- In open comment blogs, do the commenters have some ownership in the blog?
- Is the blogosphere really the coffee-house of the internet age? Is it really a useful place to exchange ideas? (I guess I'm trying to get at the discussion vs. soapbox bit.)
- Do bloggers have a responsibility to engage and respond to their readers in the comments section? (I'm not always very good at ensuring I take the time to do this myself...)
- Are our readers happy with the conversations in the comments section? What could we do better?
- What are your thoughts on whether or not Ink Spots should have a comments policing policy and if so, what would that look like?
Monday, March 8, 2010
This recent post at Zenpundit, authored by guest-blogger Charles Cameron, has had me thinking about the comments section here at Ink Spots. Mr. Cameron takes Abu M to task for not policing his comments section and allowing the nut cases to usurp the conversation. I think he takes his living room metaphor a bit far in the post, but was probably more accurate with his coffee-house analogy in the comments. That said, the point is worth considering.
I may think that because I am one who rarely comments, or even reads the comments, at AM because of the trolls that now inhabit it. The discussions contained in the comments were what drew me there in the first place and it was disappointing to see the quality degrade so much, so quickly. More personally, that virtual meeting-place is where the Ink Spots crew met and led to the creation of this blog. It is also where we virtually met a number of our regular commenters.
Sentimentality aside, as this post isn't about AM and his comment section, I'd like to hear what our readers have to say on the subject. Obviously, we don't really have the same issues here, what with our readership numbers being a fraction of his (this is merely an observation, not a complaint - I'm much happier with higher quality). Ex has his reasons for his policing policy and stated them in the comments at Zenpundit. As for us, we have had a couple of comments that we discussed deleting in the interest of not providing nut cases a platform for their vitriol, but have left that decision to the post's author to police as he or she sees fit. I don't have any exact data, but I think that right has only been exercised once by our crew, with all of us concurring that it was the correct move.
I think this topic raises a number of questions, from the philosophical to the practical. I can't speak for the other four, but one of the main reasons I blog here is to engage in conversation with our readers (although bloviating for its own sake can be therapeutic). So if you'll oblige me, I'd like your take on the following questions.
This is really just scratching the surface and to be honest, I'm oddly intrigued by the whole subject. So please let us know what you think about these questions or any thing else you think is relevant. (And for heaven's sake, if this post doesn't have any comments by noon tomorrow, someone, anyone please just leave at least one - I'm not that big a fan of irony, or at least of being its victim.)