Blog Comments: Privilege or Right?

I was recently left what I felt to be quite a rude comment on my blog which, afer giving much thought to, I decided not to post. This person has now accused me of ‘abusing my power as a moderator’ and somehow affecting her right to freedom of speech for failing to post her comment.  Ignoring the fact that I think comment approval is not akin to being a moderator, it did bring up an interesting issue, namely, obligations surrounding the posting of comments.

Personally, I think the right to comment on a person’s post on a personal blog is a privilege not a right and as such it is something that can be revoked at any time should it be misused.

I decided to make comments on my blog subject to approval because:
a) I wanted a chance to read and respond to the comments that came through as I found that I would miss comments when I wasn’t approving them
b) I wanted to filter out all the spam comments since the spam filter on blogger is pretty useless and
c) I wanted to keep my blog a hate free zone so I wanted the ability to delete any offensive comments whether that be due to profanity, racism or other discrimination or because of  personal attacks.

The person who left the comment which is in dispute suggested I delete the offensive parts of her comment and post the rest. Here’s the thing, anyone who uses blogger (or any other commenting system for that matter) knows that you do not have the power to edit a comment left by someone else. Further, I think that editing another person’s comment is more of an abuse of power than simply deleting it could ever be!

This person also accused me of deleting her comment not because I found it offensive but because I couldn’t take the fact that someone disagreed with me. I’ve had people disagree with what I’ve written before and I’ve let those comments go through because they were said in a way that was constructive. Is it nice to get comments which agree with what I say or which are supportive and kind? Of course it is but that doesn’t mean I think only the nice comments should be approved!

I can completely appreciate the fact that not everyone will like or agree with everything I write but to those people I say: If you don’t have something constructive to say then don’t say it all. If I’m sitting in front of you pushing my posts in your face then feel free to tell me where to go but the fact is YOU came HERE! I didn’t find you so my suggestion is that if you don’t like what you read then just leave and find something you do like!

At the end of the day this is a little blog about makeup that I started as a hobby which I don’t get any money or compensation for.  I am not a professional blogger by any means and I do not hold myself out as such. I consider myself to be a fair and rational person and am willing to hear what someone has to say but that doesn’t mean that I have to post a comment just because it’s been left. If my failing to post someone’s comment causes them to respect me less then I’m okay with that because respect is one of those things that only matters when it’s coming from someone whose opinion you value.

In the words of Coco from prettymom.org ‘I’m the goddess here and I decide the fate of your rude comments’ 😉

I might be fanning the fires a bit here by posting about this but I love blogging and I think it’s allowed me to meet so many lovely people (in the virtual sense). I use my blog as a de-stress mechanism but when it’s surrounded in negative energy, it causes stress which is quite silly when I think about it but I’m only human and prone to bouts of irrationality.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Where do you stand on the comment approval debate?

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22 Comments on “Blog Comments: Privilege or Right?”

  1. October 12, 2011 at 11:31 AM #

    I love Coco's comment, you go Goddess! Seriously though, your blog, your rules. As you said, you're not shoving it in our faces. I'm here because I want to be, your readers and followers are here because they want to be. No one is forcing anyone. My comments are published atm without approval, but I'm seriously thinking of changing it now because I keep getting spammy messages now, but going back to your issue if the comments are constructive criticism then I'd publish is, but if they are just darn rude then you have the right (as the goddess here LOL, love it), to choose to delete. Hope my rambles made sense. Lilitxo

  2. October 12, 2011 at 11:40 AM #

    Great post and I completely agree with you and Lilit! It's your blog and your rules and you should be able to decide not to put a rude or offensive comment up. I currently don't have approval for my comments but if I started getting rude or offensive comments I think I'd consider it. Hannah xoxo

  3. October 12, 2011 at 11:41 AM #

    Your comment made perfect sense and I agree, but that's not the only reason why I approved you comment ;)Lol I thought her line was gold so I had to put it in this post somewhere! About the spam comments: they're the worst and I definitely recommend going the approval route!

  4. October 12, 2011 at 11:46 AM #

    I keep comment approval, but mostly for spam comments. However, I do agree that it is upto you to decide what is okay for your blog! If you feel like it was rude, it's good that you didn't publish it!

  5. October 12, 2011 at 11:48 AM #

    Totally agree, I always find it mystifying when people post rude comments on blogs or on twitter feeds they follow, you just think 'you don't HAVE to follow that person, so why are you insulting them for saying something?'. It's just bizarre. I just wonder why they don't have anything better to do! x

  6. October 12, 2011 at 11:54 AM #

    Hannah: Thanks for the comment :)Ki: Thanks Ki. I think your blog is your part of the internet and you should be able to do what you like with it.

  7. October 12, 2011 at 11:57 AM #

    luxiehoney: I agree! I see the rude things people write on youtube videos and can't believe people have the time let alone the lack of common decency to post them.

  8. October 12, 2011 at 11:58 AM #

    My blog comments on posted upon approval by me. It's my blog, therefore I have the right to do however I choose with it.If you leave a link in your comment on my blog then your comment doesn't get approve. It's actually deleted. Too much spam is going on and the Blogger spam doesn't get rid of it.

  9. October 12, 2011 at 12:01 PM #

    Rai: Spam comments are getting to be such a huge problem and the people leaving them are getting a lot better in the way they post comments as well. I agree- your blog, your choice what happens to comments

  10. October 12, 2011 at 12:24 PM #

    I think it's perfectly fine to have comment moderation for the reasons you mentioned. I haven't done it as yet because my blog comments are still manageable, but I have deleted comments in the past where the commenter said absolutely nothing related to the post, and simply said 'please follow me/url'. Readers are not obligated to read your blog or comment, so if they do spend the time & energy to post something rude, you have every right to delete it.

