A big part of having and maintaining a good blog is properly and assiduously tending to its comments section. This is especially important with a blog such as this one, where I often publish letters from people who might be especially sensitive to exactly the kinds of poisonous “comments” that Internet trolls take such mad delight in dropping like fresh turds wherever they go.
I and a few friends of mine who moderate this blog do our best to shoo trolls away from it. We feel like we owe that to the good people who come to this online community trusting that here their thoughts will be safe, protected and respected.
In addition to blocking out-and-out trolls, we try to keep civil the comments left by others. That of course is a trickier sort of calculation to make: one person’s insightful criticism is another person’s insufferable snark. Here, we simply let our judgement rule. Mainly, we don’t like anyone being insulting to anyone else. So sometimes we edit people’s comments accordingly. If we feel, for instance, that half a comment left by someone is a reasonable thing to say, but that the other half of that same comment is too snarky or rude, we’ll delete the part of the comment that’s snarky or rude, and leave the rest. (And excellent example of that is here.)
We’ll let you make your point, in other words. We just won’t let you be at the same time socially unacceptable.
Bottom line: comment in a reasonable and respectful tone, and you’ll be welcome here all day long. Don’t, and take your business elsewhere.
Whenever we’ve the time or energy, we’ll explain why we’ve edited or banned a commenter. But generally speaking we are confident that any person whom we’ve had to either block or edit knows why we took whatever action we did. Though people often pretend they don’t, everyone knows when they’ve behaved poorly.
Thank you for helping to make this blog a good and safe place for thoughtful people to hang out and exchange ideas.