When I first started blogging, no one knew who I was (and I blogged anonymously), so I had no comment guidelines. Then people started finding me, and I got some great conversations with amazing people. Then other people started finding me, and I got some horrible threats and cruel jabs, so I implemented a "I'll delete you if you're terrible" policy.
Now, though, I don't really get much commenting action on the blog itself. Most of my conversations about my posts happen on my Facebook page or on Twitter. While I still occasionally get a real live person wanting to engage in a real live conversation in the blog comments, most of the time I do not.
What I get instead are people posting as Anonymous who are clearly robots trying to spam for back links. I know this because they say things like "This blog great today. I learn a lot really penis pump. Male enhancement to give tomorrow is a big sunrise. Visit my site!"
The other thing I get is people skimming through posts I wrote months or even years ago to leave hate comments and threaten my life.
I've taken a two prong attack here. I've disabled the ability to post as a Guest. You now have to put in an email address to show you are, in fact, a real person. But that doesn't do anything against the hate comments.
So if you want to write just to tell me that I'm "fat" (though I am pretty well acquainted with my own body) and an "ugly bitch" or that you hope that I "choke to death" or to say "kill yourself" or that you "hate" me, I will now see that comment before it goes live and decide if this is really the place for it.
I love a good debate, and I am not afraid of people disagreeing with the things I say, but disagreeing with me and wishing that I die a horrible death (usually while very clearly not having read any of the things I actually wrote beyond the headline) are not really in the same ball park.
I hope that this doesn't frustrate the commenting practice to the point that people who really do want to have a conversation are dissuaded, but it seems like comment sections (at least for me, on this site and others) aren't really the place where that intelligent conversation goes on anyway, so I also hope the loss is not too great.
Photo: Kevin Trotman
Photo: Kevin Trotman