  11. October 12, 2011 at 12:48 PM #

    I actually put a comments policy into a page on my blog:"I love and appreciate reading your comments however, comments deemed to be spam or questionable spam will be deleted. Including a link to relevant content is permitted, but comments should be relevant to the post topic, comments containing language or concepts that could be deemed offensive will be deleted, profanity and abusive comments will be deleted and comments that attack a person individually will be deleted. The owner of this blog reserves the right to edit or delete any comments submitted to this blog without notice. This comment policy is subject to change at anytime."I'm very fortunate though with WordPress I have Akismet which keeps all my spam out. I think that it's your blog, you're completely entitled to moderate it as you wish.

  12. October 12, 2011 at 1:37 PM #

    I am honestly still mystified by what this person found offensive. I read the post in question and it was not only innocuous, it was posted 10 months ago! It seems to me that this person is trolling, looking for something to be offended about. As far as the comment issue – this is your blog. It is your publication and you have the right to decide what goes up. In the magazine world do you think every single letter to the editor gets printed? Absolutely not. Plus, in my humble opinion, you have the right to maintain your blog as a positive place and by moderating comments you are filtering out any negativity that may cross your path.Ultimately I think it is a really sad thing that there are people out there who are so empty in their lives that they feel the need to seek out things to be offended by, and I feel a real sense of pity for anyone whose life is truly that empty.You did the right thing. x(p.s. sorry for the essay / ramble. Feel free to moderate me out if it makes no sense :P)

  13. October 12, 2011 at 2:33 PM #

    well said, goddess 🙂 it's your blog and you are allowed to abuse your mighty power!

  14. October 12, 2011 at 3:43 PM #

    What you say makes perfect sense! I don't have comment moderation right now and since Blogger sucks at spam detection, I think I should have one soon. At one point I got so frustrated when people started leaving direct links & advertising their giveaways using the comments section as a platform!! You have a very nice blog & don't let any of these get to you 🙂

  15. October 12, 2011 at 4:59 PM #

    I COMPLETELY agree with you and your stance- it's YOUR blog right?? You can do WHATEVER you want. You have a lovely and entertaining blog, and people should appreciate that. With leaving comments on people's personal blog, I think the old saying should ring true, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it all."

  16. October 12, 2011 at 6:54 PM #

    I can't believe the person had the nerve to bring up their right to freedom of speech. It's as simple as it's my blog & I decide what stays & what goes & that includes comments from people who like to go around abusing their rights.Here's a little blurb that I wrote right above the comment section on my blog posts:"Your comments are greatly appreciated. Feel free to speak your mind while leaving a comment, but please refrain from rude comments that might offend other readers or myself. If you choose to ignore this warning, your comment will be deleted."Pretty self-explanatory & non-negotiable. If people can't follow simple rules, they have to face the consequences without whining.

  17. October 13, 2011 at 4:02 AM #

    Definitely. We're not getting paid for this, so there's even less reason to tolerate people's abuse! Always do what you feel is right 🙂

  18. October 13, 2011 at 9:04 AM #

    At the end of the day, it's your blog and you decide when you want to include or exclude stuff! Totes agree with Coco!

  19. October 16, 2011 at 10:16 AM #

    I think you have every right to not publish a comment that you find offensive or attacking. This is your blog and we all want to make sure that our blogs are a safe place, where people can visit and not feel threatened or harassed. Some people tend to think of their opinions as facts and forget that not everyone agrees with them. Which is fine, but when an opinion is voiced in a rude attack, that's when you've got to draw the line. You need to protect yourself and your blog first and foremost!

  20. October 17, 2011 at 10:47 PM #

    You every right to delete folks, comments and whatever you feel necessary! This is a free interest blog and if someone doesn't like it, they don't have to visit anymore! ;0) Go GIRL!!

  21. October 17, 2011 at 11:50 PM #

    Poohkie: So far I’ve allowed comments through which include a ‘follow me’ and a link but I’m considering changing that. I don’t mind if people leave links their blogs but the whole ‘follow me and I’ll follow you’ thing is annoying!Megan: That is an awesome comment policy! I might need to borrow it for my blog because it seems like I need to be more explicit about what comment approval means. Sara-May: I am too! I think my comments about the celebrities is what has her fired up and the colour matching issues I talked about. This girl seems to do this on other blogs as well so as much as she tried to convince me she’s not a troll, it really seems like she is! I appreciate the essay/ramble 🙂 xxCoco: Lol thanks for the line! Appu: Thanks! I know what you mean, I’m happy to support other bloggers but I hate when it seems like someone’s leaving me a comment just for their own purposes rather than to actually say something meaningful.JennySue: I agree! I think those are good words to live your whole life by, not just your online habits 🙂

  22. October 18, 2011 at 12:01 AM #

    Saim: I know! I couldn’t believe it either! She was talking about my not posting her comment as if it was some kind of human rights violation! I mean get some perspective! It’s a blog about makeup for goodness sake. I like your comment policy. It’s short and to the point. I think I really have to put one in because things I think common decency should dictate apparently need to be put in writing and made obivous!Dempsso1: Free= no obligations. Thanks for the support! :)Ling: Thanks! I agree :)Aseya: I think that’s what frustrates me the most about this- I think everyone has the right to their opinion but there’s no need to be rude about it. Why is it not enough to say ‘I disagree’ without going into a whole big personal (and rascist) attack? Anoymous: Thanks I appreciate the support 🙂

Leave a comment. I love hearing your thoughts. I do read and respond to all my comments but it won't always be immediate so please be patient. Rude or offensive comments will be deleted but constructive criticism is always welcome.

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