Browse > Home / Uncategorized / Why are Lib Dem politicians not accepting comments?

| Subcribe via RSS



Why are Lib Dem politicians not accepting comments?

August 5th, 2009 Posted in Uncategorized by

commentsMany blogging Lib Dem officials (councillors, peers et cetera) do not allow comments to be posted on their blogs.

Examples of this regularly pop up on the LD Blog Aggregator. Nader Fekri of the Keighleigh Lib Dems; Councillor Fraser Macpherson’s Dundee West End blog; the south London councillors at Oval News, and so on.

In the latter’s case, I seem to recall that they used to accept comments but have now blocked them following a change of policy.

In some of these cases blog postings often comprise of local news, including decisions the councillors make that affect the local area. Switching off the comments facility thus deprives readers (local or otherwise) from offering open, public comment on the decisions through an increasingly used medium (the internet).

In other cases, the blogs are more polemic, such as the case with the Belsize Lib Dems blog which has transformed into a blog for “the Eco Councillor” Alexis Rowell. The blog mainly promotes governmental policies on localising production (particularly food) within the context of the councillor’s views on climate change and his efforts to levy these policies within Camden Council. Again, one would assume that such opinions and their implementation in local government would benefit from the oxygen of online debate.

I first noticed this trend when responding to a post by Lord Eric Avebury, discovering that only “Team Members” could comment on his blog. It’s not clear exactly what this means, but several other blogs have similar barriers to posting – requiring, for example, anyone who wishes to comment to register their details with the website.

Perhaps indicatively, this is true of the Association of Lib Dem Councillors’ blog, which requires registration and thus appears to include no feedback comments whatsoever.

Of course many LD councillors (and MPs) have open blogs with comment sections (Bridget Fox, Chris Davies and Peter Black spring to mind), but the above examples are a significant chunk of those that appear on the LD Blogs aggregator.

The policy on comments is entirely up to the owner of every blog; I’m sure there are specific reasons why certain blogs impose restrictions, and one is not suggesting that blogs should have to accept comments. However, it is noticeable that so many officials’ blogs restrict comments, while most of the blogs run by independent activists are open and involve significantly more debate.

Furthermore, I recall once posting a comment on a councillor’s blog which never appeared. It was, I assumed, selectively blocked so as to stifle criticism. Along with the blocked comments on Ros Scott’s blog prior to its disappearance, this doesn’t provide a particularly encouraging feel from our party’s representatives. Surely a more open blogging culture would be beneficial for us all.

23 Responses to “Why are Lib Dem politicians not accepting comments?”

  1. Jock Says:

    I did take Nader to task a little about that, because I had wanted to respond to his stuff against private education mainly and also his comment about Jeremy Clarkson a few days ago, and he said that his (ward?) colleague was trying to work out how to make it work properly in the software and would be up soon he hoped. His does look like an odd sort of a blog – everything is on the same page regardless of what URL you actually pont to. Don’t know why he diddn’t make use of “mycouncillor.org” or similar though.


  2. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    Yeah this is something I’ve picked up on Julian particularly in regards to my local PPC
    http://www.alicehumphreys.com/

    Not only does she refuse to talk to me (Yep ML your not alone) but she just plainly refuses to debate with anybody. Instance being her YouTube channel where she has disabled comments & video responses.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/greavesnick


  3. Ziggy Encaoua Says:

    Oh 7 I’d add what’s worse is that if you say a word against herthen she tries to get you expelled from the party.


  4. Rob Parsons Says:

    I’ve always believed in the open comments policy, but as I’ve just been accused of being a Nazi in a comment on my latest post, I’m wincing a bit.


  5. Geoffrey Payne Says:

    There are some blogs that require you to log in before you can even see it.
    One that springs to mind is Liberal Polemic…


  6. Julian H Says:

    Geoffrey, I think Liberal Polemic is closed / suspended which is why that message comes up.


  7. Jock Says:

    Indeed, I think Tom probably hasn’t used it since before being elected a councillor.

    But in case Geoffrey is missing his brilliant posts, he does post occasionally at the Adam Smith Institute blog, where you can leave comments, something I daresay not usually on Geoffrey’s daily reading list!


  8. Cllr Rob Banks Says:

    Julian

    Oval News does accept comments, but they have to be approved by a moderator first.

    Plenty of other blogsites offer unmoderated debate and discussion. The purpose of our blogsite is more to offer a helpful source of information rather than a discussion site (though moderated comments are fine)

    Cllr Rob Banks
    Oval Ward


  9. Julian Harris Says:

    Thanks for the comment Rob, but unless there’s a browser issue I can’t see how to post comments on the blog – http://www.oval-news.org – unless one is supposed to e-mail comments in, and then somehow expect them to be published. Apologies if I’m missing something.


