Responsibility deflection: blaming others for your own mistakes

Tavi and I were hanging out on the back patio this morning when one of my neighbors came down the alley in a small moving truck. She used her remote to open the sliding lot gate, and as a friend guided her from the alley, she proceeded to take the corner little too tightly. The side of her truck mashed up against the gate, dramatically knocking it off its rail. She backed up, took the corner wider, and made it into the lot. She hopped out of the truck looking understandably frustrated, and the first thing she said was this:

"Fuck that UHAUL bitch for giving me such a huge truck…"

FIRST POST! How the first comment sets the tone for the entire conversation

Back in the early days of blogging, readers of especially popular blogs started competing with each other to see who could be the first to comment on a post.

"FIRST POST!" would come the digital shout, the equivalent of a big of blog commenting graffiti, sort of like a tagger plastering his name on a wall. Nothing actually was said. It doesn't relate to the post at all. The poster has just established that they were here first.

Folks typing FIRST POST miss a huge opportunity, because as the first commenter they have a lot of power. It's important to understand how the first comment on a post has the ability to define the mood of the entire conversation. It's the first comments that I tend to watch most closely in my moderation process.

How to write your blog’s comment policy

On my sites, I’ve create three slightly different versions of my commenting policy. Here’s Offbeat Bride’s and here’s Offbeat Mama’s comment policy. They’ve proven remarkably effective in dealing with comment drama, and while I would never suggest that your policies should be the same as mine, I can offer some general tips for creating a commenting policy that’s a good fit for your site: