Who owns the Comments section – a real-life story

Who owns the comments section – the blog owner or the blog reader?

I recently read a post on an professional community site that publishes posts by its members. This site has a disclaimer at the bottom of the post that states that the opinions represent those of the author and not of the specific organisation; the content is member contributed and that publishing on its site does not imply that they endorse it.

It so happened that this article caused quite the controversy. The comments were not encouraging or positive at all! In fact, all the commenters had similar sentiments.

After about 15 or so not very flattering comments (I must say that I did agree with the commenters as well) the organisation intervened. They reiterated the disclaimer, that everyone has the right to express an opinion and basically told everyone to play nice.

So, to trans-contextualise this to a blogging scenario – the blog owner provides the space for readers to comment. It is the blog owners prerogative to hold comments in moderation (a word of caution here, one I’ve experienced myself. Sometimes blog owners don’t get to moderate their comments until a long while after posting. When they are approved the opportunity for a lively community discussion is lost). It is also the blog owners responsibility that the community plays nicely with each other. Why else go to the trouble of having commenting guidelines?

In summary, the blog owner is responsible for the comment section. The readers are responsible for playing nice.

Going back to that scenario I sketched earlier – I do still think that this particular organisation should have moderated the actual article before it was posted to ensure it complied with its espoused principles (yes, it was that bad!) and to save the author some face in the community – it is an professional community after all. But the way it handled the comments controversy was rather well done, so kudos to them!

A room with a view

The car sped through the narrow road, dodging oncoming traffic and narrowly missing cars in front it… and the kerbside. The driver, my late cousin’s boyfriend drove, maniacally, totally unaware of the havoc he was causing in the nervous system of its passengers.

He was driving completely unsafely, blissfully unaware of road signs and the white middle line dividing the road into 2 lanes. Hooters sounded and he carried on talking, a non-stop narrative of the history of the countryside and its attractions.

My Grandmother, in the front seat, listened and gave encouraging sounds, hoping that she’d be distracted from danger we were in.  My sister and I, crammed into the back-seat of the small red Fiat thought that this holiday to Portugal would be our last.

My  white knuckled hands gripped the back of the driver’s seat. My sister seemed to be serenely looking out the window, trying not to look ahead at an impending frontal collision.

We were on our way north from Lisbon, to visit some of the spectacular beaches on the Portuguese Atlantic coast.

We stopped at a few beaches, thankfully climbing out of the car for a brief time to look at the scenery, before nervously getting back into the car to get to our next stop.

At midday our enthusiastic driver pulled into a small village for lunch…and there, perched almost on the edge of the cliffside was an abandoned church, a ruin of a building, its ancient walls rough but still intact, and no roof!

As I walked into the church a physical silence surrounded me like I had been transported to another place. I remember feeling bewildered at the silence that enveloped the place, the voices outside seeming to be coming from a distance. The sun shone through the broken beams of the roof and cast its slat-like rays through the dust swirls onto the ground.

I walked through the centre aisle, the pews dusty and realised with surprise that people still went there to worship. And I totally understood why. There was a peace, a serenity, a holiness about that place that made me feel at one with the universe.  I lingered a while but not long enough. I haven’t been back since.

It was as though that church, without its roof, with its dusty pews, and black veiled village women praying under the rays of the sun was put there to help me realise that there is a higher power at play.

If I could zoom to another place right now it would be to this abandoned church high atop an Atlantic cliffside on the coast of Portugal. I don’t remember the name of the village or the church, but this place is one I visit often in my mind when I am in need of peace, solace and a re-connection with myself.


Stream of consciousness – on blogging

Blogging is new to me and at the same time it isn’t.

I’ve had a blog since 2012 and posted somewhat regularly in the first year, not very regularly in the second year, and regularly in the third year. This year actually.

So I know a fair bit about blogging. I have a respectable amount of views and visitors per day, but I feel I could have more followers and people commenting on posts. 

Few have actually decided that they like my writing so much they can’t do without it and subscribe to my posts via email, or follow me.

I also don’t have many comments. Not every post elicits comments. So it must mean that I’m doing something wrong.

Everytime I get a comment I do a silent happy dance. It’s like receiving a bunch of flowers. There’s also some trepidation – what if it’s a negative comment?

I’ve done a fair bit of research and come across articles and blogs on how to get more comments and followers.

I read a blog post at the beginning of the year, of a guy who said he was shutting down his very successful blog. After a few years of worrying about views, page-loads and comments, he decided to just write. And to just write he didn’t need a blog and the validation of readers. So he shut it down for a year to focus on his writing and see where it takes him.

I admire that, it takes guts to do that. I’m not there (yet?). I still want to write and have people read my stuff and comment on it because it is a good way to get good constructive feedback from a wide variety of people.

So if you’re reading this post, and do come by my blog from time to time – hint hint… – please leave me a comment.


Split-second story: Contrasts and divides

This week’s photo challenge: Split-Second Story – this week’s photo challenge is to  capture an image that tells a full story in a single frame.

In the foreground, the poor township of Alexandra, contrasted with the Sandton skyline in the distance. Alexandra is one of the poorest townships in South Africa. Sandton is one of the most affluent areas in the country. To live in Africa is to become unsurprised at such contrasts.

The contrast between rich and poor areas in Africa. The poor township of Alexandra in the foreground in contrasted with the rich Sandton skyline in the distance.
The contrast between rich and poor areas in Africa. The poor township of Alexandra in the foreground in contrasted with the rich Sandton skyline in the distance.