Well, well, well. I’ve just had my first ever run-in with an abusive commenter. And what a special moment that was! I must be a real blogger… and I suppose that means that I need to have a real comments policy.
I want to balance two things on this blog. On the one hand, I want this blog to be as informative as possible, and as accurate as possible. One way to do this is to always link back to the site from which I obtained the information I am analysing. Another way is to allow for the possibility of rebuttals. This means that if I’ve written about you or your party and you think I’ve got things wrong, you are welcome to comment in reply and make corrections. This happens fairly often, and I generally edit the post to point people to the comment section – and if I’ve been wildly factually inaccurate and have time, I will also edit the offending section to fix the problem.
What I will not tolerate on this blog is abuse of other commenters – and I’m not especially fond of being abused myself. I’m also not going to tolerate racist, sexist, or other unpleasant and demeaning statements about particular groups within the population. The other part of making my blog as useful and informative as possible is making it a place where people are not going to be attacked for commenting, and where people are not going to be triggered by things in the comment thread. Arguments and policies are fair game – people are not.
Who decides what is racist, sexist, etc?
That would be me. It turns out that even I, in all my lefty-liberal ways, have a fascist streak when it comes to obnoxious commenters. It’s the Nanny State right here on this blog! (The power is intoxicating!)
In practice, what this means is that provided you remain reasonably polite and attack the argument rather than the person, your comments will be approved (incidentally, all comments are currently going directly to moderation, regardless of who they are from – I apologise for the resulting delay, but it is unfortunately very necessary at present). However, if you start abusing people, or making nasty and unsubstantiated blanket statements about large segments of the population, your comment is not going to be approved. And if you keep on commenting in this vein for long enough that I get tired of deleting your comments from my inbox, you will be added to my spam filter, never to be seen again. (And seriously, if you have *that* much to say, why not get a blog of your own? The internet is a big place, and there is room for all of us.)
Incidentally, there is one exception to the rules above. On occasion, people leave obnoxious or offensive comments on my blog that make my argument better than I ever could. Those, I let through. Because in addition to allowing rebuttals on this blog, I am also inclined to be generous when it comes to giving people enough rope to hang themselves…
You might want to consider this before you leave a comment.