I moderate the comments for this blog, but only lightly. Over the past five years, I’ve had 8,720 comments posted on this blog. Out of all the people who left comments on the Loom, I can only recall banning two.
I don’t block comments from people just because they believe the Earth is a few thousand years old or have some other non-scientific notion of how the world works. I don’t mind being told I’m wrong (even if I’m right). It’s also fine with me if commenters get fierce in their exchanges with each other. I’m not going police writing style.
But I do get bored with comment threads that wander off far from the original post, into tedious viciousness, purely narcissistic self-justifications, and other pointless enterprises.
I also get bored by people who post spam-like manifestos, especially ones that have little or nothing to do with the original post and appear again and again on many different posts.
Don’t even think about using profanity. Typically I’ll email foul-mouthed commenters and give them a chance to clean up their remarks. I think you’ll find a riposte can actually be more devastating if you avoid obscenities.
I also dislike sock puppets. I don’t care what name you use, but once you enter a discussion, it’s unfair to other commenters to put on a mask.
If you engage in any unacceptable commenting behavior, I’ll usually issue a warning. Posting egregious comments or disregarding my warnings will lead to my deleting an offending post or, at worst, banishment.
If you don’t like these rules, don’t leave comments. You can always get a blog of your own where you can vent spleen to your heart’s content.
[Update: I should also add that I also filter out spam and shameless plugs for vitamin supplements and the like. Also, be aware that Discover’s blogging software automatically holds most comments for moderation, using an algorithm I don’t understand. So if you don’t see your comment posted immediately, please don’t send me complaints about your martyrdom.]
To everyone else, let the discussion continue.
PS: Comments on the blog are owned by whoever posted them. While I moderate comments, I am not responsible for them in any way.
[Image: erdnuckel at Flickr, under Creative Commons license]