As of July 20th, 2013, there are major changes to comments policy.
There’s a very fine line – and sometimes not so fine line – that all bloggers who accept comments tread and it concerns what I call trollery.
Many political bloggers are not concerned in the least whom it offends but if you come in to troll, you’re summarily dispatched. Some bloggers have been softer than that and I was one of those. Until now, I’ve allowed almost all comment, even when it was openly hostile to me on a personal basis and this was to justify any libertarian credentials over free speech.
The line on this blog was that you could say anything you liked about me but no ad hominem towards visitors.
A typical reader of a reasonable nature will even look at this post now and say oh well, your gaff, you make what rules you like. Many have said that.
A troll though, who automatically opposes and gainsays, will try to make some case out like: “Oh, opposing free speech, eh? Not very libertarian, are you? Only accept views aligned with your own.”
This is not only disingenuous, it is quite offensive because it is calling someone who has been more than tolerant of other points of view being expressed in comments for a very long time intolerant. It attempts no understanding and has no sympathy for why some comments or commenters with a track record are simply unacceptable. It does not recognize in the least that an effort has been made many times to allow something which other bloggers would have deleted long before.
There are four grounds why this change now:
1. In RL, I am under far more direct pressure than I formerly was;
2. I have far less time for blogging and must apportion that time better;
3. I’m not well, the health is not good;
4. I’m tired as a result of 1, 2 and 3, really weary in the bones. I find my tolerance level for trolls approaching zero.
Let’s take two people.
One says: “I don’t agree with all you say, especially on xxxx but I see where you’re going on this.” That person can oppose all he likes and often does and I don’t delete him. Why not? Because he comes in in a basically neutral way to see what is said and judges on its merits.
The second comes in to see what rubbish I’ve written today. He’s passive-hostile, he will scour the post for something to oppose and if he can’t find it, he’ll spend much time [a compliment in a way] looking for something to latch onto to start an argument over. Everything the blog is about – justifying one’s opinion with evidence, doing your homework, quoting in support of your thesis – none of that means anything to the troll. He’s there to stir up and waste time.
I’ve no time any more for that. So I’ll leave the rallying cry above comments: “Don’t hold back,” but it is for people who are not trolls, who are halfway reasonable as a rule and who have, at some time in the past, at least tried to understand the things written at this blog.
That is a quantum shift from where it was before and is intended specifically to eliminate people who waste all our time.
Who are they?
For a start, they’re people with form, people with a track record of real hostility of a general nature on this blog. They’ll deliberately misunderstand. They always have and always will.
For example, were I to say I love peace and quiet, most people would say, “Know what you mean – sometimes it’s stifling.” Or they might even say: “I don’t find that myself, I love big company, the more the merrier.”
By any definition, that person is opposing what I write and yet he’s doing it with obvious general neutrality or sympathy for the blog. He’s not hostile – I hope you see where I’m going with this line.
The troll though will charge: “Don’t like people very much, do you?” and then pretend to pass it off lightly.
Sorry – that is a slur of a specifically personal nature, intended to show me in a bad light, however jokingly it was said. I’m no longer interested in that BS. I do like people, my whole working life has been dealing with people, every week, at work, I’m dealing with people and enjoy them greatly. Last weekend there was not one issue with any customer.
This blog details specifically the people I don’t enjoy – trolls, parachutees, PC narrativists, the new living dead. The blog is quite categorical about the types. It doesn’t leave you wondering.
To put all of that succinctly – the comments policy is that you’re welcome to come in but please play fair.
There is one aspect of the troll though I take far more seriously than anything said about me personally and that is disrespect for groundwork. There are topics where a lot of work has gone in, not just by me. Many people have sent material on it, there is a groundswell of opinion out there on the subject, my job was to collate, over a very long time, all the evidence possible in a series of posts sometimes stretching over years.
And to the troll I say straight away – yes it does make it right. It makes it right because we’ve taken the trouble to make sure only the right thing remains. People have worked on that and you come in and say what bollox? Without giving any equally closely documented reason?
In the past, I’d have argued with you. Now I’ll refer you to the search engine and then delete you in your intransigence.
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May 19th, 2011. Added to May 22nd, 2011. Modified August 3rd, 2011. Modified November 26th, 2011. Modified January 9th, 2012. Modified May 26th, 2012. Modified August 24th, 2012. Link added September 28th, 2012. Modified June 24th, 2013. Modified July 22nd, 2013.