Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Do You Judge a Blog By Its Commenters?

The saintly Hugh Muir, who writes the Guardian's diary every day (it's a hard life for some) has obviously been stuck for a story today, so instead he has had a go at ConservativeHome, insinuating that the frothing mouths of the blog's commenters are in some way representative of the Conservative Party at large. He concludes: "Dear reader, this is what Dave is up against.".

I do realise a diary column isn't mean to be taken seriously, but reading his diatribe against ConHome, you have to wonder if he has ever ventured forth onto the pages of CommentIsFree recently. Would he like it if the liberal Guardian reading establishment were judged by the insane babble that appears in CiF's comments?

Would I like to be judged by the comments my dear readers leave on this blog? I'll let you be the judge of that...

87 comments:

Richard Gadsden said...

Yes, I do judge blogs by their commenters; it's the blogger's responsiblity to keep them civil and if he can't be arsed to do that then he should turn comments off.

Newmania said...

Labour Home comments on the same issue provoked by Ms. Harperson
http://www.labourhome.org/forum/?p=6627



“I cannot believe some bloke married her! Can you imagine what conversations must be like in their house? God help you if you slip up verbally”...tsk tsk



“Imagine if this woman had been born a bloke ….. the suffragette’s would have been hung...” oh shame shame



........the next crock of shit will be Gays/Blacks/Disabled/Transgender,etc,etc,” Surely not this is unacceptable





‘Frankly,a lot of the so-called ‘Blair Babes’ were fucking useless,.....’ Language Timothy !



I expect Labour Home and then the Labour Party will be held responsible for these elegantly expressed views ? There is more reason given their closed commenting policy. CIF has cleaned its act up a lot actualy and even the anti Semitism that used to abound whenever the Jews is policed .

IanVisits said...

I think any internet forum is going to attract the most passionate of commentators, and that does tend to be those of the more extreme ends of the political views.

Mr. Not Bothered isn't really going to be out there day in, day out ranting about things they are, well, not that bothered about.

Hence, blogs, or any forum that invites public comment is going to end up with fairly heated debates going on.

Then again, Mr Muir is simply trying to sell his copy to the paper, and I doubt his bosses would be too keen on columns which were bland and banal. So he does exactly the same thing the blog commentators do - he writes something designed to cause comment and debate.

Madasafish said...

Do I judge a blog by its commenters?

NO.

The blog repsresents the views of the blogger. Thereafter it's open season. The more provocative the article, the more extreme views are posted in response...

Unsworth said...

Well it's a contributing factor...

When one has to plough through the inanities on some blogs (like Guido's, currently) it all gets a bit tiresome, predictable and off-putting. Hence I'm a supporter of Moderation.

Let's face it, there are a few crazies here, too. And I'm not excluding myself from that category on occasions.

wapping boy said...

He's just doing what all lefties do - using the comments of individuals to smear whole sections of society.

Tom said...

And indeed judging by its "best TV show of the past ten years", Guardian readers evidently can't get enough of Top Gear.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/poll/2009/jul/28/best-tv-show-noughties

Hahahahahaha!

David T said...

Many of our commenters disagree with our posts - which is fine. That's what blogging is about.

However, for that reason, it is absurd to criticise other blogs for the fact that nutters appear on their comments threads - unless they're commercially run blogs.

Here is our comments policy at Harry's Place:

http://www.hurryupharry.org/comments-policy/

Pam Nash said...

'Would I like to be judged by the comments my dear readers leave on this blog?'

Well no - because, good or bad, they're not your comments.

Archbishop Cranmer said...

When the Bishop of Buckingham praised His Grace's post on homosexuality and the Church of England for being a 'genuinely perceptive, intelligent and Conservative take' on the issue, one of Bishop Alan's cummunicants, a certain Ms Baker, wrote:

"You only have to read the comments on Archbishop Cranmer's post to see that the Daily Telegraph has its fingers on the conservative pulse."

His Grace responded:

"It would be as wrong to judge a blog by the comments it attracts as it would be to judge the Lord by the company he kept.

