On Comments and Parasitism

Comments have been switched off for individuals who have a parasitic relationship to this site. I have lots of patience but this is not infinite. I rarely ban people, I don’t want to, I want this site to be full of people I disagree with and a broad and deep variety of views.

I hope this improves the quality of free-flowing debate on here. This was in response to a flood of complaints and an attempt to call on this figure to temper and moderate their input without response.

Comments (14)

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  1. MacGilleRuadh says:

    Can you elaborate?

  2. John Wood says:

    Please clarify. What is a ‘parasitic relationship to this site’ ? I do understand that difficult people can pop up anywhere, but I feel uncomfortable about this. Unfortunately flooding sites with complaints about someone is a recognised ‘cancellation’ technique to silence people. It’s called ‘piling in’. I have been subjected to such tactics myself in the past (elsewhere). I would hope any such move is only as a last resort and that the complaints were justified.

    1. SteveH says:


      Free speech means having the right to be heard, and to be offended.

      If you cancel someone because their views make you uncomfortable means you can never test your opinions.

      Cancelling people means you end up with an echo chamber.

      1. Dougie Strang says:

        I’d imagine Mike has blocked the guy who only ever uses numbers as a name.

        He relentlessly comments on every single article; his comments are uniformly negative and antagonistic; and I suspect the sheer volume of his negativity deters others from engaging in any real discussion. I don’t think it’s actually good for him, whoever he is, and I’d guess he’s either pursuing a deliberately destructive agenda, ie trolling, or is not in a particularly healthy state.

        I’ve been witness to this on other websites and journals, all of whom have faced a choice of either seeing the comments degenerate into a slanging match between a couple of unyielding voices, or else taking action to block. I think it’s the right choice.

        1. Dougie is correct. Its the equivalent of sitting around the table at a bar and interrupting every single person around the table to correct them and explain at length why they are wrong. Tedious in real life, tedious online. I had too many complaints to ignore and people threatening to leave.

          1. Bob Goupillot says:

            I support this move. If people can’t learn to debate fruitfully then it spoils it for everyone else.
            There have to be limits and boundaries.

          2. There does and I avoid banning people if at all possible but some people don’t seem to have any self-control or ability to see how their actions impact on the wider group

          3. Dearbhail Ward says:

            If what Numbers Person says in his comment on “You Are Not Literature” is true, he’s Seamus Cashman, Irish poet.

            “Back in 2013, I broke the habit of a lifetime and accepted an invitation to read at the Mamilla International Poetry Festival in Ramallah.”

  3. Dougie Blackwood says:

    I normally enjoy reading Bella Caledonia and that includes the variety of comments that follow. Clearly some of these comments are from someone with unacceptable views and sometimes two writers decend into interminable tit for tat.

    I usually ignore the unacceptable, sometimes respond once, or turn off notifications when I get fed up with the tit for tat.

  4. Stewart Bremner says:

    I’ve been aware for a good long while of some voices who only ever seem to complain and attack here. Debate is one thing, but this was not that. Closing down such voices is an unfortunate necessity sometimes.

  5. Niemand says:

    It’ll be date man I suspect. Some people have a real problem with him. Not me.

  6. Graeme Purves says:

    ‘Good call. ‘Excellent news!

  7. Paddy Farrington says:

    Might an alternative be to ration responders who overstep the mark? To n responses per day/week/article where n is some small number? There could also be a length limit. Though perhaps this would not be possible to implement.

    1. Difficult to implement, but worth considering. There might be a technical way to do this but I suppose what you are trying to cultivate is a space for debate that is full of difference and critical without being toxic.

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