We’ve linked to your 20 most fanciable political journalists item, as it is clearly designed as a gentle bit of fun. You wrote it is as such. But some of the comments
which have appeared from readers below it are at best bad mannered and at worst
vile, sexist drivel. Why is this misogynistic rubbish tolerated in the blogosphere when it wouldn’t be allowed on television, radio or in print? We all have a responsibility for what we choose to publish and I appeal to your innate good sense: please moderate, or remove, such comments. Feel free to publish this on Iain Dale’s Diary and I will handle the inevitable wave of abuse from the dribbling inadequates who think it amusing to be abusive on web sites about people they don’t know.
Very best regards, Iain Martin.
I imagine this will provoke a response of its own, but let me put in my twopennyworth. Journalists can get very prissy when they have to deal with the agression which they and their readers normally reserve for politicians. They don't like it up 'em, it might be said. And without picking at old sores, there have been a couple of examples on this blog in the past.
Having said that, Iain Martin does have a point. I think I am often far too lax at letting insulting comments through. It's not done deliberately; it's usually a question of not having enough time to read each and every comment in full. If I'm busy I'll skim read and if I don't see an f*** or worse, it often gets through. I then rely on readers to alert me to anything they think is beyond the pale. That happened today, when a commenter objected to how another commenter had insulted him. I then removed the comment. I went back and looked at the sixty odd comments on that thread and deleted three or four which were perhaps a bit OTT.
The Tim Irelands of this world suggest that if I introduced mandatory registration it would stop this sort of thing. It might, it might not. It certainly doesnt on the Telegraph's own site, as I know from the comments made about my own articles!
Many people who comment on here do so anonymously because they are civil servants or cannot be identified for other reasons. Others use the anonymous facility to hurl abuse. I believe in freedom of speech and hate censoring, but I know I must be harder on anonymous comments, and I shall try to be.
NOTE: Just for the record, Iain gave me permission to publish his email. Please be constructive in your responses!
AFTERTHOUGHT: My West Ham blog gets around 3,000 vistits a day. I moderate comments on that, but I can't remember the last time I had to delete one ... apart from the day it was invaded by Norwich City fans. I wonder what it says when the satndard of debate on a football blog is higher/more polite than that on a political blog!