Although I have run several blogs over the past few years, one of the things that I have often neglected to clarify at the outset are the blogs’ policies for comments and their moderation. Chris Kennedy, Superintendent of Schools in West Vancouver, has summarized a policy that serves as an excellent model for educators who balance their professional responsibilities with the work of running a blog and moderating comments. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I have quoted from Chris’ original blog posting from August 28th, 2011 titled Some Comments About Comments. These guidelines serve as the policy for moderating comments here on The Wired Principal.
In the education world, we need to model how we expect students to behave and engage, and this has led to some of my guidelines:
1) I do not allow anonymous comments on my blog. People identify themselves by name, or by an easily trackable identity. I realize there may be some issues people do not want to be identified with for fear of repercussions – so, a blog may not be the right venue to put their views out there.
2) I will also not engage in blogs that allow anonymous comments. There are some very interesting educational blogs that are okay with this and, as much as I want to contribute to the discussion, I don’t. It’s my way of protesting against, and not condoning, some of the nastiness that can develop in these spaces.
3) I allow more than 95 per cent of the comments on my blog to go through. I think there have been two, maybe three comments that have not been posted over the last year. It IS okay to disagree on an issue, but it’s not okay to use inappropriate language, or to make it personal. If one wants to make personal attacks — again, blogs are not the venue.
4) If someone is going to take the time to read my post and respond — and I do appreciate the time and thoughtfulness of all who do comment — I need to take the time to return a thoughtful comment. It is often said, the comments and discussions that ensue are the best part of a blog — they are what makes them so rich. Whether it is a compliment, question, or a challenge to an assumption, it is about the public conversation, and I make it a point to try to engage everyone who leaves a comment within 24-48 hours of the blog.
Once again, thanks to Chris for saying things so well.