If you wanna graffiti my blog, ask first

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graffiti blog comments

Imagine you come home from work one day to find the word “moron” spray painted on your front door in bright red.

What do you do? Duh, the answer is so obvious!

You go and get your own can of even-brighter spray paint and, directly underneath the word “moron,” write “am not.”

What’s that? That’s not what you’d do? Heck, no!

You’d run to the garage, get the paint-remover and scrub it off as fast you could.

And, you’d apply a graffiti-blocking additive to your next paint-job. Because you don’t pay taxes, a mortgage, landscaping and toil in the flower beds on the weekends to provide a place for anyone who wanders by to deface what you’ve worked so hard to create.

So, when it comes to blogging, why do so many bloggers feel the obligation to approve and post every comment?

Even ones that serve no purpose beyond defacing, degrading or attacking? Why is the common ethic to just post the “you’re an idiot” comment, then respond in the form of a follow-up comment or post?

Conversation is great, debate is welcome, differences of opinion rule. And, at least in my case, I’ve been very fortunate. The level of conversation in the comments is usually amazing, not always in agreement, but respectful. I’ve outright deleted very few comments.

But, in the end, your blog is your house. Your house, your rules.

You wouldn’t let someone deface your house, so why would you let them deface your blog?

So, what do you guys think? Am I missing something? Do you delete or post and respond to comments that simply attack, deface or degrade?

What’s your policy? Have you ever had a comment deleted from a blog?

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17 responses

17 responses to “If you wanna graffiti my blog, ask first”

  1. I moderate every post mainly to catch those few post the spam filters miss. I don’t mind someone leaving a differing opinion, in fact I think that ads another and much needed diminsion to the conversation. I obviously don’t know everything, even in the subjects I consider myself an expert however just if I was speaking in public I wouldn’t tolerate someone getting up and yelling and causing distractions. I won’t add to the conversation and I don’t want to have subject the readers to that nonsense.

    I can tolerate that more in a web forum but definitely not a blog of mine.

  2. I’ve only deleted a couple of comments thus far. While I don’t mind people disagreeing with me, even strongly (see here), personal attacks of any sort will be deleted as soon as I see them.

  3. I’ve only deleted one comment on IttyBiz. It was saying something ridiculous and unfounded about someone I really like, from someone I’d never heard of.

    My (current) unstated policy is you can talk smack about me, but not about my friends.

  4. samulli says:

    I’m completely with you on this one. While I welcome a lively discussion on my blog and have no problem with differing opinions (otherwise it wouldn’t be much of a discussion anyway), I would delete any defamatory comment without a moment’s hesitation. Just like I delete spam comments. Comments that are only meant to attack are nothing else than spam in my eyes, so they go.
    I don’t really get what this whole thing with the comments is about anyway. Sometimes you get the impression comments are something holy and untouchable. It seems like you have to be oh so thankful that somebody notices your humble little website and it is close to sacrilege to edit or – god forbid – even delete a precious comment. WTF?
    I say, my blog is my playground and if someone doesn’t behave they’re not welcome. Easy as that.

  5. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ linkerjpatrick – Different opinions are the lifeblood of the comments section. To me, it’s really about whether the comments adds to the conversation or simply tries to leverage someone else’s forum for their attack or valueless rant.

    @ Joshua – It’s not even about personal attacks for me. It’s about what’s behind what’s being said. If an attack is a genuine attempt to engage in a conversation that not driven by hate, I’ll keep it up and respond. But, an attempt to essentially use someone else’s front-yard as your soapbox with no intention of engaging in or furthering constructive conversation, not so much.

    @ Naomi – I think I’ve deleted only a handful, myself, and of those, they were more about simply adding absolutely nothing to the conversation beyond trying to make someone feel bad. And, actually, similar to you, I tend to feel more strongly about it if someone is talking smack about someone else I respect than about me.

    I think what’s behind a lot is that people feel entitled to say so many things, behind the veil of anonymity, that they’d never dream of saying face to face. Many probably also do not realize that, even if they use a fake e-mail and no url, their IP address is still relayed, so it’s never truly anonymous.

