Comments Policy


I don’t generally do rules. However, if I have one, it is this: when you are here, do not insult your host or other commenters. If you visit someone’s home and insult them, do not be surprised if they ask you to leave.

Before anyone complains about free speech, be aware that free speech does not apply on private property – we abide by the rules of our host. If you come here and disagree with what I have to say, then you are welcome. I relish informed debate and you may change my mind in the process. If, however, you wish to use this as a platform to insult me, then don’t be too surprised if I remove that platform pretty sharply.

I came across rather a good analogy over on the comments section of a similar discussion on Samizdata:

The way I put it on our blog, is that the comments section is like our front porch. It faces the street. You may drop in and join the conversation. But you are on our property and if you cannot respect the basic rules of civility you will be asked to leave or if necessary compelled to leave. There is speech which invites a conversation or at least a response in kind, and there is “speech” which is nothing more than vandalism. We harm rather than help the cause of free speech if we pretend the latter should be given the same respect as the former.

I’m sorry to have to write this policy – but, I guess, there is always one person who spoils things for everyone.

If you think that sniping at me is clever, you think wrong. The comment will disappear and you will be banned from commenting in future. If you think that you have the authority to instruct me to shut up, you are misinformed. Your comment will be deleted and you will be banned.


I operate a zero tolerance policy when it comes to trolls. At the first hint of such behaviour, the offending comment will be deleted and the perpetrator banned from making further comment. I will not engage with attempts to troll me further and will not enter into any discussion. There is no right of appeal.

In order to minimise comment SPAM all posts with more than 5 days of inactivity are automatically moderated. Don’t worry about this; genuine comments will be approved when I log on. After 14 days, comments are closed as comment and trackback spammers like to hit old entries in the naive hope that they can get in under the radar. You have to smile at the stupidity of such bottom feeders…

My policy, therefore, is this:

  • No spamming
  • No libellous – or potentially libellous comments
  • Be polite; both to me, your host, and other commenters
  • If you indulge in logical fallacies, I will simply point them out to you. I do not defend strawmen – I have better things to do with my time than waste it trying to reason with idiots who cannot construct a sensible argument.
  • No anonymous comments. Please make something up and use that. You don’t have to leave your real name, but trying to hold a discussion with several people using the term “anonymous” gets confusing.
  • My decision on deletions and bans is final – there is no right of appeal.
  • No impersonators of other bloggers/commenters attempting a bit of social engineering.
  • No trolling