"It may assist Ms Baker to know that The Telegraph rigorously controls its content and heavily censors its blogs. His Grace, on the other hand, while having neither the time nor the financial means of the Barclay brothers to do either, is content (and quite secure) with contributions from a myriad of perspectives, and to hope that enlightenment might emerge from the dialogue.

"It may not always do so, but in seeking to be light in the darkness, there is no point keepng company only with those who emit 100W of politically-correct renewable energy.

"If, as you say, the 'Daily Telegraph has its fingers on the conservative pulse', where in its pages (or its blogs, for that matter) is the 'genuinely perceptive, intelligent Conservative take' on the Established Church, or the 'genuinely perceptive, intelligent Conservative' voice from within the tradition to which the majority (according to the last census) still subscribes?"

One's correspondents can be as unrepresentative of one's readership as local Conservative associations are as unrepresentative of those who actually vote for the party.

Of course one cannot judge a blog 'by its commenters'.

Don't Call Me Dave said...

The quality of comments is directly proportional to the quality of blogging. ;-)

Rex said...

Eean
Yuu jus mite bee jugded they way!

Fausty said...

The media tried the same argument to Guido's blog.

What say we take a little trip to Hugh Muir's blog and inject a clutch of "frothing" comments of our own, for instructional purposes?

Desperate Dan said...

His article must have been written reflect the prejudices of the 0.5% of the population who buy The Guardian.

Stepney said...

Broadly speaking commenters fall into three categories:

1) Contributors: Those who enjoy adding intelligent and coherent points of view to the cut and thrust of daily debate; who appreciate the opportunity to more widely share their opinions.

2) Window-lickers: Those who are driven to add incoherent points of view to blogs because they are completely barking and they've run out of people who will listen to them.

3) Angry Prima Donnas: Those who are completely self-obsessed and cannot for the life of them understand why other people are in positions of power when they themselves have been overlooked all their lives, their opinions ignored and their "talents" wasted.

As a very broad rule of thumb I'd say that you find a lot of 1s on this site and they are quite likely to be freelancers with better things to do with their time but pop in every now and then.

You find the 2s on CiF and Guido mostly (he gets a broad chruch of all types to be fair but CiF is where the real loonies appear to hang out).

You get a really good crop of 3s over on the Daily Telegraph, a natty mixture of bumbling old farts, retired disgusted-of-Cheltenhams, sub-human nazi-types and "Simon Heffer is a socialist" screechers.

1s drop in and then bugger off to listen to the cricket.

2s are online 24/7, seriously disturbed but only dangerous to themselves.

3s look for virtual punch-ups and are more likely to vote for fringe right-wing parties and increase the chances of a Labour win in their constituencies (but don't point it out to them; they get pop-eyed and frothy and you can hear the arteries rupture from miles away).

Off to watch the rain fall.

Fausty said...

Hah! I see no comments are allowed on his blog! Evidently, he doesn't care much for free speech!

JuliaM said...

"...you have to wonder if he has ever ventured forth onto the pages of CommentIsFree recently..."

Probably not. I expect he fondly imagines it to be full of people discussing the best place to go in Tuscany and exchanging recipes for bruschetta.

Instead of the savage feeding frenzy it turns into whenever red meat - usually in the form of the latest ill-judged column by Polly or Bidisha - is thrown to the waiting maws of the wolfpack...

"Would I like to be judged by the comments my dear readers leave on this blog?"

I don't see why not! Splended chaps and ladies, one and all... ;)

James Cleverly said...

Hugh has form on this:

http://jamescleverly.blogspot.com/2007/08/it-doesnt-matter-what-they-say-about.html

simon said...

Fair point about CiF but I think you're a little unfair to Hugh Muir. It's not a diatribe, just a short diary item reporting some comments on ConHome. He doesn't say that they are representative of Tory activists or heartlands but ConHome is a blog for the activists so it's probably reasonable to assume that some, at least, of the commenters fall into that category.

No, it isn't fair to judge a blog by its commenters and Muir hasn't done that. In any case, as a recent survey showed, 90% and rising of allblog commenters are psychologically disturbed.

Shamik said...

Given the number of crazies out there, especially on Guido's blog, it would seem a bit unfair to judge the blog on the standard of the comments it attracts. A lot of them do seem to be overly-obsessed with sex; maybe they aren't getting enough/any?!

