Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Why Some Comments Don't Get Approved

When I first started this blog, I made the rookie mistake of letting any and all comments go through. Boy, did I learn quick.

So I switched to moderated comments. At first I eliminated the spam and the bots and zombies. Then out went the abusive and profane... that is to say the unnecessarily so. Profanity can be a very good thing, but like a leather strap, only if applied skillfully.

So there I was, with only humans, politely expressing opinions... some of which made me really mad.

And then I realized, "Hey... this is my house."

It dawned on me that I was under no legal or moral obligation to include all viewpoints in the blog. That Lord knows my opposites felt no such need.

I started this blog because I didn't feel my views were being represented anywhere. (Decide for yourself if that's a good thing or not.) This was supposed to be a safe refuge for my leanings.

So I decided to reject those comments that were amply represented elsewhere, especially if they were simply there to pick a fight. If you want to recite right-wing talking points there is no shortage of places for you to do so. Go with God.

I decided if you're Anonymous, you're starting a few steps behind. You're not automatically rejected, but you're closer than if you'd included your name.

I decided to reject comments that simply don't make sense to me. You would be amazed at the number of comments that come in that simply defy all efforts to comprehend them. I sit and read them over and over... I try to parse them, to break them down ... syntax, tree, X-bar, Venn, and even Witch's Hat diagrams are often involved... but in the end they make no sense at all.

One commenter has an amazing knack for not only making no sense, AND saying things that have nothing to do with the post, but he/she always manages to quote and/or reference something or someone I've never heard of. It's uncanny. ("It's like Jason Q. LeGriunemarte always says in his "Champions" segment on Finite! on Channel 137") In those cases, I have to carefully weigh whether the point is cogent enough and/or adds enough to the conversation to make it worth Googling whoever this person is talking about.

A big strike against you is if you're trying to spark an argument that leads us down a tiresome side road:

Mac vs. PC
pro-choice vs. anti-choice
blowjob vs. perjury
stuffing vs. potatoes
NY, Boston or Chicago deep-dish

(For the record: Mac, pro-choice, blowjob, stuffing, Chicago deep-dish AND Chicago stuffed)

...and away from the arguments that really matter:

Sargent or York
sock-sock or sock-shoe
under-roll or over-roll
Roth or Hagar
Jeannie or Samantha
Lily or Morticia
Ginger or Maryanne
natural or implants
Salma o Penelope
Paris or Nicole

(For the record: Sargent, sock-sock, under, Roth, Samantha, Morticia, both, both, both, neither)

Anyway, that's how we've ended up with our happy little community here. I like it, and I hope you do, too. And if you have any normal friends, please invite them over. As long as they have names.


MALewis said...

I like this blog. Keep doing what you're doing!

And thanks for doing it!

Michael Markowitz said...

Thanks, I really appreciate that!

Mark in Chicago said...

Personally, I have alternated between sock sock and sock shoe all my life. I think it is indicative of my willingness to look at issues from all sides and not get locked into a particular way of doing things just because those in authority tell me that's what I should do. Maybe it's just an indication that I can't make up my mind. Honestly, my Dad once actually told me I was doing it wrong when he saw me going sock shoe. I'll never forget it and it makes me laugh everytime I think of it.

Your post reminded of it and of course I laughed. I've been reading SAM for more than a year now. I must confess that while I have a particular bias since I personally know what a genuinely talented and creative person you are, this would be truly destination reading for me if I didn't know you.

Keep up the great work!

Michael Markowitz said...

First of all, thanks, Mark, I really appreciate those kind words. I'm really glad people seem to like this thing.

I have also gone back and forth in my life, but I wish I could say it was because of the positive qualities you describe. When I was a kid, I did it sock-sock, because of some orderliness, I suppose... why put down the other sock only to pick it up?

Then one day along the way I changed to sock-shoe... I suspect due to laziness: I probably figured what the hell, I'm at that foot anyway, why make another trip.

Now that I work at home, I almost never wear socks at all if I can help it. So if I'm putting on socks, it's because I have to go someplace shoe-worthy. So I put on my socks first... and slowly... hoping that before the shoes go on someone will call with a reprieve and I can take off the socks again!

(Would a sock-order discussion qualify as "jumping the shark" for a blog?")


peeky said...


Michael Markowitz said...

I know, I know...

I liked the last M*A*S*H* and Cheers casts better, too. I hated early Happy Days, early Simpsons, early Mary Tyler Moore Shows... early Odd Couple... I even liked when they got rid of that one Partridge kid, but that was more for the sheer perversity of it. What can I say? I'm a non-traditionalist.

peeky said...

I liked the second Marilyn Munster better (Pat Priest) and both Gladys Kravitz's, although the first one had a slight edge. Also, sock/shoe is the first indication of homicidal maniacry.

Michael Markowitz said...

Sorry, I'm Kravitz 2.0 all the way

Sean Tisdall said...

Well, at least you've now copped to the fact that, like every other biased bit of punditry occasionally masquerading as a news source, something that normally the Right is guilty of. (The Notional Pest and the Toronto Spun up here in Canada) that you decide. So it's reassuring to have a spoonfeeder tell me that I'm being spoon-fed. Kudos on being upfront about it.

Michael Markowitz said...

(vide supra)