söndag 22 mars 2009

I give up on the Guardian

Yet again I have had a post removed from the Guardian's Comment is Free site because it was allegedly off topic. The thread was about the Equal Pay Act and wage reform. I was astonished. The comment was off topic to the extent that I pointed out that women's problems with employment were part of the more general issue whereby nearly everyone has been having trouble earning a livelihood in Britain for the past 250 years. That is hardly off-topic.

"Off topic" applied to nearly all of the torrent of 478 furious comments, including mine, that Gordon Brown's article published at midnight had elicited by after 18 hours, when the Guardian closed the article to further comments. If anyone had gone through them and deleted the ones that were off-topic by this narrow definition there would have been few remaining, and the Guardian would have made a lot of posters even angrier.

The moderators also complained saying that, "On a separate point, your links to http://www.landvaluetax.org are becoming tantamount to spam. Please refrain from advertising this website in nearly every post... It us our policy to remove comments when posters routinely link to web pages that do not specifically address the subject of the article on which the comments appear."

The Land Value Taxation Campaign website has been linked in this way in about 25% of the past 30 posts I have made. Hundreds of readers follow that link, so they obviously consider it of interest. Since these relate to articles on tax avoidance and employment issues, such a link could not be more directly relevant to the original subject, but since the Guardian's moderators consider it so I shall refrain from participating in CiF at all.

Another LVT supporter, a poster called "radicalchange" is also no longer commenting. Since these things are normally drawn to the attention of the moderators by another reader or readers, presumably somebody does not like what is being said.

What a pity it is that the authors of the Guardian's articles, with the exception of Mark Braund, who also seems to have disappeared off the radar, have failed to pick up on the points raised in articles on the website.

It is my overall impression of CiF that the quality of the comments is generally higher than that of the original articles being commented on by the journalists - especially the newspaper's old war-horses - paid by the Guardian! There are dozens of contributors who are regularly generating perceptive and well turned pieces. This does not show the Guardian in a good light as they so often put the authors of the original articles to shame.

Taken together with the nonsense of the removal of the Creed a couple of weeks ago, discussed here, I have concluded that the Guardian's blog pages are not worth bothering with. If they get rid of enough commentators, all they will be left with is the rabid anti-Christian legion and a rump of Guardianistas who say the right things.

I hasten to add that this is not the case at the moment but if enough people stop bothering with their site and the poor quality of the articles is not addressed, that is what will happen. Since the advertising is sold on the basis of the amount of traffic generated, in the end this will hit the newspaper where it hurts.

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