13 May 2005

Anonymous posts and the challenge of integrity

As some of you will notice, I have removed the public comments section from this blog.

When I started the Bond Papers in January 2005, I set it up so that people could make comments in the hope that there could be an informed and frank exchange of views on some of the things posted here. The idea of this blog is to be provocative and to ground the comments as much as possible in fact.

The Papers didn't attract much comment in public although I do get regular e-mails from people seeking additional information or challenging some of my comments. Fair enough. The result has been very useful for me and hopefully led to a greater understand of the point I was trying to make. Certainly some of my correspondents clarified the other perspectives on issues and helped me to appreciate those points of view more than I may have.

The odd comment that did appear during the offshore fracas was invariable anonymous and at times merely focused on trivial side issues rather than substantive ones.

In the past couple of days yet another anonymous poster using the name "Biddy" has taken to filling up the comments page with little more than partisan talking points. Curiously, the posts appear at the times when a parliamentary IP address is accessing the blog. I am drawing a logical conclusion that "Biddy" is a CPC staffer since I happen to know the other member of parliament staffer who checks my blog from time to time. He doesn't post things here.

I have no problem with a well-constructed partisan argument. What I do find offensive is that the individual chooses to hide behind some pseudonym. This approach betrays a fundamental lack of respect for me and the other readers of this blog such that I refuse to tolerate it. Were that not enough, since the individual lacks any obvious sense of humour there really isn't much point is hosting the comments anyway.

For the time being, I will withdraw the comments section and save bandwidth as a result. If people using it can't display some integrity or display some common courtesy by properly identifying themselves, then I do not feel obliged to give them a platform.

Anyone who wants to berate me or engaged me in further discussion can feel free to send me an e-mail.