  10. Mark L Says:

    Had a quick word with Rob RE Oval News, comments were formerly available but the settings had been changed – Rob wasn’t aware of this, and has now re-activated comments.

    As a personal observation on this topic – in this area there perhaps needs to be more debate is how blog owners should manage comments – people who leave comments often *expect* a response from the blog owner, particularly if they have been critical, but is engaging with individual commenters a valuable use of time? Will it win more votes than traditional campaigning? Or is responding to critical posts going to be fruitless, particularly in the case of obvious trolls?

    (For the record, no, I don’t admin any LD blogs)


  11. Julian H Says:

    Ah, thanks for the clarification Mark.

    On one of your latter points I agree – a strange consequence of blog culture has been the expectation that post authors should respond to all comments. There is, of course, nothing wrong with publishing one’s thoughts and simply leaving the article to speak for itself.


  12. Neil Craig Says:

    I can say as a matter of certainty that the overwhelming majority of “Liberal Democrat” bloggers censor any comment which mentions inconvenient facts or brings up human rights issues on which the party’s record is dodgy.


  13. Liberal Vision » Blog Archive » Could the increasing popularity of harm reduction products impact cigarette consumption? Says:

    […] Logical Step” , Soviet Style Alcohol Suppression Campaign Called for By Public Health Activists , Alcohol Taxation: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth , A Liberal Tolerant nation? , What hope is there for liberty if truth becomes the plaything of […]


  14. Liberal Vision » Blog Archive » Could the increasing popularity of harm reduction products impact cigarette consumption? Says:

    […] Logical Step” , Soviet Style Alcohol Suppression Campaign Called for By Public Health Activists , Alcohol Taxation: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth , A Liberal Tolerant nation? ,  What hope is there for liberty if truth becomes the plaything of […]


  15. Liberal Vision » Blog Archive » Epidemiology – Splitting the atom with a breadknife? Says:

    […] Logical Step” , Soviet Style Alcohol Suppression Campaign Called for By Public Health Activists , Alcohol Taxation: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth , A Liberal Tolerant nation? ,  What hope is there for liberty if truth becomes the plaything of […]


  16. Liberal Vision » Blog Archive » Lies, damn lies, statistics & meta-analysis – their contribution to the weak case for minimum pricing Says:

    […] Logical Step” , Soviet Style Alcohol Suppression Campaign Called for By Public Health Activists , Alcohol Taxation: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth , A Liberal Tolerant nation? ,  What hope is there for liberty if truth becomes the plaything of […]


  17. Liberal Vision » Blog Archive » Minimum Pricing– autocratic, badly researched, regressive & unchallenged by liberals. Says:

    […] Logical Step” , Soviet Style Alcohol Suppression Campaign Called for By Public Health Activists , Alcohol Taxation: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth , A Liberal Tolerant nation? ,  What hope is there for liberty if truth becomes the plaything of […]


  18. Liberal Vision » Blog Archive » Minimum pricing – policy based evidence Says:

    […] Logical Step” , Soviet Style Alcohol Suppression Campaign Called for By Public Health Activists , Alcohol Taxation: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth ,  Lies, damn lies, statistics […]


  19. Liberal Vision » Blog Archive » The Department of Health is watching you! Says:

    […] Logical Step” , Soviet Style Alcohol Suppression Campaign Called for By Public Health Activists , Alcohol Taxation: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth ,  Lies, damn lies, statistics &… (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = […]


  20. Liberal Vision » Blog Archive » Smoking ban health miracles Says:

    […] Logical Step” , Soviet Style Alcohol Suppression Campaign Called for By Public Health Activists , Alcohol Taxation: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth ,  Lies, damn lies, statistics &… , The Department of Health is Watching You! , New bounty […]


  21. Liberal Vision » Blog Archive » Public health ideologues don’t come cheap Says:

    […] Logical Step” , Soviet Style Alcohol Suppression Campaign Called for By Public Health Activists , Alcohol Taxation: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth ,  Lies, damn lies, statistics &… , The Department of Health is Watching You! , New bounty […]


  22. Liberal Vision » Blog Archive » Plain Packs – This week’s non-story Says:

    […] Logical Step” , Soviet Style Alcohol Suppression Campaign Called for By Public Health Activists , Alcohol Taxation: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth ,  Lies, damn lies, statistics &… , The Department of Health is Watching You! , New bounty […]


  23. Liberal Vision » Blog Archive » CRUK – Plain packs collateral damage? Says:

    […] Logical Step” , Soviet Style Alcohol Suppression Campaign Called for By Public Health Activists , Alcohol Taxation: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth ,  Lies, damn lies, statistics &… , The Department of Health is Watching You! , New bounty […]