In general, anonymous contributors should be allowed to comment freely, so long as they stick to talking about policy. Where I have a problem is when anonymous posters indulge in personal attacks, not so much on politicians but on authors and other commenters, against which there is very little you can do if you're up against someone who doesn't say who they are.

All sites have their nutters, and the sad thing is more often than not they tend to drown out the saner voices and thus any rational debate is almost impossible.

Graham said...

@ wapping boy "He's just doing what all lefties do - using the comments of individuals to smear whole sections of society"

How the irony.

Anonymous said...

But Hugh Muir has a point - if Dave wants a more open party he has to take the plunge with affirmative action. And the 'foaming at the mouth' responses on ConHome rather does indicate that he won't be able to achieve his 'Clause 4' moment for quite some time.

So yes, this is significant although I take your point that there are loonies on all points of the political spectrum - but the problem is that in the Tory Party many of them run the Constituency Associations who wield far far too much power for the good of making the party fit for Government..

pablopatito said...

I'm not going to comment on a blog about a blog about comments on a blog. It would just be too sad.

Chekov said...

It's an especially lame piece. I thought it would at least describe a disagreement on the front end of the blog when I read the opening sentences. Not much to fill his column in silly season?

Bill Quango MP said...

Should you judge a blog by its comments? Of course you should eggnog, psychotropic, bar-billiards Jehovah!

tapestry said...

Hugh Muir. Desperado.

Bird said...

I occasionally eff and blind anonymously on Guido's to let off steam.
I'm never less than civilised on this site, ConHome and Politicalbetting.
I agree with you Iain about CommentIsFree. The vitriol and hatred is something to marvel at.

Anonymous said...

Mr Dale, the sad truth is that Mr Muir writes this stuff because, whisper it quietly, YOUR READERS [myself included] grass up the worst $h!t on ConHome and Your Blog to him as we are very sympathetic to the liberal agenda pursued by the Graun.

I can't understand why it should shock you that your readers are very often also Guardian readers [and buyers, and lovers] when Cameron has taken great pride in expressing himself as a 'liberal conservative'.

SO, the answer to why Hugh Muir is doing this is simple - IT IS BECAUSE YOUR READERS ARE TELLING HIM TO DO IT WHEN THEY GET FED UP WITH SOME OF THE $h!te EMANATING FROM THE REALMS OF THE TORY PARTY NOT CONTROLLED BY DAVID CAMERON...

So by all means slag him off, but as long as you realise you may be alienating a significant portion of your readership. Why can't you wake up, smell the coffee and realise that Cammo needs to become the 'British Obama' ??

Tally-ho !!

Morus said...

I would never judge a blogger by the comments left on their site - they didn't write most of them, and aren't responsible for them unless they moderate them all.

But do I judge a Blog by its comments? Yes sometimes, because the blog is the totality of the article, the other parts and links, the quality of the writing, the quality of the thought, and yes the quality of the conversation that takes place.

Do I judge a landlord by the quality of his customers - no. Do I judge a bar by the type of people who spend time there - yes along with other things.

Allowing for that, I appreciate some blogs in spite of their comments. Guido's comment threads are unbearable, but it doesn't stop it being a fantastic blog above the fold. Spectator Coffee House insist on over-moderating everything, which kills conversation, but the main posts make it a must-read.

On the other end of the spectrum, PoliticalBetting.com is largely about the comments - Mike has built and fostered a genuine community of contributors, most of whom stay beneath the fold, but the comments section is what makes it special, especially on election night.

Iain, ConHome, LabourList, LibConspiracy all fall somewhere in between - healthy comment sections, but it's not why you go there.

Bloggers aren't responsible for the comments, but they are a factor in choosing where you want to spend your time, so I feel happy admitting to judging a Blog by its comments, if not the main author.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear ! By showing your pain, you can now guarantee a further shower of punches until the Tories are on the ropes begging for the towel to be thrown in again...

Simon said...

The comments are often the most interesting part of a blog / newspaper and I tend to read those that censor least. The Telegraph used to be quite good but often disallows comment altogether on certain stories and I don't read it so often because of that. The best paper at the moment is The Guardian which allows people to write pretty much anything, along with most of the blogs with notable exceptions where rigourous censorship is applied.

