It’s my theme of the week: that answers are out there, even if not in the lecturer’s head. I’ve had two questions on blog comment policies that I’m not well equipped to answer, so I’ll discuss them here.
Q. What is comment moderation?
A. The anonymity of the web brings out the best – and worst – in people. There’s lots of encouragement and free advice available, but some people just can’t resist a fight. As Kami Huyse has put it, her blog is her own private space, so conversations there should be conducted on her terms. Some blog owners don’t allow automatic publication of comments; blog moderation works like the letters page to a newspaper. It’s the reader’s page, but the letters editor gets to decide who appears there, and whether their contribution is edited. Comment moderation is the process of reviewing comments and deciding whether to publish them. It builds in a delay and so reduces the immediacy of most blog conversations.
Q. Should I respond to comments on my blog?
A. I’ve long held that I have my say on my blog; the comments give other people a chance to jump in. Other, better bloggers believe that it’s only polite to welcome people to their blogs and join in the discussion on equal terms. Here’s a typical blog post from the prolific Neville Hobson: of the eight comments, he’s contributed two. It’s like being a good party host, popping up to chat, to fill people’s glasses and to make introductions.
Another senior PR blogger chooses to send personal emails to those commenting on his blog. This avoids the appearance of vanity and is very flattering to those receiving the ‘hand written’ message. But like all these options, it’s time consuming. Note how successful people manage to find time…