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A rational comment policy

Thursday, April 12, 2007 by Dave Winer.

I hosted my first online discussion group in the early 80s. I've been on mail lists, a multitude of chat systems, hosted a web DG, then turned it off, brought it back, turned it off again, etc etc. After all that, I've arrived at a comment policy that's more or less what Will Fernia outlines herePermalink to this paragraph

"I don't mind anonymous comments if you have something worthwhile to say. If you don't have anything worthwhile to say, I won't approve your comment even if you do put your name on it. (And sometimes even worthwhile comments that aren't quite relevant or that speak more to other commenters than what I've written don't get approved. People can start their own blog and say whatever they want and no matter how many happy badges I put on my blog, I can't do anything about that.)" Permalink to this paragraph

The main difference in the way I do it, is that like many others, I use the Wordpress feature that requires a commenter to be approved the first time he or she comments using a specific mail address. It seems to work pretty well. If someone abuses the priviledge there are easy ways to deauthorize them.  Permalink to this paragraph

For the most part, these days, the comments here are fairly productive, abuse is not allowed, strong opinions are allowed, even strong opinions that disagree with mine, as long as they're on-topic, and not personal.  Permalink to this paragraph

I see the comments space as largely belonging to the readers, and I don't comment there myself too frequently. However I will respond to a direct question if I have something to say and feel it would add to the discussion. Permalink to this paragraph

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