So far I've let them stay up, but I've been thinking long and hard about that. Generally, I have only deleted comments that are obviously spam (most don't make it past the spam filter anyway), or the rare comment that I decide is too objectionable to stay up.
I want to point out that I don't have a problem with someone having a different view to me. One person who comments here quite regularly, Bay Area Guy, identifies himself broadly as a White Nationalist. This would mark him as having a very different ideology to me; however, he engages in intelligent discussion/argument without being rude or inflammatory, so I have no reason to moderate any of his comments.
On occasion, there are commenters who think that aiming personal abuse at me is the appropriate way to behave. I generally allow those comments to stand, primarily because my competitive instincts take over and I like to argue with stupid people.
... but then there are those that are on another level of douchebaggery.
Here are comments on two different posts from two people named Anonymous.
WARNING: If you are easily offended, read below at your own risk. Explicit and racist language follow.
These are from my rather old post on the TV show Merlin having a black actress playing Guinevere (read it here). These are replies to other comments, which I have not included here.
Charming. He must be fun at a dinner party.
This next lot of comments is from my post about the ethnic diversity on display amongst journalists on Australian TV channel SBS (read the full post here). I have reproduced the entire exchange between myself and the commenter.
Should I allow their comments to stay up? Or should I send them to the trash?
Here are some of the reasons to allow them and not to:
- These people have abhorrent views and I don't want to give them any more air.
- By being vile and aggressive towards me and others, they have forfeited their right to express themselves in this forum. Sharing an opinion is fine, but if you can't do it in a civil manner, then you don't get to share yours.
- I don't want readers to be unnecessarily confronted by racially inflammatory language, as ideally this would be a relatively safe space for readers to frequent.
BUT ON THE OTHER HAND...
- Given that this blog often discusses the subject of race and racism, comments like these serve as an example of the sort of views that are out there.
- By being vile and aggressive, they undermine their stupid cause anyway, because it makes them look like morons. Anyone who reads the above comments is unlikely to be converted a racist way of thinking; indeed it may well do the opposite.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter. Although to be honest it'd be nice if your thoughts didn't include the words "nigger" or "cunt".