Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Private Lives, Public Service, and Blogging

Yesterday I followed up a Paul Rolly bit with a few sharp words for the new Senate Site blog. To my surprise, The Senate Site provided the first comment of the post in it's own defense. They deserve positive credit for that. The Senate Site brought up a great question that every blogger has to consider. "Should we keep every comment, regardless of content?" When I first opened SLCSPIN, I struggled with this question. After a while, I decided to let every comment stand (except spam) regardless of content. I've never regretted this decision even though I've had some comments in the past that could have been deleted for explicit content. I left them in. I have my reasons. However That is not necessarily the best policy for every blog. The Senate Site mentioned a policy of deleting comments that personally attacked family members of those politicians who participate in the blog. I think that is completely appropriate. It's also reasonable to create a policy regarding explicit content and encourage readers to make their points with mild language. But what about a comment like the one The Senate Site received that apparently toes a line between personal and private finance and campaign finance. It's a line that needs to be clarified by some ethics reform but that's another topic. So that's the question for bloggers and readers. Your State Senate is blogging (they deserve credit for that). Where do you want them to draw the line with comments?


Blogger Charley Foster said...

You have a great blog. You should check mine out...

I actually leave some spam messages up as a form of folk art - if they present a new or original way to try to scam or tease or cajole me into clicking their link. One presented itself as written by some interesting female and even asked if 'she' could get some blogging advice from me. Only 'her' blog - I don't remember exactly the subject - was about something that interesting females don't blog about.

10/05/2005 03:10:00 PM  
Anonymous The Senate Site said...

Thanks for being fair.

Wish more of your readers had responded to your question, I was looking forward to their insight. Good job keeping your blog open to all-comers.

At this point I'm not going to delete comments from the Senate Site just because they are negative or disagree with the blogger. I value the perspective they lend to the discussion. Plus, angry negative responses can give other readers a better sense for what elected officials endure. At the same time I don't feel any responsibility to provide a megaphone to every detractor, especially when criticism takes a cutting personal tone.

Hopefully we've found an appropriate balance for a site like ours.

In the three or four weeks since our site has been live I have only deleted one comment. (Of course it was immediately written up in Rolly's column. Should have expected that.)

We'd still appreciate thoughtful advice from you or any of your readers. Let me know if inspiration strikes.

10/17/2005 12:12:00 AM  

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