Towards more thoughtful, respectful debate

As the new term starts today, the LDV team has been discussing how we can encourage more thoughtful, respectful debate on the site. We are aware that many people tend to stay away because they feel that they are not given a fair hearing and their concerns are belittled, particularly on articles relating to women’s equality. Our comments threads are therefore lacking in diversity. If women and other often marginalised groups of people feel that they can’t give voice to their opinion on this site, then we need to change things.

We want our comments threads to be enriching, engaging and enlightening. We want them to be a place where people can express their views or experiences and have them listened to and acknowledged. We want people to come way from reading the site feeling that their understanding of an issue has been enhanced.

As liberals, we know that there is usually at least one more shade of opinion than there are people in the room. This is a good thing. We are all individuals, after all. We encourage people to express all sorts of opinions in a respectful way.

We don’t expect commenters to agree with party policy. There are a fair few elements of party policy that each of us disagrees with so that would be a wholly unrealistic expectation.

However, the way in which people express disagreement is important. Attacking other people, belittling their experiences, resorting to lazy insult rather than illuminating and intelligent argument all drive others away.

Our comments threads are not as diverse as they could be and it is time for that to change.

LDV is in effect our house. It is up to us to decide who comes in and how they should behave. If someone came to my house for dinner and personally attacked the other guests or belittled their experience, I wouldn’t be inviting them back. I guess you wouldn’t either.

So, we’ll be getting a bit more vigorous with our moderating over the next wee while. We will moderate comments so that our comments threads are places of intelligent, relevant and interesting debate. That moderation will take place by human beings and so will often be arbitrary and perceived to be unfair to those whose comments are not published. We think that is a price worth paying for a website where rational, polite debate is the norm and invective avoided.

As an initial step, all new articles will be put on pre-moderation. We will only publish those comments which, in our view, meet those standards. We will not be entering into debate or discussion about which comments we choose to publish although if you want to know why your comment hasn’t made it, we will tell you if you ask. If your comment is not published, it will be because it didn’t contribute to an inclusive, respectful culture on the site.

We don’t intend pre-moderation of posts to be permanent. As time goes on, we hope that people will understand how they need to interact and behave so that we can remove it.  If individuals infringe those standards, they will be put on pre-moderation.

This is not censorship. You all have the entirety of the internet to express your views. If you want to set up your own blog and shout at us, then you are free do do so. We are under no obligation to publish comments from people who seek to dominate and intimidate rather than advance argument in a way that brings people in.

We hope that these changes will lead to a positive change in the atmosphere on the site.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • I suspect that what you wish for will be the opposite of what you will get. Few comments and those will be anodyne. Time will tell.

  • liberal neil 8th Jan '18 - 7:44pm


  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 8th Jan '18 - 7:50pm

    @Frankie, It is possible to have the most passionate, vigorous, fantastically enriching discussion without nastiness. All people need to do is stick to the topic under discussion without trying to derail it and acknowledge other commenters’ views without trying to denigrate them.

    I am optimistic that our readers can manage that and that more people will comment if they feel that they are going to be listened to and respected.

  • Alisdair McGregor 8th Jan '18 - 7:56pm

    Oh good, this might actually make LDV readable again.

    Given that I haven’t posted (article or comment) on LDV in the past six months it should tell you how bad the site’s comments have become. I’m by no means a shrinking violet and I lost interest in wading through the sewer that the comments section had become.

    Next, maybe, the members only forum?

  • I’m sorry but only allowing posts that you subjectively decide ‘contribute to an inclusive, respectful culture on the site’, and ‘we will not be entering into a debate about which comments we chose to publish’ absolutely is censorship. I’m inclined to agree with Frankie on the likely outcome. Best of luck though.

  • “This is not censorship. You all have the entirety of the internet to express your views.”

    Very well put! The freedom to express opinions does not guarantee you a platform.

  • A very welcome article. I have written for LDV o the past and while many of the comments I received were engaging and helped encourage debate, a number could definitely be classsed under “You’re wrong and I’m right so just shut the f**k up”, which in truth put me off posting articles and comments here. Now that there will be more active monitoring, I look forward to returning to it.

