Most of you have probably noticed I've had to start moderating my
comments, which I absolutely hate. It disrupts the flow of the
conversation and is a pain in the butt to screen and click each
comment, let alone the pile up it causes in my email inbox.
Until now, I have been totally comfortable with the occasional
anonymous comment. A variety of comments compose a rich and
textured conversation around the blog post. They also provide a
meaningful forum for readers to express their views; the more
varied, the richer the experience. I've always welcomed readers to
post an opposing view or conflicting facts. The occasional spam was
always easy to delete and didn't particularly bother me.
But what do you do when someone abuses his or her anonymity by
posting bizarre, hostile, negative or abusive comments? I have one
particular blogger, who instead of using their blog handle, leaves
anonymous comments. This person knows me personally and has
clearly crossed the line with such comments, even ones that could
be potentially libelous to me and my loved ones.
It is most cowardly not to stand behind a comment with a name.
They have nothing to risk. They remain safe and unknown. It's
incredibly easy, as well as irresponsible to leave a threat, one they
would never say to my face in public, click "post" and be on their
The following Blogger's Code of Conduct is a proposal by Tim
O'Reilly for bloggers to enforce civility on their bloggers by being civil
themselves and moderating comments on their blog. I think they are
some very good guidelines to follow.
1. Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the
....comments you allow on your blog.
2. Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
3. Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
4. Ignore the trolls*.
5. Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an
....intermediary who can do so.
6. If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.
7. Don't say anything online that you wouldn't say in person.
*An Internet troll, or simply "troll" in Internet slang, is someone
who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic
messages in an online community, such as an online discussion
forum, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an
emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic
Hmm, just like the obnoxious creature under a bridge? Very aptly
named. How do you deal with these anonymous trolls? Heavens to
murgatroyd! Is comment moderation the only alternative?