Taking ownership of your words

Joel has a great rant about anonymous blog comments.

The way to give people freedom of expression is to give them a quiet place to post their ideas. If other people disagree, they’re welcome to do so… on their own blogs, where they have to take ownership of their words.

I agree, mostly.  I’ve been running this blog for over four years and never opened it up for comments, until a few days ago when I migrated to WordPress. That’s why you’ll see that almost every post on this site has no comments.

But I don’t think the answer has to be “no comments for anyone.” My blog is my own little dictatorship. There is no free speech here except where I allow it. I don’t think there is anything wrong with putting all comments into a moderation queue and filtering out the ones that peg the stupid meter.

And, of course, disallowing anonymous comments.

Anyway, where I really agree with Joel is on the notion of taking ownership if your words. On my blog, everyone knows who I am. If I say something controversial, I don’t hide behind a shield of anonymity. In fact, bloggers like Joel (and me) are putting a lot on the line when blogging about things that might make people mad. We’re also selling our stuff on the internet. I know without a doubt — because people have told me! — that my openness about some of my unpopular opinions has cost me sales. But an anonymous comment on a blog posts means nothing to me, because it takes nothing to say it.

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