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My Comment Policy

A commenter called John asked why I “censor” comments. I was taken aback. Obviously the implication is I pick and choose what appears on my blog. Of course I do, but not based on if the commenter agrees with me or not. I thought I would take a moment to explain how I go about approving or deleting comments under moderation here on this blog.

First I need to be clear. This is my blog. I set the rules. I reserve the right to display, edit or delete any comments as I see fit. It’s my name above this blog after all. Just as you wouldn’t encourage bad behavior in your home or workplace I do not allow it here. Until now the only comments I have deleted were spam or comments I wouldn’t want to expose to the public because they were nasty/hate/sick/foul-mouthed ..

I will delete spam and any comment if the intention was to attack, denigrate, diminish, harm or cause upset to an individual or group or the intention was to troll or hijack the conversation.

As you can see on some days I get a ton of comments and I show them. I try to answer as many as I can. Disagreeing with me is positively encouraged.

I use moderation along with Akismet to reduce my spam, it is a brilliant system and most days works very well. It seems some comments have been mistaken as spam for some reason. I’m not sure what algorithm they use and I am sure they would not tell me if I asked so I couldn’t say why but comments with links in are always marked as suspicious and I have to go through extra steps to publish them.

On one or two occasions I have edited a comment for formatting, for example if their pasted URL was so long it would stick out into the sidebar.

So to summarise:

  • I encourage you to comment. Share your thoughts, I encourage you to disagree or see things differently – how else will my opinions develop?
  • On-topic links are encouraged, comment “signatures” or random links just to promote your stuff will be removed. You have a link from your name, and they are free of no-follow, I think that is enough, right?
  • The name field is for your name, not the headline of your latest post or for SEO-boosting anchor text. Nicknames are fine, though like most people I prefer real names, and anyone using a blatant keyword-grab (“Custom Kitchen SEO Paris Hilton San Diego Hotel”) will be edited to match their email name or marked as spam.
  • Please be polite, courteous and stick to the topic. Not a lot to ask? I break the on-topic rule myself on occasion but politeness really can’t be stressed enough.
  • If I delete your comment by mistake then submit it again and tell me. Otherwise I can not get to the bottom of why this happens.

I hope that clears things up. Of course if you think any of this could be tweaked to work better let me know in private or in the comments :)

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Comments

  1. Thank you for clarifying.
    I have posted a comment some days ago (it worked and you kindly replied to it) and I’ve put the URL of my blog in the “website” field even though my blog has not much to do with the subject of yours and is in French language.
    I would like to know how you feel about that.

    By the way, I really liked your “Killer flagship content” e-book :)

  2. Chris brought up a fantastic point by saying “I encourage you to disagree” and followed up with “please be polite”.

    I spent most of my adult years working for consulting & marketing firms. We would charge an enormous amount of money to help companies improve their public image, or finding their niche’s…basically we helped them find and deliver what their customers wanted.

    Hands down the most informative, helpful part of that process was getting constructive criticism from people who might someday be their customers.

    If Chris wanted to improve his blog and we all said “looks perfect” the chances of him changing anything are slim. But if we all said “hey Chris, love the blog but I think you could use a bigger font” – Chances are he’s going to increase his font size.

    Point being; we’re all a little afraid of criticism, but trust me when I say there is no shorter path to success then positive, constructive criticism from our peers.

    Great Post Chris!

    PS. The only time it doesn’t work Is when your wife asks if she’s gaining weight.

  3. @Frenchmat a big percentage of why this blog is here is for people to comment, providing the comments I get are useful and not spammy I don’t mind where you link to :)

    @Marc absolutely, if we don’t know what we do wrong how can we fix it?

  4. That’s exactly right Chris.

    In fact, I think it may even be a worthwhile post someday to ask everybody to post 2 items they love about your blog and two they would like to see changed, or features implemented….Could be interesting.

    As you know my marketing days were a little before blogging got so big. It is amazing to me how quickly and easily information can be exchanged now. I still havn’t completely wrapped my brain around it.

  5. Good idea, I think I will do something like that :)

  6. I’m quite liberal with the comments on my blog. Occasionally edit them for the url issues and some grammatical clarity. Comments that go against what I write are most welcome, blogging after all is a two-way process of communication.

  7. I wrote about the dangers of collective intelligence fairly recently.

    I actually wish more people disagreed with me, because that can stimulate some great conversation.

    It would be good to formalize a comments policy and then include a link near the comment form.

  8. I have no problems with deleting comments from my blog if I feel that they are self promotional or do not let the discussion flow.

    I added a small note about keeping the discussion on-topic and this has seemed to helped, but it has slightly reduced the number of comments.

    What is your opinion on off-topic comments but not spam?

  9. I couldn’t agree with you more, Chris. I can’t believe that people would be irritated by “censoring” what with all of the garbage people throw around online these days. My site has little to do with your blog, but I have a blog and I monitor comments as well. I always will.

  10. Hi Chris, I submitted a comment to your post about free images for your blogs with a link to a post I recently wrote on the subject with further links to yotophoto.com, an interesting site for free images. edit to your hearts content if you want to.
    Cheers
    David

  11. I’d like to do you the favor of disagreeing with you, but I simply can’t. Well said.

  12. I agree with you on this Chris. Your blog is your position, you can let whoever you want in or out. I remember at Webmaster World in Las Vegas, I was viewing the robots.txt presentation and one speaker said this about spammers in his site. “No shirt, No Shoes, No service”, that is what I believe everyone thinks about their site. Only let in who you want to be in. Great post again Chris.

  13. On the whole I have to say I agree with your strategy here. I have been active for a couple of years on a particular forum that descended into a slanging match by a minority to a majority which certainly devalued the forum. The irony is that certain members of the minority actually had valid points of view and contributions to make that if delivered in a less aggressive and more polite fashion would have added value overall.

    I am of course presuming that you would inform the offending posts to be re-submitted following the guidance you have now laid out?

  14. @jhay – Yes I think sometimes people forget it is best when it is two-way rather than a soap box

    @Andy – good idea, I will do that :) We used to do that at performancing, not sure why I never think of it on my own blogs

    @Darren – Sometimes off-topic is ok when kept to a minimum but it often becomes annoying and exclusive (a conversation between two people while the rest have to look on or drift away), I have a tendency to drift myself, especially when I think I am being humorous ;)

    @Brian – Yes I think it is part of our job as bloggers to keep the signal to noise ratio high on our own blogs

    @david – can you submit your comment again, it doesn’t seem to have turned up

    @Liz – I am sure there will be other opportunities to disagree with me ;)

    @lnahinu – I like that, “no shirt no shoes”, nice analogy

    @Mark – People who submit filth, insults or hate are not welcome. I wouldn’t encourage them to come back for another attempt.

  15. I’ve accidentally deleted a few comments before also due to the amount of spam that comes through. whoops!

    Like Chris said, critical comments are a good thing. The first couple comments I got about design of my blog and some spelling mistakes made me really angry. Funny thing was that those were the ones that got me motivated and into action. I’m better of because of it

    Of course, the praise comments are great too.