A while back, Mark asked why some blawgers moderate comments. Today, I came across the perfect example of why someone might.
In 2003 I was reading a book called The Prosecutors. I don't even remember much about the book anymore, but at the time a passage made an impression on me and I quoted and commented upon it. At the time it garnered no comments and I don't think it made much of an impression upon anyone.
This morning I was looking at the searches which have brought people here and came across this. Apparently, this Summer (2007) a couple people discovered the post and flamed the subject of it and me (I leave them up for now as an illustration, however I will delete them soon as violating one of my 3 rules). Now, Blogger is supposed to send me an email if someone posts a comment on my blawg, but it doesn't (probably because I use my own layout). I have almost 5 years of posts and it is hard for me to police all of them.
A flame war isn't even my worst problem. I have word verification turned on to keep most of the automated junk out. Nevertheless, there is some spam that gets through. Some companies actually employ live people to enter spam or have really good programs which can get past word verification. I've figured out patterns for most of those posts and catch a lot of them. Most annoying is when there's a post where I opined on a legal matter 3 years ago and I find legal advice under it or, even worse, something like "This is a terrible and dangerous thing to be put on trial for. We at THE SMITH LAW FIRM are experts on this and will help you in your fight against an unjust conviction." I periodically check certain of my old posts because of this. The actual advertisements have been a recent development and over the last 6 months or so I have deleted a number of these.
Still, I persist in leaving my comments unmoderated. Why? Because, when I post something at 5:30 in the morning I don't want to make people wait until 7 p.m., when I get back from work, to see their comments and the comments of others. As well, when I post that rare missive which brings numerous responses (yes, it has happened a couple times in 5 years) I want people to be able to respond to each other and not have to wait until I check my email and I okay 5 comments all at once. Moderation only works really well if you have constant access and I have to go to work occasionally or my boss will stop paying me.