I’m not opposed to having anonymous comments here, just wary – on the basis of experience to date.

A couple of months ago, prompted by some pointed remarks by another blogger, I amended the previously rather restrictive setup for commenting on this blog and posted about it – see Damien’s Gee Up Prompts Me to Change the Comments Settings.

There have been no complaints since then that I know of and most of the obvious comment spam is caught by hosting service BlogHarbor’s excellent system and held for me to delete the spam and let through legitimate comments that have been queried.

And I’ve now checked the box that makes it possible for people to leave anonymous comments here, although there is a control against robot-inserted comments, in that even the anonymous commenter has to enter text in a graphic and thus, as I understand, establish that it is a human being providing the comment.

That still leaves room for people to leave ‘comments’ which are no more than thinly (if at all) disguised promos for some service or product. Because such posts may not contain words which trigger alerts for porn or gambling or other more obvious forms of comment spam, they can more easily get through the automatic system and appear on the blog.

Which is why I recently amended the comments policy notice on this blog – right hand sidebar – to read (with the recent amendment in italics):

I welcome comments on this blog. I reserve the right to delete comments I deem as spam, transparent attempts to get traffic without providing any useful commentary, and of course any contributions which are offensive or inappropriate for civilised discourse.

Policy is one thing, applying it another. For example, today I’ve deleted a couple of anonymous comments promoting a blog linking service. The comments were pertinent to the post and could have been construed as adding value by providing additional information and a link to a site for more information. But when I went to the site I found what was basically a sales page, with no evidence of ‘human habitation’, no ‘about’ page and no contact information (except for a ‘trust us’ contact form), so deciding to hit the delete button for those comments was not exactly a heart-wrenching assignment.

I don’t like deleting comments. But if people are leaving anonymous comments which can reasonably be construed as both not adding real value and being fairly obviously a trawl for clickthroughs to another site which is in itself anonymous, they should not be surprised if I delete such comments.

If someone leaves their name and a genuine email or other link, and I’m in two minds about the comment, I’m happy to contact them to ask why they think I should leave the comment there.

That’s about as far as I’m prepared to go at this stage, although I’m open to practical suggestions (preferably not anonymous ) about how to further refine the policy. 

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