Community Moderation

I'm sure the AVC community has noticed a bit more comment spam slipping in. That's for a number of reasons. As the number of comments rises across multiple threads every day, it takes me longer to get through them all. One of the many reasons I read every comment is that I am also the moderator and I delete and report all comment spam, as well as very infrequently I'll delete an entirely inappropriate comment. It is also true that as the Disqus network has increased in size and reach, it has become a bigger target for comment spammers. Even if you filter out 99.9% of all comment spam, if enough comes at you, that 0.1% starts to amount to a real number.

I've made a small change in the AVC Disqus moderation settings. If enough people flag a comment (by clicking on the little red flag that comes up when you hover below a comment), that comment will no longer appear in the thread. I will still see the comment when I moderate the thread and I can reinstate it or delete and report it as spam. This puts the power of moderation into the hands of the community which is something I should have done a long time ago. I'm not going to say how many flags will do this. I don't want anyone gaming the system.

I do not want the community flagging comments you don't agree with. This is a community open to all voices, even when they express ideas that aren't popular. In particular, comments that hate on me personally should not be moderated. I can take the heat. I want the heat. I'd like to remain the only person who can moderate "entirely inappropriate comments." So if that kind of comment gets flagged off the thread, I will put it back.

Finally, I also do have the ablity to make certain community members moderators with the same powers I have. There are a few, not very many, who I would bestow this right onto. Shana and William come to mind in particular. If you would like to have mod powers and you think you've earned them, let me know in this thread and I will respond to the request in this thread. I will also report on this blog who I've given these powers to. I reserve the right to revoke them at any time.

I've leveraged the power of this community for so many things over the years, it is ironic that it has taken me so long to leverage the power of the community to keep the bar clean.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Laurent Boncenne

    Great idea and great choice of choosing ¬†Shana and William!I’m wondering though, could it be possible to tap into the disqus ranking system and automatically grant “mod rights” to the top 10 in this community (or the instigators here)? That way you’d even leverage the community itself to chose who moderates the threads in addition to you…

    1. gorbachev

      Popularity is not a good indication of responsibility.

      1. fredwilson

        totally agree. mod powers would have to be earned the hard way

        1. CJ

          By sending you cookies?

          1. fredwilson

            these would work…

          2. William Mougayar

            Ah, so the biscottis worked ūüôā

          3. fredwilson

            You bet

          4. CJ

            They certainly will, tomorrow for an after football snack.  Those look delicious!

      2. Laurent Boncenne

        Agree, I sometimes forget that the AVC crowd is not the same as everywhere else.Too often it’s the other way around…

    2. fredwilson

      That is part of rankings 2.0Coming soon

      1. Laurent Boncenne

        Looking forward to see what the Disqus team has done =)There’s so much potential!

    3. Cam MacRae

      You don’t think the disqus ranking system is too green for that? – pretty sure you could write a script to like yourself the 3000 odd times needed to take control of the thread. Thar be dragons.

      1. fredwilson

        it’s a good point and one that the disqus team is concerned about and why it is not in ranks 1.0

      2. Laurent Boncenne

        Ha,the good old gaming ranking scheme! I’ve been out of online gaming for so long I thought people stopped trying.In this case, yeah truly not a good idea =) (we’ll slay them anyway :P)

    4. awaldstein

      This is a bold experiment.Extending moderation rights is the same as extending leadership and will determine the personality and culture of the community.Community driven is not the same as community ruled.For example..deciding to ignore nasty comments rather than removing them is a culturally significant decision. Each moderator will have their own tolerance levels. We all do on our own blogs.

      1. Tom Labus

        Most comments fly here and should except for outright spam

        1. awaldstein

          Agree…Squeaky clean is not interesting nor instructive.

          1. leigh

            funny i was thinking about a blog post i want to write about the difference between sanitized and authentic – super constructed and curated personal brands are as wrong as the free for alls. ¬†Here’s an old quote i loved:”Good blogs are weird. Blogs make fart noises and occasionally vex readers with the degree to which the blogger‚Äôs obsession will inevitably diverge from the reader‚Äôs. If this isn‚Äôt happening every few weeks, the blogger is either bored, half-assing, or taking new medication.”- Merlin Mann

          2. awaldstein

            I’m sure we both have experiences where companies wouldn’t put up blogs because of the the fear of dispute and lack of control.The issue is that the world has already changed. The gap between a connected life and the way companies market to the mass market is seriously out of whack.

          3. fredwilson

            that’s so right

          4. William Mougayar

            A great editor I worked with when I was writing columns for Business 2.0 told me,- “a column is an idea and half.”¬†The idea is the main point of view that you want to get across. The “half” is that controversial part, the thing you leave the readers wondering about, the fart at the end, etc…You can substitute blog for column of course.¬†

          5. andyidsinga

            Leigh and William M. – you guys just like saying ‘fart’ ;)( so do my 9 yr old daughter and I ..hehe)

          6. William Mougayar

            Old model: I write, you read. New model: I write, we discuss, I thank you & repeat.

        2. fredwilson


        3. Laurent Boncenne

          can’t say it better than you did!

      2. Donna Brewington White

        One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.The range of voices here is part of the beauty.

        1. Donna Brewington White

        2. awaldstein

          No question.Diversity of opinion and passion for communications are the soul of this community. Personality keeps it real and useful and fresh and natural to me.

      3. Pete Griffiths

        Very true.  There are dealing with precisely this issue right now on Quora.  And it engendered a lively debate to say the least.

        1. Laurent Boncenne

          Oh Quora moderation…. Let’s not get into this subject today =)

          1. Pete Griffiths

            I sympathise. ¬†ūüôā¬†Revealing tho…very revealing.

        2. awaldstein

          Communities thrive on leadership. Great leaders let the community rule.This balance is elusive and powerful and oh so hard to create.It exists here today. Formalizing it to enable scale is necessary, interesting and a risk. I think success of this is tied to the dynamics of the community less than the formalization of the process.The dynamics here are strong.

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. awaldstein

            Are you saying that once you understand leadership you can distribute it? ¬†Parse and layer it out like an org chart?Sure we do this when we build teams and companies, so yes, in abstract it works. And in reality also at times.But leadership is not a series of tasks or beliefs or points of view, it’s personality driven by belief. That is a strong part of the picture when it is successful.¬†Please clarify.