Jonathan Cook said...

I do read the comments on blogs.... for numerous reasons:

1. Us plebs help keep blog owners honest. We prompt blog owners to self correct - and honesty is key to the success of blogs. We have a symbiotic relationship with Iain - we are the sparrow eating the unwanted insects off the hippo's (Iain) back.

2. Some of us plebs have valid points of view - and these are often reflected as updates to the main piece.

3. Some people write some funny things. Blogs are also entertainment and not just stuffy news outlets.


Iain - I suspect you have a love hate relationship with commenters. We are both embarrassing and necessary at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Here's a newsflash: if you believe in the right to free expression, you believe in people's rights to freely express things you disapprove of.

If you want to police and censor people's comments to make sure they suit your prejudices and biases, congratulations: you're a member of the politically correct stasi.

Am I worried by the "frothing" comments on this blog? No. I'm more worried about how Iain reacts to them (viz. with tantrums and threats). Am I worried by the "frothing" comments on ConservativeHome? No. No, I am not worried by people expressing I might disagree with or find objectionable or offensive.

If you look at those "frothing" comments and feel that they should be banned or deleted or that they in any way reflect badly upon the site, you probably need to ask yourself why you're so insecure that you can't abide transgressive speech.

STB2 said...

Nervous about the impending Conservative government, with unhappy memories of Thatcherism, I come seeking reassurance that modern Conservativism is moderate and reasonable. I read Iain's posts and I am reassured. I read the comments and the worries return.

Brett said...

People who blog about topics a wide range of people are interested in or get excited about will attract a wide range of excitable people, many with strong views. It's really that simple.

Roger Thornhill said...

Surely the real problem with CiF is the inane babble in some of the articles!

Anonymous said...

Thatcherism? Mrs T was one of us!

Lord Monkington-Smythe said...

Comment is Free on the Guardian attracts all sorts. I have commented there myself, but the place does attract the tin-foil hat brigade and the anti-semites on the one hand, and the bores that post essays and believe that Hugo Chavez is the Second Coming of Christ on the other. As the number of commenters grows, so does the level of lunacy of the comments. This happened on a big scale on Guido's blog after he did the McBride thing and his traffic levels grew.

DominicJ said...

If I go to CiF and using racist language, does that mean the Guardian is racist?

Keith Elliott said...

I certainly judge a political party by the people who vote for them.

Uncle Bob said...

I think Morus makes an excellent point. Guido's blog is an excellent read, I just don't bother going on the comments page. I'll read blogs such as this mighty pillar of internet opinion, Conhome, Coffeehouse, etc. and feel happy to contribute my comments and engage in debate with others (though I have been slowly getting more cheesed off with the anonymous wum's that have taken foot here lately.) whether we agree or disagree. As Morus stated, Politicalbetting is all about the comments, to such an extent that it can sometimes take forever and a day to read through them. I do make occasional comment but not as much as places like here. I'm also keen on commenting on smaller blogs that don't get as much traffic, if someone's written a good piece or something has grabbed my attention I'll often leave a contribution as I know how much I appreciate people commenting on my own blog, even if it is just the usual suspects.

But the comments don't make me reflect on the bogger but more the commenter.

Lord Monkington-Smythe said...

I should also say that the pseudery and "knowledge" based p*ssing contests on CiF are unbearable. Middle class guilt-ridden huge egos (with access to Wikipedia) is never a good thing.

David from Ealing said...

You can sometimes, but with blogs like Political Betting, where so many people comment, it gets impossible to read them and have a life away from the blog.

Plenty said...

Not every blog has to have a lot of comments to have a big readership. Not that my blog has a really big readership, but it has a readership nethertheless. At least that is what Yaro Starak says in his blogging programs...

My Harman comment piece is here. http://www.plenty2say.com

Anonymous said...

"Would he like it if the liberal Guardian reading establishment were judged by the insane babble that appears in CiF's comments?"

Probably yes.

trevorsden said...

Muir is just indulging in the current labour tactic (the only one its govt left really) of drip drip character assassination of the Conservative Party.

