I make a concerted effort to allow open comments by people who respect a certain level of civility. In the last three weeks, though, I’ve for the first time not let through comments from new users where the comments seemed to push into what seemed inappropriate. The first involved speculation (which turned out to be wrong) about the identity of the panty pirate. The second involves Dino Grisanti’s case, and involves an accusation directed at him.
To make clear why these were not allowed through, I’m adding a sentence to the commenting policy, that I’ll reserve the right to moderate and delete comments with seem to me possibly slanderous, particularly where they involve unverifiable statements and particularly where they are made by first-time commenters. All of this is subject to my policy that I have complete discretion as to these decisions, but that I have no desire to police what people choose to say as long as they keep within the broad rules of civility stated I describe.
One other note: Occasionally, the WordPress software will reset a user to moderation. That is almost invariably an accident; write me and let me know there’s a problem. As of October 11, 2010, I have only once ever set a user to moderation, because of gross repetition and other violations of the commenting policies (three folks have been banned, one the user who was first set to moderation, and another of the three having apologized and asked for and been given a second chance, which has turned out ok).