Tina K. Russell

November 16, 2008

Baleeted

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Tina Russell @ 12:07 pm

I’ve deleted a bunch of posts lately, and I’ve realized I need to talk about my deletion policy. I write this with a bit of a heavy heart, because I just marked something as “spam” that I mostly agreed with. (I thought it sounded like a boilerplate response… read on.)

A lot of my thinking is influenced by whether or not the post leaves a link, which most do. Now, if you want your blog to have exposure on mine, that’s fine. I always like to have my blog linked to in my comments on other blogs, so that people can follow my name back here. Please just make sure you’re adding to the discussion, though! Don’t post a standard response just so that you can put your link on my blog. That will get your post baleeted. Read my post and write what you think, because I’m always really grateful when people write their thoughts and reactions on my blog.

That said, I don’t have a magic power to divine what’s a legitimate post and what’s copy-and-paste. I should make this clear more than anything: I’m a fallible human being. I’m going to make bad calls. You’re not going to have much luck in challenging my decisions because they are arbitrary. I’m probably never going to spell out fixed rules or a comment policy; I just think I owe it to my readers (and to my puffed-up sense of importance) to write about what’s likely to get your comment deleted and what’s likely to get it through.

…And, it’s pretty easy to get a comment through. I try to err on the side of caution, so don’t worry about what you write, just write something in response to my post that you thought or felt. What I’m usually cautious about is lengthy screeds that seem like they’ve been copied and pasted. But, don’t be afraid to rant on my blog if the spirit calls you to do so; I tend to be suspicious only when it seems like the post was written out beforehand.

Another thing I don’t accept is hate. This is hard to quantify… my feeling in general on comments is that if your comment added to the discussion, it stays, no questions asked. Hate is something that doesn’t add to the discussion, it’s just an attack. But, hmmm. If I write a post complaining about a pundit, and you respond “yeesh, that guy is an idiot,” I’ll probably keep your post because that’s a straight-up opinion (and I always enjoy a bit of commiseration). But, if you write “that guy is a fascist,” I’ll probably be more skeptical (unless you actually delve into what comprises fascism and why it’s so scary, which nobody seems to do these days). I’d probably still keep that comment, though. If you call him a racial slur, it will probably be deleted right away.

That brings me to another point. Another major feeling I have on comments is that there are certain things that I don’t want my blog used for. It’s not for copy-and-paste boilerplate responses, sure. It’s not for advertising. It’s not for hate. At the same time, obviously, discussion doesn’t get anywhere if I don’t allow opposing opinions. Anyway, freedom of speech is that you can get your own WordPress blog and write whatever you want, but I choose what stays and goes on my blog.

There are some gray areas here. If you write something on my blog that is gently ignorant, like if you say that transsexuality is not a legitimate medical condition, it will probably stay. (That could change. If my blog ever became a transsexual hangout, I would probably want it to be a place safe from the obnoxious questioning we get all the time out in the world.) If you say “trannies are sick and should die,” or something, of course I’m going to delete that. It’s bad faith, it’s vandalism. It doesn’t belong on my blog.

I once wrote a post echoing Thomas Friedman’s praise of Denmark for its environmental initiatives, and somebody wrote a post calling some Danish politician a fascist and linking to his anti-Denmark website. It was not a copy-and-paste response, and it was clear that he had read my post. It was also clear that he was looking around for places mentioning Denmark and writing pithy responses with an included link. I thought the site was hateful, painting all Denmark with one brush by picking out the kind of lunatics that are in every country. I deleted the comment right away; I didn’t want my site used for that.

The tough part about this is that, if you are reading this post, and especially if you have read to the end (I’m impressed!), I can give you 99.9% odds that your comments will all stay. Clearly you are thoughtful enough to wonder about the content of your speech and reflect on it, which means that you probably haven’t posted (or ever will post) the kind of things that I delete, such as stock responses and hate. I guess my biggest point is don’t worry, you’re probably not even of the inclination. And if I ever delete a post in error, if I ever misjudge somebody’s honest, thoughtful response (or even somebody’s gut reaction, those are good too), I’m sorry in advance and I hope you’ll forgive me.

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2 Comments »

  1. Hi Tina
    Here’s a simple boilerplate “Thank You” for posting your thoughts and helping to expand my world view.

    Comment by John — November 17, 2008 @ 10:52 pm

  2. I’ll cut and paste my response: you’re welcome! 😉

    Comment by Tina Russell — November 18, 2008 @ 7:16 am


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