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30 December 2009


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Hmmm, I wonder how you would feel about the use of "blog" as a verb? I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. Of course, as you well know, I've never been a big fan of the word blog itself. Ugly sounding word. ;)


Gina Spadafori

Wow. It's as if I just had a similar conversation with ... hmmmm ... whoooo?


Don't hold back!

Nathan J. Winograd


Well, I guess my commenting on your blog is hypocritical since I am one of those you listed as not allowing commenting on my (pseudo-)blog, but you allow it and I don't so I will.

I'll put aside the arguments about the lack of rigid rules in the social media, about what a blog is or isn't not being defined by any interest group or person in particular.

My reason is simply that I do not want to provide a forum for anyone to advocate the killing of animals. As someone who believes that animals have a right to live, it simply comes down to that for me.


But Nathan, why couldn't you just remove those comments when they appear, or empower trusted users to hide them, as they do on other controversial blogs?


One blog I read has a "policy" that goes something like this:

"My blog is like my living room. You are allowed to disagree with me, but you have to be respectful".

And that is pretty much my own policy - I moderate comments, but will publish anything that is not abusive.

One "well-known" dog blogger is infamous for heavily filtering comments, and watch out if you attempt to post something that goes against his statements - you get some pretty nasty, immature e-mail. And that's one blog I no longer bother with, no matter how "important" his message.

As for people like Nathan not allowing comments, I read his blog more like an editorial column of a newspaper - it may result in conversations elsewhere (a virtual water-cooler, I guess), but not being able to comment on that blog directly doesn't bother me.

Susan Fox

But Nathan, what a tremendous opportunity that would give you to make your point directly to those people in a forum that the rest of us would have access to.

At the least, you'd draw them out into the open where you could destroy them with your compelling prose.

Insist on civility of expression as a condition of being allowed to comment.

There's a couple of blogs I don't bother with anymore because they apparently don't allow comments or at least not those that aren't from a select few. One is a nationally known artist whose workshop I was seriously considering....until he round-filed my comments. Phooey on him. I'll pay my money to study with someone else.


KB, that is how I read Nathan's blog, too. And I have no problem with him making that choice, I just think it makes it not really a blog.

Which is, you know, just an editorial category, not a moral judgment, LOL.

Mike Fry

Have you folks READ the comments on most blogs? I have. I publish a couple of blogs. I admit that I keep mine "open". At the same time, I have no issue with people who do not. This is not a black/white issue.

A person's blog is whatever they want it to be. A blog is that person's LOG of their world. They have no need to provide comments on their world view at all.

Susan R.

I also don't really even think of Nathan's posts as a "blog," but as an opinion piece. And when I read articles and blogs in political publications, the sheer volume of the commentary means that I simply do not have the time to wade through the morass, and miss whatever in there might be truly worth reading. Unless I wanted to make reading comments my full-time occupation.


Mike, what would you say defines a blog as distinct from other forms of media?

Mel Freer

I have no problem with comments on my bog. I think it enriches the discussion, but the spammers are relentless!


Gina Spadafori used to advocate spamming become a death penalty offense. Not sure if she's softened on that, or become more convinced of it. ;)

Mike Fry

Since this is all in good fun and all, I thought I would ask the following question: I answered your question to me in a comment I made quite a while ago... it is not yet on your site.

As a result, I suspect that you filter comments on your site. And, actually, I believe you said that you do.

So, my question to you is this: what is different about filtering some comments? Or filtering all comments? One of these choices seems less biased than the other. Which do you think I mean?


Mike... ME? I don't filter comments here at all! Do you mean someone else?

Mike Fry

If I am mistaken, I will answer your question again...

A blog is a weB LOG, in effect a personal diary of someone's experience in the world. This is different from other media. It is like a personal diary. A good blog includes personal experiences, feelings, etc.

Expecting that a blog include comments is like demanding that Ellen come out in front of a jerry falwell fan club, and the she sit back and take their feedback.

Whether or not someone wants to do that is their own choice, not yours. If they chose not to, it implies nothing about what they are saying.

You are conflating news and blogging. Two totally different concepts.


Okay, let's start with the comments thing. You are absolutely mistaken; I don't have any kind of filtering program set up on this blog whatsoever. None. Typepad blocks known spammers from the whole service, but at the individual blog level, I got nuthin'. I just zap spam when it's posted. If you posted a comment here that never appeared, it was eaten by a glitch. I never saw it.

Of course it's someone's own choice what they do with their blog. It's also someone's own choice if they wear Crocs, and I have criticized that, too.

