Since I've gotten many private responses to my post about comments, I'd like to invite you to try this yourself. Pretend you're me. You've just received the following comment in response to the "Strange Days" post. The writer, by the way, is someone who often contributes comments that are approved, so it's not some interloper. (And, we don't actually dislike Texans, even though we make fun of them sometimes. That's a joke, son, I say, a joke.) Bear in mind you can't edit. All you can do is pass it along as written, or axe it. Here's the comment:

"Wow you're as warm as it was here in Central Texas today. I read with interest the global warming conversations. I wonder how much is real, how much is over-exaggerated, how much is caused by mankind and how much might be of a natural cycle. It's as warm as it been in a thousand years they say. (what caused it then?) Wasn't it in the 70's when they said we were headed for an ice age? Of my 3 winters in Maine 2 were colder than normal. Jan. and Feb. here in TX were colder than normal this year. What happened to acid rain? They said the fish would be dead by now. Does anyone know how much Al Gore has made off of his movie and lecture tour? Millions? I wonder how much of that money will be donated by Mr. Gore to the global warming cause or will it be used to purchase many thousands of gallons of jet fuel to fly in private jets? Ah that's right he has to heat his huge mansion too. Damn we all need to cut back so the elite can live like the upper class that they are. :0 My advice is enjoy that weather. You know it ain't gonna last. :0 Sorry about the rant."

So what do you do? Does your own agreement or disagreement with the political-scientific opinions of the writer determine your response? Does the fact that it says nothing about photography count against it? Would you risk triggering a debate among readers about global warming? Would you be itching to join that debate yourself?

So, leave your own comment and tell me what you'd do: allow or disallow?


FOLLOW-UP: I think y'all can see what I'm up against here. In the 35 comments left as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, there were 24 people who made it clear what they'd do. There were 10 "disallow" responses and 14 "allow" responses (at least as I interpret and tabulate the responses). So, although the "allows" win here, with this comment, as with many other "borderline" ones, the right thing to do isn't exactly cut-and-dried, at least not overwhelmingly so.

Neither is the response I might provoke no matter which course I chose. As you can see for yourself, some people have expressed unhappiness that their comments have been rejected in the past, while others feel it's oppressive that rejection of the comments they might write is even a possibility. Others would prefer I be a bit more heavy-handed and keep impolite, off-point, or distracting topics out of the comments. Many simply endorse autocratic rule-by-Mike, which, I might point out, is very well-adjusted of them, since that's essentially what you're all getting here anyway, like it or not!

My main goal is just to be to keep things friendly and polite, and be as fair to everyone as possible. All I can say is that I try. And I'll keep trying. I've picked on two commenters today, and perhaps that in itself violates my own principles. Of the two, special thanks to the person who wrote the comment featured in this post, for suffering their words to be used as a "guinea-pig" and get picked over by everybody.

P.S. Just for the record, I didn't reject any of the comments to this post. At least not so far—!

UPDATE: I'm sure everyone will be relieved to know that our temperatures are back very close to dead average—the high yesterday was 45°F, and the average high for the date is 46°F. Make of that what you will....


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