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A reminder of my policy on comments

February 22nd, 2009 · 5 Comments

As I’ve said here before, I try to keep this site as open as possible to all commenters whether I agree with them or not, think they’re making rational arguments or not, and whether they can spell or not. In general, I think that’s worked out well and it cheers me up when I wake up in the morning and read the generally thoughtful comments I get — others have told me they too appreciate the unusually civil and informed conversation on this blog.

However, as a service to everyone, I try to remove posts that stray into unrelated personal attacks or name-calling. I realize it’s not always easy to draw the line, since personal lives sometimes have a bearing on public jobs and it’s tempting to condemn, not just people’s opinions, but their intellectual abilities in general.

However, I am trying to stick, more or less, to parliamentary and parenting codes. Posters can criticize behaviour, but when they start criticizing the person — calling them idiots, slagging the job they’re doing as mothers, commenting on their personal relationships — I have always and will continue to remove posts. Any time I do that, the poster is welcome to repost with the personal comments removed.

If readers have any other comments or suggestions on this, I’d be happy to hear them.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • sj

    I often enjoy reading the comments on this blog as much as the posts themselves — which is quite unusual, as the comments are on many political and news sites is depressing.

    Yesterday’s comments on your post about Wendy Pedersen were an exception though. A lot of nasty, petty sniping — and not, I suspect (or at least I hope) what any of the people commenting would ever say to Wendy’s face if they actually were speaking with her.

    So if removing some posts that cross the line is what’s needed to keep the blog comments somewhat civil, keep it up, and keep it up a bit more.

  • not running for mayor

    I’m sure some people might feel my comment in that thread was a bit harsh, but I stand by it and I don’t beleive I crossed any line. I beleive some posts by others have been deleted but mine remained, if Frances beleives mine went to far please let me know. Cheers.

  • Twitching

    If Frances had not had such an inconsistent policy on comments to begin with, maybe this might not be an issue. When people have passionate discussions these things happen. No big. But she allows some people lots of latitude and then censors others. That’s always a problem when people are able to steer discussion away from where you as a blog owner might want it to go. I read all those posts and no one crossed the line. When Frances allows personal attacks on some people and then does not allow those “friends” the right to defend themselves as they see fit, then you have to wonder. Blogging isn’t easy when you don’t have an even hand. This is just Frances’ polite way of removing challenging opinions and good for her since it’s her blog after all. But then she shouldn’t bitch about it either. You got what you wanted obviously so move on.

  • Reminding newer readers of the approach to comments on the blog is a good way to foster the right kind of discussion.

    @Twitching: comment policies on personal blogs can be an evolving thing, and starting from more open and moving to more narrow definitions of the commentary Frances wants to welcome here is understandable.

    The line between ‘challenging’ and ‘personal attack’ is, however, easy to differentiate, and you don’t have much ground to stand on seeing that your borderline insulting comment still stands, and I see contrary comments in other posts.

  • spartikus

    These are typical posting rules:

    Be reasonably civil.

    No profanity. For the record, ‘hell’, ‘damn’ and ‘pissed’ are not considered ‘profanity’ for the purposes of this rule; also for the record, the more offensive racial slurs and epithets will be deemed to ‘profanity’ for the purposes of this rule

    Don’t disrupt or destroy meaningful conversation for its own sake.

    Do not consistently abuse or vilify other posters for its own sake.