I get dozens of emails daily from readers and I generally enjoy them all. I try to respond to most emails.
Sometimes I get comments directly on the blog but those are more rare. I guess that many people prefer anonymity and that is fine.
Many of the comments are from anonymous people and I am frequently torn about whether or not I want to advance their comments. For example, someone may agree or disagree with something that I have written and they want to advance their own opinion on it - but they don't want to put their name with their comment.
This is easily fixed by disabling anonymous comments but some of the most thought-provoking comments are anonymous. All my life I have been fascinated by anonymous self expression - like carving into picnic tables or graffiti or on publicly posted leaflets or pamphlets. That is a topic for another day.
Many of the comments that never get published here are links to people's proprietary websites that sell products and I never wanted my blog to become a trolling site for potential customers. I get the whole 'long-tail' phenomenon but that is not what this blog is about.
Another category of comments that never get published are drive-by hit jobs on people or ideas or products. I don't mind publishing someone's opinion about people or ideas or products (even if their opinion is about me or the things I write) but if they want to engage in drive-by hit jobs then I figure they can at least let people know who they are.
Anyway, sometimes I wish that the dialogue was a little broader but it is what it is. Of the thousands and thousands of hits this site gets we usually only get a comment or so a week. That makes my blog more about my own rants then about bilateral dialogue but I suppose that can change since this is a dynamic observation of the situation.
So my policy that is in effect today is that I prefer people to take responsibility for their comments. If people take responsibility it is more likely their comments will be published. The exceptions are if something is particularly witty or poignant or if I change my mind.