Someone claimed I deleted some comments. I did not. I don't delete comments. Even very distasteful ones. Even ones who call me an idiot. Even ones that say discriminatory things.
Why not? Because I believe strongly in freedom of speech. Even speech I might hate. It takes a thick skin. Yes, I have provided a soap box for people to say some distasteful things. Yes, most corporate types don't agree that I should give people such a soap box (I know most other corporate webloggers delete comments).
But, I think it's important to hear from everyone, not just those I like
There's something to that, sure. On the other hand, deleting distasteful, obnoxious comments is also a matter of cleaning up the commons. To a large extent, allowing a completely open forum for things like swearing, porn, racism, (what have you) is tacit acceptance of such commentary. Ask yourself this question - would you be happy with having that kind of commentary in the presence of your kids? I know I'm not.
It's not censorship to impose standards and express disapproval. Social disapproval is a very strong force, and it's how things like racism, sexism, and other ism's get fixed. You can wave at government enforced tolerance all you want, but in a free society, you don't get law without a fairly strong social consensus. You need social disapproval before you'll ever see a legal framework backing you. Which takes me back to disapproval of nastiness - it's a matter of not allowing the commons to be taken over by the forces of ugliness.
Allowing open debate does not mean that you have to put up with rude, obnoxious behavior. Cleaning that up helps make for a better society that is less likely to clamor for censorship. Tolerating all manner of rudeness in public only sets you up for a backlash later - and the same people who initially supported the supposed tolerance are always stunned to see the backlash develop. They shouldn't be.