A Question for my Readers

First, a couple of news items caught my eye. The first from Chris Snowdon (my emphases added):

Meanwhile, Californians have done what Californians always do and taken the lunacy a step further. The University of California, San Francisco has not only banned smoking across its entire grounds and student digs, but also banned students and staff from carrying any form of tobacco. Taking the paternalism to absurd lengths, it has also banned people from using and carrying e-cigarettes—a battery-powered, tobacco-free nicotine delivery system with no known health risks.

And via Dick Puddlecote (my emphases added):

In New York, a bill is pending in the legislature’s transportation committee that would ban the use of mobile phones, iPods or other electronic devices while crossing streets — runners and other exercisers included. Legislation pending in Oregon would restrict bicyclists from using mobile phones and music players, and a Virginia bill would keep such riders from using a “hand-held communication device.”

These appear to me to be entirely new manifestations of insanity that push the envelope of social control yet further.

Even a cigarette (or anything that looks like a cigarette) in your own pocket is impermissible. Where does it end? Soon it will be impermissible to have all sorts of other things in your pockets – such as bars of chocolate or anything else these mad people don’t approve of.

As for the ipod ban for runners and cyclists, this marks the moment when the banners have turned on their own kind – i.e. “healthy” people like joggers and cyclists, rather than us “unhealthy” smokers and drinkers and tubbies. And if even listening to music has become a health and safety threat, then I really can’t see what’s to stop car stereos being banned, or even in-car conversations being banned too.

Aside from that, I’m getting the strong impression that many of my readers are a lot less tolerant of trolls than I am.

I suppose that I’m simply naturally inclined to have an open debate about all matters of importance. Over the two or three years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve allowed comments that are critical of smokers, and critical of me. So I’d prefer to leave the blog open to comments by anybody.

But, on the other hand, in the matter of smoking I’ve more or less arrived at the conclusion that there’s nothing left to debate. There never has been any sort of real debate anyway. Antismokers aren’t interested in what smokers think, and take great pains to ensure that they never get heard (or seen). Antismokers only talk to other antismokers, and ignore smokers. And increasingly smokers only talk to other smokers. And once dialogue has ended, there exists a de facto state of war, in which each is trying to silence the other. I want, for example, antismoking hate groups like ASH to simply be closed down. And in this matter I am not interested in the opinions of antismokers such as Deborah Arnott. In war, after all, one does not fraternise with the enemy.

So I’m in two minds. On the one hand I am strongly in favour of the most open and wide-ranging debate about absolutely everything and anything. But on the other hand I seem to have to recognise that, in some matters at least, debate is no longer possible (and perhaps never was possible).

The options open to me appear to be:

  1. Leave the blog as it is, open to everyone, deleting only the most intolerable comments.
  2. Require commenters to log in (as I was doing over Christmas, with several complaints).
  3. Require commenters to have their first comments held for moderation, and subsequent ones posted immediately.
  4. Hold all comments for moderation.

Since it’s primarily my readers and commenters that I’m thinking about here, I’ve added a poll. Perhaps some of you may wish to express your opinions.

About Frank Davis

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46 Responses to A Question for my Readers

  1. Curmudgeon says:

    I’m not averse to having to log in as such, but the problems with the logging-in options that you had were:
    (a) you couldn’t use a Blogger account, which is probably the most used, and
    (b) even though I have a WordPress account which I use to comment on some other blogs that require a WordPress login, that wouldn’t work on yours

  2. Barry says:

    I have an idea I’ve been toying with recently, a form of action. It’s simple enough, the only problem would be spreading the word (as always). Smokers are not inclined to merge together and form strong ranks, or donate huge sums of money to combat the nanny state; we pay enough in dumb taxes already.

    If there’s enough networking out there, my suggestion would be we choose a day – maybe even National Smoke-Out Day – and that’s when we hit back, and hit hard.

    It’ll be akin to Ghandi’s “Day of Prayer”, a method that got him attention and got people worried. Let’s call it National Choke-Out Day, and on that day, smokers across the globe can take a simple form of action: don’t buy anything.

    Don’t buy bus tickets. Don’t use petrol, cycle to work if you can. Buy nothing, no cigarettes, soda pop, beer, milk – no newspapers, magazines. Stay out of the shops. No pay-for-play activities, sports, gambling, etc. No cinema, no movie rentals. No shopping, no new clothes, nothing.

