Way back when I first started blogging, I belonged to a site called Newsvine. I wrote almost exclusively on religion back then, and they had moderators who would investigate reports of abuse.
Basically, you could say anything you wanted as long as you didn’t personally attack another user. If you used a personal attack and the moderator didn’t think it was too big a deal (you’re an asshole etc) the person’s comment would be taken down and the mod would leave a comment explaining it was removed, why it was removed and the ‘abuser’ would be given a warning not to do it again.
As an atheist blogger who enjoys lively debate, I was quite often the recipient of such ‘abuse’ and moderators would often ban or suspend people for personally attacking me or other readers.
Most of the time I didn’t care because the other person was behaving like a petulant child, but a few times I felt bad.
For example, there was one very religious person who called me the anti-Christ. He was banned for a month and I appealed to the moderators to lighten their suspension because I didn’t feel that warranted any sort of punitive action.
The suspension was upheld anyways.
Let’s take a quick Dexter break. The post will continue after this cute-as-hell picture.
I also belonged to an author’s forum and they had a similar sort of set up as far as posting. You weren’t allowed to personally attack people, but they had the added rule that you couldn’t swear or be overtly sexual in posts because minors sometimes joined the forum. There were special age restricted areas you could swear in etc. There was also an author section where people could post stories for critique, and you could swear or post sexual content there.
Anyhow, Newsvine changed their site setup and I found it too unruly a system to navigate so I moved to Blogger. I stayed there for quite some time, but decided to come to WordPress and I’m so glad I did.
During the Blogger/Wordpress era of my blogging adventure, I have maintained a free speech zone. I’m a big free speech advocate, but I do rely on people having good sense most of the time and acting like civilized human beings.
I don’t censor or alter comments. I also don’t delete any comments. I just let the conversation happen.
For the most part this has worked out wonderfully. The one thing that worries me is that people might not feel comfortable commenting on a post where someone is name-calling and acting like a whiny child. I’m also not a fan of people making fun of someone for a personal issue, such as a drinking problem in the past etc. I much prefer people stick to attacking the arguments someone makes, rather than the individual.
Like I said, people who comment here usually act like civilized human beings but there have been some exceptions. During those times, I wonder if NewsVine had it right all along.
Personally, I would never ban people because they disagree with me or others who may comment here. In fact, those are often the comments I most enjoy reading because they offer an alternative point of view.
I’m also uncomfortable banning or moderating comments where people personally attack others, including myself.
But enough about me. How do you run your blog? What are your thoughts and feelings on censoring blogs, banning people and/or rules of conduct and this post in general?
Thanks for reading!