This is essentially a free speech forum. I enjoy much of the banter which goes on between commenters, particularly the dedicated band of people who post on a daily basis. There is an important distinction between my writing, and the comments section. The proportion of readers who leave comments is well under 1%. I cannot know what percentage of the readers read comments, but I suspect it is not terribly high.
In social media I find establishment hacks – particularly journalists and Labour Party functionaries – dismiss my thoughts by referring to the comments section. “Craig Murray – have you seen the tinfoil hats comments on his blog!” being a genuine and very typical example. Well, if people wish to damn me by association with the views of other people, that is sadly an example of the low intellectual standards of the British nomenklatura of our time. The only views on here which are mine are those which I write.
I cherish the diversity of the comment threads and am fond of our little community, most of whom I have never met. I do not value people by the standard of how close their views are to my own. I am sometimes saddened by the personal animosities which arise between people.
We state some rules from time to time. This is the current set, which I just made up:
No racism. Any comment which is racist will simple be deleted immediately. The biggest problem we face is anti-Jewish comment, which I will not tolerate. We are not in the business of stigmatising anti-Zionism as anti-Jewish, but there are quite frequently distinctly anti-Jewish comments. I deleted one just an hour ago.
Similarly, no holocaust denial. I do not believe it should be illegal (I am against thought crime) but I do not wish to have it on my blog as those associated with it often have very unpleasant sympathies. That is not to say the subject of the holocaust can never be mentioned – it will never be possible to ascertain the precise number who were killed, and it is important we remember not only the Jews but the Poles, gypsies, gays, freemasons and numerous others who suffered. But the basic facts are not in doubt. It is surprising how often people attempt to insinuate holocaust denial.
Sockpuppetry. It is in practice impossible to outlaw sockpuppetry without a formal registration system, which I do not want. But the adoption of multiple identities within the same thread is not to be allowed, nor the creation of identities of which the purpose is to ridicule, attack or insult another contributor.
Fair Play. Play the ball, not the man. Address arguments, not people. Do not impugn the motives of others, including me. No taunting.
Attempts to keep people on topic are hopeless, but do try.
We don’t discuss 9/11. There are plenty of places on the web where you can do that. It tends to take over threads.
Contributions which are primarily just a link to somewhere else will be deleted. You can post links, but give us the benefit of your thoughts upon them.
Enforcing these rules is necessarily arbitrary and needs judgement calls. Moderators are precluded from explaining decisions online. If you want to complain use the contact button.
We have, and have had, excellent moderators over many years. But almost all have found it not only time consuming but also surprisingly emotionally draining. If you are interested in volunteering and are willing for me to know both your real and online identity, please get in tough using the contact button.