Survey: Comments on the Blog


To People who get their Posts from Feeds and Miss the Comments. You may be less inclined to visit the main site and vote. However you will have noticed the Trolling Posts. Please Come and Vote as it will influence how the blog operates

To help you consider your voting, here are the details for Aprils (1:4:12-28:4:12) Comments. There may be a few errors as it was not recounted to verify, so there may be small errors.

POSTED COMMENTS       Spammed       Recieved
ANONYMOUS *                      N/A             92
ID  (Identified name)               N/A              78
TEAM G                                  N/A             135

* During April Anonymous posting was stopped two times due to trolling lasting over 7 days

If you remove comments you do not get any hate mail, you (MSers) do not recieve nonsense email alerts but you do not get any questions and answers. The blog then becomes less unique.  The more comments the more work for Team G. There were responses from 4 Team G members.
If you remove ANONYMOUS comments you exclude the majority of the comments comming onto the blog. Some people want to hide behind anonymous to post pointed-questions or answers. Some people are not out and this makes it easier for them to comment.  It may not be representative of every month but I think the majority of comments always comes from the anonymous and we have turned this feature off twice this month because of trolling, therefore the ratio of anon verse ID comments could be higher.
You can hide with a fake ID, as some people do, even to post perhaps pointed questions, however the comments from the ID came from only 26 differnent ID. This is presumably a very small fraction of the readers. However you take an identify were you are responsible for your comments, people can see who you are.   

To answer comments these have to be read, which is moderation after the posting.
ADVERTISING MAIL            Spammed         Received
ANON                                        0                    0
ID                                               0                    2

This usually comes from ID sources where some company etc posts a comments and then a link to some product. This often comes after a post mentioning a potential product and one wonders to what extent google is responsible for this. Although some have been spammed (often by the google filter). These are often reposted minus the link (to avoid claim of censorship) as they are harmless and some may carry some element of informative comments. Therefore there is Moderation. To remove advertising you have to allow no comments or moderate comments

                                        Insult                     Mushroom     
HATE MAIL  Spammed Death/Killing Lawsuit    Food
ANON           48               31                 9            17
ID                  0               N/A              N/A          N/A
It is clear that the overt insults not appropriate for the website come from Anonymous posting, many within minutes of each other all over the blog, as a trolling event.

This month this has been the most yet and have had more spamming events than at any time in the history of the Blog We do not like spamming comments

You will note the 48 threats insults add up to 57 different types that were split into three groups as many contained
double insults.
Saying doctors are rubbish was not a spamming criteria, disagreeing with our point of view is not. You could probably merge the lawsuit and mushroom food
items together as they are both mushroom food. You either allow no anonymous comments or you have to moderate them to allow anonymous comments and limit the hate mail.

Moderation of comments takes time and effort. Comments do not appear instantly (could be just once a day) and have to be read by a member of Team G for approriateness (what does that mean? Therefore you could claim censorship and lack of free speech). However, we must eliminate the trolling for the benefit of our more sensible readers that are the majority.

when you next start trolling, perhaps you could add abit about ageism,
racism, sexism when you insult us and then we can get Google to hunt
you down.

This month we have had over 30,000 hits a record so far. Thanks

About the author



  • Why not get one of the followers of this blog, as in someone you can trust and is willing to help, to do the moderating?

    They can then filter the bad stuff and send through comments worth answering.

    I'll argue that to be anonymous is really important. Unlike other dudes of my generation, I do not feel comfortable putting my life or true identity online for anyone to see. I'm really cagey about letting folk know I have MS because when I told my ol;d work place I was made redundant by the end of the year. I even once mentioned it during an interview and the boss never even even bothered to ring me back to tell me I had been unsuccessful.

    I tell no one about my MS now. I do not want to even create an ID. If anonymous posting is cancelled then I just will be put in a situation where I can't ask important questions about my disease.

    I hate trolls. It's a shame that their actions are going to transform this blog for the worse. MS is such a serious condition and shame on them for making it harder for readers like myself to express myself from under the radar, a position I feel most comfortable in.

  • My vote is for you to do whatever it takes to keep your posts coming without placing an unreasonable burden on you. This is a remarkable source of information, and I certainly hope you are not forced into total shutdown.

    With my own blog, I have been forced into comment moderation. Periodically, I will test no moderation and the spam floods in immediately. Of course, you are dealing with probable hate mail, too.

    What a shame. You do such a great job.

    PS I also voted.

  • rmforall said…

    I voted for Comments with an ID… suggest that policy for responsible people who want to comment without a public real ID be allowed to send their comment to any of a number of responsible fully identified blog members, any one of whom has been deemed able to make the call whether to submit the comment to the blog via their own ID — this places more reponsibility on the membership, increasing the democracy of the shared group process. As a conscientious medical research layman, my hobby horse is the methanol/formaldehyde paradigm for MS and many other diseases


  • Dear Judy
    To vote you have to click on one or more of the options and then press vote and hopefully you will see the number of voters increase.

  • @Judy The survey is not accessible through the image; it's in the upper right corner of the blog.

