A couple of weeks ago, my mod policy was questioned and some took issue with the idea of Crosstalk being an open forum. It appears that at least one of the other group Kinjas are planning adjustments to their rules, plus there's been the return of the greys, so I'd like to take a minute to revisit and reiterate ours.
Since the first Crosstalk post in 2009, anyone and everyone have been welcome to participate in the community, the only exception were those whose accounts were banned for the whole of the Gawker domain. Under the original system, all anyone had to do was hashtag their post or comment. The same was true for the other historic forums, such as Groupthink, but because they had active moderators, it was easier to get banned. There wasn't a lot of moderation for Crosstalk, except when someone stepped way out of line and Gawker Help had to be summoned or when one of the Gawker bloggers was feeling frisky and wanted to play. For the most part, anyone and everyone could post and the only way to lose that privilege was to be banned on Gawker, so it has always been their rules which applied.
Under Kinja, with the ability to create group blogs open to anyone and moderation powers granted to each individual group, a few forums have been created where those requesting privileges are judged on the content of their comments and whether they'd fit with the community, or applicants are being asked to hang out and become part of the clique.
This has not been the case on Crosstalk and this forum does not require a tryout. If someone wants to post, all they have to do is ask. I do glance at people's histories to see if there are any violations of Kinja or Crosstalk policy and of course I wouldn't allow an obvious troll, but there are quite a few people who have been granted privileges with no history. Each application is weighed case-by-case and the overwhelming majority of requests are granted.
Thus far, I think it's been serving us pretty well. I don't judge the content of a post, except whether it fits within the broad confines of Kinja policy or violates my rule against personal charities and that it doesn't call out another unpaid Kinja user or community in an non-substantial post. On the rare occasions something has been posted which is against one of those policies, I've moved the post to drafts and have tried to communicate my concerns with the hope that something can be worked out and the post salvaged.
When it comes to banning, I haven't really done a lot. I'd say that authors are probably given more leeway because one can not be banned and remain an author, but the bannable offenses are my interpretation of the Kinja terms and I'm going to add bullying, especially by non-authors to the list. I'm not going to ban someone for disagreeing or holding a politically incorrect opinion. It's the Kinja terms and bullying. That's pretty much it.
I also don't police comment threads for the most part. Of course if someone is doing something bannable, I will step-in and if someone would like help dismissing a second-level reply, they're welcome to call Andy, but I read the top-level or original post to make sure it conforms to the guidelines and what happens in the comments to your post is up to you. A lot of times I'm not going to reopen the post and look at the comments, especially if it's a big contentious debate. We're all adults and Kinja gives us each moderation tools. If someone wants help they can ask or if they'd like to lodge a complaint, but what happens on your comment threads, whether you're the post author or the person to whom someone replies is for the most part, entirely up to you. I'm not a babysitter and I don't get paid for this gig.
As for following, a subject which has become more important in this age of greys, authors are automatically followed and can not be unfollowed. The only ones to which this applies are those without privileges and I trust you as authors to follow and unfollow on behalf of the blog. If anyone finds themselves repeatedly unfollowed, they're welcome to apply for author status which would eliminate that option, but if someone is having a problem staying followed, there's a pretty good chance I might decide they're a troll.
Every Kinja forum has their own rules and they're free to accept or reject whomever they want. I'm not the thought police and Crosstalk isn't a private club. It hasn't been since it's inception and because I believe in the free and open exchange of ideas that's not going to change.