Saturday, February 7, 2009

What's Going On?

I have been blogging for about three years, and during that time I have rarely come across a blog that has comment approval. Now, almost every blog I visit has that familiar phrase at the top of the comments section. Is there something strange happening out there? I have never considered using comment approval on my blog, and I have rarely had comments that I have had to remove due to their offensiveness. I have had people disagree with me on various issues, but that is their right, and as long as they don't personally attack me, I'm okay with folks who don't see eye-to-eye with my opinions. That's what makes blogging fun. And I have rarely encountered "spam" or advertising on my blog either. Maybe I'm just fortunate.

I enjoy visiting other folks' blogs and posting a comment, and then I like to read what I have said. It's kind of satisfying to see my mugshot picture along with my witty and urbane comment. But nowadays, when I hit "Publish Your Comment" *poof* my comment does not show up on the screen. I wait with baited breath. Will the owner of the blog approve my comment? And then I wonder, will all the other bloggers out there read my comment and think what an extremely stupid intelligent person I am? Will they click on my link and follow me back to my blog? Sometimes I get busy, and I forget to go back and check.

Is this a form of censorship? What constitutes blog owner approval? I'm curious to know what it is that folks are looking for when they approve or disapprove a comment. One of the things I like about blogging is the relative freedom people have to express their opinions, likes, dislikes, thoughts, ideas and so much more. Whatever the trend is towards comment approval, I hope it goes away soon, and the blogging world becomes an open forum again.

Now I am off to answer each and every one of your thoughtful comments on my post yesterday. Thank you!

55 comments:

Poutalicious said...

I agree with you whole heartily. I realize I'm a newbie (38 days blogging) but I can't imagine moderating comments. Also, I left a comment on a moderated blog and felt bad for days because my comment was disapproved, apparently, because it never showed up :(

All I did was compared the Super Bowl to the inauguration - I mean really how offensive is that?

jackc50 said...

i ran into that form approval thing recently and even though i happened to know this person[unlike 99.9 per cent of bloggers]i thought it was a bit odd. comments are just that, comments. a reaction to what the blogger wrote. i don't really mind any comment, i'm a big boy now and if the person writes something i don't agree with, so be it. the openess of the blog is what makes it interesting, be good everybody, jc

Sammi said...

I don't moderate my comments, but I think its down to a person's confidence. Not everyone likes to hear what people have to say about them, least of all if its bad. I totally agreed with Courtney (blog.cjanerun.com), when she moderated some of her comments, after her sister was in a plane crash & she got some scathing comments about their belief's and so on... it's a shame some people can use their keyboard to bring you down when you don't need it.

Ruth C Jones said...

I think it's a control thing - kind of like having the last word or something.

Stowers said...

I tried not to moderate because it scares off commenters, but I was simply getting too much spam. I'm glad you haven't run into that problem!

Helen's Angel said...

Well JO, I do moderate any comments on my blog. I have been blogging for a very short time, only a couple of months so I am a real rookie. But I have been chatting in internet chat rooms for many years and sometimes on those I have seen people being terribly offensive and downright malicious to others. So much so that chat board moderators have had to get involved.

If anyone wrote anything so malicious on my blog I would be devastated for a start but I would not want anyone else to be able to read defamatory or libellous comments too. The cyber world has few rules or laws and it is simple to libel a person of whom you only know a tiny snapshot.

Sadly not everyone is as principled or intelligent or as you are so for the moment, in order to protect myself I will continue to moderate comments. (I have never had to do so yet!)

Helen's Angel said...

Oh, forgot to say, I had a great debate on the merits or otherwise of President Bush on a blog recently and it was great fun - intelligent proper debate and no one was upset or offended at all. We all really enjoyed it.

Arley said...

Jo- The only reason it is on my blog is because I can't figure out how to turn it off...Lol! Lame aren't I!

Carl said...

Wow-Answering everyon'e comments must be becoming a fulltime gig for you. Way to go!

C

Arley said...

Jo- After 3 attempts, I finally figured out how to turn that off. So you can now leave comments on my blog and view them for yourself! :)

SarahAB said...

When I started blogging I was kind of freaked out by the big wide anonymity of everything... after reading comment forums on news sites and other blogs, I would get really stressed out by how cruel people can be when they think they are anonymous.

