There is a scene in one of my favourite odd ball movies – The Three Amigos – where the German bad guy blows away a half dozen people because one of them makes a comment. His response “anyone else with a comment?” sticks in my mind.
As you know I turned off the commenting feature on the blog a few weeks ago. Now, I will explain my rationale.
I had hoped the blog would have been a venue for debate and dialogue and, in truth, there have been a few folks who post thoughtful and time consuming posts here.
I was talking with someone yesterday who lamented that the problem – in his view – with social media is that it exacerbates the long tradition of only those with a gripe speaking up. In the old days, newspapers would get 20 letters angrily protesting an issue for every one supporting it. Now that has morphed to the Internet.
I see this trend a bit myself – maybe not pervasive. I gave up reading comments made about me on other sites – such as my columns or when I am quoted in articles because some people are downright nasty.
But fundamentally that was not why I stopped allowing comments here. I stopped allow comments here to stop being harassed. For long time readers, you will know about this but there is a small group of people that send me extremely offensive blog comments – one guy is really bad – and I cannot turn them off. Every time I try to tweak my system here, they find a way through. It is annoying and grinding to get these comments on my Blackberry on a daily basis. This has been going on for more than four years.
Since I turned off commenting, I have not received a single nasty commentary in my inbox. Not one. It is the longest period in four years where I have not been subjected to this kind of malicious language at least a couple of times a week. The cowards that write this drivel don’t want to send me emails directly because they are traceable.
It has been refreshing. Very refreshing. It’s hard to be swore at, called names, belittled and faced with racism and bigotry on a daily basis. There are very disturbed people out there and I can’t find any other way to turn them off. If you think I am thin skinned you try it sometime. It’s not fun.
So, someday I may turn commenting back on. Otherwise you can certainly tweet your comments or send me emails directly.