The Rules, For Each To Decide

Commenting on blogs, and stories has always been a hot topic, with no clear answer. At conferences, I follow what is said is good policy and bad policy, and I often read opinion on the topic. For example, just recently I read a fairly long and detailed paper on the subject which I agreed with. Essentially, the piece noted that anonymous comments are fine, if and only if they are on topic. I usually prescribe to this theory.

However, sometimes I find I am in a bit of a dilemma in rejecting or posting comments. If something is unverifiable, takes a bit of a liberty, or makes an attack comment on a topic that I am not well versed on, I tend to be on the fence. I particularly dislike drive-by comments. This happened just recently in a response to the 'racing media' story below. I like to able to verify is an opinion is valid, rather than just post them. Therein lies the dilemma.

Others have open posting, and don't make decisions, which is their own prerogative, of course. Sometimes it makes for entertaining reading, that's for sure.

I think we do have some sort of responsibility for civil discourse in the blogging world, though. I never post a comment with someone calling someone else an 'idiot' anonymously, for example. Seeing this is still a young medium I guess we will see how it all shakes out, but that is the way we do things here at this little blog, and I do enjoy seeing how others have decided to run things on theirs.

Back to harness racing tomorrow.


Jessica said...

I've also been thinking about this, wondering where to draw the line with comments (or whether to allow comments at all). For the most part, commenters are civil and on-topic, and I've been able to keep a laissez-faire attitude without being tested -- spam goes, as does anything blatantly libelous, but everything else stays. But what about the snark just for snark's sake? Or the negative comment that doesn't quite cross the line, yet doesn't add anything to the conversation? A few weeks ago, this design blog announced a new, strict commenting policy, which basically bars anything the moderator considers irrelevant, negative, frivolous, insulting. It's kind of an appealing stance, until you think about the time involved in moderating and the likelihood of killing the good discussion along with the bad.

Pull the Pocket said...

Hey J,

I have moderated from day one to stop any trolling. I noticed after a month or two troll comments were almost non-existent. I think it is not that hard to stop them if you are consistent. The paper I read is out in cyberspace somewhere now, and I do not know where I read it, so no link from me. But I did and always have agreed with the thesis. If it is on topic and is not a driveby I tend to post it. So far it has not been too bad. People here leave thoughtful comments that make sense.

I know people are free to do what they want on their own blogs, and that is the way it should be. But I think we can do a little bit better as a group in this regard. Commenting by trolls and all the rest, whether it be on a blog, or on a news story I think will change in the next few years as it matures. There are far too many threads that degenerate into garbage that I think would hurt, not help readership. As well, it would stop honest people with good points from posting.


Teresa said...

I also think that the tone of the site itself contributes to the tone of the comments--in general, if a site keeps a civil, respectful tone, it invites the same sort of commentary. Not always the case, I know.

I generally only exclude comments that are blatant bits of self-promotion or advertising (for betting sites, for instance), but I've been fortunate in that not too many vitriolic comments have been posted. And when they are, I try to gently mediate and get everyone back on track.


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