Comment policies and online identities

Matt starts off with Jeremy’s newly posted comment policies. Jeremy says that he nukes all comments that for which the author’s URL is a link to a non-weblog site. Matt appears to more lenient by allowing the URL to point to a personal site but not a business site. Dinah’s comment raises a very valid consideration.

We are all used to identifying people as themselves or representatives of different organizations. In my online life I’ve been seen as a student, teacher/researcher, a developer, or a hobbyist (in something or another). In each of my roles I have differing amounts of credibility. In some circles my work seems to rank quite well, giving enough credibility that some students send me emails asking for more info on something I really don’t know about but have published an article on (more on this sometime later).

While online I have generally left the corporate developer side of my in the background, there are times when identifying myself to the corporate entity in which I work may offer more credibility. For example, lets imagine a Web developer writes something on a fire or rescue situation. Possibly wondering why the rescuers (or fire fighters) did what they did. If I answer as myself, you’ll have to hunt around quite a bit to see if I have any credibility in answering. If I link to my current employer (site still waiting for approval from the suits), on the contact page you’ll see my name. And my employer, the corporate entity that I work for, will give me more credibility to discuss a rescue or fire call (I currently work for the North Karelia Rescue (Fire) Department). Let alone those cases where a person doesn’t have a weblog on their personal site. Their personal site may still offer credibility to their comments (e.g. in the form of a CV, portfolios etc.).

So, to make a long story somewhat shorter: There should be no reason to automatically nuke a comment just because the author’s URL isn’t a link to a Weblog or a personal site. Of course, this means that the person considering nuking a comment will have to stop and consider for a moment longer, but it will ultimately provide us (the readers) with tools to evaluate the credibility of the comment’s author. Online we are known (or unknown) through the sites we link to as our affiliations – why is a weblog the only way to lend credibility to your comments? I really think that credibility is something I need to discuss in a series of entries sometime soon. Maybe that would give my research a needed kick in the butt as well ;).

3 thoughts on “Comment policies and online identities”

  1. Bloggers really are an incestuous bunch, aren’t they? Blogging about what other people blog. Yawn.

  2. I haven’t. In fact, I don’t even have any filters on yet, waiting for it to happen to see how things evolve.

    But my main issue (that could’ve been clearer) is that a link to a non-weblog or non-personal site may not be link spam. It does require more work to figure it out, but it will serve the readers better in evaluating the credibility of the author. I do think I’ll need to expand on this more sometime later.

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