I have been toying with the idea of instituting a comments policy to more clearly define what my expectations of behavior are on my site. Over the last two and a half years, I have moderated one comment out of the approximately 1300 that have been left (not including spam comments). I want to be clear that I continue to support the right of folks to post comments anonymously. Though I have never done it myself, I understand that some people aren’t comfortable signing their names to their thoughts. Personally, during the few times I’ve considered commenting anonymously, I decided that if I was uncomfortable saying what I wanted to say under my own name, then I should probably just keep it to myself. Over the last few months, it has become clear that I needed to institute a comments policy because some folks are abusing the comments.
While accepting anonymity, I don’t abide by sock puppets and unfortunately this is becoming more and more regular. There are a few people (and I mean very few) who not only post regularly but do so under numerous false names. Sometimes to the effect of agreeing with comments they’ve made under their real names. From here on out, this is unacceptable. (my blog, my rules).
As blog owner, I promise to continue to protect the anonymity of those who feel uncomfortable posting under their own names. But I am requiring that you choose one name and stick to it from now on so that fellow commenters and readers know who they are dealing with. Switching anonymous handles will not only get you banned from commenting in the future, but doing so will also be your very explicit way of saying “hey John, feel free to let folks know who I really am.”
As I said, there are very few (you can count them on one hand with fingers to spare) who are abusing the anonymous comments. I feel that this tweak, pretty minor really, will help us all move forward in a more honest way. After having read through dozens of comments policies, here are the policies moving forward:
1. Give yourself a name and use it consistently. “Anonymous” comments under multiple handles will have their names changed to identify the poster.
2. Be respectful. Talk to others in a manner that shows that whilst you may not agree, you see them as a valuable human being (as you should). Strong disagreement is fine, demeaning another person is not.
3. Where you find your emotions boiling over because of another person’s point of view, consider not responding.
By posting comments on SD&R, unless you violate our rules or the law, we will not edit, modify, or delete your comments; ban you from the site; nor reveal you on the blog.
I’ll be posting these on a comments policy page and will try and always give a heads up if the policies change.