Censorship and trolls

Censorship is a terrible thing, and I'll write about that in a special German context in my series later.

My approach for comments on this blog was at first not to delete comments at all (comments were not moderated at first). The arguments in early blog post comment sections show that I preferred to counter despicable comments instead of deleting them.

The blog became better known and got additional readers over time. Some of these new readers were what I can only call "trolls". They never contribute anything of value to the topic. Instead, they attack me, my country or even all Europeans, quite often in a clearly insulting way. Another common trait is that they dare to assert things that they can impossibly know about.
I had to delete a couple of those comments because I was legally obliged to - it would have been illegal to provide a platform for insults and remarks like that.

It became a norm that the most offensive comments were deleted and finally I decided to activate the comment moderation option.

That gave me a couple months of almost troll-free topics.

The trolls gathered the motivation to comment despite the moderation and learned that moderation wasn't necessarily more restrictive than the always existing possibility of comment deletion.

None of these trolls has ever had the courage to identify himself by name, two of three trolls even stick to "anonymous" as name.

So I've learned my lesson about censorship and tolerance the hard way, but I stick to my principles:

I'll always side with these trolls if they demand the freedom to tell their opinion (no matter how wrong or worthless that is) - elsewhere.
I won't give them a platform anymore.
They may found their own blog or use other means of communication, but the comments here are no place for written farts.

I asked many others for their opinion on the trolling and the most common advice was to simply block the trolls.

I wrote in my now obsolete comment policy long ago that a reader should behave like a guest in a comment section; it's hard to match this ideal if one disagrees, but basic manners are simply required. Everyone should have learned that at home.

I regret that many others who commented here and who provided additional insight, encouragement or ideas have had the displeasure to meet troll comments here.

Long text - quick consequence:
"Arminius" and the two(?) entirely anonymous trolls (or any other) have no chance of getting their comments through the moderation step unless they manage to write a comment that is not offensive or full of falsehoods.

Sven Ortmann

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