I was recently left what I felt to be quite a rude comment on my blog which, afer giving much thought to, I decided not to post. This person has now accused me of 'abusing my power as a moderator' and somehow affecting her right to freedom of speech for failing to post her comment. Ignoring the fact that I think comment approval is not akin to being a moderator, it did bring up an interesting issue, namely, obligations surrounding the posting of comments.
Personally, I think the right to comment on a person's post on a personal blog is a privilege not a right and as such it is something that can be revoked at any time should it be misused.
I decided to make comments on my blog subject to approval because:
a) I wanted a chance to read and respond to the comments that came through as I found that I would miss comments when I wasn't approving them
b) I wanted to filter out all the spam comments since the spam filter on blogger is pretty useless and
c) I wanted to keep my blog a hate free zone so I wanted the ability to delete any offensive comments whether that be due to profanity, racism or other discrimination or because of personal attacks.
The person who left the comment which is in dispute suggested I delete the offensive parts of her comment and post the rest. Here's the thing, anyone who uses blogger (or any other commenting system for that matter) knows that you do not have the power to edit a comment left by someone else. Further, I think that editing another person's comment is more of an abuse of power than simply deleting it could ever be!
This person also accused me of deleting her comment not because I found it offensive but because I couldn't take the fact that someone disagreed with me. I've had people disagree with what I've written before and I've let those comments go through because they were said in a way that was constructive. Is it nice to get comments which agree with what I say or which are supportive and kind? Of course it is but that doesn't mean I think only the nice comments should be approved!
I can completely appreciate the fact that not everyone will like or agree with everything I write but to those people I say: If you don't have something constructive to say then don't say it all. If I'm sitting in front of you pushing my posts in your face then feel free to tell me where to go but the fact is YOU came HERE! I didn't find you so my suggestion is that if you don't like what you read then just leave and find something you do like!
At the end of the day this is a little blog about makeup that I started as a hobby which I don't get any money or compensation for. I am not a professional blogger by any means and I do not hold myself out as such. I consider myself to be a fair and rational person and am willing to hear what someone has to say but that doesn't mean that I have to post a comment just because it's been left. If my failing to post someone's comment causes them to respect me less then I'm okay with that because respect is one of those things that only matters when it's coming from someone whose opinion you value.
In the words of Coco from prettymom.org 'I'm the goddess here and I decide the fate of your rude comments' ;)
I might be fanning the fires a bit here by posting about this but I love blogging and I think it's allowed me to meet so many lovely people (in the virtual sense). I use my blog as a de-stress mechanism but when it's surrounded in negative energy, it causes stress which is quite silly when I think about it but I'm only human and prone to bouts of irrationality.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Where do you stand on the comment approval debate?