Sooner or later, when bloggers come together to talk, someone will inevitably ask about whether there’s ever an appropriate time to delete blog comments.
For many site owners these days, getting readers who’ll actually comment is a challenge enough. So the idea that they might ever actually delete blog comments might seem difficult to imagine.
Until you’ve run a blog yourself and seen some of the comments you get.
A lot of the comments I’m only too happy to delete are of the spam variety. For the most part, thanks to plugins like Akismet and Bad Behavior, the majority of spam comments don’t ever make it through. A handful, however, still slip through their cracks.
Those comments are generally of the type that compliment the post and then throw in a link to some business site and otherwise add absolutely zero to the discussion.
If you know what you’re looking for, they’re quite easy to spot. They’re quite easy to delete as well.
But not all delete-worthy comments are spam.
Recently someone chose to leave a mean-spirited comment here at this blog on a post about people who seem to be out to push their luck by getting big and bad and in a cop’s face when they feel police aren’t doing the right thing.
Don’t bother looking for it: you won’t find it.
He used a fake name and a fake email address. (I assume it’s a he.) He began by calling the post a “dumb article” and suggested that I was someone who likely “would most likely write an article about how Rosa Parks just shouldn’t have been so damn lazy.”
Then he got particularly nasty about things. And vulgar.
He could have easily done a quick search about Rosa Parks right here on this blog. He’d have seen that I once wrote — way back in 2005 — that “Parks’ legacy is one of protesting an unfair law without violence, without a desire for fame and with a grace and dignity that led to real change.”
The commenter, who visited from Oklahoma, decided that hiding behind anonymity, he could say whatever horrible, inappropriate things he wanted.
But you see, I have a comment policy on this blog. If you really, really want to read it, you can find it here. But right above the very window where you leave your comment, I boil it down quite succinctly: just be respectful.
That’s not too much to ask. Why? Because I say so, and because it’s my blog, I get to make that decision.
The commenter is perfectly welcome to start up his own blog and accept such rude responses from his audience.
I’m under no such obligation if I don’t choose to be. You aren’t, either.