As I travel the blogosphere, I am puzzled by those blogs that moderate the comments. It is curious to me that some people feel that they have to moderate the comments and others just have the standard minimal captchas as a machine generated spam weeder. It seems to bear no relationship to the volume of visitors or number of comments or any other visible causative agent. So that of course left my mind running through the possible reasons that an author would chose to moderate the comments. I can understand perfectly the need for private blogs, etc. It's just the comment moderation that seems a bit odd.
The very first possibility that came to mind was the simple prevention of machine based comment spamming (otherwise know as botnet attacks). That seems suspect because I haven't yet seen any raw spamming of an unmoderated blog that has reasonable captcha authentication. I have even seen a couple of sites that have no captcha requirement, but simply put up an error message every time a comment is posted, forcing the comment author to re-submit the comment before it is accepted. It would seem that such sites would be extremely vulnerable to spamming, but I have not seen hints of it happening yet. Maybe the time delay to re-submit is enough to deter the machine spammers.
The next possibility that came to mind was cyber-stalking activity. People being stalked on the internet might feel vulnerable to allowing comments from the stalker to appear on the blog, implying a relationship that does not exist in reality. The problem with that hypothesis is that anyone being seriously cyber-stalked has probably moved the blog private so they can control who is reading what.
Then of course there is the possibility that they are simply trying to avoid offensive comments. But that would seem to fall under the same category as the first possibility. It also seems if it was going to be a real problem, it should have been apparent on the blogs which are not moderated (even some of the sex related ones which would be the obvious target). The only way this idea makes sense is if certain posters draw certain types of commentators. I suppose this is possible.
Another thought that came to mind was the need of some people to be in absolute control of their environment. I.e. in words of the vernacular, they are control freaks. I cannot think of any reasonable refutation for this possibility.
Along similar lines is the fear of the possibility of disagreeable comments, be they pornographic, spammish, whatever. Just the fear that it might happen could be bad enough to tempt some people to turn on the moderation button.
The final possibility that comes to my mind is the presence of one or a small group of people with a target relationship to the blog author that have been problematic in the past. This could include the Ex from h*ll that leaves bitter and vituperative comments, the former friend that just wants to snipe, you name it. This actually seems like a reasonable cause for moderation.
I'll close with a request of those of you who read this blog: why did you decide to either moderate or not moderate your comments? Were any of my guesses close to the mark? Am I just an insane idiot? No wait! don't answer that!