  • Peter Watson 8th Jan '18 - 11:11pm

    I’m not particularly worried about subjective bias or censorship by moderators (who all seem a decent bunch) but if, as I fear, this change leads to slower updates of discussion threads (or some individuals’ messages appearing after the discussion has moved on), then those below-the-line discussions could become less dynamic, less responsive, and less interesting. If it becomes simply a place to read articles I don’t think the site will thrive. Certainly, it is the interaction and sense of community here that makes it so hard for me to break the LDV habit and often, I think I learn more from the discussions than I do from the articles.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 8th Jan '18 - 11:33pm

    @PeterWatson We’re kind of hoping that people will get the message and we won’t have to do pre-mod all posts for long, but we couldn’t let things continue as they were. We’ll try and keep things as dynamic as possible during this period.

  • OnceALibDem 8th Jan '18 - 11:36pm

    ” the LDV team has been discussing how we can encourage more thoughtful, respectful debate on the site. We are aware that many people tend to stay away because they feel that they are not given a fair hearing and their concerns are belittled, particularly on articles relating to women’s equality.”

    It’s an interesting stance. And one that goes back to the dawn of Lib Dem ‘social media’ as similar discussions were had on Cix back when PCs were steam powered and we were all on dial up. That started in 1994/5 and I’m not sure anyone really cracked it.

    “That moderation will take place by human beings and so will often be arbitrary and perceived to be unfair to those whose comments are not published.”

    Also an interesting approach – usually moderation is expressed in terms of objectivity and fairness, now you can argue the point but it is at least honest to say “this will not be perceived as fair”

    “We think that is a price worth paying for a website where rational, polite debate is the norm and invective avoided.”

    Well if you create a place to discus politics where this holds then congratulations. It will be unique on the internet. And probably of any political debate forum offline as well! But I suppose we choose to do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard may have some validity 🙂

    The concern I would have though is you end up – like a lot of Liberal Democrats I have known – wanting to do your politics in the world as you wish it was, not the world it is. That’s because they were by and large nice people (certainly more so than me in my political guise – I miss the enjoyment I got from that but not the reasons why!)

  • Generally the moderators seem to do a pretty good job here, but having once had a comment rejected (by the author of this piece, coincidentally) I do find the moderation can sometimes be inconsistent. Though it is nice that you can ask for a reason.

    I would worry that there’s a risk of overstepping into censorship, but given that we (obviously) don’t have access to all rejected comments, I guess we’ll just have to give LDV the benefit of the doubt for now.

  • Yeovil Yokel 9th Jan '18 - 4:51am

    I’ll repeat a comment which I made to Mark Valladares at New Year, which didn’t elicit a response. The comments section of YouTube (which doesn’t appear to be moderated) has a good feature whereby one can edit or delete a comment after it has been posted, which is a form of self-moderation. If one could do the same on LDV it would mean that
    a comment made in the heat of the moment or lacking clarity could be toned down or
    cleaned up which might reduce the number of inappropriate comments and the workload of the moderators.

  • Sounds idyllic. I fear it will lead to fewer comments, all from the same few people, all with the same ‘model’ mindset. We shall see.

  • @YeovilYokel makes a good point. Whether it is a simple typo, or something more. It is off-putting when there isn’t some sort of editing function. Perhaps it is time limited and give the poster up to an hour before the post is locked in?

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 9th Jan '18 - 9:16am

    I’ve already made some remarks about the idea of a new, stricter, moderation policy, in comments on a previous article, so I don’t want to repeat it all here. But I do feel that that putting all comments on pre moderation is unlikely to achieve what you hope it will achieve.
    Discussions on Lib Dem Voice are usually very respectful and civilized. The present moderation policy seems to work pretty well. Although some unpleasant and personal comments do appear, they can be deleted. Site users can report to the editorial team any comment they see as unacceptable. Rather than putting everyone on pre moderation, couldn’t you just reserve pre moderation for those who have made unacceptable comments?
    You have mentioned the need for respect, but could I request that the editorial team remember the need to be respectful to users. There have been occasions recently when members of the editorial team have publicly criticised a comment that someone has made, when it might have been more appropriate to have sent the person a private message by email. Sometimes these public criticisms by the editorial team have gone beyond just criticising a particular post, to a more general criticism of the person who made the comment, to an extent which could be regarded as a personal attack.
    In the last few days, we have seen two users of this site say that they have decided to have no more to do with either the site or the Party, after their posts have been moderated and/or they have been publicly criticised in a quite personal way, by members of the editorial team.