The utter paucity of his argument has been exposed by Newmania and His Grace.

Conservatives should wake up and see whats going on though truth to tell its nothing new - the labour party has always lied and spread the dirt.

Muir has clearly already forgotten McBride (conservatives should not) - a man joined at the hip to Brown and whose crimes are real and directly carried out by the labour party not just some thought experiment by casual passers by.

Simon Gardner said...

I should b***** hope not. The majority of yours are completely barking. And have you looked at the BBC’s “Have Your Say”? Even more round the twist than yours - if that’s possible.

Anonymous said...

Wanker.

Frank said...

I shouldn't think so; I regularly politely troll "Socialist Unity" merely because they will title their posts in caps, which makes them stand out on "Politics Home". It's all good clean fun but I must admit that the reactions are sometimes interesting.

John Moss said...

No.

But I do judge the Guardian by the quality of people who write for it.

Apparently so do the people who (don't) buy it.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/2794029/Guardian-group-braced-for-loss.html

Chris Paul said...

Do please get off your high horse Iain. It's not only a Diary, it's a particularly discursive stylee diary and more irreverent than most.

And Newmania ... unlike the CH comments which reflect the beating heart of Old Tory the Labour Home ones look like they are the work of trolls. Perhaps even the same people? Who also whoop it up on CiF and Labour List and TimesOnline and so on and so forth.

Looks like you've been hanging round at Labour Home yourself mate ... any of those gems yours?

The Sainted Hugh Muir said...

Is it because I is black?

(irony)

marksany said...

Some blogs I visit for the writing, others I visit for the comments.

OllyDeed said...

Of course you don't Iain. The type of comments you recieve on your blog may be indicative of the style of the author, but this aspect is no where near as important as the quality, style and substance of the posts.

Muir, a journalist of considerable talent, has written one of the laziest pieces I have ever read on the Guardian website. It smacks of desperate space filling that isn't worthy of a journalist of his quality.

Elby The Beserk said...

At August 04, 2009 3:14 PM , Anonymous Fausty said...

Hah! I see no comments are allowed on his blog! Evidently, he doesn't care much for free speech!
//

You miss the point COMPLETELY. It is HIS blog. He can do what the hell he likes with it.

Daniel Earwicker said...

@Roger Thornhill - indeed, on any given day Toynbee will be claiming that (a) the winter of discontent was a golden age (b) the unions need to be restored to full control of the economy (c) new labour's three election victories are a mandate to bring about Atlee's Jerusalem and, depending on whether he's returning her calls (d) Gordon is the man to do all this.

Compared to this, the CiF comments seem frankly lacklustre in their inventive lunacy.

labour for the few said...

its a free speech threat to the liberals.

bring it on.

i have such a laugh looking at ian dales,conhome and guido commentators.

it makes my day.

jaybs said...

ConservativeHome is like reading a children's book compared to the debate I have gone through these last few days on a leading Conservative party workers page. I always find debate on ConservativeHome usually good natured, we may not always agree but is it always necessary as some feel to be nasty?

Discussing Obama and his Health Care plans, I was attacked personally when I stated I had gone through major state of the art surgery on the NHS, one poster resented that I had this treatment on taxes he pays!

If voters read this kind of attack what message would it send out about David Cameron and The Party.

I never can work out why some Conservatives feel it so essential to give blind support for the US Republican Party and GOP and attack Obama at times for the sake if it?

Uk Iain Dale fan club said...

No I judge a blogger by his comments.

I like your comments

neil craig said...

My experience is that if you judged the Guardian by its CIF commenters that newspaper is very sceptical about the entire global warming scam. Would that its journalists were so honest but the Guardian, as anybody can see, gets its advertising & thus profits, overwhelminly from government & thus like fakecharities, is a fakenewspaper.

To be fair to the Guardian the vast majority of commenters on ALL newspapers don't believe the catastrophic warming lie & other papers, while not as rabid as the Guardian, are nowhere as scepitcal as their readers.

A Very Public Sociologist said...

The character of a blog's comments can sway an overall impression, and in my experience thoughtful constructive commentary is in short supply on the *big* right wing blogs.

