In the past I've received complaints about the fact that I moderate the comments on my blog. I've been accused of stifling free speech and only allowing through worthless, censored pap. I've even had nasty comments that challenged me to post them and accused me of having no huevos if I didn't.
I actually did begin to wonder if maybe there was something wrong with moderating my comments, but to my rescue came Jeff Atwood. Jeff firmly believes that a blog without comments is not a blog. I subscribe to his blog and I recently came across a post called, "Finally, a Definition of Programming I Can Actually Understand" which begins with a discussion of the merits of allowing comments on your blog.
He doesn't moderate but he does "... scrutinize every comment, and I remove a tiny percentage of them: they might be outright spam, patently off-topic, or just plain mean. I like to refer to this as weeding my web garden. " So whilst allowing comments, he moderates the real bad stuff after the fact.
In his article he refers to Joel Spolsky (another guy whose blog I follow) who takes quite a different view, namely that comments are a waste of time and a distraction from the ideas that a blog post is trying to communicate. He quotes Dave Winer, who says that blogs should be the unedited voice of a person and that if you want to comment then get your own blog.
So, here I am being presented with two very convincing arguments: 1) allow comments, with minimal moderation and 2) to hell with comments. What should I do?
Well, as usual, I think the best route through this minefield is the middle road. Extremes tend to be ... well, extreme. So, my policy is to hit the middle road between the two and say: This blog is (as Dave Winer puts it) my voice and I will allow comments which I feel contribute to what I'm trying to say.
Questions are a different kettle of fish and I already have a policy on those (Questions about Scientology).
So that's my two cents on the subject. What do ya'll think about comments, the two extremes of handling them and my solution?