I’ve never enabled comments on my blog before today. I’ve had a number of reasons for not doing so – most of them familiar to anyone who maintains a blog and struggled with the issue of comments.
At Between Lawyers, we allow comments and, even though the results have been mixed – comment spam is a real issue, I’ve been rethinking my stance on comments on this blog.
My approach has always been that this blog is a publishing vehicle for me, not a discussion area. People routinely send me emails and comment on my posts on their own blogs, so I’ve never had the sense that I don’t have an exchange of ideas because I don’t allow comments.
However, I learned recently that even though I thought I had been blogging for a couple of years, I have not, in fact, had a blog because I did not have comments enabled for this “blog.” It seems that a “true blog” has comments enabled. Imagine my embarrassment. Perish the thought that blogs might actually be a vehicle for individual expression when some see the opportunity to proclaim what the on true blog must be so close to their grasp.
While I will admit to ignoring these types of pronouncements about what a blog is or isn’t and what a blogger should and shouldn’t do (hey, why should government be concerned with regulation of blogs when there are scores of bloggers who are perfectly happy to slap all kinds of guidelines and requirements on bloggers?), the timing and heavy-handedness of this recent post got my attention at a time when I was thinking about enabling comments. So, I thought it was best to bring my “blog” into lock-step conformity with this type of pronouncement of what a “true blog” really is.
Well, maybe not.
Actually, I feel like experimenting with comments. I have some ideas for posts for which enabling comments will make sense. I’ve been generally pleased with my comments experience at Between Lawyers. I’m curious whether enabling comments will bring new energy or ideas to this blog and/or to me. And, it’s just fun to change my mind on something every now and then, especially after becoming known for taking the opposite approach.
I have a few concerns relating to spammers and a**holes, but I’m pretty confident that I have neither in my audience.
I will have a comment policy. The basic principle is this: it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.
The brilliant Lisa Williams at the Learning the Lessons of Nixon blog, recently posted about the various approaches to comment policies in this aptly-titled post, which I recommend that you read before reading the rest of this post. It should come as no surprise that I fall into the “living room” policy she describes in the post.
I’ve roughed out the following comments policy for this and welcome your comments about it and ways to improve it. I don’t mind throwing it out to the public as a starting point toward evolving some standard comments policies that bloggers might use. I would be shocked if people didn’t have some criticism of this policy.
1. I don’t want your anonymous comments – stand behind what you are saying. If I can’t figure out who you are, I reserve the right to delete your comments. If you want to be anonymous to the public or use a pseudonym on your comments, I’m OK with that if you first email me and tell me who you are and how to contact you.
2. When you post a comment, ask yourself whether you would say the same thing to my face while sitting in the living room of my house after I invited you over for dinner. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I have no problem whatsoever asking you about a comment you post when I meet you in person to see if you will say it in person, just to see whether you are a person of honor or someone who will squirm.
3. It’d be bad enough for you insult me by posting a comment on my blog, but I will not tolerate your posting a comment on my blog to personally insult someone else. I’ll enjoy either deleting your comment or posting about it separately to publicize what a jerk you are. Use common sense and good manners.
4. While I may monitor comments and manage/delete them, let’s face it, I probably can’t and won’t do that on a regular basis. But I might. I reserve the right not to respond quickly to your comments, not to respond at all, to open, close and delete comments, and to generally act like I, rather than you as a commenter, am the owner of my blog. In general, I’ll have good intentions and really mean well about responding to your comment, but sometimes I might in fact be studiously ignoring you.
5. Now, the legal stuff. By posting a comment, you agree that (1) you represent and warrant that your comment does not defame or libel anyone, does not infringe anyone’s intellectual property, trade secret, confidentiality or other rights, and does not violate any applicable law or regulation, (2) you grant me a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, distribute, publicly display and/or perform, sublicense and make derivative works from your comment in connection with the normal maintenance and operation of this blog and my website, including archives and collections, and for my personal and internal business purposes, and (3) you will indemnify and hold me harmless with respect to any claim and related expenses (including legal fees) from a third party in connection with your comment. I reserve the right to take down so fast that your head will spin any comment that gives me any concern and may change these rules at any time by posting the changes on my blog and/or website.
I’m enabling comments as experiment in the technology and, more importantly, as an experiment in trusting my audience. I have every confidence in you, but there are some other people out there who have forced me to have a set of rules.
Comments are now open.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]