If you have a blog, you (at least hope to) get people commenting on your posts. Up until now, you might not have given much thought to your policy for approving comments. You probably either just approved all comments, or you approved most of them but deleted ones that you didn’t like for one reason or another (maybe they were offensive, rude, or spam).
Many bloggers feel that the best way to deal with comments is to create a policy. A comments policy is a simple statement that defines your policy about comments on your blog. It lets readers know what type of comments you will allow on your block, what you won’t allow, and what will happen to readers who violate your policy.
For example, you comments policy may look like the following:
“We welcome all types of comments—supportive, critical, negative, or otherwise. We will not delete or censor comments unless they have content that is abusive, off topic, filled with personal attacks, vulgar, or spam. Readers who violate this policy will have their comments blocked. ”
It’s simple, straightforward, and let’s readers know what they can and can’t do when commenting on your blog. By having a comments policy, you remove all doubt. That way, when a readers comment gets deleted or censored, there’s a published policy they can read to find out why, rather than them having to guess, which can lead to criticism of your moderation techniques.
Should your blog have a comments policy? Maybe. It’s a good idea because it sets rules for all readers to follow. It lets readers know that everyone is playing by the same rules.
If you decide to create a comments policy, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
• Your target audience. The type of audience you’re trying to appeal to will greatly influence your comments policy. For example, a blog that’s for religious readers probably wouldn’t want to allow vulgar comments.
• The type of environment you want to create. What type of community do you want to create? For some blogs, it makes sense to have a very loose comments policy that allows readers to be edgy and talk smack to one another. Other blogs may wish to foster a more serious environment. Find the type of environment that makes most sense for you and your readers, and create a comments policy that will help you create it.
• Things you like and dislike. It’s your blog, and at the end of the day, you have the right to choose the types of comments you will and won’t allow. So, make a list of things you like seeing and don’t want to see, and build your policy accordingly.
Do you have a comments policy on your blog? Why or why not?