We have to put someone’s IP address or e-mail address on a list that recognizes that address and holds the comment for approval. (The same filter sometimes catches some of our regular commenters unintentionally.) However, this post is not about our community members who somehow get snagged in the filter but about another group. If you get assigned to the moderation list you will know because we have been in conversation with you. Why do I have to do this? I thought it might be worth your knowing what happens at times behind the scenes. I confess it is these commenters who wear my patience thin.
Here’s a pattern in some commenters:
1. Aggressive comments are posted.
2. I ask the person to be more reasonable and less accusatory, caustic or volatile.
3. They respond back that they are reasonable and that I’m biased, often making accusations about me.
4. They post more aggressive comments.
5. I delete the aggressive comments and notify them.
6. They get aggressive about how they are reasonable and not aggressive.
Here are some facts. We get about 6000 hits per day on this site; we get about 3000 unique visitors per day, sometimes more and sometimes less; about 5% of the readers make comments — but I can’t quite figure out the percentage with any confidence.
Maybe one person every three months raises my hackles; maybe my hackles are raised because I’m a teacher.
Yes, I have to monitor the conversation; yes, I monitor according to my own lights and according to what I think is appropriate for this BlogCommunity. Yes, we have established a community tone. When someone doesn’t fit that tone, it stands out to me. I could be wrong. But I have to monitor the site and I’m proud of how this site has operated.
We have plenty of disagreements on this site, but it is a kind of disagreement that concerns us at times.
Added later in the day: The guiding principle is this — we are sitting over coffee and chatting. Talk on this blog the way you would with us over coffee. (If you shout at us, we’ll all be embarrassed and the cafe will kick us out — or you can listen to us when we suggest we calm down a bit.)