Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Why the comments are moderated

I’ve had a couple of emails from (former) readers of this blog who are somewhat disgruntled at my decision to introduce compulsory moderation of all comments, so I’d probably best explain myself.
Imagine this blog is a mural, painted on a wall. This mural is constantly being altered and enlarged, but, for the most part, it looks alright. The main artist is me, but I don’t mind the public coming in and adding little bits here and there, to give the mural another dimension.
Then someone comes along and decides to graffitti all over this mural. The work of me and the others who contributed has been ruined, and so I have to go through and remove the graffiti. After all, once a wall has a little graffitti, if left there, it’s often not long before more graffitti appears, and soon the whole wall is covered in it. It takes over, and suddenly the mural isn’t so nice to look at.
The other problem, but perhaps not so widespread, is that occasionally some plucky businessman will come along and stick bill posters over this mural, advertising their scummy web site. They can’t advertise through legitimate means, so they stick posters up on people’s walls.
Back into the context of this weblog, you’ve probably gathered that the graffitti represents the flames and other crap that gets posted here, and the bill posters represent the spam. Now, by controlling what goes up on this mural… err… blog, I can make sure it looks nice, so that people will continue to visit it. If I let these nasties take over, I imagine the crap will just take over. And no-one likes reading crap (well, apart from Daily Mail readers ;)).
Is it an erosion of free speech? Well, no, since there was no free speech there in the first place. This is my wall… err… site, and I’ll do what I like with it. That said, I welcome all comments which enrich and further the discussion, even if they are in disagreement. But graffitti will just be cleaned off and bill posters are banned.
Don’t like it? Well then, get your own wall.


  1. Daily Mail reader? Hmmm – “broadsheets” are too large to read comfortably on the bus, the Sun, Mirror and Star don’t quite provide what I look for (usually words of more than one syllable) so it’s a decision between the Express and Mail. The Mail’s a bit “cleaner” to read (the Express seems to cram too much in) and I’ve been sort of brain washed into liking the Mail… A subscription to Private Eye helps keep things in check though.
    What about you then Neil, which newspapers do you read and why?

  2. I’m a Guardian reader – I tend to agree with its columnists. On Sundays I read the Observer, or sometimes the Sunday Times. On holiday I sometimes read The Independent if I can’t get a copy of the Guardian.
    I personally find the Daily Mail very annoying – when the Big Breakfast was still on Richard Bacon would always read something out from the letters page, usually some woman from Tunbridge Wells who was completely outraged over something that to most people would be a minor annoyance. The example that comes to mind was when over a baby who was crying on the bus, and a woman wrote in to say that she was outraged that the driver would let the mother stay on the bus and disturb the peace of the other passengers, or something. Incidently, she signed the post off as “Miss” so she probably didn’t have kids of her own…
    I do agree with you that tabloids are easier to read – broadsheets can be a bit of a pain. But then all of the Guardian’s supplements are (usually) tabloid sized, so once you’ve read the news, business and sport you can read the features section at more leisure.
    Private Eye is good though.

  3. i sort of like the express – its easy to read without being trashy like the sun. My GRANDparents used to read the Daily Mail 🙂
    Times is good if you have an hour or so to read in the comfort of your home and loads of space. I never read the sports pages – far too boring.

  4. Speaking of moderated comments, are you using the tool I just saw here at ScriptyGoddess?
    Moderate/approve all your comments.

  5. Yep, that exact one.
    It’s good, bar a few bugs. I’ll probably make a post about it in a day or two.