    Seal the wallets and pocketbooks entirely on that day. Report for work, but buy nothing during break, no candy, snacks etc. No restaurants, fast-food etc. Buy no lottery that week. No long distance calls, or any calls if possible. Make a bogus hotel resevation two weeks in advance, and cancel it on that day. Buy nothing on ebay, or online. Tell the boss you can’t work overtime, put out some extra rubbish, fill up the container.

    Spread the word. National Choke-Out Day, and it doesn’t matter what nation. 1 billion smokers in the world, and none of them buy anything on that day. Make it 3 weeks before Christmas maybe.

    Join up others who are against the nanny state, encourage them to participate. Some of us can even start early, no purchasing the day before or after; Get the message around, on blogs and radio-spots, make announcements, interviews – how’s Nanny going to respond, with a boycott-day of her own?

    Bar owners across the world have taken a beating – let other merchants feel the pinch, the crunch, the bite – smokers were suppose to go away, well they didn’t; we’ll convince them of that.

    Getting people to donate to our cause is hard, if not hopeless; telling them they simply don’t have to do anything like spend money for a day is much much easier.

    Awaiting criticisms, comments and praise. Thank you.

  3. smokingscot says:

    Troll can access several computers so any poll results will be compromised.

    Sucked and Saw log in. Suck & See comments for moderation.

  4. Twenty_Rothmans says:

    Frank,

    I am a committed smoker. I also do other things frowned upon by the Righteous. I love drinking. I love avoiding tax. I love looking at naked women and making love to them. I love driving at high speed. There are other things. too many to enumerate here. Alas, I don’t do all of these simultaneously these days :-)

    Let the Righteous come. Let’s have a rigorous debate. In their cotton-wool, State -controlled world, they feel safe, cocooned, warm and mothered. The bullied little worms can do their worst. Internet hard men you’ll never see at your pub can safely be dismissed without moderation.

    Mollycoddled, pussy-whipped control freaks who’d had their glasses thumbed at school by the likes of me give us a little frisson, like burning ants with a magnifying glass in summer. Expose these invertebrate cretins for what they are.

    If we moderate, we are only following their agenda.

  5. I voted for option 2, although you don’t have to limit yourself to only the most intolerable comments. It’s your gaff so you can delete what you want.
    I delete anything that is an insult to myself or others. Disagreement is fine but childish name calling with nothing offered to the debate is not, in my opinion.

  6. O/T Frank, yer man Proctor has a new book out. Check out the last para!

    • Frank Davis says:

      This one?

      “Ultimately, if people want a smoke, that’s their personal choice and Proctor says he has no problem with it. But try growing your own tobacco, like he does.”

      Proctor grows his own? I don’t believe it.

      • Rose says:

        “But try growing your own tobacco, like he does”

        How very interesting.
        Mind you I’d like to see the sentence that preceeds that and the one that follows, if you know what I mean.

        It is an ideal solution and I was thinking that if we ever managed to get anti-tobacco off our backs, then the tobacco companies should be next in line. They have been sickeningly complicit in every stupid and dangerous idea that anti-tobacco could persuade politicians to accept over the years, right up to the present day with FSC.
        http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3192

        “Today’s cigarettes are deadlier even than those made 60 years ago, gram for gram.”
        http://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/december/tobacco-industry-proctor-121211.html

        Umm, I don’t know about deadlier, but after all the meddling that’s been required of the tobacco companies and the adjustments made to compensate, like additives, so they still have some kind of product to sell, its difficult to disagree.

  7. dickiedoubleday says:

    its no surprise to me frank that some of your readers do complain about pro smoking ban comments, it is without doubt an unwelcome truth that dosent fit in with a closed clique of cult like members who are at the extreme end of public opinion and are comparable to anti smoking evil sub human smokerphobics at the other end of the debate.

    my position is more middle ground where smoking ban is needed and welcome but is without doubt very unfair too- now that truth and a perfectly reasonably held view would fit very comfortably with non smokers and smokers alike and is probably the box most would tick if there was a national poll on the matter.

    perhaps your readers should accept moderate views can be posted on blogs that are not extreme smokerphobics in disguise that need to be banned and deleted.

    my friends are smokers, i sit in smoke shelters to be with them, i used to smoke but i havent any time for the good old days of smokers smoking in restuarants and pubs where fog and sometimes an unbearable atmosphere were the norm.

    why not have a tolerant open blog , i read quite happily some quite incredible well…..shite (harley water bit) in this thread without throwing a tantrum….its easy honest.

