Saturday, November 15, 2008

Commentology

I've been asked by somebody to remove a comment. Aside from the fact that I have no idea how to do that, I have reasons not to tinker with the comments. For one thing, the comments are already out there in the internet ether. Removing a comment won't change the stored memory of the web.

The comments aren't my work, and I don't take any responsibility for them. If I started to edit them, I would arguably assume a sort of authorship, or at least be understood to stand by the comments that remained.

I find it amazing how many bloggers review and remove comments they don't like. These deleted comments are invariably described as 'offensive', although I suspect most of them are critics of the blogger. I don't think these bloggers really understand the point of comments or the nature of the freedom of the internet. Censorship is so old-fashioned. Modern readers are capable of skipping the iffy bits. I also note that the community of commentators tends to be self-policing. Idiots generally feel unwelcome, and head to places where their contributions will be appreciated.

If I had to spend all that time editing the comments, I wouldn't allow comments.

I try not to change my own postings unless absolutely necessary, and with a note that I have made the change and why. There is an ethics to blogging, and commenting. If you aren't ready to stand up for what you write, save us all the trouble of having to read it.

This is a cautionary tale. When you write something, it is out there for all to see, forever.

To be helpful: anyone who is in trouble about a posted comment on this blog can tell the authorities/police/thought-controllers/fussbudgets/censors/busybodies/sticks-in-the-mud that they seriously repent of the comment, and have contacted the blogger to have it removed, but the blogging principles of the blogger make that request impossible to fulfil.

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