I hate it when people start fighting in forums, or when people leave snarky "know-it-all" remarks about any particular issue, and a lot of them are left only because the person feels safe in their perceived anonymity.

I know that my blog doesn't present any really contentious opinions or issues, but presenting my personal self to the gigantic wide world of the crazy anonymous internet makes me a little nervous, and somehow "moderating" makes me feel like I've got control over how people interact with my blog. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, since I'm still sharing everything with everyone, and maybe I'll switch it to open comments, but for now I just don't trust the internet completely. That's my case for moderation.

Jo said...

Poutalicious, yes, I have had that happen too. And I know what I commented was not offensive. I think comment moderation is hard for people to ... moderate.

JC, I agree. People can disagree about all sorts of things, as long as it does not become a personal attack. And I just remove those.

Sammi, well, yes, that is unacceptable when something like that happens. I can't believe people could be so cruel...!

Ruth, oh yes, or like censorship. I have had some real oddballs on my blog, but for the most part everyone is great!

Stowers, for some reason I have not had any spam at all. Weird!

Helen's Angel (I love your blog name ...) yes, people can be malicious and very, very stupid. I had one woman from Montreal who came onto my blog and was snide with every comment she made. I finally told her to (ahem) *knaff off*.

Arley, yay! You have it turned off. That's great. It's much easier for your commenters.

Carl, oh, gosh, yes, everyone deserves a reply -- as much as I am able. *sigh* *heh*

SarahAB, I sort of like controversy. I enjoy it when people get into debates on my blog. I do draw the line at personal attacks, however. People should know how to debate an issue, and not attack the individual.

Veronica said...

Hi Jo, Thank you for visiting my blog earlier on today. As to moderation, I am a real 'newbie' and it was the 'recommended' format set by Blogger - I have changed the setting, so moderation is off.... warm wishes from Suffolk, England xx

Raevyn said...

Honestly, on the couple of blogs that I do have, I've only had to deny a handful of comments over the couple of years I've been blogging off and on, but those were severe enough to make me a bit overcautious perhaps. If it had reached a point in my blogging that I was getting dozens of comments per day, and none of them were hateful, harrassing, or antagonistic, I might adjust how much moderation I do, but I'm just not there yet.

Russell said...

I have submitted a comment to you regarding this post and my comment will be available for you to see after I have approved it (!!).

I have to admit, my comment is prett good (considering I wrote it!) and has a bit of irony in it along with a surprise ending!

As mentioned, you will be able to see my incredible comment after I have approved it. But for now it is just waiting out here in cyberspace for me to make sure I approve of it before you open it and can see it.

What? When will I open this comment so you can see it? Hmmm... let's see here. Where is the instruction booklet....??

Um... let me get back to you.... now what do I do after I click on....?

The Pink Cowboy said...

I do not approve comments in my blog, I simply erase them if they are offensive or insulting. I've only done it one time since I started the blog. Now one thing I do not like is Anonymous people who leave mean comments (they are called Trolls). No Trolls in my blog, I say. But I agree with you, we are capable people that can discuss any topic in a civilised manner. If we are to censor all opinions different from ours, boy wouldn't this be a boring world.

Lilly's Life said...

The only comments I approve are ones that are a week older than the post. Thats just so I can keep track of them and know who to reply to. Otherwise they just get added to past posts and I am not checking for this only the most currrent post. If any of that makes sense. I dont get comments emailed to me either. The thing that I find more annoying though is the word verification people have on their blogs. It is so annoying!!

Carolyn said...

I know I don't like "comment approval" but the first day I returned to blogging and posted I had all this spam on my comment page so I put up the comment approval block. I think some servers and computers have better fire walls for this kind of stuff.

Smiles

jackc50 said...

this is really not an appropiate comment but i do love your photo, not bad for a 897 year old. you look like you write, beautiful.....jc

Deedee said...

Hi Jo - When I started with Blogger it was the recommended setting because of robot spammers. Maybe I will try it for a while with moderation off- it seems to work okay for you...

Boutique By Bonnie said...

I don't like it when I take the time to leave a comment and then it's not displayed right away. Unless you're blogging about something really contraversial, most comments will not be offensive and I don't think moderation is needed.

