Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Thought Police

For those of you who weren't here for the very early part of Cedar's Mountain, I used to let the people of the blog world run rampant on my blog. What I mean by rampant is that people could leave their comments and I would respond to them whenever I felt like checking my blog. No muss, no problems, and no worrying about people leaving nasty and offensive comments.

This was something I made a point in doing during the first year of my blog, simply because after coming from the chat rooms, where everyone and their mommy moderated the living daylights out of the website, I really wanted to have my blog be a place where people could exercise their rights to freedom of speech. And for the first six months, I let my blog do just that.
However, around Thanksgiving '08, I had some toddler follow me from the chat rooms and start leaving gratuitous homosexual insults on both of my blogs (this one and my book blog). Suffice to say that I was incredibly pissed about this about this jackass doing this (I got rid of said jackass by using a pretty despicable method that I don't recommend to anyone unless it's absolutely necessary), so after deleting his comments, I wrote this post explaining why I was going to start moderating my comments, and have been ever since.

For the next calendar year (Nov '08 to Nov '09), the only comments I've nuked were some obvious spam links that a few posters left on my blog, one of which I even wrote a post about. I also nuked someone's comment by accident, because 1} I didn't recognize the poster's name and 2} the comment she left was similar to a few I was getting from another troll from the chat rooms who was leaving me infantile rants as well.

Because I moderated comments on my blog (and I'm very open minded about it), I knew it was necessary to reciprocate when I visited other blogs. Whenever I decided to leave a comment at someone else's blog, I always made sure that the comment was in the same spirit at as that blog.

For example, if I visited the blog that is run by Lynn or the one run by Jewel, I made sure to watch my language and keep it in the same lighthearted spirit as theirs. If I visited say, the blog run by Riot Kitty or the political blog run by Zirgar, then I knew that my language could be a bit more colorful and still maintain that zestiness that attracted me to their blogs in the first place (except for R.K's, it was her funky avatar that first got me interested in hers).

The reason for me revisiting the issue of comment moderation some one and half years later (I first wrote about this issue back in the late summer of '08), is that once again I experienced the problem of ineffectual comment moderation. Specifically, two of my comments were nuked earlier in the week on someone else's blog.

I'm really at a loss for words as to why my two comments were nuked, insomuch as they were written in the exact same spirit that the blog was written in. The first time it was nuked, I raised an eyebrow over it and gave the person the slight benefit of the doubt, which meant that I blamed a "glitch" with Blogger as for the reason why my comment didn't stick.

So as an expirement, I left another comment that basically said this: Interesting, either the computer glitched and that's why my comment didn't stick, or the dreaded "n" option was done to it.

I came back the next day (which was yesterday the 5th) and after reading a couple of the blog's current posts, I went back to the post in question. Sure enough, my new comment wasn't there either.

After mulling it over in my mind for about five seconds, I decided to eliminate said blog from my bookmarked faves. So not only do I have one less blog to worry about, I'll also have one less poster to worry about. I'm not so much for the playing the game of tit-for-tat (you nuked mine so I'll nuke yours) but more of playing the game of writing a post about it. Which is really how I lost one semi-regular to my blog from last year, and if you go back three paragraphs to the last link, you'll see what I mean.

The main idea behind writing this particular post about it, is to simply show my displeasure the easiest and safest way I know how. If this person gets the idea that somehow this post is about them, then I did my job well, because that means they got a 100% on another section of this never ending exam that is called Life, and that they'll have the sad misfortune of never having me visit their blog again.

If not, then I still have the very small kernel of satisfaction of getting a particularly irritating aspect about blogging off my chest without going completely nutso about it.

Comment moderation: in the hands of a pro, it is a truly marvelous thing as it gets used judiciously and effectively; in the hands of a novice, it can stop a blog dead before it can even really get started.


  1. Sorry your comment got deleted, G... you've always been 100 percent thoughtful and respectful when you've posted on my blog, so I can only think someone must've misinterpreted something you said. (Either that, or they just can't handle a difference of opinion or something??) Who knows...

    Please feel free to continue commenting on my blog. :) (And sorry I've been so scarce lately! I'll figure out this full-time job/time management thing yet... :))

  2. Lisa: it really was the weirdest thing. I actually didn't find this blog as the blogger in question found me and left a comment. So I reciprocated and have been reading their blog for the past month or so.

    I've always tried to be considerate of other people's personal property (which is really what a blog is) and whenever I visit a new blog, I (usually) wait about a week or two before commenting, in order to get a good feel for how the blog is run.

