Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Moderation (or Lack Thereof)

For the past month or so I have been struggling with an ethical dilemma. My original intent in writing this blog was as a vehicle for me to think through some of the issues and ideas that concern me most. A second goal is to share those ideas with people -- friends and the occasional stranger -- who find their way here. A happy coincidence of the blog is the opportunity to converse with people who share my interests and concerns.

Since my blog is open to the world, I feel it only fair that if I get to have my say, the favor should be returned and others should be able to comment on what I post. I really enjoy seeing what others have to say, even if they don't agree with me.

Given the limited audience I expect, I figured spam would not be to much of an issue. But I chose to require registration before you could comment as a deterrent, just in case. And that worked... until recently.

Over the past few months I have been getting more and more spam -- particularly in Chinese -- posted as comments. I just put it down to the inevitable random internet annoyance, but made sure to delete them as soon as I could. I figured I could live with this downside of a public site, even at one or two spam comments a week.

But the volume has increased to a bogus comment every day or two and although I don't mind the work, I am annoyed that they are there even for the few hours before I get a chance to delete them. I don't want to create more barriers than necessary, but I finally broke down and added moderation to comments on this blog. This means I have to "approve" comments before they become visible on the blog.

To those of you who do come here to read or comment on my blog, I apologize. I am distressed that I have to add this extra layer of indirection. But the use of moderated comments is not intended in any way to limit or censor your responses.

And, of course, thanks for reading... and responding!


jackvinson said...

I think Blogspot at least gives you the opportunity to moderate all comments, so they never need to get posted to the public side of your blog at all. Ideally, there should be the capability to moderate only for people who have never commented or some such narrower facility.

Andrew Gent said...

Hi Jack. Yes, I have turned on moderation for all comments. But I think your idea of "whitelisting" authors of previously approved comments is a great idea. Perhaps I'll suggest that to the Blogger team...