Teresa over at Making Light has a long post and now a certificate (notably posted over at PZ’s site just now) about how we should all feel free to moderate whoever the hell we want whenever the hell we want.
Now she certainly sounds like a reasonable person and the analogy of a host at a party maintaining some sort of enjoyable environment for the guests and the responsibility of the guests to defer, somewhat, to the host is a good one. I get it.
But something in me still is uncomfortable with it. It is a big, fat license for people to “moderate out” those things that make them uncomfortable. The all-powerful blogger can pick and choose who has a voice and who does not.
You see, I don’t trust people to handle severe criticism well. We all tend to take things personally. We are all convinced of our own good intentions but suspicious of the intentions of our adversaries. This is human nature.
We are all capable of ignoring the assholes. I skip far more blog comments than I read. I’m not convinced I need help choosing which comments to read. While there are obviously trolls and assholes out there, there are also a lot of thin-skinned people, both bloggers and commenters, who get way too emotionally connected to these debates.
I’d personally rather wade through comment noise than miss perhaps provocative posts that made someone uncomfortable. We’re grownups.
I’m not saying that moderation is always bad, but I think our guiding principles should be first about commenting respectfully and secondarily, if at all, encouraging bloggers to delete comments.