Jul 132012

You may have noticed that I have removed and closed the comments section on a couple of posts I wrote a few days ago.  That is because the comments threads were starting to degenerate from a free discussion of opinions into name calling and immature arguments.  So, as just about all bloggers who allow comments have had to do in the past, it’s time to set down some guidelines.

I was hesitant in the beginning to even open the comments section on this blog, mainly because I knew what would happen, which it did this past week.  But I want to have feedback on the things I write about and that includes opinions both for and against anything I post on this or any of my other blogs.  Feedback is important.  It shows that there are actually people out there who read the drivel I post here and care enough to take time from their busy lives to express their opinions on such matters.  Those who post in favor of my writings and talk all nice about me give my ego a good boost now and then.  Those who post against keep my ass grounded and remind me I ain’t all that and a bag of chips either.  And let me say right now, I do appreciate and thank everyone who has ever posted a comment on my blogs.  Trust me, it does mean a lot.  However…

As with any online conversation things can and do get out of hand.  The perceived idea that one is anonymous online gives a bit of false courage to say things one might not say in real life.  As a result, what may start out as a frank and real discussion on the pros and cons of a subject will quickly turn into a full fledged attack on one another complete with name calling, threats, and other useless banter.  There is even a law regarding this behavior known as Godwin’s Law.   Simply put, Godwin’s Law is an axiom which states that any online conversation, no matter how civil, if continued long enough, will eventually result in one party comparing the other to Hitler or the Nazi’s.  By invoking the Third Reich comparison the accuser automatically loses the argument and renders the conversation useless.  Nobody has hit Godwin’s here yet but I could see it coming.

I realize I occasionally put up posts here that may be a bit controversial in nature.  Well, controversy sells.  Anybody who does this sort of thing knows that for a fact.   And those sorts of subjects prove that by the numbers of comments and the spikes in readership when they occur.  That’s to be expected. But when the comments become nothing more than the equivalent of a couple school kids yelling at each other on a playground, then the whole point of the subject matter is lost.  So, here is the way it will be with comments:

I personally moderate and approve or trash every single comment that comes into my blogs.   I weed out the spammers, the trolls, and watch for the signs that a thread may be going out of control.  Much like my choice of girlfriends, my standards are low, but I do have standards.

I hate censorship.  I believe everyone should be allowed to express their opinions but…those opinions should be on the subject matter of the post.  When the comments stray into personal attacks on other commenters then the comments will be deleted.

I have the ability to ban anyone from commenting should that need arise.  So far that ban has only been extended to the obvious spammers.  They are pretty easy to pick out.

I have the ability to ban someone, and some cases, an entire country, from viewing the content of my site.  Again, so far it has only been the spammers, and most of the middle east.

I don’t give a Rattus norvegicus posterior what you may think of me personally.  Name calling, online bullying, it’s meaningless to me.  You cannot hurt me with words.  Ever.  But, take it one step further and throw out an actual physical threat, the sort of threat where I believe that it may actually be attempted, and you will be most unpleasantly surprised at the results.  You are not as anonymous as you might believe.  So far, nothing like this has happened and I don’t believe any of the current active commenters or followers are of that mindset.

Where the real line is crossed, and where I will start banning people is when those attacks, be they online name calling, bullying, or similar tactics, are directed at other commenters in an attempt to shut them down or drive them away.  This I won’t tolerate.  Not everyone is immune to such things and I would be most displeased to lose a follower of this blog simply because somebody else drove them away.  Everyone has a right to an opinion on the subjects that I write here, for or against, and all are welcome to post such opinions.  There is nothing wrong with healthy disagreement over somebody else’s opinion and you are welcome to post such a rebuttal.  But don’t let the ego get in the way and have things drop down into an immature school yard fight.  It serves no purpose here.

All comment threads will closed 7 days after the posted date of an article so whatever you may have to say, you got about a week to say it.

Finally, lighten up people!  It’s the ManateeFritters Blog!  That name alone should tell you how seriously you should take the things I write about here.  I find it rather humbling that some of you take my writings to heart and like to express your opinions about them.  Again, I thank you all for the feedback.   I don’t know about you, but I am having a blast writing this stuff.  While the Fritter hasn’t exactly made my nest egg, it has been one of the most fun and satisfying things I have done in a long long time.  I want to continue to do so and you can bet I’ll still be throwing up the controversies whether they be tweaking wally mart, poking holes in religion, arguing over the meaning of minimalism, or what ever else comes up in the future.  You keep on providing the feedback in the comments.  Just keep it civilized.  OK?

Capt. Fritter