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Masterchef can’t stand the forum heat, wants to close the kitchen

June 22, 2010

If there is one thing that is clear, if you have taken the time to read the many fine articles on this blog or even if you haven’t , I am a big advocate of free expression and I believe that the internet has added to this basic democratic right of all mankind considerably. It should be obvious that the mere existence of this blog and the many articles that I have thus far submitted for your reading pleasure and I some what hope your approval is evidence enough that I fully embrace this right.

If your like the majority of people you have probably never left a comment at the bottom of news article, after reading a blog or on any other online type forum or site , you have probably never written to the editor of a newspaper with your say, you’re probably a passive Facebook poster preferring to watch and listen. There however are a lot of people that do like to add their comments and opinions, at many web sites these days there are dedicated forums for just this purpose; the best of these are moderated.

The problem that these forums face is they will encounter comments that are not reasonably minded; some are racist slurs, hate speech, religious vilification, spam or any other sort of unsavoury, unwanted and most definitely uninvited speech.

The best way that a forum can avoid this type of thing is twofold the site and or forum must have rules that specify the type of comment and content that is allowed to be posted as well as what is prohibited and any action that may be taken be that banning, blocking of IP address, reporting to local authorities if comments that break any local laws regarding speech and threats of violence etc. These rules should be highly visible and if appropriate could ask users that they have read prior to allowing posting.

The second and most important is that you should have all post moderated or at least have someone moderate all comments and posts if not prior to publishing then after by  monitoring the forums or comment section. It would also be beneficial to ask your commenter’s to flag any offending material so that you may act if required.

Is it important to note that you are in control and that a blog with inappropriate comments reflects on you are the author, owner of the blog.

Today I was reading the news when I by chance came across the article in The Melbourne Age Fan ban threat over MasterChef hate campaign.

“Channel Ten has threatened to ban MasterChef fans from posting comments on its official program website in the wake of a backlash against unpopular contestant Joanne Zalm.

The Sydney mother-of-two has become the target of an online hate campaign with everything from her cooking skills to her looks and frequent outbursts of on-screen emotion coming in for criticism.

Some media reports claim even physical threats have been made against her on social networking sites including Facebook, where groups such as ‘Get rid of Joanne Zalm fanclub’ have been formed.”

From what I read in the article this type of thing is nothing new and that like I alluded to above is pretty much par for the course for all forums. What I find especially annoying is the knee jerk reaction to the problem Masterchef is a hugely popular and profitable franchise and that although this problem is not of their making they must deal with it.

“In a statement, the network said it was doing as much as it could to limit the campaign.

In environments where we have control, bad behaviour and toxic commentary, not in keeping with the positive spirit of MasterChef, is not tolerated,” it said.

MasterChef is a family show and a family website. We have always removed posts that are abusive and have taken an even harder stance in recent weeks.

We still encourage debate, however all non-constructive personal abuse of contestants, judges and other users are removed and repeat offenders banned.

I certainly hope that the Age Headline is not correct and that Channel Ten just apply some additional resources to the problem at hand. In life there are allways a few bad eggs that spoil it for everyone but stifling free expression to save free expression is not the answer.

What do you think, leave me a nice comment; I always enjoy reading what my readers have to say.

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