Blog Comment Policy

Doug Chaplin asks, What Makes a Good Blog Comment Policy?, and it’s worth citing his complete answer.

Commenters who

* give real names
* or use well established pseudonyms
* or have and link to their own sites
* or who regularly interact with this blog
* or who are known to me personally
* or any combination of the above

are much more likely to be given leeway to push the boundaries a bit than those who are posting an anonymous or pseudonymous comment for the first time.

Commenters who

* are rude or aggressive
* or who swear excessively and abusively
* or who are critical of others in ways that I might regard as defamatory
* or who otherwise post something I consider skirts the borderline of legality
* or who I believe are misrepresenting their own identity
* or any combination of the above

are very likely to have their comments deleted… especially if they are anonymous or pseudonymous and therefore holding themselves unaccountable.

Commenters will be in danger of being regarded as trolls and blacklisted for

* comments which are largely unresponsive and may be regarded primarily as advertising their own sites rather than joining in the conversations
* comments which are largely unresponsive and may be regarded primarily as advertising a commercial product rather than joining in the conversations
* comments which reveal a fairly monomaniacal obsession with a single viewpoint, which are largely unresponsive, deliberately contrarian or excessively preachy, and which are repeated either on multiple posts here, or multiple blogs elsewhere
* comments which may otherwise be regarded as spam

Finally, there are two overarching observations. Notwithstanding any or all of the above, and all other things being equal

* short, to the point and responsive comments are always more likely to be allowed than lengthy ones
* funny, well written and wittily expressed comments are always more likely to be allowed than dour, ungrammatical and unintelligible ones

That’s not a bad policy, though I’m evidently more tolerant than Doug. Aside from irrelevant, commercial, or preachy spam (Doug’s third category), comments on my blog are seldom deleted. I hate to say it, but sometimes I even feed and encourage trolls who ride their hobby-horses (Steven Carr comes to mind). Maybe I’m too easily amused. Occasionally, however, I resort to the delete key when I see two elements persistently in play: pseudonymity/anonymity in conjunction with rude or hyper-aggressive argumentation. Contentious commenters who hide under rocks are lame. If you’re going to be especially critical of someone, you should at least put your name to it.

Years ago there was an officious commenter, “Bilbo Bloggins”, who lurked over biblioblogdom like a yellow jacket. He wrote lengthy and snotty critiques, and I finally banned him, though like all pests he kept coming back under new pseudonyms. Aside from him, however, and occasional spammers, I really haven’t had much problem with commenters on this blog. But again, I think I’m more tolerant than most.

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2 thoughts on “Blog Comment Policy

  1. 'sometimes I even feed and encourage trolls who ride their hobby-horses (Steven Carr comes to mind).'

    I can understand you being upset that you have been unable to refute my arguments, but unsubstantiated slander is never a good thing to see.

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