On commenting…

For the most part our commenters add immense value to the Slugger blog. But occasionally they step over the line. Sometimes that is bounded by the law; at other times (particularly in the case of the dead, who have no legal rights) it is the bounds of decency. I have had to snip a couple this pm. One was straight forward default playing the man. In the case of the Derry thread, an anonymous commenter using the courtesy comment space of Slugger to take pot shots at named individuals without disclosing his/her own identity. As a result, I’ve had to take the whole thing offline; mostly because I don’t have the time take out the best bits and put it back online again. Just remember guys, Slugger is an open space where all political views are welcome. The golden rule is: play the ball and not the man. If you have information, or some leads that you would like us to investigate further, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. But you cannot short cut the law and use Slugger as a means of settling scores. Or as means to filibuster ideas out of legitimate public debate.

  • jack

    all very well, except you are not consistent – you do allow and have allowed attacks on journalists and writers of whom you clearly do not approve while your definition of ‘playing the man’ is elastic enough to embrace assertions which, as they say, even the dogs in ballymurphy are aware of, eg this sinn fein leader or that sinn fein leader was on the ira army council.

  • Dave

    Over half of the Shinner MLAs have criminal convictions for terrorist offences and the leadership is comprised of leading PIRA members, so your attempt to distance the Shinners from PIRA is a futile deception. Anyone would get the impression that the Shinners are decently ashamed of their sectarian murder campaign and rampant gangsterism, but if that were so, why do they continue to glorify their contemptible history?

  • latcheeco

    Not the issue!For example: Dead Hunger Strikers are fair game and within the realms of good taste, but dead unionist southern pols…not so much.

  • Modernist

    Could something be done about commenters making crude comments

  • Mick Fealty


    Neither you, nor anyone else, is paying me to keep such a tight view on what does and does not get said.

    I can (as it says in the commenting policy) and do act smartly and quickly against all such breaches regardless of who they are.

    But if there is nothing in the inbox, there is nothing I can do unless I happen upon it myself.

    The safe alternative is to close it down completely.

  • Plastic Paddy

    As a word of advice, Dave, once you start dropping “Shinner” every other sentence, you reveal your obvious disdain for the party.

    Whether or not your disdain is justified is another matter, but your angry, combative tone does not make for effective dialog.

  • @Plastic Paddy – I guess Dave is prompted by the effective dialog that an SF TD engaged in versus the Israeli Ambassador and an FG TD this week.

    Mick’s trainset, his rules, don’t like it there’s the door lads.

    @Mick – is the website software able to insert a “report this post” link?

  • latcheeco

    Saying that if you don’t like it you’re welcolm to go somewhere else is fine. But the thread is about fairness. Personally, I think you’re fair. Not every moderator is. (e.g. Boston Bob was given free rein until Kensai said bad talk and it got awkward). As regards the hand that feeds you and doing voluntary work it’s a two way street: good bloggers make good blogs then good blogs make good career openings in the commentariat 😉

  • jack

    to mick fealty – yet somehow, you are always fast enough to expunge remarks that embarrass sinn fein and slow with others – wonder why?

  • GGN


    Personally, whilst in theory I welcome maximun participation I think that commenting should be restricted to membership. I would also be prepared to pay a small subscription to this end.

    You can learn alot from the comments of course, but I feel, and I must broach the man-rule to make my point that there are a small number of commentators who only take away from debate, either by design or default.

    It just gets a little boring reading the same silliness again and again and again.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    That’s funny,jack. I was just about to say the opposite. Now you know why Dunseith loses the rag sometimes.Can you not cast your mind back to the multiple threads on Paul Quinn? Hardly pro Sinn Féin, were they?

  • William

    Hi Mick….I had read your post re: Eamon McCann’s piece in the Sunday Journal….is that the one you removed? Why? I read part of it and it seemed to add substance to what Eamon was getting at, without him actually saying.

    As to playing the ball not the man….you will recall that I emailed you sometime ago with regard to the mass libelling of Willie Frazer, after he was attacked in South Armagh. I received a reply from you, stating you would get back to me. I’m still waiting and the libels of Willie remained on Slugger and were never removed!!

