Deleting comments on blogs

From a post about failed real estate investor Casey Serin, who has received large amounts of hate mail, comes comments about Kathy Sierra, who recently received death threats and vicious sexual slurs for no apparent reason.

So what does Kathy Sierra think should be done about cyber hate?

She also thinks it could be time to re-examine whether the blogosphere needs to be completely uncensored.

“There is an unwritten rule in the blogosphere that it is wrong to delete nasty comments. It suggests that you can’t take criticism but now there is a sense that this is nonsense,” she said.

Polizeros can and does delete comments. The best way to have sane comments where people feel relaxed about posting is to filter out the nasty attacks, outright loonies, those trying to start fights, and in a political blog, attacks from the other side.

This blog started in 2002, and the most vicious, racist, ugly comments were posted duing the immigrant rights marches of 2006 by right wing extremists. But you never saw them. That’s because I deleted them before they appeared. And there were dozens of them.

The other subject here that gets nasty comments is Palestine, but when several similarly worded Zionist comments appear within a few minutes of each other, well, you don’t see those either.

Casey Serin, however deluded, does not deserve hate mail. No one does. What happened to Kathy Sierra should not happen to anyone. Locking out the rage-filled and the loonies from comments is a good way to prevent it from happening.

  • Woody

    In general one should not censor postings, but even free speech rights have sensible limits. Free speech is a good thing, but with that freedom comes the reality that you’re responsible for what you say. You have the right to lie if you want to, but if you do it under oath, or if it constitutes liable, there’s a penalty.

    Reality is that a blog is no different than a community bulletin board at a private business. It will have as much tolerance as the hosting organization, just like any privately held property. As long as the host is up front about what’s allowed and what’s not, and is fair about enforcing it, most people won’t have a problem with it. I’ve found this site to be quite fair in what’s allowed, more so than I personally would have been in some instances.

  • Anyone who believes in absolute free speech should go into a crowded cinema and shout ‘bomb’ and see what happens.

    Free speech isn’t the right to tell lies about people, to slander them or to threaten them.

  • Soem Dood

    I agree terrible threatening comments ought to be deleted, but you mentioned Casey — if it were not for other sources, you would not know what was really going on becasue he moderates comments so heavily. But there is an alternative!

    After tiring myself out trying to figure out what the heck this dude Casey Serin is actually up to, I finally found a place that catalogs his activities, history, associations, and purpose.

    The site bills itself as “the leading semi-satirical wiki about foreclosure blogs”, and I’d say that’s accurate, given the predictably rather vertical market for “semi-satirical wikis on the topic of foreclosure blogs.” Still, it’s a good read.


    Casey Serin

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