This weekend, I got a wave of scam trackbacks, splogs (spam blogs), and troll posts.  I spent more time than I care too editing, deleting, and banning.

Then on the way into the office, I caught this NYT article on the "World of Nasty Blogs." One of the things that surprised me in the article was this comment:

"Some online writers wonder how anyone could persuade even a fraction
of the millions of bloggers to embrace one set of standards. Others say
that the code smacks of restrictions on free speech.

Mr. Wales
and Mr. O’Reilly were inspired to act after a firestorm erupted late
last month in the insular community of dedicated technology bloggers.
In an online shouting match that was widely reported, Kathy Sierra, a
high-tech book author from Boulder County, Colo., and a friend of Mr.
O’Reilly, reported getting death threats that stemmed in part from a
dispute over whether it was acceptable to delete the impolitic comments
left by visitors to someone’s personal Web site."

That stuns me. Free speech — WTF?

No one is stopping you from starting your own blog and writing whatever you want. But to think anyone has right to come into someone else’s blog and doing whatever they want is absurd. I wouldn’t tolerate anyone coming into my house, graffiti-ing the walls or pissing on the floors — why should I tolerate that at my blog, an extension of my home?

Those newer to this blog should be sure to reread our disclosure post, but here’s the relevant excerpt:

3A. Posting Comments:

I attempt to read every comment that goes up (although that is
becoming increasingly difficult). I read all email, but make no promise
about responding.

I post comments in my own name. Anytime I edit anyone else’s posts, I clearly mark it as such (~~~ BR: like this).

On occasion I will post someone else’s email (or telephone call) as a comment in their name
or initials (because they can’t). Because my circle of friends includes
people who (due to their employers compliance policies) risk their jobs
by posting comments, I will, in my own judgement, do so on their behalf
when appropriate.

3B: Comments by Trolls and Asshats:

This may be a free country, but The Big Picture is my personal
fiefdom. I rule over all as benevolent dictator/philospher king/free
safety/utility infielder. Fear my wrath, mortals!

I will ban anyone whom I choose from posting comments — usually,
for a damned good reason, but on rare occasions, for the exact same
reason God created the platypus: because I feel like it.

I encourage a broad range of perspectives, philosophies, sexual
orientations. Dissent is good. I want to see a debate of views, a
battle in the market place of ideas. (Thomas Jefferson wasn’t so dumb
after all). You can post on nearly anything, so long as it is at least tangentially related to the topic at hand.

On occasion, I will "unpublish" a comment if I feel it is too impolite, harsh, inappropriate, or off-topic.

A few things that will get you permanently banned from The Big Picture:

- Knowingly posting false or malicious material;
- multiple postings under different names;
- generally engaging in troll-like behavior;
- misquoting your host/overlord;
- being impolite in the extreme;
- ad hominem attacks;
- being an asshole.

Free speech advocates (at least those who think they are) can flame away — on your own blogs.

The full NYT article is worth reading, as is our entire disclosure post . . .


A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs
NYT, April 9, 2007

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