Monday, June 26, 2006

Comment Policy

I do not censor comments based on political or ideological point of view or if they differ from my personal opinion.

Because of increased volume of readers and some recent off-topic comments, I will, however, delete comments that are abusive, off-topic or decreases the enjoyment of this site for other readers.


Rev. L. said...

Thanks, Doc.

Argon said...

Ahh there's the rub isn't it? How do you interpret the difference between them? I have noticed you have the same problem with the spam comments that infected THP so if you do anything about it, aren't they going to accuse you of it being based on politics?

Once you curtail it with any kind of policy you leave yourself wide open to proving your interpretation of "abusive, off-topic or decreases the enjoyment of this site for other readers." since those are fairly subjective terms.

If your blog becomes any more successful, then you'll run the same risk of the "Naked Emperor Syndrome" if you continue down that road.

I'd be careful if you're going to take that stand since it's a slippery slope defending "free speech" and having a policy that contradicts it at the same time

Peter Rost said...

I know it's a tough one, but I'm pretty laid back on deleting stuff, haven't done it yet.

But when I start seeing the same off-topic comment over and over on different posts, it is pretty easy to make sure it is not repeated.


Argon said...

But don't you think anyone who runs a blog has the same problem? The more successful it is and the more controversial the comments, the more they have to be moderated.

You can start out with the best of intentions and be able to follow your policy when it's small and easy to manage, but when the volume grows it gets more difficult to make the choices that avoid compromising the "free speech" you want to defend.

Especially if you bring commerce into it and trying to please advertisers, that takes it to a whole new level and hypocrisy usually follows since the saying of what the road to Hell is paved with is true for a reason.

It's not just The MSM, or THP that has these problems, it's any community at all because people bring their emotional baggage with them where ever they go and when they get together in a group, these problems crop up eventually.

The difference is how they go about handling them. I didn't agree with the way they handled it at THP but it's certainly not an uncommon response as you well know. The point is are you going to learn from it and handle it better when you're confronted with it?

Are you going to be able to stay true to the principles of "free speech" that you've been defending or take the practical compromise to keep the blog running?
Which accusations of censorship will have merit and which will be motivated by other agendas?
Since the terms you've choosen to judge by are fairly subjective, how will you prove which comments deserve to stay?

I agree that the spam ones that have shown up in the last day or so deserve to be deleted but I doubt the person making them will and that just alienates someone else to make the same accusations against the "free speech" on your blog. The Viral thing can work the same way with him also.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dr. Rost. I was getting sick of them and I actually have come to agree with some of the poor guy's points lately too, though not because of his endless repetition of them.

Probably if you limit the comments that are deleted to obvious spam (useless or repetitive comments that are completely off-topic) things will be fine and you won't be accused of censorship. This is a blog after all and not an open ended web discussion forum.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could add a new post weekly, relegated to the bottom of the page, where deleted comments are transferred along with links back to the blogs they previously occupied. This way the result of removal will work as intended for most viewers, but for those diehards who just have to see what's in the "Junk Drawer", it's all there ... voila, no censorship.

Anonymous said...

What does it take to have one's comment published? I sent in two what were very relevent comments, directly related to Big Pharma's misbehaivor. Nothing!
Maybe Peter wants to be the only one blowing the wistle and on Pfizer alone. Others are as bad and must be exposed, too.
Yes they were anonymous but I have my reasons.

Anonymous said...

We at Big pharma as those cynics who R always negative, like to call us, are sure that Pfizer will win and will be completely cleared of any wrongdoing. What they did was completely in accordance with our way of doing business, to which we are entitled. We are doing so much for humanity that we should be allowed to freely immplement any and all methods of doing business that lead to our and our shareholders' prosperity. We are owed that by sociaty. No one touches Pfizer, Astra,Avantis,Sanofi, Novartis, BMS, Merck,Beyer etc, etc. etc.
BPO of


Barrick Gold of Elko, NV, are absolutely the worst about hiring only rednecks to work in the mines. Can someone help penetrate their management's arrogance? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Peter, I just keep running into you all over. Earlier this week, we did a blog post on ( your role in your former employer paying a large fine. Kudo's to you for having the guts to speak up. Later in the week, I read three more articles on you and today, I came across another blogger praising your efforts for shaking up the pharma industry. This peaked my interest and I googled you and found your website. Good for you. I applaud your efforts in making lemonade out of this situation. Your Question Authority campaign is a brilliant marketing idea. All the best in your fight for justice and your qui tam suit. Juliet Sallette -

Anonymous said...

Dr. Rost,
I just found your fascinating blog today after reading a recently published book on WorldCom whistleblowing. I would like you to carefully consider the comments other made here regarding censorship. I urge you to use specific, distinct and complete criteria before you censor content. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, is one of the most totalitarian sites on the web because Wikipedia rules for editing content are absurd abstractions (like 'assume good faith') thus allowing any dominant interest group to control particular areas of content. IMO you need to establish reasonable free speech standards, stick to them and as one other readers said keep the censored content accessable to the hard core readers.