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          4. JamesHRH

            Totally agree. Most startups unaware of either the why, how or what of their success.This is a good resource though –

          5. Donna Brewington White

            Should have read this before replying to @tao69:disqus. ¬†This is one of those things that truly, truly troubles me — also responding to your comment below but the thread ran out. ¬†Good words, FG.¬†Needs saying.If I was a VC, providing leadership development opportunities and mentoring/coaching for founders would be a key focus within the firm. ¬†I know that’s easy to say from the outside, but the need is so great.

          6. vruz

            leadership is jiu-jitsu.

          7. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            Leadership is fluid and dynamic; its more an essence than an actual quality.  Organizational charts cannot encompass leadership or achieve leadership but rather a hierarchy of responsibility; the same holds true for job titles.Sometimes leadership is a tyrant, think Gen. Patton, and sometimes it is the exact opposite, think Gen. Bradley (who was a much better leader).The trouble with small businesses/start ups and leadership is that it is natural to assume that a founder or an owner is the natural leader, but leadership is a people skill and ownership is about money and a founder is about an idea.Organizations and teams are usually about skill sets and leadership is about mind set. That is why it is such an elusive attribute which is why we use organizational charts and job titles to achieve in light of the fact that an organization may actually lack leadership.

          8. awaldstein

            Very true Carl.Leading a company is one thing. Leading a community like this one or any blog community is different.I’m a huge believer in the role of the community manager. The best ones have the lightest touch and are attuned to both the community and the company together.That’s why this discussion is so interesting because I see it (maybe incorrectly) as layering in management if you will to this self policing, highly interactive community.Change is good. Should be fun.

          9. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            One of the benefits of AVC to me has been your insight into community managers; and because of you I have added community manager to my list of absolute critical people for my start up. I am talking to a person that I hired back in 1996 to be the director of our daycare, and she still runs it today. She has quite a touch with her staff, they are very loyal and she has had very little turnover, considering the wage scale. She also has great public relations skills handling parents, kids, and the local community. Nothing is more incredible than attempting to satisfy parents of over 100 children and making each and everyone of them believe their child is special and that their every concern is most critical to her.

          10. Donna Brewington White

            Do you think that part of the problem is that people do not always recognize true leadership? ¬†Or the lack thereof?¬†Sometimes I wonder if even on a political/governmental level we have lowered the bar for leadership.¬†I was recently working on a search for a nonprofit organization and one of the main things I had to work with them on was their understanding of leadership — they kept getting style confused with effectiveness.

          11. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            So many questions in one reply! :)In Governmentleadership here has been destroyed by politics. When has anyone referred to an elected official in Washington as a “statesman?” The last true leader we had as a President was Ronald Reagan; whatever one may think of his politics or his administration you cannot deny that he was a true leader. Its been known for a long time that Senators make bad Presidents and they do because the Senate requires a different set of skills and a different mind set than what a President requires. The reality is Chris Christie has leadership skills, but the primary process, as it stands today, penalizes those with leadership skills and rewards popularity. Hell, today, Ronald Reagan couldn’t last through the primary process.How exactly do companies attract leaders? Exactly what traits would you say you are looking for in a leader that you could list on a job description? Its the issue of mind set vs skill set; leadership is a mind set and everyone searches for skills.I think people devour leadership, I believe that true leadership is probably the greatest morale booster and employee retention magnet there is. But most companies miss it on a resume because they are looking for “vertical” experience, or technical specialty while leaders have broad or more horizontal experience.

          12. Donna Brewington White

            Thanks, Carl. Rich.I don’t think you are actually asking ME how companies attract leaders, but I do have some experience with this. To attract a true leader, there must be a true opportunity to lead. A leader seems to be able to sniff out those situations that just want someone to “manage.” In my experience, a more entrepreneurial leader is drawn by a daunting problem, one that others shy away from.Agree with you about “missing this on a resume.” Seems that observation is the best way to determine leadership ability. In lieu of this, I interview in such a way as to “observe” someone’s leadership ability — making the interview as behavioral as possible and backing this up with candid references. Cannot take credit for the method — borrowed it from an employer that did/does an excellent job of identifying leadership ability.

          13. Donna Brewington White

            Which is even more impressive given that this is a community of leaders.

          14. awaldstein

            No question.The dynamics of this community are singular and unique from any other across the web that I know of.Comes from the contextual focus. Comes from the innate complexity and interest footprint of those drawn to participate.And yes, as you say, it comes from the fact that most are not here to find answers, but to form their own opinions to build and write and share as leaders in their own businesses and communities.

          15. Donna Brewington White

            Arnold, it truly is impressive how well you understand and can communicate the dynamics and even the nuances of this community. There is a message and a story in this phenomenon called AVC.Sent via mobile

        3. Donna Brewington White

          I loved Quora — absolutely loved it — but it has lost its juice for me. And its innocence.What do you think happened?Or can you recommend a relevant post or discussion on Quora’s slide?

          1. Adrian Palacios

            My foray into Quora ended almost immediately. After looking at some useful answers, I started looking for questions I could answer. Someone asked for the market share of top web analytics solutions (webtrends, omniture, google analytics, etc) and I posted a link to Wappalyzer, and explained how you could glean market share from that info. I got an email back that my answer was too short and therefore not useful so it was deleted.EFF THAT. Such a bad user experience. Deleted my account and never looked back.

      4. Tereza

        BTW moderation and facilitation are different things, although the roles can overlap.To me, moderation means disallowing some bad comments from happening.Facilitating means interacting, asking people to elaborate, developing the conversation. Nurturing and nudging it. One thing unique about AVC is people interact with each other an it’s not a linear string of comments.Shana and William are both good at facilitation, too, as are many of our fabulous regulars.Facilitation is a ‘soft power’, moderation is a ‘hard power’. And why it’s smart to pick them wisely. Well done.

