I’ve never had a comment policy on here, other than an unwritten “be nice”. That has worked well enough for the last 2+ years, but there have been flare ups, especially when there is a a Kate drought. Honestly, it seems like people go a bit stir crazy when Kate disappears for long stretches. This has happened several times in the last 2+ years. As I said, my unwritten “be nice” comment policy has worked well enough, but lately I’ve noticed that there have been more flare ups in the comment section. Maybe this is due to the increased unhappiness with Kate, maybe this is due to the Kate drought of late, I don’t know, it could be a number of things.
When I started this blog, I told myself that I would not censor comments. One of the reasons I started this blog in the first place was because my comments on a certain Kate site were constantly being moderated out. So I told myself I would let all comments through, including ones that were negative toward me. And I’ve gotten some of those, and let them through. There have been times when I outright censored comments, but there haven’t been that many.
I now feel like I’ve been a let down as a moderator due to my non-censorship. There have been several times when arguments in the comment sections have gone too far and gotten too heated, and I have not intervened when I should have. Either I didn’t think it would get that heated, thought people would be able to work things out on their own, or have not seen the comments in time to stop things going too far.
This past weekend, I was out of town, busy, and not on my computer. I did not read the comments from this weekend until today. I came back to find that seemingly all hell had broken loose with people commenting negatively about Kate and William, other commentators, their opinions, their writing styles, me, this blog, and my moderating skills.
I have thought for a while that I should make an official comment policy, but have not done so because I didn’t know what I wanted it to say. I read a post on another Kate-focused blog recently about the problems in that blog’s comment section, and though I don’t agree 100% with her rules, I think it is a good idea that she outlined them and is enforcing them. So I am going to take the time to make a comment policy for this blog because it needs one.
I started this blog because my commenting style did not fit in anywhere else. I was too harsh for the pro-Kate blogs, and I was too nice for the anti-Kate blogs. This blog has always tried (though not always successfully) to take a middle ground, “critical but able to see the positive” approach. I used the word “Review” instead of a harsher word specifically because of that – as in, I would review Kate’s goings on, would be critical of her, but could be positive when it was warranted. I had kind of forgotten that after 2+ years of near constant criticism, but that was my original intention when I started my blog.
Yes, this blog is fairly critical of Kate and others, but I don’t want it to devolve into pure hate like I was experiencing on a certain forum I used to post on before I started this blog. That’s not to say this blog won’t be critical. It will be. It will be critical of Kate and William until they step up to the plate as royals. But I do not want this blog to be a negative place. It’s critical, no doubt, but it should still be enjoyable to read and comment on. When it gets too negative, it’s just not enjoyable to read or comment on anymore. I don’t want this to be a negative place. Going off of the idea that this blog was intended to be a middle of the road yet still critical blog, here are my thoughts regarding comments:
Towards me and other commentators:
- Do not attack, demean, name-call, etc me or other commentators. It is not okay to be rude to other people.
- Likewise, do not demean, belittle, name-call, etc other people’s opinions – ie. “It is stupid/ridiculous/absurd/dumb to think that [insert commentator’s opinion here]”. Demeaning another person’s opinion is demeaning that person for having that opinion. There is a difference between saying, “It is ridiculous to think that [opinion]”, versus saying, “I disagree with that opinion for X reason”. It is perfectly fine to disagree with an opinion, but attacking someone for having that opinion is not okay.
- Do not threaten other people. Do not wish death, harm, or illness on other people.
Towards William, Kate, the Middletons, every other royal:
- Let’s keep the name-calling to a minimum, please. Name-calling is defined as “abusive language or insults”, and calling someone by a name that is not their own with the specific purpose of making fun of them counts as name-calling. I understand why people have their nicknames for them, I don’t necessarily mind that other people have their nicknames for them, but it does seem excessive at times and I think it would be best if we tried to curb the name-calling a bit.
- Let’s talk about harsher insults than name-calling, terms like “idiot”, “moron”, etc. I actually have a post where I call Kate a moron right in the title (it’s the one where her skirt flew up when they were in the Blue Mountains), so I have used those terms before. And while it may seem apt in the moment, it really is not constructive. So let’s try and keep this to a minimum, too.
- I, personally, think it’s fine to comment about work ethic. A major part of their role as royals is to preform public duties, so it is perfectly natural to comment on their public duties. And part of their public duties is the frequency of them.
- I also think it’s fine to comment on their media strategy, their relationship with the public, their relationship with the press, their seeming thoughts on perks versus work, whether or not they want the throne, etc. I also think it’s fine to comment on personal appearance, since so much of royal watching is purely visual since we rarely hear them talk or get quotes from them.
- I don’t mind commenting on their personal lives (the state of their marriage, their parenting skills, their mental health) and have done so myself. But let’s all (including me) keep in mind we do not know these people personally and do not see them in their private time. We have no idea what they do or what they think. It’s fine to comment on what we see, and to speculate on what we see, but we can never know the truth. We see what we see, see what we want to see, speculate on that, but we do not know the truth. Let’s just remember that.
- If you want to call emphasis to a word or phrase, do not use all caps as it comes across as screaming in text. Use * surrounding the word or phrase to call emphasis to it. Or use html code to italicize or bold the word or phrase.
- Please make comments as readable as possible: proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. I understand things happen, people rush, autocorrect goes wonky, and English is not everyone’s first language, but please try. No excessive use of capitals or punctuation.
- Let’s not use foul language. I know I have in the past, but for the most part I try to avoid it. And if I do use it, I censor the word a bit. Not many people use such language, but I want to mention it anyway. Let’s avoid it.
This isn’t about being sensitive versus having a thick skin, this is about being civil and this blog being a safe, comfortable place to comment. So keep things civil, keep things constructive; do not be rude, derogatory, or antagonistic. Discussion and debate are welcome and encouraged, but hostility and extreme negativity are not.
I hope you understand why I’ve written this post, and hope you are comfortable with these comment policies. I think these policies will help ease the tension that has cropped up. If you would like to contact me directly, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading, and happy commenting.
Tomorrow Prince Harry is back in action at Goodwood Aerodrome for a Battle of Britain flypast, and later in the week Kate has her Anna Freud Centre visit, and they all will be out and about for the start of the Rugby World Cup on Friday.