This site exists to entertain, inform and provoke discussion. Comments are not moderated. Some people think this means they have an absolute right to get all their comments published no matter what sort of abuse, stupidity or irrelevance those comments might contain, but they’re wrong. All comments remain on the site strictly at the discretion of the administrators. If a comment is considered inappropriate for any reason, it will be removed, and there will be no further discussion about it.
There is no such thing as an absolute right to free speech, either on this site or elsewhere. The site is paid for and operated privately and neither I nor any other admin, have an obligation to publish anything.
Declining to publish a comment is not censorship.
Censorship is where I try to stop you expressing your views in your own way. You can set up a blog or print a newsletter or stand on a box and shout out whatever you want to. That’s your business. You can stop people in the street and tell them, what you think. I won’t interfere.
Personal attacks on other commenters or on contributors are not acceptable. I don’t mind how strongly anyone challenges my opinions, the opinions of other contributors, or those of other readers , but I will not stand for personal abuse. I wouldn’t put up with somebody shouting into my face and I won’t tolerate it here. Robust argument is welcome, but anyone who forgets their manners, and directs personal abuse at me, or at other commenters, will be banned.
Trolling is unacceptable. Anyone commenting in order to start a fight or to disrupt discussion of a topic will be banned without further explanation.
In common with most other sites, there will be no discussion of site policy in the general comments. If anyone has an objection to the way this site is managed, they have the option of sending a direct email.
Libellous comments will be taken down immediately. Any prejudicial comments about a current court case will be taken down. Any comments advocating commission of a crime will be removed. Racist comments will be deleted.
If somebody deliberately writes comments under more than one name, it may be due to inexperience, ignorance of the etiquette or downright trolling. This will be assessed and if it becomes clear that multiple names are being used to to disrupt discussion, the commenter will be banned.
Anonymous comments are not accepted.
Text-speak is not permitted, and exceptionally bad grammar or spelling might also be considered sufficient reason to delete a comment.
People sometimes decide that these guidelines are not for them, and that’s fine. Nobody is forcing them to comment here.
One final thing. Comments on this site don’t necessarily reflect my views, or the views of any other contributors.