Anthony Watts is worried about the time it takes to moderate comments
Lately I’ve found that I spend a lot of time moderating posts that are simply back and forth arguments between just a few people whom have inflexible points of view. Often the discussion turns a bit testy. I’ve had to give some folks (on both sides of the debate) a time out the last couple of days. While the visitors of this blog (on both sides of the debate) are often more courteous than on some other blogs I’ve seen, it still gets tiresome moderating the same arguments between the same people again and again.
This does not surprise me, as I have emailed back and forth to Anthony during a time he was stressed about a particular comment thread. I told him then what I say now: Relax.
It might have been that 10 years ago or even 5 that visitors would be surprised and shocked by the actions of certain trolls on the site. But I would expect that anyone, by now, who spends time in blog comment sections knows the drill — that blog comments can be a free-for-all and some folks just haven’t learned how to maturely operate in an anonymous environment.
I have never tried to moderate my comments (except for spam, which is why you might have a comment with embedded links held for moderation — I am looking to filter people selling male enhancement products, not people who disagree with me.) In fact, I relish buffoons who disagree with me when they make an ass of themselves – after all, as Napoleon said, never interrupt an enemy when he is making a mistake. And besides, I think it makes a nice contrast with a number of leading climate alarmist sites that do not accept comments or are Stalinist in purging dissent from them.
In fact, I find that the only danger in my wide open policy is the media. For you see, the only exception to my statement above, the only group on the whole planet that seems not to have gotten the message that comment threads don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of the domain operator, is the mainstream media. I don’t know if this is incompetence or willful, but they still write stories predicated on some blog comment being reflective of the blog’s host.
By the way, for Christmas last year I bought myself an autographed copy of this XKCD comic to go over my desk: