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What do you do about offensive comments on your blogs?

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  • As you guys know I write the Work It, Mom! blog and while most of the time the comments, even when tough, are great points of discussion, from time to time I'll get a comment which is extremely offensive or harsh. I approve those and let them be part of the discussion. What I don't allow to appear are comments which are close to being discriminatory towards a particular group. They don't move the conversation further and are simply there to offend.

    But I wonder, is this right to do? Should we be allowing these types of comments to appear anyway? How do you decide this on your own blog?
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 1st October 2008
  • HI Nataly,
    What a great and thought-provoking question. Thank you.
    I believe that as members of a community we have the responsibility to invite and discuss all points of view. That is what makes a community strong. Does an offensive comment constitute a point of view though?
    Communities are founded on agreed upon principles and codes of conduct. Inclusion, respect, tolerance, diversity, and working towards the common good are only some of these principles.
    Your blog is a place of conversation. When you started it, you set the guidelines for participation in order to allow for meaningful conversation to take place.
    I would think that by choosing to participate, we agree to respect these guidelines and the spirit of your blog.
    During a conversation, diverse points of view can be expressed and things could get heated up. People can disagree, but when offensive remarks are hurled around, the process can break down and we all lose.
    Learning to disagree without causing harm is good practice. As the moderator of your blog, it's within your rights to invite people to find more effective and thoughtful ways to disagree with one another.
    I love a spirited conversation but bullying is not conversing, it's just bullying, and that's not what I would choose to be part of.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Yota on 18th October 2008
  • It's your blog and you have a right to allow or delete whatever you want, for whatever reason.

    That said, I would recommend that before you hit "delete," you really consider whether it's your own point of view that judges that comment to be offensive, or whether it crosses a line that is offensive to most people on both sides of the argument.

    As an example - and I'm not talking about your blog here - I've learned that someone, somewhere recently decided that the word "terrorist" is racist. That's an opinion that many reasonable people would not agree with. Yet the word has been censored. Another example is that it is now considered racist and hateful for a non-black person to bring up Reverend Wright's statement "God damn America" in his sermon. Again, that's a judgment not based on fact, but on some people's sensitivity based on their own opinions. Yet I've seen a discussion closed because someone merely mentioned that line - an actual quote, from the pulpit no less.

    Another thing you should consider is: to what extent did your post, or another person's comment on your post, offend others or invite a controversial tone? To what extent should you take that into account before editing or deleting? I've been to a site dedicated to birth mothers who believe adoption is evil and they were wronged when they were encouraged to relinquish their children. The site is pretty hateful toward adoptive parents, and the moderator has an admitted policy of deleting any comment that doesn't agree with her. Well, at least she's honest about it. But if you have a general readership, you do a disservice if you delete honest reactions to your own biased comments, even if they are rather passionate reactions. If you don't want heated controversy on your blog, you are better off staying away from controversial topics.

    I do believe there is a line people should not be allowed to cross on a public forum - at least one such as this, where the purpose is to be supportive of a variety of people. I personally haven't seen that line crossed here, but then, I don't see the deleted comments.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by SKL on 18th October 2008
  • Allowing broad racial stereotypes to remain on a community would send a message that hate speech is okay. I think deleting those types of opinions is perfectly acceptable, and appreciated by your members.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by BrendaG on 18th October 2008
  • This is really interesting.... Considering I'm thinking of cancelling my account because I am being offended when I post and no one seems to care.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 21st January 2009
  • I would definitely erase the ones meant to offend, you can tell the difference I am sure. Great topic! And Karen, just give it a chance! Don't give up...
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Shop with Me Mama on 11th July 2009
  • Include all comments. Whether harsh or offensive, this is a platform to express opinions and ideas. The diversity and intelligence of the Work it, Mom! community will respond in such a manner that will expose their ignorance and send them packing.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Career Champion on 29th September 2009

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