True Confessions: I’m a middleaged blog censor

Hardcore “blog heads” are gonna call for my social-media license after for this. But I’ll just have to live with it.

censored.jpgI removed a comment last week (from this post), and I have no plans to re-approve it. The author of that comment has demanded I restore his “1st Amendment rights.” Sorry, dude. While I cherish open and unfettered conversation, I’m the final arbiter of what’s appropriate on this site.

So why did I approve the comment in the first place? Habit, I guess. Readers have posted more than 500 comments since I launched this blog last fall, and I’ve never turned one away. Until now.

The comment in question disparaged University of Dreams, a company that uofd.gifconnects students to internships around the world. The comment made claims but offered no evidence. And from what I can discern, the accusations weren’t at all characteristic of U of Dreams behavior. Run a Google search on these guys and you’ll find they’re squeaky clean.

I took down the comment at the request of Eric Lochtefeld, CEO of U of Dreams. He called it unfair and in bad taste. It was. In effect, the comment questioned the integrity of the company and attacked the character of U of Dreams interns.

I don’t know if the accusations are true. It doesn’t matter. I won’t be part of trashing a company’s reputation unless I have real evidence and justification for publishing it. It’s the old reporter in me.

One more point: Eric didn’t threaten legal action over the comment, he simply appealed to my sense of fairness.

I know, I know. In theory, the “conversation” of the blogosphere is self-correcting. Allow all comments and eventually the truth prevails, right? Too bad it doesn’t always work that way.

5 Responses to True Confessions: I’m a middleaged blog censor

  1. Andy Curran says:

    It only took a few days for my blog to receive its first comment that was censored. I got a legitimate comment that disagreed on a post I wrote on HD radio. Someone else commented, telling the first guy to “F— Off.” That was the entire comment. I didn’t have it set to moderate comments (DOH!), so my bad.

  2. Bill Sledzik says:

    Plenty of bloggers view comment moderation as tantamount to censorship. I view it as a necessary evil. The blogosphere’s “Wild West” environment sometimes makes it a dangerous, unruly place. So think of your blog as you would your own home. When guests get out of line, you ask them to leave. If they get out of line repeatedly, don’t let them in the door at all.

    The legal issue cuts the other way. Under U.S. law, you aren’t liable for the comments others post to your blog — unless you edit them. Moderation is a form of editing, so it may leave you open to legal action. At least that’s how I understand it.

  3. Andy Curran says:

    I have to believe that if someone approaches an attorney and says, “I want to sue this blogger because one of my comments was deleted”, the attorney won’t take the case.

  4. norm leigh says:

    Bill,
    I agree with your stand on the issue of comment moderation. It’s your blog and if want to insist on at least a veneer of civility, it’s your decision and should be supported by everyone who believes in the freedom of this medium. Folks who disgaree should ask themselves how they’d like it if someone told them what to say or not to say on their own blog.

  5. […] you tell your readers why? (I’ve only done it once and felt compelled to write an entire post about […]

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