Note about BTL comments on Scot Goes Pop

First of all, I’ve changed the settings so that logging into a Google account is no longer needed to attempt to post a commment.  That layer of protection began to seem superfluous given that I have pre-moderation switched on anyway – although obviously if my inbox ends up being completely swamped with garbage, I may have to switch back.

The second issue is thornier and requires a bit of background explanation.  A few weeks ago, an individual who previously was a regular commenter on this blog made potentially defamatory allegations about me in the comments section of Wee Ginger Dug.  As a matter of courtesy, I let Paul Kavanagh know that the accusations were serious enough that I really had no option left but to reply to them publicly.  However, Paul strongly urged me not to do that, because he felt it would add fuel to the fire, and said that he and his moderation team would deal with the matter instead.  So I agreed not to write a public post on the understanding that the original allegations would be deleted.  It’s important to stress that I didn’t ask for any deletion – my own intention had been to post a reply, but Paul and his moderators preferred a different resolution, and I agreed to that.
Since then, I gather that the individual in question has been asked not to make any comments about me at all, and that this request has been enforced.  Again, this is not something I asked for – it’s entirely at the initiative of Paul and his moderators.  However, in the intervening period, the commenter ‘Independence for Scotland’ has repeatedly criticised Paul in the comments section of this blog.  Paul emailed me a couple of days ago to point out that I am being protected by the moderation team on Wee Ginger Dug, and to ask me to speak to ‘Independence for Scotland’ about dialling his own attacks down.  That’s something I can only do in a public post like this, because the Blogger platform does not provide me with contact details for commenters.
Paul also made the point that when ‘Independence for Scotland’ attacks a certain commenter on Wee Ginger Dug, it simply winds up the individual in question and creates problems for the moderators on that site.  This is a tricky one, because I can’t really allow my own moderation policy to be determined by the decisions of moderators on another blog.  It’s also worth making the point that, even if criticisms of me on WGD are deleted, they often remain up for several hours or longer, which essentially means that any damage is already done.  I’m not going to ask Independence for Scotland to refrain from criticising someone who subjected me to an extraordinary campaign of harassment for several weeks in the late spring and early summer.  Some of the points being made are actually fully justified – the individual is indeed a Walter Mitty-style fantasist, a malicious troublemaker, and a thoroughly unprincipled propagandist.  It’s no bad thing if people wake up to that.
However, as far as the petty and persistent criticisms of Paul Kavanagh himself are concerned, those are unwarranted and unhelpful and I would much prefer them to stop.  I’m not issuing an edict, but I’m just asking people to voluntarily show some restraint.