  • William Fowler 9th Jan '18 - 9:34am

    Time will tell, Liberals are a very diverse bunch from the Utopians who want unlimited govn spending on benefits to realists who want to outdo the Tories but in a fairer way, the leadership actually quite moderate in relationship to some of the views expressed here. So going to get lots of comments that disagree but don’t know why anyone would worry too much about a bit of verbal online joshing. I have been told off a couple of times for directly having a go at the likes of Corbyn rather than Labour policies and have since modified the way I write, which I thought was fair enough. Hopefully a light hand on the censorship button…

  • Time will tell but I think this will mean fewer comments but richer discussions ‘below the line’ with more voices joining in. Often I go to engage with an article here and find that it got deliberately derailed at the first comment and by now all are deep in debate about life under bridges and the tastiest breeds of goat, so I take my thoughts elsewhere instead.

    It will mean more work for the LDV team than is currently the case. Thanks to you all for your ongoing volunteering in keeping this hefty show on the road.

  • All you need to do, please, is disallow comments that ‘play the man, not the ball’.

    But I agree about the waiting thing. I won’t see for hours if you’ve accepted this comment, and then for hours more if someone else has responded to it. And then if I didn’t like their comment, it would be there for the world to read for hours before I could publicly counter it. Thread would be way down the feed and most people long since given up on it by then anyway.

  • Denis Loretto 9th Jan '18 - 10:07am

    Just two points –
    Moderation must be rapid. Otherwise immediacy of debate is lost

    Opportunity to self-censor within (say) 10 seconds) is a really good idea.

  • Tony Dawson 9th Jan '18 - 10:25am

    I suggest that you change your software to start ‘threading’. Mostly people who get stroppy on blogs tend to get involved in a spat with one or two others and can leave the rest alone to discuss the main ideas properly.

  • Lorraine Johnson 9th Jan '18 - 10:28am

    Sounds like an excellent idea & it would encourage me to read & comment more frequently. I hope it doesn’t become too much of a burden to the editorial team though

  • Andy Boddington 9th Jan '18 - 10:32am

    I fully support this. The negative grunge that many posts attract does nothing for mature and considerate debate.

  • Compared to other places on the internet LDV is very mild but who takes much notice of mildness?

  • That’s me and David Evans out then!!!

  • Like Manfarang, I have always found LDV a source of polite and reasoned argument……However, this is a site dedicated to political argument and people, including me, hold passionate views on the subject; but I can honestly say I cannot remember cases of personal abuse…
    What is worrying is remarks like the one asking that LDV be made a ‘member only’ site or that only one response per argument should be allowed…As a party you (I’ll use you and not us) should be looking to attract a new generation of voters as, with 7%, the future is bleak…
    In my opinion these new restrictions will do nothing to achieve that end…

    Regards, expats

  • paul barker 9th Jan '18 - 1:35pm

    I fully support the intentions of the new approach & I want to thank them in advance for all the extra work involved.

  • The only comment I would have is that it would be good if the moderated comment, once released, was added to the end of the comments rather than at the point it was originally posted.

  • I am genuinely amazed by the people saying discussion here is always civilised and they can’t recall cases of personal abuse. I think we must be working to very different definitions of those concepts, and perhaps therein lies the objection some people are having to this new regime.

    Playing the man not the ball is not only common, but the norm below the line on this site – and while I am conscious that this comment could be read as such too I see no other way of saying it – and it genuinely puts people off. This is surely plain from the many comments on this very article saying as much and welcoming the new policy? And playing the man not the ball has been explicitly against the comment policy as printed for a lot of years… But somehow it never gets enforced. All this “new” regime is doing is enforcing the existing comments policy.

    Regarding Cassy’s point, I really wish they’d turn notify of replies back on, but apparently it’s something to do with server load and cost and it would be expensive… But that would mean you wouldn’t have to keep pressing refresh and returning after hours, which IME only the most invested – often angry (and therefore likely to post vituperatively) – people are wont to do.

  • Laurence Cox 9th Jan '18 - 1:51pm


    But the vital difference with Cix (where I am still active) is that there moderation is post-publication with moderators withdrawing messages, and replies to them, after they had been posted. I am concerned about pre-moderation as a fundamentally illiberal approach to what I accept is a problem at the moment. I would rather see a time-limited ban on posters who abuse their freedom to post comment; perhaps it could start at 24 hours and increase for repeat offenders.

  • Stephen Booth 9th Jan '18 - 2:09pm

    What I don’t want to read on LDV is the views of non-party members unless they’re presented in relevant articles or thought pieces for comment. There seem to be too many aspiring trolls and baters at the moment, which will certainly drive women away. LDV needs to be just that – a voice for Lib Dems.

  • Peter Watson 9th Jan '18 - 4:11pm

    @Yeovil Yokel “one can edit or delete a comment after it has been posted”
    Changing a comment after somebody has responded to it could make discussions very confusing!

    @Tony Dawson 9th Jan ’18 – 10:25am
    “I suggest that you change your software to start ‘threading’.”
    I think that is an excellent idea. This would ensure that below the line discussions do not get derailed by tangential discussions (which are often very interesting on this site) or by a heated exchange between two people which can be less pleasant, since they could easily be ignored by a reader.

  • @Stephen Booth

    “What I don’t want to read on LDV is the views of non-party members ”

    Isn’t that what the members forum is for, a place where party members can have their discussions in private away from the prying eyes of non members.
    What would be the point of having this forum viewable to the public without them being able to comment? Wouldn’t that make it an echo chamber?
    And if LDV wanted to play a part in educating the public to their views and encouraging people to join the party, wouldn’t that be a little difficult if you stopped them from engaging and expressing their opinions here?

  • Peter Watson 9th Jan '18 - 4:38pm

    @expats “I have always found LDV a source of polite and reasoned argument”
    I agree (though that might be evidence of good moderators!). However I can think of a couple of regular posters who I think are often guilty of “playing the person not the ball”, ridiculing or attacking those they disagree with, but they are actually party members defending the party line rather than trolls from the outside. I don’t know if discussions about sexual equality are worse than others as they are not topics I tend to follow (though I do think the party should try harder to avoid giving the impression that its commitment to diversity and equality does not extend much further than ensuring that posh white women with degrees have the same opportunities as posh white men with degrees).

    “What is worrying is remarks like the one asking that LDV be made a ‘member only’ site or that only one response per argument should be allowed”
    I agree (though as someone who is no longer a Lib Dem member or voter, I would say that!). Engaging with those of us from outside the party is the best way to attract us into it, and I do not recall seeing blatantly cynical trolling of Lib Dems on this site. Another benefit of letting us in is that heated public debates between members suggest a divided or inconsistent party whereas disagreeing with someone from outside the party can give the impression of unity.

  • Jennie 9th Jan ’18 – 1:50pm………….I am genuinely amazed by the people saying discussion here is always civilised and they can’t recall cases of personal abuse. I think we must be working to very different definitions of those concepts, and perhaps therein lies the objection some people are having to this new regime……….

    Perhaps to enlighten me, and those like me, the mods could give examples of personal abuse,,,To protect those posters their names could be removed and just their comments shown…That would also enable us to see what sort of thing we must avoid…BTWRather than go back years why not show samples from the last two months?

    I repeat, I cannot remember any such threads…mind you, at 74 I’m willing to have my memory corrected…

  • To be perfectly frank, of the blogs I frequent, LDV is probably about as ‘tame’ as it can possibly get. The responses I get to my comments on LDV, from my perspective, come under the simple heading of ‘rough n tumble’.
    I suppose one person’s ‘rough n tumble’ is another person’s ‘deeply offensive’?

    That said, I’m with expats on this, in that I genuinely don’t grasp what comes over as offensive in the [previous to today], version of LDV?
    For example, up-thread I read that all of our commenting efforts in the last few months, came to nought but ‘wading through sewage’. I for one found that a tad ‘snarky’, but it got through the new improved moderation. So I guess ‘snark-iness’ in in the eye of the beholder. ?

    Politics is not a victimless crime, and it arouses passions, which sometimes encounter responses which [like it or not], ‘bite back’. I see that as human, and normal, and I just deal with it. Maybe some people just don’t have the ‘constitution’ to take on politics as it exists in the real world, because for sure, the real world of politics is not going to tone itself down until you feel ‘safe’?

