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Cover image for DEV Should Remove the Authors Ability to Hide Comments
Gregory Gaines
Gregory Gaines

Posted on • Updated on

DEV Should Remove the Authors Ability to Hide Comments

Intro πŸ“½οΈ

Before jumping the gun, hear me out!

Recently, I wrote the post:

You should check it out, it's a banger!!

Which has more comments than the most liked post on DEV!

And I mean actual comments, not the ones where people repeatedly post the same phrases like "Good job", "Nice!", or "Great Article" over and over.

The Battle Of Comments βš”οΈ

The comments were a battleground. Wars were fought, insults where thrown, mommas were brought up, and the streets ran red with blood.

The article benefited from the constructive conversations. Even if you don't agree, your side deserves to be heard regardless of whether you are right or wrong. I felt a conversation around .env files needed to happen and it sure did.

That's not to say every comment was positive, when your way of life and intelligence gets challenged, things can get heated.

Here are some highlights of the battle:

A taste of the Battle πŸ›‘οΈ


Someone enjoyed the comments more than the article, should I be flattered?



Another comments enjoyer



Some commenters got snarky



Happened again



I wonder what was said to make them type this?



Someone didn't want to enter the battlegrounds



They must have really been wrong



Well change takes time



I really want to know the context of this



Yikes



I agree πŸ”₯πŸ”₯


Why the hide feature should be removed 🚫

Before I stake my claim, here's Dev's official reasoning for introducing the feature.


What about credibility?


I respectfully disagree with everything said. Giving the author the ability to silence criticizers hurts credibility. How do I know I'm reading something right if the author can just delete any comment they dislike? That's why I immediately click off any article that has this at the bottom.


Comments can get heated but sometimes have constructive and intricate arguments attached. People disagree but that's how progress is made.

Not one time did I think "these comments should be removed because I don't like them". Instead, I address and rebuttal comments and this has led to educating others and forming friendships. This is way better than unnecessary censorship.

Author-controlled censorship is a problem. You are giving the author the ability to artificially promote their narrative. What if they post about a very bad practice? They can shut down anyone who disagrees with them.

What about some PR representative posting their buggy or insecure product? Doesn't matter they can remove all comments calling them out.

Do you see how this is harmful?

Lastly, I'm a bit confused about the point of removing comments that corrects the author's mistakes like inaccurate statements or typos.

How is it ok for a commenter to alert the author about a mistake, then the author correcting it and deleting the commenter? How is that helpful outside of protecting the ego of an author who doesn't want to be wrong?

Final Thoughts πŸ’­

I just don't see the need for an author to remove comments. I feel unnecessary censorship hurts the community as a whole. Anyone can force a narrative or take advantage of the community since they can control who says what and stop anyone from calling them out.

I'm not saying all comments should be allowed. Of-course comments that include derogatory or outright negative statements should be deleted since they go against guidelines. I'm saying authors shouldn't be able to censor anyone who doesn't fit their viewpoint.

In the spirit of the article, I'll get the discussion started in the comments below.

About the Author πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’»

I'm Gregory Gaines, a simple software engineer @Google who's trying to write good articles. If you want more content, follow me on Twitter at @GregoryAGaines.

Now go create something great! If you have any questions, hit me up on Twitter (@GregoryAGaines); we can talk about it.

Thanks for reading!

Top comments (19)

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jmau111 profile image
jmau111⭐

YouTube hides dislikes, creators can delete comments, blacklist people, etc. Seems helpful for platforms.

What about spam? Of course there are moderators, but in the meantime, do you want to share your audience with spammers?

That's why I immediately click off any article that has this at the bottom

And such policy brings great results?

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gregorygaines profile image
Gregory Gaines Author • Edited on

I feel we should have better tools or moderation to detect spammy comments.

In my mind, when I post it shouldn't be my job to remove spam from my comments; thats DEV's job, not mine.

Mybe we need a vote system that automatically moves less useful comments lower out of view. The final decision should go to a moderator or a automated system.

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington (he/him)

To be clear, we are continually working on our automated tools to detect and moderate spam.

We also do our best to defend folks' works from spammers manually by offering the community easy inlets to report it to us, recruiting moderators to help us detect, report, & downvote it, and searching for & removing it ourselves. We have team members on the clock every day (including weekends) to battle spammers and ensure that our Code of Conduct is being upheld.

