Comments and Contributions on Bluegrass Today

Following up on the recent post from Brad Harper about file trading of live show audio, in response to one by Megan Lynch, I want to add a few words about comments, and why we typically do not allow them on Bluegrass Today. I also want to explain a bit more about outside Guest Contributions, which we publish on occasion.

After Megan posted some strong feelings about trading live shows in her Guest Contribution on Wednesday (not in favor), we heard from readers who wanted to chime in, and were frustrated by the fact that, unlike many other blogs, we do not allow for comments. Brad Harper wrote in to share the fact that he had used his own blog to comment on her post (in favor of file trading), and agreed to allow us to re-publish his thoughts as a second Guest Contribution.

We continue to welcome Guest Contributions, both from folks working in the bluegrass/acoustic music industry, and from fans and amateur/semi-pro pickers who have something they want to share with our readers. Cogency, timeliness and the appropriateness of the subject matter will be crucial to them being accepted for publication, and prospective contributors are invited to contact us if they have an interest in composing a brief essay for publication.

We have generally eschewed comments for individual posts for several reasons. Initially, we wanted to avoid the sort of “Shut up!” and “What an idiot!!” responses that are too often a big part of blog commenting. We did try comments on certain posts where we felt like it would be appropriate, but required that commenters be registered as users on our site, use their actual names in any comments they wish to make, and that they be moderated by Bluegrass Today before they appeared on the site.

As it transpired, not many of our readers felt the compulsion to post comments, perhaps because of those restrictions, so we have gradually discontinued enabling them. In response to some reader requests, however, both of the posts referenced above have now been enabled to allow for reader comments, and anyone who wishes to chime in is welcome to do so, as long as you are willing to abide by our comment policies.

All comments are moderated and must be approved before publication, and anonymous comments will not be allowed. We want to foster conversation via opinion posts, but insist that it be open, civil and clearly credited.

In the past few months, we have also discovered that a pernicious spambot was able to penetrate our registration filter and post some plainly vile pornographic links as comments. Of course, since the comments require moderation, none of them get through to your eyes, but it both further soured us on comments, and got us thinking in a new direction where reader participation is concerned.

We are currently developing a major upgrade to Bluegrass Today that will allow our readers to be more active in discussions of posts we publish here. Look for more news about The B in the next few weeks.

Follow-up, 10:15 a.m.: Commenting has been enabled for this post as well, should anyone wish to add a thought.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.