Further comment

by andybechtel

The clever site Boing Boing recently published a lengthy but worthwhile post on its comments policy. It’s presented in a helpful Q&A format; just about every question has been anticipated and answered.

Boing Boing moderates comments vigorously. Some are rejected. Others are published but “disemvowelled” — removed of their vowels for being lame.

I’ve allowed anonymous posting since I started this blog in 2006. That changes today. You’ll need to identify yourself. I’ve noticed that the more meaningful comments here and elsewhere online are those with names attached.

My hope is that this will create a more interesting discourse here and a sense of ownership and accountability among those who comment. Perhaps it will also eliminate spam, which has popped up on occasion in the comments.

For the time being, I’m not planning to moderate comments as other editing blogs do. But as Boing Boing notes, all comments policies are subject to change.

Thanks for visiting, and please leave a comment that adds to the conversation and tells us a little bit about who you are. You won’t be disemvowelled.

UPDATE: Some wonder whether this policy amounts to censorship, and if so, whether that’s a hypocritical stance coming from a journalist. Far from it.

A blogger is under the same obligation to publish a comment as a newspaper is to publish a letter to the editor. That is, no obligation. To put it another way, the First Amendment does not require HarperCollins to publish your manuscript for the Great American Novel.

Boing Boing gets the last word: “The people who write and edit Boing Boing have the right to have (or refuse to have) anything they want on their own Web site. If one of the things they don’t want is a comment that you have posted, they aren’t depriving you of your freedom of speech. You’re free to put that comment up on your own Web page.”

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