Monday, August 25, 2008

On Moderating Comments

For those of you who have been following my journey since the inception of this very young, still naïve, rather simple blog, you may have noticed that a slight chill of negativity has been steadily creeping into the comments I’ve been receiving. No doubt, some of these comments are being made by people who are genuinely uncomfortable with the content of some of my posts. Others are clearly misinterpreting the writing of this rather amateurish, yet well-meaning devotee of voluntary simplicity. Still others may actually have an agenda and would criticize pretty much anything posted by yours truly.

So, here I am, my dear reader, pondering the need to moderate comments. I’ve always though that if I was egotistical enough to expect that people would read about my journey, then I should be happy to read any comments, positive or negative, that this humble little blog receives. I’m definitely a JS Mill “On Liberty” type, which basically means that my instinct is to let people post what they want, in whatever form they want; freedom of speech is paramount; yada, yada…

And yet…

I’ve noticed that most of the other blogs I love to read are, in fact, moderated, and with good reason. The content (and subsequent comments) on awesome blogs like Conversion Diary (formerly “Et, tu?”) and Hobo Stripper are ripe for misinterpretation and negative comments. My guess is that a reader of those blogs should be thankful that their authors can sift through comments and post those that are most pertinent while chucking anything that appears naughty. Comment moderation can focus commentary and provide readers with a more in-depth, uncluttered perspective of topics at hand.

And yet…

This all just sounds like a BS way to justify censoring people who, for whatever reason, aren’t big fans of Jack or his hopelessly honest, warts and all, brand of voluntary simplicity. Even if I were to start moderating comments, what criteria should I use to sift through comments? Should I reject only the patently offensive ones? What about comments that are critical but insightful? More importantly, how do I distinguish between the two. This conundrum is precisely the reason why I am against censorship.

So, what do you think, my dear reader? Would really appreciate your input, both pro and con, positive and negative.

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