This is just a quick post about comments on our site, for those who might be confused. Our more regular commenters seem to be generally aware of our policy — it’s more of a “practice” than a formal policy, but we often receive questions from new commenters. Please don’t consider these to be absolute, strict rules, but a glimpse of what typically happens behind the scenes when comments are submitted.
First of all, we want to make clear that as the owners of the blog, we reserve the right to publish or not publish whatever comments we see fit. We may also delete comments. Occasionally, we’ll receive comments beginning with language like, “PLEASE DON’T PUBLISH THIS,” followed by a message that’s only meant for the administrators of the site. We honor such requests, and if we accidentally do publish one, it was done so mistakenly and we apologize.
In the beginning, we didn’t moderate comments at all. Since we rarely received more than 1-2 comments per piece, this wasn’t really necessary, and we could easily delete the few abusive or spam comments we received. Later on, we began to get commenters who would enter 15-20 comments on the same post, and 2-3 individuals would dominate all the discussion, often unrelated to the post, and boxing out those who posted one or two thoughtful comments.
The decision was made to moderate all comments. Unfortunately, this means that all comments are held in a queue until one of us is able to go through them and approve them. There are typically 3-4 of us who actively moderate the comments, but obviously we have things like sleep, work, and everyday life that prevent us from monitoring them 24/7. The monitoring is done on an ad-hoc basis. Occasionally,
- One rule of thumb for regular commenters is: if your comment hasn’t shown up, 99% of the time that means we just haven’t gotten to it yet. The second most likely reason is that there was a technical problem or we accidentally deleted it. Please don’t take it personally!
- Certain commenters have been informed that there is a cap on the number of comments they can make on a single post, which is enforced at the author’s discretion.
- Trolling or abusive comments, or 10-paragraph diatribes about the end of the world are not approved.
- Thoughtful, critical comments are welcome, but it is left to the discretion of the author whether such comments will be approved immediately or if they will be held back until the author has time to respond.
- We recently discovered (today, in fact) that apparently our site template limits us to 150 comments per post.
Once again, these rules are not ironclad, and ultimately we can decide not to approve a comment for any reason.
We are very thankful for those who comment on this site. You have enriched us with your insights, knowledge and personal stories in a profound way. The purpose of this post is simply to give you a greater understanding of the process.
Mike Lewis is a writer and graphic designer from Maryland, having worked for many years in Catholic publishing. He’s a husband, father of four, and a lifelong Catholic. He’s active in his parish and community. He is a founding editor for Where Peter Is.