Comment Moderation On: Discouraging Readership and Participation?
I can’t help but notice that comment moderation on blogs (approving comments before they get posted) is highly successful at preventing belligerent commenters from posting. Like an internet god, the blog owner can cast the offensive (it will either be a real or imagined offense) comment into Comment Hades. It will never see the light of day on that particular blog, and the commenter will probably slink off, bitter at having his or her comment shot down by the Great and Powerful Moderator lurking behind the curtain of the internet.
Though I do wonder if it is actually discouraging readers from participating in active discussions on blogs. There are people in Facebook Land (they shall remain nameless), who I consider to be too harsh in their comment moderating. They delete comments will nilly. There are others who simply flat out defriend. I’m glad to be defriended by the latter. I consider defriending the former.
Comment moderation is successful, but I wonder if it is discouraging active participation in the blog as well as readers from reading it. My assumption is that once comments are moderated out one too many times, the reader who has been having his comments deleted probably isn’t going back to that blog. Then again, if the blog owners are regularly deleting or preventing your comments from being posted, I think it’s implied that you are banned from the blog. So perhaps this is discouragement of readers, but it is far more intentional than I thought when starting this article. I thought it was overreacting blog owners deleting comments and not realizing that those commenters probably won’t be coming back to read the blog. But maybe they don’t want those people to come back and read their blog? They are happy to lose both the comments and the readership.
Comment Moderation On: Encouraging Readership and Participation?
Of course there is another view I have considered. Comment moderation actually encourages more people to comment. Everyone has been on sites with unmoderated commenting. It is a nightmare of insults and pettiness. I’ve been on blogs where I didn’t even want to comment anymore because of other commenters (always a minority) who are obnoxious and hijack the comments section. Perhaps by making commenting exclusive, it actually encourages the more peaceable commenters to come out and comment more on the blog. But, for some reason, I notice peaceable people are not big on commenting. It is always the most outrageous and aggressive commenters who comment the most. It may be better to have a comments section with very few positive comments, as opposed to a comments section with hundreds of negative comments. However, I still believe that there are plenty of great comments that get deleted because of touchy blog owners.
Have there Been Studies on This?
That’s what I want to know! I would love to see a study done on this very issue. Does comment moderation discourage both commenting and readership? Or does it actually boost numbers, because the majority of readers are polite, regular people and they will be more likely to comment if they know hostile commenters will be moderated out. Hopefully, a sociologist is reading this and can do a study.