I’ve been exchanging e-mails with the community editor of Community Care (he blogs at Mad World) for much of the morning, and he reached a decision that is, I think, the right one, even though it doesn’t sit comfortably with me. While they were happy (well, fairly happy) to leave attacks on the magazine staff and the general social work profession up, and just about tolerated links to a BNP member’s site, comments in which the commenters made accusations (some of them very serious) about each other just seemed beyond the pale. And, as Simeon pointed out in his closing comments, they were well off topic.
But I’m never going to be completely happy, on principle, with the idea of killing a conversation.
Ah, well. The positive side of the experience is that a blog which barely received any comments at all pior to the “Daily Mail incident” is now seeing multiple comments on all the recent posts. I’m not quite clear on why this should be the case, as it’s not always the same people who were commenting on the problem post. My best guess is that it’s a combination of two factors: the greater attention drawn to the blog, thanks to the debate, and the sight of others leaving comments giving the lurkers “permission” to de-lurk and start commenting.
It’ll be very interesting to see if the comment volume holds up over the next few weeks.