Intense Debate: Who Owns Your Comments?

Intense Debate wants to know who owns your comments. In a poll, they offer three alternative proposals:

  1. Blog Publisher Ownership – Comments made on a blog belong to the blog owner, giving them the ability to edit the comments as they see fit (deleting and editing comments). Blog owners have had this ability with WordPress and other platforms. The only change is that comments are now tied to the commenter in IntenseDebate (which is why there is even a debate here).
  2. Commenter Ownership – Comments cannot be edited by blog publishers. Comments can still be deleted by blog publishers – blog owners must be able to remove spam and inflammatory comments. Commenters can still access their full comment history in their IntenseDebate profiles. Commenters can take their comments with them into platforms other than the blog commented on.
  3. Shared Ownership – This is where it gets complicated and we try to reach a compromise. We’re proposing that blog publishers should have the ability to edit and delete comments as long as the original comment is accessible both on the edited comment and in the commenter’s comment history. If the blog owner edits the comment, then the commenter will receive a notification and have the ability to delete the comment. The commenter will be able to access their full comment history.

Disqus recently addressed the same issues. In A Commenter’s Rights, they propose a shared ownership similar to option (2), above. They have yet to implement that ownership, though.

I believe option (3) strikes the best balance for both blog publishers and commenters. Blog publishers are able to control what appears on their blog, having more options than allowing or deleting a comment. Commenters and their readers have the ability to view the comment as originally written. I wouldn’t advise commenters to rely on the ability to delete posts. Once something in published, the Internet has a great ability to read and archive everything.

If you have an opinion, go make yourself heard. So far, at the Intense Debate poll, the majority is favoring option (2).