On Comments

So I’m using my PCR run time to catch up on half written posts, and I’m going to do the irritating one first.

I don’t actually expect anyone to read this. Really, who cares about my little outlook on the world. It is more exercise for the intellect than anything else. I’m not a fast writer, and writing frequently gets back burnered in favor of other concerns. Like sleep. Or snuggling babies. Or better yet, snuggling husbands.

I keep all initial comments for moderation, to cut down on spam. Once a comment is approved, it’s free reign. I tried to set up email filtering rules that let me know when there’s a comment waiting for moderation, and when any new comment is posted, but they didn’t work very well.

So back in November, when I got a comment (during the Thanksgiving week no less) that I felt was unfair, I didn’t know what to do. Did I approve the comment or not? I let it sit while I was internetless in the valley over Thanksgiving, and decided that I couldn’t justify censoring comments and approved it. But I also gave it the caveat that I felt it was unfair to my doctor to criticize his medical degree over expressing the common cultural opinion of our society. And then I went on with my life.

And a couple weeks later, during the busiest time of year, I found a barrage of responding comments that I hadn’t received any email notifications for, all apparently upset because I disagreed with their first comment. And I didn’t have time to deal with it. I had a large, time intensive experiment at work that only wound down on the afternoon of 12/23. I had baking, cleaning, decorating, shopping, wrapping, and holiday travel preparations that all had to be done five minutes ago. I had several pairs of pajama pants to make and a scarf to knit. I didn’t have time to deal with childishness in the comments.

Plus the vast number of posts about it really put my back up. All this because I disagreed with a poster? Really? Never threaten to be more stubborn than myself, it simply isn’t possible.

It was probably wrong to put my disagreement in the comment itself. I wasn’t sure of the appropriate protocol, so I followed one I’d seen on another blog which consisted of responses from author to commenter inserted in the comment itself.

I tried to change how comments were handled while I was traveling over the Christmas and New Year holidays by approving all comments so I couldn’t miss any more of them, but this somehow ended up with a bunch of comments going into spam, which I didn’t figure out till the Epiphany. Which just pissed the angry commenter off more.

I am sorry that she wants her comments deleted because I disagreed with her, but I don’t believe we just get to take words back because it’s the internet and delete is just a click away. She commented. It’s done. Because of my crappy comment notification email filtering rules, I missed her subsequent comments. But if I hadn’t missed them, I would have told her this. Sorry, but what is done is done.

But I stand by my disagreement. It was unjust to call my doctor an idiot because he held an extremely common societal opinion about extended nursing. I am used to doctors being normal people, full of opinions, so while it’s annoying, it doesn’t make him stupid. He did a good job with my injections and I’m thankful for his good work. He didn’t deserve to have his entire medical education maligned.

The whole thing upset me a lot. I felt bullied away from actually posting on my blog and when I did have leisure to write, it felt awkward. Which just made me angry. What I’ve taken away from this is that I need some sort of rules of engagement for comments.

So, after this debacle, here are how comments will be handled:

  1. I approve all initial comments. Subsequent comments have a free reign unless they become abusive.
  2. I will approve any topical comment, regardless of agreement. Delays in comment approval usually mean lack of internet on my part.
  3. If I do disagree with you, I’ll put my disagreement in it’s own comment, but you can bet on hearing about it. If you can’t handle being disagreed with…
  4. If your comment is not topical to the post, I will delete it.
  5. If you want your comment deleted because you’re embarrassed by it, I’m sorry, but what is said is said. I will, however, fix typos on request. (Indeed, it’s hard to resist fixing them without request.)

I’m following the non-topical comment rule retroactively. I’ve also removed my disagreement from the original post to it’s own response. And that’s the best I can do to make things right.

There we are. That’s it. And it’s one heck of a monkey off my back.

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