Apropos of the links on comment moderation from Monday, I offer you Sean Carroll’s beautiful comment policy (not currently in effect):
Axiom 1: This blog exists for the enjoyment of these bloggers.
This is the foremost principle to keep in mind when you are wondering why certain comments pass muster while others do not. Our blog is not a public service. We don’t get paid for it. [Update: now that we’re at Discover, we do get paid a tiny amount.] It’s not our real job. It’s just a hobby that we choose to pursue, as others pursue fly fishing or watching TV. The blog is not here for you. You do not pay any fee, in return for which you have the right to expect a certain level of service. The only obligation that we as bloggers have is — well, we don’t have any obligations at all, actually. We could decide tomorrow to devote all future posts to our favorite varieties of cheese, or to elaborately detailed discussions of our continuing health problems. Whatever we want.
The purpose of the blog is to amuse us. That’s it! Anything that does not amuse us is contrary to the spirit of the blog. Admittedly, we do hope that the blog is occasionally informative or entertaining to others, as well. But ultimately, the blog is Not About You.
This one principle should really be enough to figure out everything that needs to be figured out about comments, and the blog concept more generally. But just to be absolutely metaphysically complete, we’ll make explicit two other axioms that are generally true things about life.
I subscribe more to the “I am God” school of comment moderation for myself, which is why I have no formal policy, but this is a thing of beauty. Enjoy.