I have just got back after almost 5 days offline. I have been ill with a very nasty virus. Usually, I am not totally floored by such things but the stress and anxiety of my current situation (my very sick mum, unemployment etc etc) led to my needing to step away from everything, especially this blog. I come back to find that the barrage continues here. Rude and insulting comments from the same few but very vocal people. So I’ve decided, you want to behave like children, I’ll treat you like children. Although that’s insulting to children who, for the most part, are able to conduct a polite discussion without resorting to insults or derailing every conversation.
So full comment moderation is on for the first time since I started this blog. This means no-ones comment will be seen unless it is approved by me. Yes, I know I will get a deluge of emails and comments screaming about free speech and “how can a human rights blogger deny me my rights….” but my answer is this. I have given you the freedom to post whatever you like; disagreements, questions, arguments against, arguments for. Everything. I’ve only asked two things. That you are polite and respectful and that you do not insult people on this blog. And some of you have repeatedly abused these two very reasonable demands.
I am not going to go into who said what and when and why. I’m not interested. I am not going to answer any personal attacks you might hit me with via comments or emails. I’ve heard them all before. In the past I have tried to answer everyone but I’m not doing it again. I am very upset that I have had to do this. This is not what I ever wanted for this blog but perhaps this means that proper discussions can occur. I do not rule out changing the complete moderation rule in the future but for now, this is the only way out of the situation I have been put in. I will be looking into user/reader moderation and other alternatives.
I apologise to all of you who have used this blog in the way it was intended and have remained polite and respectful regardless of how you felt about the issue being discussed. I know that it can be done because you have proved it. The few bullies who have taken up residence have spoiled it for everyone else. But they are just a few and hopefully, like all bullies, they will get bored and move on. I also apologise for not doing this sooner. I have been unwilling, I suppose is the word, to deal with the backlash and criticism alone. My weakness has been to believe that such people could be reasoned with and I have realised, perhaps way too slowly, that they cannot be.
I am also starting a new job next week (more on that later) so, although I will still be at a computer much of the time, I will not be available to moderate here so much. I ask you to be patient and ask those of you who have followed my two basic requests to continue to contribute here.