Michael commented on my last post about the warning at a garden center blog. He said by putting â€œthis blog is intended to be for garden-related topics only, so please do not post any offensive, adult-content or commercial posts. Your cooperation is very much appreciatedâ€ will protect the garden center from claims of censorship.
I am not sure of the legal argument but I have had to delete objectionable content from my site before. Some was sexual in nature while most have been advertisements for some other web site. I am not worried in the least about claims of censorship. Itâ€™s my blog and I can put in and take out just about anything I want. So can the garden center in question. I am not sure how it would look for the person putting in objectionable content to be claiming censorship from a garden center blog.
We are a litigious society and I can see the concern of the garden center trying to prevent any â€œbad comments." The problem is you canâ€™t prevent this stuff. My experience is over the three years of having a blog I have had to remove maybe 10 comments that were â€œobjectionableâ€. Some of the times it was fellow bloggers that made me aware there was content that shouldnâ€™t be there.
Blogs are things of personal expression and how anyone sets up their blog is up to them. The idea that commercial site would post on this nurseries blog and then claim censorship just wouldnâ€™t fly. Anyone posting obscene material and then having it removed is not likely to claim censorship. What are they going to do, sue?
One of the things I am trying to do at my own business is being positive in the face of the constant challenges we face in this business. We try not to put too many signs with rules on them. The only two â€œNoâ€ signs we have is that â€œwe have cats and therefore would you please leave you dogs in the carâ€ and â€œHandicap onlyâ€, which is dictated by state law. Other than that we donâ€™t put a lot of â€œNoâ€™sâ€ in the business. We donâ€™t have a posted return policy since you can return what you want. We donâ€™t have a bounced check policy posted since it happens so infrequently. We take all the major credit cards since if you want to spend money with us I am willing to pay a percent or two more on the transaction so you can use your American express.
My feeling is as soon as you start telling the consumer what they canâ€™t do, even if they werenâ€™t going to do it anyway it sends a negative message. If there is a law that would allow people to claim censorship if they post a comment thatâ€™s obscene or commercial in nature I am not aware. Public opinion wouldnâ€™t support that claim either.
Having just written this post it had made me aware of areas where we could use the power of â€œyesâ€. â€œYes, we take all major credit cardsâ€, â€œYes, we love dogâ€™s, but our cats donâ€™t so would you leave Fido in the carâ€, â€œYes, we are happy to take special ordersâ€, â€œYes, we encourage your gardening comments on this blogâ€, and â€œYes, we have no bananaâ€™s, we have no bananaâ€™s today.â€ You get the drift, in a world of negativity and â€œnoâ€ the power of â€œyesâ€ stands out.