Moderating Comments

I love hearing what my readers have to say about the content here on Loitering Lion. What some people don’t seem to understand on the internet is that having the ability to leave comments is a privilege, not a right. I trust my consistent readers to be kind, but there is always at least one person who will come out of the woodwork who’s sole purpose is to say something rude.

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Photo by THOR via Flickr.

I never understood negative comments. Even the dislike button on YouTube seems unnecessary to me. I’ve seen videos I’m not a fan of but you know what I do? I leave and go find a different video to watch. Not everything is going to be everyone’s cup of tea so why announce it? Who cares if you don’t like something? Why do you need to alert the content creator about it?

The Freedom of Speech card is quick to be drawn in discussions like this and to that I have to say: Is it freedom of speech or freedom to be an asshole? There is a huge difference between constructive criticism and being downright hateful. I’m more than happy to hear what suggestions readers have for me to better my work. I don’t have time for hate.

I’ve been blogging pretty consistently since early 2013 and I still have not received a hateful comment online. I have gotten some unsolicited advice, which was a bit irritating, but I don’t believe it was coming from a hateful place (though a little piece of advice: don’t tell a person with tattoos that they are “too smart to have tattoos”). I’ve been thinking about how I’ve managed to go this long without receiving hate comments yet and I believe I’ve come to a conclusion.

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Photo by April Killingsworth via Flickr.

I moderate my comments. For the past year and a half if you wanted to leave a comment on Loitering Lion you had to leave a name and an email address. I’m sure people used fake names, but the email address is what probably scared the trolls off. It may have prevented nice commenters from talking, too, but the set-up has served me well. Even on my Tumblr. page I don’t allow anonymous messages from people. I understand if you’re shy but this is the internet. I do not know you. What are you trying to hide by being anonymous?

A week ago I switched my commenting system over to Disqus so it’ll be easier for me to keep on top of comments as well as easier for other’s to leave comments. I’m allowing guest commenting for now but even then a guest comment has to be approved by me. We’ll see how this goes and I hope people won’t try to abuse this privilege by sending rude comments though the guest feature. It would take me two seconds to turn guest posting off.

I’m not technically threatening anybody but at the same time I totally am. I’m not playing games with the hateful crazies on the web. The internet isn’t nearly as anonymous as you think and if you think the web and the real world aren’t connected then you’re seriously doing it wrong.

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