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Friday, June 03, 2005

That's debatable

Ackers1 is worried that we don't allow debate at Sir Humphreys. Or perhaps more to the point that we moderate the debate in ways that don't meet his approval. In short, he's calling us Margaret Wilson. Ackers1, I'll have to ask you to sit down or leave the chamber.

Firstly I think SH does allow debate. That is not to say we haven't reacted (or over-reacted) on occasion with people we think are "conveniently" ignoring the material points we make in our posts.

Part of the problem with such comments is that to properly debate what was, in the first place, a crappy comment, takes more time and effort than we wish to expend. This is a free blog. Its our blog. It's a spare time blog, with not enough spare time. Those opinions can be made elsewhere. We are not obliged to allow (in our opinion) total crap to be published on our site. We are not saying that total crap can't be published elsewhere. From what I see, it is.

Sometimes the "bugger off" comments are directed at people for the sum of similar comments we endure where the same old thing is said, with generally no acknowledgement or reference to the bits of information we thought significant. That just gets plain annoying.

We don't profess to be perfect either. We can have a bad day. Some comments can be taken the wrong way. Misunderstandings do happen. On top of that, some opinions are poles apart and it's always going to be a little explosive. Tough. We are learning as we go. Either cut a little slack or piss off (just joking about the piss off actually, but the sentence works. Cutting some slack will be sufficient.)

Secondly Ackers1, you may have uncovered a huge market opportunity. Many blogs are not created specifically to promote debate under the rules and topic choice of the visitors.

Perhaps you could provide that function. It's obviously important to you.

Here's a suggested name: "Open Debate"
Here's a byline: "Talk about anything. There is no site moderation"
Here's the ego trip: "Hosted by ackers1, who has the time, money and energy to cater for this important public service."
Here's the goal: "Someday, all blogs will be run like this".
Here's the benefit: "No need to read Just left and Sir Humphreys to get 2 dissenting opinions. You time is precious. Why waste it hearing things you wont agree with?"

Finally, if anyone wants to see a good example of Sir Humphrey bashing, you can visit Artificial Intelligentsia. Ironically, Ruth doesn't allow comments at all there, but you'll probably agree with all her opinions, so what's the problem? In keeping with Ruth's apparent policy of not linking to anything, you'll have to find the site yourself.

UPDATE: Just to make it clear, if I have the right to set comments on my blog, then I am obviously in full agreement with those that decide to set a comment policy (even if zero!) policy on their blog. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on the differences between rights and expectations. Find out what consequences are!

Posted by ZenTiger | 6/03/2005 12:34:00 pm


Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Attempting to be serious, for just one minute, I'm really not interested in entering into debate on MY blog. Well my little corner of it. However I'm quite happy to hear opposing opinion. I just can't be bothered arguing about it. That's why I'm very reluctant to ban anyone for anything other than really major major BAD things like overuse of obscenities, divulging obviously confidential personal information or defammatory comment. My whole raison d'etre in this place it to take the piss out of lefties and have a bit of fun. I'm sure some of the Lefties reckon it's retty good sport taking the piss out of me. Spanner had a pretty good win the other day. That's much more p[roductive than winning some boring damned fourth form debate on the Wankers' Party policy on changing the colour of the SH 1 centre line.

6/03/2005 12:53:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Good point Adolf. To quote a previous post of mine:

"Yes Dorothy, there are shades of grey. The opinions of the respective authors are not necessarily those held by the others, and I speak for all of my fellow Sir Humphrites when I say that I don't speak for them".

6/03/2005 01:00:00 pm  
Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

Zen - the real Sir Humphrey would have taken another paragraph or two to say the same thing in a much more obtuse manner ;) You really should develop a standard cut-and-paste for that!

6/03/2005 01:28:00 pm  
Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

Unfortunately, blogs are not the best media for continued debate, I think web-based forums are much more suitable as discussions are consolidated on one website as opposed to blogsphere issues which spread out over many blogs and are just plain to difficult to follow and maintain. I think the nature of blogging itself does diminish some forms of debate but encourages others. I hate to think what things would be like if we had a phpBB forum to cut loose on!

