|A Completely Unrelated Photograph From Our Archives|
What Comments to Publish
I am so grateful for so many of the comments I receive. They put the “Daily” in The Daily Prep. Obviously, for whatever reason, this blog has attracted many incredibly smart and knowledgeable people. They extend the value of so many posts immeasurably.
They also have a bit of an editorial impact, as they are one way to figure out what types of posts seem to resonate with people. (Having said that, there are plenty of posts I put up knowing they won’t get much reaction!)
However, while I would never edit anyone's comments, I don’t publish about 15% of the comments I receive (not including spam). Many of these comments are obviously inappropriate, and I can only assume the authors know it when they write them. As they say, 'Never feed the trolls.'
There may be some comments that the authors believe would get published and are not, so here are some reasons why.
I tend to not publish comments that:
- Are strident, nasty, lecturing, grand-standing, racial, dismissive, sexual, or sarcastic in tone.
- Require me to justify some aspect of my life or ask too personal questions. (In the second category, I take no offense at the asking of the question, but I may simply not respond.)
- Unnecessarily restate a previously made and argumentative point, especially off-topic.
- Are personally attacking another guest of the blog, be it another commenter or post subject.
- Directly address an issue that will be featured in an immediately upcoming post.
Despite this, some comments could fall either way. I am more likely to publish a dubious comment if the commenter has commented before, especially if they have built up a history of appreciated comments. I am less likely to publish a dubious comment if the comment is from 'Anonymous'.
The hardest comments to moderate are probably the most cleverly done, where on face value they don’t seem so overtly problematic but they just give me a bad feeling. I have learned over time not to publish those. But it is inevitable and regrettable that I have not published some comments that should have been published, and vice-versa.
Having said all of that, I never mind informed, polite disagreements. In fact, I embrace them. It is how I learn, and the strength of the community.
Accepting Vendor Items for Inclusion in the Blog
I am often offered a lot of “free goods.” I agree to accept only a small percentage of what I am offered. And, of the many items I profile on this blog, only a very small percentage of items I received this way.
My editorial framework is very simple. I only accept what I truly like, would eventually plan to purchase on my own, and happily have and wear. Because I don’t accept advertisements or other compensation, nor do I solicit other business from vendors in this space, I have no motivation to accept something that I don’t really want. (The last thing I want in my house, or on my blog, is filler.) In some cases, I have accepted something, not liked it on closer inspection, and paid for out of my own pocket the cost of shipping it back to the vendor.
I have two additional thoughts here. The first is that there is a federal law that requires bloggers to let the reader know what items were provided by the vendors. I do this through my suppliers list on the front page (and every page) of the blog, or on the entry itself. Once again, if a blogger shows an item they received from a vendor for free, and they do not declare it, they are breaking a federal law.
Second, accepting very selective vendor items makes this blog, and I believe makes the marketplace, better. It makes this blog better because it allows a (slightly) greater visual variety. I can mix and match real items, activities, and contexts. I can also show more items that are currently for sale, not just classic items from my archives, which some people value.
But I also believe it makes the marketplace better. It is easy for a vendor to write a check for advertisement, and pass that cost onto the consumer. It is similarly predictable to engage PR by enticing the traditional press through parties or unspoken promises of future benefits, or flooding the social media world with contrived clip art. In contrast, engaging a niche blogger requires the products to be of real value. Similarly, a small vendor with little or no budget for advertising but relevant offerings can get the word out, which I think is very exciting. Finally, I hope in the back-and-forth of selecting items, I can in some small way let the vendors know which of what they offer is the most valued, at least by one customer.
Blogs are finite by their nature. They are launched, they exist for a while, then they go away. There is no doubt that especially comments and even the ability to work with vendors significantly prolong the life of this blog.