Comments policy

“If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”
John Stuart Mills, On Liberty (1859)

I value free speech highly and so I’m reluctant to moderate comments simply on the grounds that someone, even if it’s me and even if it’s millions, finds something to be offended about. There is no right not to be offended and there never can be since I for one would be offended if someone tried to create one. However, it should go without saying that your comments and their contents are the products of your own thoughts and not mine, and are therefore your own responsibility. My not editing or deleting something offensive, even if it’s so offensive it’s actually illegal in some jurisdiction or other, does not mean I agree – I’m probably offended too, but rather than get all precious about it and demanding the law steps in to silence people I prefer to let poisonous opinions speak for those who hold them, and to take the opportunity of telling them why they’re wrong.

I think it was Doctor Johnson who said censorship is the last refuge of a cunt, and if he didn’t I’d like to believe he probably thought it occasionally. All I intend to remove is the following:

  • Spam, whether porn or otherwise
  • Anything blatantly libellous and which some fuckwitted legal system somewhere will hold me responsible for even though someone else actually said it
  • Impersonators of other bloggers/commenters attempting a bit of social engineering
  • Space wasting, non sequiturs and comments which are generally off topic or otherwise add nothing

If you just want to call someone names I’m not going to stop you but this is not the place to provide links to your site selling left handed shovels or pictures of hot chicks in changing rooms, or for claiming that a particular politician or celebrity has been pleasuring themselves with broccoli and is being blackmailed by Illuminati controlled aliens over it. Such comments will be deleted as and when I come across them. Persistent offenders will not be hunted down, chained, put in a box and abandoned in a desert with half a pack of Opal Fruits, but I wouldn’t shed a tear if it happened anyway. However, they will find their comments are usually put in moderation automatically while pre-approved commenters or those without a track record of twattishness may continue to post comments freely.

Comments are enabled on all posts starting from the move from Blogger to WordPress (comments on older posts are on the old Blogger hosted site) and will only be suspended in the event of a persistent spammer. Comments are especially welcome on the Blogroll and Interesting Sites pages and are enabled specifically for recommendations of your favourite sites, or even your own sites, and also the Hibernation page so you can let me know if someone there has returned to the blogosphere. If links appear on other posts and appear to be unrelated to the topic they may be edited or deleted.

Another change, hopefully temporary, that’s changed the last paragraph. Due to a recent surge of spam on older posts, happily all being caught by the filter, comments will be closed automatically on posts over two weeks old. If you have a genuine comment to make on an older post I’m more than happy to publish it even if I don’t agree with it, but unfortunately you’ll need to let me know first. I realise it’s a pain but blame the spammers, not me, though I’ll offer you the choice of me posting your comment for you but in your name or temporarily lifting the restriction for you to say your piece yourself.

Other than that, knock yourselves out.

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