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Why did Dave Winer delete my comments?

Dave Winer the Whiner

Yesterday, Dave Winer did this post about why he’s not happy with Apple’s latest operating system, Mac OS X Leopard. Since I’ve been reading Dave for several years — and mostly been a silent cheerleader of his efforts, an admirer of his perspectives, while sometimes puzzled by his musings — atypical for me I left a comment under this post.

Dave deleted it.

The gist of my comment which I didn’t save — since I’m one of the most transparent, authentic, glass-is-51%-full optimists and probably least-deleted commenter out there — was to mention that I’d successfully upgraded a whole bunch of Mac’s without a problem. I then mentioned how curious I was that a guy 10x more technical than I am seems to wrestle so mightily with what I (a tiny propeller-on-my-beanie guy) find quite straightforward.

Moments ago I was doing my usual end-of-the-day RSS reading and saw another Scripting News post referencing yesterday’s. Peeking at yesterday’s (under which I had commented) I noticed the deletion so left another comment that asked Dave, “Why did you delete my comment from yesterday?

Dave deleted that comment too.

Now wait just a minute Winer. Is this how you expect blog discourse to flow? Why have comments if you’re just going to delete them? If you and I were face-to-face having a conversation, whenever it was my turn to talk would it be OK to put your hands over your ears and shout “LA-LA-LA-LA”?  In effect that’s what you’re doing by deleting comments like the incredibly benign ones I left.

I expect rational discourse from people until proven otherwise and authenticity in the blogosphere demands authentic behavior. What you just did (twice) is NOT authentic behavior. It’s sneaky, meek and unbecoming someone like you. If you have an intern that made a decision of their own accord and deleted the comment I stand corrected, but I doubt that’s the case and this public post is the only way I know of to get your attention.

Mostly you’ve not been bashful about putting forth your opinions like it states here under “Relationship to the public”, and I’ve always been on the side of you. Why?  You’ve actually “shipped” vs. what I perceive the others arguing with you have achieved and you are a do-er and usually they are not. In almost every case I’m on your side…

…but I might need to re-think that position unless you let me know what was up with deleting my comments.

UPDATE: It’s possible this was all caused by a problem with Winer’s chosen comment engine, Disqus. I’ve never used them before commenting on Winer’s site and logged on, looked at my profile and saw a flash of my comments for a half second. I tried to screengrab it but instead had to take a screencapture movie and then do the screengrab you see below *and* this will afford you the opportunity to read my comments yourself and see why they weren’t delete-worthy IMHO.

This entire rant may be a technical problem — and illustrative of the pitfalls we all face if we depend too much on stuff like this — which was caused by Disqus and I apologize to you, Dave, if that is so. If it isn’t, re-read everything above.   ;-)

UPDATE 6:05pm CT: Just received this email from Disqus so it’s clear that Dave *did* delete the comments:

Hi Steve,

I just verified and there is no problem with our system. We leave it up
to the site owner to choose which comments remain in moderation or gets
displayed on the site. Neither Jason or I (team Disqus) removed any
posts.

Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks.

Daniel Ha

About Steve Borsch

I'm CEO of Marketing Directions, Inc., a trend forecasting, consulting and publishing firm in Minnesota. Prior to that I was Vice President, Strategic Alliances at Lawson Software in St. Paul where I was responsible for all partnerships at this major vendor of enterprise resource planning software products and services. Read more about me here unless you're already weary of me telling you how incredible and awesome I am.

Comments

  1. Your not alone, he deleted mine also, and deleted my comment about his deletions. I didn’t comment through Disqus, I did it directly on his blog (for those that don’t know, Dave has two blog pages with the same content, one you can comment on the other not).

    My comment was musing about how much trouble he has with both hardware and software, no matter what it is, Dave will have trouble. It’s almost guaranteed. And he’s never in love with something long. Everything sucks at some point. It’s Dave, I wouldn’t expect anything else :-)
    And no, it wasn’t a snaky comment.

    When he deletes, he really should disclose that. If he moderates so some things never make it to his comments fine, but otherwise disclosure is the best policy.

  2. Why is disclosure necessary? It is his website. I don’t disclose when I delete spam or junk from the comments on my blog.

    If I don’t want someone’s comment to appear, then I will remove it. There is nothing wrong with that.

  3. John — the whole point to authentically blogging is you take the good with the bad. I delete the truly offensive (always anonymous) spammers and trolls but have left those that vehemently disagree with me, point out my errors, call me an “old man” who “doesn’t get it” which could be said to cross the line from conversation to attack (but I don’t think so).

    If, for example, I were to delete all comments that didn’t make me look good or completely agree with me (like your mildly dissenting one), how am I better than a progagandist or censor? Truth comes from putting out perspectives under the light of scrutiny.

    It’s one reason why I so enjoy memetrackers. I can pick a topic I care about, read multiple opinions, skim through commenters, and get a pretty good 360 degree sense of the issue.

    So I won’t be deleting your comment though I disagree with your characterization that “There is nothing wrong with…” deleting comments in the same way that I abhor governmental propaganda or the sound-bite attacks primarily from our two party system.

  4. Funny, I didn’t think he allowed comments in the first place. Joel Spolsky discussed this at “Learning from Dave Winer” (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2007/07/20.html ) and specifically linked to Winer’s “The unedited voice of a person” (http://www.scripting.com/2007/01/01.html#theUneditedVoiceOfAPerson ). I wonder what changed his mind? And why does he “double-blog” with his WordPress blog (http://scripting.wordpress.com/2007/11/05/scripting-news-for-11507/ )? I’m puzzled.

