Wow! What a reaction to my recent blog post, To delete blog comments or not to delete blog comments, that is the question! There was a wonderful discussion in the comments section. Thank you to everyone who stopped in and took the trouble to add their thoughts. I also have a special thank you for those who made the extra effort to go over and read Jill of All Trades…Expert of None’s hilarious blog post about spam. I know she got a kick out of it.
For other readers just now tuning in, the above-mentioned post talked about when and whether it’s appropriate to delete a blog comment. For some comments, it’s a no-brainer — the good stuff goes through to the blog and the comments that are far off-topic or just plain strange end up in the spam folder for later trashing. For the other comments that fall somewhere in between, it’s a different story. It comes down to the blogger’s values and judgment as to whether that comment should appear on the blog at all. If it doesn’t, the blogger deletes the comment.
Here are the other trends that emerged during the discussion:
1. Some bloggers moderate their comments before they are permitted on the blog. Others don’t, trusting that the comments will be respectful and polite. In most cases, those who respond to a blog follow this rule.
2. The best way to deal with a comment that is borderline unpleasant is to allow the comment to appear on the blog, but respond with humor or a polite point-for-point rebuttal of what the commenter is saying.
3. Personal attacks or profanity in the comments is not good, especially if the blogger already has a policy on the blog about that. Note that this rule is a matter of the blogger’s personal taste; some bloggers that I’ve seen don’t seem to mind having controversy or profanity on their blogs.
4. It’s also not good to use your comment on another person’s blog to promote yourself by including a hyperlink to your own blog. Once you write a comment, your blog’s name becomes a hyperlink anyway. The comments should be about the blog post you’ve just read, not your blog.
I add one caveat to rule #4 above. After I’ve had a “comment conversation” with another blogger and I know I’ve blogged about the same topic they’re discussing, I mention that I’ve talked about something similar in the past and invite them over to read the post at their convenience (without typing in a specific hyperlink). I do this very, very rarely and only if I think that blogger might enjoy reading what I’ve said. (I don’t think that’s being pushy. So far, nobody’s gotten upset with me about it.)
5. Overly long blog comments are not considered great. Depending upon the topic, some comments have to be long out of necessity but it shouldn’t be War and Peace, either.
6. To make the blog more credible, sometimes it might be necessary to include a borderline comment so that the blogger doesn’t get accused of whitewashing the blog. Some companies that I’ve read about only allowed positive comments to appear in their social media platforms and they damaged their credibility as a result. But by politely and promptly responding to criticism, it demonstrates both your caring and your courtesy.
To finish up, I’m really grateful to the commenters who participated in this discussion. In the future, I plan to work in the occasional post specifically devoted to the art of blogging and about issues we bloggers face, in addition to my usual stuff about books, writers, writing, social media, etc. See you later!