I am present in the blogosphere for three years now. Almost exactly, as this blog just had third birthday this week, which I did not even notice :). Back to the subject, about a month ago for the first time it happened to me that my posted comment was retracted. Yes, it was not removed in the moderation, but it was deleted after being posted for a day or two. And the only reason I knew about it was my interest in hearing the blog owner’s response to that comment.
This whole situation made me think about commenting, moderating and everything else on the subject.
Looking at all the blogs I follow, I see that there are several ways the commenting on the blog can be organized. Some are extremes. These are all or nothing blogs.
1) Closed Comments
I can name at least two very popular photography blogs which I also follow myself and which do not accept any comments at all. This would be Photofocus and Moose Peterson blogs. While I understand that some popular blogs draw a lot of wanna-bees and purely confrontational comments, and moderating those can be a daunting task. But sometimes this particular policy makes it hard to interact with those blogs owners, their content and other readers. With Moose Peterson, the interaction became possible through Facebook – more complicated, but doable. Sometimes when the image is particularly interesting or a subject on which I have a strong opinion, I will go through the trouble of “commenting” on the Facebook page. With Photofocus, well, I can admit lack of interaction is not such a big deal as they are mostly tips and tutorial. Yes, some people might be able to contribute their advice, but I guess they can just write their own post.
2) Everything goes
At the same time, there are popular and widely known blogs accepting every comment coming their way without any moderation whatsoever. Well, OK, I suppose all derogatory comments and not-on-the-subject are afterwards deleted. I do not like this type of “cleaning” afterwards, as blogs are being accessed 24/7, and it can happen that the comments sections displays something for too long which should not have ever been there. It just seem to make bad impression, just like it did when my comment was deleted after the fact on that class B blog.
To name again two of blogs with openness policy for the comments, it would be Scott Kelby’s blog and Lightroom Killer Tips. Both of those blogs often get a heated discussion over the posts all over the comment section. You can say that they pick up every fight. But it is also something which makes those blogs so popular.
3) I decide
And there is the middle way. It is the most popular way of simple moderation. You post the comment, and the blog owner decides, what gets posted and what does not. This is how things are done on this blog, too. The main reason is to remove all spam comments, people selling something, advertising their porn and other useless web sites, and bad English written comments on subjects not related to the particular post or even blog. It happens on this blog about once a week that the spam filter will not catch those comments, and I gladly delete them before my readers see them and get offended.
But the moderation can easily turn into censorship. I believe the rules should be drafted out, what is acceptable and what is not. After my comment was deleted on the other blog, I looked more critically at the other posted comments there. It made me realize that the person most probably is deleting all the comments with any critique of his person, photography and opinions. Every single comment was overly positive. It is hardly possible to run a successful blog and do not get any disagreement!
Korwel Photography Blog Commenting policy
As I mentioned before, all the comments on this blog are posted only after I approve them. After you post a comment, I receive an e-mail, and if only I am in front of a computer, I will look at it right away. I do not censor the comments in any way, and welcome agreeing and disagreeing statements, and take the critique of the images. The feedback is always useful, make me notice things or sides of the issue I might have not thought before. But the language need to be cultural and the statement be on the subject.
But at the same time, I would remove the comment with inappropriate language in it, or replace the offensive words, if I think that the comment is contributing to the discussion. I also already deleted several times the self-promoting links to the authors web page, if they were added in the text of the comment and did not lead to post related to the subject under discussion. The web site adress is part of the form you fill up when you post a comment on this blog, and if any other reader wants to visit your site, they will click on it.
With all that said, I do realize that each blog owner has the right to do on their blog what they please. Let me know, what do you think and how things are done on your blog. It doesn’t matter if you agree (or disagree with me), share your opinion in the comments section. And don’t let moderation put you off :).
And the image for today’s post is just really a random pick. I wasn’t sure what concept image would work best. But this bighorn sheep looking at the vast landscape of Badlands, South Dakota, seems to fit just fine.