On the left (particularly the far left, which I'm most acquainted with) there can be heated disputes aplenty. But there's a massive gulf in the character of fierce and abusive debates on say Socialist Unity and the bile and bigotry you can find aplenty in Guido's comments boxes.

dazmando said...

Its the Comments that really make a blog, the debate, the content from other commentors and the bloggers reply. I wont judge a blog by the comments but it does go some way to build up a picture of your readers

Anonymous said...

Would he like it if the liberal Guardian reading establishment were judged by the insane babble that appears in CiF's comments?

Iain that statement is most unfair.

The comments are the only sane bit. The posts are by direct contrast, shear insanity writ large.

Have you actually ever read CiF comments section, especially lately?

For in my opinion, CiF is more like your own comments section these days, and becoming more so every time Polly Toynbee posts her utterly INSANE, wholly FASCIST type Neo-Socialist propaganda pieces.

You know Iain, Polly Toynbee, the one David Cameron seems to have a school-boy crush on.

The truth is that the true lying nastiness of our own government has now become apparent to an ever increasing, but highly intelligent minority of politically motivated and educated people.

Be assured that even self-confessed lefties can see fascist authoritarian dog-shit when they clearly find themselves standing right in it.

Only a year ago, comments where perhaps 50% critical of New Labour. Now they are 95% or worse, and mostly not coming from people who believe New Labour are not socialist enough. They come largely people who voted Labour all of their lives, and now hate this lot more then they ever hated Thatchers or Majors government.

They generally and IMO correctly consider, that this government is wholly FASCIST and ever more authoritarian, dishonest, incompetent and nasty, than any Conservative government could ever have been allowed to have become.

They feel rightly betrayed, as we all do whether we voted for them or not, and who can honestly blame them?

Atlas Shrugged

Russell said...

Agree with Morus about Coffeehouse. I believe Pete Hoskin moderates the majority of the comments, but it must be a different Hoskin from the one who contributes many of the posts. Hoskin the moderator seems mealy-mouthed, prudish, censorious and hyper-cautious, which is why I stopped bothering with it, let alone attempting to express an opinion. Can't see the point of a blog which moderates the life out of its comments. Why bother to put up posts in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Personally I do judge a blogger by the readers comments they leave unmoderated.

I don't go to Guido any more because I think it's a spew of filth that's totally out of control. Ironically McBride would be at home there.

There is more discipline and respect here and although I personally think some comments are so paranoid and partisan it's pathetic at least they are opinions presented without too much foul language.

DespairingLiberal said...

Iain Dale's as it would be perceived from it's commenters....

1. This blog is for neo-Nazis, out and out Nazis, members of the BNP and anyone who just likes Hitler a lot and admires racists and racialists.

2. This blog is to do with repeating things that the Daily Mail says and believing everything in the Daily Express.

3. Iain Dale's Diary is all about obsessively ranting in a not-so-subtle way about the behaviour of immigrants.

4. This blog believes that all forms of taxation are evil by definition. All public expenditures must be cancelled at once.

5. All Europeans are evil people, hellbent on dominating poor weak helpless Britain.

6. Iain Dale agrees with all of the above and he hates all other people everywhere as much as we do.

7. All laws are fundamentally wrong, in so far as they require us to obey any of them. No laws apply to us but all of them apply to all immigrants, even abroad in their own countries.

8. The Labour Party are the Anti-Christ incarnate. They are staffed entirely by socialists who are to blame for Nazism. Socialists are not human beings at all and should be shot, but not by law, as all laws are the wicked work of governments.

9. The use of personal weapons, not excluding ground-straffing fighter bombers and tactical nuclear weapons for children to use in supermarket car parks are not only a God-decreed right, but impossible to not have, except for immies.

10. Nothing but contempt should be poured on Paul Staines.

11. Peter Hitchens, whilst quite obviously a decent chap, is simply not frothingly insane enough to be approved of by us, the commentators.

DespairingLiberal said...

I just read the piece and he doesn't anywhere say that the extremist commenters who gather at conservativehome are representative of the Tory Party - I assume you just made that bit up Iain?

He does say that's what Dave is up against, but isn't that actually true? Look at the extremist comments on this blog, Conservativehome and Guido and an average person could be forgiven for thinking that most Tories must be borderline psychotic. Isn't this fair comment - that the Tory blogs are showing what many Tories are actually like?

