Comment moderation or censorship?

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

It’s been a year since I founded In Brief Legal Writing Services and 10 months since I launched this site.

Based on some advice I got in the WordPress class I took in preparation for launching inbrieflegalwriting.com last fall, I initially decided not to allow readers to comment on my blog posts. At the time, I thought it would make my life easier. I have since realized that was a mistake.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

Or was it?

While I welcome audience participation, moderating reader comments is not something I particularly enjoy. For one thing, it is time-consuming, and as a small business owner, time is a luxury I don’t always have. Secondly, because I firmly believe in freedom of speech, it creates a moral dilemma.

On one hand, the ability to moderate the comments made in this forum is essential. After all, this is a business site. My personal and professional reputation is at stake.

So make no mistake about it. Foul language and views expressed in anything less than a civil and professional manner simply cannot and will not be tolerated. If you use inappropriate language, engage in name-calling or any other vitriol so often found on the Internet these days, your comment will be relegated to the trash bin without a second thought. In fact, that is exactly what happened to a comment someone made earlier this week.

I won’t name the individual who felt compelled to leave a crude, sick, twisted and vicious comment in response to an old post, Don’t You Dare Feel Sorry for Brock Turner. However, I will say that the gist of the response was that Turner’s victim deserved to be sexually assaulted behind a dumpster.

Well here’s a newsflash: No one deserves to be sexually assaulted and left behind a dumpster. No one.

But getting back to the topic at hand, everyone is entitled to their opinion. And since this is the United States of America, everyone is allowed to express it. As a rule, I frown on any kind of censorship and welcome differing views. I encourage you — my readers — to engage in fierce debate with me and with each other. All I ask is that you remember that this is a professional forum and comment accordingly.

To paraphrase the old saying, “If you don’t have anything constructive to say, don’t say anything at all.”

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