DISQUS provides us with a great deal more control over comments and moderation. For example, we can elect to require only comments containing certain "restricted words" to be moderated, or to require moderation for comments containing links. We can also blacklist abusive users by email address, DISQUS username, or IP address.
For readers posting comments, creating a DISQUS profile enables centralised tracking and management of comments across all DISQUS-enabled sites. DISQUS also allows replies to other comments, and displays these as discussion threads.
We know that the Patentology blog now receives a few hundred visitors each week, along with a few emails and comments via the Ask Patentology form. We would like to see more discussion of some of the topics on the blog, although we are concerned to avoid becoming a platform for a few individuals to vent their spleens at one another, the law, government and/or officialdom as seems to happen on some unmoderated patent law blogs we could mention. This kind of thing might be acceptable for an academic blogger, or one who owns and operates their own business. However, as an employee practitioner in a relatively small profession in Australia, we consider that we need to ensure that comments and discussions are appropriately professional and respectful in tone.
Clearly, however, moderating all comments and denying readers the immediate feedback of seeing their comments, and those of other readers, appear on the blog, discourages people from commenting. We are therefore trialling the use of DISQUS to allow most comments to be posted without moderation.
Our existing comment moderation policy will remain. In particular, comments offending any of the following criteria will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be blacklisted:
- language that any reasonable person would consider abusive, obscene, indecent or offensive;
- statements that are defamatory, abusive, harassing or hateful, towards other participants in the discussion, or any other individual (whether or not they have a role in public life);
- content that clearly infringes the intellectual property or other rights of any individual or corporation (eg copyrights, trade marks, personal privacy);
- material that comprises spam, or other commercial content (eg advertising or solicitation for business); or
- discussion that is clearly off-topic.