I recently deleted a couple of blog comments that were unnecessarily rude and disrespectful. One was directed at me while another was directed at a reader.
Almost every one of us want blog comments, but that doesn’t mean we want rudeness and a lot of attitude.
The other day, I had a couple of comments that I felt crossed a line.
One was very insulting to one of my readers and include some inappropriate profanity, which I don’t tolerate. The second appeared to be an attempt to insult my writing ability, which amused me because this particular commenter, in criticizing something I’d written, confused than and then. (I guess that’s a mistake a writer more experienced than I am would make.)
I actually do have a page of rules for comments on this site. I don’t refer to it all that often because I figure anyone who actually wants to find it should be able to spot the “Rules” in the top menu. It’s not exactly rocket science.
In fact, I have 10 rules for commenting — all common sense — that I list on that page. The very first one is the most basic. I’ll ditch the language meant to mimic the format of the 10 Commandments and say it this way: “Be respectful.”
Most of the issues I’ve had with commenters involve an attempt to be disrespectful.
You’re allowed to remove offending blog comments.
There was a time when I wanted to avoid deleting comments, even when they crossed the line. I suppose it was because it was such a nice feeling to receive a comment — any comment — that you didn’t want to do anything to discourage them.
But then I began to take another look at that.
When we blog, it’s like we’re opening our front door and letting people in our living room.
You wouldn’t tolerate any kind of behavior from a visitor in your own home. You’d have your own idea of what is acceptable conduct in your home and what isn’t.
Blogging is no different.
You have to decide what you will and won’t tolerate on your own site. Those who disagree like to make snarky remarks about “Free Speech” and the First Amendment.
But that gives you the right to speak your mind (within limits) on public land. You don’t have the right to do anything you want on private property, and your website is something you own. So you get to decide what the rules are and you get to decide what happens when people willfully break those rules.
There will always be someone who serves as a living, breathing example of our society’s decaying civility. Those people love to act as trolls and be rude. They love to walk into your living room and dump their garbage right there on your coffee table.
As a blog owner, you have every right, when that happens, to take out the trash.
Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.