    • Fredrik Eich says:

      dickiedoubleday.
      I hope you enjoyed your smoke-free dining last night. Was more smoke-free than the smoke-free restaurants that you went to before the smoking ban or about the same level of smoke-free as the smoke-free restaurants that you went to before the ban. Out of interest, was it one of the smoke-free restaurants that you went to before the smoking ban or is it one that is now subsidised by smokers, such as a former pub for example?

  8. mister_choos says:

    why not have a tolerant open blog , i read quite happily some quite incredible well…..shite (harley water bit) in this thread without throwing a tantrum….its easy honest.

    why not have a tolerant open PUB , i drink quite happily some quite incredible well…..shite (barley water bit) in this thread without throwing a tantrum….its easy honest.
    What is wrong with being able to choose between a pub that allows or doesn’t allow smoking?

  9. dickiedoubleday says:

    just to add…i won’t bother to vote but a change for moderation or registration will be a much needed permanent feature on this blog if it happens again, i have allowed you frank a change to an open blog that others will not get again.

    • Gary K. says:

      “i have allowed you frank”

      Dickie-Poo,
      You are a pompass twit and your statements prove such!!!
      If you think that Harley is posting falsehoods; perhaps, you would care to back your claims with proofs????

      • dickiedoubleday says:

        yeah my proof is that the list of things attached to my name are 100% complete lies and water has not killed me and shouldnt be outlawed.

        its extreme shite like that in response to simple moderate views which gets replicated on other blogs and shows why lobbying has been a complete failure., smokerloonies give smokers a bad name.

        @fred…i never went there before the ban, and i can’t remember actually going to a smoke free restuarant either…..i have been sat on the next chair outside of a smoking dining area before though….i remember that.

      • Dickie the water will kill you comparison was a direct smack at the lunacy and insanity of second hand smoke claims………….Im glad you agree!

  10. Fredrik Eich says:

    Frank, I voted to allow unmoderated coments, I like trolls and sock puppets, I find it entertaining.

  11. Fredrik Eich says:

    “@fred…i never went there before the ban, and i can’t remember actually going to a smoke free restuarant either…..i have been sat on the next chair outside of a smoking dining area before though….i remember that.”
    dickiedoubleday
    Smokefree restaurants were all over the place before the ban, I know this because I could avoid them then. It’s a shame that you did not use them. When the smoking ban is repealed I think these places will have to do more to advertise their smoke-free status.

  12. Reinhold says:

    Though it is less comfortable also for me, I voted for the third option because I’ve seen many a (German) forum die of antismoker troll infection (… usually after the forum owner defended his attitude that he’d actually prefer the open debate for quite a while – sorry for that, Frank).
    Trolls have not the slightest interest in a debate. They want to disrupt and destroy, nothing more and nothing less.

    On the other hand I don’t think it is necessary even now. One troll or perhaps two aren’t that disturbing yet and can be allowed for those who like to play with them.

  13. dickiedoubleday says:

    I am allowing an open forum at the moment with no disruption….that is my choice not franks, at the moment i am happy to allow things to stay as they are.

    choose your words carefully frank and remember any changes will be permanent.

  14. Just how much more insane is it going to get before common sence returns;

    To date in california they passed a statelaw to ban smoking in rental properties/leases!
    This is the way they are comming into our homes.

    Next they are pushing and have enacted laws against outdoor smoking in parks, on sidewalks,on beaches,on patio decks that bars and restaraunts spent thousands of dollars to build to keep from losing their smoking customers. Even parade routes on the sidewalks have been banned from smokers at the fiesta bowl parade this year. Smokers are being fired from work for simply smoking and denied access to employment just because they smoke or use a tobacco product. Some radical advocates even want smoking around children labelled as child abuse with jail time as a mandantory punishment.

    The extremism by tobacco control advocates knows no bounds and its this kind of thinking that has led to even more draconian actions against other groups of people namely the obese. Then we have them going after alcohol. I can name the groups behind these radical agendas,just know that when you make a donation to the ACS,AHA,ALA and others your donating to people who will lobby for laws against you in the long run.

    The dangers to world freedom are real,the use of criminal law against fellow citizens for just being should be crushed and immediately before further laws make criminals of even you for doing what you have always freely done,simply being you!

    In the end Frank,its their radical laws that will destroy them,the quicker the better and the end of the EU will also hasten the global eletists demise!

  15. Yo Frank hot off the press:

    Reductio Creep

    Friday, January 20th, 2012

    Back when the smoking bans were spreading across the country, those of us opposed to them made the point that you could make many of the same arguments about perfume and cologne that ban proponents were making about second hand smoke. (And there’s about as much evidence that fragrances are a health risk, which is to say very little.)

