07 October 2006

My comments policy

An e-mail I recently received questioned my use of comment moderation. It's a fair issue to raise.

A short answer would be to point to what most comment threads on the internet look like, in cases where moderation is not used. Discussions veer off topic; insults fly; people call each other names, accuse each other of things, and get into meta-arguments about what exactly each party meant by what he said. People post comments incorporating long, turgid excerpts from external articles. Sometimes there are statements a reasonable person could consider defamatory. I really don't care to let my own site turn into that, or even take any risk of it doing so.

This is my space; other have, or can easily create, their own. I therefore reserve the right to reject any comment on the grounds of irrelevance, insulting language, threatening language (threats which I deem serious will of course be reported to the relevant authorities), use of obscenity, or, to be blunt, anything else I happen to strongly dislike.

This is not a freedom-of-speech issue. I neither have nor want any power to prevent you from saying anything you choose. But I am not obligated to provide you with a forum in which to say it. Blogs are easy to create. On your own blog, you can say whatever you like, unmoderated by me or anyone else. On this one -- well, as the saying goes, a man's home is his castle.

Update 1 (11 February 2007): As of today, having had this blog for almost six months, I've rejected a total of four comments -- three for being pure insults with zero information content, and one for irrelevance (a rambling screed of Koran/ hadith exegesis, of staggering length, submitted as a comment on my Iran airstrike posting). Four comments in six months isn't many. So I'm satisfied that my comments policy isn't excessively restrictive.

Update 2 (2 March 2009): Since this has come up a few times, I might as well make it explicit -- I won't put up with comments that attempt to derail my site into "debates" over delusional nonsense. It wastes time and can discourage other commenters who might have something worthwhile to say. You can't talk intelligently about the good or bad ideas of politicians while being interrupted by someone who insists that they are all part of a secret global Zionist conspiracy. You can't intelligently consider aspects of primate evolution while being interrupted by someone who insists that everything was specially created six thousand years ago. You can't coherently discuss what to do about anthropogenic global warming while being interrupted by someone who insists that anthropogenic global warming is a myth. There are plenty of places on the internet where reality-denial is accepted, even welcomed. This isn't one of them.

Update 3: Lately a new form of trolling has become rampant on many blogs -- change-the-subject trolling.


Blogger Christy said...

Commenting on commenting....this is a new low.

I also moderate, but my site is almost totally personal, girly, speculative, just fun (for me, anyway) and usually I don't think anyone should play ugly with me about my own silly thoughts.

I started moderating because an old boyfriend kept coming in and calling me a c--t, etc.--semi-anonymously--and I don't care, but why not do it on his own blog? Why make myself vulnerable when he wasn't really trying to help me, just hurt?

Boundaries are good.

Unless you shut out people that really could help.

(Oh, btw....I think many people--especially liberals--shut out anyone and label them pretty damn fast. I get sad about that. I wrote some posts about the war, saying it might be good, and I felt a lack of love....)

11 September, 2008 18:05  
Blogger Christy said...

I wrote a post just for you, linking to you....

You were right, kinda, about Oprah being a silly source.

(I reserve the right to be silly, but I like how you think....)

Hedonist, huh?

11 September, 2008 18:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

12 December, 2009 08:38  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

I think I'm going to do something like this. Frankly, I'm not just tired of some of the right-wing stuff but even some of the liberal comments, mainly because of the foul language. I can cuss with the best of them but there's an over abundance of it. The message gets lost. Plus, I have a mentally handicapped cousin who reads my blog faithfully. She's in her 40s but only has a 7 yr. old reading level.

Just between you and me - and there's nothing that can be done about it - I dislike these one liners that are in every comment on every blog and from the same person. A little substance never hurt anyone.

23 December, 2009 09:20  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Leslie, between spam and trolls and people who try to change the subject to whatever their personal obsession is, I find I'm rejecting half the comments I get these days (admittedly most of that's because of spam -- who knows why anyone thinks this blog is a good place to advertise viagra?). I'm kind of elastic about profanity, but I agree with you that there's too much of it these days.

Always remember, your blog is your blog. You're 100% entitled to reject anything you choose, for any reason or no reason.

23 December, 2009 10:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

06 January, 2010 06:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Моя история из жизни: мы как-то с мамой ехали в маршрутке,( мама спец по всем видам мяса на глаз определяет что это), на остановке залазит подвипывший мужик с куском свежака в одноразовом пакете. Едем. Маршрутка резко тормозит,мужик по инерции бежит вперед и пакет рвется ,оттуда выпадет свежак ,дальше мамины слова- " Мужчина,у вас вымя выпало!" я медленно сползаю под сиденье , пассажиры ржут, мужик красный - выбегает на следующей остановке :)))

15 January, 2010 05:37  
Anonymous Hugo Grinebiter said...

This morning I deleted 70 spams from my blog's spamtrap. That's just a few days' worth. Most of them were either in Russian, or else page-long screeds of spam-bot "beat poetry" addressed to my CC Licence. Must be true love..... Go figure what anyone gains from this.

I'm not known enough to attract live trolls, but if I ever am, I shall be like you. I agree that since we aren't government, we don't have to give a forum to everyone if we don't want to. But it's worse than just people thinking that other private citizens are obliged to give them a platform -- lots of people now seem to think that "freedom of speech" means that no one gets to disagree with them, ignore them or insult them back. They're wrong. Delete away!

19 February, 2010 07:27  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Hugo -- the foreign-language spam is weird, isn't it? I think of spam-bots as artificial stupidity.

19 February, 2010 07:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice post and straight to the point.

14 September, 2012 18:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

infidel753.blogspot.ru достоен быть в закладках. увлекся чтением ваших опусов.

23 March, 2014 07:01  

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