Friday, 12 November 2010

Blogging Etiquette Revisited

I'm evidently not the only one to be disgruntled by anonymous commenters who just basically use a blog as a board for posting insults. I see that one local blog has lots of this, and the owner just periodically says "no more of that please", and lets the blogs stay. Thinking Anglicans blog also has the same kind of problem, and they have made this eminently sensible comment:

We have noticed an increasing tendency by some commenters to make ad hominem or derogatory comments about other people - sometimes about other commenters and perhaps more often about people in the news.

We want discussions here to be conducted in a spirit of Christian charity and we are going to take a strong line on this. We will not approve comments that include ad hominem remarks. Comments on someone else should concentrate on their words or deeds. People should be accorded their proper names and/or titles, not a pretend or derogatory name or sarcastic title preferred by the commenter. Please note that this applies to people on all sides of discussions.

Secondly, we reiterate a plea we made a year ago: 'please consider seriously using your own name, rather than a pseudonym. While we do not, at this time, intend to make this a requirement, we do wish to strongly encourage the use of real names.'

It may seem strange posting this directly after my satirical spoof "News from Nowhere", but that is quite obviously a send up. Private Eye, in a robust defense of the "spoof" pages section in their magazine, makes this clear:

"Even to those unfamiliar with Private Eye there are a number of features of the article, on the page on which it appears, and on those surrounding it, that would suggest to such readers that the articles and material on these pages are not genuine. For example (page 20) David Cameron and Nick Clegg are of course prime minister and deputy prime minister, but it is not credible that any reader would so unworldly, or gullible, to think that they were also headmaster and deputy headmaster of an educational institution called 'The New Coalition Academy'. The letter states: "The law of libel recognises that statements made in jest are not actionable."

But the kind of comments on some local blogs, and one blog in particular, are not like that - they make accusations about the morals of individuals, suggest that one employee should have their company blacklisted (presumably to put pressure on him to stop blogging), and have as much reasoned argument as John Prescott gave a heckler with his fists.

It's the responsibility of the blog administrator not to let comments through, not to let them through and then go through a facade of hand wringing, saying "dear oh me, please no more" - and indeed any comments can be deleted even if they've gone through the system.

See also:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They're called trolls, by giving them recognition they will only do it more.