As you know, my top 10 blog posts I read on vacation on Monday included Shel Holtz’s blog about moderating comments. Then, as we were recording InsidePR yesterday, we discussed the issue again. You can read Shel’s post here and listen to the discussion with Joe Thornley here. Sneak peak: Joe and I disagree about moderating blog comments.

I included Shel’s post because I think it’s an interesting viewpoint and because I don’t like reading only those things that support my thinking. I respect the heck out of his decision to moderate his comments. We all have different strategies for our blogs. His clearly is not the same as ours…plus he thinks if someone says something negative about someone else on his blog, he’s liable.

I vehemently disagree!

He says he found a comment that said, “Name redacted is a thief and imposter take no note of him. He is a fly by night character that moves on as he owes money.”

Come on. First of all, if that got through the spam filter (which is unlikely it would), who is to say you can’t go back and unapprove it later? Have guidelines on your blog that state you will delete comments that appear libelous to you. And delete it.

He goes on to say that he gets a lot of spam that isn’t caught. Again, I call baloney. There are great spam filters in the best commenting systems such as Livefyre (which we use and LOVE), Disqus, and Intense Debate. We don’t moderate our comments and I think I’ve had to delete maybe two spam comments that got through the filter in the past six months.

He continues his argument that his readers would rather wait hours to see their comment appear than to slog through several spam comments. I maintain just using a better commenting system because, as one of his readers, I don’t go back to see if my comment was approved. Ever. He’s lost me until he writes another post.

Here is the thing. Blogging, as Kevin Dugan stated in a comment here yesterday, is 80 IQ points. Which means the rest of the smarts come from you. And if I moderate your comments, that defeats the purpose of community, of reacting off of one another, of creating debate, of opening our minds, and of making all of us smarter.

Blogs that moderate comments always give me the impression that they’re unprofessional – kind of like having an AOL email address for business today. And, if my comment is moderated, I won’t come back later to a) see if it was approved and b) engage in the conversation again. Sure, I won’t stop reading your blog for that reason, but you won’t have my engagement.

If you want a blog that builds community and creates a 150 IQ, find a commenting system that filters the spam for you and let the people talk.

The floor is yours – let’s elevate this post to genius level. Moderating comments or no?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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