In Search of a Saner Commenting Policy.

The blogging platform we use allows remarks from regular commenters to go up without moderation, but newer commenters’ offerings sit in a queue until they’re approved. Discerning between a comment that should be approved and one that shouldn’t is nowhere near as easy as you’d think. We like differing points of view, and we’d like this place to be a forum for off-the-beaten-path ideas. But when is a commenter stridently dissenting and when is she just trolling?
PostBourgie really hasn’t needed a commenter’s policy so far, but as our readership has spiked, so has the volume of the comments we get. While a lot of those new commenters have been smart and insightful, a lot of them are, uh, not. We’re all imperfect arbiters of fairness (for instance, I want to reflexively delete any comment that has “stop hating” in it), but I think in the interest of fairness and transparency re: how those decisions get made, we’re probably gonna codify those guidelines in the next few weeks.
Any input is appreciated.


Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
  • During my brief time here I’ve noticed quite a diverse array of viewpoints and for the most part commenters respectfully disagreeing on issues. The diversity here is the reason why I enjoy partaking in the discussions. We may all have different opinions but I do think this a place for exchanging ideas. I’ve already learned quite a bit.

    PS, will there be a ‘blacklist’ of sorts? Just please don’t Rosenberg my ass man!

    All kidding aside, this is an awesome blog. Keep up the good work.

  • I guess I’ve always been more of an hands off diety on my site rather than an active one. I like the idea of providing the forum for opinions and letting the conversation go where it will. Although I’ll jump in to occasionally tell a user they aren’t the sharpest pencil in the box and should find a better site to post to, I’ll always allow them to comment.

    Unless someone is actively spamming (pulling a Janus*) I’ll let them rock.

    * -refers to an inside joke only okayplayers understand.

  • lemu: i should replace his name with ‘*******’ just to stay internet-consistent.

  • My advice is that anything you put in writing is going to get used by the trolls to whine. And if you’re anything like me, it’s going to be hard to resist the compulsion to defend yourself or explain yourself, and doing that gets really old really quick.

    Which is why my commenting policy is short and sweet: “obnoxious comments get deleted.” The fact is, like you say, it’s pretty clear from the outset who is going to be an ass and who isn’t, and you’re under no obligation to put up with bullshit.

    Personally, I’ll give people a trial if they don’t say something that’s completely beyond the pale. But once they turn out to be a pain in the butt, I have no compunction about banning them and, if they email me to whine, telling them not to contact me again or I’ll alert their ISP. It works pretty well, and I’ve seen comments in the blogosphere to the effect of “she’s so stupid but don’t even bother going over there to tell her so because she just bans anyone who disagrees with her.” Which, you know, I’m happy to have a reputation that keeps people from coming to my blog for the express purpose of telling me how wrong I am.

  • Bitch- I was just telling G.D. how much I like your commenting policy.

  • aisha

    stop hating :)

  • ladyfresshh

    I don’t think I like this post. I don’t understand why this post was made…

    *runs before she gets edited*

  • rakia

    G.D. Stop hatin’.

    (I know it’s immature. But I couldn’t resist.)

  • rakia

    Aaaaw, Aisha beat me to the punch. I should really read the comments first.