  • RepublicanStones

    It seems some people expect Mick to have some sort of omnipresence and with his all seeing eye and scales of (commenting)justice be able to achieve a utopia of equilibrium along tribal lines in our favourite virtual homestead here on the slug fest.

    3 words…. catch a grip.

  • Dave

    RS, is ass-kissing your insurance policy against a future ban? 😉

  • RepublicanStones

    As I don’t think I’ve ever recieved even a yellow card, Im pretty sure that was the realist as opposed to the sycophant in me. Unless you are picturing Mick with 3 heads 6 arms and an bottomless coffee pot?????

  • jack

    to pancho’s horse, first i checked by doing a search and there wasn’t an excessive number of posts on the paul quinn, just what you’d expect given the story’s importance; second, the bulk of them were in the name of pete baker not mick fealty – my comments were solely directed at mick fealty.

  • jone

    What I often think is: Mick created this space and this community, it has been broadly successful in it’s aim of providing a forum for debate on NI politics and society, offering something different and complimentary to the likes of Talk Back and Nolan.

    He has been mainly patient, liberal, wise and tolerant is his commenting policy in the face of passionate, partisan people who can sometimes act like shits. Especially while drunk blogging. My foul-mouthed self included.

    And ultimately if you feel your important missives have been subject to some outrageous censorship then you don’t have to bitch and moan. You can publish whatever libelous old bollocks you like on your own time, for free. Simply go here:


    Or if that’s too complicated, then here:


    Happy blogging, bitches.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    jack, i’m referring to the contributors to a blog NOT the initial poster. Very rarely does Mr Fealty expose his personal opinions. Go through any thread. The anti Sinn Féin opinions are never expunged.

  • kensei


    Not every moderator is. (e.g. Boston Bob was given free rein until Kensai said bad talk and it got awkward).

    Bob made some statements that I personally thought crossed a line. So I told him so. Which I will do 100/100 if I think that has happened, and I don’t care how uncomfortable people get. IRC, I didn’t have moderating powers on the thread, and I certainly don’t have the power to ban anyone so go blame someone else.

  • Pete Baker

    Pancho’s Horse

    “Go through any thread. The anti Sinn Féin opinions are never expunged.”

    And you were doing so well up until that point, Pancho’s Horse..

    Seriously. Think about the task you are demanding – whilst also requiring freedom of speech.

  • latcheeco

    Actually mucker,I was refering to your own red card for cussin’ when Bob was calling everybody everything under the sun with gay abandon. It was only after you went iirc that he went.

  • kensei


    Actually mucker,I was refering to your own red card for cussin’ when Bob was calling everybody everything under the sun with gay abandon. It was only after you went iirc that he went.

    Justice was done in the end then. I think I got it more for winding Mick up. Which is always excellent sport. Disappointingly I have had to stop swearing as people seem to take super duper amazing offence these days, and I wind up in lots of trouble where I get threatened with having my identity plastered over t’internet and get accused of having various medical conditions.

  • Gerry from derry

    Where are my posts….re: the Shinners hijacking all the community jobs in Derry?

  • You only have yourself to blame for these comments, Mick, as most of these guys will go on about something regarding commenting, no matter what.

    You should just have made it an annoucement: then you would not have to worry about this stuff, including mine.

  • Mick Fealty


    Tell Pancho will ya?

    It’s simple. Naming names is fine, so long as you are prepared to put your own name to it and back it up. Given the context of that conversation, I felt there could be legal issues with some of your posts on that thread. I confess that I have not got round to reading it. It’s best to come directly to us about it rather than post it in the comments zone.

    Pancho, I deal with what I can deal with. People take the slights to their own side much more seriously than those aimed at others.

    Take the photo thread on that scene from the lower Shankill. Had some of that stuff been written about areas of Brixton or Oldham, there would have been an outcry. In other words, in another context it would be seen as evidence of ‘race hatred’.

    The best I can do (until we get our planned make over organised) is to say contact me and I will deal with it. Though, I have to confess, I must go back and check out the circs William is alluding to.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Who’s the ‘Gerry’,Mick? And what thread are you referring to? Were I to make an allegation (as opposed to a vicious and unwarranted attack) on someone, I would stand over it. I appreciate that you do indeed straddle a fine line and would never ever try to make it more difficult for you.