Monday, April 23, 2012

Blog Management & Comment Policy

Just like with any other endeavor, learning how to best manage a blog is a matter of trial and error. There are plenty of etiquette tips out there, and one good suggestion I came across is to establish a comment policy. Negative comments are, unfortunately, a likelihood, so setting down how you will deal with them is important. First of all, the general consensus is to allow dissenting views. I agree with this, but I also think boundaries are necessary to maintain a professional quality blog. Personal attacks do not belong on either the blog page or in its comments. Regardless of how carefully you try to word the views you are expressing via your blog, you cannot control what may offend another person.

I recommend regularly editing your blog content to best reflect your theme in a nonconfrontational manner, without watering down your posts and thus interfering with the integrity of your writing. Say what you have to say clearly and succinctly. Specific examples are more effective than generalized comments, so complete anonymity is not possible, nor should your readers expect it, if you are writing about your own life. It is a delicate balance, and only the continued experience of writing will achieve the desired results. Be as careful as you can with the tone of your blog, while understanding that the tone you intend and how a reader takes it may not be the same. The tone of the comments you allow should also be respectful and polite. So here is my policy:

1. My blog is my space, and I have the right to moderate all comments before choosing to post or not to post. All comments have been placed on the moderation setting, to be previewed before potential posting.
2. Polite, respectful differences of opinion will be allowed, but no personal attacks or attacks against any group of people, foul language, or comments of a nature that I deem inappropriate for whatever reason will be published. 
3. The comments option is currently open to anyone, but this status may change.
4. While I post blog links to Facebook to extend readership, I prefer comments to be made at the blog website itself, where they can be moderated. My feeling is that negativity and comments of a personal nature, as well as extended conversations and arguments, creates an unprofessional atmosphere.
5. I reserve the right to delete any comments from my Facebook wall, with no explanation.
6. Comments most likely to be published are those in reflection of the specific content of the post, rather than judgments upon me personally. I welcome opinions on the work itself.
7. My blog falls in the literary genre of the personal essay, and therefore is a work of creative nonfiction, not to be expected to be entirely factual like a newspaper article. My posts are opinion pieces from my personal perspective on a particular theme, reflecting my own experiences and supported at times by professional or factual information. A balanced approach to possible sides of any issue is not to be expected. Comments should reflect an understanding of this nature of the blog.