A note about comments and blocking people

Every five or six days, I get an angry or hurt email from someone demanding to know why they’ve been blocked.  In approximately 100% of these cases, I haven’t blocked the person.  What it is, is Disqus (and sometimes the Register commenting system) nets someone’s comment for mysterious reasons that make sense only to the borg brain.  That’s all. It happens to me, too — sometimes I can’t even comment on my own post.  Sometimes I post a comment, and it shows up, only to disappear later.  Why? Who knows? Not me.  If I block you, I will generally tell you why.

My comment policy is not strict.  Don’t be incredibly and repeatedly offensive, and don’t threaten anybody.  That’s about it. I can alter this as I see fit, without warning, because it’s my blog. You don’t have any right to be heard on my blog; but I don’t have any particular desire to micromanage how stupid and awful you wish to appear in public.

That being said, the A #1 way to make sure I don’t block someone is to insist that I block someone.  When I write in public, whether here or on the Register or on Facebook or in magazines or wherever, I set myself up for a 24 hour stream of nonsense, and believe me, that stream ain’t drying up anytime soon.  One way I deal with it is to remind myself that it’s my choice how much nonsense I want to put up with.  If I want it to stop, I stop it. If I don’t care, I let it go. It’s my decision, because it’s my blog.  I cannot overstate how important it is to me to own that decision.  If you know of a better, fairer, more sensible way to run a combox, then start your own blog and go for it.

Okey doke?  Sorry if this is crabby. I’ve had a brutal sinus head cold for a week now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have writing deadlines, and radio interviews, and six-layer cakes to bake, and dinner to cook, and doctor’s appointments, and homework to check, and teachers to placate, and dog pee to mop up, and sacraments to prepare for, and so on. I’m tired and mean and doing my best to get stuff done, and I don’t need any advice on how to do it better.

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  • hope you feel better Simcha!! How about a 5 layer cake instead 😉 One less step.

    sending love and prayers.

    • Judy Cook Bettinger

      Better yet, how about a dump cake? 🙂

  • Kristine StewartHass

    I think you should … keep up the good work.

  • I hope you feel better soon!

  • Lydia

    Hope you feel better soon! And I detest Discus and wish it would just go away on every website that has it.

    • Anna

      A fellow loather of Disqus here!

  • bob cratchit

    For the cold, administer tea and strong liquor in alternate doses as a means of strengthening your feeble condition. It works.

    • Dan F.

      and failing that, just administer strong liquor until you don’t notice the cold any more. 😉

  • anna lisa

    I’m glad I don’t have your job. There are usually only a handful of days a month when I can’t trust myself. Sometimes mean people are hilarious, but most of the fun goes away when people are mean or judge-y,or way up high on their mountain- soap -box-top, That’s enough to make me want to swear off all the unavoidable internet arguing for a while. It gets toxic, and downright narcissistic.
    Arguing can become a creepy addiction.

    Once you’ve been held up for public ridicule, you can never be sure that it won’t happen again. The internet doesn’t exactly incite trust in the complete altruism of your fellow man. It doesn’t matter as much if the blogger was waxing effusive about theology, if his quick wit is occasionally laced with venom . The heady task of being the almighty moderator has an interesting effect even on priests. Sometimes I cringe at the quick comebacks and think, “Oh wow, your next blog post on virtue is going to have a little shadow cast over it…”

    I’d be a little sad if all the stupid went away though. I thought that was half the reason why people actually *read* blogs,
    (Sigh of relief. “Oh wow, they are just as infected with stupid as my stupid family”)
    That’s why I won’t write one myself. I’m not sure I can trust myself with one.

  • Kelly Thatcher

    Your cakes have six layers??? Wow! My hat’s off to you, Simcha o’ mine! 🙂

  • Jenny Uebbing

    “You don’t have any right to be heard on my blog; but I don’t have any particular desire to micromanage how stupid and awful you wish to appear in public.”

    And that’s why you’re the best and smartest blogger in the ‘sphere. Period.

  • Kathryn Coe

    I know this sounds insane, but I tried (in the name of science) putting onions on the bottoms of my feet to get over a cold. Get a nice slice of onion, hold in place with some plastic wrap then socks, go to bed. It actually worked. Failing that, you could use your magical blocking powers to banish the cold.

  • Claire

    Well said, Simcha. I personally think you use very good judgment in the way you moderate your blogs, and in your level of attentiveness.

  • Andy, Bad Person

    Speaking of blocking people, did Damien’s awesome new blog go private? How do I view it again?

    • Heather

      I second this question. I bookmarked it and now my bookmark tells me I am not allowed to see this private blog! *cry*

  • DeirdreMundy

    Different sites seem to have different levels of Discus blockage. One word that seems to get you pulled on most of them is the word that sane people used to use instead of ‘gender’ when they were talking people instead of Latin Grammar.

  • DeirdreMundy

    In fact, I’ll test it. Sex. I had to check a box indicating my sex when I took the SATs, and my new baby’s sex is male. Because he has the sex organs and sex chromosomes of a boy.

    • DeirdreMundy

      Actually, Patheos is apparently more loosey-goosey than McArdle’s old place….. And the National Review! Congratulations!