Victor, NW Kent said...

I do not bother with Guido's blog much. Reading the comments for any sensible posting is like digging through a farm midden to find a 560P piece.

However, public comments on Guardian blogs are sometime so overwhelmingly anti-Brown, anti-Toynbee, anti-White that they are an eye opener.

James said...

In a word, 'yes': a blog is not a set of posts by the author(s), it's a community. A "blog" with no comments is really nothing more than a regular website: it's the comments - and the facility to post your own - which make it worth participating.

That means I generalise the question to "do I judge a community by its members", which has an obvious answer. Now, in some cases there are unpleasant characters, as in any community. That doesn't necessarily ruin the whole community, as long as they're easy to avoid/ignore. Of course the blog author has the biggest influence, setting the subject and general tone, but the commenters are an important part as well.

Anonymous said...

Don't judge *a* blog by the comments it attracts, but by all means judge the blogosphere by the comments it attracts.

Newmania points up a very good example of how the tide of trash with too much time, reactionary opinions and a computer has spread over the web - even unto Labour Home, which is meant to be for Labour folk, but where every bloody thread, no matter what it's about, gets jammed up with morons sneering "Whatever - but Gordon McBroon's an unelected Jocko Stalinist - tee hee hee hee hee"

As opposed to ContinuityIDS where the same idiots gather to say "the EUSSR is a Nazi superstate plot, 'Camoron' a pinko and Ken Clarke a Quisling who should be strung up - oh and isn't Hammersmith & Fulham's Porterism wonderful 'true conservatism' in action".

At least before the internet these idiots had to keep their opinions to themselves and no-one else had to suffer them. Democracy my arse!

Anonymous said...

You miss the point COMPLETELY. It is HIS blog. He can do what the hell he likes with it.

No, *YOU* miss the point completely. The point, my foolish friend, is that if you are afraid of comments, it speaks of your insecurity, your prejudice and your inability to defend your point of view.

The issue is not whether or not he has the right to forbid comments (who said he didn't, peabrain?). The issue is: if a blog is to be judged by the things its commenters say, shouldn't a blog also be judged by its refusal to allow comments?

I am not scared of opposing view points (even when expressed by dolts such as yourself) so I find a blog which forbids comments to be infinitely more offensive than one which allows people to express their honest opinions, regardless of how unpopular those opinions might be.

Quietzapple said...

C i F not only has insane frothing extreme right wingers but a fair few lefties who just resent that screaming "Bliar" isn't enough to offend anyone much any more. And then the mods are self selection, with the obvious consequences:

http://quietzapple-musing.blogspot.com/2009/07/guardian-censorship-continues.html

I understand the Dully Tele pays its call centre moderators, and the rest, and that the head honcho takes a particular interest in banning lefties who tire of being abused by . . . we-e-e-ell . . less than brainy people who can work out the initials for whatever they themselves fear being called.

One of the bloggers, who writes for the Scotsman insists on calling the President of the USA "Pantywaiste" . . . sets the tone.

For well informed and decent opinion based on occasional facts try:

http://quietzapple-musing.blogspot.com/ for the lowdown on Totnes.

Bill Quango MP said...

Chris Paul.
Isn't that the point that Newmania was making?

You cannot judge a blog by the comments as you do not know where from or why those comments are made.
Your comments are always Labour biased, naturally.
Should that mean the Mr Dale agrees with your view, because you post here?

Quietzapple said...

Oh, and re ConsHome I was mystified by the Raving Rulas inactivity on this:

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2009/06/44-of-voters-want-cameron-to-lead-the-country-and-just-22-want-brown.html#comment-6a00d83451b31c69e201157171579c970b

Dunno why they are so uninterested in http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/table/2009/jun/09/european-elections-elections-2009 which shows the strength of UKIP in Devon, where Totles is.

Judge blogs from what they leave out and blog about those yourself.

Thatsnews said...

Hugh Muir! Are we to judge him by his own frothy blather... and... Oh... OK... Fair enough.

DespairingLiberal said...