    But you can’t really make a reductio argument for too long before someone embraces it.

    Many women love wearing perfume, but have you ever gotten a headache from someone who has sprayed on way too much of a scent you don’t like? Back in 2008, Susan McBride, sued Detroit under the Americans with Disabilities Act, claiming a co-worker’s fragrance made it hard for her to breathe and do her job. She was eventually awarded $100,000, and the city warned workers to avoid using scented products like perfume, cologne, deodorant, lotion, and aftershave. Now New Hampshire is looking to do the same.

    State representative Michele Peckham is sponsoring House Bill 1444 which hopes to ban state employees who work with the public from wearing perfume. Apparently a constituent with extreme allergies approached Peckham with the proposal. “It may seem silly, but it’s a health issue,” Peckham told the Union Leader. “Many people have violent reactions to strong scents.”

    The author then poses an honest question that puts this nonsense into the proper perspective:

    Allergies and annoyances aside, should the government be able to regulate what we smell like?

    The bans at the moment are just for state employees. But that’s merely where these ideas start. Just to hammer the point home, this, from a tweet from Stacy Malkan, head of an organization called the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

    Fragrance is the new secondhand smoke.

    Of course, body odor is fairly offensive to the senses as well. Don’t we deserve protection from that? Clearly the proper balance here is for the federal government to require regular showers and the application of deodorant, but ban all but the unscented varieties. All of this would be proper under the authority of the Commerce Clause, of course.

    http://www.theagitator.com/2012/01/20/reductio-creep-2/ (active links in article on site.)

    Hat tip http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Front-Page.htm

  16. Frank Davis says:

    Okay Dickie, you’ve said enough for today.

  17. The Ferryman says:

    Moderation=Appeasement=Defeatism
    Health fanatics just love their enemy to be nice ,to be gentle,to be be polite ,to be correct,
    thats why they are on a winner,faced with an ever decreasing avery of twittering pleasant
    canaries
    The freaks dont understand reason,debate,liberty ,choice,they heed not a word, digital or
    otherwise.
    There are some types of approach to their ringleaders which would cool their fervour and they
    pray no one contemplates that route………..Yet

  18. Two comments:

    (1) Barry, in theory that’s a great idea. In practice I think it falls down unfortunately: it’s very similar to the idea I would often hear from people joining the fight back in the 90s: “All we need to do is get every smoker to contribute a dollar toward fighting for freedom!” Again, a very good idea but similarly impractical. EG in the US it would raise about 50 million dollars. But we’d need a starting purse of about 25 million to do the fundraising itself! Take a look at the big antismoking “charities” and you’ll find that a good bit (probably the majority) of the donations people give them is NOT spent on “researching a cure for cancer” etc, but is instead spent on various types of fundraising — note that every time you see an “educational” ad plucking at the heartstrings of “saving the poor little children” from secondhand smoke that it is really also a fundraising tool designed to prompt the viewers into opening their checkbooks. :/

    (2) Censorship: Frank, generally I am 100% against censorship outside of five areas:

    A) any legal concerns a blog owner might have or such things as libel or instructions for making H-Bombs in your kitchen sink

    B) completely off-topic or racial/sex etc hate blurbs unrelated to smoking

    C) or blatant advertisements thinly disguised as a posting (E.G. “I love yous greate blogg about smokeing. it makes me want too want to drinke Arsnott Ale that I orders frum ASSHOLES.COM.” )

    D) Clear and complete misrepresentations of what people have said (E.G. “Rolloids has admitted i the past that smoking is actually his secret passion and that he likes to get together in a closet and hotbox it with his sister.”)

    E) Misrepresenting oneself as someone else through an identical or highly identical-looking poster -name.

    But I gather you’re talking about this Dick that I’m guessing may be the same worm who’s been harassing Patsy? In cases like that I’d barely even call it censorship. Mounting a planned internet attack on a known individual to the extent that I’ve picked up may be done in the worm’s case is close to a criminal activity (perhaps outright criminal activity) and blog owners who knowingly permit such material to remain public may indeed even fall under the Category (1) above.

    Having an approval process for posters to sign up is a reasonable alternative to “every-post-moderation” (which is a royal pain for blog-meisters and interferes with free information flow) but is acceptable, as is a reasonable limitation on lengthy or multiple posts (such as we’ve seen here in the States to some extent). The process is meant, not for censorship of ideas or argument, but as a mechanism of preserving blog integrity as a medium of communication.

