For most of I Will Dare’s eleven year history, I’ve had a pretty hands off approach when it comes to deleting comments. You need only take a look at the 98 comments (and counting) on the “You don’t know tall” post to see that in action.
I’m a firm believer in the marketplace of free ideas and the truth winning out and all that good stuff I learned in my political philosophy and freedom of expression classes back in college. I can probably count on my hands the number of non-spam comments I’ve deleted over the past decade, two of which were deleted for mentioning the names of my employer back in the early aughts when I was still in the blog closet.
When I interviewed at The Nerdery a few years back one of the Marks asked me about my comment moderation style. I had to confess that I had none, being truly lucky to not have to deal with too many trolls over the years. I’ve always believed that the stuff up here that I type is for me, and the comments box was for the readers and they were accorded the same kind of freedom I liked to believe I have — to spout out whatever nonsense they believed the moment their fingers were typing it.
Late last night, I was victim of some anonymous drive-by snark. “YourBoo” of Minneapolis left a comment on the “Hiatuses & Hats” posts that said:
“the condescending, short-tempered, incredulous parts”
actually, those parts are the whole. you ARE condescending and short-tempered. such a waste of a human.
Thanks to server logs and stat counters, I know that YourBoo came to this conclusion after googling jodiwilldare and then spending roughly two hours perusing the pages of this here website. At least he/she did a little research before coming to such a conclusion.
Now as Grizzled Granny Internet, I tend to let drive-by anonymous snark have about as much effect on me as someone who gives me the finger or honks their horn at me while driving down the highway. Which is to say it either elicits an “oops my bad” if it is my bad or an eye-roll. In YourBoo’s case it was the eye-roll. I know I’m not such a waste of a human.
A decade into this thing called personal blogging, I’m quite familiar with people who decide they really, truly know everything about me based on their interpretations of what they read here. I always feel kind of bad for those people and their weird delusion. This used to really bother me but now that I’m ALMOST FORTY, I just think fuck ’em. It’s not my problem.
But here is the question: would you let the comment stand? Does it serve any purpose? It feels wrong to just delete it, as though I’m ashamed and fearful that YourBoo might be right. Deletion also makes me feel hypocritical, and yet letting it stay feels like I’m encouraging cowardly meanness.