A few weeks ago when we culled the so-called race realists (neo-fascist racists) that were camping in Samizdata.net’s comment section, it became clear to me that if you let ill mannered loud mouths use your venue to try and shout down discourse and endlessly turn unrelated topics to their pet thesis, all you do is attract more ill mannered loud mouths who will do the same.
Everyone has their techy days in the comment section but when a person makes a habit of being obnoxious and immune to rational argument, I see no reason to indulge them or tolerate them. This is not a forum and this is not a chat room, it is a blog, which is quite different. Many blogs do not even have comment sections.
When you open your house to visitors, you do not give up the right to kick people out if they start insulting other guests and spray painting their opinions on the wall. Of course some people would say, “Oh but that is censorship if you stop them”. Er, no, it is just maintaining control over what is and is not acceptable on your private property… but of course some people, the sort that I am now far quicker to ban, do not actually believe in private property (not when you pin them down), and often cannot see that censorship by the state of private media channels and editorial control over a private media channel (such as a blog, for example) are materially different things. But then to someone who thinks all interaction should be political (the usual term used is ‘democratic’ these days), such distinctions make little difference to them. I am not referring here to specific people but rather the general class from which our ‘problem commenters’ tend to spring.
Some cannot see that they are not being ‘censored’ because of whatever their views are, any more than a man who gets on a table in a restaurant, drops his draws and starts calling for the darkies to be thrown out of Britain or for the middle class to have their homes confiscated is being ‘censored’ when he gets thrown out by a bouncer for being an jackass.
If I have any regrets it is that I have been too indulgent of endlessly poorly argued and often off topic drivel posted by a small minority of serial commenters in the past. I have no objection to vocal dissent from the ‘Samizdata.net world view’ (whatever that is), I just object to a constant stream of unsupported contentions delivered by megaphone that makes no attempt to actually engage in discourse. We have lots of dissenters who comment here regularly that I would not dream of banning.
So yes, there is a new hard line. Trolls and blogroaches will not be indulged and will be ejected rather swifter in future.