    And I will always continue to comment on yours, and there is no need to apologize for the scarcity of your posts. The real world should always come first before you do any kind of extracurricular activities (like blogging), and that always makes me look forward to whatever new post you come up with. :-0

  3. I always have a bit a problem when I respond to a comment, not what to say but the fact that they show up as an email to me too. So, I respond to the comment and then wonder if I should respond to the email too.
    I don't know if people actually go back to the post to see if I have responded. Seems like something silly to worry about but I don't want anybody feeling like I am ignoring them. I mean it is really nice to know that people took the time to leave a comment. I have 10 Internet buddies that I have been friends with for over 12 years. We emailed to each other as a group every single day of the year. Not one of them will leave a comment because they say it isn't interactive. Sometimes I wonder about my choice of friends, you know? :)Bea

    P.S. You have always been such a gentleman when you comment at my blog. Thank you cuppiecake. :)

  4. Bea: Usually the e-mail you don't have to respond to, because it's simply an auto-notifier that Blogger sends out to whatever e-mail addy you put into the system for notification. For your blog, because you don't moderate, you can see what the person posted, then decide whether or not to respond, to keep it, to ignore it, or to nuke it.

    With comment moderation, you can see what the comment is on your dashboard, and decide whether or not to publish it or nuke it.

    A good chunk of my real world friends have not (to my direct knowledge) left a comment on my blogs. I do know that they read them from time to time, but other than that...

    I'm a cuppiecake? I'm not sure even how to respond to that one. :-0

    Like I stated, I try to respect a person's particular blog and comment accordingly, and I know that the people who comment here are always a pleasure to read and to talk to and they do likewise(present company included).

  5. Glad you feel comfy being colorful on my blog! Now I'm curious who this person is, but comment moderation, like you said, is a tricky thing. I did it for awhile because someone really rude followed me from another blog, then followed blogs linked on my blog, and kept leaving nasty extremist comments. He finally went away and then I stopped moderating. But I've never deleted something just because I disagreed or didn't like what the person said - only this guy because he was so incredibly mean and offensive.

  6. R.K.: It's the honest truth that your avatar is what got me curious about you and your blog. Sometimes when I make a comment on another blog and see a someone with an interesting avatar (like yours or LL Cool Joe's), I'll click on avatar just to see what's behind the pic. I've foun at least five or six blogs that way.

    Anyways, I've done much the same thing, only I've kept doing it because I still have the occasional problem nuts from the chat rooms follow me to my blogs. And as my comment header states, I've only nuked less than a half dozen comments.

    I have allowed opposing viewpoints/good criticisms of my posts and tried to respond in the same respectful manner that was given to me.

    Curiousity may be what the cat really needs to be fulfilled, but there is one thing about me when it comes to complaining about another blogger: I don't I.D. the blogger in question nor do I I.D. the post in question. Just because I have a problem with a particular poster/blog, doesn't mean I should poison someone else's enjoyment of said blog/poster.

    So even if I don't like a particular blog/blogger, I'll still show them a minimal amount of respect by not publicly I.D.'ing them.

  7. I can't imagine why anyone would delete a thoughtful, well written comment, difference of opinion or not. What would be the point of having a blog to state your opinion, and not let others in on the dialogue. Might as well be talking to ourselves..LOL
    Keep posting and commenting, you rock!

  8. Hi Kim, long time no see. Hope things are going well for you.

    I wouldn't classify the comment in question as well thought out, but it was written in the same tenor and tone as the post itself. It was more observational than anything else, which makes the nuking of it so strange to begin with.

    But yeah, unless your blog is something that is more of niche oriented (like cakes, photos or arts & craft for example), you're gonna wind up with comments that won't always agree 100% with what you wrote.

    And thanks.

  9. I deleted somebody on myspace once, because I thought they had deleted my comment, but then it turned out that they just hadn't gotten around to checking all their comments yet - d'oh

  10. You handled it perfectly. Why go where you're not welcome?

    And you're always welcome at my blog ;)

  11. Could they have read something into your words that you didn't intend? Sometimes email/blogs/internet communications are funny like that, where you're not sure the tone of a message.

  12. Maddie: I had that happen to me very recently on FB. I checked in one day and found out I was "unfriended". When I talked to my friend the next day, she told me she was simply stepping back from FB because she had too many things on her plate and it wasn't anything personal.

    Talon: Very true. But I'm so reluctant to give a blog the heave ho from my bookmarked faves, that I really do this small expirements just to make sure it wasn't some kind of glitch on my end.

    And thanks, and you're always welcomed here as well.

    Joanne: Yes, it's entirely possible that they read something completely different than what was written.

    Coming from the chat rooms where I used to go through all kinds of misunderstandings due to not being able to properly interpet all the nuances behind the written word, I always makes sure that I go information overload when I make a comment.

    And I made sure that I put in enough background info on my comment (a small quirk of mine) so that there really isn't any reasonable way that the comment could be misconstrued.

  13. I think you did the best thing by simply taking the blog off your list and moving on.

    I haven't considered doing the comment moderation thing but I can see the use of it depending on the blog.

    Oh, and I hope your exam went well the other day. Good luck! I have a big one coming up in February.

  14. Hey G - My blog is meant to be lighthearted and your comments fit nicely. I like being compared to Jewel. Thank you for the wonderful compliment.

  15. I've actually still avoided having comment moderation on my blog and so far haven't had anything untoward happen other than a few spam posts. Many of those in chinese letters so it doesn't bother me much.

  16. Other than the occasional spammer, I've been incredibly lucky with the comments on my blog. In fact, the only truly nasty comment I've ever received was about breastfeeding, of all things!

