Am I censoring comments on my blog ?


A couple of days ago I entered a new dramatic episode in my blogging "career". I removed a comment from my blog that I personally felt was completely irrelevant to the intent of the blogpost. Besides some comment spam / commercial comments I had never done this before.

The victim : Ben Rose …

The consequence : Ben unsubscribed form my blog.

Re-evaluating this order of events I somehow regret that I removed the comment, but on the other hand where do you draw the line on your own blog ?

I regret this particular event because I have had numorous good discussions and chats with Ben, so I know that (most of the time 🙂 ) he is not talking nonsense or has a one tracked mind in things. If he was just someone stopping by for a quick comment that would be different. On the other hand I now gradually (yes this takes a long time) come to a point in which I think I know what I want blogging-wise. Just around that time I saw the light I had to move my blog because of the loss of my domain name.
Ben in fact was one of the few with some supportive comments and related blogpost at the time I really needed this (no I am not sentimental now).

So what triggered me to walk the ’thin line of "censorship" ‘ or better comment moderation ? This was caused by an exchange of emails I had with Volker Weber. It was around a certain post related Lotus Notes / Workplace and I suddenly felt the urge of commenting a funny oneliner. Something like "how’s that for a roadmap ?". Volker’s reaction was like mine in the example above. My reaction was an email to Volkers, and so on. Volker simply stated, this is my blog I live here and I determine what’s appropriate and what’s not "read my FAQ", stop being a happy troll. (I hope Volker forgives me for using this example …)

Wow that hurt, not so much for removing that comments, but my intentions where different maybe than how Volker / his readers should have perceived it, just a funny remark (my perception of humour). But he was right I think.

This whole event is months ago and I only receive only a few comments a month for that matter and by no means I want to compare myself to Volker. I do think I have the right intentions with my blog and think some sort of guidiance and mutual understanding with regards to comments is something good to develop. I have done and still do my fair share of happy trolling but I think I also matured in this quite a bit and I am still learning 🙂

So in summary: In learning by doing you make mistakes and you have to accept the consequences. I hope this post clarifies things a bit and does not prevent (the few) people from commenting. I do see I need to be more careful and more importantly clear if and when I consider to remove a comment.

If anyone has experience with comment policies they are more the welcome 🙂

Peter de Haas
Peter de Haas

Peter is gepassioneerd door de grenzeloze mogelijkheden van technologische vooruitgang. Met meer dan 35 jaar ervaring in de IT heeft hij talloze ontwikkelingen zien opkomen en hun impact op organisaties en mensen meegemaakt. Met een scherp oog voor het identificeren van oplossingen waar anderen alleen problemen zien, is hij een ware expert in digitale transformaties.
Peter helpt individuen, teams en organisaties bij het ontwikkelen van nieuwe vaardigheden en het implementeren van baanbrekende oplossingen. Zijn inzichten en ervaringen maken hem een gewaardeerde bron voor iedereen die de nieuwste technologische trends wil begrijpen en toepassen.

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3 reacties

  1. Peter,
    An excellent reply. I re-iterate that I meant no offense with what I wrote – I just felt it looked like an odd course of action.
    But it is, as always, your blog and your rules. 🙂
    My personal policy would be to reply rather than to delete, or to explain when deleting. But I think I mentioned that somewhere already… 😉
    Handling comments that you don’t want on your blog is difficult. I think that the over-riding factor has to be determined by this answer:
    “What will me actions look like to a passerby?”
    Such is the curse of a public space like the web, but comments deleted with no explanation will look like censorship, even when it wasn’t censorship. 🙁
    Good luck with any future moderation you have to do!

  2. Philip,
    Thanks for your comment 🙂 and for pointing me to your thoughts on this.
    You are completely right with regards to the “odd course of action” and i hope I’ve clarified this a bit in my post.
    First of all I hope people don’t interpret all of this as a major change of operation with regards to my blog. This will only happen on an incidental basis and with more clarity / transparency than this particular incident.
    Meanwhile I have cleared the sky with Ben and unfortunatly he has also decided to stop blogging all thogether. These events have no relation as far as I know 🙂

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