    If you are going to revert LDV to a ‘sanitized’ echo chamber of the 7.4 %, that’s fine by me, but how on earth do you expect to convert or connect with anyone from the 92.6% who have rejected ‘Lib Dem world’, without occasionally encountering a bit more ‘red meat’ in terms of response?

  • Much of this article outlines the key message for respect when commenting on articles and in response to others existing comments, but there is also a point which suggests the moderators will be looking to ensure “intelligent, relevant and interesting debate” and there won’t be any explanation why certain comments are published.

    I (except maybe once) have always commented in a respectful manner but cannot say all my comments have been interesting or intelligent. Can you please chose your moderators carefully to best ensure the result is inclusive conversation rather than other sites where moderators can end up deleting comments they don’t like.

  • I’d like to thank the mods for actually allowing a balanced debate on this subject of ‘balanced debate’…(BTW I’m not being facetious) and, if all threads/posts are allowed the same balance, my misgivings seem unfounded… BTW, I don’t recognise the description of LDV as “wading through the sewer that the comments section had become”….

  • Mark Blackburn 9th Jan '18 - 9:02pm

    I know this has come up before, but often the more offensive posts come from those with aliases. Surely hiding behind a false name (even if LDV know the identity) is disinhibiting? Can we not all post in our own names?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 9th Jan '18 - 9:50pm

    Mark, I see where you are coming from but my worry is that some people who couldn’t otherwise comment for professional reasons would be lost.

  • Katharine Pindar 10th Jan '18 - 12:27am

    Caron. As I have generally enjoyed the majority of articles and comments on LDV in the past couple of years and haven’t seen the problems which you editors have now decided must be eliminated, I haven’t commented on this or the previous similar thread before. Not perceiving the problems, I can’t comment on the answers! I would rather that the site didn’t change much, but if people have been put off from contributing as you say, that is a good reason for change. Personally I am amused to find myself rather agreeing here, among the commentators, with two women who have been quite critical of me at times, Catherine Jane and Sheila Gee, so that is mind-expanding. I also like Peter Watson’s ever-thoughtful input. And I do hope to see Lorenzo’s artistic musings, where his points aren’t always clear but his intentions are always good, continue to flourish.

    I have one question and one request. The question is, Caron, on your mention of keeping ‘the house’ as you and the other editors want it. That led me to wonder, who in fact owns the house? Is it funded by the party, and do you have an editorial board with other senior party figures with whom you regularly meet, or are you entirely independent? (If the latter, you are fortunate. I as a counsellor have to have regular supervision, and renew my accreditation every year.)

    My request is that you will not restrict the comments for reasons other than those you have mentioned, that they should be thoughtful and respectful. To me it has been fun to see the way different themes have developed from articles, and though a continuing debate on a theme not originally intended can be slightly irritating for an author, he or she can always come in and try to redirect. I hope the odd personal anecdote or interchange can also continue to be allowed, as they can brighten a thread and add a sense of humanity or humour. I do thank you for allowing me so much interesting and enjoyable participation, which I hope I have generally tried to make constructive.

  • As an occasional reader and even more occasional contributor here, it doesn’t seem to me that we have a massive problem in the first place. Surely a system that required contributors to register from a confirmed email – as is standard now on most discussion/forum websites – would see off most of the handful of unduly aggressive posters? LDV could either manage this directly, giving admin access to people’s contact data, or piggyback on an existing online registration service.

    It is a fundamental tenet of liberalism that no person has the right to deny others a voice (enslavement by conformity…) and it doesn’t really matter to this point of principle how wise or reasonable the moderator (s) might think themselves. At some point they will inevitably impose their own views or prejudices onto a debate and at that point an injustice will have been done.

    The fact that there are generally reasonable debates taking place on a wide range of other websites without heavy-handed pre-moderation ought to be a clue.

  • Do not throw the baby out with the bath wáter.

    I only am a very occasional contributor here, but I am very surprised to hear that members of the editorial board think there is a serious problem that warrants pre-moderation.

    I do not know another political blog that is so moderate and polite.

    How are Lib Dems going to survive in the big, bad world, if they can’t put up with the very tepid jousting on LBV?

    We are a small endangered minority. We need to be robust.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 10th Jan '18 - 1:21pm

    Chris Moore

    I am uk born , but an Italian father and a reflective way of on here , thinking aloud, plus being a poor typist, unless with articles where time is spent, mean , my syntax here is more eccentric. It stands me in good stead as a writer of scripts and fiction, people are more related to, more human, when style is conversational and natural or informal. The comments you made encouraging me to continue on here are valued.


    You get to the essence of why I am not going to continue here on this site. I am not always clear in the posts because I am so reflective. That is the purpose of Liberalism or there is none. I do not see this as a place for me to promote me or my view, but to relate, to debate.

    I am completely unclear as to in any way what I have ever said on here, being other than friendly or enthusiastic. I am very clear that the site has many have respect , and liking for, often who disagree with me or I them, or not, but in friendly banter.

    I want no more to do with party politics for some while.

  • Nick Collins 10th Jan '18 - 3:17pm

    “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes”

    Katherine Pindar asks “who in fact owns the house? “. Further to that, who appoints the moderators, and who appraises their performance?

  • OnceALibDem 10th Jan '18 - 3:44pm

    “And playing the man not the ball has been explicitly against the comment policy as printed for a lot of years… But somehow it never gets enforced.”

    That was my experience – hence the anonymised name! So there have to be questions about whether the new policy will be enforced any more than the old one.

    You can of course run a site on the basis that ‘playing the man not the ball’ isn’t Ok. But (controversial point coming up….) it is a common (and I would argue legitimate) tactic in political debate and if people want to be involved in politics there is a case that they need to be able to deal with the less nice aspects.

  • chris moore 10th Jan '18 - 5:03pm

    Hi Lorenzo,

    i saw nothing in your previous comments that could offend anyone.

    I’m fascinated by your meditative style.

    Good luck in anything you do next.

    PS My ten year old son is Basque, (as is my wife.) He speaks English very well, but with an accent. And his written English is quite unusual. I should have remembered this in your case.

    All the best

    Chris Moore

  • Nonconformistradical 10th Jan '18 - 5:10pm

    @Nick Collins
    ““Quis custodiet ipsos custodes”

    Katherine Pindar asks “who in fact owns the house? “. Further to that, who appoints the moderators, and who appraises their performance?”

    It seems perfectly clear from that the site is run on a voluntary basis. It is not owned by the party. It seems to me that the volunteer collective is free to run the site any way it wants – they are asking us for our views – which is a good thing.

  • Peter Watson 10th Jan '18 - 5:59pm

    @Nick Collins “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes”
    I had to google that but it’s a great example of what I wrote above about often learning more from the discussions than I do from the articles! Cheers 🙂

  • I too am a very infrequent poster but have been a frequent reader of this site for many years and a committed Lib Dem member since the late 90s (Labour before but was proud to be one of the first to abandon Blair). I just say that I too am baffled by the suggestion that this site is riven with trolling and abuse. The suggestion that it is like wading through sewage left me completely baffled. I have frequented many sites over the years and this has to be the most civilised and courteous I have visited. I am conscious that men are more likely to be aggressive online than women but it is noteworthy that several women who have commented above have a similar view to me.
    I have always been on the left of the party and passionate about anti-discrimination and a more mature, kinder politics. But equally I would not wish us to adopt illiberal hallmarks of student politics and parts of the Labour movement like no-platforming and the right not to be offended.
    While I, like many others, am unconvinced (and have not been shown any evidence) that there is a significant problem that needs to be addressed, there have been many sensible actions suggested above that could easily be adopted without stifling debate. However, I do think that pre-moderation would be a wholly disproportionate and damaging response. We should be proud to be a party that stands up for Liberal values, are prepared to tolerate differences in the way we express ourselves and take sensible, considered, proportionate steps to deal with any clear cases of abuse such as hate speech.

  • Perhaps worth a comment that this does seem to have worked reasonably well even given a rather heated story that might have stress tested this approach a little more and earlier than intended! 🙂

  • That this approach has failed, and has done nothing to rescue the reputation of the site, should now be clear to anyone paying attention. Is anyone at LDV now reviewing the experience of the months during which posts to the public site have been heavily moderated/censored?

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