When I set up the Flophouse, I had a decision to make about comments. That's one I had to think about very seriously because while I'm not into control and I genuinely like it when people speak their mind, sometimes people comment not because they want to join a discussion, but for other reasons.
I derive no income from this blog. I've turned down all advertising. I don't even use the Amazon widgets anymore. The blog is not even meant to kick start a book or anything like that. It is pure fun for me and I hope for you too.
I don't have a problem with being wrong. I do my best to check my sources but I'm not perfect and I don't mind anyone pointing that out. How in the hell will I never learn anything if I don't leave myself open to correction?
As for opinions, I'm not and never will be the last word on anything. I say what I think and do my best to come up an argument that makes sense. Anyone who comes here is free to disagree and to say so in no uncertain terms.
So why did I decide to moderate the comments? Trolls and salesmen. A Troll is someone who stops by and leaves comments that aren't meant to further or add to a discussion, they are just meant to piss people off to no purpose whatsoever except the amusement of the person doing the trolling. That violates my rule about this blog being fun and/or interesting. Trolls are neither. They are boring and I don't see why any of us should have to suffer through that kind of nonsense.
The second category of "problem child" is the salesmen. Since I write a lot about immigration, I get comments that have no content other than to steer people to some website that offers immigration/emigration services. I don't know these people, I've never used their services and have no idea if they are reputable or not. I'm not selling anything on this blog and I don't see why I should let anyone else do so either.
So, those are my reasons for moderating the comments. To be very clear, I will never EVER refuse a comment because someone passionately disagrees with me on some topic. I will, however, instantly delete all attempts to amuse oneself at other people's expense and any efforts to promote one's wares or services.
The downside to moderating comments is that because I don't spend every waking minute of my day tickling my keyboard, there can be a delay between a reader submitting a comment and my publishing it. Bear with me here - I will publish as soon as I can and no one should view the time it takes as an indication that the comment isn't welcome.
If you have a doubt, please feel free to email me at email@example.com. In fact, feel free to email me in any case. Perhaps you have something to say that you would prefer not to have published on an open forum. Or maybe you'd just like to introduce yourself and start a conversation. I also like to hear suggestions for future blog posts - a lot of the material I use here comes from people like Tim who pass along links or who recommend books. There is also my Mom who reminds me from time to time that I really should do some housekeeping. I may not be able to respond instantly but I will respond.
Time to walk the garden. Have a lovely Friday, everyone.
And something very important that I completely forgot to mention which is language. The Flophouse is in English because most of my American readers speak and read it and most of my French readers are bi-lingual French and English. However, there is no reason to feel obliged to use English instead of French when commenting. Let's call this the "McGill rule" - according to my daughter the professors teach in English but papers, homework and discussions with the professors can be in French or English. So if you are more comfortable with French, allez-y, and I promise to reply in French as well. You'll even be doing me a huge favor because my written French is getting rusty because I speak French all the time but I haven't had much opportunity to write since I've been stuck at home.