This blog's comment policy
1. No spam
2. No hate-comments
4. No obnoxious personal abuse
That should be quite clear, and if you don't like it or agree with it, tough luck. Start your own blog with your own comment policy, or go to places where the comment policy is different.
For me, blogging's a hobby, it's creative expression, its a discipline - a way of writing every day - and it's something that I and millions of others do, freely and happily, because we just like doing it. Recently, I have been enjoying it less and less.
I have been thinking of stopping blogging for a while. I am also thinking about taking all the posts down, saving them as unpublished drafts offline, and re-publishing them again when I feel like I want to re-engage. For now, whilst I mull it over, I am taking steps that I think will make me feel happier and more safe when I blog. I am looking after myself and setting some much-needed boundaries.
I have been honest and open on this blog since I started it, writing freely about personal and political matters which I care passionately about. For the most part I have loved it, it has been a roller-coaster ride and the support, advice, feedback, comments, suggestions, debate from readers has been fantastic. There have been times when I have been seriously under the cosh and coming here and writing has been life-saving. It has helped me deal with depression. It has helped me deal with PTSD. It has allowed me to campaign about issues I feel strongly about. It has allowed me to link to the blogs of others. I have made friends in real life through this blog, and it has been a privilege and a pleasure to have a window into other people's worlds, and to share some of my life and thoughts with you all.
There is a downside to blogging. There have been times when I have felt exposed, vulnerable, and under vicious and relentless personal attack, simply for writing what I think and feel on here. There have been times when this blog has invited the wrong sort of attention, to the extent that I have felt extremely afraid and very distressed. It has got to the point that the police have had to get involved, with repeated instances of harassment from one individual. It's one thing to disagree, it's another thing entirely to send streams of venomous abuse, directed at me or other commenters on this blog. I really don't enjoy blogging when I get sent abusive emails or comments, or threats. I don't publish them, but I still have to read them.
I realise some of you may feel strongly about what I have written, or what other commenters have written sometimes, but I still don't think that gives you the automatic sacred right to be abusive, obnoxious, threatening, obscene, baiting, bullying, harassing, or whatever, and to expect me to give your views a platform on my personal blog.
If you want to say something, you can always start your own blog. Then I can choose whether or not I read it, and so can others. That's freedom of speech, that's freedom of expression.
You have that freedom; nobody is taking it away from you, least of all me. Blogger.com, from what I can gather will let you publish pretty much anything, unless it is stomach-churning ( images of torture, child porn or so on which are internationally unlawful). There are plenty of blogs which are defamatory, libellous, malicious, hateful, untruthful and delusional out there. I choose not to read them and not to link to them.
Despite me reiterating and explaining my comment policy several times recently, I have still been getting a steady trickle of obnoxious, aggressive comments sent in. I am now completely fed up with it.
I am not going to publish them, and from now on, I am not going to read them either. Most of the people who send such abuse do so anonymously. Personally, I think this is cowardly, as well as rude. Why expect me to give you a public platform if you will not allow me to know who you are, or to respond personally to you? Would you say such things to my face, in public? I doubt it.
Well, from now on, nobody will be able to post anonymous comments. The anonymous comment facility has been removed. In order to comment. you will have to go to blogger.com, ( click 'create blog' at the top of this blog), and set up a blog which has a profile, so you can be identified with whatever name, number or nickname you have chosen to give yourself. You don't need to post on your blog account once you have set it up, but you will need to provide a valid email address to set up a blog and get a profile. The whole process will take you less than two minutes. If you can't do it, email me and I will try and help.
I realise this is a bit of a pain, and that some of you want to be anonymous on here because you are sharing something that may be personal and private. For example, there have been men and women who are survivors of violence and rape commenting anonymously here. I am sorry that because of the behaviour of a few, I am no longer able to offer you total anonymity.
As an experiment, and as a gesture of trust, I am taking comment moderator off whilst we move to this new policy, so once you have registered and set up a profile, you will be able to comment freely. Hopefully this will make comment discussions more meaningful and easier to conduct because other commenters will know who you are and can address their points to you rather than 'anonymous', which is particularly confusing if there is more than one anonymous commenter in action.
If my blog traffic goes down as a result of my comments policy, I don't care. I don't validate myself by looking at my blog traffic. And I would rather know who I am talking to.
If people abuse the no-moderation policy, then I will switch comment moderator back on, and delete obnoxious comments. I repeat, I am under no obligation to host such stuff.
And if it STILL continues, then I am taking the blog offline. Finito. There's no point continuing with a hobby you no longer enjoy out of sheer bloody-mindedness.
I am addressing this to a few people; they know who they are and hopefully they will now go away and leave me in peace. To everyone else, thank you for dropping in, I appreciate you and I would like to thank you for visiting.
Right. It's a gorgeous spring day and I am going to switch off my computer and go for a walk in the park and look at the daffodils and all the signs of new life springing up which remind me that there's a big, beautiful world out there and that I want to spend more time in it.
Take care and see you soon.