnevntes side.
Men hva med Aftenposten? Der skal Ã…mås overta ansvaret for debatten også på nettet, og det skal bli spennende å se om han har noen grep på lur. Hvordan skal vi tolke utsagnet om at “det frie ord er et redigert ord”? Forhåndsmoderering av alle innlegg ville vært et radikalt redigerende grep, men det er høyst tvilsomt om Aftenposten vil sette inn ressursene som trengs til noe sånt. Dessuten vil det helt sikkert redusere antall kommentarer. Krav om å skrive under fullt navn er en mer realistisk mulighet. Det vil også føre til en betydelig nedgang i kommentarantallet, men ville gi Aftenposten muligheten til å briefe med at de er nettavisen med den mest seriøse (og snilleste og kanskje kjedeligste) nettdebatten. Tanta slår tilbake.
Det er ikke bare nettavisene som tenker høyt om debattkvaliteten. På document.no lufter redaktøren å innføre registrering og krav til fullt navn.
Ett argument bør imidlertid alle merke seg, og det kommer fra “per” i kommentarfeltet i Dagbladets artikkel:
Fullt navn er unødvendig. Det finnes tusenvis av forums rundtomkring som klarer å holde en saklig tone uten noensinne å bruke fullt navn eller annen ID. Men det gjelder å ha en klar policy og noen moderatorer til å opprettholde den.
De tusenvis skulle man like å se dokumentert, men at det er mange slike eksempler er sikkert riktig. Samtidig har Jimmy Wales utvilsomt rett i at nettdebatter kan selvdestruere. Jeg tillater meg å resirkulere den relevante delen av dette gamle intervjuet, fordi Wikipedia-sjefen sier mye fornuftig her som går rett inn i denne debatten:
Undercurrent: I’ve listened to one of those talks you have given about how to make the community work in a good way. Can any of these insights be transformed into how to make debates function on newspaper websites? Some Norwegian newspapers are really good at experimenting with blogs, and they have forums where you can participate. But how do you create a good discussion? Because there are so many people who are just out to destroy it, it all risks ending up as noise. So how can they really crack this problem?
Wales: “It’s a really complicated problem. I think I know some of the answers but not all. A part of it has to do with really generating an atmosphere of genuine community, a community of respect. Which is really local, I don’t mean necessarily geographically local, but it’s local meaning it’s a small number of people… Normally what you might find on a newspaper message board is, here’s a very interesting thoughtful commentary by someone, and here’s someone on the other side who also has an interesting, thoughtful commentary, and they’re debating each other with some respect, but then the trolls come in and their just sort of inflammatory remarks. Of course even good people sometimes get into very serious argument, but that’s understandable, we’re human beings so those things happen, but what I believe is that the techniques that work best are to in various ways empower the good voices to shape and guide the discussion, and to even exclude people. And to say, look we’re all for open, free dialogue and debate, but it has to be respectful and constructive, and of course it’s a very complex matter of where do you draw the line and things like that, it’s a matter of judgment and you need thoughtful people and sometimes they’ll get it wrong. A lot of this is driven in my belief by the software tools that are at our disposal. So we’ve had software tools that allow either completely anonymous random wild posting, and it’s completely uncontrolled and evolves into random potshots, or very top-down tightly moderated and controlled, which can generate quality of discussion but it’s also very expensive for a newspaper or something like that to manage. Someone has to actually supervise it. But somewhere in the middle there should be tools, and this is how Wikipedia works, there are tools that the community can use to moderate themselves, and for consensus to emerge over time. I think that what we’ll see in the future is increasing discoveries and understandings about how to generate healthy debate environments, and I think a lot of it actually mirrors what can go on in the real world. That we can have riots in the streets or we can have closed meetings of people who all agree with each other, or sometimes you can actully have a public forum where you bring together two sides and they have a civilized discussion and an intelligent audience, and it’s the same sort of thing online. It isn’t that we have only two choices of a riot or a complete lockdown. Maybe somewhere in the middle we have to learn to accept a little bit of noise but hopefully have more signal than noise.”
Undercurrent: But it’s essential to actually have participants moderate themselves or take responsibility for the discussion?
Wales: “Yes, and also for them to actually have the tools available to moderate themselves. One of the things that we’ve seen on the internet was, I’ll call it the rise and the fall of Usenet. The rise of Usenet was fuelled by, it was really open to participation by anyone. And particularly for some parts of Usenet there was no controls at all, and no possibility of having control. Simply because the architecture, design of it, there was no one organization which controlled it, so to be able to kick a problem user out was impossible. And it killed it. I was in a small Usenet group and there was good discussions for a while, and then there was this guy who came on and he would post in all capital letters about the Armenian genocide. Daily, every day, hundreds of… It completely destroyed the forum because we weren’t discussing his issue and we didn’t care, but he was crazy or something and there was nothing we could do about it. Those of us who were having a political debate and were maybe on different sides of the question, before we were all like saying we’re trying to have a discussion here. If we had had the tools, then we wouldn’t have used the tools against each other, even if we disagreed politically. I actually think even in the world of blogs it has progressed in some areas to where, speaking very loosely, you’ll have bloggers on the right and bloggers on the left, but who have been in a dialogue for a couple of years and who have gained respect for each other. Even if they don’t agree, they may be very polemical, but they can at least say, you know, he’s wrong about everything but he’s a good writer, or something like this.”