Volunteers could be used to help Guardian moderate comments

The Guardian could invite readers to become voluntary moderators for its comments section as part of editor Alan Rusbridger’s plans for readers to play a ‘more active role in the creation of the Guardian in all its different aspects”.

The prospect was first raised during The Guardian’s Open Weekend and was later discussed by Rusbridger during an online question and answer session yesterday, in which readers were invited to email questions.

Rusbridger said he was ‘thinking aloud about moderation in a really good series of discussions with readers.’He went on to say that ‘quite a few readers indicated they liked the idea”.

Rusbridger said he asked readers what they would “like to give us (apart from the obvious: money)?” He said that “among the possibilities we discussed: time and data.”

‘We talked about whether this [time] should be paid for or voluntary. And whether it was at all feasible, or even desirable.”

He finished by saying ‘the idea may be interesting, or crazy. It was an interesting discussion, though”.

During the same question and answer session Rusbridger was asked whether the paper would introduce a paywall. He replied The Guardian were “not paywall fundamentalists’but there was ‘nothing on the horizon”. He also made clear that The Guardian Open Weekend (a paid-for event) was ‘not a precursor to a paywall”.

He said The Guardian would continue keeping an ‘interested economic eye on the economic models of other newspapers, particularly The New York Times”, but for now would maintain the same model as ‘as the Mail, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Washington Post, Johnston Press and others too numerous to mention”.

Rusbridger said he imagined ‘everyone is learning from everyone else at the moment – and it may well be that there is no one model that will work for everyone.”

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