Saturday, July 24, 2010

The ethics of removing blog comments.

I was asked earlier today to remove three comments by a contributor to the discussion on one of my blog articles. The comments in question related to interaction the person had had with someone mentioned in the article and how that related to the subject under discussion. Some time after these events the two people had made up with each other and he wanted to remove a record of the disagreement.

I went ahead and removed the comments, but this did raise two interesting questions:

Should the comments have been removed or should an update have been posted explaining that they were now friends again?

Is this the same as Winston Smith (in the novel 1984) changing newspaper articles and destroying the originals?

My gut feeling is that blog comment threads should remain intact for as long as the article exists and that by amending the flow of the discussion at a later date we are attempting to change history. It may seem like a small thing but the principal is important.