When you have a blog, a written commenting policy is often the best thing you can do for everyone who gets involved with reading and responding to your posts. On top of everyone else's benefit, you can derive a great deal of usefulness from such a policy. By moderating the comments you receive as well as the ones you end up keeping, you can avoid having problems develop to start with.
Comments Can Get Nasty
Sometimes the Internet allows people who would normally be polite to one another to be downright rude. When a conversational topic you bring up in your blog turns into little more than a venue for people to personally insult one another, you start running into some nasty problems. The biggest problem starts to be that people tend to avoid commenting in areas that are heavily troll-infested or that have a lot of mean and aggressive people in them.
Perhaps the biggest problem you can run into with your blog comments is that people just won't comment at all. Silence can be a real problem, because their comments may be extremely useful to you and your blog's success.
Commenters Generally Respect You
Most people are only commenting on your blog posts because they respect you and what you have to say. If they didn't, they would've read a post, shrugged and went away. The Net is full of content, and there's nothing intrinsically special about any of it. People tend to gravitate toward blogs that say something they agree with. The people who comment aren't necessarily the bulk of your readers, but they have to read and have something to say to bother commenting.
Keep Your Community Positive and Reap the Rewards
A positive community is a community that offers a lot to the people in it. When people comment kindly to one another, positive and ultimately very productive discussions tend to come out of it. All you have to do is list some basic rules of etiquette on your blog and gently nudge people to stick with them, and nine times out of ten you won't run into any problems. For example, don't allow people to put each other down. Don't allow personal attacks, hate speech or racism and sexism in your comments section. You can moderate it all, and make a lot of changes with relative ease.
Blog commenting policies may seem like Big Brother, but sometimes it's necessary to keep a discussion on track and positive when people feel like being belligerent to one another. Ultimately, many of the problems bloggers run into come about partially because they allow their blog's comments to go awry and get out of hand.
About the Author: Paz Grohs is a health and wellness blogger who understands the importance of having clear, public policies on a popular blog. She enjoys reading other healthcare sites and blogs, including YeastInfection.org and any site that covers women's health issues.