Drive-by snark & comment moderation

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.

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14 Comments

  1. M-----l 04.Dec.11 at 12:07 pm

    So I’m guessing YourBoo is probably someone you’ve met. When was the last time you spent two hours reading through some random stranger’s blog? That’s the part that would really bother me…having to go through my list of friends, acquaintances, and relatives trying to put a face with a pseudonym.

    I probably would’ve just deleted the comment. It’s a little more complicated now that you’ve written a post about it. Even if you delete the comment, you’d still have this post around reminding you of YourBoo. Either delete the comment and this post or just forget about it and chalk it up to the anonymity of the internet bringing out the worst in people.

    Reply
    1. Jodi 04.Dec.11 at 12:13 pm

      @M—–l, I’m thinking the fact that they came here by googling jodiwilldare rather than Jodi Chromey means it’s someone I have not met or don’t actually know. Why google the online nickname and not the real name?

      Also, I don’t care to reveal how often I’ve spent two hours on a random stranger’s blog because it happens a lot. A LOT. In fact, a few weeks ago I spent a majority of my evening reading through this train wreck of a woman’s blog. I’m a curious type.

      Really, I don’t care much at all about YourBoo’s comment. It was mean and pointless. It’s more curiosity about how to handle such things in the future and how other people approach them.

      Reply
      1. M-----l 04.Dec.11 at 12:25 pm

        @Jodi, Good point on the googling.

        Very early on in my blogging career I had a guy write some threatening posts about me (he offered money to anyone who would deliver my head on a platter). He tried to leave comments of a similar nature on my blog itself, but I had comment moderation set up for first-timers. I just deleted the comments and then did what you did: wrote a post about it.

        Reply
        1. Jodi 04.Dec.11 at 12:28 pm

          @M—–l, I’d delete weird violent comments like that too, without a second thought. I had some comments awhile back that were super sexual and so creepy I deleted them immediately and hoped nobody ever saw them.

  2. mkhall 04.Dec.11 at 12:36 pm

    I’ve been fortunate in only having had a couple of those, myself. I decided to let them stand, mainly because I knew the commenters wouldn’t be back, anyway.

    Reply
    1. Jodi 04.Dec.11 at 11:06 pm

      @mkhall, YourBoo did come back, but didn’t stay very long once they discovered this post. Hrmph!

      Reply
  3. bakiwop 04.Dec.11 at 12:39 pm

    you’ve been doing this web thing for a long time. i believe that you’d know (and your previous comment stating that you have taken comments down in the past shows you would) when to take a comment down. if you’re waffling and it doesn’t quite feel right, then don’t do it.

    you’ll know when it’s time to do it.

    Reply
  4. Lesley 04.Dec.11 at 12:59 pm

    People who make mean comments under “anonymous” are chickenshitpussies, imo. I’m big on the “own your statement” and if you aren’t willing to own it then whatever is written is more a reflection of the impotence of the anonymous poster than the content of the statement or the person to whom it’s directed. Or something.

    Reply
    1. Jodi 04.Dec.11 at 5:25 pm

      @Lesley, I completely agree. Which is why the fact that such criticism comes anonymously means nothing to me.

      Reply
  5. easement1 04.Dec.11 at 1:04 pm

    “When was the last time you spent two hours reading through some random strangers blog?”

    I do this constantly. It’s better than eavesdropping at restaurants!

    Reply
  6. Bonny Holder 04.Dec.11 at 1:05 pm

    Delete.

    Reply
  7. Angela S 04.Dec.11 at 2:27 pm

    I’d delete. Chickenshit doesn’t deserve a say.

    Reply
  8. Christa 04.Dec.11 at 4:12 pm

    I’m of the delete school of thought. The person isn’t contributing anything to the conversation.

    Reply
  9. todd 05.Dec.11 at 3:58 am

    I would delete it. You have given the comment more attention than it deserves.

    Reply

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