Don’t listen to him, he’s a bollix!

That, in paraphrase, was the first comment posted in response to something we blogged from Minister McDowell some months back. I’ve just removed and banned someone posting here for the first time, for a nasty personal attack on the Blanket, which had nothing to do with the subject in hand.

Whilst Slugger is neither Republican or Unionist, it does seek to create a space where all can put their views forward and have the reasonable expectation that they will be heard.Now I don’t want to ban anyone. And neither do I want to be seen to protect anyone from incisive and knowledgeable criticism either. But there is a nasty tendency to believe that certain people and parties can be treated with contempt because they are somehow beyond the Pale.

Osama Bin Laden is welcome to post here, so long as he sticks to the argument. But if you insist on acting a bollix and persist on playing the man rather than the ball, you will have to leave the field of play.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty