The conservative blog community RedState recently issued a ban on Ron Paul supporters from “shilling” for their candidate on the site. This led to a very entertaining exchange of arguments about the decision. Against the ban, you’ve got Captain Ed and David All. Defending the decision you’ve got Mike Turk, Lance Dutson and Erick Erickson from Redstate. And then David All and Mike Turk weighed in again.

Seriously. Go read this stuff. Very entertaining.

My take on this is that RedState did the right thing. But I have a different perspective on the matter than most that have commented so far. By banning Ron Paul “shills,” RedState was simply preserving what makes it a great site – it’s community.

I’m an old dude in Internet years. I’ve done my time on various message boards, blogs and community websites. And I’ve seen some of my favorite sites ruined by poor moderation by site runners.

I’ve watched sports boards that I loved devoted to the Texas Longhorns and the San Antonio Spurs go to crap due to poor moderation that allows personal attacks and off topic discussions.

I’ve seen the conversation level on fantastic liberal and conservative blogs devolve to the point of horror due to submissive admins.

I’ve watched how crappy the discussion is on newspaper websites like the Washington Post and USA Today due to lack of oversight.

I’ve watched Ron Paul supporters make any real political discussion on Digg impossible. I’ve seen these same folks hijack threads on this very site.

I can only imagine what a site like RedState is dealing with during an election year.

As an admin at one of these sites you have a responsibility to your community to preserve the level of discourse by providing oversight. If you don’t, you run the risk of alienating the core contributors that made your community site great to begin with. RedState did the right thing.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.