Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Brief Comment About Comments

For the record, I LOVE receiving comments from people who read PTF - both those who are regular readers, or those who have discovered PTF for the first time.

I do, however, discriminate against a few types of comments - and more often than not, they never make it to PTF for the general readership to see.

The first type is the MAIN reason why you have to type that series of random letters in when you leave a comment - comment moderation filters SPAM COMMENTS. These comments, which have become a prolific problem in the blogosphere, are similar to the SPAM e-mail you routinely receive in your e-mail. I spend too much time writing PTF to have comments clogged with SPAM.

In addition, when those with legitimate comments write, I want readers to pay attention to those comments - if it becomes clear that a majority of the comments are simply SPAM, readers simply begin to ignore the comments altogether.

So, for the time being, I use comment moderation to keep the SPAM out. If anyone has a better way to keep the spam away, I'd be more than willing to try out any other system.

The other comment I tend to discriminate against is the "fly-by strike" - typically uninformed, seeking attention (or a free link to their own blog), or otherwise ignorant in thier comments... rather than try to explain, I'll actually show you one that I received, and dissect it for you.

This was a comment sent regarding the FleshMesh Friday post - since the individual is seeking attention, I've got no problem calling him out - the post is from Senor at the oh-too-cleverly-titled Huffington Compost:
Absolutely disgusting for somebody to make a movie like this of a sitting president.

Comment moderation is for censors. Libs dont like to hear opposition to their ideas.
I dont use comment moderation. I think its for pansies.

Oh, and you guys sure were wrong about Joe Wilson. Read the WA Post today?
OK... now let's take it apart.
"Absolutely disgusting for somebody to make a movie like this of a sitting president."
You may think that this is what I have a problem with, but you'd be wrong... for the most part. He disagrees with my thoughts on the film. I actually LOVE that - PTF focuses on progressive politics, but if you read at the top, I state that PTF is a "...palace for those with a point of view...." That's ANY point of view. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE getting comments from folks who agree with what I'm saying. But it's important to hear from those who don't necessarily agree - and to be able to discuss the differing points of view.

Here's my main problem with the beginning of the comment. There's absolutely NOTHING brought to the table. OK, Senor... you disagree. Great - now back it up. You think it's disgusting to make a film like this - why? Why is it OK to distribute films like Saw or Hostel, and yet films like DOAP are somehow disgusting? If you can't bring anything to the table, don't come to the table. Onward....
"Comment moderation is for censors. Libs dont like to hear opposition to their ideas. I dont use comment moderation. I think its for pansies."
Where to begin here? Well, to begin, this person CLEARLY doesn't read PTF on a regular basis - if he did, he'd notice that we probably publish more dissenting comments than anything else - some of my favorite regular readers are those who bring an opposition to whatever it is that I'm stating.

Furthermore, he not only accuses me wrongly of not liking to hear opposition to my ideas, but generalizes by stating that "libs don't like to...." Anyone that generalizes that "all Liberals are the same" immediately receives my full-throated disdain. But then again, this comes from a guy who publishes his blog in 148-point fonts, has no idea how to format his blog (a personal pet peeve), and uses words like "moonbats," "digital brownshirts," "libtards,"... the list goes on and on. People in the blogosphere who write like this are, in my opinion, uninspired, unintelligent, uneducated, and can think of no more reasonable way to dispute a differing opinion than by generalizing, stereotyping, and name-calling.

But it seems as though Senor is certainly no pansy, and enjoys receiving opposition to his comments, so I'd encourage you to go slumming and visit his blog, and leave as many oppositional comments as you care to - if you can stand reading his very LARGE and thick-headed writing.

To wrap up, he states:
"Oh, and you guys sure were wrong about Joe Wilson. Read the WA Post today?"
Here, he once again generalizes with "you guys" and goes on to comment about something that has NOTHING to do with the post he's commenting on - an obvious ploy to get people to click over to his blog. I also love people who tend to rip newspapers like The Washington POst every chance they get.. that is, until they see something they like. Then it's suddenly their favorite publication.

So, Senor.... is this enough attention that we've given you now? Are you happy that your opposition has been heard? To be fair, Senor is not the first "fly-by" that we've received, and he won't be the last. His comment simply embodied many of the traits that tend to annoy PTF readers.

Make no mistake - we LOVE comments at PTF - agree or disagree (right, Prof?)... we simply ask that you think before you write, and bring something to the table. If you're taking the time to type in all those random letters anwyay, then make it worth your while... and worth the time of those who read the comments.

OK... so this wasn't so brief, after all. But it needed to be said. Now that it has, comment away!!!!

P.S. - If you want to take a look at a group of people who don't like to hear opposition to their ideas, look no further than the Bush Administration!

Posted by FleshPresser at 2:55 PM /


  • Blogger Janet posted at 5:56 PM  
    I find it ironic that thus far there are no comments on a post...about comments.:)

    As for the word verification I understand it to an extent, I just dont employ the use of it on my own blog. I swear sometimes that the configuration of letters is taunting me. If I get it wrong the next group of letters are either 1. much longer than the first as in upping the ante or 2. extremely shorter, mocking my inability to recreate the first set.

    I'm sure this wasn't the kind of comment you were looking for, but I've long thought it needed to be said.:)

  • Blogger FleshPresser posted at 6:49 PM  
    Janet - the post is about comments, and you're offering insight into comments and the damned word verification thing - so this is excatly the kind of comment I was looking for! :)

    I don't look for a particular type of comment... just get frustrated when people leave inflammatory or derogatory comments and don't even put the thought into them to back up what they feebly write.

    As for the word verification, I COMPLETELY agree with you - the same thing happens to me ALL the time. The Gs and Qs always seem to get confused for me. If there was any better way to prevent spam, I'd look into it in a heartbeat.

    Your blog is completely charming, btw... :)

  • Anonymous ModFab posted at 9:51 PM  
    I have to admit to feeling that comment moderation is censorship...not allowing the public to respond. And that may be an issue of concern on a political blog (you are going to write about politics, right?).

    But I delete comments on occasion at ModFab, because I feel that censorship is okay...I mean, it's MY blog, it's NOT a democracy, and if you want to say anti-gay shit, do it on your own space. So I do think it's censorship...and I'm okay with that.

  • Blogger FleshPresser posted at 12:32 AM  
    Interesting that you feel that way... how do you prevent spam at ModFab?

    I tend to look at it as "filtration," which may simply be a matter of semantics.

    I am obviously writing about politics - I'm not quite sure how anyone could look at PTF at this point and question that - but that doesn't necessarily give any individual the absolute right to spew whatever they want, does it?

    Does a newspaper or any other publication publish every single Letter To The Editor that they receive? Regardless of their political bias? No... instead, they exhibit editorial authority over the process.

    Ideally, that allows for all opinions to be heard, so long as they meet a certain set of literary and intellectual criteria.

    As I've said before, I believe that I publish more comments that disagree with my point of view than those that agree. And in total, I probably delete less than 1% of all comments I receive.

    I don't think that's censorship, although I suppose it could be argued as such in the strictest definition.

    So, maybe I do censor, but it's not for the sake of ideology. Rather, it's for the sake of quality, regardless of viewpoint.

    And especially considering the fact that I run a political blog, I take that responsibility VERY seriously.

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