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.
Comment Moderation, Explained
Because so many people seem to think it’s okay to misbehave in online forums and the comment sections on blogs, I’ve found it necessary to moderate the comments here. That means I get to decide whether a posted comment appears on this site before it actually appears.
Simply stated, I don’t take crap from site visitors. If you’re abusive toward me, other commenters, or this blog in general, your comment will not be approved and no one will ever see it.
So that it’s quite clear what’s acceptable and what isn’t, I’ve developed the following comment policy. It’s a pretty good idea to read this before you post your first comment here — it can sure save you the bother of writing a comment that’ll never see the light of day. If you posted a comment and it never appears, you might want to read this to help you figure out why.
If you have a seriously short attention span, this pretty much covers it all: don’t be a dick.
Specifics: A comment will be rejected if it:
- Does not add to the discussion.
- Is a purely personal attack.
- Is offensive, repetitious, illegal, or meaningless.
- Contains clear errors of fact.
- Is posted by someone using an obviously fictitious or offensive name or email address.
- Is an advertisement for a product or service or can otherwise be considered spam.
Have trouble understanding that simple list? Read on.
Adding to the Discussion
There’s nothing more rewarding to me as a blogger than getting comments that add to the discussion I’ve started with a blog post. Do you have questions? Ask them. Do you have related experiences to share? Share them. Did I get something wrong? Correct me!
Using my blog post as a starting point, let’s talk about what I’ve written and what it means to you. That’s what “adding to the discussion” means.
Calling me (or another commenter) stupid or a bitch or any other nasty, mean-spirited thing is simply unacceptable. Do I really need to explain this? If I do, stop reading now and close this browser window. You’re just wasting your time here if you don’t understand how to be civil online.
And yes, it is possible to disagree with someone without name-calling, abusive language, or snark.
Offensive, Repetitious, Illegal, or Meaningless Comments
Again, this shouldn’t need to be explained. It’s sad that I have to even include this in the list, but if I don’t, there’s likely to be someone out there who might think it’s okay so simply be a jerk.
There are facts and there are opinions. It’s never a good idea to state your opinion (or anyone else’s) as a fact.
If you make a statement intended to be taken as a fact and it’s obviously not a fact, it will not appear here. There’s enough misinformation in this world. Do you really think I want to add to it?
One of the reasons some people are such jackasses online is because they can hide their identities. Because of this, I now use email verification for all new commenters on this blog. If your email address doesn’t pass verification, your comment will be filed as spam and I won’t even see it.
Also please understand that WordPress automatically records the source IP address of every comment posted here. This information is passed on to the police if a commenter gets really abusive or threatening or says something that the authorities should be made aware of. Law enforcement can use this information to track a computer to a specific address, just like on TV.
No spam, period.
That includes slipping in your company or product info or link, especially if it isn’t even remotely related to the blog post’s content or any other comments. This includes the website field of the comment form — you know I can delete that, right?
Why is my comment policy so strict? That’s simple: I’m sick and tired of the bullshit I see in online forums and the comment sections of websites and blogs. I’m doing my part to make the Internet a more civil place to learn and discuss things that matter to us.
Regular blog readers seem to appreciate my diligence. And, frankly, that’s who I care about: the people who come here regularly to read and discuss what I’ve written.
If you don’t like my comment policy, fine. Don’t leave a comment. Hell, don’t even visit this site. Do you honestly think I care if an abusive troll or spammer likes my comment policy or site?
If I deem a comment unacceptable, I will mark it as spam. Identifying a comment as spam does two things:
- It prevents any future comments from that commenter from ever appearing in the moderation queue on this site. In other words, I’ll never see another one of that commenter’s comments again.
- It tells WordPress’s Akismet anti-spam software that the IP address/email address associated with the comment is a spammer. That means future comments from that IP address/email address will never be seen by any other WordPress blogger who uses Akismet.
So if you’ve read this far and you actually care about whether your comments will appear here or elsewhere, you might want to consider these consequences.
Want to Read More?
If this isn’t enough information and you need me to beat the point home for you, here are various blog posts I’ve used to discuss this issue in the past: