I’ve gotta be frank with you guys…

I’m all for transparency on the blog, which is why I’m making this post. For years I’ve had the policy of not moderating comments. Moderation is a slippery slope, and not one I wanted to get involved with, because it involves a bit too much bias.

That being said, I guess it was never really fair of me to say that blog comments weren’t being moderated. I get about 5,000 spam comments per day which are automatically caught by WordPress and go straight into the spam folder, most of which involve Viagra, Cialis, Nigerian banks, and heirs to thrones.

So as many of you know (and pointed out over and over), there was a certain commenter on the blog that left hateful comments multiple times a day. I actually felt bad for the guy and thought they were so ridiculous that it didn’t bother me at all. But they were offensive to many, and at the end of the day detracted from the content of the blog because people chose to respond to him.

So I’ve decided to ban said person from posting, simply because his comments are “spam,” as far as I’m concerned. They have nothing to do with the blog posts but instead just focus on his hatred (or perhaps insecurities/self-denial), and I don’t think that’s in anyone’s best interest.

Anyway, my policy really hasn’t changed. I don’t moderate comments unless they’re spam. That’s the same thing I’ve been doing since this blog started. And as far as I’m concerned they’re spam if they have nothing to do with miles, points, travel, or the topics of the posts.

I’ll of course continue to accept hate mail targeted at me, disagreements, and the occasional love letter. šŸ˜‰

Comments

  1. Good move. I wonder if he is a disgruntled 1K that was a victim of TOD upgrades and is looking for avenues to vent.

  2. Good for you Lucky that you banned that *******. Your private life has nothing to do with this blog, I don’t understand why he was posting about it 10 times a day here.
    Too bad you can’t find out his identity and report him.

  3. Good for you lucky. For me those comments were distracting (as well as offensive) so it’s good to know that I can now read the comments section more peacefully and learn from them.

  4. +1. Reading back, I’m surprised you didn’t do it earlier – shows a real strength that you didn’t block him for hurting you but instead for being distracting. Kudos!

  5. We’re all thankful for your work as I, a fellow major blog administrator, can sympathize with the demoralizing and laborious process of vetting comments.

  6. Frankly…..all I can say is well done!

    P.S. Follow Oneeyejack’s advice about banning the IP address.

  7. Thanks, guys!

    @ oneeyejack — IP is banned, worry not. And comments by those posting for the first time under an IP have to be manually approved, so I’m sure I can “catch” him if that’s the case.

  8. “Iā€™ve gotta be frank with you guysā€¦”

    And people say you don’t have a sense of humor…

  9. Since you are so concerned with spam, I hope that you will clearly disclose any benefits you receive from posting third-party offers (e.g., credit cards).

  10. Keep up the great work, Ben! Posting anonymously on the internetz is probably the highlight of his sad life!

  11. @Tim – a bit OT, but I think Lucky has always disclosed when he benefits from CC links (or other offers). I think maybe you’re confusing him with a more frugal blogger? šŸ˜‰

  12. Thank you for removing the distraction. Your blog is one of my favorites and there was no reason to read some of the terrible things that one person chose to post in response to all of the great things you tell us on a regular basis.

  13. Chris don’t you think it’s getting ridiculous with all the commotion about affiliate links? Why not take the straightforward approach and assume if it is in “blue” and related to credit cards, somebody is getting paid. Sure simplifies life that way.

    And Ben, you did the right thing. You and other bloggers spend hours working on their blogs. Putting up with that crap is not in the business model anywhere or anytime.

  14. It’s your blog, so you should be able to ban people who make offensive comments. I also vote for more clever puns in titles of posts.

  15. Thanks, Lucky. I had stopped reading the comments as I thought the discussion was becoming a distraction. A lot of useful information can be found in the comments and discussion after your posts. It will be nice to be able to read them again without taking the time to “weed out” the inane ones. Kudos!

  16. About time! šŸ™‚ The comments were distracting, to say the least. Your approach is appropriate and appreciated by this reader.

  17. Good decision. It was getting really old to see hate speech on such a positive forum. I also consider the demands for specifics on referral fees to be ridiculous. Enough already!

