Poor little snowflake

In the decade since, the tenor of those comments became so personalised and abusive that the ship often drowned before making it to shore – the moderators would simply shut the thread down. When it first started happening, I took it as a personal failure – perhaps I had not struck the right tone or not sufficiently hedged all my points, provoking readers into thinking I was being dishonest or incendiary. In time, it dawned on me that my writing was the same. It was the commenters who had changed. It was becoming harder to discuss almost anything without a virtual snarl in response. And it was becoming harder to do so if one were not white or male.

As a result, the Guardian overhauled its policy and decided that it would not open comment threads on pieces that were certain to derail. The moderators had a duty of care to the writers, some of whom struggled with the abuse, and a duty of care to new writers who might succumb to a chilling effect if they knew that to embark on a journalism career nowadays comes inevitably with no protection from online thuggery.

Sure there are the letters in green ink. Always have been.

But it came as a hell of a shock to those opinion and comment writers to find out that eh Great Unwashed not only didn’t agree with their pearls of wisdom they had cogent reasons for not doing so. As Factchecking Pollyanna once noted, Polly managed 8 errors of fact in one opening sentence once.

20 odd years later we’re seeing the shutting down of that response mechanism again. It’s simply far too much of a shock to the egos of those doing the writing. After all, who wants to design a new world and then tell everyone how it’s going to be if some prole can just mention facts against it?

37 thoughts on “Poor little snowflake”

  1. People who write political screeds in newspapers aren’t journalists.

    “I demand the write to hector the population without response!”

  2. Nesrine Malik is a British Sudanese columnist and features writer for the GUARDIAN. She was born in Sudan and grew up in Kenya, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. She received her undergraduate education at the American University in Cairo and University of Khartoum, and her post graduate education at the University of London

    Diversity: the eternal gratitude.

  3. As a result, the Guardian overhauled its policy and decided that it would not open comment threads on pieces that were certain to derail.

    Translation – when the article is demonstrable bullshit and the great unwashed will rip it to shreds with reasoned argument, facts and logic.

  4. So, automatically, one goes to the article to see if comments on it are permitted. Which they aren’t. Yep.Snowflake!

  5. And it was becoming harder to do so if one were not white or male

    Bullishit. But it is easier to claim victimhood if you’re black or a woman and not take responsibility for your specious crap.

    The Graun censors most on behalf of its stupidest and shriekiest scribblers.

  6. Conservative Home has brutally pruned its site of remainers .John Redwood frequently refuses to post comments that undermine his position the Telegraph shut down comments altogether.
    Mind you the Guardian is a bit hair trigger they shut me out because in response to an accusation I was quoiting some disreputable right wing source I replied that I was quoting well know Nazi Jonathan Freidland whose article it was and who is a well know Jewish Liberal Remainer.
    I was and it may have been elephantine irony but irony nonetheless . I guess the sheer proximity of the word Nazi and the writer tripped some panic button – a bit harsh though.

    Generally speaking I approve of rules .Rules are liberating, anarchy is a prison a mob rubbish is not democracy its just a mob

  7. Ah, Newmania…

    Conservative Home has brutally pruned its site of remainers.

    Absolute bullshit. Despite the overwhelming majority of Conservative activists supporting Leave, ConHome is plagued with Remain trolls making sneery shitposts every hour of the day at the indulgence of the management.

    John Redwood frequently refuses to post comments that undermine his position

    Actually, he frequently publishes your windy nonsense and you’ve never thanked him for the courtesy. But he’s just one man, and a busy MP, who personally reads and approves the many hundreds of messages his blog receives every day. So you can’t blame him if he’s tired of your Euromaniacal bad faith TL;DRery

    the Telegraph shut down comments altogether.

    The Torygraph is gay.

  8. “People who write political screeds in newspapers aren’t journalists.”

    The error is in your belief of what journalists are.

    50 years of this stuff and people still think there is nobility in journalism.

  9. “As a result, the Guardian overhauled its policy and decided that it would not open comment threads on pieces that were certain to derail.”

    The Guardian stopped opening comments on most articles early in 2016. This coincided with a huge surge of comments critical of the paper’s silence on the German “groping jihad”; the tardiness in reporting Pakistani rape gangs in the UK; and the paper’s hypocrisy in attacking offshore tax dodges when they were themselves benefitting from one.

    Some writers were protected from comments earlier than this, of course. Anything by feminist lunatic Jessica Valenti was deemed sacrosanct from about 2015. And, of course, moderators simply removed many perfectly innocuous comments that pointed out flaws in the article, and commentators who argued with this disappeared.

    Poignantly, the Guardian even tried to coach it’s commentators in the art of making acceptable comments, awarding “Guardian pick” status, and once provided exemplar comments to encourage the others.

  10. Although to be fair, articles under the ‘Men’ section in the Telegraph include such gems as
    “6 ways to boost your sex life this Autumn” and
    “Can a conscious dating coach help me find love in mid life?”
    Clearly the hot topics of the day.

  11. ConHome is plagued with Remain trolls making sneery shitposts every hour of the day at the indulgence of the management.

    I think you mean people who support what has been Conservative Policy for my entire adult life prior to the referendum and what in general terms might best be termed ” Conservative” as an approach to trade, business escalating ethnic aggression and Europe-wide Fascism

  12. Dross who–despite having had a democratic vote which their BlueLabour shite leader agreed–as did all the rest–to abide by-appear only to sneer . You Facepainting scum.

    The only place for debate with trash like you is on a battlefield. That way the matter is settled for good.

