Developing a Blog Comment Policy

Teli Adlam —  November 19, 2006

Lately, I’ve been receiving a few questions about my blog comment policy and whether it can be copied. I don’t mind if you use my comment policy as a basis for your own (it’s actually quite flattering), but please don’t copy the entire thing verbatim (and a credit would also be nice, but isn’t required).

Your blog comment policy should be tailored for your specific blog and audience. For instance, my policy states that all comments are moderated, whereas you may only moderate first time commenters. Also, I allow truncated signature lines within my comments, and you may not like them or want them on your blogs.

Instead of using a cookie cutter approach, let your readers know what is and isn’t acceptable on your blog. Some things your policy should include:

  • Whether comments will be moderated. If yes, how so? Fully moderated, first time commenters, or comments with links, etc.?
  • Maximum comment lengths
  • The tone and language of comments allowed
  • Whether links are allowed in the body and clear instructions on how to add them
  • Whether you will edit comments and under which circumstances
  • Make sure comment ownership is spelled out — i.e. do the commenters get to keep the copyright to their comments or the blog author?
  • Any special provisions or rules you may have for discussions on the blog

Having a blog comment policy allows readers to get an idea of what will be tolerated within a blog’s conversation.

If you should have any questions or feedback about my blog’s comment policy, leave a comment 🙂 or send me a message.

[tags]blog comment policy, blog management, blog organization[/tags]

Teli Adlam

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10 responses to Developing a Blog Comment Policy

  1. As a reader of blogs and sometimes poster it is great when the policy on commenting is spelled out clearly. There are so many different ways of doing things that it is easy to break the rules of a particular blog unintentionally.

    When the instructions are also clear that is very helpful. Your policy is as well written as any I have seen.

    I think I will take you up on the permission to model my future blog comment policy on your own–modifying it to the needs of my site and giving credit where do. 🙂

    -Greg

  2. Hello Greg,
    Thank you for the thoughtful and kind words. Glad to hear my comment policy will help to inspire yours. 🙂

    ~ Teli

  3. Hi Teli,

    You should send out those email reminders more often.

    This is actually the only blog of yours (that I know of 😉 ) that I am not a subscriber to, because so many of the good posts are behind closed doors.

    I need to add an ownership notice to my comment policy

    Hmm, it seems you are missing one here too 😉

  4. Hi Andy,
    Again, you’re right, I truly do need to send out more newsletters. Hopefully my schedule will simmer down a bit so I can focus energies on the fun stuff. 🙂

    As for the comment ownership, it’s there, in the next to last paragraph. Maybe I should clarify it, though.

    In any event, the commenters keep their copyright — they just grant me the right, in perpetuity, to use, alter, and display their comments however I see fit.

    ~ Teli

  5. You are right Teli, there is very BIG difference between taking something as a starting point and just copying something.

  6. Thanks for this post, it helped me nail down my exact approach on my comment policy. I very much liked your XHTML section, and copied with a few changes. Thanks for permission. It was a great help.

  7. Comments + their owner’s copyright is an interesting one.

    Personally, I think comments on a site become the site’s property.

    How often have you seen a copyright at the bottom of a comment for that poster?

  8. Hi Steve,
    You don’t need a statement that says “all rights reserved” attached to everything you write because the moment you commit it, you have automatic copyright. In fact, if you don’t want to reserve all your rights (or wish to put something in the Public Domain), you must explicitly state it.

    Of course, it is the option of the website owner to claim rights to comments, but that’s opening an entirely new can of legal worms most web masters would rather not deal with.

    ~ Teli

  9. Thanks for permission,it helped me nail down my exact approach on my comment policy. I very much liked your XHTML section, and copied with a few changes. It was a great help.

  10. I have just started a blog/directorr for my local town of Whitby and i want to allow people to comment on articles and accommodation listings within my blog. Does asking people to register with the blog deter them from leaving comments in your opinion? I also want people to rate places with star ratings. Do you think this is open to attack by rival businesses down rating the competition?