A REMINDER About Rage-Filled Comments
In the past week we’ve gotten a slew of emailed complaints (some from co-bloggers) about some comments that in the eyes of an increasing number of readers seemingly cross the line. Comments on blogs are not a “given” anymore due to the controversies about them: some people use them to leave spam, some go into rage-filled attack mode, and some bloggers don’t like it if views expressed are too far to the left or right of theirs for varying reasons (in some cases, because it upsets other readers). Some bloggers have instituted a sign-up system where readers must register and be approved to leave comments. Some have either removed them or remove them in the heat of controversy.
Just as yours truly does NOT interfere with cobloggers’ posts (those who say every blogger on TMV has the same view aren’t reading this site) and refuses to censor (even though an email from a blogger called me a “sloppy editor” and guess what: I don’t edit what the others write), our general policy is NOT to ban commenters who are spirited or to censor, edit or delete their comments.
However, given that the number of complaints are increasing and we will return to what we did up until last year: start to check the comments. If a comment starts to cross the line I then generally give a polite reminder, maybe two, to tone it down and to stick to the actual issues in the comments discussion. In three cases since TMV was started, readers ignored the gentle warnings and increased their attacks. Those are the only three that were banned, using Powerblogs’ comment-banning button.
There is a simple solution to this. Stick to discussing issues. Avoid hurling of adjectives at someone in comments. We do have a variety of people coblogging on TMV, from various backgrounds and even various locations (the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, India and very soon from another city in Europe). Pejorative characterizations of someone due to their religious background or where they live really is not appreciated on this site.
Blogging suffers a lot from the fact that all too often it’s about angry ranting and denouncing someone (yours truly is guilty of that as well). Comments sometimes suffer from the same thing. You can seriously and very aggressively discuss and debate issues on the actual issue content without going after someone. We do not want to add to the three readers already banned from this site but this post is to serve notice that we have read the complaints and take them seriously.
FOOTNOTE: People on the right who complain about a coblogger or commenter because they express views on the right won’t be happy because those people won’t be banned. People on the left who feel someone is too far right and want them kept from the site won’t be happy either. If someone has strong views on the right or left and expresses them, that’s their right. But we ALL know when a line has been crossed. If a gentle warning is posted under some comments about it, that warning should be taken seriously. There will be a mild form of comment-moderation on The Moderate Voice.
This will be reposted on Monday’s blog.