    And communication is what it’s all about: the Antismokers are willing to do almost anything to shut down this avenue that they can’t control with their power and money. Their blog-destructive tactics are part of that strategy and one that we need to fight.

    So overall, yeah, a sign up as a “member” of the blog requirement isn’t too onerous, and it will allow you to catch the Dickies — you could even require that folks give you (privately) a real (and checkable) name. There’s one blogger here in the US that I know of who has a strong antismoking leaning but has opened his blog fully to the opposition (a rarity!) as long as we ID ourselves to his satisfaction. Heh, that’d also be one way to keep the anonymous Rollo-type sock-puppets off your blog, although usually they simply help us out by showing how poorly supported their positions are.

    – MJM

    • Frank Davis says:

      I entirely agree.

      And unfortunately I’ve come under pretty heavy attack tonight from my troll, with some 40 comments hurled at me, including the one below (which shows very well how nasty this particular troll is). Most of them were caught by my spam filter.

      In the circumstances I have little alternative but to try something else. I’ll give option 4 a whirl. That’s the one where the first comment anyone makes is held for moderation, and subsequent ones posted immediately.

      Sadly, I’m coming round to Reinhold’s and Hal’s point of view that trolling of this sort can destroy a blog.

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  20. beobrigitte says:

    Aside from that, I’m getting the strong impression that many of my readers are a lot less tolerant of trolls than I am.

    That is very politely said.

    why not have a tolerant open blog , i read quite happily some quite incredible well…..shite (harley water bit) in this thread without throwing a tantrum….

    And this is why.

    On the one hand I am strongly in favour of the most open and wide-ranging debate about absolutely everything and anything. But on the other hand I seem to have to recognise that, in some matters at least, debate is no longer possible.

    A debate with anti-smoking zealots was never possible. The “denormalisation – bible” dictates that ANY smoker congregation is to be destroyed by all means.

    I voted for option 3.
    After all, has anyone of us ever met one of these cowardly anti-smoking zealots ranting in the street? Where do they “stand up and be counted”?

  21. mikef317 says:

    Sticks and stones may break my bones….

    I voted open with the option to delete “intolerable” comments. Suppose someone makes libelous, anti-Semitic, or obscene remarks? I’d be bored rather than bothered, but some might be offended. (Written before the 1/12 11:14 ffffffffff comment – which didn’t bother me a bit.)

    Re trolls, while I’m not inclined to engage them, I don’t object to those who do. Mostly they just clutter the comments.

    Logging in doesn’t bother me, but it might deter first time or infrequent commenters.

    Re antismokers, there never was a debate – and never will be. Following their prohibitionist ancestors of the late 19th / early 20th century, some were preaching the evils of tobacco in the 1950’s. When the first Surgeon General’s report proclaimed that smoking causes lung cancer (proclaimed, not proved) zealots were well established in government agencies, academia, “charities,” and other positions of “authority.” To support their beliefs, massive “public health” propaganda campaigns were launched. Critics (and there were many) were either ignored or portrayed as paid shills of The Merchants of Death. The zealots have been taking “the next logical step” ever since. (The science is settled…. Deniers!) I suspect the last step will be a ritual purification by fire, when every last tobacco plant on earth is burned to its roots.

    Of course, it’s not just tobacco – alcohol, “junk” food, salt, fat, soda, perfume, etc., etc. are all “next logical steps.” That’s the fatal flaw with zealots – they always go one step too far.

    You’ll never convince (or even have an intelligent conversation with) a zealot, but I submit that challenging their views serves an extremely worthwhile purpose.

    Most people aren’t zealots. While they have been all but buried in anti tobacco propaganda since grade school, how many have been exposed to counter arguments? Very few, I’d say.

    Frank, a while back (and I haven’t checked my facts) I believe you mentioned that Anthony Watts (Watts Up With That) blamed the death of one (or both?) of his parents on smoking. (Thanks to anti tobacco propaganda, if a smoker dies – or just gets a non-fatal disease – it is “caused” by smoking.) This view is common in contemporary society.

    I’d be astonished if Mr. Watts (or your doctor for that matter) has ever read one of the Surgeon General’s reports or their underlying “scientific” studies. (I’m sure Mr. W. has enough on his hands with global warming.) But that’s the problem. The average person has little reason to question the conventional wisdom about tobacco.