        1. awaldstein

          Agree on the choice of excellent people and agree that moderation and facilitation are different.Moderators are like bouncers to run with the “Fred’s place” metaphor. Essential when needed.Facilitators… I question whether they are really necessary as a structure.The beauty of this community is that it self facilitates and bifurcates into a bunch of interesting threads.That is why it works to a large part and attracts more and more engaged members.From my view, this is not a role, simply the dynamics and gestalt of what makes the community work.This is a sandbox for ideas more than a classroom with a theme to be moderated.

          1. ShanaC

            On faciliation:I think it helps.  There happens to be some sense of self facilitation here Рstill, I think for a lot of organizations, it requires some training to get people to want to listen to each other.  Especially when passions run high, and people are stressed.

          2. awaldstein

            Thoughtful and well said Shana. You may be a community manager by DNA.I agree that each community is different and leadership, moderation and facilitation take on different roles.For avc, this will be an interesting and delicate experiment. Whatever your guidelines for behavior, I suggest an ever so light if not invisible touch.

          3. ShanaC

            It will definitely be interesting.I will do my best…

        2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. Tereza

            Ha! +1

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


    5. Donna Brewington White

      There is not one person in the Top 10 that I personally would not trust with mod rights, but I don’t think that being an “instigator” and a “moderator” are necessarily the same personality and “skill set.” ¬†Seems like being a moderator would weigh down the other role. ¬†Those instigators need to be free to fly. ¬†(Except for those who naturally take on — or take to — ¬†this type of role anyway — such as Shana ).

      1. Laurent Boncenne

        True, true and true!My use of Top10/Instigator wasn’t adequate and you actually said what I mean to say better than I did,¬†Instigator and Moderator are definitely two different roles.As a community scales, it gets harder to keep the instigators flying and the ambiance in here to remain the same, yet as it’s scaling, a community like this one will have to take some of the load off of the owner and have more people taking care of it.I’m eager to see how Disqus will tackle this problem (or better yet, how communities can tap into Disqus to solve this.)

        1. Donna Brewington White

          “As a community scales…”Ha! I like that!

          1. Laurent Boncenne

            Am I doing this right or is my understanding of the word scaling is far off of how I understand it in french?

          2. Donna Brewington White

            I thought it was an apt phrase and use of the word “scale.” ¬†C’est magnifique!

          3. raycote

            “As a community scales…”It may tend to get a bit fishy sorry about that:o)

          4. Donna Brewington White

            Oh that’s bad.But clever.

        2. Tereza

          I would not be a very good deputy moderator. :-)I think Shana and William are great and others would be too.

      2. ShanaC


  2. Cam MacRae

    I thought that’s how it worked already so was totally flummoxed by the long lived copypasta spam. Positive change.

    1. fredwilson

      did i ever delete the copypasta spam?

      1. Cam MacRae

        It generally disappears eventually. Don’t know why it’s not automagically filtered – it’s word for for word the same.

        1. fredwilson

          it disappears eventually because i eventually get around to deleting it and reporting iti agree about some of these. disqus should be able to catch some of them

          1. Cam MacRae

            I know that now ūüôā My flag finger had¬†delusions of grandeur…

          2. Donna Brewington White

            Ha! ¬†Me too. ¬†Kinda bummed to discover that all that ferocious spam busting I’ve been doing was completely futile!I’d volunteer for the role, but think I’d enjoy it too much. ¬†Especially if there were sound effects.

          3. ShanaC

            random question: if we all flag it, does it show up in the disqus system as a bad comment for the entire system?

          4. fredwilson

            I think so unless I approve it (override)

  3. Tom Labus

    These are great choices Fred.Shanna and William contribute daily and have the best interest of the AVC community in mind.

    1. fredwilson

      yeah, but i am sure there are others out there who have earned it tooand they have not volunteered yet either

      1. Tom Labus

        Maybe it should rotate.

        1. fredwilson

          it might when moderators experience the volume of comments coming at them ūüôā

        2. ShanaC

          I want that to prevent power abuses.  No one is perfect for any job forever.

          1. Tom Labus

            You’ll get tired of it too.

          2. ShanaC

            I love all you and am thankful that all of you in my life, but still, we all grow and change as people. ¬†I don’t expect everyone here to be here forever…

  4. falicon

    +1 on your initial thoughts…Shana and William are both active, fair, and responsive throughout the boards.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Like your new avatar, Kevin.

  5. testtest

    many eyeballs make light work

    1. JamesHRH

      Love the tribute logo – neat idea & it’s origin is such a great tribute to the reach of technology today.

  6. William Mougayar

    Wow. That was totally unexpected, but appreciated. Thanks Fred. It’s a humbling responsibility. So mostly, it consists of being able to remove comments that have been excessively flagged as spam.¬†Be nice to me folks! Just kidding…Disqus is doing a great job at innovating by thinking through how these new features benefit both the users and the blog owner at the same time.¬†

    1. fredwilson

      so i assume you say yes? if so, i need to figure out what this means for you. i’ve got an email into daniel and will circle back with via email

      1. William Mougayar

        Yes, of course & pls do send the details. I assumed that new controls would automagically appear next to comments, given the login credentials, allowing me to moderate as appropriately.That said, curious to know…how many spam comments do you deal with on a daily basis?¬†Daniel- is it possible to add a tooltip on the red flag? I realize its function may be obvious to many users, but not to all.¬†

    2. Dave Pinsen

      With great power comes great responsibility. You’ll be the Spider-Man of the comments.

    3. Mark Essel

      Thanks for picking up the gauntlet and helping to keep Fred’s bar a fantastic place to comment.

      1. William Mougayar

        Hey Mark Thanks. Where have you been hiding? Come out and play more often! We miss you.

        1. Mark Essel

          I stop in a few times a week, but read more than comment. Always enjoy the banter on opinionated subjects.

      2. Alex Murphy

        Good point, does this mean that William and Shana should now have the labels of Woody and Diane?

  7. Rohan

    Interesting approach Fred. I do see the need and I guess we will only know when we try. I think William, Shana are a great idea. I guess any of JLM, Donna, Mark, Charlie, Andy and other super regulars etc would do it just fine as well in case these 2 get overloaded. ūüôā

  8. kirklove

    Great idea.Parallel thought: As the popularity of AVC comments grows I’m personally finding it hard to keep up (impressive you read them all. thank you for that) and sometimes abandon the post. It would be killer if you and your mods could *maybe* have a way to highlight key comments. I realize “top” comments get pushed to the top, though not sure that’s the best method. At least for me. When I see the green from your reply I figure there is an active discussion going on around a specific feedback loop. Would be nice to have something similar for “top” comments. Just a thought.

