Comments Problems and Policies

It's high time that I make a note about how comments are handled on this blog. This has been made particularly urgent by the fact that I was until recently getting an overwhelming amount of spam comments, which in turn led me to up the spam filter, which in turn led some real comments to be miscategorized as spam...and so forth. Big headache. Hopefully all of the real comments have now been published, and hopefully my spam filter will not swallow up any more of them.

However, there will be times in the future--and in fact there have been times in the past--when certain non-spam comments do not see publication. It's a matter of judgement on my part, essentially, but generally speaking the comments need to be substantive, and at least to some extent, they also need to be on point. So nasty personal attacks on myself or others won't be published. And albeit to a lesser extent, I will also limit completely off-point comments--especially when I am hoping for helpful feedback on a particular post but off-point comments seem likely to turn the discussion in an unwanted direction. However, there are really only a very few cases in which I'm a hardass about this. In general, when someone goes to the effort to come up with a comment and post it, I respect that intellectual activity and I unhesitatingly publish it.

That said, I do monitor all comments to ensure that they are substantive and on point. And because sometimes I'm away from my computer for a while, this means that your comment may not appear immediately. I do apologize for this, but it's the nature of the beast, and I don't see any way around it if I'm to maintain any control over the discussion and weed out attacks and the like. If you want your comments to appear immediately, then you do have an option: Sign up with a service like TypeKey, which allows me to recognize you as a "Trusted Commenter" who can post immediately. So far more than 30 individuals have been so recognized by this site.

Anyway, I have waited far too long to explain all of this--as my readers, it's your right to know. All of that said, I do think commenting has generally been working wonderfully on this blog, and I thank you for your input thus far. With about 125 entries here, there have been over 1,200 comments, which to me clearly signifies a robust and lasting intellectual dialogue. Thank you all for contributing to that.


More like this

I have laid all of this out before (um, I hope). But it may be helpful, once again, to explain--so that there's no misunderstanding--about how I handle comments to this blog. First: Comments do not appear immediately. I go through and read each one and "approve" it. Virtually all comments are…
Update: Okay, screw Typekey, it's anything goes here. Anyone may comment, comments will be immediately published, and I will rely on the spam filter. Let's see how that works! Advantages: Still less work for me, less hassle for you. I can always delete spam that slips through. Also, apparently…
Just so folks know: ScienceBlogs is experimenting with some new anti-spam stuff, which should do away with the need for typekey. I've disabled typekey for Goodmath/Badmath, and we'll how it goes. If you've got cookies or cached data for the site, you might have a bit of trouble with comments for a…
So I've been offline a lot the last few weeks - as you know we had 10 kids in our house for a couple of days the week before Thanksgiving, and I was out of town until yesterday. While a few posts have gone up, I've spent absolutely no time on anything other than absolute necessities online. So…

Good idea, Chris.

I'm new to typekey, so I'm not sure if this will work. I'm testing it with this message, which you may delete. I presume if I did things right, the message will show up immediately.

Didn't work. I may not be the only one who needs help with this. I discovered my "token" that I am supposed to paste into my weblog configuration screen, whatever that is. Am I missing something simple.

Enlighten all of us, please.

didn't seem to work...I couldn't figure out typekey either, or else i myself would be using it to post on my site. as it is, i have to clear my own comments!!!!

Actually, it probably isn't working. Chris happened to be approving comments as I submitted mine, which is why I thought it was working.

This is a new test. Chris, please tell us all if you needed to approve this. If so, perhaps a Typekey guru can explain to everybody how to get it to work.

I needed to approve it. You have to be Einstein to figure out Type Key.