    To the extent that an argument with a zealot attracts the attention of an average person, that person can judge the quality of evidence (ffffffff?) presented by both sides. It’s an argument I don’t think the antis can win – and I’m talking about primary smoking here, not secondhand and thirdhand nonsense. (This, I believe, is exactly what happened with global warming; Watts and others questioned the “scientific” methods and data and found problem after problem.)

    If enough “average” people ask enough questions, they might find the “scientific consensus” on tobacco isn’t as “settled” or as “overwhelming” as they’ve been lead to believe. I think exposing this (or at least making a compelling argument) is worth the aggravation of dealing with zealots.

    But it’s not my blog….

  22. Fredrik Eich says:

    Frank, I think your troll is a little touched. He should probably seek the medical attention of a troll doctor.

  23. alanxxx says:

    My vote is for moderation of comments if our webmeister has the time and trouble for it. Whilst I’m a thorough going brown rice eating, anti censorship type with knee jerk liberal instincts – in fact almost a Guardian reader type, a lesson in life for me is that my initial adoption of this attitude nearly always fails, and after that, it is better to go for something blatantly fascistic. My heart beats to left (as the guitarist from Rammstein said).

    In practical terms trolls are NOT interested in taking part in debate themselves. They often say they are, but they often say anything to maintain a presence with a view to later vandalism. They are interested in the following: sparking division between happy groups who meet up on the internet, provoking knee jerk emotional reactions to mockingly “expose” the true nature of the posters, harassing the forum so that its nature becomes more authoritarian, attention seeking, enjoying a kind of figurative pyromania (causing trouble and sniggering at home as they see the results of the trouble they’ve caused), and ideally, filling a forum full of such rampantly discordant shit that regular posters stop visiting. The aim of the troll is DESTRUCTIVE.

    To paraphrase a member of the cyber hacker and internet group A nonymous “our aim is to get inside people’s heads and make them leave the internet forever”. The phenomena apparent on our present comment threads may stem from a particularly pubeless and grossly inept version of this mentality. Our troll may have actually no interest in smoking whatsoever. Getting banned from sites may be a badge of honour (?) – dunno, it’s all too puerile a level for me to think down to.

    So, I’m happy with these comment threads as it actually gives me a damn sight more freedom of expression than the pub used to. It is valuable to me, however superficial internet communication may be, and that communication is not always so superficial.

  24. waltc says:

    Well, if A to z above is any measure, anyone can register and register daily under different names from different addresses. It also seems that “dickie” made an actionable threat– one that might even interest the police.

  25. Mr A says:

    I’m in favour of limited moderation. It is good to see anti voices on here if they manage to somehow quell their psychoticism and post well-reasoned arguments, preferably (as many of the pro-choice voices do) with references. There’s a difference between the likes of anti-posters like Rollo Tommassi (although I personally believe this is an alternym used by many antis) who disagree but actually make arguments that can be countered or refuted and “Yah, smokers!” I’m warm in my pub and you’re all cold and outside. Yah boo, smoking addicts get cancer!” social-retard-trolls.

    No-one wants to see the latter. But polite, well-argued points from “the other side” shouldn’t be moderated. That would put us into ASH territory which is somewhere I don’t want to be. (As does everyone only talking amongst themselves – that is one of the reasons ASH is so dangerous – they haven’t spoken to anyone outside of the Tobacco Control bubble for so long that they have no idea what real people in the real world are thinking).

  26. Hal says:

    Any of these sounds good:
    Require commenters to log in, with comments posted immediately.
    Require commenters to have their first comments held for moderation, with subsequent ones posted immediately.
    Hold all comments for moderation.

    Logging in is possibly the best since it requires less work on the side of the moderator. Of course a troll might try to keep opening different accounts for a while, but will become bored soon, since it takes time to get a new account and very little time to ban it.

  27. Frank wrote, “Rollo has commented on my blog once. I wouldn’t dream of blocking him. He (and actually I think there’s only one) is far too civil to merit such treatment.”

    I’d fully agree. As an anonymous poster he generally behaves well, and his postings actually help the Free Choice side in showing that even a scientifically literate and perhaps even low-grade professional Antismoker is unable to defend their position against real questioning. His style basically depends upon making other people “give up” in the face of his extended postings into minutia, but it doesn’t work — even though he seems completely oblivious to that fact.

    That’s the big problem the Antismokers face on the internet: in this medium NONE of their standard strategies work — simply because they’re all based on fallacies, tricks, and lies … all of which can be nicely exposed in printed back-and-forths where references are easily at hand.

    – MJM

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