    1. Tom Labus

      That could be dangerous territory too!

      1. kirklove

        Indeed it could.¬†I just find myself holding off commenting sometimes because I’m certain someone in the 100s of comments has already said it.

        1. Donna Brewington White

          If something is worth saying, I’d rather see it said twice than not at all.

          1. CJ

            Anything worth saying is worth saying twice.

    2. Guest

      Indeed it could.¬†I just find myself holding off commenting sometimes because I’m certain someone in the 100s of comments has already said it.

      1. ShanaC

        Never be that sure.  If you are the person to say no, you may be the first with that opinion

      2. leigh

        Besides, what you say and how you say it two different things….

    3. Laurent Boncenne

      great ideas, something like an editor’s pick?It’s true so many various conversations happen on every post it’s easy to get lost and not know which comments are an almost required reading as much as the post itself.¬†That and deep threaded conversations a la reddit.



        1. Laurent Boncenne

          YES!/me likes visual flag/style too!Or a giant robot dinosaur writing in caps. Usually does the trick pretty well with some added words of wisdom as usual =)PS: great guest post the other day!

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


    4. fredwilson

      i want disqus to do thisi think they can surface the five or ten most interesting comments and replies to the top

      1. Pete Griffiths

        It’s a good start. ¬†But the question remains – who is assessing what is interesting? ¬†This is why the notion of the ‘interest graph’ is so intriguing. ¬†If we can make real progress on that front then ‘most interesting’ becomes personalized. We will all wake up to ‘top comments’ curated by Chris Dixon’s algorithms.

    5. Tereza

      Yeah I’m busier than ever and running my own place and can’t really keep up.I used to do email for all comments but turned those off. Here’s some inconsistency in what I get delivered from DISQUS (I have it set for only replies to my own). But that’s not enough. I’d like something in-between but not sure what that is.Similar to when you’re mentioned in a comment so it draws you in. But that doesn’t happen much. Some kind of signal that I’d be interested in the convo at play in that moment. Maybe that the DISQUS people I like a lot and follow are gettin’ busy and worth a peek right now. Or a desktop DISQUS meter that beeps when there’s a certain velocity of comments (e.g. 100 by 11 am ET)

    6. Tereza

      Ooooh Kirklove I see you have “community manager” in your Disqus bio. ¬†Smokin’!

      1. kirklove

        Thanks Tereza. It’s just words for now. Have to earn it. Trying my best.

  9. Matt A. Myers

    Just make it your Top 100 flags hold value for flagging. If we know it does something then we’re more likely to do it as well. Use may fall off a bit but no one likes spam. Perhaps it can become a factor of community participation used for ranking purposes as well.My *2 cents*

  10. ErikSchwartz

    As an “old timer” I have an¬†anecdotal¬†feel for the growth in the community over the years but it would be interesting to see numbers behind it.

  11. andyidsinga

    where does the flag feature appear on the ipad ?

    1. fredwilson

      it may notdisqus has work to do on their mobile interfaces



      2. Dave Pinsen

        Question about Disqus: when you start to type a comment beyond a certain length, you can no longer see what you’re typing. So I usually post it unfinished, and then click the edit button to finish typing it. Is that a glitch or an intentional feature?

        1. fredwilson

          I don’t knowHopefully Daniel will respond

        2. LE

          I’ve had a discussion with Disqus about this. It happens with all versions of Firefox. ¬†Here is the last I heard:”After some investigation, it looks like this issue is a bit more complicated than it seems at first glance and will require a non-trivial amount of work to fix. Essentially, this is happening because has manually set the height of the postbox using CSS which we didn’t originally anticipate when building the postbox. We’ve opened a ticket internally to look into improving the postbox to support CSS height-setting. Let us know if you have any questions.”

        3. William Mougayar

          I’ve seen that too sometimes, but you can reveal the rest of your comment by dragging your cursor towards the hidden part and it will start to shift the text to the left.¬†

  12. andyidsinga

    thoughts on flagging and spam ..If the goal is to get the community to help flag spam ( perfectly reasonable ) then name the feature ‘flag spam’. Spam is usually much more obvious that regular human comments and well probably get less folks flagging things they disagree with.for ‘flag inappropriate’ just give that to the moderator crew.

    1. ShanaC

      This may come as a surprise – honestly, even when people are mean, I’m never totally sure it is¬†inappropriate.Back when there where less women positing regularly, someone very popular made a comment about¬†techies¬†and girls in the Hamptons. ¬†I really disliked that comment. ¬†It wasn’t something you would¬†necessarily¬†say in mixed company, but it wasn’t inappropriate in context either.I think it should require the same reaction as before (me getting annoyed and talking), not flagging…..Context means a lot….

      1. Tereza

        That’s exactly why I would be a bad moderator here.I would be tempted to flag because I know it would drive a bunch of women to not come back and that’s not a desirable outcome to me because then downstream more voices aren’t heard bc they don’t show up. Malice is a turn-off.But it’s not my community so not my call and I defer to the community owner (and run my community my own way).Just like a party the host runs the tone of the party and at the end of the day has everything to do with what you call as out of bounds. And which stuff you nurture.

      2. andyidsinga

        for sure. context means a ton. Mean people are usually better called out by the community members than a moderator (imho). We dont just want to silence / kick out ‘mean people’ either …lots of folks have bad days/months/years and sometimes discussion / interaction helps things in a positive way.

        1. ShanaC

          He wasn’t being mean, just lacking tact. (for the record)And your right, the only way to enforce positive behavior is toa) model itandb) call people out into behaving…

  13. Elia Freedman

    I just want to make sure you are aware, Fred, that flagging is not available from an iPad, Android tablet or other mobile device as we can’t hover over a post. This is the primary way I interact with this blog and assume others do too. I don’t know how that will effect your participation.