  13. The telegraph is probably the most balanced newspaper website on Brexit. It routinely has both Remainer and Leaver opinion pieces. While it obviously leans towards Leave it still publishes a lot of pro Remain writers, several of whom are regulars.

    Compared with the Guardian, Independent etc where it’s a cold day in hell when any pro Leave article is published.

  14. Steve – you do not know, do you, what he does not publish

    Newmania – I can only imagine the epic one-handed-typing screeds of yours Sir John has decided not to publish on his blog

    I’ve seen things, you people wouldn’t believe, hmm … Bob Geldof making “wanker” gestures off the shoulder of the Thames … I’ve watched Rory Stewart’s teeth glitter in the dark near Methodist Central Hall … All those moments, will be lost in time… like tears in rain

  15. The Guardian does a hell of a lot of begging these days.

    Not only its repeated and tiresome entreaties for donations or paid support and affiliation but a good proportion of its opinion pieces and columnists’ articles would not exist if not for begging the question and other logical fallacies.

    About time the Post Office removed its registration as a newspaper. It’s not the only culprit here of course

  16. “In time, it dawned on me that my writing was the same. It was the commenters who had changed.”

    They were mad as hell, and not going to put up with it any more.

  17. Nesrine Malik is a British Sudanese columnist and features writer for the GUARDIAN. She was born in Sudan and grew up in Kenya, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. She received her undergraduate education at the American University in Cairo and University of Khartoum, and her post graduate education at the University of London

    =======
    In what possible sense is she British?
    She’s Sudanese presently residing (presumably) in Britain.

  18. Another annoying habit in The Guardian was that when there was a particularly error-strewn rant against their traditional whipping boys they would close comments abruptly and early. Anyone doing a considered fisk of the nonsense or anyone who had spent a few minutes researching a reply suddenly found that they had been wasting their time.

  19. Maybe she has infested our fine island for long enough to get a UK passport. Takes what? 5 years?

    I’ve been in China 12 years. Would never be considered Chinese by anyone, however right-on they are… and rightly so.

  20. “In time, it dawned on me that my writing was the same. It was the commenters who had changed.”

    Of course the columnists have changed Was a time you could find reasoned arguments in the Graun. Now most of them are based around abusing either individuals they don’t like or whole sections of the community don’t share their views. Is it surprising this attracts an angry response?

  21. Bloke in North Dorset

    The Guardian does a hell of a lot of begging these days.

    To the extent that I follow links to the Guardian they are all articles that are trying to persuade me to at least have sympathy if not become a supporter of whatever cause du jour they are pushing. They should be paying me for giving them the time of day.

    I occasionally make donations to organisations or individuals that provide me with interesting information or education, but I’ve yet to read a Guardian argument that falls in to that category.

    I am sympathetic to the idea that real journalism and on the ground reporting does cost money, but more and more those have an ideological slant or are completely wrong. I turned on R4 Today last week for the first time in a while. In the first 10 minutes I was informed breathlessly and without challenge that climate change causes earthquakes and then that President Trump’s tariffs on consumer goods from China had just come in to force, when they were delayed until December because of the Christmas problem.

  22. BiND,

    “I am sympathetic to the idea that real journalism and on the ground reporting does cost money, but more and more those have an ideological slant or are completely wrong.”

    This is largely because of a generation that followed Watergate that are sure that Woodward and Bernstein brought down Nixon, and god knows how many other movies from the 70s and 80s about crusading journalists (Bob Woodward corrects this).

    And the problem for a lot of “real journalism” is that most of it depended on sources and a lot of those sources just post stuff on their Facebook/Twitter now. You see a post about a newsworthy video and it has dozens of replies from TV companies asking for permission to use. They arrive with a news crew at a burnt out warehouse, while the guy down the road filmed it on his iPhone. He wins.

    The only other thing is analysis, but experts win there. Experts just have this deep knowledge in their heads. Like why read an “economics correspondent” when you can read Tyler Cowen’s blog? And if you’re an economist, you don’t want to talk to these people because they’ll get it all wrong.

  23. DJ,

    How much news is seeping across the border from Hong Kong?

    Not in the China Daily or CCTV, but word of mouth, friends, traders? Any impact on the mainland beyond the carefully-curated party line?

  24. @JuliaM

    Shouldn’t that be – They were mad as he’ll, and they weren’t going to take it any more!

    Ah, pendantry…

  25. BiG,

    Not much it seems. People in my office are aware of it but don’t seem to pay much attention. It was going on for weeks before they even realized and only because some of us expats raised it. It’s hard to gauge what the office staff think because they all take care what to say around foreigners; especially as we are their bosses in the company. I had to tell one expat subordinate to shut his mouth when he started going off on one about it because I could see it was making our Chinese staff very uncomfortable.

    From what I’ve gathered elsewhere most seem to think the protesters are in the wrong and are being encouraged by “the CIA”. They see China as one country embodied by the CCP and have always thought it a bit off that HK gets special treatment. But it doesn’t seem to be that big a deal for the locals.

    The Chinese all know that their government keeps information from them but I feel they’re ashamed to admit it. I try to avoid politics completely with them.

  26. Newmania

    “…for my entire adult life…”

    Curiously, I didn’t have you down as an adult. I can’t think why.

  27. Witchie – I’m hoping Newmania enjoys a long and happy life in Brexit Britain

    Rhoda – His greatest role, and he absolutely nailed it with his changes to the script, which was originally dorky SF wank (PKD’s original novel was far more interesting than the movie, tho Roy Batty had zero pathos in DADOES)

  28. Sudanese British – one Brit parent? C.f. Alex Albon, ‘Thai British’ – in his case for understandable marketing reasons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *