This is one subject about which many of us bloggers have difficulties. I noticed that a major traditionalist RC blog has removed the possibility of comments because moderating them all is too time-consuming.
Most commenters are decent people who are aware that they are communicating with real people, even through the “emotionally blind” avenue of the computer and the Internet. A very small minority is the type of troublemaker who is sometimes called a troll (click on older posts at the bottom of each page). Real trolls (see this interesting Telegraph article) are particularly despicable people who have even caused vulnerable people to commit suicide! In extreme cases, they can be arrested and sent to prison. Other commenters are less extreme, but they are still bullies and cowards. Their tone is rude and provocative, and they invariably hide behind anonymity, use technical means to hide their IP address and make it impossible to be seen as a real person.
There is no real invariable typology. The signs differ, and this blog is different from those of professional journalist bloggers who get the really serious stuff, or pranks from teenage geeks who occasionally know how to cause real damage. The religious troublemaker is something else. The usual thing is bringing a discussion back to the same question, the narrow topic that interests the person – and always anonymously or under cover. I used to get troubled by this sort of thing, and had scruples about not allowing some persons their freedom of speech. No longer, I am completely immune.
I don’t moderate comments, but I moderate commenters. The WordPress system moderates all new commenters by default (though this option can be changed), and once they have had a comment allowed through, they are no longer moderated – unless – the moderator puts their e-mail address on a list in the options boxes. There is a commenter who still has a few comments on my blog, even one that is a little borderline. When his tone became poisonous, I added his e-mail address to the moderated box. I observed the old adage – Don’t feed the trolls. It works.
Comments are a valuable dimension of the blog, which give it some of the characteristics of a discussion forum. Without them, it would be a “Father says…” site, of little interest to internauts. The system I use takes little of my time, and it only takes a few seconds to put a troublemaker on moderated status. And, I keep the commenters who have something interesting to say, even if they think and say I am wrong.