Comments policy


Here I am, just a couple months short of six years of blogging, and I’m reading where Wayne John thinks all bloggers should have a blogging policy. He’s probably right, but I cannot get very excited about it; i.e, the topic bores me. In all the time I’ve been blogging here, including the Blogger iteration, I have deleted exactly ONE comment that wasn’t spam. It was a nasty remark about a picture of a dear friend I had posted; I didn’t like it, and I took it down.

The Akismet on the WordPress blog is really good at catching spam, and I approve every comment anyway these days; ultimately, it’s just easier. I recveive an e-mail when I get a comment and respond as soon as possible. I also check the Akismet to make sure it doesn’t reject real posts; it used to do it a lot, especially to a couple of ABC Wednesday people. And particularly entertaining spam I just might let slip through.

Some bloggers rail against the one-line comment; I guess I’d rather people say one line they really mean than three lines trying to meet some arbitrary threshold.

Except through the spam, I just don’t seem to get a lot of irrelevant links that people want to post here.

Wayne John linked to this article, which reads in part: It is also a “responsibility statement”. It informs the reader of what you will allow on your blog, what you will not allow, and what they are allowed to do. It establishes publicly the responsibilities of each party involved.

In a related link, there’s a list of no-nos.
is abusive – well, OK, but then I have to go define that
is off-topic – on another blog I have people go off-topic all the time; actually it can be quite informative and entertaining
contains ad-hominem attacks – same as “abusive”
promotes hate of any kind – I’m against hate, but I find the notion overly broad
uses excessive vulgarity – this would involve me having to definite both vulgarity AND its excess
is spam – previously addressed

OK. In the spirit of that paragraph, here is my policy:

Feel free to comment on my blog. I love it when you comment on my blog. Besides self-expression, that’s the reason I write a blog – to get reactions.

So don’t be a schmuck. If you act like a schmuck in the comments, as defined by me, I won’t post your comment and you will have wasted more of your time writing the comment than my time in deleting it.

That’s my policy. What’s yours?

And do I really need a paragraph (freely stolen) like this?
By submitting a comment on Roger’s blog, you agree to hold this site, its owner Roger Green, and all future subsidiaries and representatives harmless from any and all repercussions, damages, or liability. Roger reserves all rights of refusal and deletion of any and all comments and trackbacks. This policy may be amended at any time.

If so, then that, too.

On the other hand, I have actually made more money on this blog in 2011 than I had in the previous 5.5 years (which is to say, zero) from a small stipend I get from posting those infographics. Truth is that I would have likely posted them anyway, for nothing (and actually have), if not here than on another blog I write for. Still, in keeping with the spirit of the FTC disclosure rules, there it is.

0 thoughts on “Comments policy”

  1. Isn’t this the kind of thing that doesn’t really become an issue until it becomes an issue… so to say? I mean… If you find that you frequently do get comments of a kind you don’t want, then you might feel the need to make a statement as to what you will not tolerate etc. If it works fine anyway, why bother. Each blogger also has his/her own way of making comments, and responding or not responding to comments made. I found that confusing initially but have accepted that it’s just the way it is. With the people you’re really interested in keeping in touch with, you work it out as you go along.

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  2. My spam filter catches a lot, but I do still have to delete things. They are obviously spam, given the web site they leave is selling something or looks very impersonal. Or the comments have nothing to do with my post.

    I think I have only deleted one comment as well that was posted by an actual human. It was on a post regarding quotes by a character on the show Spongebob Squarepants. The comment was short and too the point, which I didn’t mind. However, it said that I didn’t have a life and used the word “gay” in a derogatory manner. I emailed the person back and, as expected, got no reply.

    Given that I don’t really talk about anything that could cause a heated discussion, or even have enough people reading my blog to create this possibility, I don’t really have to worry about this issue.

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  3. I’m with you Rog, policy statements are boring. I expect people to follow common sense and civil courtesy when they post on my blog. What more is there to say.

    But you know what’s even more boring? Blogging Manifestoes. Who needs ’em, who reads ’em? “As a blogger I will never compromise whatever principles I happen to choose and I swear to always tell the truth except when I’m full of crap.” Now take that sentence and expand it to a few thousand lines of text and you’ve got a Manifesto.

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  4. I’ve noticed that pressure to have a comments policy, and also to have a privacy policy, too. That one seemed a little more sensible to me. But, then, as Dawn was saying, something doesn’t really become an issue until it becomes an issue, and I thought it could be useful to have some sort of, well, “policy” to fall back on if I got a complaint about deleting a comment, or to keep someone from attacking me for something central to my being.

    However, I, too, have only deleted one non-spam comment as far as I can remember, and it was for overtly racist language. Because I write so much about politics, I expect strongly-worded, usually anonymous, comments disagreeing with me, telling me to get a life, etc., etc. While I sometimes find the ideas expressed in such comments laughable or stupid and the wording offensive, I’ve always let them through. In fact, my comments are un-moderated.

    But I do have my limits, obviously, and I wanted some way to convey that. So, borrowing heavily from others, I lumped everything together on a single “About” page (the page is here if you want to have a look).

    I think that ultimately it’s a bit of transparency for new visitors telling them upfront who I am and what I’m about. There have been blogs I’ve visited where it would’ve been helpful if the author had laid it all out like that, rather than expecting me to figure it out after wading through years worth of posts—but maybe that just says more about me and my attention span.

    So, I’ve found putting “policies” in print is useful, if only for myself, but I also think it’s entirely up to the individual blogger whether they do it or not.

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  5. I agree with Dawn as well. One thing I’ve noticed is that when you write on a certain topic, there are those out there that are trying to rank for certain keywords that are part of your topic, so you end up getting targeted spam.

    I’m lucky in that when I write a post and try to target keywords, I get pretty good results. The flipside of that is that I also get a lot of spam from anyone monitoring Google and automating comments towards those results they find. It’s become a huge problem for me personally, and I just like to keep everything on the up and up. I’m not expect my policies to be a big focus on my site. I just like having them there to refer to when the need arises.

    I try to write my posts so that I can refer to them when I need to…slowly building up enough to be able to point to for any part of web development. A lofty goal, I know. Over the course of years though, it could happen.

    I’m glad that I stirred the pot a little with those posts, Roger.

    btw, I’m with Ari in terms of the GASP plugin. I haven’t revealed my results with using that particular plugin, but it’s soooo much better than Akismet. I’ll write on that eventually.

    Cheers Roger!

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