Wednesday, 11 May 2011


Over Easter I went out for shisha with my old friend and reader of this blog, D.V.

D.V. had some kind words for this blog and for myself but noted a flaw in my approach: I was spending a ridiculous amount of time responding, point for point, to every commentator. He noted that this no way to blog on controversial subjects; the time that goes into this sort of thing detracts from useful writing and indeed if I wished to address valid criticism I could do it by simply editing my posts and acknowledging whoever had made the suggestion in the first place. Why not simply go for that?

At the time I agreed that this was the right approach and promised to adopt it. However, I failed to do so for two reasons: first and foremost, because I crave the excitement of comment sparring; it has some addictive quality that I find irresistible. But also because this website is dotted with written commitments to the effect that I will approve and respond to every comment I receive; when I wrote them I actually meant them. All readers, after all, from the most constructive to the downright trolletarian, write comments in order to elicit a reaction of sorts.

Today, however, I was reminded of why he was right. I've just finished another round of comment-sparring from which little that was helpful was learnt on either side but which, in all, took enough of my time to write a whole new post from scratch. Only a small amount of this time was spent getting hold of useful research that I could then use elsewhere in the blog. That can't be right.

And this is, frankly, nothing compared to the troll torrent that followed my #debtocracy and conspiracy theory posts.

As I wrote to the anonymous commentator, I consider it an advantage of this blog that I engage with readers, be they critical or supportive, and I will continue to do this regardless of the time it takes. However, the following things will change going forward:

  • All comments will be automatically approved without moderation. I will delete only comments that are outrageously offensive to people other than myself, or any comments falsely attributed to other people. As you'll have seen, I have never failed to approve any comments; I've only ever deleted two or three, and all of these were my own.
  • I will no longer receive notifications of your comments; hence I may ignore some of them, especially if they are attached to older posts. I will strive to read all of them but can't promise this. I apologise in advance.
    Ping me on Twitter (@lolgreece) if you want to remind me.
  • I will not respond to comments with other comments. I will only acknowledge (by editing the main body of posts) comments that are critical of my writing and, of those, only the ones that I find constructive. I will not acknowledge anonymous posts in this way, although if you pick a spurious nickname I'll happily call you that.
  • All pages on which comments are currently closed will have comments reopened in two months' time from now.  

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Please remember that I am not notified of any comments and will not respond via comments.

Try to keep your criticism constructive and if you don't like something, do tell me how to fix it. If I use any of your suggestions, you will be duly credited.

Although I'm happy to entertain criticism of myself in the comments section, I will not tolerate hate speech. You will be given a written warning and after that I will delete further offending comments.

I will also delete any comments that are clearly randomly generated by third parties for their own promotion.

Occasionally, your comments may land in the spam box, which may cause them to appear with a slight delay as I have to approve them myself.

Thanks in advance for your kind words... and your trolling, if you are so inclined.