Wednesday 06 August 2003

Comment policy

I caught up on the controversy about annotating comments left on on one’s blog by reading the arguments for and against, which are canvassed thoroughly in these posts and their accompanying comments:

I've always had an extremely liberal policy regarding comments about posts on this weblog: in 16 months of blogging I've removed one off-topic comment (though I should probably have removed a few more), a couple of abusive comments, and perhaps 30 spam comments. I doubt that having a comment policy will change things significantly. So why have one at all? Because the most cogent criticism leveled against Sam Ruby--I found the accusations of "censorship" unpersuasive--was that he implemented the policy without prior warning.

Here's my comment policy, which is based (very loosely) on Mark Pilgrim's but without the strikethrough annotation pioneered by Sam Ruby:

  • Wildly off-topic comments will be removed.
  • Spam (i.e. comments containing irrelevant links to commercial sites) will be removed.
  • Abusive comments will be removed.

Although Mark Pilgrim regards trackbacks as remote comments and subjects them to the same rules, like James Snell I'm inclined to be less stringent about trackbacks (it remains to be seen whether trackback spam becomes a problem).

In the interests of openness and transparency, material that has been removed will be identified thus:

  • [Removed (off-topic)]
  • [Removed (spam)]
  • [Removed (abusive)]

Links to spammer's sites will be deleted, their email addresses changed to, and their names truncated to four letters.

(I may implement Phil Ringalda's hack for /lib/MT/App/ that rejects comments from scumbag-z*

Comments may not be enabled for some posts and might be closed for others at my discretion. TrackBacks are now listed above comments on the individual archive pages.

In essence, nothing much has changed, rather some unstated practices have been made explicit. I'll sum up by quoting the request that Tom Coates includes at the beginning of the comments section of each of his posts:

Please remember to try and keep your comments on-topic, informative and polite. Unpopular viewpoints are welcome as long as they're pertinent. Some posts may be deleted if they would have been better sent as e-mails...

Permalink | Technorati


Please you add this to your list of integrity requirements.

I believe they are more weblike that Rebecca's, whose rules I don't agree with or subscribe to.

Posted by Dave Winer on 7 August 2003 (Comment Permalink)

Strictly speaking, Dave, I should treat this comment as off-topic, since it really relates to the entry on Weblog Ethics. But, since it's the first day of the new comment policy and because it's also useful to have a good example of an off-topic comment, I'll leave it in. (Since spam and abusive comments are easily identified, they will be removed.)

Links to and quotes from your Integrity and During-the-Day Edits disclaimers have been added, as requested.

Posted by Jonathon on 7 August 2003 (Comment Permalink)

I instituted my comment policy after receiving several very abusive comments about my character, from people who didn't feel strongly enough about their statements to actually leave correct contact information.

To be honest, this bothered me greatly as I try very hard to treat people with the outmost respect. I can only guess that they were merely trolls. (or if could be that I seriously ticked people off without realizing it!) Regardless, it prompted me to put up a disclaimer. Like yours it's pretty lenient, but I wanted to have it up in case anyone ever got upset with me over a deletion.

I didn't realize how hot a topic this had become. The way I look at it is simple: if people can't make their point without abusing the other commenters and myself, if they can't be bothered to be civil, then I feel no guilt about hitting that delete button. I'm not saying people have to agree with me. Not at all. But show some manners. It's my site and I can ask for that much at least.

Posted by Patricia on 9 August 2003 (Comment Permalink)

[Removed (spam)]

Posted by uron on 29 September 2003 (Comment Permalink)

This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed.

© Copyright 2007 Jonathon Delacour