When it comes to blog comments, there are basically two schools of thought: open unmoderated comments, on the one hand, to moderated commenting, on the other. I recently experienced, once again, the down side of unmoderated comments. I was engaged in an ongoing conversation on a blog site about a post put up by a pastor. We were having a vigorous back and forth, but finally it kind of devolved into a convoluted mess due to the fact that the blog site where the post is featured allows anyone to post and say anything on any given topic. That’s one approach to dealing with comments on a blog site.
Unfortunately, I’ve never seen it work well, particularly in a linear comment format. It is far too easy to see any good conversation derailed into inane chatter about a host of issues that have nothing to do with the original blog post. And, in this case, this is precisely what happened, in addition to the comment count ballooning to nearly 500 comments, which bogged the entire site’s performance. I’d estimate that 70% of the comments on the post had very little, or nothing, to contribute to the point of the blog post to begin with. And, as is usually the case, with unmoderated comments, what ends up happening is that the same half-dozen people dominate all the conversation. In the case of this particular blog site, there is one person who feels what can only be described as a compulsion to chatter on incessantly about anything that happens to pop into her head. This is why I believe for productive conversations to take place on blog sites, or forums, there needs to be a good, solid comment policy in place to which people are held accountable.
The people who want to dominate conversation on your blog site won’t like it. The people who want to post little nasty-grams won’t like it. It’s always amusing to me that people who whine about their comments not being approved, assume that I have some kind of draconian policy by which I delete comments left and right. Truth be told, I would estimate that 98% of all comments submitted to my blog site get approved and posted. My blog comment policy has served me well, and I’ll share it here again for those who are into blogging. You might find it helpful. I have this posted under the “about this blog” link at the top of the site.
COMMENT POLICY: READ THIS CAREFULLY:
I don’t mean to sound harsh, but please understand that you have no “right” to make a comment on my blog. I welcome them. I appreciate them, and I thank you for them, but every once in a while along comes a particularly crabby person who demands that I post their comment. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. If you have a comment to share, feel free to post it. I do moderate comments and reserve the right to reject and/or edit comments, entirely at my discretion. I think of comments as letters to the editor of a newspaper: those that are signed, short, to the point, and make a positive and/or interesting contribution to the post’s topic are much more likely to be be approved. I highly discourage anonymous comments. If you have something to say, be willing to identify yourself and be held accountable for your remarks. If you are looking for a place to engage in extended debate, also known as “comment wars,” this blog won’t be your cup of tea, or coffee. I don’t apologize for the fact that I use comments on this blog to facilitate the purpose of the blog. Finally, if you don’t like my comment policy, I invite you to start your own blog and rant, rave, argue and otherwise pontificate to your heart’s content, just like I do here. That’s what’s fun about blogging!