Leaving comments open?

Open to comments?

A question….

When someone leaves the door open and invites you in and then ignores you or openly dismisses you what to you think of that persons actions? It’s a question that I’ve been pondering for the past few days.

The context…

I read a wide range of blogs every day. Blogs from all sorts subjects, by all sorts of people. The vast majority of these blogs have comments open, and a couple have comments closed. One or two of them have transitioned from open comments to closing comments, but in doing so have posted a clear explanation of why they are doing it, clearly explaining to their audience the reasoning for the decision.

However, one blog I have been reading is by a person who has a VERY large and long public profile and actively seeks to maintain his visibility in society in a number of ways (including his blog). I have been reading his blog posts for a while, but doing so via an RSS reader. The other day a subject that he had written about sparked a reaction in me, I agreed with some parts of what he had to say, but his premise also  brought to mind an excellent piece articulately spelling out the counter point to his premise. I clicked…….

Making the comment…

I clicked on over to his blog, re-read the blog post, confirmed my thinking about the subject matter (what I agreed with and what I did not and why) and saw that the comments section was open below the post. I began typing……

I typed what I thought, what I agreed with, what I did not and why, and posted the link to the article setting out the counter point to his premise, provided the necessary detail (name and email address) and hit submit. The comment immediately appeared below the post… no moderation message.. just published immediately.

Where did it go?

Next day I checked back into that site to see if there was a response from this person (or any other comments).. what did I find? NOTHING… my comment had been deleted  and the comment count for that post was ZERO.

I thought what I have missed? Did a quick look around the site and noticed this persons “comments policy”. His policy says

All comments to this blog are moderated. This blog will publish thoughtful comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published.”

Reflection

I must say I fully defend this persons right to moderate comments on his blog, but I was left to reflect on a reason for the comment not being posted.

Did I comply with the requirements of this persons moderation policy? Absolutely…I post using my real name and a valid email address that contains my name…. in posting on anyones blog I would never leave comments that were abusive, rude, defamatory or which contained offensive language.

Was my comment thoughtful? I believe so… it clearly articulated what I thought where the strong points of the persons premise, what I thought were the weak points and provided an evidential link to the counter premise.

So my thoughts turned to accuracy of the moderation policy, the set up of the blog.

Conclusions

After a bit of a further dig around this person blog…. I noticed one thing…. EVERY post has zero comments. Interesting… for a person with a public profile that spans several decades, for a person who willingly engages in subjects of public importance, for a person who seeks to inject his opinion into the public debate about current matters, for a person who leaves comments open on their blog (despite an alleged moderation policy) EVERY post has zero comments….

My conclusion is that this person really doesn’t want comments on his blog. In this case he should close off comments on his posts so as not to create the illusion that he encourages his readers to engage with him, or at the least he should set up his blog to notify commentators that the comment has been held for moderation (at least giving a clue that the comment may not see the light of day if the blog host doesn’t want it to). He should modify his moderation policy to say he is not interested in comments from his readers and that his blog is a monologue for his thoughts and ideas.

More questions…

What do you think about this behaviour… does it represent a certain level of arrogance?

What do you think about comments being open or closed…. and if they are closed how should this be communicated?

Lets discuss it in the comments below…….

image by flickr user Håkan Dahlström