    1. William Mougayar

      Good point Elia. I was going to mention that as well, and I’m sure the Disqus folks are aware of it, but it’s probably a matter of priority. That said, since the mobile experience is a large part of the pie, these little things will enhance that experience, and will be welcomed.¬†

    2. Matt A. Myers

      I don’t have an iPad — but you’re not able to click and hold a link, to see what shows up – and slide over to a flag?

      1. Elia Freedman

        Hover is a mouse-specific CSS (site design) thing.

        1. testtest

          having the flag show only with a hover is a UI anti-pattern.¬†there’s a touch event (javascript) that could be used instead of hover, however this presents a similar¬†anti-pattern. the user shouldn’t have to stumble around an interface to try and find hidden functions imho.

    3. Tereza

      You’re so right about the iPad. My AVC/DISQUS time is really iPad time (not Laptop time) and I don’t have the functionality I’ve come to expect there. When the laptop is open it’s time for work; Disqus is for commute and found snippets and that’s iPad.

  14. ShanaC

    errr *blush* thank you. ¬†This is a nice surprise to find out. ¬†Only one request: Make the policy of what the mods can and can’t do public – I’m for a very democratic approach….Also, can this be limited to like a year or two so no one abuses power…

    1. leigh

      I think you and William should have a mod uniform.  like men in black.  

      1. ShanaC

        If you’ve seen us in person, you’d realize that trying to create matching uniforms would be a bit complicated :-p

      2. William Mougayar

        Ha. I would rather be incognito like air marshalls.¬†But my understanding is it’s a behind the scenes thing where we could remove spam when Fred hasn’t had a chance to get to it, or when a comment gets flagged too many times it goes in the dog house.¬†

        1. ShanaC

          Mine is pretty much the same.

    2. William Mougayar

      But Fred mentioned he might not reveal some inner thresholds or metrics so that users won’t game the community. So, we might be sworn to secrecy I think ūüôā

      1. ShanaC

        Will there be secret rites ala Freemasons?

        1. David Semeria

          Of course.And we require a photo of one of your trouser legs rolled-up to the knee.Nothing else will suffice.

          1. ShanaC

            IRL I’m leggy and mostly wear skirts. ¬†So my legs are usually visible…

        2. andyidsinga

          oh oh National Treasure spoof …green screen challenge ? ūüôā

          1. andyidsinga

            thats the cheezy movie with lots of fun fiction about knights templar and freemasons….its one of these —> :)not a —> :(:)

          2. ShanaC


        3. William Mougayar


    3. fredwilson

      That’s greatI will send an email explaining what is involved

      1. ShanaC

        Ok, looking forward.

    4. Mark Essel

      I’d be happier if your and William’s time was compensated even if it’s as simple as a yearly dinner :), but as all the revenue generated from avc goes to charity it’s a form of community service. I knew this day would come and am glad Fred has recognized he can’t scale his attention.Thanks to both you and William for accepting the responsibility. You’re effort will improve the value of my and many others comment visits, and it’s much appreciated.

  15. Donna Brewington White

    Excellent choices — two of our more ubiquitous and judicious members. The “talent scout” in me already sees¬†@ShanaC:disqus¬†as the unofficial community manager. (And she had better put this on her resume!!!) ¬†But, watch out for¬†@wmoug:disqus¬†because he may want to start curating the comments (and do a great job of it). ¬†;-)I think you need to cover more time zones, though. ¬†Many of the spammers come in during the wee hours. ¬†Perhaps, someone across the pond, such as¬†@RichardForster:disqus?It is one thing to give moderation rights, another to give moderation responsibility. This may need to be further distinguished in order for more people to volunteer for the role.It would be great to have nominations. ¬†Some among us may be too modest to volunteer (or may not be around today) but demonstrate a true concern for the best interests of this community.

    1. William Mougayar

      “But, watch out for William Mougayar¬†because he may want to start curating the comments.”- That’s funny !¬†

      1. Donna Brewington White

        But true, right? ūüėČ

        1. William Mougayar

          I thought you were doing a play on words because I run Eqentia which is a curation platform. I don’t believe our roles include curations of comments per se, but we’ll see what Fred has in mind.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            That is exactly what I was referencing, William.

      2. Guest

        That is exactly what I was referencing, William.Sent via mobile

        1. Donna Brewington White

          hate when that happens — we should be able to delete our comments when misplaced

          1. testtest

            agreed. it should incorporate all of CRUD.i like to see CRUD in many applications. it propagates up from http and its RESTful characteristics.  



        1. William Mougayar

          Me too, but isn’t that better done by machine rather than human? cc:Disqus

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          2. William Mougayar

            Human + Machine together in blender. Does good mix it make?

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


    2. Tereza

      Hey Donna! Great point about the time zones.

    3. fredwilson

      I like the idea of seeing “AVC community moderator” showing up on Shana’s resume

      1. ShanaC

        Ok then

    4. ShanaC

      Actually, I think @richardforster:disqus is actually somewhere in the middle of the country.  

      1. Donna Brewington White

        He’s a Brit. ¬†And $10 that he’ll give me a like for this response.

        1. ShanaC

          Doesn’t mean he’s in britain. And I’ll do the $10, on condition it goes to charity.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Just buy me a latte at Joe’s next time I see you.Sent via mobile

          2. ShanaC


        2. RichardF


      2. RichardF

        latte is on you I’m afraid Shana.Whilst I do listen to Mountain FM (Whistler) , KBCO, KFOG and KNDD, we are still undecided as where we would like settle in North America.By the way I think you are an excellent choice as AVC community moderator.¬†

        1. ShanaC

          Thank you.  Now I just owe a latte.

        2. Donna Brewington White

          So you’re definitely headed this way?

          1. RichardF

            That’s the plan Donna.¬† Won’t be this year though, got to deal with some personal stuff first.

    5. Jan Schultink

      Good point about time zones.

    6. Garick Chan

      Great to see you here, Donna.. Can I make the modest assumption that you might possibly know someone that would be good for that role?::Raises hand:: I’m Garick Chan and I nominate Donna White as a volunteer mod!

