This blog (6) – your comments

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A blog without comments looks like it isn’t read or doesn’t interest the world. Over the last decade this blog has received just under 76,000 comments on its over 8,000 blog posts – in round numbers that’s around 20 comments a day and getting on for 10 comments per post.

I’ve read every single one of them as I chose that this blog’s comments would be moderated ie each comment had to be approved by me. That’s so that abusive or slanderous comments can be rejected or edited. I’ve acted as a gatekeeper for comments, so I really have read all of those 76,000 comments. And there have only been a very small number, somewhere between two and four handfuls in all that time, that I have simply rejected on the grounds of taste. Rather more, but still a very small proportion, a few score perhaps, have been edited and I’ve made it clear that they have been edited by me and why. No comment has been rejected on the grounds that I don’t agree with it – there are plenty of published comments on this blog with which I haven’t agreed but they’ve all been published.

It feels to me that this blog has generated its own community of commenters and they have been an incredibly important part of the success of this blog. Your comments have encouraged and corrected me over the years, and they have also been a major source of interest to others. I am grateful to everyone (I can’t tell you how many in all, and I’m certainly not going back through 76,000 comments to find out!) who has ever commented here. And particularly to those regular commenters, some of whom have stayed with this blog through the last decade. Thank you.

It’s a bit of a shame that the comments on this blog mostly come from grumpy old men, but not terribly surprising since this blog is written by a grumpy ageing man and all readers’ surveys I’ve carried out show that the readers of this blog, whilst diverse overall, might be characterised as left-leaning men aged over 55 who voted Remain, oppose driven grouse shooting, support rewilding and think climate change is a pretty big issue. I’m particularly grateful to those commenters here who fall outside of those categories for their comments.

Some people have landed up on this blog looking for an argument – they’ve usually been aggressively pro-shooting. I responded robustly to many of them (takes time) but the response from the community of readers of this blog has been a strongly moderating force here too.

Moderating your comments has taken, on average, over half an hour a day (every day for a decade). Comments can arrive at all times of the day or night and if people are going to comment then they want to see their pearls of wisdom shining on the blog as soon as possible. And if comments are going to turn into conversations they must appear fairly quickly. This means that I have spent a decade having a quick look to see whether any comments have arrived, and then reading them and approving them, and sometimes replying. I have processed your comments at airports, pubs, restaurants, racecourses, hotels and in toilets and on trains, and, I reckon, in over a dozen countries. Without a mobile phone and network connnection (trains – grrr!) this would have been impossible. It’s a lot easier to moderate comments while sitting at a PC but who wants to sit at a PC all day?

It would be a slippery slope for me to thank any particular commenters by name because there are so many of you but I do thank you all.

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