Comment Posting Etiquette and the UUA Presidential Campaign

A new type of spam is starting to show up here: UU political ads.  This blog has long had more conventional spam, such as bots that drop in posts full of links to products and/or malware, as well as trolls with a chip on their shoulder who compose self-righteous arguments and then go out onto the web looking for places to get offended and post them.  Now we’re starting to see comments that are essentially shills for UUA presidential candidates–they seem to react to some issue here, but are in fact merely excuses to post a candidate’s name and add a link to the candidate’s campaign site.

To such spammers: please reconsider your strategies.  Most people can spot a shill when they see one, and it reflects poorly on one’s own candidate, whether or not he/she has actually approved of your practice.  Many people may be willing to allow one or two such messages to go through, sort of as “public service announcements,” but a multiplicity of comments in just a day or two will cause your stock (and your candidate’s by proxy) to plummet in bloggers’ minds.  And it seems like a rather bad idea at this point to tick off the UU blogging community if your aim is to get publicity for someone’s run for the UUA presidency.

To reiterate the spam policies of this blog: comments that only take posts here as excuses to leave screeds on one’s pet issues will likely be deleted.  Such comments do nothing to advance conversations and there are plenty of other places on the web where such trolls and spammers are free to speak their minds.  This is an academic-leaning blog, and just as behavior that highjacks a classroom would not be tolerated, neither will commenting that is disruptive, repetitive, grossly off-topic, basically just an advertisement, or contains excessively personal attacks.  Please keep such behavior confined to your own blogs; if your comments are actually worth seeing, people will go there and read them.

One last note: WordPress continues to do a mixed job on spam-catching.  People previously approved for commenting nonetheless sometimes still show up in the spam folder; the webmaster is not always alerted in timely fashion when comments need to be moderated; occasionally nasty ad-spam gets through onto the blog.  And in the meantime your Transient and Permanent host remains on partial hiatus due to a heavy summer research schedule abroad.  Therefore, please be patient if your comments don’t show up quickly or other problems arise.  The best way to ensure comments will go through is to keep the number of links in a post to a minimum (ideally, none), as this is the biggest red flag for WordPress’s automatic spam filter.



Filed under Unitarian-Universalism

3 responses to “Comment Posting Etiquette and the UUA Presidential Campaign

  1. Sorry if I offended, you’re probably right when you say that posts such as mine may look like shilling to some. But consider: making the connection to policy goals for the UUA by commenting on your post “How many UUs are there in the USA” is totally legitimate, and it makes perfect sense to summarize how one candidate treats this issue. It’s not an academic question in a vacuum but one where future UUA policy directions will be key.
    My hope is that the UUA presidency will be decided over a discussion of issues. This Saturday features a first candidate debate (webcast before the Ware lecture) and some posts in the blogs are in order to get people interested.
    No blog reader is forced to read posts that appear partisan, and people are quite capable of judging for themselves. Your call to censor such posts and mislabel them as spam or shilling seems an overreaction to a merely anticipated problem, not a real one. But I do take your point re ‘counter productive’. Unfortunately, perceptions tend to have more weight than what is actually said.

    PS: As you may have guessed I did indeed have too much time on my hands, so instead of commenting elsewhere I started my own blog just yesterday, jUUggernaut. – Now you made me too paranoid to include a link ): – As it happens it was prompted by your posts on the Pew survey. No, it’s not a stealth campaign site, it features my personal observations as an atheist UU. But as someone deeply committed to not letting this tolerant and inclusive movement die out campaign issues pertaining to the health and prospects of UU will prop up from time to time. Thanks for providing the impulse!

  2. Martin, four outgoing-linked posts from a new commentator plugging his product/candidate/whatever within about 24 hours will ALWAYS come off as shilling/spam to veteran bloggers. It may be that you’re relatively new to the blogosphere and therefore didn’t realize this.

    For readers interested in Martin’s new blog, which is also indexed via UUpdates, check him out at: He is blogging as an explicitly atheist UU, something that there seems to be a dearth of among UU blogs, despite there being no real shortage of UU atheists in the pews. So, welcome to a new voice online, hope you enjoy your blogging.

  3. Thanks for the welcome and the pitch. I’d rather be at GA than at my computer. While I am an atheist I come from a line ministers (my brother caught the bug and became one himself in Germany) I my case I’m just left with ‘missionary’ zeal. I’ll try to curb my enthusiasm 🙂

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