  17. You can keep knocking on my blogging door any time :)

  18. I can't iamgine why you had your comments deleted either, but it really hurts doesn't it?

    I comment on someones blog, and another commenter (that's the wrong word, sorry) on this persons blog said "LL Cool J manages to piss me off nearly every day", I was totally shocked! Like you I always try to be respectful and go with the "tone" of the blog, as well as keeping it real at the same time.

    If there is a post I don't feel comfortable commenting on, or feel if I did, I'd piss the person off, I don't comment!

  19. I leave my comments open but get spam caught by askimet. I have on more than one occassion checked my spam folder days later to find in horror legitimate posts lurking there.

  20. Gabby: It really was a difficult decision to do, simply because I really enjoyed reading that blog. Comment moderation isn’t for everyone, but if you do get a lot of spam or other such nonsense and you’re the type of person who busy enough during the day that you really can’t give that kind of attention to your blog, then it really is the way to go. Doing what Charles does also helps.

    And thanks, I should hopefully find out my score sometime in late January/early February. And good luck on yours as well.

    Lynn: You’re more than welcome for the comparison. Your blog, as well as Jewel’s, is the kind of blog that simply oozes respect. Nothing more and nothing less. I enjoy visiting yours, simply because it is a welcome respite from the day-to-day inanities of the real world.

    Charles: I’ve toyed with the idea of not allowing anonymous comments, but I still have a few friends and curious passer-bys from elsewhere who as a rule don’t visit the blogsphere with any kind of regularity. So it helps to have something for them to use as a commenting tool.

    Chinese spam? Sounds like a nifty meal combination.

    Mama Z: Breastfeeding? I’m sorry, how can you get a nasty comment about a topic like that? Taken seriously or humorously, it’s a fun topic to talk about. I’ve still been lucky about getting spam comments or nasty comments left. Most people who are bent on leaving me nasty ones, will leave me a personalized nasty one, knowing full well that it will be nuked by me after I read it. Overall though, it does make people pause for moment (at least any new visitors) before leaving a comment.

    Kelly: I always enjoy knocking on your door. Yours is another one that is a refreshing change of pace from some of the zaniness that I encounter throughout my travels in the Cyber World.

    Joe: It really was an innocuous comment as for the most part, it was patterned after the post. As a matter of fact, it was much in the same vein as if a guy (like me) was working in a unit where he was a distinct minority and was simply trying to get along with everyone there. And yes, it really does hurt, especially after the time I took to make sure it was inoffensive as possible.

    As for the other thing, if someone said something similar to me, I honestly think I would of tore him/her a new one on their blog and not the one that we were visiting. I respect other people’s property, and the last thing I would want to do is get in a tit-for-tat with a person on someone else’s blog.

    And yes, there are times when descretion is the better part of valor, and turning into a lurker for a few posts does absolutely no harm to anyone.

    Bearman: Bummer on that. But having a spam blocker I would fathom to guess is overall a good thing. Sometimes having a small glitch like that is a small price to pay for having an blog uncontaminated by spam.

    It’s funny, but the very first spam comment I got, I didn’t realize it was spam and actually thought it was a real person. I posted a very nice response to them, and only when I went to reciprocate did I realize it was a spammer. The “blog” in question was for….ugh…treadmills.

  21. LOL, you just sent me on a run to the spam folder in comment administration to make sure you didn't get caught there. :-)

    I don't mind comment moderation, but there have been two instances in the last week where the blog post sparked a lively discussion, and comment moderation killed it dead, because he only approves comments once or twice a day. Conversation between commenters happens rarely, and I wish it would happen more, but moderation kills it dead.

    Seriously, though, this last week is the first time moderation has bothered me.

  22. That is one of the drawbacks to comment moderation: it makes it near impossible to carry on a lively conversation at a given post.

    Sometimes though, if you nurse your blog (like I unfortunately do with mine) you can carry on a semi-normal conversation. But most people simply do not have that kind of time to be able to do that.

    I've gotten so used to moderating my comments that for the most part it really doesn't bother me when I do across another blog that does it. It used to, but after having both of my online worlds collide rather badly on my blog, I can see where it becomes a necessary evil.

  23. what's a gratuitous homosexual insult?

  24. Oh can I explain this without offending anyone?

    If you're familar with any of the usual insults/slurs that one can call a person who is homosexual, that is what I was called.

    I could probably give a detailed answer on what he said, but even with my good memory, it would be spotty at best.

    One example: he asked if I, Orgy Boy, was going to write some good gay porn since it was obvious that I had a lot of experience in doing it.

    Orgy Boy is what he used to call me in the chat rooms.


Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

About that comment moderation thingy: While yes, it does say up above I can take it, I only use it to prevent the occasional miscreant from leaving thoughtless and/or clueless comments.

So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller

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All the content that you see here, except for the posting of links that refer to other off-blog stories, is (c) 2008-17 by G.B. Miller. Nothing in whole or in part may be used without the express written permission of myself. If you wish to use any part of what you see here, please contact me at