I got my first ever abusive comment today – hurray! Oddly, it wasn’t on a post about Israel and Palestine, or America’s place in the world, or even abortion; it was a post about nightclub bouncers. Who are still scum, although I’m happy to make clear that I don’t actually believe they deserve to be shot.
This brought me onto thinking about censorship on blog comments sections. I’m well aware that blog proprietors are legally obliged to censor things that are illegal (indeed, I’m grateful for one blogger for editing my comment posted on their blog about a lying crook who I didn’t then know to also be litigious, willing to perjure himself, and to have already won libel cases through a combination of the latter two traits), and that comment spammers should probably be flayed alive.
However, censoring anything that fails to meet these criteria makes you look like a bit of a muppet. In some cases, this revelation adds nothing new to the stock of publicly available knowledge. It’s harder to explain why people who are thoroughly worthy of respect do the same…
Flame wars are either fun or boring. Long flame wars hosted on your comments section are always entertaining, especially if you don’t have to take part; and when flame wars are boring, they’re easy to ignore (don’t click any comment box which claims to have over 30 comments, for example).
If you’re being verbally abused by someone who you believe is less intelligent than you, then this is also amusing (I mean online; in the real world it teeters on the boundary between amusement and potentially getting-your-head-kicked-in); if you’re being verbally abused by someone who you believe is more intelligent than you, then you should consider rethinking your position…
Either way, life without flame wars would be much less fun. We’d miss out on classic comedy gold such as this:
Kieron is a typical liberal in that he/she has to bolster his arguments with attempts to put down anyone who doesn’t agree with him/her […] Unable to refute with facts, volume and ad hominem attacks became their only recourse.
(sadly, the source blog doesn’t permalink comments – scroll down quite a long way).