How do you moderate blog comments?

This is an interesting thread developing – I posted a longish comment there already if you are interested in my views.
This, of course, will involve the question of ‘appropriate language’, so please also re-visit this, this and this.
Related: Do you comment on your own blog?

15 responses to “How do you moderate blog comments?

  1. In 99.9999% of cases editor moderation is entirely backwards. Wander over to and have a look at their ancient “karma” system and thier threading and threshold options.
    Spam is moderated by forcing a couple of minutes delay between posts. Editors remove death threats and personal info not easily available on the web and that’s about it. Foul language? – Let parents install one of the many kid-safe filters freely available, if your audience doesn’t approve and they have the power to mederate it will be down-modded to oblivion anyway.
    An editor/author’s job should be to start the conversation not manage it, let the users do that. And yes, of course you should be able to comment on your own blog, especially when you make a screw up and need to clarify/correct.
    Speaking of spam why post two lines here that simply point to other blogs, how is that better than someone spaming the comments with blog pointers???

  2. I have to agree with your point in the NN forum you linked to, about personal blogs going under the category “My house, my rules”. And basically for me, that means trying to avoid getting myself into situations where I reply to people with “You’re a bleepin’ idiot” or worse.
    So I structured my rules for discussion on the premise that I’ll just delete comments that I’d otherwise respond to in unkind words. For instance, I demand that commenters support their arguments (preferably with citations), and represent themselves honestly (by making a good-faith effort to distinguish between fact and opinion).
    It seems to work pretty well now, with me feeling that I’m being relatively consistent, not to mention transparent, in how and why I delete comments.

  3. Oh, the eternal question of appropriate language. Simply put, if a word were never appropriate, no one would ever use it and it would die. If it gets used, it’s because it is appropriate to the speaker/writer’s objectives at the time. Focusing on the words just disguises the fact that one is objecting to the objectives–or perhaps to the speaker/writer.

  4. Moderate my dick, motherfucker!

  5. Complaining about ‘language’ and ‘tone’ is ALWAYS really a complaint about substance one does not like.

  6. Not always. For instance, I had a commenter on my blog (a person, not a spam bot) who had no interest whatsoever in producing substance. The comments were pure, unadulterated insult. Imagine Physiprof on a day in which he can’t think of anything to say but has to keep talking for some reason, only worse (Those who read my blog know of this person as “Your Mom”)
    Pure, 100% unadulterated offense, not one iota of substance. Deleted.
    Now, I know that’s a commenter and not a blogger. Such blogs probably exist but I can’t think of any off hand. I don’t really read blogs.

  7. See, Greg, now I still think “Your Mom” was reacting to a specific series of posts–to content–with the aim of undermining your credibility on the topic.
    However, I’m not sure I’m willing to agree with Bora that it’s always about substance. Sometimes it’s just about keeping those vulgar beasties away from the punch and cake. It is possible, though, that that’s really about some hypothetical content. “If we let them in, they’ll want to talk about that. That’ll spoil everything.”

  8. Perhaps it’s not 100% of the time. But usually when I see someone complaining about the language, it is really a complaint about the content. PZ’s language is actually very proper, often funny, rarely crude. Yet his critics always complain about his language and tone because that is a nicely passive-aggressive way to complain about his message.

  9. Michael Finn

    PZ has it both ways. He isn’t crude or rude himself, but encourages commenters on his blog to be as offensive as they like.

  10. Here, here: “An editor/author’s job should be to start the conversation not manage it, let the users do that”
    and a huge NOT “PZ has it both ways. He isn’t crude or rude himself, but encourages commenters on his blog to be as offensive as they like.”
    Not: PZ only encourages his minions to be inflammatory,defamatory, deceptive, and libelous–everyone else/non-minion is censored, or put in the “dungeon” and then their IP is deleted from cyborgs–no different than Ken Hamms methods, or any other right winger/ette.
    The problem is that the some of the more dogmatic sciborgs want it both ways as long as the argunment favors them/it–then, when they lose their ass in an argument–they censor, cry foul, or cry some other form of faux-leftyist garbledy-gook.
    It really has nothing to do with “moderation” and everything to do with game theory and manipulating outcomes that do not favor the faux-left,the white collar movement which took the sharp turn to the right years ago. Instead of moderating, they are censoring, and like the right, stalling and obfuscating as long as they can to cock block dissent.
    A sad thing really, both for open dialogues, and free speech.

  11. Michael Finn

    Well, ‘the real me’, you don’t make a good start. Writing ‘here, here’ when you mean ‘hear, hear’ does not impress.
    And I think you misunderstand the point I was making about PZ. His own language is pretty restrained, but he actively encourages his commenters not to show similar restraint. That’s what I mean about having it both ways. I share your impression of how he polices his commenters and I don’t care for it either, but (a) that’s not relevant to the point about language and tone, and (b) it’s his place and he can run it how he likes.

  12. Michael Finn: Writing ‘here, here’ when you mean ‘hear, hear’ does not impress.
    wow…another blog editor here at sciborgs? Mike, maybe you alsoo noticed that I missed a comma or ?? Do you always work for free? Let me send you my next manuscript!
    And: WTF makes you think I am after good impressions? I don’t pander and I seldom apologize.
    Now, question Michael, re, your writing: “you don’t make a good start..”
    Did you mean that I don’t start well, or that I didn’t start well? But don’t don’t seem to beelong heer.
    But your point about PZ’s cowardice and hypocrisy is taken, with caveats: a) it is entirely relative to language and tone when he encourages his brownhollers to disrespect people but censors legitimate responses to their cowardly attacks. That kind of favoritism belongs on the far right, and in the case of PZ et al, they are moving that way closer than they can clock it.
    As for it being his place and all, that is the most pathetic defense one can assert, even though it is accurate. And I maintain that it is exactly because of turds like hiom with such attitudes as he portrays that enaled a ush regime in the first place–not legitimate dissent, but rather tit for tat pettiness. Not progressive in any sense of the word.

  13. *enabled the Bush regime
    …nan-bread crumbs in my keyboard again

  14. the real someone else

    Heh. Don’t poke the troll, Michael.

  15. real someone else: I guess that makes you the “special person in the know at the more seemy and incestuous back channel of white collar folk” or just another troll in disguise as a sciborg.