Joe Clark on comments

November 23, 2009 / Comments in online communities do need to be administered, and sometimes deleted.

Joe Clark remarks on some fundamentals for making comments work:

  1. Don’t enable comments unless you really have to. Even if you do, some postings don’t need comments.
  2. You need published guidelines and a separate place to discuss the application of same.
  3. You must have courage in your convictions and must have enough backbone to delete comments and ban users when necessary.
    1. If you are too much of a pussy to throw your weight around now and then because somebody might call you a tyrant or a censor, hang up your skates right now and save everybody some trouble.
    2. It’s slightly more desirable to delete first and ask questions later than the converse.

He also points to Metafilter as the paradigm case for how to do it right, and I agree. The fact that the admins delete uncivil posts keeps it a reasonable place to spend your time.

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