The Blog Police will get you! Managing blog comments

Posted by FrankP

The general consensus among professional bloggers seems to be that you should publish all comments that come into your blog – bar those that might land you in legal hot water perhaps.

You will find storm-in-a-teacup arguments brewing all over the ‘blogosphere’ about comment deletion and related issues. If you tightly moderate comments, and particularly if you delete comments you run the risk of having the ‘blog police brigade’ coming down on you like a tonne of bricks.

That’s why the following may be controversial among bloggers: only post comments that add value to your blog.

Every blog is different, and you have to consider your aims and your audience before making a decision on how to deal with comments, but I will now discuss why this is a valid approach.

Firstly, I’m not saying only post positive comments. I believe strongly that it is important for most blogs to post and consider the negative comments as well as the positive.

But some negative comments have value and some don’t. Will you be able to tell the difference if you decide to moderate comments tightly? I think most people, if they are honest with themselves, can tell the difference. But you have to be brutally honest with yourself.

I’m tired of reading a good blog post and then wading through piles of drivel in the comments. It’s unnecessary.

Your blog is a publication. Your publication. You should feel free, as the editor of your blog, to publish comments as you wish.

Think of it like ‘readers letters’ – newspapers and magazines don’t publish every letter that is sent to them, and they often post letters critical of the content.

Feel free to turn on comment moderation and cherry pick the best comments. And respond to them. Publish challenging comments and discuss them. That way you can have a list of comments which add to the value of the post rather than the odd gem buried in a pile of drivel!

It’s important to remember that if you don’t ever publish negative comments you may run the risk of losing credibility among your readers, and not just with the blogging community.

Also, if you are just starting out you may find that people will be discouraged from commenting on your blog if they find they are rarely published.

There are, without a doubt, drawbacks to this approach.

However, the advantage to this approach is that all the content on your blog will be interesting and relevant – not just the original post.

I am not advising this approach for everyone, but I am saying it’s a valid approach to comments.

Consider the role of your blog and what you hope to achieve with it before you decide how to deal wih comments – but don’t be pressured by the blog police into feeling you have to publish every bit of drivel that gets sent to you!

Whatever you decide about dealing with comments, be sure you have a comment policy so that if/when an issue arises you know how to deal with it. And you should probably make your policy on comments clear somewhere on your site, particularly if you decide to take a different approach to most.

Here’s a comment policy I drew up for a blog I’m involved in – BifSniff.com. Bear in mind this is a rough guide:

  1. Comments must be on topic. In other words comments must relate in some way to the post you are commenting to!
  2. Comments should not contain profanity. Please refrain from strong language.
  3. Comments must not contain personal attacks or any material that might be viewed as defamatory of another individual.
  4. Spam or advertising is not allowed – however relevant, on topic links are allowed.
  5. Anonymous posting is discouraged and may result in comment deletion.
  6. Negative comments about our content or site are fine if reasonably argued.
  7. All comments are solely the opinions of the individuals submitting them and the publication of them on this site does not imply endorsement or agreement by the owners of the site.
  8. All of the above are at defined at our discretion. We reserve the right to prohibit all comments, to delete or edit all or any portion of any comment made, and to ban any commenter or IP address from making any comments to this blog.
  9. We reserve the right to refine our comment policy from time to time!
  10. Your submission of a comment consititutes your acceptance of this comment policy.
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One Response to “The Blog Police will get you! Managing blog comments”

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  1. Intel® Software Network Blogs » Blog Archive » The Cruel Power of Comments

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