Comments and Writer’s Block

Thursday, 28th April 2011 at 15:45 UTC 1 comment

In the 4 years I’ve been writing this blog, its largely been unnecessary to remove comments that weren’t spam. I’m pretty loathe to remove a comment that isn’t an attempt to market a product, as my inner-Liberal gets easily offended by such censorship. Unfortunately, and after almost a year of vaguely considering it, I’ve had to take the decision to bar someone from posting comments.

Although there are a plethora of reasons I haven’t written anything on this blog lately, the likelihood of an abusive response from one particular commenter has been a huge mental barrier to getting anything written. Given just one person is having this effect, it seems distinctly unfair, not least because people tell me they won’t comment because they don’t want to get drawn into a bitter row.

The nature of the blog as a place for open discussion are oft discussed with varying responses. Generally the more personal the nature of the blog, the more acceptable a tight set of rules for commenting become. Is the blog meant to inform people with similar views and interests or people completely new to the ideas contained? Some have even questioned the usefulness of comment forms on blogs full stop – particularly when they are hosted by the sole author and therefore a monologue from the outset.

Then there is the nature of blogging itself: certain people like the term narcissistic as a catch all term for practice, as if the whole thing is a vanity exercise. For myself, blogging is useful as a way of venting frustration and explaining my personal take on whatever takes my fancy on a given day. I set myself few rules other than the 700-word limit (or is it 800, I can’t remember!).

Regardless of the vain nature of the practice, its my blog, and I own this space, much as I’m happy to share it for the most part. And to some extent, I need to make sure that those I share it with aren’t threatened by the actions of others. But it would also be silly to focus exclusively on what other people want – many of  whom have their own blogs. Becoming a prisoner in one’s own home simply to allow everyone to have their own say.

If a blog has a therapeutic side (surely not a problem) its stupid to end up feeling intimated so that every time one thinks “I should write about that” the next thought is “but then there’ll be a sniping comment”. On at least one occaision the wonders of social media meant a link had appeared on my facebook wall (not just news feed) denouncing the position I was about to take before I’d even published the post I was writing.

Then there’s the simple act of admitting something is getting the better of oneself. The British tend to assume silence is the most dignified response to any adversity. Despite being common amongst the British, its  a rare trait amongst people of the world, and I shall probably address the issue of dignity through visibility and invisibility in a future post.

I want to get back to blogging. I want to use this space as the dumping ground it was meant to be back when it was given the title. It would be nice to have some decent discussions along the way, but the idea that every post will be a perfectly rounded piece of opinion journalism is neither realistic, nor any worth to me, short of my finding a way to get paid for this blog.

Its been good to get this off my chest, especially as I’ve sat on making an announcement for several days after implementing the block (there hasn’t been anything to comment on in the meantime).

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Entry filed under: Personal.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Helen  |  Thursday, 28th April 2011 at 16:30 UTC

    Banning someone is always a tricky issue. One can argue for free speech, but if a person is not engaging honestly with the issue at hand, or is intentionally being disruptive or rude, then chances are, they’re hindering other people from having a meaningful discussion. Don’t feel guilty about occasionally using the ban hammer, if people don’t like it they can blog about it elsewhere. It’s a free country after all 🙂

    Reply

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