Scoble responds to the Blog Herald: kill the conversation

Filed as General on August 28, 2005 11:23 pm

by Duncan

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Duncan Riley> Microsoft uber-blogger has responded to the Blog Herald on my comments here in the first time I’ve been priveleged to get into a blog fight with a high profile blogger since Andy Baio tried to exploit the Star Wars Kid.

Scoble writes at WebProNews:

“Here’s a clue: you want free speech? Get your own blog. Comments are owned by the person who’s blog they are on. They aren’t a place you’re gonna get free speech (although, my policy here is to not delete any comment). I HATE entitlement. That attitude has gotta go. You don’t have the right to take me down by posting illegal stuff or stuff that’ll get me sued or spam or really anything in my comment area. Because it’s on my blog I’m responsible for it. It has my name associated with it. So, no, you TOTALLY don’t get what free speech is if you think you should have free and unfettered speech in everyone’s comment area. Get a clue about what free speech is.”


I’ll agree with Scoble on one thing, start calling people paedophiles and what not and I’ll be deleting your comments, but killing the conversation, or as others call it, “cluetrain”, based on one persons opinion that is clearly identified as opinion, is definitely not the answer.

Nick W contends that free speech is not the right tact to take on Scobles comments, and writes

“but Duncan chose the wrong angle to argue – you cant win that free speech thing, Scoble’s right, but you can with the “you twat, what the f*ck are you talking about” argument, ‘cos it’s much simpler, and spot on.”

and maybe he’s right, but I still think cutting off comments is like trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer: over kill. But I cant help but to quote Nick again earlier last week:

“Services, and I view TW (ThreadWatch) as a service, need to have structure, guidance, and moderation of the conversation, but you can do all of those things whilst still enabling the discussion rather than stifling it, or in the worst examples, choking the life out of it.”

Cutting off comments is killing the discussion: remember Scoble suggested:

” Yet another reason to moderate your comments and/or turn them off.”

So here we are, think I’m a complete and utter bastard, tell me so (watch the language, we try to keep it family friendly), but the difference between me and Scoble is that I’ll defend the right of people to share opinions here at the Blog Herald. Scoble would rather you not be heard unless you’re willing to write about it exclusively on your own blog or you have a multi-billion dollar employer who will provide you the legal protection should someone be naughty with their comments.

Dare one say that if we are to persue Scobles suggestion that we will be indulging in a clueless-train? :-)

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  1. By Mike Sigers posted on August 28, 2005 at 11:49 pm
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    Duncan,

    I’m not sure that the phrase ” free speech ” has anything to do with this event, BUT I will agree with you that these people are simply morons.

    The ” sewer ” ( spelled like that on purpose ) has very little, if any chance of having a court hear this.

    I applaud your jumping in right away and calling a fool a fool.

    BTW – who’s Scoble ? Was he one of those guys they used to call A-listers ? Too bad that they imploded and disappeared. Funny breed, weren’t they.

    Like Mama always said, better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

  2. By Duncan posted on August 29, 2005 at 12:10 am
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    Mike
    on some posts I see a lot of comments that I don’t agree with, but I’ll only edit them if they clearly commit libel or use language unsuitable for this site (and spam naturally).

    On free speech, sure, probably wasn’t the best context, but its a natural recaction for me: someone calls for censorship I’m going to respond with free speech.

  3. By martin posted on August 29, 2005 at 12:21 am
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    Good on you, Duncan, for getting a Goliath to “slap” you around a little ;-) … it must be good for the publicity – make sure you milk it for all its worth ;-)

    But what I don’t understand is what makes such people (Scoble) big-time, high-profile bloggers? I’ve read a thousand and one blogs, read hundreds of posts on my newsreader daily and I find nothing of real value from most well-known bloggers.

    I can tell you this, though: I get the most value out of little known blogs … where they have something to unique say/add to an issue.

  4. By Findlay posted on August 29, 2005 at 12:52 am
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    Duncan, sounds like Scoble has got a case of sour grapes or something similar.
    Scoble, Suck it up and admit that Duncan has a point over you.

  5. By Duncan posted on August 29, 2005 at 1:21 am
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    Martin
    basically the main advantage people like Scoble and Winer have over any number of other bloggers isn’t so much raw talent but the fact that they were there first, and in this regard I’d emphasize I’ve still got a lot of respect for both of them, even if I’m find Winer about exciting as watching grass grow.

    on “little known” bloggers your 110% right. 100blogs in 100 days is alot about this as well, because I’ve probably had more fun and personal satisfaction and enjoyment in the last week reading new blogs than I’ve had in 12 months of reading Scoble and Winer.

  6. By martin posted on August 29, 2005 at 1:35 am
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    I guess it’s not really their fault (Scoble and Winer) being so successful and all, but as we all know in business it’s not really the first that wins in the end. Look at a blogger like Darren Rowsw (ProBlogger.net)- now they have more influence with the newer bloggers by far.

    ’100 Blog in a 100 Days’ I like so far very much – as a rather influential blogger yourself, you are giving small blogs a leg-up, so well done … I’ve sent mine in, so I better see it pop up somewhere ;-) (how’se about number 69 – I know, it’s childish but ….

  7. By Steve G. posted on August 29, 2005 at 5:31 am
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    If you edit comments, you’re not leaving them open for free speech – you’re editing them! And once you touch the comments, you’re stuck with being responsible for the comments’ contents. The real world analogy is if you have a wall on which some people are allowed to paint comments, but on which you cover other comments you don’t like, it’s no longer a free and open comment wall, but something you make – you are then responsible for it. It may be a collaborative effort, but you still have a hand in it.

  8. By Duncan posted on August 29, 2005 at 7:05 am
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    Steve
    fair call to a point, because the reality is that particularly with spam that you’ve got to delete some, and basically I don’t allow really bad language. Also as per the terms and conditions if its really, really, really bad I’d have no choice but to delete it. Sure, its not pure but its a lot better than full moderation or closing comments all together. If I look to someone like Andy Baio, theres a bloke who deletes comments he doesn’t agree with because he doesn’t like them regularly, I’ve got to say that if I applied the same rule I’d be deleting a lot of comments. Encouraging the whole “cluetrain” concept is about allowing free and open comment, with reason.

  9. By chrispian posted on August 29, 2005 at 9:43 am
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    As a writer I hate to see “Free Speech” invoked so much. It loses a lot of meaning this way. Free Speech doesn’t mean Freedom of Venue. You can’t just write whatever you want in the NY Times. That doesn’t make it censorship, that’s editorial control. Every publication, blogs included, have that right.

    That said, there is just something underhanded and sneaky about deleting comments that you don’t like because they don’t agree with your opinion. I understand deleting spam, porn, illegal warez and such, totally. But like you’ve pointed out, it’s the deleting of comments that don’t agree that is wrong. I agree with the sentiment of your post though, totally.

  10. By Cary posted on August 29, 2005 at 11:50 am
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    I’m with Duncan & Chrispian here,

    If you’re going to delete comments just because you don’t agree with them then I have to wonder why you’d allow comments in the first place….a comment is a comment, whether you agree with it or not.

    Obviously, though, in this age of rampant lawsuits you have to take SOME control of what gets posted on your site. I’ve got a very well-meaning reader who likes to post copyrighted material in my comments. He believes he’s doing it for the greater good of the public, and I’m sure he is, but if he wants to run the risk of copyright infringement he needs to do it on his own site, not mine.

    In my opinion, getting caught up in whether Duncan’s invokation of “Free Speech” is strictly correct or not is just so much nit-picking…we all know what he meant; the stifling of personal opinion is reprehensible. I don’t know too many people who would disagree with that.

  11. By Eoghann Irving posted on August 29, 2005 at 9:58 pm
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    Personally I have no problem at all deleting posts for language I don’t think is suitable, insulting other people, spamming, being almost incomprehensible, or just being plain moronic.

    I don’t see why anyone has the right to turn my blogs into nothing more than a endless source of their drivel. :)

  12. By martin posted on August 29, 2005 at 10:27 pm
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    Aside from the legalities involved in whether editing comments you then become resonsible for them (it seems that you are) – I have not one once of a problem deleting a comment that is purely spam or really foul or has absolutely nothing to do with the post in question – but so far, I’ve deleted 3 comments out of 170 or so…

    I never delete comments that disagree with me or attack me … actually they’re some of the comments I love the best.

  13. By wayan posted on August 30, 2005 at 8:30 pm
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    I’m with the editing crew – its my website and I can do with it what I want. Now that doesn’t mean I delete comments I don’t like, but it does mean that as my website, if I decide to delete a comment, or even a whole post, I’m going to do it without reguard to the commenters.

    Luckily, I’ve only had one poster who I’ve had to delete (besides spammers who I detest) when he started cyberstalking me, and one post when the original author asked that I take down his content.

  14. Technoogle » Blog Archive » Should comments be free?April 8, 2006 at 8:41 am