Harry’s Place, Harry’s rules, Harry’s values

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 29, 2005

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, June 29th, 2005
10:22 am and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

Harry is having a rough old time. He decided yesterday to propose a new regime of registration and banination, mainly because (in my view) he and his chums are having a hard time defending the indefensible.

Now, there’s nowt wrong with the concept of comment registration (used here to keep spam, trolls, anonymous abuse and straw-men at bay) but Harry’s justifications deserve a closer look.

First, take a look at the exchange that triggered Harry’s decision (all you need to read is the post and the first two comments, really).

Look at the shrill accusations cast toward anyone wanting to talk a little common sense. This pattern continues in Harry’s post on the proposed policy.

Yes, Hugo Chavez is my hero. And, as an opponent of the war on Iraq, it’s a given that I want to have Saddam Hussein’s babies. BTW, I had that nice George Galloway over by the house last week. We split a barrel of oil and made our plans for raising funds for a variety of terrorist groups. But not before I expressed my support for social justice by having unprotected anal sex with the pickled corpse of Joseph Stalin.

This is a common enough technique. You defend your extreme views by projecting a polar extreme on anyone who criticises them. These recent comments by Karl Rove are a prime example.

So, let’s get to the justifications. What are they? Well, Harry keeps talking about “reasonable level of debate”, and what not:

Harry: “I’d like to create a space for debate among people who are interested in lively discussion not slanging matches.”

Hmmm, if you’ll pardon a small but necessary detour…

I don’t know about you, but when an issue I take an interest in crops up, I usually comment on it on my own blog, then keep an eye on comments, Trackbacks, Technorati and tracking stats to see who else is talking about it. I might even pop over to other places where the issue is being discussed and have a word or two there as well.

And that’s just what Robin from Perfect has done.

The response from Harry (Mr Reasonable Level of Debate) has been to:

1) Accuse Robin of cyberstalking
2) Accuse Robin of trackback spamming (a quick look here will – for now – show 3 trackbacks from a single post at the Observer weblog within the space of 7 minutes – which suggests to me that the fault lies with Harry’s back-end accepting multiple pings following each update/correction from posts that reference his site)
3) Accuse Robin of being a coward
4) Mock Robin for not receiving enough comments himself

That was pretty much the limit for me. I spoke up.

My reward was to be called a Tory glory-hound.

Now, is it just me, or does this walk, talk, and smell like personal abuse? Am I wrong to point out that several people highlighting what’s false about Harry’s claims that he desires open and civil debate have been rewarded by Harry throwing mud in their direction?

Over at the aforementioned Observer post, d-squared (who has been banned from Harry’s at least once on the grounds of undertaking “a personal attack”) had this to say, and pretty much nails it in my view:

But somehow, I’ve been banned on four separate occasions, whereas people who post nothing but abuse, SWP talking points or, to be frank, outright Islam-hatred, don’t appear to ever have been banned at all. As far as I can tell, the power of the ban has been used nearly exclusively at Harry’s Place to get rid of people who were dangerously close to winning arguments against the hosts (cf: the “International Law Wars”), while leaving enough morons present to allow the impression to remain that Harry, Marcus and the “Decent Left” were taking on all comers and emerging triumphant. That’s the exact policy of Charles Whatshisface at Little Green Footballs, who also allows outright hate speech to remain while deleting civil disagreement with the prevailing rather extremist line. It’s why I coined the nickname “Little Green Soccer Balls” for your blog, and why it stuck.

Agreed. Very fitting…

Little Green Soccer Balls

Harry doesn’t want to protect and maintain an open and honest debate. He wants to shape something that *appears* to be an open and honest debate into a validation/confirmation of his own personal views.

Hey, it’s his blog. He can do what he likes on it, and that’s his right.

But if he’s going to use his blog to create a false impression for the unwitting casual reader, it’s my right – and yours – to call him on it.


  1. Justin says
  2. Gerbil 001 says

    Happy days, I was banned without warning by Harry for being ‘rude’. In this instance, according to Harry, my rudeness constituted changing the subject and drawing a comment thread off topic. In fact, what I did was directly address a premise of his post and prove it pretty solidly to be false. He got very cross and that was the last time I ever posted at HP.It has descended further since.

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