I've just read the most incredible thread on LabourList about comments at Guido's website in his latest caption competition. I will add links later as I'm writing this post on a phone and then emailing it, but if you have a chance its worth looking at.
Basically there are demands for Iain Dale and ConservativeHome to remove their links to Guido as some of the comments made in the caption competition were 'racist'. I put that in quotes because some of the examples were not, in my view racist, whilst others were.
However the whole point of online discussions, be they via bulletin boards, IRC or blog comments is surely free debate, so I don't understand why they should be removed. Challenge them at source instead.
Strangely, the demands for link removal by Labourlist has not included the mainstream medias linkage to Guido, perhaps that is being demanded privately, who knows.
It's rather sad though that such fear of ideas and thoughts, however odious one might find them, actually exists at all. Rather than tackling the problem with argument, the scream of 'racist' goes up and the words are closed down.
It's almost as if there is this view that racism or any other prejudice can only be dealt with through speech prohibition. That is more wrong than the arguments being prohibited surely? It essentially states 'we are in charge of what you are allowed to think and say'.
With that said I thought I would clarify my comment policy once more. If you wish to be racist in the comments here. If you wish to mock the disabled or the terminally sick then you are free to do so. Likewise anyone that might be offended by your comments is free to bitchslap you verbally in response. That is what debate and being adult is all about.
If a comment of these sorts is made and I don't respond to it with outrage it does not mean I condone or support the comment. Evidence that I have not taken a contrary view is not evidence that I do not hold a contrary view. It is simply evidence that I'm lazy sometimes, or I have a life and better things to do.
It's worth noting that if you start demanding I take a view on something - either in the comments or by posting on another blog - that will be the quickest way to ensure that I don't. I'm quite stubborn you see and if you order me to take a view on something I will deliberately avoid doing so just to annoy you even more.
If you link to kiddie porn, warez or torrents of copyright protected content then you'll be deleted. If I think a comment is potentially libelous then it may get deleted. Apart from that you can say what you want.
UPDATE: Something which I missed this morning is the way Guido's caption competition choice this week is being touted as having been deliberately chosen to garner racist jokes.
On the contrary, it was chosen because the kid is holding a up green blob to Gordon's nose that looks like a bogey and we all know about Gordon and his nosepicking habits. Still, never worth letting the truth get in the way of a "OMFG look at the racists!" type Interweb hysteria.