January 17, 2007

The Sandbox

If you are going to play in the sandbox, you have to play by the rules.

Madame M posted recently on the art of disagreeing, as it applies to the blogosphere:
If You Have Nothing Nice to Say. One of her commenters felt that opinions were open game but criticizing lifestyles was off limits. This team blog is by, for, and about women who are childfree.

The whole underlying point of our blog is that our lifestyle is acceptable, despite the reactions we get in a child-centric society.

M eloquently writes:

"...as adults, the ability to think critically, criticize, form your own opinions, and try to influence or create awareness in others is a prized and necessary, not reviled, skill."
So, when is it okay to delete a comment as a blog administrator/owner?

A woman left a comment on Twiga's November post titled Friendships saying that she did not approve of "our message". It made me wonder what she thought our message was. Did she think we are recruiting others to be childfree? Maybe she thinks all women should be mothers.

I had used this woman's Creative Commons-licensed image to illustrate the post, properly thanked and attributed. I deleted her comment. Its condescending tone annoyed me, perhaps because she was criticizing our lifestyle. Perhaps it was her additional, and unnecessary dig about how "having children is all about sharing", and that she begrudgingly agreed for me to use the picture despite disapproving of "our message". I offer her a public apology.

Her comment made me reflect on what our true messages are, and whether or not you can decipher them when you land on our front page. They include:
  • Woman does not equal mother.
  • I'm okay, you're okay.
  • Think it over (parenthood is a choice).
  • Infertility does not have to end in misery.
  • Childfree adults are an important part of "the village".
The Ground Rules of engagement are in the sidebar, yet I always feel I should let readers know why a comment was deleted. I may have erred in this case. It would have been interesting to see what dialogue flowed from her comment. Creating dialogue is what blogging is all about.

[Photo: Originally uploaded to Flickr on November 25, 2006 by joguldi.]

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AlphaGirl said...

I dunno...I would have kept the comment intact. It would have been interesting to see the response. I trust that the PW readership is classy enough to engage in a little debate here and again and to still abide by the rules in the sidebar.

By deleting the comment, it gives the blog the feeling of "preaching to the choir". Voices of dissent are out there; we need to be able to hear them and to formulate our response intelligently.

Just my two cents...

Teri said...

Just for the record, if a deleted comment has the words "deleted by author" that means the person leaving the commented removed it (probably due to a typo!).

If it has "comment deleted by administrator" that's me.

AlphaGirl said...

Oh, OK =) I keep forgetting that each blog site has different settings/comment moderation systems. I'm on LiveJournal most of the time, and their settings are completely different.

Still trying to get the hang of Blogger! =)

LauraS said...

I think you can define so-called "flaming" or what constitutes an offensive comment and feel empowered to remove those as system administrator.
Personally, dissenting views don't worry me too much.
There are people out there that don't believe in contraception and believe you need to open to "God's gift" of a child. That's their business, as long as they don't impose their beliefs on me.

Teri said...

Thanks for weighing in gals!