XUP said...

I don't moderate either, but I do get tons of spam. Luckily my wordpress server catches almost all of it, so it never sees the light of the comment section. I've only deleted about 3 comments the whole time I've been blogging. A couple because they were thinly diguised spam that got through and one because it was in extremely poor taste and hateful.

XUP said...

Hateful, not to me but to a certain group of people.

lovelyprism said...

I don't have that on mine either, but it doesn't bother me much. I love the comments, so I think I'll leave it open and make it all that much easier. Of course, I've not had any spam or Troll trouble to make me even think about it.

Rachella said...

Hello-

I have comment moderation on my blog. I only set it recently because I started getting a lot of spam saying things like"follow this link and make a million $$$." I still get these messages, but now I can delete them before they make it to my blog. I never delete posts from actual readers.

Russell said...

I will second what jackc50 said in his second comment to you today -- you are beautiful!

You have many adoring fans and I am one of them!

jeannette stgermain said...

Hi Jo,
I do comment moderation as a habit, because I'm also on other blogs - the people on this site are the friendliest and most considerate of all 3.
In the past, on one of the blog sites, someone gave me a one page long rant with every name in the book about someone I knew - since then I like some control on my blog.

John said...

When I first started blogging, I did not moderate the comments. But I got hit hard with SPAM and so I moderate/approve comments.

All my spam would look like real comments from pretty females, usually saying "I like your blog." Then I would click on their pic and it would take to to a blank blog that would try to get me to go to the real destination--a porn site. I think these kind of spammers target men, 'eh?

And also I am in a small town and my daily newspaper has an anonymous "open line" phoned in comments and every single day it is full of malicious comments. So I know what is around me and what is possible from hateful people.

I will continue to moderate the comments for those reasons.

SweetPeaSurry said...

My comment section has never worked the way I want it to, but I don't require 'approval' ... so you can comment away my friend!!!

fathorse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fathorse said...

I had to start using comment moderation very reluctantly because I was being stalked by a fairly well-known pest. He has aliases, but he is basically a nutjob of fanatical religious persuasion who, for reasons unknown, hates Alcoholics Anonymous. Since several of my readers and the blogs I comment on are written by AA users or ex-alcoholics, he got through to me. Basically he spams the comment box with 60 or so of the same rambling, irrelevant reel of hatred about something AA-ish. It started out as mildly amusing if annoying, but I made the mistake of answering back a couple of times which made him get nasty and personal. Although I didn't mind some fool telling me I was going to hell for xy&z, he eventually started bullying my readers through the comments box which I cannot stand for. Sadly I had to put on the moderation.

I've tried taking it off a couple of times, and he just comes back and causes more trouble. I don't read comments before I approve them - i just check to make sure they're not from him. Interestingly, if he sees moderation is on he doesn't bother posting. He has only commented once, very civilly, when a post of mine was a little too open about my sexuality for his tastes. And I published it, because it was at least relevant to the post, and it wasn't spam. Bless him - he's only trying to save my soul, after all....

It is sad, though, that despite all the bazillions of good bloggers out there, there are always a chosen few ruining it for the rest of us.

NB. I felt I had to delete the previous post to remove the pest's name from my comment - I know he searches blogs for any mention of him so he can find new targets, and I didn't want you to get on his hit-list!!!

flowrgirl1 said...

I began moderating my comments after i recieved a spam type comment after only a few weeks of blogging. Plus i noticed everyone else doing it too. I figured there must be a big problem with spam but apparently not. I have not denied any comments to date.

HAPPY IN NEVADA said...

The people I chat with often say why they use moderation; usually because of spam or comments completely off the topic.

I never moderate; if I don't want to worry about comments, then I don't allow comments at all (which saves me time).

Instead, I leave my home e-mail address; figure if anyone really wants to say something about a post, they'll write me privately.

I also believe by turning off the comments; leaving my e-mail, the reader can write to me in 100% confidence; their words left on a comment, aren't subject to viewing by anyone else.

So, as a courtesy to each person, I allow them the opportunity to talk to me about a post - but, in private.

The other day I got a wonderful e-mail; a person who found my grand-father's last name was the same as her great grandfather's name. She took the time to write; we now are confirmed 'distant relatives'.

