Comments Policy

One interesting quirk of the new Liberal Conspiracy site (at least, for me) is the comments policy.

We believe in free speech but not your right to abuse our space.

In the past few years, I have scrolled through countless online debates about the nature of free-speech versus reasoned debate. I have read innumberable criticisms of Blogistan as a place of visceral name-calling. I think the policy arrived at reads like a conclusion, or at least, a summing up, of all those online debates. To one who is new to online discourse, it might seem surprising. But I am sure that those who have been part of the blog hive mind for a while, would have found themselves nodding, knowingly. Its unapologetic, and pre-emptive tone seems to be very much “of” its time, and the Internet.

3 Replies to “Comments Policy”

  1. It seems to me merely a codification of the comment policy we had at The Sharpener – basically, come and have a frank but civil debate or else sod off to one of the many, many zoos where the opposite is tolerated.

  2. Very true. Elsewhere the policy mentions the right-of-reply on one’s own blog. Nay, encourages it, if I recall correctly.
    Are you thinking of the Tim Ireland/Alisher Usmanov incident?

  3. Quite.
    But perhaps it is worth speaking the two unspoken codicils:

    “We believe in free speech but not your right to abuse our space.
    Codicil 1: Conversely, we believe that neither we nor anyone else should be allowed to interfere with a third party to prevent them from publishing your thoughts, however unpleasant or wrong-headed they may be.
    Codicil 2: If we misrepresent you, our failure to publish your rebuttal or otherwise to give you the right of reply leaves us open to sound mockery and we expect to be roundly denounced for it”.

    Free speech is a liberty, not a claim right: you can’t force others to give you a platform, but you shouldn’t stop others from doing if they choose to do so.

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