A comment on commenting

If you have the urge to comment on a post that’s more than a year old, you’ll find that it doesn’t work: I’ve turned off commenting for all such posts, and will continue to do so once a month or so.

I might cut that to six months. Very few real conversations last longer than six months.

The intent is not to discourage discussion: I love discussion. The reality, though, is that most spamments are aimed at older posts, possibly in the hopes that they can gain link stature without being noticed. The more spamments (even if they’re caught), the more difficult it is to go through them and rescue the real comments that get flagged as spam.

If you do feel the need to comment on something further back, feel free to send me email citing the post and offering your comment. I’ll read it. If it adds an important perspective, I might add it to the post directly (or something like that). Heck, if it’s really insightful, I’ll start a new post linking to the old post, and that will open up a whole new window. I get some great comments, and don’t want to discourage them.

Oh, as for my “code” on comments. I don’t have one, but: I don’t own your remarks, but I feel free to delete them if I think they’re out of line–and “marginal cases” are treated somewhat more severely if they’re pseudonymous (or if I think the email address is phony), much more severely if they’re anonymous or I’m sure the email address is a “convenience address”–which does not mean that anonymous comments are absolutely forbidden. (They just have to be on-topic and not flames or otherwise offensive.) I tend to discourage profanity here.

And, of course, there’s always the out: If you don’t like my handling of comments, you’re always free to post the comments as a post on your own blog. But I’ve deleted and modified very few comments, and expect to continue in that manner.

Update: Well, the change worked great–for a day. But spidiots (idiots who spam) are nothing if not persistent. In the last two days there have been 170 comments trapped as spam–all of them from the same source, all with innocuous “Great site!” style content, all with a pr0n URL link from the “commenter’s” name, presumably to game search engines. 170. In two days. On a blog with moderate readership. Sigh.

Maybe it’s time to drop back to six-month commenting. Maybe that won’t help either.

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