I'm simply saying, in an over the top kind of way, that I don't really consider it blogging if someone is just publishing an opinion piece without any interactive component. I believe interactivity to be essential to what a "blog" is rather than another form of publishing that is not interactive (although non-interactive publishing is getting rarer every day). You disagree -- that's fine. But there's no question here of CHOICE. I have no power or desire to make anyone do anything!

I don't understand why you think I'm conflating news and blogging.

Mike Fry

Because I think you are. The term BLOG or weB LOG implies a publishing, not a comment period.

The huge success of blogs that do not accept comments proves this form of media works without them. Some readers (myself included, even though my blogs allow comments) believe that comments can distract from the blog, especially when the content is very new and fresh, which is what blogs are supposed to be.

Fortunately, there are no blog police. You and I can accept comments. Plenty of others don't. They are all "real" blogs.

Now, go see "Much Ado About Nothing".


Well, I still don't agree with your definition of a blog, and what sets it apart from other media... but I'll allow myself to be distracted by Shakespeare. ;)

No Kill Houston

Comments or no comments, it doesn’t bother me either way. It does bother me when websites such as HSUS’ ask for comments. So I take the time to post a comment, see it on their website, then later see that it has been deleted... I'm guessing because I didn’t agree with the HSUS statement.

I use a Blog and don’t allow comments either. I use a Blog mostly because I like the format it provides. I tried using our website for updates, but it didn’t work well. It was hard to keep updates in chronological order without quite a bit of work i.e creating new web pages and updating links etc. Blogs are a better/easier tool for this purpose, in my opinion.

I don’t allow comments because I post information about our no kill efforts in Houston and it can be a very controversial, highly emotionally charged issue. Unfortunately, many people can’t just state their difference of opinion, they resort to personal attacks. For example, after online articles in our local newspapers about no kill efforts, I’ve seen attacks on me personally even though the article had nothing to do with me, I wasn’t mentioned or quoted and hadn’t even posted a comment yet myself. (I’ve also seen personal attacks on my mother and her religion, even though she has nothing to do with my no kill efforts). I’ve also seen personal attacks on several message boards. If I allowed comments on our Blog, I’d have to deal with this type of mindset and drivel. Frankly, I don’t have the patience for it. It would end up annoying me and distracting me from the dozens of other things I’m working on that are more important to the “cause”. I also don’t want to waste time moderating comments and deleting those that are personal attacks.

If there was a better tool to easily post running updates, I would use it. For now, I’m using a Blog. FYI: You can read our Blog, comment free, at http://nokillhouston.wordpress.com :-)


I guess, having cut my teeth on Usenet in the early 90s and AOL in its heyday -- working in their HIV Support area, no less -- the kind of attacks I see on the blogs don't really seem all that hellish. But I do think there are community management strategies that can be adopted by bloggers to keep their comments productive and prevent spam and disruption. Again, the examples of Daily Kos and Craigslist come to mind. Also, at PetHobbyist we have a user reporting system and volunteer and paid moderators -- and believe me, things get heated there, especially in the reptile areas!

It's not that I think there should be no rules, I'm just questioning if using blog software to publish is really the same as BLOGGING as an editorial category...

And I'm certainly not saying there's something wrong with using blog software... just saying those don't "read" like blogs to me, but more like journals...


Hmm - After reading all these posts - I remembered a story about the Xerox lawsuit. Something about losing one's brand due to allowing their name to be used as a verb. Ie: Can you xerox this for me? Once that happens - you can't sue for copyright infringement. Been a long times so that is the gist of it as I remember it.

It seems to me that there are a variety of pages that get called blogs but depending on a viewpoint - either aren't or are a distinct subset of blog. So blogging has become a verb that has lost it's original copyright/meaning perhaps??


I'm interested in writing, researching and sharing information.

I'm not interested in managing an online community. So I have restricted comments.

If people want a discussion, they can take it to one of the four bazillion other places on the web, where someone else can deal with the infighting, trolls and politics.

For me it's about having limited time & needing to prioritise.


I'm sorry, but I disagree. The VAST, VAST majority of blog comment areas are dominated by wingnut assholes who value screaming over thinking. You're more lucky than most - in fact, yours is one of the few blogs where I actually read the comments. In most cases, a quick glance is enough to put anyone off the internet for good.

If I wanted to read what trolls had to say, I'd go to a site they frequent - like, say, Digg. But I don't. It's a waste of time that adds absolutely nothing to my understanding of the world.

I think moderated comments are the way to go, assuming one has the time to oversee them. Yes, you have to trust that the author will post smart comments even when they disagree with her/him - but if I didn't think that were the case, I wouldn't be reading that blog in the first place.

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