Every once in a while I’m asked why I moderate comments, rather than let the conversation go wherever it needs to go.
There’s a great divide about this in the blogosphere. Some folks believe you should never restrict the conversation. Others believe the “Your comment is awaiting moderation” message is such a turn-off that it kills the conversation.
I’ve found the exact opposite to be true. Here’s why…
When I publish a post, it’s often written in a way that’s intended to be a conversation starter. You are free to disagree with me or anyone else in our community all you like, we’ve had some amazing conversations around strong positions.
BUT I don’t tolerate speech that is overtly mean, hate-based, non-constructive or purely commercial.
I moderate to keep that overriding ethos intact. And I want people to know that. I want anyone visiting to know that you can take a strong position, but that you cannot attack or spew hatred. And I want others to know that this blog is a place where you can get real, you can ask uncomfortable questions or express opinions or ideas that might make you feel a bit nervous without being blasted.
I moderate because it’s important for you to know that this blog is a safe place to be.
And, to me, the value of that so far outweighs the discomfort you might feel awaiting moderation when you post your first comment.
FYI – I don’t put every comment in moderation. I monitor conversations, but comments only get cued for approval the very first time you comment. After that, you go live in real-time, but I’m still watching. And if something offensive slips through the cracks, I’ll take it down.
I like to think this policy is one of the many reasons the comment section here has become such a valued place of ideation and conversation, while so many other blogs are shutting their comments down because they’re filled with nastiness and spam.
Curious what you think…
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