Anil Dash has posted a comment here to my last two posts criticizing Typepad for its unwillingness to address (at least to my satisfaction) the issue of hate speech in their blogs. In reply to my request to ban the abuser’s IP globally from the TP blog system, Anil says:
…an individual IP is *not* necessarily linked to a single person. An individual
IP address can represent hundreds (or even thousands) of individuals on a shared
address, and it can also be reassigned, sometimes in just a matter of minutes to
another party, who may be completely innocent.
What Anil does not address is whether Typepad WOULD ban this abuser if it COULD do so. The answer to this question is important to me because if it is yes, then I’d feel more reassured that TP understands the problem and is willing to address it robustly. But if the answer is No, then the whole issue of IP banning is moot since they wouldn’t ban this guy even if they had a more effective way of doing so.
But let’s say that TP would be willing to ban him if they could. Doesn’t Anil’s answer prove how abysmal is Typepad’s (and probably other blog provider’s) ability to identify abusers and prevent them from abusing again? If the IP address is generally a bad way of addressing the problem, then find a better way.
I’ve been told that there may be fixes that TP is working on to address some of the issues I raise here. I’ve also been told that TP will not discuss any of that information with me because I’ve talked in my blog about conversations I’ve had with Typepad staff. What this approach misses is that the best way of addressing criticism is by being candid. If you mistrust me because I criticize, then what does that say about your ability to learn from users, even ones you find troublesome? I would be less likely to feel the need to discuss my concerns in my blog if I were confident that TP was addressing them seriously in terms of developing methods of coping with vicious blog abuse. By refusing to communicate, TP only raises more concerns in my mind.