Comments policy

Blog policy

Some years ago I regretfully decided to disable comments on this blog because as its readership grew I began to get high volumes of automated advertising bots and also a lot of aggressive and unpleasant comments – almost (although not quite) all from Brexit supporters. There are many forums in which they can and do make such comments: this isn’t one of them.

I have had some reaction to this policy, accusing me of not being prepared to debate. However, with rare exceptions, I haven’t found those posting such comments to show any genuine interest in debate as opposed to endless re-assertions of things which have, almost invariably, been discredited over and over again. Moreover, I don’t offer a free research service for those who, years on, haven’t bothered even to use google to provide themselves with basic facts, presumably because they don’t want to.

For debate to occur, there has to be some basic commitment to rational argument and reliable evidence. In any case, far too many of them use debate as a cover for insults, abuse and in some cases threats. I’m not prepared to host such comments - or to spend hours moderating them.

Some who have criticised this policy also say that I should welcome the chance to persuade them to change their minds. But that is not my purpose, even if those saying such things were, indeed, genuinely open to persuasion, which I haven’t found to be the case.

There are some downsides to this policy, of course. It means that I don’t have the benefit of well-informed comments that would undoubtedly improve my own understanding of the issues involved in Brexit. There is certainly scope for that since no one – and certainly not me – can claim to have anything like a comprehensive understanding of the many, massively complex, issues associated with Brexit. But, again, there are many other sources and forums where I and others can improve our knowledge.

Twitter policy

For ongoing links to a wide variety of news items and analyses of Brexit, please follow me on Twitter @chrisgreybrexit. I tweet exclusively on Brexit with the focus on reputable sources and well-informed commentators.

Again, on Twitter, I avoid (with occasional lapses, which I usually regret) extensive debate. Partly that is because the issues involved are usually just too complex for tweets. I do try to answer specific, direct questions posed to me asking for clarifications of things I have written, although I will almost never reply to comments from people who do not use their real name. But, as with the blog comments, I have rarely found any purpose in debating with Brexiters on Twitter. Generally I find that if I make one response, it opens up an endless chain of ‘correspondence’ that goes round in circles of spurious logic and bogus ‘facts’. In general, the most vociferous and indefatigable ‘correspondents’ are the least well-informed and the least open to reason.

In some ways, I think we have all had too much debate about Brexit. The main issues should now be obvious to those who want to understand them. For those who don’t want to, no amount of debate will make any difference. My purpose, whether on this blog or on Twitter, is simply to provide high quality information and analysis of developing events for those who may be interested in it.

Finally ….

For those who as a result of not being able to comment here seek out my email address to send abusive messages, my policy is to delete the message and block the sender. You will never receive a reply, and you certainly don’t further your cause. Messages containing actual threats are not deleted, and are reported to the police.

Happily, I receive far more messages of support and praise for this blog, for which many and heartfelt thanks. It is a considerable labour to write – and do the underlying reading for – this blog and so I greatly appreciate all those who choose to read it and/or to follow me on Twitter. I’m sorry that my comments policy prevents what would for me and others be undoubtedly interesting and useful conversations. But I hope that precisely those people for whom this would be true will also be those most likely to appreciate the toxicity and sheer, grinding ignorance of so much of what passes for debate about Brexit and, hence, the reasons for my policy.

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