Blog Censorship – Be honest

Do you censor comments? While I do delete the occasional bit of spam and any ‘double comments’, I don’t ever censor comments (and thankfully at the moment I’m not getting enough spam to have to pre-moderate). But I’ve noticed others do… I’ve had comments of mine deleted/adjusted, for reasons I’m genuinely not sure about, and it has made me ponder a bit on the whole censorship issue. I notice Maggi has said she filters ‘blatant abuse, and all spam and marketing’. What do other do? Sometimes I wish people would say anything – too many lurkers ;p

If people write nonsense in comments, does that reflect on the blog owner? Conversations in real life are impossible to censor, relying on trust and people to pull others back in line when they step out. So should online conversations be censored in a different way? And if so, why?

Be interested to know what others think on this. [ And I promise nothing will be censored ๐Ÿ˜‰ ]

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13 responses to “Blog Censorship – Be honest”


  2. Like you, I have had very negative experiences of comments being deleted. I can see a place for deleting comments but normally only if the blog owner seeks at the same time to contact the person posting those comments to explain why. This courtesy should only be denied in the case of spam or comemnts clearly intended to be offensive.
    To my mind, people who feel the need to delete comments without bothering to make any attempt to dialogue with the person seeking to make such comments must either be very insecure or deeply opposed to the ways of Christ or both. I will refrain from naming the person who has blocked and/or deleted my comments in the past despite the temptation to do so – it it a matter between him and God and his own conscience.

  3. I guess for some people maintaining control is an important aspect of managing their blog. I guess my own take is that a policy of deleting spam, or anything clearly offensive makes complete sense, but I can’t quite see what the motivation in editing for content would be. If you don’t like what is being said you have the option to follow up on the comment and put your p.o.v., if you really want to maintain control on content then maybe you need to turn comments off altogether.

  4. Only spam gets deleted. Fortunately, I’ve never had a comment that I just wished would go away. But I believe that the readers should have a say in what is disallowed. There have been comment battles in which regular readers came to the rescue of those being bullied. This is the way I think bad comments are best handled. We’re adults, after all. And the archives will contain, not only those unwelcomed comments, but the hopefully Christlike responses.
    The community has more wisdom than one. And the overlapping communities on blogs that share a common purpose, know each other from other blogs and forums. Some of them do, Anyway.
    But I have another, similar issue. And that is the question of whether to delete blog posts collected by my aggregator. Although I still only delete spam posts, I do remove duplicates and hate-mongoring posts from the front page sidebar. The main reason for taking them out of the front page sidebar is to make room for better posts. But sometimes I take out over critical posts from over critical communities that are overly critical of those they disagree with. My defense is that I invited them to my front page, and I can uninvite them. But this really is not very far from censoring comments.
    Thanks for bringing this issue up. I believe that fairness is an important indicator of personal inteegrity. So those connected with “Emergent” and emerging church should strive for more integrity than our critics. Which is not very hard.

  5. Someone came in with a stack of rude words as predicted! Hurray – I win myself a donut.
    I think that’s an excellent point – the community has more wisdom than one. I guess I’m left wondering the extent to which one can see the gospels as very censored. What I love about Life of Brian is the heckling and muttering we get to hear at the back of the Sermon on the Mount etc… And I’d love to see more of that in the actual text.
    But back to blogging, I again think you’re right when you talk about integrity. Ironically in a world paranoid about online security, perhaps it shows a lack of personal security in one’s identity to have to delete criticism. (Though this sounds terrible pompous.) So we get back to ideas of dirt, trickster and their renewing properties…

  6. I had a spam filter censoring my comments, but it turned out that many people were being withheld from commenting because of this filter. I am with you Kester that I wish people would just say anything. Put something out there rather than lurk. I have never deleted a comment even though I have received some comments that were pretty insensitive and rude. I find that when someone makes a rude comment, I have to do very little to moderate it because those in the blogging community usually step up and let the person know that their post was rude. Its sort of like the story of Jehoshaphat where him and his people were all praying for God’s help and from out of the community someone speaks. It wasnt Jehoshaphat that spoke to the situation, but someone rose up from within the community to lead the people in the right direction.
    If this begins to happen more and more, those rude comments stop and we no longer have to worry about censorship.

  7. I just delete comment spam. Wendy deletes comment spam and anything that is particularily hateful as well.

  8. I delete stuff I consider hateful or mean-spirited. I’ve also banned one person in the history of my blog.

  9. Fortunately I’ve never had to deal with any very serious comment issues on my blog. I delete spam of course, but that’s it. I have thought about it and decided what I would do if it comes up though, so a few thoughts are:
    – err on the side of expression, letting people say what they feel they need to say; let them disagree as strongly as they must
    – crack down harder on defamatory comments toward other comment-ers than I would on defamatory comments toward me
    – if I choose to modify rather than delete a comment, I will add a notation to it to say that the comment was modified and why; an example would be one that contained both substantive and mean-spirited content, or removing excessive profanity
    – if it contributes nothing to the conversation and is inflamatory or profane just for the sake of it, I would delete – like the profanity post at the top of this thread.
    I’ve had a few things posted that I wish weren’t said on my blog, but so far I don’t recall having to modify or delete any posts besides spam. I guess I have good readers ;^) but like yours, most of them are lurkers.
    I don’t consider my stance to be censorship really… whether my definition is accurate or not, I consider it to refer to banning an idea simply because it’s contrary. Too often people who use the word to demand freedom of expression don’t stop to think that there are always social, cultural, and legal limits to freedom of speech, and this is a good thing. Within the world of my domain I guess I get to be the benevolent dictator and final arbiter of what goes and what doesn’t. At least there’s someplace I get to be in charge! ;^)

  10. i delete spam though i get irritated when other people use comments to preach (usually about a narrow right wing literalist fundamentalist kind of ‘good news’ – you know the kind? no fun too much damn and not enough mental…)

  11. I know the sort ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Interesting piece on the news today about chatrooms being loaded with sectarian abuse after the murder of the catholic school boy yesterday.
    One commentator described the messages as ‘electronic graffiti’, which I thought was interesting. Graffiti can come in all forms. Some, like intelligent stencilling, can enrich and provoke thought. Some is just plain vandalism. And some just ego-mania.
    I guess some comments on blogs fit into these three catagories; would it be a sensible policy to remove the last two, but leave the first, or do we just leave readers to decide?

  12. I have had a blog for about two months. I dont really mean for people to read it outside our small group, but people within our group seemed frightened to comment. I long for a comment – some interaction. I dont think I would delete anything, but it would be nice to face the challenge!

  13. I have never edited any real comment, except in one case, where I was asked to correct a typo by the poster.
    I do moderate all first time commentors just to keep spam under control.
    I have had a couple people (2) take a hard line aginst something I have posted, comment, and then email me to say they are surprised I let the comment stand.