  6. Okay. says:

    I think I know what this is about. You’re annoyed that I posted a negative comment about Leo Babauta’s scammy Handbook for Life (which I can’t believe you haven’t approved, since you say you welcome a difference of opinion).
    Let me say this.
    I did not make any personal remarks at all… all I did was say that it was a copy of stuff that was already available for free and at waste of money. Nothing else. All it is is my opinion and a fact to support it.

    I think by not allowing people to post different opinions, you’re really limiting the discussion and taking a lot away from the blog.
    You had no reason to not approve my comment.

  7. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ samulli – I get the ethical sense that everyone has a voice, I just don’t agree that you have to provide the platform for every voice.

    @ Okay – Hmmm, not sure what happened to the comment you’re talking about, my guess is it made it’s way into my spam filters, which I often scroll through with some speed and just hit the big “delete-all” button. Apologies, feel free to resubmit and, if it’s as simple as you say, I see no reason to delete that opninion.

    Though, I’d disagree with you, in that, even if the content was identical (I don’t recall) to the blog, many people still find value in having a collection assembled into an easy to print, read and carry book format. Especially, when the price was so low. It wasn’t just the content you were buying, it was the convenience.

    Regardless, this post has NOTHING to do with that.

    It takes a lot more than disagreeing with me to stop a comment from appearing. Just look at a bunch of recent posts and you’ll see what I mean. We’ve had a bunch of fierce debates in the comments.

    I am fine with sharing an opposing point of view. The more the better. What I won’t provide a platform for is a comment that is either driven by hatred, disrespect or a clear lack of desire to contribute to the conversation beyond belittling.

  8. I delete the majority of the comments on my blogs since most get caught by the spam filter. I welcome comments that take issue with something I’ve said, but not the ones that are a string of unrelated links and words.

  9. I allow all comments unless they are really destructive.

    Especially love it when my commentators argue with each other! You almost become a forum then.

    I have deleted only one comment – other than out and out spam.

    The commentator suggested that another commit suicide.

    Sorry -not in my house!

  10. Dana says:

    Oh, I agree. But I don’t limit it to shutting out people who leave a “ur a moran” message. It is possible to be nasty and insulting without ever uttering a swear word or calling someone a name, and when someone pulls that crap with me, they get shut out too. I’ve been accused of censorship when I’ve done that (not on my present blogs, but a long time ago) and I just laughed. With all the free blog software out there and me not being Congress, I’m hardly censoring anyone.

  11. Naomi Niles says:

    I’ve deleted a few obnoxious and insulting ones. To me, it’s like if you are hosting a party at your house and one of the guests gets drunk and starts annoying and insulting everyone. What do you do, kick them out!

    There’s nothing wrong with respectful debate though.

  12. I think of my blog as more of a conversation than my ‘house’. As long as someone isn’t calling me names, I’ll post what they say even if it is aggressive or unflattering.

  13. It is really interesting how some people think they have a “right” to say whatever they want on someone else’s blog, and that the site owner is somehow required to post it. Strange but true.

    I certainly advocate the appropriate use of moderation. It doesn’t mean you reject criticism or opposing viewpoints; it just means that you are in control. If someone doesn’t like it, as JF notes there are lots of places where freaks have free reign.

  14. I haven’t had any negative comments yet, not because I’m that agreeable, but I just don’t get a lot of comments yet. However, I’ve always felt that since it’s my blog, I could delete any comment I chose. I don’t expect it will happen much, but if a comment does more harm than good, it’s much easier to delete it than to wage war in the comments.

  15. […] their comment policies. Specifically, they want to know which comments they should delete. (Jonathan Fields at Awake at the Wheel discussed this recently, and very […]

  16. deletedsoul says:

    I generally get very few comments on my blog, and I have only deleted one or two. Most of the time, people are pretty good about not posting hateful things. They save that for Topix. 🙂

  17. Jon says:

    Lived most of my life by this maxim:
    Moderation in all things, except moderation.