OK, you win, I'm back.
I think every blogger realises how important it is to have comments. It makes the whole job of writing blog posts worthwhile. I've said before that the only thing that makes this pass-time more fulfilling are direct face-to-face mentions. Best of all when I meet a complete stranger and they say that they read this blog. It's a little bit of minor fame, a realisation of a minor media success perhaps. More likely vanity, it's true, but whatever, it gives me a level of satisfaction that makes this worthwhile.
There have been times when I've been perplexed by some comments from worthy bloggers. Often, after a period of reflection, the more challenging comments generate a useful thought process that often provokes a new post. This, to me, is blogging at its best; a truly interactive media that explores various issues. Whether it be the validity of the definition of real ale or the relative morality of stealing glasses from pubs, the best bloggers can agree to disagree so that at least next time they meet they can enjoy a pint together, even if one might insist on it being Lout. It is important to recognise that constructive disagreement should never create a problem.
When I first started blogging I put all the checks and controls on to prevent unpleasant comments. I activated that irritating "word verification" thing that is occasionally amusing but often stifles the interactivity of this medium. I also set the comment moderation to "always".
After a while it dawned on me that these things are counter productive. I eventually decided to remove them all and simply monitor for problems. Surprisingly, very few problems appeared, until recently. Over the past few weeks I've noticed an increase of spam comments from various sources, all advertising irrelevant services. Just occasionally there will be a stupid anonymous comment, probably from some mischievous local intent on annoying me. I don't like to delete comments and try and deal with them by intelligent interaction. However, somethings are simply off-side.
Yesterday I had a comment on my blog that was effectively local gossip about my business and was inappropriate and completely unrelated to the blog. I deleted it. Today the exact same comment appeared. Some people just can't take a hint.
So, apologies for taking away liberties of the many sound people who comment here. I apologise especially to those who feel they should not have to sign up to a blogger account to be able to comment. Why should they have to? Sadly, the actions of a very small minority spoil it for everybody else, something of a parallel to my overall experience here. Hopefully I'll remove these controls again in time, I don't want to have to be tied to the PC to approve comments.