Thursday, June 19, 2008

Comment Policy

I've never been a big fan of moderating comments. Or reading them. Of the twenty or so comments I get in a year, I read and respond to maybe half of that. I'm of the opinion that comments are there for all thirteen people reading this to add their opinion. When I do respond, I tend to do it as a post rather than a comment.

As for moderating, I couldn't be bothered. Blogger has a rather awkward way of finding, moderating, deleting comments. I could have it email me every time someone posts a comment and ask me whether I should allow it to go through or not, but I'm too lazy. Just too damn lazy. Besides, freedom of speech and all that jazz. I don't have the heart to deny someone their comment, so I have it on open. I'm sure I'm going to regret that someday.

There is another reason I prefer not to delete comments: it interrupts the flow of communication on the blog. Often, in any given blog with a large number of comments, the readers will begin to talk to each other. When you remove a comment, it makes everyone else seem stupid for talking about something that doesn't exist and it is a disservice to those reading through that post later for historic drama purposes.

Take any recent post on the Linden blog. It's subtle. Take this one, for example. People respond to someone whose comment is gone from the internet :someone named Jayden, whose comment must have been somewhere between comments 3 and 4 before it was deleted. It's terrible. It's whitewashing the fence. Sure, it's narcissistic to think anyone will care about all this years from now but you never know. It makes me startled to see this LL blog (one of the few vents for people left) be slowly altered.

Perhaps they're trying to maintain a PG atmosphere. But honestly, how many children read the LL blog? How many people of any age even know it exists? Perhaps they're trying to remove arguments that have no ground, in which case why not leave them up? If the Lindens really think these rants by random avatars on the blog are nonsensical, wouldn't it be okay to let them out in the open where everyone can see how ridiculous they are?

The best reason I can concoct has to do with the nature of the blog itself. It only allows 150 comments for any given posts. Given the propensity for people to spam and double post, it's understandable that Linden Lab would also remove such inflammatory comments to save space. But then at what point do you draw the line? When do you say "this is mere complaint" and "this is a flame and must be deleted"? And all things considered, there have been some astoundingly inane comments in the blog that have never been removed. If we're going to take out the trash, why not pull all the cans out?

Of course, this is all a futile exercise, because when was the last time LL made any sense?

As for other blogs, well, as I've said, deleting comments is a shame and should be avoided. But it's not my call. It's their blogs so they can do what they want. As for me, I'll keep comments open and unmoderated. Obvious spam (such as "interesting post, now check out ''! Is it fun!") will be deleted, but other than that, I don't care. Post away.


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