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Hey Garick — you DO get around. ¬†Welcome to AVC! ¬†Did you know that I initially met¬†@Jon_Ferrara:twitter¬†here in the AVC comments! ¬†BTW, thanks for the vote of confidence. We’ve got two fantastic new co-moderators!¬†

  16. Pete Griffiths

    I think there is an extremely simply solution to the whole problem. ¬†All that is required is to raise FAKE GRIMLOCK to the role of community ‘enforcer’ with the power to eat any spammer who is foolish enough to venture onto AVC. ¬†A few such spammers are consumed … the message will get around … the problem will evaporate.

    1. Laurent Boncenne

      you mean the problem will be eaten, digested and recycled into clean oil for the Fake Grimlock right?

      1. Pete Griffiths

        Precisely. ¬†It’s the green solution to spammers. ¬†

    2. fredwilson

      I prefer torture to to death when it comes to spammersI want to know who pays them



  17. MartinEdic

    This post could serve as the best expression of a comment moderation policy I’ve read- fair and not overly protective of Fred’s interests while cutting out the trolls.And I concur regarding iPad. I read all my daily blogs while having a morning coffee with my iPad rather than at the desk. This helps separate my work mode from my news mode. It also gets me out of that chair all day. And that brings up another observation: I think there is an opportunity in finding a viable and healthy alternative to sitting at a desk. I’ve seen a few things but they all look like something cobbled together. We need a Steve Jobs level of design thought brought to bear on that major health problem!(can’t help but evoke the master this week…) ūüôĀ

  18. Brad

    The great thing about how Disqus works is that I can read what actual people think, not just the person who wrote it. Love reading everything from tech to political articles, but better than the articles are what good informative people write. I can say I get as much out of Fred’s followers as I do from Fred. The fact that you are turning over some of the admin responsibilities to readers is awesome and commendable. I would love to see more posts written by readers like you did with FG. One thing is certain, you get a good amount of people discussing things.

  19. Donna Brewington White

    Also, am I the only one who is always a little afraid that when I scroll over the “likes’ under a comment I am going to accidentally tap the flag? ¬†

    1. ShanaC


  20. Dacat

    Hi guys. I’ve been a long time reader of Fred’s insightful blog ever since I started my company over 12 months ago. I’ve never had the inclination to ask for an opinion from the sage minds that comment until now.I’m a sole founder of a rather ambitious company which I have worked tirelessly to build. The company will require some heavy lifting from well connected political persons to help the company to expand in the future. I have indeed found a extremely well connected individual that will help open doors and make introductions, however the individual has asked for a 10% equity stake in the company in exchange for a “super advisory role”.I have no doubt that this individual would be able to make things happen for the company, however, I don’t feel they have enough “skin” in the company to make it work. Obviously, a vested/milestone based agreement would be the preferred option if things were to progress between us. I’d just like to get a gauge on people’s opinion or thoughts on my predicament.

    1. CJ

      I’m an armchair QB, never found anything in life but love and my car keys. ūüėõ ¬†But I’d say that 10% is a lot for open doors and introductions. ¬†For 10% of the company this guy had better be selling his ass off and making deals, not just getting people to sit at the table. ¬†IMHO, something like this would have to vest on milestones and you’d have to think very hard about what those milestones are so that you make sure you get value for your money. ¬†That all said, I’d probably just pursue funding with some reputable VC that specializes in the industry that you’re working in, let them use their contacts to help you and then you know you’ll get what you’re paying for. ¬†Again, that’s just my armchair QB advice. ¬†Smarter people here can probably advise better.

      1. Dacat

        First of all can I just say thank you for the warm welcome. The contributors to this blog are truly full of wisdom and I greatly appreciate everyone’s thoughts on my predicament, especially those of my favorite Dinobot. ;)Te individual in question was a top ranking official in government and was introduced to me by a valued friend. He has impeccable contacts throughout all layers of government, was previously the CEO of a multibillion dollar energy company and sits on a range of domain related boards.The individual has promised to lobby hard on behalf of the company and play a mentoring/advisory role . He has already been quite gracious with his time to date, while facilitating some valuable introductions and meetings as a gesture of goodwill for which I am immensely grateful.In relation to my comment about having “skin” in the game, the risk for the individual is minimal if the company fails, however, the upside is potentially significant. My dilemma is keeping this individual incentivized to grow the company and to continue to add a significant amount of value over time while protecting myself if things don’t work out.

        1. fredwilson

          a board member would get somewhere between .25% and 1%so this guy is asking you for 10x what is fair



    3. LE

      The specifics of this situation matter. Asking for10% or any percent is meaningless.On the one hand you say”I have no doubt that this individual would be able to make things happen for the company”…then you say:”however, I don’t feel they have enough “skin” in the company to make it work.”Those statements contradict each other.¬†But I would say the “skin” is the fact that they will earn money ifthey “make it work”. ¬†That is the motivator. Muchstronger then if there is no upside, wouldn’t yousay?¬†In general though I *don’t* agree with what Grimlock saysat all:”WHEN NEIGHBOR GIVE YOU NAME OF GOOD MECHANIC, NO ASK YOU FOR 10% OF CAR.”People who’ve spent their life making and nurturing connections havea legitimate right to monetize those connections/contacts. ¬†Youdidn’t spend time at rubber chicken dinners, they did. Of courseyou can argue that 10% is to high or to low dependingon the connections and what they are going todo for you exactly. So negotiate that. But in concept I don’t have a problem with this at all. And I don’t think it’s anythingat all like giving someone the name of a good mechanic.Other than just being a nice guy I like to give out namesof mechanics, painters, etc because then I becomea valued customer and it brings me better service.People also aren’t going to just ask theirconnections for favors just to help out. Favorsinvolve reciprocity. On the net people seem willingto help people with no return expected. In thereal world though that doesn’t happenas often (with business people unless theyare old and retired and don’t need money ordon’t still get a thrill etc.).¬†This connected person isn’t going tojust want to ask someone to help you out justto be a nice guy. You don’t know his relationshipwith these people at all and what he mighthave to do in return for making thoseconnections for you.In general I don’t think 10% is to much if the circumstanceswarrant at all. In fact when you hire a good salesmanyou pay commission and one of the things you get is thesalesman’s book of contacts to help close deals.¬†

    4. JamesHRH

      Rewards requires risk.This person should get all the way pregnant, ask for a full partners share and do all the selling for you.If not, find someone who will do all the selling.

