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Moderating blog comments can be a lot of work and it's not always fun. So I decided to make some rules for blog to make comment moderation a lot easier. Do you have comment guidelines for yourself and your readers?

I've been blogging for more than 10 years. For the first eight years, I had a thin skin and was easily offended, but then I began to see a trend in the people I had a conflict with on social media and that helped me take a step back and look at my social media interactions in a different light.

Lately, I've been connecting with a lot of people who want to start blogging, but they have confessed that they have a thin skin and don't think they can handle negative comments. I'm writing to tell you that you don't have to deal with negative comments.

It's our blog, we can do what we want to with it. When people complain about censorship, they are misunderstanding what that word means. This blog isn't run by the government and I'm not in a position to pass laws that silence others. However, this blog is my cyber-home and just like in my real home, if you come here to start trouble, insult the homeowner, and ignore my dog – I'm going to ask you to leave and not invite you back.

1 – The Person Who Only Read the Title

This is the person who read the title and the blurb on social media and decided to click over and leave a negative comment. They may have skimmed the post so that they could point to something they don't like, but they missed the point of the post altogether. I used to try and reason with these individuals, explaining what I meant in the post, even updating the post with clarifications, but now I don't bother. They're not interested in a discussion, they just want to fight.

I once had a blog post about the ASPCA commercials that attracted my first troll. He harassed me for over a year. He even sent me a long, horrible email the day after my dog died. He thought my post was attacking the ASPCA, but the post talked about how their commercials inspired me to support local rescue groups. Nothing I said could convince him that he misinterpreted the post – he just wanted to fight.

2 – The Person Who Puts a Fake Email Address

This is the individual who posts something negative and puts a fake email address because they love to have the last word in every argument as if this means that they win. The only thing they did was waste time posting a comment that will never see the light of day because I moderate all comments and after 14 days comments are closed.

I once had someone comment on my blog that Keep the Tail Wagging was owned by Nylabone and they went on a rant about that company. What???

If someone leaves a fake email address, they're showing us that they aren't interested in a dialogue. They want to have their say and move on as if that means “they win!!!” It's childish, passive-aggressive, and a waste of everyone's time to allow these individuals to have a platform on my blog. So I don't.

3 – The Person Who Goes Through the Comments and Insults Everyone (or Me)

This is the person who used to really get under my skin, but now I feel sorry for them because they obviously have nothing better to do with their time than attack strangers online. This is the individual who goes through your post and either attacks the dumbest things or simply twists your words. These comments come from someone who is obviously having a bad day because their level of anger doesn't make any sense.

I once had someone comment on my blog about how I was a sell-out because I posted that I belong to affiliate networks and earned a commission on some things. She said, in all caps, that I needed to get a real job. When I explained that I was legal required to disclose that I belong to the networks and that I do have a job as an accountant, she looked for other things about my blog that she hated.

No one has that much hate out of the blue about a blog about someone's dogs. Nope, she was having a bad life. But, not my circus, not my monkeys.

4 – The Person Who Asks for Medical Advice

I've taken some flack for this one but I won't change my stance here. When it comes to medical advice, I will no longer allow those comments on my blog. I used to advise people to contact their veterinarian but I was getting so many of these comments that I decided that I wouldn't allow them any longer.

If your dog eats chocolate, a cooked chicken bone, or is stung by bees – you need to contact your vet (or emergency vet). The very LAST thing you should do is look for a blog post about the issue and then leave a comment asking for medical advice. I do understand that people are looking for assurance, however, and can't do that either. When it comes to the health of our dogs, I leave that advice to the professionals.

5 – The Person Who Has an Agenda

It bugs the hell out of me when someone leaves comments to promote a product or service. I've had brands go through my comments, responding to everyone with information about their products. NO. NO NO NO NO. Would you walk into Office Depot and promote your products? Would you walk into a restaurant and promote your products table to table? No. NO NO NO.

When I call people out on this, they pretend like it was innocent, but what I hear is “you're just a blogger so I didn't think you'd be smart enough to see my blatant self-promotion on your website, I mean, why pay you for a sponsored post when I can just go through your comments looking for costumers?”

Another agenda involves people who believe vegan or vegetarian diets are better than raw. People who go post to post saying “dogs don't need vegetables.” And then there are the people who still think leaving comments on other blogs is good SEO.

6 – Comments Promoting Vegan Diets for Dogs

“Animals do not need meat. Many types of cancer come from eating cancerous meat . In the beginning all humans and animals ate a plant base diet. Cancer thrives on protein that's why we lose weight. Protein is a fuel for cancer. Processing plants and markets remove cancer tumors and package the contaminated product. This has gone on for years. Shell fish are the scavengers of the sea and we can't get enough. Get used to plant based now because on the new earth we won't be eating flesh. There will be no death . Just like in the garden of Eden, Adam, eve”

Random Crazy Person on Facebook

So this is an intense example of someone promoting a vegan diet for pets, but I couldn't resist because it's crazy! How the hell does this person know what people did “in the beginning.” And what the hell does she mean by “the new Earth?” I didn't wait around to find out; I banned her immediately from my page.

I have zero patience for this nonsense.

Anyway, I believe dogs are facultative carnivores, which means that while dogs may be able to survive on a plant-based diet, they are better suited to a meat-based diet. And while I appreciate that there are rare dogs that may have such severe protein allergies that a plant-based diet is the only option, I don't believe that this is the case with the majority of dogs. And I will no longer bicker with people who choose to feed their pets a vegan diet.

We'll have to agree to disagree.

7 – The Person Who Wants Free Expert Advice

Raising pets can be expensive and as a dog mom to five dogs and one cat, I get it. I've received comments from people who adopted three littermates that are now fighting and they need free training advice, but can't afford to hire a professional dog trainer. I've received comments from people who want help formulating their dogs' raw diet, but can't afford to hire a professional.

Look, I get it. Money is tight all around. However, I cannot pretend to be a professional raw feeder, pet diet formulator, or veterinarian to help others who are on a tight budget.

Not only is this unethical, but it's also potentially dangerous. I simply cannot give advice in areas where I have zero education or experience. I don't allow these comments because I don't want to encourage strangers to offer advice either.

What you do on social media is your business. My blog isn't a Facebook group; I will only share what I know and direct you to professionals when it comes to topics that are out of my wheelhouse.

Should I Blog Allow Comments?

I'm been contemplating shutting off comments for my blog and directing people to comment over on social media. By not having comments, I don't have to deal with moderation, spam, or maintaining a discussion on yet another platform. I'm already trying to keep up with Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube – removing comments on my blog will decrease my workload.

On the flipside, comments are a great way to connect with people and get inspiration for new blog posts. And, comments help others too. I can't tell you how many emails I get from people who learned something from both my blog post, but all of the comments below.

So I'm torn about the comments. For now, I'll close them after 14 days.

My Advice to You

If you are a new or aspiring blogger and you're worried about the jerks of the world, my advice to you is…

  • Hurt People Hurt People – this doesn't mean we have to put up with it; it just means that happy people aren't running around leaving nasty comments. Miserable people do this, which is why I just leave them alone. I can't fix what's going wrong in their life by responding to a mean comment.
  • Some People Just Like to Argue – it's nothing wrong with me or my blog; they just want to argue. I'm convinced that for some people, they get a kick out of it. Somehow being mean to a stranger makes them feel better. They aren't commenting to convince me or be convinced, they just want to argue.
  • Take Screen Shots – there are times when you might need to take a screen capture. I do this when someone I know (connected somehow on Facebook) leaves a negative comment. You'd be amazed how handy these can be when dealing with a troll. I once had a person harassing me – I sent him screen captures of his comments and the name of the company he worked for (from LinkedIn) and said I would forward all of it to them if he didn't leave me alone – I haven't heard from him since.

One thing I've learned is that when someone leaves a nasty comment, ignoring them will make them go away. They may come back once to point out that you didn't approve their comment. But there isn't much they can do if you delete all of their comments instead of approving them to be seen on your blog. When they realize that they can't use your blog as a platform, then they will move on to another blog.

Moderating blog comments can be a lot of work and it's not always fun. So I decided to make some rules for blog to make comment moderation a lot easier. Do you have comment guidelines for yourself and your readers?

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