12/06/08 258 W - + 11 - 11 Why We Sign Our Names

December to January is a great time for change. For this blog, the New Year could mean new things. Maybe an update to the blogging software, when the next version of Pivot is ready. Maybe we'll start, say, moderating comments. I continue to mull on the latter. Moderated comments, meaning reader remarks that require approval before appearing, would negate the need to occasionally delete them.

Why does Mike delete comments? The criteria are fairly simple. First, if the comment is lewd, crude, or otherwise inappropriate. These are pretty doggone rare. Second, if the comment is (a.) anonymous and (b.) addresses a sensitive or incendiary topic. Those  deletions are infrequent, but not uncommon. Why delete comments in the second category, you ask? It's the lack of a name.

No matter how powerful, relevant, or thought-provoking a perspective might offer on a more sensitive or incendiary topic, the lack of a name negates its value. Too many readers simply see red when something about a prickly subject is signed "Guest," "Friend," "Wondering," etc. The message itself might be fine. The timing of the message might be fine. But the fact that it's unsigned turns everybody off. We no longer "hear" what you're saying, because we can't get past that you're speaking from behind the curtain. Experience shows that that lead to a deteriorating quality of conversation, and a host of negative feelings all around. Thus, on this blog, unsigned comments about sensitive stuff are preemptively deleted.

As always, I welcome comments on the subject of comments. Post ‘em, or mail ‘em privately.
Legeros - 12/06/08 - 16:19

Mike, I understand your point on losing some of the validity of comments because they come from an unidentified source, but is it really necessary to delete the comments simply because of that? If a truly valid point, arguement, or comment is posted, then why should it matter the source? This is sometimes the stimulation needed to enhance thought provoking conversations between others in which we can all learn and benefit without having to be identified. It is for this very reason that people have turned to the internet and even why writers of years past used false names.

Now, holding true to your statement above, you will probably delete this comment without further discussion because of the lack of a name, although I know that will be very hard because it valid point has been raised….What do you think?
Guest, Friend, Wondering - 12/06/08 - 18:01

I use anonymity because of fear of retaliation for voicing my opinion. What retaliation? Someone calling their hunting buddy with higher rank. Does it happen? Yes. Ive even been threatened by that process directly. Its alive and well. I promise.

People need to stop being afraid of strong opinions. The truely educated can defend them and the mature can accept that they’re either wrong or that the other person is allowed to have their opinion without letting it escalate.

The problem is that this site is trolled by the small minded and overly sensetive.
KNIGHTS OF MALTA - 12/06/08 - 18:48

KoM brings up a good point…the Good Ol’ Boy system. Yes, it is alive and well. But for me, and only me, I gave up a long time ago. I inherited a trait from my Dad and to quote him- “Some people are dumber than s*** and need to be told.” I may not say it quite that strong, but if it’s on my mind, well, no need in holding back.

I am a survivor. Both of my opinions and my thoughts.

But, I fully understand that some are not able (or willing) to hang it all out there. And I respect that. Maybe if I had kept my mouth shut way back when I could be riding around in an SUV or the like. Or maybe it would not have mattered. No matter.

Mike…it is your site, we’re all just ‘guests’. You run it like you want to. It’ll be OK.
DJ (Email) - 12/06/08 - 19:19

I have been unclear. The original posting has been modified with two additions in italics. Anonymous comments are fine, except when they’re not. When are anonymous comments not welcome, and thus deleted? (Again, an infrequent but not uncommon thing.) Obvious sh*t-stirring is one instance. No surprise there. And sometimes simply a perspective on a sensitive or prickly subject. It is the experience of this blogger, observing the actions and reactions of this blog audience, that provocative comments are far better received when they are signed versus unsigned. Thus the reason that certain unsigned comments get deleted, from time to time.
Legeros - 12/06/08 - 20:38

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