    5. ShanaC

      First of all, welcome!Secondly.Everyone here is right, hoard the equity unless said guy is solving a serious problem for you.

    6. fredwilson

      10% is too much for anyone who isn’t full time and at least a co-founder

      1. Dacat

        Appreciate your advice/input Fred. Cheers.

  21. laurie kalmanson

    this is great.a community over at the atlantic that moderates itself extremely well has gathered around ta-nehisi coates:…the house rule “don’t feed trolls” keeps things civil, plus the occasional “comment deleted” from the hostthe last year of civil war related posts has brought commenters, anonymous and named, with deep scholarly knowledge and i learned things they never taught in school about us history and how¬† long it took for the the rights of people born into bondage to be restoredit’s also a disqus moderated communitythe occasional “talk to me like i’m stupid” posts/queries from the author are akin to mba mondays in reverse: he asks for people who know stuff to answer a question on his mind

  22. Kenyan

    Hi all,Sorry this is off topic – does anyone here have experience in cell phone related banking technology?? I am desperate to find some info on the latest trends to hit the top banks, and am at a loose end. Any info much appreciated.On topic – Fred – I admire your generosity, and new admin assistants –¬†pls don’t stuff up the great blog! just jokes. Look at this community go. Tis a good thing.

  23. Brian Hewitt

    I’m not sure the “red flag” concept is the best way to move forward. Is this “mob rule?” If it’s spam or an inappropriate comment – remove it. But, to allow the (sometimes) unedukated mobs to rule is a bit unnerving. If it’s unpopular or disagreeable – deal with it – but don’t allow “us” to censor it. Am I missing something here?

  24. Tracey Jackson

    I love that you embrace the haters. I have to learn to do this. I still take it personally. 

    1. fredwilson

      Haters are gonna hate

  25. Ed

    I like the discussion on this page, but it breaks past nine-tenths of the page. Is this a problem with the styling of the page, or is it my browser (Firefox 7)?

  26. Garick Chan

    That’s awesome that you are empowering your employees to take charge as your community managers and I think this is a great step towards self-enforcement through your audience members.¬†You’re right, as numbers begin to scale, it might be hard to review and moderate each and every single comment yourself personally. Now where’s my Google Plus One button?¬†

  27. fredwilson

    do you see any risks in elevating a few members to mods?

  28. fredwilson

    not for me. i do all my email. make all my phone calls. get my coffee. and moderate my comments.

  29. fredwilson

    i’m saving you and andy for a different job

  30. ShanaC

    err *blush*. ¬†You do know I’m working on something….(and it will happen, you’ll see)Besides, people tend to think I think too much to do community management,¬†because¬†the standard job description seems to be the person who posts the already developed description on facebook.

  31. Tereza

    Agree. I’d be concerned that it’s an unemployment time-suck so really hope it paths to something. I fear many of these voluntary participation things do not.

  32. Dave Pinsen

    With hammers, you and Andy would actually build something. The presence of builders, rather than just talkers, is part of what makes the threads here worth reading.

  33. JamesHRH

    Fred’s light touch should be easy to codify and apply, IMO.Keeping AVC as it is should be less daunting than getting it to here…..

  34. David Semeria

    There’s a FB group I frequent where some of the members were elevated to mods and it didn’t end well.As Abe said:¬†“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s¬†character, give him¬†power.”¬†But I don’ think that will happen here.

  35. Alex Murphy

    Life = Risks, Risks create Evolution, Evolution insures the continuation of Life.

  36. Laurent Boncenne

    lots of good stuff coming our way I gather? Something along the lines of what @kirklove:disqus said above by any chance?

  37. leigh

    I hope it involves the word bullshit. ¬†ūüėČ

  38. Tereza

    Talk about a teaser! That’ll keep me checking in.

  39. fredwilson

    not that i know ofwe need a “freelancers union” for startups

  40. Laurent Boncenne

    about Freelancers Union (@ShanaC:disqus¬† too), found this thread a couple minutes ago :¬†…¬†might be of interest to you two.

  41. ShanaC

    also¬†@lboncenne:disqus¬†in NY state, you may be covered under healthy NY depending how you and your business is structured (though there may be a 39% increase in rates this year…terrible)

  42. Anne Libby

    Charlie, if you’re looking in NYC, I’ve looked into this quite a bit and haven’t found anything like the resource you’re seeking.¬†You might also check your affinity groups:¬†¬† the bar association and some universities have offerings in NY.

  43. Tereza

    We have our nanny on Healthy NY via BCBS. Cheapest thing around but even then the price/value equation is not very good. Very high deductibles.

  44. gregg

    if you’re a small group (under 10 people) in NY you’re Health Insurance choices are pretty limited – oxford, Empire, HIP and maybe one other ¬†– ¬†the premiums for non HMO style plans are exorbitant and on the rise. ¬†The family rate for my company of 5 people went from about $1000 to $2300/mo over the last 5 years. I was essentially paying an annual base of about $27,000/yr before any copays or deductibles and we never ¬†– fortunately – came close of consuming $27,000 in health care for a family of four in a given year.¬†This past year I switched to a high¬†deductible plan with an¬†HSA. The premium went from 2300 for a family to 1000 and from about 600 to 300 for a single. While the¬†deductible¬†is $6000 I’m still $10,000 ahead even if I spend the whole $6000 out of pocket. It’s a bit more to manage since you have to deal with getting bills and making payments to doctors as opposed to a simple $20 copay at each visit but $10,000 is real money¬†and it’s much more palatable to cover my employees at $300 as opposed to $600.¬†For an early stage or small company I think this is as good an option as you’ll find.

  45. ShanaC

    @ccrystle:disqus¬† and¬†@fredwilson:disqus¬† I actually think freelancers union may cover a startup in its¬†initial¬†stages. ¬†If not, it may be worthwhile to figure out how to get group coverage through something like the NYTM.Right now there is a¬†entrepreneur¬†needing a marrow donor – and this would be even more nightmarish if he didn’t have insurance…

  46. William Mougayar

    That’s one of my favorite quotes David. Love it.¬†

  47. Tereza

    Great quote, Dave.

