Do you delete nasty comments left on your blog? I’m not talking about commenters who simply disagree with you, but rather those really nasty ones. Do you feel compelled to leave them there, because you don’t want to inhibit interaction or be seen as a coward?
Or, do you believe that it’s your blog and therefore it’s up to you to decide which comments remain and which get deleted? In a recent article on Performancing, Deb Ng discussed how to handle nasty comments, and mentioned that there are some who feel that deleting comments is tantamount to “stifling free speech”. I think that’s a bit of a stretch.
I am frankly surprised at what seems to be a common notion that one does not have the absolute right to delete any comment left on their blog. Certainly, if one is going to publish a blog, one has to be prepared for some disagreement and it can make for a more interesting blog if there is lively discussion in the comments. However, I don’t believe someone has an inherent “right” to pollute your blog with whatever they like. In fact, I think it’s important not to give the trolls a voice at all. If all blog owners stamped out that kind of behavior wherever possible, maybe they’d give up.
If you delete a nasty comment, what are the drawbacks? Are you afraid that person might stop visiting your blog all together? Is that really the kind of person you want trolling around your site anyway, just waiting to spew more garbage at you and your readers? In fact, not deleting nasty comments can impact your readership more, as they can make your readers uncomfortable.
Bottom line: it’s your site. You can delete or edit any comment that is left. Don’t give the trolls a voice.