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tigtog (aka Viv) is the founder of this blog. She lives in Sydney, Australia: husband, 2 kids, cat, house, garden, just enough wine-racks and (sigh) far too few bookshelves.

This author has written 3457 posts for Hoyden About Town. Read more about tigtog »

14 responses to “Deleting blog comments: exercise of Property Rights vs Free Speech”

  1. Mindy

    I like the addendum. When I recently had the temerity to disagree while female, on a blog which shall not be named, it ended up with the usual commenters on that blog discussing what they believed my sexual mores to be. It was funny from my perspective because they were hilariously wrong, and also endlessly fascinating seeing how people think of themselves and how they appear to others. Of course I am guilty of this too. I prefer moderated blogs. So much nicer to interact in.

    But yes, I can’t understand how someone can demand to be allowed to comment all over your blog and claim censorship if you don’t allow it. If someone were shutting down comments on all blogs on the Internet you might be able to make that argument. But even then you have other avenues of expression.

  2. tigtog

    I’ve added a few extra links to the post to some of the recent posts about cyberbullying/harassment etc.

    I wish more bloggers appeared to grok how much they’re letting others control their blog, instead of acting like this is just shit that happens and has to be dealt with on the public record. Of course you can’t keep the shitheads away from your blog entirely, but you can deal with their shit by filtering it out before publication rather than having it stink up your blog for the readers and the commentors you actually enjoy hosting.

    Note that I’m not saying that deleting the obnoxious shite is a castiron rule here. As Stephanie Zvan posted earlier this year, Don’t Feed The Trolls is Bad Science (and also often used as just another silencing tactic) – responding dispassionately so that their shite can be debunked/deconstructed for the lurkers is an effective countermeasure. But only if it doesn’t derail the thread from the original topic, which gives their obnoxiousness more power than it deserves.

    Don’t Feed the Trolls can still, IMO, be good advice as a self-preservation tip if all they’re doing is engorging the obstreperal lobe. But if you’ve gone beyond anger into productive clarity, then engaging them rigorously (ideally on a new thread to avoid derailing the original) is not only useful for clearly delineating boundaries/standards/ethics etc, it can often be invigorating.

  3. Mindy

    As the blog owner/author I think you can do that TT. As a mug commenter being yelled at for ‘lying’ i.e. disagreeing, not being listened to, being called all manner of things, being told I was an insult to feminism (as if somehow they are the arbiters of feminism) etc. made it really difficult to engage. Even the commenter who did engage a bit still indulged in a lot of slagging off. Then said later on another thread how nice it was when we got along! Later discovered this was their M.O. – disagree and nasty, agree and ‘oh isn’t it nice when we get along’.

  4. tigtog

    That’s exactly the point, Mindy – it’s only really the blog owners/moderators who can set the tone and when necessary cut derails/attacks off at the knees. Regular commentors can be supportive auxiliaries in a best case culture, or over-sensitive wagon-circlers in a blog under attack, or gleeful way-too-soon pouncers in a badly guided culture. Mistakes get made by all the parties – bloggers, newbies, regulars and dissenters.

    I’ve sometimes been less engaged with the blog than is ideal for fostering a well-regulated sense of care and attention on all the comments threads. It’s generally been because of Reasons, but when that happens I need to do what I’ve been doing lately – post less, think/lurk/respond moar.

  5. Mindy

    Yes, please excuse me while I step off my high horse here and start listening to what is actually being said.

  6. tigtog

    I didn’t think you were on a high horse, FWIW.

  7. Mindy

    I thought I needed to get over myself. I think I’ve done that now.

    Anyway, bluemilk finds the best stuff on the internet. I really like this post.

  8. Ellie

    Agree with what you said. The example of Ann Coulter was off, though. There, an event had been organized and sanctioned by those who owned the private property (the University). However, a secondary group intervened (the students) and silenced the original speech that had been approved.

    That seems more like a parade or speech (original event) that is derailed by protestors (secondary speech). Usually in that situation, the government has stepped in to protect the free speech of the original event. And – in truth – it’s pretty bad form to effect a form of protest that silences an event lawfully scheduled for a venue and where others genuinely want to listen.

  9. tigtog

    ElliseEllie, are you absolutely sure about exactly the version of events you’re repeating there about what went down at Ottawa University when Anne Coulter visited on her speaking tour? Because I read rather a lot about it before I wrote this post: Ann Coulter loves competition in the free market, except when it’s competition in free speech

  10. kvd

    What a good post! Should be repeated, copied, plagiarised, on every blog which values civilised discussion. And that link@7 is really worth the trouble of a close read as well.

    Thanks tigtog.

  11. tigtog

    Thanks yourself, kvd, for reminding me to thank Mindy for that link at #7. There’s a terrible lot to chew on in that discussion thread, even though that particular ethical problem is one that we’ve sidestepped here at Hoyden by thus far not monetising the blog, basically because of exactly that huge can of worms .

  12. Mindy

    I can’t take credit for bluemilk’s work!

  13. tigtog

    you’ve already attributed the source, you’re still the one who dropped the link here. Bask, baby – bask!

  14. Mindy

    *basking* cough cough blergh *basking*

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