Several months ago, I posted some information on the process of steam canning. It was a new concept to me and I thought it sounded great. The site where I found the information happened to sell a steam canner so, of course, everything I read about the process was completely positive. I posted what (I thought) I knew and the first comment I received stated that I should check my facts ...that there were serious health risks to steam canning food. Several links to some very informative sites were included in the comment. The person who commented was not a follower and we didn't know each other at all. I had no basis to either believe or disbelieve his statements. I had a knee-jerk reaction, we all do from time to time ...I went and checked out the links he provided so I could decide where to go from there.
Well, as it turns out, he was absolutely correct. Every extension office and university resource I could find warned against the hazards of the steam canning method. That was my first interaction with this particular blogger and I think it took courage for him to speak up. He didn't know me, didn't know how I would react, but he did the right thing because, well ...it was the right thing to do.
Okay, there I was a newbie blogger with mud all over my face. So I did the only thing I could think of that might make it right. I posted a comment of my own, thanking him for the information and retracting what I had said in my post. I did not want to be responsible for someone reading faulty information and possibly becoming ill because they took what I wrote as valid and factual. I ultimately removed my post about steam canning altogether because I realized that some people read only the posts and not the comments, and I didn't want to contribute to the scads of misinformation circulating on the Web.
I found myself on the other side of that coin the other day when I read a post that was actually a repost of some information that has been circulating in email for many years. It clearly stated that it was information received in email (a disclaimer?) but I happened to know the information was false and some of it potentially harmful. So I left a comment relating what I knew and backing it up with links from a reputable debunking site. I thought I was doing the poster and/or the readers a favor. I thought it would be received in the same manner I received the comment on my steam canning post. Boy, was I wrong. My comment was deleted and then reposted along with all the reasons the poster thought it was inappropriate. It was even the subject of the next post, expounding all the justifications for bashing the commenter. Wow...
Like most of us, I started this blog as a place to explore and share information with others. I don't have a big flashy sign on my blog saying so, but comments ARE welcome ...even if they express an opinion different than my own. That's one of the reasons I don't moderate comments. I'm interested in sharing information and not just spewing what I know. If mine were the only opinion that mattered to me, I could just stand in front of a mirror.