It is my firm conviction that commenting is integral to blogging. A blog that doesn’t allow comments is not a blog, it’s a website. At the same time it should be noted that commenting on a blog is a privilege, not a right, and as such there are some dos and don’ts. Everyone’s policy is different but around here the only policy that matters is mine. Note well that as the author/administrator of this blog I am sovereign over the comments. I have the right to allow people to break the rules or to demand that they strictly adhere to them. I have the power to approve, delete, or edit comments at my discretion. I also have the right and power to ban commentators at will. Keep this in mind when leaving your comment. Now here’s list of the dos and don’ts of commenting on this blog:
Share your opinion on the topic of the post. I welcome all sorts of opinions, even if they differ from mine, but make sure they’re relevant to the topic of the post.
Stick to the topic. Again, make sure your comments are relevant to the topic of the post. I can appreciate that you have opinions on a broad range of things, but there’s a time and a place to share them, and you have to be mindful of when and where that is.
Be respectful of other commentators. Keep it civil whether you agree or disagree with me or those commenting on my posts.
Be specific. If you have a point to make then make it. Don’t be unnecessarily vague and speak in generalities. I want to know what you have to say but I don’t want to have to work to get you to say it.
Leave long comments. A general rule of thumb is that a comment should be shorter than the post being commented on. Sometimes I’ll only post a sentence or two so this rule has some wiggle room. But don’t leave long comments that require lengthy responses. Don’t use my comment box for your personal blog. If you feel the need to leave a long comment then write a post on your blog and leave a link.
Leave anonymous comments. I don’t mind pseudonyms, so long as they’re established (i.e., it’s simply your online handle), but I won’t tolerate anonymous comments. If you can’t be so kind as to leave a name of some sort or a real email address then I won’t be so kind as to let you leave a comment.
Repeat yourself. They say that repetition is the mother of skill; well I don’t care. If I (or someone else) disagrees with you then don’t keep repeating yourself in hopes that I (or they) will eventually agree with you. It’s probably not going to happen. If you think that people disagree with you because they just don’t understand you then think again; I’ve found that many disagreements are the result of understanding precisely what someone is saying. And don’t ask a question expecting a certain answer and then continue to ask it once you’ve been answered with something unexpected. Again, repeating yourself is not likely to make anyone change their mind.
Make me repeat myself. I generally take a little time to think before I post a comment so the chances of me saying exactly what I mean are very good. If you intentionally ignore or misrepresent what I’ve said and respond as if I haven’t said it then it’s very likely that I’ll end up repeating the point. In this case it’s very likely that you’ll no longer be commenting on my blog since I hate to repeat myself.
Promote yourself. Don’t link to things on your blog/site that are irrelevant to the post itself. If you’ve written something on your blog or website that is relevant to what I’ve said in my post then by all means, link to it, but don’t tell people to visit your blog just because you want some visitors. Also, when leaving a comment your name should be linked to a blog or website, assuming that you have one, so that people can follow you back to where you came from. For this reason there should never be a time when you have to solicit visitors. If they want to visit you they will.
Whine, complain constantly, or act like a victim. Don’t say something and then when someone disagrees with you start running around talking about how you’re being persecuted or how offensive everyone is being when no one else (most importantly me) sees it. If you’re offended then leave, and don’t come back until your skin is thicker.
Bug or harass me. If you leave a comment and you don’t see it then there are reasons for that:
- It might have 2 or more links in it which means that it will go into moderation and I’ll have to approve it.
- The spam filter might have accidentally flagged it as spam.
- It might be your first comment on the blog which means that it will await moderation.
- It might have been something that I deemed unworthy of approval.
Whatever the case may be, don’t leave more comments asking about your previous comment.
Feel entitled to a response. I try my best to respond to every comment directly addressed to me but there are some that I forget about, others that I miss, and still others that I don’t feel worthy of response. If I don’t respond to your comment don’t feel slighted as if you’re entitled to a response.
Use Profanity. I’m not personally offended by profanity just because the words are considered profane. In other words, I don’t think that words are bad in and of themselves. I don’t read curse words and cringe just because they’re curse words. Words are only as offensive as the intentions behind them. Someone can use a word that most would consider benign in an offensive way (e.g., as in calling a black man “boy” in the south during the 1950s). But I’m not the only one reading the comments on my blog and everyone doesn’t share my views on words. I have plenty of readers who do find the words themselves offensive and for that reason I won’t allow them to be posted. If you’re not sure of the words that can’t be said then you can use George Carlin’s “The Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV” as a general base.
Change the subject. This is the same as sticking to the topic. Don’t use my comment box as your soapbox. In other words, don’t look for some ridiculously flimsy connection between something I’ve said and use it as a link to jump on your hobbyhorse. If I say “God” in a post and you don’t believe there is one that doesn’t give you cart blanche to launch into a tirade on atheism.