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Jan 5, 2010

Comment Moderation, Censorship, and Blogs

Hi All, 

Lots of things have got me thinking of late. Particularly the power of the internet community, and how some can become so hateful towards others on it. And yet others when they are only expressing a valid (albeit opposing) opinion can be judged equally as harshly as those that are intent on doing harm. 

In no way was this more shown more clearly than on Emily's blog: Under 1000 Per Month . To be frank, I wouldn't even usually link to this kind of blog because I find it, well, very extreme, and there are parts on it that I cannot and will not condone (consider this your warning). However in the past couple of days there was a lot of judgement flying around: it was on for young and old. This was due to comment moderation being removed. It certainly created a war like environment in there. Comment moderation is back up, and it seems to have settled down, albeit through what amounts to censorship.

Personally, comment moderation isn't something I would like to do on my blog. For one thing I don't get enough comments to warrant it, and for another I would rather have an open policy from the start. Don't get me wrong, if I had the volume Emily does it would certainly be something I would have to consider. But really? I can't see that happening. For one thing I don't publicise my blog the way she does: and probably never will. I am not trying to make money from it, nor set world records in the number of comments I receive or return. At the moment I receive anything from 30 to 80 hits a day, and that is ok with me.In saying that, my blog readership is growing, but I am not seeking it: it is coming to me. 

I sort of fell into blogging: it still astounds me that people I don't know read it: and actually want to read it. It absolutely blows my mind when I come across people referencing and recommending my blog, or writing to me personally to let me know how much they enjoy it. So thank you if you have done any of those things: it makes me smile. 

As a blog author I have a responsibility to my readers: to listen, to respond to questions etc. I wrote to Emily:

To be frank Emily, criticism/trolls/varying views/questions are part of what a blog is. And as part of your role as a bloggy author is to accept valid criticism, answer valid questions, etc etc regardless of how hard it may be to do so. I don't think some of what went on in the past couple of days was valid, so I can see your concern, and think you have valid reasons to put up moderation. 

As for me? On my own site, it is a non issue, and in fact I would consider it a form of censorship, at least in this zone. As for the future, I would take it as it comes. 



Amber said...

I don't agree with a lot of what Emily does. Well, scratch that, I agree with next to nothing that Emily does. But I do think that she should moderate her comments. It's just ridiculous what goes on in there. I like it as much as the next person, but I know that some of her readers (the ones who aren't looking for the drama), really don't like all the nastiness in the comment section.

If I were Emily, I'd definitely moderate out the rudest of comments. But I can't imagine my little blog would ever get to that point!

Princess Jo said...

my point precisely. lol.

Grace said...

Wow, I'd seen Emily's blog talked about on freejinger, but I hadn't connected the dots until now. Wow. Can't say I approve of a lot of her lifestyle choices, but I"m not one to tell her how to raise her family. A little over year ago, Z and I weren't earning much money and we were considered on the poverty line, but because of our lifestyle and the way we spent our money, we lived better than a lot of our more gainfully employed friends. So I have faith that she's doing the best she can for her family, and I do know it is possible to eat very well for cheap. That said, tube meat? I don't even know what that is and I don't want to know. It sounds ick. *noms my yummy australian beef*

I saw that post that that person made on Dan's blog, and you replied to. That was very low, what that person said. There have been times when I've wanted to do stuff like that, but you just don't. It crosses a line that shouldn't be crossed, unless there are issues like suicide, or serious crimes going on. God knows how much stupid, stupid stuff I've said on the internet, especially when I was about 16-18. I'm glad that none of it has come back to bite me on the bum *fingers crossed :P*. On many of the forums and communities I'm a member of, they have a policy of not carrying over the snarking into the snarkee's world IRL, which I think works very well.It means you can be a douche on the internet, and people can call you out on it on the internet, but you can still walk down the street without your neighbours or your boss knowing exactly what you think of XYZ.

The internet is a great space to explore new ideas and to try on new personalities and view points. I know for a fact that it helped me change my mind on many of the things in my life. It would be a sad state of affairs if the internet lost the anonymity and the trust that allowed people to do that.

As for censorship, I don't think Emily's blog would ever be a space conducive to the open exchange of ideas. I don't think it was intended to be that way. What quiverfull leaning person would host a blog like that? Congrats on your blogging too, both for your longevity, and for your growing readership.

Looking forward to reading more,


Laura said...

meh, Emily likes the controversy. It gives her traffic, and therefore money. I've seen the intelligence in her posts and have seen them go from decent to outrageous so I don't buy that she's "doing the best she can" and just happens to be blogging about it.

I don't believe her prices and I don't believe that's all the food they buy. I don't believe she thinks for a moment she's doing the "best she can". She's doing it for the income she brings in. I think what she does amounts to a blogging form of panhandling. You'd be surprised at the money people begging for it can make.

I don't visit her blog anymore because I think she herself is rude, at one point calling everyone who didn't make a price book like she does "lazy." Just for one example. She invites the controversy with open arms, and it works. That's why she doesn't address certain issues or apologize: she lets people do it for her in the comments, bringing them back in comment wars. It gives her attention and traffic. Case in point: Yours is the second blog I've seen linked to hers in my reader just today. Even if you did get a lot more traffic, the atmosphere would be a lot nicer because you don't create controversy and nastiness in your posts.


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