6/03/2005 01:30:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Good post Zen, and good point Adolf.

Unlike DPF's blog, where he posts general topics more than pure opinion, and commenters are free to go at it, this blog depends on people knowing where we're coming from and keeping up with the story, so to speak.

I'll add that commenters are deluded if they think they will get a friendly reaction when they post comments without reading the substance of our posts, read our follow-up comments, or who think firing direct insults at the authors is a clever idea.

Bernard - I think a political bulletin board would be interesting, so long as it tied in to existing political commentary/news and had moderators to remove defamatory statements. Have you set one up before?

6/03/2005 01:38:00 pm  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

"This is a free blog." Would someone like to point out to me a blog that's not free? I've searched in vain but have yet to come across anyone stupid enough to pay to view a blog. So if you are going to put your point of view onto the web for all to see you have to accept that those that disagree have a right to a voice. Otherwise you may as well meet at the local coffee shop and have a discussion amongst yourselves.

6/03/2005 08:21:00 pm  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

ackers1. You are wrong. If I put my point of view onto the web the only thing I have to accept is your right to bugger off. You are here as a privilege, not by right. Don't come into my home and throw your weight around. Of course you are welcome until I tell you to bugger off but don't give mr any of this shit about what I should or should no do in my own home. Understand?

6/03/2005 08:52:00 pm  
Blogger RightWingDeathBeast said...

Disagreement is welcome. Ranting on and on while totally ignoring any rebuttal, and using links to Juan Cole and Robert Fisk columns as a substitute for argument, is not.

Pretty simple really.

6/03/2005 08:58:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

ackers1: your comment raises so many questions.

"have a right to a voice"

Where do you think this right comes from. Is this right given by God?
By your ISP? Have Google, as owners of the blogging software which they kindly allow us to use, mandated that we must allow all types of comments?

Are these rights enforceable? Has H1 introduced any new laws recently that I am unaware of? The database is hosted overseas, perhaps Bush has signed off on this one? Should I look out the window for an armed UN contingent?

Did any of my points and the follow on points in the comments make ANY impact on you? The point where we do tend to get annoyed when the material points of our post are "conventiently" ignored? It would appear not, but then again, I obviously don't think like you. What seems clear to me is obviously not so crystal to you.

I think the solution here is to take on board your suggestion: I now declare Sir Humphreys a virtual coffee shop.

There is a spare seat, and several of us are gathered around with virtual expressos, lattes, flat whites and the odd cappuccino. But if you are going to sit down and rabbit on about how caffine is bad for us, and that they only drink of any consequence is a decaf chai with a soy and rice milk blend, warmed and served with natural honey and a lump of brown sugar, I'll have to suggest you sit at another table.

6/03/2005 09:15:00 pm  
Blogger Roger said...

perhaps he is talking about the fact that (at the moment) you allow comments, and peope are (at the moment) allowed to surf the web and read people's blogs, and because of this he thinks he has the "right" to have his say on this blog. but i could be wrong.
my advice to him would be "stop wasting your time".

6/03/2005 09:25:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Interesting take on that Roger. ackers1 can always "waste his time" to explain himself further, if he feels so inclined.

I find his use of the term "right" to be one of the main stumbling block in his response, the other being that he has seemingly ignored all the other points made within the post, and focused on the "free blog" point.

Of course, some of the irony here is that comments are on, and that people do comment, and the folks "driven away" may be driven away (IMHO) more for the reasons mentioned above than necessarily for the reasons put forward by those that get pounced on.

"Facts" supporting either belief hinge on use of language. If some-one is going to claim they have a "right" to post any sort of comment without "consequences" just because the front door was left open is where things can unravel pretty quickly.

At this point I can just simply repeat the above post. Not that reading it twice might make any difference...

6/03/2005 09:43:00 pm  

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