I had a rather unfortunate experience with the blog yesterday that is having me consider a technical/policy change. During an exchange under the Phil Gramm post from yesterday, I entered into a spirited exchange with one of our frequent posters, during which I made the oft made comment here that he was not reading what I wrote....and that his responses were based on a misreading of my words.
I left that comment up for about 20 minutes. After a while, I thought to myself that my comments were not made in a manner that brought repute to this site and so I took the comments down, resigned to just doing what I often do with responders with whom I disagree--and that is, move on.
Apparently the poster with whom I was having this debate had the opportunity to read what I wrote before I took it down, either through good luck or because he subscribes to an RSS feed of the site. Perhaps not realizing that I had put my gun away and pulled my last post down, he responded with a healthy defense of his position and a counter-accusation that I had not read his words.
I then removed the whole shooting match from the site.
So here's the deal. As currently configured, I post something, and then if someone wants to comment, they can. Their comments are immediately posted to the board without any review on my part. I have the ability to go in and remove posts, but not until after they've already been posted. I have had to remove posts before for a number of reasons including profanity, extreme prejudice, personal attacks (on me and others) and rarely out of editorial prerogative--that is, because I have gotten so pissed off at the what I consider to be deliberate and continued misreading/nonreading of what I had written followed by defenses thereof.
I am considering enabling the technology here that allows me to first review a post and then determine whether it will be posted. In this way, I won't again have to have the public discussion of "you're not reading what I wrote", something that after eight months of writing this blog I have come to despise more than anything else about it.
What do you think (and no, I haven't enabled it yet)? There are clearly pros and cons to the idea. On the pro side, it makes me happier, makes me like blogging more, and keeps the site civil. On the con side, it could be viewed as limiting debate--especially debate that I find disagreeable (and do not read that as "with which I disagree"; that is an entirely different concept)--which by the way, it would absolutely be used to do. Additionally, if I am unable to get to a computer or email, the posted item would languish in cyber-purgatory until I posted or killed it.
I know that I could implement this change without debate and discussion. Realize also that this blog was never supposed to be an ongoing public version of an email chain or personal conversation between me and any one or two of my readers. My desire is to comment and invite comment, and if there's a good conversation to be had among the readers, it will develop. Every bit of time and energy I spend on defenses/conversations is time and energy I don't devote to moving on to other subjects.
So--should I make the change to front-end editorial control, or should I leave things the way they are and simply suck it up, and get better at just ignoring comments I find objectionable?