Thursday, 26 September 2013

Disabling comments

The comments feature for this blog will now be disabled. I have been thinking about this for some considerable time, and discussing it with other bloggers. Rorate Caeli have recently made the same decision and, as far as I know, the uber-blogger Rocco Palmo of Whispers in the Loggia has never had comments.

Rorate receives far more comments than I do, and I fully appreciate the difficulty that there must be in moderating all of them. In my case, there is much less work involved (although it is one more social media interaction that does at times require some effort and some borderline decisions.) My main reason is to marshal my time more efficiently by removing one social media chore. My primary duties as a pastor and teacher mean that I do have to ration my use of social media.

In making this decision, I would like to record my thanks to the many commenters who have over the years made kind and supportive comments, as well as those who have provided interesting and helpful links. I don't receive many abusive comments - I have always deleted such comments and never refer to them except on very exceptional occasions. (This is an effective strategy to deprive dysfunctional attention-seekers of "the oxygen of publicity" if you will excuse me using a phrase of Margaret Thatcher.)

If you have an interesting link or further information regarding a post, please do feel free to email me ( or to put something on Twitter. I find Twitter useful and would like to free up a little more time (only a little) to use it. On Twitter, I am @FatherTF.

Twitter provides an alternative way for people to interact with blogs and make comments without the blog author having to take responsibility for their being published. However many disclaimers you make, the relatively recent phenomenon of tiresome self-appointed internet policemen adds a layer of annoyance to the combox business. Twitter does something to return responsibility to the commenter as well as limiting the audience for pedants and obsessives to those who follow them - and it is simple to block people who are a nuisance.

Apologies to anyone who is unhappy with this decision. It is certainly not a criticism of the vast majority of my commenters - though I have noticed that several former regulars do now use Twitter as an alternative. Let us also remember that the use of social media is evolving all the time. My instinct is that comment boxes are likely to be superseded by other ways of interacting. We must be prepared to "think outside the box" (aaagh!)
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