  48. David Semeria

    What would be quite cool would be to see the comment page as moderated by a given person.For example, if I were moderating I would delete all the long, lazy and sycophantic stuff.Also, and even though he¬†generally talks sense, I would probably delete most of the dinosaur’s comments on general principle.¬†Why should he be the only one to post in caps and dinosaur grammar?To riff on the World According to Garp, I would quite enjoy creating an AVC According to David.I doubt it would get many hits though…

  49. fredwilson

    An unlike/block button?

  50. David Semeria

    @fredwilson:disqus¬†slightly beyond that, Fred.Think of comments as a stream, and moderation as a form of curation.When the page gets full, it can take too long to read all the comments – especially if one’s busy.It would be cool to see versions filtered for different tastes / use cases.For example, when I’m busy I would like to see a filtered version showing only the most interesting or provocative comments.Other times, I’m happy to scroll through the lot.On second thoughts, you’re right wrt the unlike button.This could be crowd-sourced; you apply a filter which only shows comments not unliked by people whose tastes (historical affinity of likes / unlikes) are¬†similar¬†to yours.Good idea.

  51. William Mougayar


  52. David Semeria

    @wmoug:disqus¬†I prefer ‘instigator’ ūüėČ

  53. raycote

    DavidWhat a great set of filtered view option you have there! When can we have them ?add a My Favourites button and we get to viewMy¬†Favourites – – – – for future reviewMy Likes – – – –¬†– ¬†for future reviewEverybody’s cumulative Favourites – – – – – with threshold settingEverybody’s cumulative Likes – – – – – with threshold settingAnyone else’s¬†Favourites – – – – – for perspective or historical affinityAnyone else’s¬†Likes – – – – – for perspective or historical affinityThis assumes that Favorites have a much more substantial weighting than LikesExcluding everything that was collectively¬†Unlikedmight tend to filter to little on non-contentious posts and maybe too much on more contentious post?But now that you’ve brought those possibilities up I’m already feeling somewhat deprived ūüôā

  54. fredwilson

    You too Tereza

  55. testtest

    having an ignore button would be cool.¬†analogous¬†to the¬†/ignore command on’s ongoing, but¬†reversible.and for root comments only, not when they’re in a thread.

  56. ShanaC

    I’m from a generation where working for free seems to be common, sadly. (or close to free, or lacking benefits/being on contract) ¬†It seems to be one of the few ways to get in the door. ¬†Even then, I’m not so sure.We’ll see. ¬†I’m working on something. ¬†I think there may be interviews in the future as well. ¬†meanwhile, I do think despite the economy, things will get better.

  57. leigh

    I’m not sure the world is quite as¬†separate¬†as this anymore. ¬†I starred a pro-bono project called¬†@itstimetoshout:twitter¬†just bc i was moved by the plight of a friends wife. ¬†It became huge and is now a leading voice on ovarian cancer in social spaces (we are making a deal with a US non-profit soon). ¬†It could have become a bit of a time suck but instead we decided to incorporate into my company and it’s a¬†project¬†we use to train interns on how social media, and community out reach work. ¬†They have to spend 6 months doing it.¬†It all depends on how you look at things. ūüôā¬†¬†ps. http://leighhimel.blogspot….

  58. leigh

    replying here: ¬†in the case of its time to shout it has been a useful business tool and has indirectly generated revenue for us but that’s not why we did it. ¬†Steve Jobs has a great quote about connecting the dots backwards – ultimately the decision to do something without pay can either ‘pay off’ or not over time. ¬†I think using one’s gut if you start to feel taken advantage of is usually the best measure. ¬†For my part, ¬†participation¬†benefits have way¬†outweighed¬†the costs 9 times out of 10. ¬†

  59. Tereza

    Actually Shana from my generation — X — we had this too which is why I shared that outlook. We watched dads get whacked from corporate America in the early 80’s and then in the early 90’s Ivy League econ majors were taking telemarketing jobs. So if you wanted to do something that made you happy, you had to be willing to not get paid, to get your foot in the door. To break into TV/film (and I am embarrassed at how antiquated that sounds) I did 3 or 4 unpaid internships and then the first job was under minimum wage. So — trust me when I say, what you’re experiencing is not new. Orchestrating that first career transition from unpaid to paid is fucking hard. While you’re not getting paid people think you don’t have to get paid. It’s psychological too. You have to focus on it like a laser. You go from “not being valued for your time” to your time having value. That’s a critical milestone in your life. {incidentally women deal with this over and over on this as we off-ramp and on-ramp and it’s a leading reason feeding into why we get paid less overall. we simply do massive amounts of work for free — home, volunteer, internships and this does not play favorably in the immutable law of time value of money} So keep building up this awesome experience you’re getting — AND keep your eyes on the prize of being paid for doing what you love and are talented at. And make it happen for yourself ASAP. It is essential and the first step toward a sustainable life where you’re in control of your destiny. xoxoT.{today’s early morning mentoring message is brought to you by Disqus}

  60. Tereza

    Rastro says: “Ruh roh.”

  61. Tereza

    That’s a great example of converting it to value and you do have a company that generates other revenue and you can relate these activities back to each other. Well done. I just know so many stories of unpaid work that’s either not so meaningful and do not transition to paid. It needs to either enable you to contribute to something that matters (you leave an imprint on the world), or it’s building your skills so you can transition it to paid or a access a different kind of job you couldn’t previously. It’s hard when you have an inventory of spent time that was meaningful psychically but didn’t somehow get plugged back into your livelihood, and you’re revolving credit card debt, that’s a problem. (I’m not saying Shana is, i’m just saying I see it a lot)

  62. ShanaC

    Honestly, the bigger issue with all of this – crushing debt load and no insurance. I’m lucky in that regard.I know what I want to do. I haven’t quite figured out how I am going to do it, but I have my parents sign off on it (and my dad actually likes the idea). I actively consult too. I know things will get better.I’m more afraid for friends who are working for free/working low paying job and not sure of what next/ a few in grad school. I’ve always been slightly more untraditional, and I generally feel that as much as I see “occupy wall street” I know that it too will pass (though not without some major support from both industry and the government to get through the structural changes)