And you thought mine was strict.
Reader comments are often what can make a blog far more interesting than it would be without comments. In fact, the commenting feature of blog software can create a community at a blog when regular readers and commenters add their two cents to blog posts.
Unfortunately, not everyone has something of value to add to a conversation. And that doesn’t stop them from adding it.
I review every single comment posted to this blog, so I know the full range of comment quality. Tossing aside the hundreds of daily automated spam comments caught by my spam protection software and the obvious attempts of human readers to redirect my blog’s readers to their sites, the “real” comments can be informative, helpful, interesting, funny, or thoughtful. But they can also be sarcastic, nasty, rude, or offensive.
I state my comment policy in various places throughout this site, including here. Although I occasionally do have to delete a comment that’s overly offensive or one that’s sure to generate a nasty argument, in general, this site has a great group of regular readers and commenters that don’t need to be watched over as if they’re poorly behaved children.
As an example of how much commenting can contribute to a blog, check out one of my posts, “The Helicopter Job Market,” which has accumulated almost 50 comments in just over a year. Many of these comments offer helpful insight to helicopter pilots and wannabes. They’ve created a conversation that just keeps growing — indeed, five comments have been added to that post in just the past week.
Anyway, I welcome comments and won’t prevent one from appearing unless it’s either offensive or totally self-promotional. Get a conversation going. I really enjoy it. And reader comments are often what trigger me to write new blog posts.
A Comment Policy From Down Under
Today, while in search of both images from the Iran missile photo controversy, I stumbled upon an article on the Herald Sun Web site. It showed both photos and provided some commentary about the situation. It mentioned that Iran was firing more test missiles today. The thought that if they kept firing missiles for tests they might run out came to my mind. Since the article had a comment field, I decided to voice that unlikely but amusing thought, mostly to lighten things up.
I posted the comment and submitted it. On the confirmation page, the following comment policy appeared:
Please note that we are not able to publish all the comments that we receive, and that we may edit some comments to ensure their suitability for publishing.
Feedback will be rejected if it does not add to a debate, or is a purely personal attack, or is offensive, repetitious, illegal or meaningless, or contains clear errors of fact.
Although we try to run feedback just as it is received, we reserve the right to edit or delete any and all material.
What I like about this comment policy is how clear it is. It’s warning commenters, almost up front, that what they submit may not appear at all or as it was submitted. I like the second sentence/paragraph. (Oddly enough, the commenter before me said “I Still dont Belive USA went to the Moon” and I’m wondering how that got through the moderation process, being that it’s pretty much meaningless, contains clear errors of fact, and does not add to the debate, but I guess that’s just my opinion.) I find the third sentence/paragraph bothersome, mostly because I don’t believe in editing someone’s comment. If it needs editing, it probably shouldn’t appear at all.
Up for Commenting
Anyway, I’m just tossing this out there, mostly to see what visitors here think about it.
Commenting is one of the good and bad things about blogging. On this site, I really enjoy most of the non-spam comments we receive. As long as you keep commenting, I’ll keep writing.