Friday, January 11, 2013

You win -- I'm reading blog comments now!

I wrote a blog entry last year to explain that I didn't generally read comments, because so many of them were mean-spirited (toward me or other posters) or off-topic. Folks inside and outside the office took me to task for not managing my blog properly. That was partly because -- here's an admission of cluelessness -- I didn't realize comments could be deleted individually; I thought you had to whack them all or leave them all.

So one of my New Year's resolutions is to treat this blog better. I'll read it over periodically and answer questions I'm asked, though I'm likelier to do that promptly if you send an email to

And I won't step on the discourse much. I'm going to delete only three types of comments:

1) Simple name-calling: "This guy is the worst movie critic in the world." (Unless, of course, the topic that day is an attempt to identify the worst movie critic in the world.) Or "the guy who posted at 4:45 knows nothing about movies." I have the skin of a rhino, or I would have been taking these out long ago, but there's no reason for ugliness.

2) Bitching of the "I can't believe I bothered to read this stupid post" variety. If the column has no point, quit reading. You're welcome to argue with me, not to whine at me.

3) Rants. If I mention something about Barack Obama attending the Kennedy Center awards, and someone delivers a screed about how the president is really a Muslim socialist, out it goes.

The way I see it, there are two possible negative outcomes to this new attitude: 1) Readers, knowing I'm not going to monitor them every 10 minutes, will redouble attempts to say stupid or cruel things once I delete them. If that happens, the terrorists win. 2) People may decide I'm too much of a nanny and stop commenting at all. That's OK with me.

A civil discussion will always be welcome, and I guess I'll find out if I can inspire a few. But now that I've figured out what that little garbage-can icon is for, I'm going to use it from time to time.