Day 11 of the Comment Challenge involves writing a comment policy. I was congratulating myself that I already had done this. But when I reviewed the information I have written about comments, it is more of a 'how to' as opposed to a specific policy.
A conversation getting out of hand
The idea of a comments policy is one that has resonated with me over the last few days as a result of a conversation that was developing last weekend around a post that I wrote about the online behavior of health professionals. I wanted to discuss how we as health professionals should behave in a professional manner in the online context, but the conversation looked like it might disintegrate into a series of personal attacks on a specific person.
I was not at all sure how to deal with it because whilst I did not want to interfere with the freedom of speech, I did not want my blog pulled into other people's arguments. I also did not want my blog to get a reputation other than the one I am trying to build for it as a place for friendly learning and discussion.
I have chosen not to moderate comments because I believe it adds a barrier to commenting. And the vast majority of the time, the comments on this blog are very polite and constructive. But a policy will help me when dealing with difficult situations in the future.
Ideas for my policy
I like the comment policy used by Lisa Barrett, a midwife whose blog is called 'Homebirth: a midwife Mutiny'. She writes
I genuinely welcome your comments, whether you agree with my posts or not. Debate is healthy and we can all learn from it.
However, comments that are plain rude, demeaning or inciteful are going to be deleted pretty sharpish.
There are plenty of futile flame-wars over the Internet, where everybody wants to be heard but nobody wants to listen. This blog will not be joining them.
My policy will be based on Lisa's policy and include a few extra clarifications taken from Lorelle VanFossen in her post 'Does your blog have a comments policy?'.
In view of last weekend's events I have written this policy as a reminder to me about my online behavior as much as anything.
I have added my new policy to my information page - what do you think?
Image: 'self explaining addiction' procsilas