What is the point of blogs?
Blogging is a great new way to vet ideas and have a conversation that connects people clear across the globe. As a blogger, I am delighted to receive comments to my blog posts. I crave for them and get so excited when I receive an e-mail that tells me that I have one. It makes my whole day!
I moderate my comments. That means if you are new to my blog and you make a comment, I must approve it before it is posted. Only comments that I physically approve make it for all to see.
I haven’t yet declined to post a comment. Yet. I’d like to think that I wouldn’t delete any comments.
What if someone writes in a comment that I am a sniveling, frakin, retched, ugly wench? Hey, that’s good stuff and may be even true some of the time.
To approve or not approve, that is the question.
If the comment was free from obscenities and took aim at me alone then I would probably put it out there. That is the point of the blog – to let everyone have a say who would like one. It is a conversation, with similarities to what you would have in person. You don’t always agree with the person you are conversing with but you can’t simply delete what they are saying as they say it!
There is a distinction between journalism and blogging. Journalism has an ethical obligation to report events of interest with credibility and honesty. The ethical obligation of a blog is individualized to the morals of the blogger who hosts it. Blogging is a form of entertainment. It may rub elbows from time to time with journalism, but primarily it is forum for personal opinions and the dialogue that it inspires.
In the case of my class where we use the blog for journalistic educational purposes, I respect that my professor reserves the right to delete comments. This blog was the only medium that she was offered to post the journalistic work of her students in the local newspaper so she had to take what she got. She is now using the blog in the same way that she would run a print newspaper. Since it is a blog however, I think we should have a comment policy to refer to so that the reader has the expectation that their comment will be evaluated before publishing.
However, if a true blogger deletes comments because they don’t like the perspective then they only want one side of the issue to be viewed – their own. That is quite boring indeed and defeats the point of a blog.
As Americans, we have this amazing right of freedom of speech. Why would we willingly censor ourselves?