Monday, January 18, 2010

Votes are in

So the votes are in, and the overwhelming majority is for keeping comments on, with comment moderation. So that is what I'll do. Here are some of my comments to your comments in that poll:

its your blog after all
Not 100%. Without readers this blog would be nothing. That doesn't mean I need to listen to every vocal minority, but listening to the wishes of the majority is certainly a wise thing to do if I want this blog to prosper.

That said, I will say that there is something definitely missing with the delay caused by moderation. In my case, on the west coast of the US, no comments are approved after Noon. The net effect is that the topic is pretty much closed and very few replies are posted after that break. You DO need to sleep, so it's completely understandable. But it is different -- and not in a good way. Still, some comments are better than none -- which I suspect is your point here.
My apologies for the delays in comment moderation, but they are unavoidable. I sleep, I work, I play, and in the breaks between I moderate comments.

allow for trackbacks (links to here from another blog)
Trackbacks are on, you can see them in the "Links" section at the bottom of the post. But they are automated by Blogger, and I sometimes think that doesn't work very well.

Wasting your energy on the drama and fallout over not publishing comments is not worth your time. You dont have to explain to anyone why you choose to publish a comment or not.
Will do. The unfortunate consequence is even stricter moderation, because now I don't just delete the offending comment, but also the comment complaining about the moderation.

I would prefer the comment not to be moderated beforehand and any black sheeps picked out afterwords because as it is now the possibility to get a conversation going is a bit limited.
I tried that before. The problem with this approach is the delays in moderation as mentioned above. As I mentioned before, my main problem with bad comments is not that they are insulting to me, but that they tend to derail the comment thread. Somebody says "You WoW players are all just idiots", and then the WoW players respond with counterattacks, and by the time I come to moderate I have to delete 90% of the comments.

I very rarely read the comments. The vast majority of the time I only read what shows up in the RSS feed.
You sure aren't alone there. According to Feedburner and Google Analytics, half of the people reading my RSS feed never visit the site itself. You can read the comments via RSS feed as well, but either you get a feed that isn't sorted by thread, or you have to manually set up a feed for every post, neither of which is a good option. Nevertheless the other half of readers, who do visit the site and not just the feed, apparently prefer the site WITH comments.

I don't really enjoy reading these blog-about-the-blog metaposts, which are almost exclusively about the comments.
This blog isn't exclusively about MMORPGs, it is also about remotely related stuff that interests me. So sometimes there are reviews of board games, or I talk about a single-player computer game, or if I buy a new computer you'll hear about that. Now blogging, unsurprisingly, is a strong interest of mine. As it occupies a good portion of my thoughts, I will never stop blogging about blogging. I think some people read too much into those posts; yes, they are personal and self-reflective, and some people get uncomfortable when reading somebody else's more personal thoughts. But these posts aren't really as negative as some might think. By talking about the problems of blogging, I am dealing with those problems. If you want a blogger who never has problems with blogging, you'll need to look for a blog written by a machine.

As an alternative, you could add a few of your more trusted readers as authors, with the understanding that they won't create new posts but will only serve as moderators.
There is no technical way to hire somebody as moderator only, without giving him the possibility to also post, delete posts, or do something else with the blog. Thus getting another person in is equivalent to giving somebody else your userID and password for your MMORPG account, including access to the guild bank. That *can* work, but it also can lead to disaster. There is nobody I trust that much. And I don't think anyone would want to do that job on a permanent basis, hired hands on a blog will realize quickly that opening up their own blog is the better option for them.

I also think in general you worry far too much about what other people are saying about you.
Agreed. I guess that is part of my character, and unlikely to change completely. But that vote in favor of comment moderation helps me feel more secure about dealing with the trolls. In the end it is a two-part deal, I need to learn how to handle the negativity, you need to learn how to handle my sensitivity. Because the alternatives, which are no comments or no blogging, aren't what either of us wants.

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