    I think it's important to retain anonymous posting and not just because people prefer to keep their real identity hidden. The principle of least effort suggests that fewer people will comment if they have to go to the trouble of setting up an account and logging in. Plus it's an extra hurdle for the cognitively- or technologically challenged.

    IMO the two things that make this blog special are the interpretation of the research for laypeople while highlighting the potential impact and the ability for ordinary MSers to interact with experts. I think you'll lose a big chunk of the second part if you eliminate anonymous commenting.

    On the other hand, it's hard to get around the need for moderation under the circumstances. Even though I'm not the target of the attacks, reading such hateful comments filled with so much negative energy is very unpleasant.

    I do think the suggestion of finding some trusted volunteers to take over the comment moderation would be a good option. That would leave the delayed posting as the main disadvantage.

  • Well, gee, I hadn't moved the space bar far enough to the right to see the voting column. Doh.

  • "Keep on looking and acting your parts".

    I think this was one of the trolls that arrived as it was surrounded by others that were more obvious. Not sure how to categorize the comment?

    Not sure how/what to answer?

    I have been acting as a gatekeeper and your insults have been gatted.

  • I've only just started reading this blog after a heads up at MSlife. For someone who's partner has MS it seems like a great source of info. Shame if it gets canned due to some a-holes who should know better and put their spare time to more productive use. Do what you have to do to keep this source of news & views going.

  • I used to post anonymously because it was so convenient. Some time ago I had a question when anonymous posts were shut off. So now I have an ID. As far as I can see, noone on the internet can see my full identity (please correct me if I am wrong). I sure wouldn't like that. Showing up as Ingrid is okay for me.

    I personally used my google-account but if I understand it right one could get an "anonymous ID". That would guarantee staying totally anonymous for everybody having concerns about it.

    Having fatigue issues myself I can well understand that going through the process of getting an ID may be a challenge for people with cognitive problems. Maybe I assume too much now, but I personally have better days and worse days. So everybody who considers participating in this blog important enough could certainly spare a few minutes of one better day to get an ID?

    I am often amazed about how much time, energy and effort you people working here put into answering our questions and running this blog. So I do not consider it too much asked to get an ID in return. Even for someone with cognitive problems. After all this is not easy reading. You need to have enough of your cognition up and going to understand the blog. Getting an ID isn't more difficult.

    I do not like the idea that some volunteers among the readers of the blog will be moderators. Who checks their background? Because I assume they would get access to my full identity. I would not like that.

    And with outsiders I would actually be concerned about censorship. Drawing the line between rubbish and not-the-most-eloquent-comment may be difficult. Who checks they are drawing the line at the right place?

  • I use both a gmail account and anonymous. I use anon either because a. it's quick b. I think what I'm saying might be dumb c. I've already commented on something else that day.
    Gmail ID can be a hassle sometimes- I've set up a separate gmail ac. just for MS blog- but I think it's so valuable to be able to interact, I'd rather that than no comments, although I can see you might get less if anon goes.

  • I use both gmail ID and anon. I use anon because a. it's quick b. I think I may be saying something dumb c. I've already posted that day on something else. I think no comments would be the worst of all as the trolls would've won at their sick game, leaving those of us who value the interaction with MS professionals back in the pre-blog vacuumn.

  • I'm a physician in the US with MS. I have come to know this blog only over the past couple of months, but it has become an invaluable resource as I try to digest the vast amounts of MS research being put forth in the medical literature.

    This blog is informative. It is insightful. It is thought-provoking. It is the closest thing to "comprehensive" in its scope that I have found. And it has become a ray of hope as I hunt for REAL answers to the disease that affects me and my family.

    Please ignore these malicious posts and know that your team and others doing critical research in the MS arena are providing REAL hope to all of us desperately searching for the best ways to preserve the best of ourselves.

  • Re: "Because I assume they would get access to my full identity. I would not like that."

    Nobody can access your ID if you don't want them to. Google is very good at privacy and respecting its users identities.

  • Hello,
    The idea of leaving anonymous comments is, to my mind, a contradiction. I completely understand why people might not want to reveal their true identity but what is wrong with a pen name. If you feel sufficiently strongly about a topic to leave a comment then give it an identity even if it is a false one. I'm sure I'm not the only reader who is frustrated to find that the author of an interesting comment is anonymous. If anything is designed to stop interesting discussions that must rank at or near the top. The moderator knows who I am, my email address is not published but I firmly believe that I ought to have an identity; incidentaly this is the case on virtually every single forum.

  • Why anonymous?
    A set of comments linked to a pen name can reveal a lot about you. I'm not comfortable with that.

    Also because as anonymous I dont worry about sounding stupid

  • Re: "Why anonymous? A set of comments linked to a pen name can reveal a lot about you. I'm not comfortable with that. Also because as anonymous I dont worry about sounding stupid."

    Keeping anonymous comments open with moderation will generate a lot of work for ourselves and will slow the flow of comments onto the blog. The latter is not ideal and goes against the strengths of open and rapid debate.

By MouseDoctor



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