By amazing coincidence, three B'nacle group blogs all posted on "the comment problem" on the same day (Dec. 2) last week. FMH, in characteristically blunt style in a post titled Mormon Troll Morality, lamented "a particularly enthusiastic influx of troll vomit" over the past few weeks. Yum. T&S offered erudite reflections on post-Bannergate meanness that seems to be on the rise in B'nacle comments. Just remember that "David" is DKL and "Dave" is me. Finally, some guy at BT posted a short piece apparently trying to pump up the BT Comment Policy from its present three words to an extravagent nine words. So now let's talk about it.
1. Seizing the moment, Ned Flanders registered his frustration yesterday in a post titled Bloggers to Commenters: Drop Dead, unleashing a spirited exchange that is now up to 70 comments. I'm not really interested in rehashing a general discussion on comments, but if there is something you just have to add, post away.
2. Inspired by all this comment angst, I fiddled around with my own DMI Comments FAQ. The only real topic worth discussing here is: How much do you dislike my comment queue? I'm not fond of it as a commenter, but it really simplifies comment management as a blogmaster.
3. This is partly a technology war between blogmasters and spammers. When I started blogging two years ago, comments were a very new thing. Comment spamming followed shortly thereafter, igniting a sudden need for comment management functionality (for example, the early Radio comments gave the blogmaster no ability to edit or delete posted comments!!). And so the battle rages. With a comment queue, I achieve total victory as a blogmaster but sacrifice immediate posting. That isn't really an option for higher-volume group blogs, but it works for me.
4. Terminology: Yes, there is a difference between spammers, trolls, and "offensive comments," but after awhile they all mush together if you're a site admin. Spam is annoying, but at least it's not personal. No power known to man can make a troll happy (or even admit they're being treated fairly), so there's really no point in trying to placate them, just get rid of them. Since what is "offensive" is a fairly subjective judgment, different sites will apply different standards to the third category, but almost everyone has their hot buttons. I often try emailing the author, but the email address on problem comments is generally phony (no surprise). If anyone knows of any particularly clever or effective comment policy statements, post a link. It might be nice to see how other blogging communities outside the B'nacle are dealing with "comment problems."
Note: The dreaded comment queue is in effect, so expect a delay of an hour or two before your comment posts to the public weblog.