Ruling with an iron fist

Someone more or less anonymous tried to comment:

the fact that you removed my first (quite witty, although critical) comment is as ridiculous as you making all of these points up just to score some “fun points” with your readers.

In this particular case I never saw your original, witty post.  Sorry.  It probably got swallowed by my spam filter.  I rarely look at the spam bin; there’s a lot of it, and if something gets mis-filed then I’ve decided so be it.  I have better things to do than wade through thousands of rip-off ads and scams.  Sorry if I’m dropping diamonds on the floor, but if your deathless prose needs air, you can put it up in some other forum.

I’ll be blunt: This is my forum.  It’s my ball and I am accountable to no one.  Some people have actually phoned me up and complained, or asked for retractions or more credit.  I do not give a damn about equal time for everyone.  I will do as I like here, and if you don’t like that your options are limited.

Another point of clarity: Comments must be approved by me.  I don’t approve comments that are off-color, or that I feel are not in the correct spirit, or that I just plain don’t like.  In other words I exercise ruthless and total editorial control.  I generally try to be nice and let even jerks through, but I’m not required to.

About a quarter of the things I wrote below are made up (but I wish were true).  The remainder are things that I have done, or that I have seen people do.  Since this is my ball game, I’m not going to identify which are which, simply because I like it that way.

Finally, scoring “fun points” with my readers is not high on my list of priorities (frankly, thinking I have a responsibility to an audience is a pain in the ass).  If you like what I write, then have fun.  If you don’t, there’s a whole internet full of other, better writers, and I invite you to spend time enjoying what they write.

On the other hand, “I liked that post” versus “You suck, you liar” is running in the low-hundreds-to-one, which I think speaks for itself.

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16 Responses to Ruling with an iron fist

  1. Rommel says:

    People need to realize that Blogs are not discussion forums. The blogger sends a message to his/her readers, but the readers don’t get to reply. Comments are just there so that the blogger can get feedback.

    At least that’s how I think of it.

  2. markchd says:

    This is as it should be.

  3. Matt S Trout says:

    Funnily enough, I’ve spent three days trawling through your archives falling about laughing (dogs in elk is much beloved of my girlfriends) and just did a write up on a fairly similar topic – except focusing on gardening communities rather than on LARTing specific people in your own back yard.

    So, applause for the rest of the blog (especially the rantage section) and applause for making the necessary point that you won’t tolerate that sort of silliness.

    (anybody wondering where the article is – I’ve used it for my URL on this comment rather than spamming it inline and detracting from the applause 🙂

  4. Well, somebody has to moderate / be in charge of forums typically. With nobody in charge, it just becomes a shared dumping ground like usent groups became. Good riddance to that.

  5. mish says:

    I really like what you write. Keep at it, it seems like you’re enjoying yourself, and so are we.

  6. otterdam says:

    +1

    When every man and his dog have set themselves up with a blog, only then may they stop seeing ‘Comments’ as ‘Right to Reply’. Not that having a blog will prevent them wanting to piggyback off your readership.

  7. Garu says:

    I love your site just as it is! My day to day work existence is pretty sad and getting to read your blog every once in a while really makes a difference in my day. I especially love when you write about your Atari days. For whatever reason you do this, and where ever you get the inspiration, I hope it never changes.

  8. Trevor says:

    “This is my forum. It’s my ball and I am accountable to no one.”

    Darn straight ! Keep up the great work 🙂

  9. Give ’em hell, Dandy Loner!

  10. “I generally try to be nice and let even jerks through”

    It’s TRUE! See? He lets my comments through. Ironclad proof.

    Cheers!

  11. Andy Konecny says:

    Add me to the list of “likes your posts”
    but the real question is what is the count of those who read your blog and don’t comment? Generally people won’t read what they don’t like on a regular basis, so just under the average number of hits a day, minus those who complain, is the real number of those who “like your posts”

    Please continue to please yourself in your writing, and the rest of us will gladly enjoy it.

  12. $mike says:

    “I bet you they won’t play this song on the radio…”

  13. pegr says:

    A month between posts? I may have to stop coming here…

  14. Mark says:

    @pegr More over, I think you should ask for your money back.

  15. pegr says:

    My time is my money in this context. Oh, and no refunds. 😉

  16. Law professor Bainbridge agrees:

    My policy on comment moderation is based on the moment in the 1980 Presidential campaign when Ronald Reagan declared “I paid for this microphone.”

    This is not a public forum. I pay for it. So there are no rules. There is simply an arbitrary despotism in which freedom of speech depends mainly on how cranky I’m feeling at the moment. Granted, long time readers get more slack than newbies, but nobody has a “right” to be heard in this space any more than you would in my house. If you think that’s censorship, you’re wrong. It’s just private property.

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