Is it riskier to moderate blog comments?

Legal case suggests that moderating blog comments could leave publishers liable for the content.
Stephen Baker

As we've discussed and debated on this site, BW insists on moderating blog comments, in large part to shield the magazine from legal liability for hate or slander that could appear in that area. Now, as Dave Taylor reports, there's a suit against a blogger, Aaron Wall, over comments on his log. Taylor writes: "[If]you moderate, edit, or prune comments on your online forum -- or blog -- in any way at all then you stop being able to defend yourself as a common carrier and become a publisher who is, indeed, liable for the content that they publish."

So would be safer just to leave the comments open? To date, practically the only messages we've eliminated are thousands of spams.

UPDATE: Jeremy Pepper's post on this subject (from comments)

UPDATE: "I. F. Stoner" in comments points to AOL case that would appear to free sites from responsibility for slanderous comments they host.

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