It would be nice to have an open combox, but experience demonstrates that that is not possible.
Some people think that they can, behind their nearly complete anonymity, puke into my combox anything they expel from their atrabilious gorges. Therefore, I have the unpleasant task of watching registrations and the combox queue.
I don’t know what it is about anonymity and the internet that makes so many people nastier and stupider. If anyone doubted the reality of original sin…
To post comments, you must be registered and that registration must be approved by me. Sometimes people have to wait a bit after registering. I look at the registration queue on my own schedule. I look at the comment moderation queue on my own schedule.
I don’t know why some comments get pulled into the moderation queue, by the way. Sometimes it happens when you include links. I think the spam detection software flags certain words. I haven’t figured it out and, frankly, I don’t worry about it very much. Moreover, I can flag usernames so their comments always go into moderation. I don’t use that very often, but I do use it. I also don’t lose any sleep over it.
I do regret that some entirely innocent and well-meaning comments wind up in the queue.
I always take note of the name fields. I prefer some sort of name rather than just initials or a bizarre handle. I understand that some people prefer anonymity, but I think some sort of name – even a pen name – is important for the combox. See my comments about the fruits anonymity, above.
I have a field in the registration form wherein you can indicate something about yourself. I look carefully at that field. I don’t need a biography, just something to let me know a) that the registrant is a human being and b) that the registrant doesn’t have some nefarious intention. If people leave that field blank, I delete the registration.
I get quite a few false or malicious registrations, by the way.
I have been at this internet thing for a couple decades now and, like an hard horse old Wild West sheriff, I am set in my ways.
Lastly, I won’t hesitate to delete comments and ban people. It keeps my irritation level down.