You may well have noticed that I have, for the time being, disabled reader comments on this blog. I did this reluctantly in response to a wave of unwarranted political axe-grinding. And, before you leap to criticise, you haven’t seen some of the stuff I’ve deleted.
The ability to comment on blogs is a privilege, not a right. Think of it in terms of writing an entry in the visitors’ book in someone’s home. If you wouldn’t say it directly to my face, then you shouldn’t put it in a comment. The purpose of comments is to further develop the discussion in a post, provide additional information or ask questions. I have no problem with people who disagree with me, provided it is done in a reasonably polite and cogent manner. But if you think I’m an arsehole, or my argument is a load of garbage, or want to use the comments as a soapbox to hold forth on something entirely different, then you need to do it elsewhere. It is not a violation of free speech as there are plenty of other places to say it.
And some people seem to struggle with the fact that this is an opinionated blog, not a forum of which I am a neutral moderator. If you make a strident, borderline inflammatory comment in support of my viewpoint, then I’ll probably let it pass unless it’s obscene or defamatory. If you do the same in opposition, it’s deliberately picking a fight.
There are a couple of contributors whom I have effectively blocked for what I regard as persistent trolling. I’m not going to name names, but if you find yourself regularly posting comments that never appear, it may be you. If you feel you may have been blocked, then I’m happy to discuss via e-mail, but I’ll expect some commitment to taking a more constructive approach in the future.
Comments will be turned on again eventually. But not yet.
Happy New Year to you all, by the way!