A comment on reader comments

I’ve been writing this blog for three years now and it’s been great to watch it grow, both in terms of traffic and interaction in the form of reader comments. But things have inevitably come to the point, like every site that incorporates such interactivity, where some ground rules on comments need to be established.

For the most part up until now, I’ve been willing to let just about anything fly in the comment sections. In the early days of this blog, comments were few and far between, so I was quite happy to get them regardless of content. But, as reader numbers increase, so too do the number of comments – both good and bad. It’s the dilemma of every news website (and blogger) to try and encourage the good while also limiting the bad.

As such, I thought it would be right to mention that I’ll be deleting “bad” comments, which are those that are silly, pointless, off topic or unintelligible, as well as those that personally insult me, other readers or individuals in general.

Like any writer, I love to see my posts spark conversations – in many ways, that’s the point of writing them in the first place. And while I don’t expect everyone to agree with my ideas, I do expect the resultant conversations to be civil, on-topic and free from personal attacks.

Many high-traffic sites have adopted a pre-moderated comment system for exactly these reasons. That’s a step I hope to avoid for as long as possible, although if traffic continues to grow, my gut tells me it’s inevitable.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone for reading and please keep those comments coming – I’ll do my best to respond and further the conversation. But in the spirit of that conversation, let’s all try to play nice!

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5 Comments on A comment on reader comments

  1. I applaud your commitment to civility.

  2. You set out good goals and I think with the right discipline, will net good results.

    My cautions tend to be – and these are general, not specific to you! – in order:

    1. Don’t take offence for the sake of deleting something you disagree with. That’s a good way to ensure you get little more than a good echo. I tend to avoid blogs that do this.

    2. Watch out for pileups. With moderation tends to come the risk of going with the flow and crowd pleasing. I’ve seen many rational commenters bounced out of a thread by attrition. Even though their comments did have merit.

    3. Further to #2, allow conventional wisdom to be challenged. This does pertain to the “silly” point above.
    Again, many a time have I seen people raise valid points. But because they didn’t communicate in the same dimension as the rest of the commenters, they’re tarred and feathered.

    Best example of this is on Minimsft’s blog where they like to talk about Microsoft’s woes. But dare speak of Microsoft products and services rather than stock value and you’re immediately an outsider.

    I’ve seen very interesting bloggers succub to these foibles in the past, so it’s important to moderate yourself just as much as you do the blog.

    I will probably put your process to the test next time you talk Apple.

    🙂

    All the best!

  3. As such, I thought it would be right to mention that I’ll be deleting “bad” comments, which are those that are silly, pointless, off topic or unintelligible, as well as those that personally insult me, other readers or individuals in general.

    So what you mean is you’ll be deleting my comments. Thanks, Nowak.

  4. If ever you feel one of my comments crosses a line, let me know.

    I often comment on your coverage of business practises of some industry players (cable/teleco, hardware manufacturers, content industries). I’m not kind to companies carrying out or lobbying to legalize or legally protect activities which I believe should be illegal.

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