So, as an example of just this particular incident, it confirms that if I do say anything (or publish information) that is truly worthwhile or inspiring, I can get a reply; it's one-on-one, and our exchange is candid; open and not subject to being critiqued by however many might choose to visit my blog.

You keep your posts confined to pleasant matters; to topics that don't challenge 99% of your readers, so it makes it easier for you to enjoy the 'group commentary' which is nice for the others who visit you on a regular basis.

Since it's a matter of choice; the blogger essentially is the 'owner' of their publication, it's like a letter to the editor; the editor choose which ones to publish in the newspaper, and which ones he/she prefers not to.

I also visit about 30 blogs; of those, only 8 are without moderation and word verification as well. I figure if it's worth the read to me; it's worth doing the word verification and moderation if that's the blogger's choice and set-up.

I also noticed one person mentioned feeling badly about her comment not showing up; again, if the blogger is on vacation - away for a couple weeks, and not reading the comments because they haven't had the chance or aren't available, it leaves the poster feeling a bit disappointed.

Personally, I don't think we should take ourselves too seriously about whether or not we are 'published'; it's just 'cyber-space' - and we can't expect everyone to have the same commmitment and integrity that we might have.

A blogger wrote me today that a person had commented about her recent posts; she was critical about them, and my blogger buddy was saddened by the remarks.

I told her you can't please everyone; you're not out there to please anyone but yourself. If a person doesn't like what's written, let them build a blog and write their own words; on their own blog, and be done with it.

So, to 'each his own' (or her own) as the saying goes......

The Promiscuous Reader said...

A nice collection of comments here.

Full disclosure: I haven't enabled comments on my own blog, for a number of reasons not worth going into here. It's not graven in stone; someday I may change my mind. But for now, no. But as you can see, I do comment on other people's blogs. :) Like HAPPY IN NEVADA, my name and e-mail address on listed on my blog, and I get e-mail from people from time to time. Every blogger is different, though, and should run things at his or her blog as he or she pleases.

I don't think that either moderating comments or disabling them altogether is "a form of censorship", any more than deleting/removing comments you don't like. (I find it interesting that you draw the line there, and don't find deletion problematic in the same way.) Anyone who wants to, can start their own blog and have all the freedom of speech they want.

MadredeEzekiel said...

OOOOh, now I am tempted to see what I have t write to get you to delete my comments.

I'll have to think on this one.

Anna said...

I have two blogs, a personal one and a blog I use with the kids in my classroom - I have moderation on the classroom blog as I teach really little kids and it is a way of keeping them 'cybersafe' and at the same time teaching them how to be 'cybersafe'. We discuss moderation and why we might need to have it.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I guess some people have more fragile egos that need protection. But I fully support you on this matter. Blogging would be so much better if we did not have these restrictions. But I guess there are also some people out there who just do not play nicely in comments.

introspection said...

Oh dear..! I have NEVER received a single comment on my blog - genuine or spam. ( I have been blogging since 5 months now).
I think no one reads my blog at all. How does one get people to read their blogs...? and then comment on them..?

sulo badri said...

hi jo! i have been following ur blog for some time now.. n i really love ur posts.. grt going!

i thot i will pop in with a comment as well but you hav loads of it already.. my! u r rly vry patient to reply :) lol..

as for comment moderation, even i dont have it despite the fact that my belief systems are quite different.. but am ready to face a debate if i encounter one ;)

luv...

nomore said...

Wow, so many comments....i wonder if my comment makes you some disturb...lol....Jo, just a joke...

the walking man said...

Personally i f someone wants to leave a stink bomb anonymously or with a name attached, it is their stink, it just wafts across the land I have staked out. *shrug* wind and time takes care of it. But then I realize not everyone thinks like I and don't want their space cluttered with crap.

I just comment and move on...like this...*poof*

KathyB. said...

My blog is open to comments but I have friends who have their blogs moderated for a variety of reasons many of your readers mentioned above. None of them do this for censorship though.Interesting post !

Muznah Umar said...

I know that feeling because I've had to wait to know if my comments were 'approved' too. and it is disappointing i must admit. and no matter how many people warn readers to not put up their advertisements, i've seen that rarely. But since i've never had anything really intelligent to comment, i just take it as 'part of the blogging world'

Canarybird said...