This is simply not true James - on this blog, I clearly have the greatest influence. This can easily be checked by looking at the total number of inflammatory cross-postings whenever I say something vaguely normal, humane, or what in normal society would be termed "intelligent". The result is always a sort of deranged, rampant, drooling Hogarthian madness which I am quite sure the Rotten Borough campaigns would not have been surprised at.

I am only left to marvel - where on earth (or below it) do these troglodytic Hard Core Tories exist when they are not almost having a hernia pounding the keyboards into the Dale/Fawkes/ConHome gladiatorial combat zones?

It must be some other world as yet undiscovered by astronomers.

I must watch Sky at Night more closely. Perhaps we will come across them.

Banksy said...

If you moderate, then yes, as you take a decision what to let through and what not.

If you don't, and it's a free-for-all, then no.

mike hunt said...

despairing liberal said.
This can easily be checked by looking at the total number of inflammatory cross-postings whenever I say something vaguely normal, humane, or what in normal society would be termed "intelligent".
...........................

Got a bit of a high opinion of yourself there dont you think ?
you actually come across as a complete twat to be honest.

DespairingLiberal said...

mike hunt - are you subconconciously copying Sweary Dave? Will the "twat" word now become compulsory for all Tories??

It's all so wierd these days. At one time the Tory Party was at least a bastion of solid, middle class citizens, well behaved (when not at Party Conference), upright, law abiding people. They would never have dreamt of using such a word in public.

The Party has moved so far downmarket and into the gutter that presumably it can only get better from now on in.

Mike, will you be working with Coulson on his next Sweary Dave radio opportunity? How about having him say c***? Then you will really show how tough you all are!!

Uncle Bob said...

Despairing Liberal, would you consider that post of yours at 7.44 pm intelligent? I can't say that I can recall too many neo-nazi posts on the comments here, for one Iain wouldn't let them through moderation and also most of the regular commenters here would deride them quicker than you can say fascist.

Your fifth point on most of our views on europe. The UK is an increasingly eurosceptic country. If you added the people who vote Tory and UKIP also the eurosceptic minorities of Labour and the libdems you would have a healthy majority who are not happy with the present level of EU interference in the nation and certainly want no further.

And your point abou the low opinion of Labour on this site. What did you expect? According to opinion polls three quarters of the country prefer other parties and parties like the tories and ukip who represent a right of centre viewpoint are in the ascendency.

mike hunt said...

I think despairing liberals criteria for being a neo nazi is just about anyone who disagrees with his dreary opinions uncle bob.

Uncle Bob said...

I'll just order my jackboots then, Mike. :(

DespairingLiberal said...

Uncle - what a strange view you have of Iain's moderation. Very many of the anon comments (and some not anon) are in a neo-Nazi strain - for example, claiming that the Nazis were socialists is classic holocaust revisionism. Iain appears quite happily to let all this stuff through, but censors out material critical of Margaret Thatcher or other Tory politicians.

I think this is one reason why so many extreme-Right people feel comfortably gathering here.

Another might be the official Tory European policy, which is now to ally with parties led by anti-semites.

Iain Dale said...

DL, of course you have absolutely no evidence for me censoring anything critical of Margaret Thatcher or other Conservatives. Have I ever censored anything you have posted? No. Believe me I have been tempted on occasion.

DespairingLiberal said...

Yes, to be fair Iain, you do seem to allow extreme comments through from all quarters on the whole - it's just I can distinctly remember posting adverse remarks about La Thatch only to have them "overlooked" by you. Oh well. C'est la guerre!

I am beginning to feel a little bored though around here. It doesn't seem quite as Barking and Dagenham as it was a while back. Perhaps there has been an outbreak of sensibilism.

On that front, I have to admit that I admired the recent Tory Primary in Totnes. For once, your Party are making more headway on the democratic front. I have written to Nick Clegg urging him to do the same.

Mike hunt said...

despairing liberal said.
I am beginning to feel a little bored though around here.

It happens to even the most self important people or so i'm told dreary.

twattery. definition/the study of liberal democrats.

Dave J. said...

Iain, I think your commenters are an almost uniquely horrible lot. I wouldn't be caught dead commenting here: a more wretched hive of scum and villainy you will never find. ;-)