You will notice that, on this blog, comments are moderated. That means I need to read it before it appears on the blogpost, and if I don’t approve of it, it won’t appear.
This is not censorship, since this is not a government publication and I’m not employed in that capacity. Rather, it’s a part of the editorial process; since I am responsible for what appears on my blog, I have the right and prerogative to decide what should appear and what should not.
I believe that people should express their opinions of my blogposts, positive or otherwise, which is why commentary is enabled on this blog. Before, comments were instantaneous; however, some people have seen fit to abuse this function, which is why comments have been moderated since summer 2006.
Now, I’m usually pretty good about “rules” or “guidelines,” so these probably won’t be applied with any sort of consistency, but here goes:
- Any comment that exists mainly to insult or demean the blogger or other commenters will be fed into the spam filter. That kind of commentary is usually a good sign that the poster is just a troll who just wants to mess around. Commenters are houseguests; guests who abuse their hosts and try to start flamewars with others will not be welcome.
- Any comment that accuses a commenter of lying will be deleted. Accusations of lying tend to degenerate into flame wars, in which case the above point applies.
- A comment that accuses me of lying will be allowed once. Subsequent comments will be fed into the spam filter. I allow one comment so that I can refute it. If the commenter still accuses me of lying, I know I’m dealing with a troll, and will take action accordingly.
- Anonymous comments are not guaranteed to be published. Aliases will be tolerated, but if the e-mail address provided is an obvious blind, the comment will be deleted.
- Any subsequent comments that repeat themselves word for word will be deleted. A comment that repeats may be excused as trouble with the comment function, and I can understand that. A third time, and it’ll be treated as machine-generated spam.
- Any commentary containing overtly racist remarks will be fed into the spam filter. Tolerance has limits, even here.
- Any commentary that has nothing to do with the blogpost being discussed will be rejected. It’s always important to stay on topic. I’ll probably only enforce this intermittently; however, if I think the poster is merely trying to generate traffic for his own unrelated blogpost, it’ll probably be deleted.
- If a comment contains some passage that I find offensive or libelous but is otherwise fine for publication, the offensive bits will be deleted and the rest posted. Example: ” (1) I think A is a pig, because (2) B ordered A to be that way.” Without supporting evidence, (2) would be potentially libelous, whereas (1) is an expression of opinion. So I would publish (1), but delete the rest.
- Any commentary that essentially reprints a press release or news story will likely be rejected. I have two problems with this sort of practice: possible copyright violations, and laziness on the part of the commenter. Requoting is parroting, not self-expression. Again, this is one that I’ll probably enforce intermittently.
- I have the right to edit comments, to correct spelling and punctuation. I know that there are some people who don’t like to follow the conventional rules of spelling and grammar, regarding it as a personal style of expression, but in general I find the resulting commentary incoherent. If the violation is too much, the commentary won’t appear.
- Comments on any blogpost will be closed after 90 days. I’ve noticed that commentary tends to peter out after a month at the very latest; the only new comments I get on older posts tend to be blogspam. Hopefully this should cut down on that.
There, that seems straightforward enough. Basically, if you keep things civilized, you won’t have a problem commenting.
One other thing: I’m usually busy during the early evenings, so sometimes comments take a while to be posted. I usually make up my mind within 12 hours of posting, so please have patience.