    In any case, I’m with you Steve. Why bother allowing comments if you’re going to delete dissenting ideas/opinions? I can see stopping vulgarity or spam, but otherwise, you might as well blog on Facebook.

    P.S. Why no HTML?

  5. *sigh*…yeah…Dave can get snarky. I’ve dropped and resubscribed to Scripting News 3 or 4 times over the past 10 years, and there are days he drives me crazy. But he’s an interesting guy, and I finally decided that since I have my own site, I can post comments and criticism there if I want to, link back, and let the magic of the Interweb handle the rest. *grin*

    Same situation here. I think it’s smart of you to bring this up on your site, where you have an even footing. It’s not uber-huge news, b/c it’s hardly the first time Dave has been overbearing where he has control. But here YOU have control on your own blog and your comments so all sides of the discussion can be heard. That’s what I don’t like about deleting…one voice gets silenced.

    I’ve never deleted comments other than spam, but admittedly, I have no traffic (LOL), and don’t attract controversy like Dave does. That being said, my most recent posting about him was POSITIVE…I’m by no means out to get him or anything. I like him…he’s just grouchy. But so am I, so I can’t say much.

  6. Jeremy: Why not HTML? It’s a Typepad thing. I can either turn on “limited HTML” requiring people to do an href tag or have it automagically turn URL’s into links. The latter is easier for people so I chose that option.

    Ken: Thanks for the comment though a guy I respect was surprised by my posting and, I think, disappointed. He thought the screengrab showing my deleted comment (especially my question about struggling technically) he would’ve nixed and was “uncouth.”

    I’ll bet my bottom dollar that should I have bumped into Winer at some conference, we’d have hit it off and had great conversations.

  7. Heh…”uncouth”? Oh my. Whatever will we do when the uncouth hordes come? *grin*

    My rule of thumb is not to exceed the Couthiness Or Lack Thereof of the site author, and I think that you performed admirably in that regard. This is a guy who just posted last month “If you’re scared to hear what people really think you’re not prepared for the world you live in.” Hm.

    I can grok deleting spam, and deleting or obfuscating raw dumps of profanity and such, but I read your post; pretty carefully in fact. I see nothing there requiring Dave to defend himself as honest (his declared criteria for deletion)…heck, I don’t see much of anything out of line at all!

    But whatever…I don’t expect you want to make this thread/blog into some sort of flamefest. Dave’s response Is What It Is, basically. Luckily, you’ve got the same soapbox he does, so everything’s even.

    PS: I expect you’re probably right about getting along fine at a conference. We all know that Teh Tubes fan the flamewars.

    PPS: I’ve been meaning to comment positively WRT the iPhone over on your “Crushing the iPhone ecosystem” post. Hopefully, next year’s development framework will re-open the iPhone up to exciting, paradigm-busting, uber-coolness! I’m crossing my fingers for you (as I ponder the clunky but open options I have for christmas, and figure out which to ask for…).

  8. I googled “dave winer behavior” and found your blog. He blocked me on Twitter last night for reacting to his rant about Christianity and Jesus being just another guy. Funny thing is that his comments were stereotypical and uninformed. I was also a bit sarcastic and quite benign in my replies, but they still prompted the following message from him:

    Sorry man, I gotta block you. Good luck to you and Jesus.

    Dave Winer / davewiner

    My comments can be found here:
    http://twitter.com/favorites

    What’s interesting are his stereotypical views and lack of tolerance for other’s opinions considering his political views. I thought Obama was all about uniting people, not blocking them??

  9. I thought the following URL would take you to the tweets: http://twitter.com/boogeyman/favorites

    You may have to go to http://twitter.com/BoogeyMan to see them, not sure. I guess you’ll be able to see Winer’s remarks at http://twitter.com/davewiner.

    I doubt if he’s delete his own comments.

  10. That’s unfortunate Scott. I’ve realized that Mr. Winer has done some good things technically but is an amazingly closed-minded individual and is a “little man” unworthy of my ongoing mindshare (in fact, I’ve blocked him from everything and pay his opinions no attention as I’ve realized he’s not worthy of my attention).

    As a Jewish man, he’s entitled to his opinion about the messiah in the same way my good friend in Japan has his belief in the teachings of the Buddah, my old colleague from India is Hindu, and another colleague is Muslim. Raised Catholic, I had one dogma that I’ve rejected as my knowledge grew but I don’t purport to have all the answers or I’d be glowing with enlightenment and floating above the world changing it! ;-)

    Though this list (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religions) shows Christianity as the lion’s share of religious believers (no Rome pun intended!), there are roughly 6.6 billion people on earth meaning 4.5 billion hold a different religious view (or none at all) and I can’t sit silent with anyone intolerant or not open to other interpretations. More blood has been shed with religious intolerance and fundamentalism than any other motivator in human history.

    Now if Mr. Winer had approached you with comments like that instead of his intolerant, snarky and a stiff-arm-to-the-face, Scott, I’ll bet you would’ve taken this better? I know I would’ve done so and never had written this post if Winer hadn’t been so childish as to run and hide from anything that doesn’t laud him or exhibit esteem.

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