OK Jo...you've convinced me to turn it off. As I'm also new at blogging and have only been at it a couple of months I left the moderation option turned on but it looks like it's not necessary. Cheers, Sharon.

ivan@creatifewriting.ca said...

There is a particular character out in blogland who seems to live in a cage, munching a carrot, a kind of Bugs Bunny wihout the Bronx savvy who gets on my blog says "What's up Doc?" and starts to treat me in his comments like Elmer Fudd, his long-lost buddy.
His is no doubt waiting for me to come out with "Peskyk Wabbit" and then do a literary Dick Cheney on him.
...But like any borderline psychotic myself, I know another one and a hearty F-off from the Henry Miller school of repartee to this trickster visitor would probably just excite him.
So I try to ignore him.
My anti-neurotic theory is ignore this horse's ass, but here and there he says something half-pertinent. I answer. But in my reply I make it clear that he is not welcome on my blog. Especially when he says he loves to snort crack. Makes him feel omnipotent, like a nazi. Wha...?
I begin again, to ignore his comments.
It doesn't work. "Whassamatter Doc? Takin' your nap?"
I come back with a zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, hoping he will get the hint,but now he is aware that
he has at least gotten my attention.

Begins to send me soft porn.
"You say you have a mental block?
Here's some inspiration for ya."
Well, I like girls in net stockings, but how does he know that? Sumbitch is playing with my head.
Seems he wants me to be in that cage with him, chomping on a carrot.
I could delete but he will, as before, accuse me of censorship.

What do you do with someone hung up on your blog who's crazier than even you?

Ignore?
That obviously doesn't work.
But he really wants you in that cage with him, and in fact something in his attachment has somebody munching on a carrot.
Oh oh.

Thats it.
Ignore doesn't work.
Eliminate!

Eliminate the crazy bastard.!

Carla said...

I've noticed that also. Lots of blogs with comment moderation. And lots of them that require you to type in those goofy letters before you hit publish. I've been lucky, I rarely get spam or nasty comments...but then unlike yours...my blog REALLY is a dull little blog.

Jo said...

Thanks for your wonderful comments, everyone. I do understand there are some crazy people (trolls?) making the rounds of the blogs, and not everyone can handle them. They do seem to ruin it for everyone else, don't they?

Cheers!

Annie in Austin said...

I've been blogging since 2006 and try not to put up barriers but sometimes you have to do it, Josie - not because of controversy but when real comments are drowned in auto-generated spam. After a storm of spam comments (many for porn sites) suddenly appeared on posts old and new I turned on the letter recognition code. That didn't stop it completely but slowed it down to a trickle.

Almost every other garden blogger was already using either a letter code or moderation for spam but I'd hoped that I could avoid them.
Although I don't have advertisements, most garden blogs do - kind of wonder if the ads attract the spambots?

Sure hope you can stay out of their way!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Hilary said...

I turned on my blog moderation for any posts that were over 14 days old. I did that shortly after being featured on the blogs of note because a couple of spammers were hitting every single one of my posts. I saw the alerts coming in as they happened and the only way to get on top of it was to set up the moderation.

I have also set full moderation on occasion (like my quiz blog post) so that nobody would see others' answers until the contest was done. It's back to 14 days only now. :)

Mona said...

i don't do comment moderation so i don't know why people do it...because they can?

Lover of Life said...

What is even more annoying is when they require a bunch of personal info to leave a comment. I usually pass on those.

PinkPanthress said...

I've seen that, too, very often these past days. It's annoying, to say the least...

crone51 said...

my niece does it because her teenage son doesn't know she has a blog and she doesn't want anything said in a comment that might give out her real name and show up in a search - stuff like that. She needs a place to vent about said son. I can understand that.

Patty said...

Jo, your blog post made me really think. I had initially set up Blog Comment approval on my blog to be required, because I saw it on another blog, and also had read about people getting spam comments. So far, even though I am a new blogger, I have had no issues.
So, after reading your post, I went and disabled this feature. And I am glad I did, as you are right, it's like censorship.

And if someone were to spam my blog, as long as I stay in touch with my blog, I can always delete it fairly quickly.

So I truly mean this Jo, Thank you!

Patty

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