Moderating blog comments is a very sensitive task. It is not easy to strike a balance between chaos and censorship.
I am generally a strong opponent of censorship, anywhere. I don’t like if people delete comments just because they don’t like what people say. That’s why I had not blocked or deleted any comment which was not clearly spam, even if they ware rather critical of our work… until today.
Actually I even approved the comment in question at first, following my general principle of “Do not censor”. However, it was a comment I simply could not leave un-replied. When I started writing my reply to it, though, I started to realize that in fact, there are limits to my tolerance.
I openly invite constructive criticism towards my work. If for example someone finds a flaw in one or more of the KDE Human Interface Guidelines and points it out in a comment on my post about them, that’s totally fine with me and I’m ready to discuss that flaw with that person (and others who may join the discussion), and if I’m convinced at some point, I would change the HIG.
What I do not accept, though, is a comment which, to me, seems to be aimed solely at ticking me off. Starting a comment with “I think KDE applications in general looks like crap” is not setting the mood for constructive criticism. Continuing by listing things one does not like about KDE applications (but most of which are simply not part of the HIG yet) is not helping either. And then concluding your main point with “I think the user interface KDE brings up stinks. As such I don’t want people to follow whatever guides suggest to do applications that way.” will get your comment deleted by me.
I took the time to write a personal reply in an email to the author of that comment, telling him why I deleted it and what he can do to get is next comment approved. This included an invitation to first read the HIGs before telling us that they produce stinking crap.
Yes, I should have stated the rules for commenting on this blog earlier, but this is my first blog and admittedly I was naïve enough to think that I could just approve any comment which was obviously written by a human being and then replying if I disagreed. Well, today I changed my mind.
So here is the rule: Criticize me all you want, but do it in a polite and constructive manner. And please actually look at things before criticizing them. This helps a lot in turning a troll post into constructive criticism.