Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Blogging Contract

Blogging is not writing. Not really.  Sure there are a lot of similarities but there are plenty of subtle differences.

When writing an RPG book I have an audience in mind. That is a nebulous audience that I may or may not interact with.  I don't know who bought every copy of The Witch or Ghosts of Albion or Buffy.

I do have the chance to get to know each and every reader here via the comments section.  I post, you comment, I reply.  There is a social contact at work here.. You are not expected to reply, but I write my posts hoping that people will.

Implicit in that is one of control.  I try to keep my posts interesting to my known audience.  This is one of the reasons I have different blogs.   I control what I post.  You control what you reply with, but ...I also control your reply. See I can delete any reply I don't like.  But I don't.  There are few good reasons for that.

I don't because it is dishonest. Having people disagree with me is a great way for me to learn something new.  I have lost track of all the things I have looked into because some one said "no. you are wrong."

I don't because it violates the social contract we have.  You put yourself out there, those were your thoughts.  I may not agree with it, but that doesn't give me the right to shut it down.

I also don't, and lets be honest here, controversy and conflict means more hits, more audience and hopefully more people reading my stuff.  Not fake controversy, people can see that a mile away, but real and honest.

A natural extension of that is I will also not delete old posts.  I don't see the point. You may want to go back a read something I posted in 2010. Great!  I will leave it there.  Even if it something I don't agree with, like or otherwise grok anymore.

I have been seeing too many cases of people taking down posts, editing posts to put themselves in better light. Sorry folks, between and Google cache people can find anything that was posted given time, so don't try to change history.

I'll remove a post of your own if you ask me to. I'll delete multiple posts if looks like you were fixing a typo or something. I'll delete spam.

That's my contract with you.
Your contract with me is not post anything to make be doubt this choice! ;)


Anthony Simeone said...

Having people disagree with me is a great way for me to learn something new.

Agreed. There are those on the blogosphere who have forgotten, or never really learned, this little truism. I will never understand the censorship that some bloggers insist upon. If you're a deleter of comments, then you have set up a virtual bully pulpit.

Some bloggers spout off the phrase "My house, my rules." But these bloggers sometimes treat visitors to their blog "house" like trash. Then, when the offended readers write comments expressing their ire, the blogger will delete their comments. Yes, it may be your house, but is a host not supposed to treat visitors with respect?

You put yourself out there, those were your thoughts. I may not agree with it, but that doesn't give me the right to shut it down.

Yes, agreed whole-heartedly. If you can't stand the heat, don't blog. Especially if you're an abusive blogger who attacks readers/commenters. If you don't want to be treated like a dickbag, don't be a dickbag. Simple. I'm constantly baffled by people who don't get this...

I will also not delete old posts.

Old blog posts allow you to see how your thoughts/opinions have changed over time. They're a blessing!

CBame13 said...

I just don't understand bloggers who don't act like this. Everything I post is posted for a reason. I would never go back and undermine that initial value by changing or deleting it. Blogs are put up for readers, not for the person blogging it and should be treated as such.

I post writing samples occasionally and absolutely love getting negative feedback, though many people seem afraid of responding as such because of bloggers deleting comments or flaming the commenter on their own blog.

I really wish people could think more like you when it comes to blogging and treat their blog with some respect!

Anonymous said...

I'm a blogger who will delete comments and I feel absolutely no shame in doing so, nor do I believe I fall under the category of one who "can't stand the heat", a term that is often bandied about by those who feel abusive behaviour is their right under the notion of "freedom of speech" (I'm not suggesting you're one of them Anthony).

I strongly believe that a conversation, whether verbal or written, should be carried out with respect. It's a two-way street. I have absolutely no problems with debate and opposing views, but I have zero time and patience for those who feel it is OK to be sarcastic and abusive, whether to me or to their fellow commenters, no matter how much they coat their words in honey or pretty them up with big words. Behaviour like that not only adds nothing to the conversation, but is actually destructive and disruptive.

It always amazes me that some people hide behind the safety and anonymity of the internet to conduct themselves in a manner that they wouldn't if they were sitting in the privacy of your living room, where they'd likely receive a punch in the face if they spoke to you the same way in the flesh. The notion of free speech without consequence tends to bring out the worst in many people, sadly.

As far as I'm concerned, adults who choose not to treat others with respect when conversing, forfeit all rights to being taken seriously and shouldn't act offended or surprised when they're told to bugger off.

It's good that you have this open contract with your readers Timothy, I did the same in the very first post on my blog, where I stated the above. And since that first post I haven't had to delete many comments, nor have I regretted doing so when it occurred.

Anthony Simeone said...

Hey Dave Macauley! I understand where you're coming from completely, and I don't want you to think that I support non-deletion of people who are being blatant a-holes. There are limits, and I myself would delete a post that was outright abusive. I agree with all you've written above.

But at the same time, I would say that bloggers like you and I don't treat readers like peons to be abused, so therefore you and I don't get many comments that abuse us!

In the end, there's a difference between someone who deletes abusive posts that are undeserving, and someone who mistreats readers and then deletes comments that strike back at the blogger's asshole-ishness.

Al Diaz said...

I kind of love controversy but I have this feeling it is mostly frown upon by most bloggers.
I don't see the point of deleting old posts but I do delete spam or whatever it looks like spam.
I think I would delete extremely rude or troll-like comments as I don't believe it's a conversation that would take me anywhere. Other than that, I am quite open mind.
I like your contract and I think I'll abide to it. :)

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Everyone has to do what works for them. This is ehat works for me.

Konsumterra said...

writers are people who write - just as HPL letters were published blogs may be compiled into a reader - yours will age well im sure - sorry your a writer even if you just write lengthly e-mails

ERIC! said...

I'm an idiot, and I post dumb crap all the time. I tend to be late on promised posts, and generally I have poor grammar, as I don't edit crap unless I catch it.

I am not a good writer or blogger at all.

I also I very little traffic towards my neck of the woods, that being said other than some spam and a request to do a "book" review I have not deleted anything.

However I might delete something I find foul, or vulgar, it would depend I guess as to the context.

I think I agree with you however, that their is a "gentleman's" agreement in this whole blogging thing.

I is a far better way for me to socialize with folks I admire and have kinship with because of the hobby we all enjoy. Far better IMHO than forum posting or even, dare I say it, the social networks like Google+ and Farcebook...sorry Facebook.


ERIC! said...

See what I did...bad grammar...I'm stupid.


Tylerandjack said...


I've deleted one or two spam comments, as far as I can recall, but have never deleted any posts from people disagreeing with me or even questioning content in my review. In fact, when I respond to such a rare post I hope to open a discussion but, sadly, people all too often rush to say something and then leave it at that.

I've moved a post or two from my blog to Flickfeast, but only when a larger article was planned. The rest I leave there, for better or worse, as a rough guide to the movies I have watched and loved, or even simply endured.

Unknown said...

Excellent principle, and you have all the right in the world to delete spam and advertising.

Pulp Herb said...

I'm mostly in agreement except there are valid reasons to change prior posts. The three I most commonly use (to the point I can't think of others off hand):

1. Fix broken links
2. Minor spelling and grammar fixes
3. Changes where a sentence made no sense.

Of course, #2 and #3 could be helped by simple proof reading before hand.

Actually, I can think of another example. I have gone through and added the purple boxes I use to denote game material that is OGL/CC and changed all licensing to point to a common page. It doesn't really change the content just makes it all point to one spot for consistency.