My Blog Comments Policy

The best part of blogging is receiving comments. Not only does it provide instant feedback that someone has actually read what I have written, but it provides an opportunity to listen to and learn from the views of others. Through comments, we can have our views challenged, supported or augmented. Comments are indeed where the conversation really happens.

So, I want to receive as many comments as possible. And I want to approve every comment I receive.

Sadly, I haven’t been able to publish every comment that has been submitted. Some have included content that wasn’t in keeping with the kind of place I want my blog to be.

This hasn’t happened often. But it has happened. And when it did, I realized I need to have an explicit comments policy on my blog that will provide you, my community, with guidance on what I will or will not approve for publication on Pro PR.

So, here it is. My blog comments policy.

Pro PR’s Blog Comments Policy

This is my place. I try to be civil and I’d ask commenters to be governed by the spirit of civility.

I moderate comments. I want to approve all comments. So, to be sure that I approve your comment, please:

  • Provide your real name, social media URL and email address in the comments form. I do not accept anonymous comments. My name is on all my blog posts. You know who I am. I’d like to know who you are.
  • Be civil in your comments. I will not approve comments that contain insults, threats, attacks on a person’s character or use abusive or profane language.
  • Be on topic . I will delete SPAM and off-topic comments.
  • Do not include private or personal information about another person .

What do you think?

So, there it is. My blog comment policy. Does this policy seem reasonable to you?

Acknowledgments: I reviewed the several people’s blog policies and posts about blog policies. I’d like to thank all of the following for providing guidance and inspiration for my blog policy: Lorelle Von Fossen , Lee Odden , Joyce Carpenter , Matt Craven , and Gina Trapani .

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  • http://cindystephenson.wordpress.com Cindy Stephenson

    Thanks for this post.

    I’ve just started my own blog (cindystephenson.wordpress.com), and no comments so far, but I’ve tagged your post in Delicious to refer to at a later date.

    I’m also putting together a page on our intranet at work called, Ask Your Executive (or something like that) and the issue of whether to allow anonymous comments comes up. Some argue anonymous comments aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, while others say it provides a safety net for staff. I think your policy may provide a useful starting point.

    Cindy Stephenson

  • http://www.michaelallison.ca Michael Allison

    Joe,

    Not everyone may have a social media URL. From your policy, it sounds like its mandatory. Would name and email address be good enough?

    Just my 2 cents.

  • http://blog.techrigy.com Martin Edic

    I’d recommend using a third party commenting system like Disqus or Intense Debate. They turn the comment stream into, among other things, a reputation management scheme by allowing readers to ‘vote’ on the quality of comments and to view all the comments by an individual in one place regardless of what blog they appeared on- very social media approach.
    Plus, this centralization of commenting gives us on the monitoring side of SM the ability to more accurately index comments…

  • http://ramsayramsay.wordpress.com Megan Ramsay

    I once commented on an American PR person’s blog about how Canadian institutes are just starting to introduce social media into the classroom. The post was discussing why some PR students don’t blog, and I brought up the point that in Canada it is not as common to see students in the PR field blog and I gave various reasons of why students would be apprehensive about starting their own blog. I was a student at the time and incredibly nervous even making a comment. I checked backed frequently to see if anyone else has anything to add on the topic and found that someone had commented after me suggesting that Canadian’s were far less superior to American’s and my reasons for students not wanting to blog were stupid. His post provided no insight on the matter and its only purpose was to make me feel like an idiot. Mission accomplished.

    I wish everyone had a blog comment policy. Needless to say, I have never visited that person’s blog again.

  • http://matureprstudent.wordpress.com Bonnie Dean

    Not only is your policy right on target, it should be something adopted by all bloggers.

    We like to think that people who are savvy about social media are civilized and respectful. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There are a few, like the person Megan encountered, that use the tool to bully and cause dissension.

    We must remember that everyone has a right to an opinion. We also have a right to disagree with it; just be respectful about it.

  • http://www.propr.ca Joseph Thornley

    Michael, Good point about not everyone having a social media/blog URL. But if people do have it, I hope they will include it my comment form.

  • http://www.socialcapitalvalueadd.com Michael Cayley

    Good points Joe.

  • http://www.zoeysworld.com Zoey Castelino

    I agree with you. I receive a lot of comments as well, but not all of them can be published. Some are off topic, others are disrespectful and then there are some that aren’t even comments at all.

    Your guidelines are right on the money. Well said.

  • http://www.duck.com Donald Duck

    Hi Joe,

    It’s Tod M in Vancouver here… why did I put my name in as Donald Duck? To prove a small point… Forcing someone to put in their full name doesn’t really mean they’re using their REAL name.

    I’ve put in a phony name, email address, and web site — but still, this comment will go through (assuming you don’t moderate it away! ).

    If someone wants to post anonymously, they still can — they’ll just make up a fake name. You could always have your blog software validate their email address first, but that’s what Mailinator’s for, right? ;-)

    Tod

  • http://www.propr.ca Joseph Thornley

    OK. Donald Duck is a fake name using a fake email address. But I do know Tod Maffin and was able to verify with him that the previous comment really is from him. If I hadn’t been able to do this, I wouldn’t have approved the comment. I’m happy to take the time to verify the identity of commenters in order to maintain a civil discussion on my blog.

  • http://lorelle.wordpress.com/ Lorelle VanFossen

    Thanks for the link and the acknowledgment. You are setting a great example for others as they battle with this issue. And I’m so glad you are pushing “real names” or at least real sounding names. The Donald Duck analogy is a good one, but encourage real sounding names rather than keywords and search terms and other SEO and link baiting tricks is much better than allowing these time wasting techniques. It’s about respect, for yourself and the blogger, as well as the blog industry overall. We need more professionalism and respect for each other.

    Thanks!