  18. Its a shame it had to come to this, but I for one one am so relieved. That guys comments really were distracting to me, and often ruined the flow of some otherwise very nice discourse in the comments.

    @AndyBluebar Have you been reading this blog long? Has anyoneever accused Lucky of not having a sense of humor??? šŸ™‚

    @Chris I had the good fortune to have lunch with The Frugal Travel Guy while I was in Hilton Head last month. I assure you beyond any doubt, you will never meet a more genuine, enthusiastic, and generous man. I happen to be a physician, and The Frugal Travel Guy is even trying to work out a plan to use points and miles to provide travel arrangements for doctors doing free medical care mission work in third world countries. He a great guy, and just has a love for the travel game we all play.

  19. Hahaha, tell the truth Lucky, moderating comments take LOTS of time, that’s why you don’t want to do it? šŸ™‚ Don’t worry, I wouldn’t either if I were you for that reason.

  20. Agree with everyone above, good move. Though, I must say, he was so pathetic I almost felt bad for hime. It must not be easy going through life as a grown man with the mental capacity (and vocabulary) of 12 year-old.

  21. Ben- Awesome!! Frank was shitting all over your excellent blog. Thanks for banning him!

  22. Completely fair, and I appreciate you not moderating. I have much more respect for you with that aspect than some of the other boardingarea bloggers who moderate. It takes away a feeling of community.

  23. Heh,thought from the title you were going to reveal that… Gasp! … You were frank all along. In some sort of admittedly very strange practical joke. Anyway, thanks for the transparency!

  24. Keep up the great work, Ben. Heck, moderate all the haters as soon as they show. No room for them here.

  25. Ben, nice work. his comments were pointless and juvenile and didn’t add to anything. keep up the great site.

  26. I was going to recommend all posters be at least age 13. That would have worked as well.

  27. I was hoping your great lead in line was going to say just this…Good for you Lucky! Love your stuff as always.

  28. I really enjoy reading your blog(even though you, Gary and Brian post same stuff all the tune)

    As they say, “don’t let the haters get to you.”

  29. Somehow, it seems that many of the commentators today missed your point. You are still not moderating comments. Frank didn’t comment, he spammed….and did so in a frankly distasteful way….

  30. You have every right (and reason) to ban his comments. I wish that you would moderate other offensive comments as well. It surprised me when you did not say anything to a reader who commented that he was disgusted by any homosexual behavior after you wrote about a run in you had with a hotel guest. I don’t think homophobic comments should be tolerated at all. Your writing reads as if you are much older than you really are. However, considering your age, I would hope that you would have a slightly more progressive policy towards intolerant comments. You have to consider your entire audience, not just the straight ones. This is your blog and ultimately you are the one who has the right to moderate.

  31. @Rick – My point was not to debate the merit (or necessity) of disclosure, but rather that Lucky always discloses whether or not he is getting any benefits from “third-party offers”. Since Tim was unjustly accusing him, I was trying to redirect his feedback to a more appropriate blogger. Although, one can’t help but wonder if that comment would have been moderated had it been on your blog.

    @Thegasguru – I wasn’t trying to pick on Rick when I made that comment. To be honest, I don’t care whether bloggers disclose the perks or not. I was just standing up for Lucky.

  32. I’m not too sure why you think you “gotta be frank” šŸ™‚
    But am glad you’ve taken this action. Personally, I had no problem ignoring those irrelevant posts from someone with obvious issues. However, the constant responses were (IMHO)a bit frightening … feeding the guy with the attention he was looking for (but now I’m doing it šŸ˜® )

    Logging a post to get my IP on the “good” list before it’s needed !!

  33. I guess what will be his nickname next time when he tries to post a comment here…maybe “unlucky”?

  34. I like the hands-off approach and I enjoy spirited debate and dissent as much as anyone, but Frank’s comments usually had nothing to do with anything being discussed prior to his posts. His childish comments were nothing more than random personal attacks. Needless to say, he won’t be missed.

  35. So I agree with filtering the hate, but you have continued to filter the constructive questions/comments as to why you don’t fly UA anymore. Rumors persist amongst bloggers that you’ve been banned from UA. Come clean?!

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