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NPR seeks to boot trolls, spammers from website

NPR, formally known as National Public Radio, has had it with trolling trolls and spamming spammers plying their trade in the comments the sections of npr.org Web pages. The public radio service has decided to take a rather unique approach to prevent the ad hominem, shamelessly vile and abusive comments that are the trademark of the 21st century Internet troll.

Last week, NPR announced that it had instituted a vetting process for new commenters on its website. Under the new policy, comments from new users will be reviewed by a team of community managers. Only if a comment is deemed appropriate will it then appear on the site.

“Once a user has established a reputation for following the commenting guidelines all of his comments will appear immediately after posting,” NPR explains in a blog post. “Community managers will only review comments in response to a specific report from other community members.” NPR says the reviews will be conducted in about 15 minutes.

For users with exiting accounts, those who’ve had a history of having their comments flagged will undergo an evaluation period. Once their comments are deemed devoid of any trolling or spamming behavior, then those users in question will be permitted to post comments without any prior review.

Comments liable to get flagged for review include those that are impolite, obscene, off topic, over 400 words, in violation of copyright, promotional or proselytizing, and anything else that might “feed the trolls” if it’s not already the work of a troll itself.

NPR has close to half a million subscribers on its website. On Friday, NPR’s ombudsman Alicia Shepherd said that the new policy was “not in reaction to the vitriol that erupted over the attack in Cairo on CBS Correspondent Lara Logan.”