My Policy On Blog Comments

One of the most interesting aspects I’ve found about blogging (and the Internet in general) is the fact that people will comment on a particular blog post or article they read. I find it interesting because it’s only with the power of the Internet that you can actually have an interactive conversation like this. In years past if you read an article in print and either agreed or disagreed with it, all you could do was mail a “letter to the editor” and I hope it would get published in a future issue.

With blog comments though, people will comment immediately after something is published, and not only will the author of the article have the opportunity to read it, but so will all of the readers of the original article. Which brings me to my main point: I hadn’t thought much about having a “policy” on blog comments, until I started reading a few blog posts from authors who shared their feelings about the topic.

Actually, it’s almost become the trend now to turn off comments by default. Copyblogger, Chris Brogan, and even Seth Godin (among others) have all decided to disable comments on their blogs. I’m almost tempted to do that sometimes, but so far I haven’t, mostly because some of the comments I get from time to time do make it all worth it.

So, in short, here’s my ridiculously simple blog comment policy:

  1. Keep it polite, even if you disagree with me
  2. Don’t spam me, bro
  3. Make sure what you say makes sense and actually adds to the conversation

For at least the foreseeable future, that’s how I’ll generally filter the comments I get. (Of course, everything I’m referring to only applies to my personal blog: I have no control over what they do when I blog over at The Indy).

I won’t just approve comments from people who agree with me, and I don’t insist that they use a dozen smileys to keep it positive, but I’d like to keep it all civil. Actually, I really like reading the responses of people who are not quite so diplomatic or who disagree with me. One of the best criticisms I ever got came from a man who was offended at the way I reviewed a Glen Campbell album. He actually emailed me since he was so incensed, but I wish he had made it public because it was a great back-and-forth conversation and he eventually figured out that we were actually in agreement and he introduced me to a few Chet Atkins albums I’d never heard before. Guys like this keep me going. I love that.

So if you’ve ever posted a comment on one of my blog posts and wondered why didn’t show up, now you know. Or if you’re thinking about commenting, flame away. Just keep in mind the three rules above and I think you’ll find that I’m quite a reasonable guy and very open to having polite conversation.

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