As that article alludes, i think one of the best strengths of a site is to have a well written, well informed user base who express their opinions coherently and back up their comments with facts and logical arguments. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy commenting on this site; because I know that if I get into a discussion with one of the other members here, even if that member has a contrary viewpoint, we can enjoy a good debate and will both understand each others’ reasoning. There are of course a few who don’t take the time to do this, or who put up comments which are offhand and disrespectful, but I do think they’re in the minority.
One of the great things about a site like this is that it is, to a certain extent, self-moderating. When someone does come along with questionable viewpoints, they’re challenged by the regular members who can use good arguing skills to point out where the person is going wrong. I’d much rather be part of a community which tackled the problem in this way, than one which sought to simply exclude anyone who didn’t fit the mold. Don’t hate – educate. As they say.
As a forum moderator for a couple of sites myself, I know how difficult it can be to strike a balance between allowing people the freedom to say whatever is on their mind, and ensuring that the standard of contributions is kept at a suitable level. Thankfully your task is made significantly easier by the general standard of posting here, compared to somewhere like the BBC’s have your say section. I’d say that motorsport attracts a more educated following, but judging by the comments I’ve seen on Andrew Benson’s blogs, I’d say that’s sadly not really the case. For whatever reason though, F1Fanatic seems to attract a well informed userbase, and I think the quality of the existing members is one of the main reasons for that.