Some of the ways in which we fight spam are outlined in this article, and we really rely on the community to help us with this work.

It's admittedly pretty tough work because spammers are relentless and our tools for community members to write comments and posts are easily accessible upon signing up. And another angle that is rough for us as spam fighters β€” if we're doing a good job, you won't even know because you won't see any real trace of the spam that we removed; it's a bit like systems engineers, you rarely see the good things we're doing, but the mistakes are very visible.

Anyway, I hope this message is informative. It's not meant to be overly defensive and suggest that we're doing everything right in our fight against spam, but we are fighting this fight to the best of our abilities and having more of a positive effect than is noticeable to the average community member.

If you have concrete ideas about how we can improve our moderation tools and spam detection, then, please don't hesitate to drop those thoughts in GitHub as a discussion.

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jmau111 profile image
jmau111⭐

Looks like a possibilty, but does such robust vote system exist? I mean, even YouTube has still issues with that :(

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jimajs profile image
Jima Victor

I think a vote system similar to that of stackoverflow would do

Thread Thread
 
gregorygaines profile image
Gregory Gaines Author • Edited on

My worry is that it will devolve interactions into a toxic hive minded scape where people are more inclined to follow the majority and downvote rather than stating their point like other voting sites like reddit, stackoverflow, etc...

I feel others would feel intimidated to comment their opinions, especially if it goes against the majority knowing that it will get down-voted to oblivion.

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Sloan, the sloth mascot
Comment deleted
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gregorygaines profile image
Gregory Gaines Author

Your comments are amazing lol

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jarrodhroberson profile image
Jarrod Roberson

I posted this just for you, and once you read it, I deleted it so I do not get banned. Seems lots of people have reported my comments; like I care ...

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ngocsotn profile image
The Ngoc Nguyen

Quite agree with you, because some author can hide the comment and this would not so good. Many ideas, many throughs, experience from many people make an article become more interesting by many ways.
But as a student still studying and lacks a lot of practical experience. When a saw a post easy to understand and nearly what i need to expand my knowledge, i may like it and comment something Iike "great article, thanks..." To motivate the author. So base on your opening of this post, what do you expect from a student to comment? I know you want to post quality article but please careful of your words

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gregorygaines profile image
Gregory Gaines Author • Edited on

Hello Nguyen, I didn’t mean it as a blow. If it did I apologize and hope we can move on from it.

It was meant as my comments were constructive and not blank statements as I was mentioning. That’s all.

From a student I wouldn’t expect anything grand, this was more aimed as I usually see those type comments a lot and that’s probably the only comments an egotistical author wouldn’t remove. Thanks!

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ngocsotn profile image
The Ngoc Nguyen

I think i misunderstanding of your point, sorry about that. Anyway, i hope you will post more quality technical post. Have a great day!

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wadecodez profile image
Wade Zimmerman

Totally agree this needs to be a bigger discussion. There is sharing and there is broadcasting.

Like what is and isn't considered censorship online? And who should make the definition, The Internet, the users' country, the platform, or some small team of developers?

Also, since YouTube made it possible to hide comments, I immediately lose respect for any channel that prevents discussion. In my opinion it's prejudice behavior. If you can't handle the consequences of speaking openly then you shouldn't speak openly.

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gregorygaines profile image
Gregory Gaines Author • Edited on

Do you agree that authors shouldn't be able to remove comments? Or do you have a better solution? @thepracticaldev

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joelbonetr profile image
JoelBonetR

I agree. My point is that if there are no comments then that's not a discussion and therefore doesn't suit in a community.

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gregorygaines profile image
Gregory Gaines Author

I'm interesting to hear what alternate steps should the site take?

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joelbonetr profile image
JoelBonetR

Business as usual. If there's an unrespectful comment that exceeds what can be considered "discussion" and becomes more of a "bullying" it can be flagged yada yada yada

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington (he/him)

Hey Gregory,

You've made some very valid points here. We appreciate your honest feedback and will be talking internally about this. Thanks!

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gregorygaines profile image
Gregory Gaines Author

Thanks Michael, can't wait to see the future of the site. The last 2 week has been wild here!

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