Since I started this blog I’ve become fascinated by the comments left by those who read it. They range from the exotic to the extreme and from the ludicrous to the laughable. Until now I have chosen not to moderate any of the comments on Da Steeps Speaks, including several that have been nothing other than personal attacks upon me, but having received an especially poisonous one from an equally tedious individual, I may well have to reconsider.
Each morning I read several newspapers online and am always sure to look at their reader comments. The Daily Mail’s are always especially enjoyable and the fact that they are moderated illustrates not just how wacky those who interact are but also that the moderators are just as bizarre in terms of what they allow to be published.
A Daily Mail piece on Rochdale, "The recession hit-town where McDonald's has even left," attracts some pretty exotic musings
An article on Prince Andrew this morning sparked comments of “he’s too fat” and one predictably termed him “an absolute sponger.” In the same edition, a piece about Jeremy Clarkson calling for strikers to be shot attracted 813 comment. Many called for him to be elected Prime Minister but Lou of St Alban’s received the worst rating for her comment that described him as “childish” and lacking in “taste and decency.” Other objectors attacked him as the “best pal of the union basher Murdoch” and an “oaf” who should be sacked. Mike of Barnes summed up my thoughts on many reader comments when he stated: “You couldn’t make it up.”
The Daily Telegraph is much more relaxed about moderating reader comments. Though those who wish to make a point do have to log in through the Disqus system, comments are only removed after any report that they are offensive is deemed true by the Telegraph’s own team. Readers are also encouraged to interact with other users and frankly this seems like a much better system.
"Team Heather" go into overdrive following a piece about Heather Mills putting her Sussex home up for rent in October
My own blog piece about Heather Mills attracted 41 comments (http://dasteepsspeaks.blogspot.com/2011/10/hurricane-heather.html) that were mostly in support of the former wife of the former Beatle. They included descriptions of her as a “heroine” and “mentor” and a demand of an apology for my “meanness” to her. Heather’s detractors, equally, went into overdrive and suggested that at least Paul McCartney had replaced her “with a hotter version,” that she “is more annoying” than Piers Morgan and that she’d make a “dream team” running a charity with Kate McCann. One even offered the former glamour model 50p to perform a sexual act.
Another piece about allegations that Lord Lucan was murdered by Arnold Schwarzenegger (http://dasteepsspeaks.blogspot.com/2011/08/theyre-all-dead-and-they-wont-be-back.html) attracted conspiracy theories aplenty. One linked to a story about him being alive and well in New Zealand. Another argued that he “rode off into the sunset on Shergar the racehorse and is now hiding out in a cave with Elvis, Osama Bin Laden, Hitler, Marilyn Munro and Michael Jackson.” Those responding to this piece plainly were as fanciful in their beliefs as is Giovanni Di Stefano, the publisher of the original allegations.
Allowing readers to comment on pieces is certainly democratic but they do also result in cranks and oddjobs going into overdrive. My own rabid detractor achieved little through the badly spelt drivel he attempted to leave on an article about Levi Roots (http://dasteepsspeaks.blogspot.com/2011/11/rooted-in-lies.html) as for once I’ve decided to moderate and won’t be publishing.
A prize for the most amusing comment will be awarded. Leave yours below.