Like many blogs, this one uses a WordPress platform. And like many bloggers using WordPress, I’ve configured it so that when someone tries to submit a comment, I get the submission by e-mail from the blog and can then decide whether to approve it, delete it, or spam it.
But can I then argue that I can e-mail the commenters in reply to their submissions because they e-mailed me first? Believe it or not, that’s how at least one blogger treats comment submissions.
Why do I mention this now? Because occasionally I hear from people who submitted comments that were critical of the author of another WordPress-based blog and who then found themselves receiving unsolicited and unwelcome e-mails from the blogger. Having been sent examples of the blogger’s unsolicited e-mails, I can understand their distress. They submit a comment that disagrees with the blogger or is critical of the blogger and then find themselves on the receiving end of e-mail from the blogger calling them ignorant, hateful, etc. The blogger reportedly does not post her reply in the Comments section of the blog, and may not even have approved their submission, and now they find themselves in a nasty exchange of e-mails.
I hope that the blogger in question is just uninformed and doesn’t realize that comment submitters using an on-site comment submission form are not directly e-mailing her. But if she does now understand that, will she now respect her site visitors’ privacy by not sending unsolicited e-mail or will she continue to send them verbally abusive e-mails? One individual, who forwarded such e-mails to me, told me that he had to actually change his e-mail address to stop her from e-mailing him. And all because he submitted a comment on her blog that disagreed with something she had said.
But what do others think? Should a blogger ever reply to a comment submission by e-mail? Is it an invasion of privacy? And if you think that there are circumstances when it’s acceptable for a blogger to reply to a comment submission via unsolicited e-mail, under what conditions do you think it’s justified?