13 Dec 2011

The Guardian is removing my comments again

Yesterday, I posted a comment on the Guardian's website in response to Jackie Ashley's commentary entitled "Can Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband now come together on Europe?"

To my utter dismay, I have just discovered that a moderator has removed my comment because "it didn't comply with community standards".

Here we go again. A month ago, I had a protracted series of exchanges when the Guardian removed 25 of my comments, and refused to let me have copies. I was really annoyed. But after many exchanges with someone called Annabel, I thought we had come to a compromise. Basically, the Guardian considers that excessive links to personal blogs is "spam". This is despite the fact that their FAQ specifically states the following:
Q: Can I link to my own blog?
A: We encourage contributors to the Guardian website to include links to content which is revealing, relevant, informative and/or provides more background or context about a particular perspective, situation or topic. That means it's OK to link to specific posts on your own blog when it's appropriate, given the guidelines above.
In this particular case, I included a link to my blog entry that shows how I calculated the £1000 trillion number for financial transactions in the UK. Since it is the only place that I know on the web where anyone has detailed the level of transactions based on the B.I.S. data, it seems to me that it definitely is an example of a link to a personal blog that is "revealling, relevant, informative and provides more background or context about a particular perspective".

I sent this email yesterday to complain. 


(or whoever is dealing with this now),

I had hoped that after the very long series of exchanges a month back
following your decision to remove 25 of my comments from your site, and
your refusal to even allow me to even see what had been removed, that we
had found a compromise.

I understood that you considered that I should not include in my posts
excessive links to my blog. I said that I would refrain from doing this
except when the information that I was using to justify my claims is only
available on my site.

This morning, I posted a carefully researched posting that was full of
important points.

The post even triggered a reply, and a further comment.

Obviously, only you have access to the original post, but my recollection
is that there was just one link involved. It was a link to my webpage that
provided the detailed figures

I find your decision to remove my comment totally unjustifiable. Apart
from anything else, it makes the comments of DaveG333 uninterpretable.

But I defy you to find anywhere on the web except my blog where the figure
of 1000 trillion pounds per year for financial transactions in the UK can
be found. If this is the case, your removal of my comment simply cannot be

Yours sincerely
Simon Thorpe
Guardian and Observer Subscriber

If anyone else has been having trouble with arbitrary and unjustified removal of their comments by the Guardians moderators, please leave a comment. I'll try and compile more information about the process.


  1. The Guardian is no longer the 'newspaper' it once was. My view is that it has become such an extreme left wing broadsheet that it borders on the same level of danger posed by the extreme right wing. The advice I give to all is to avoid it because I do not believe one can honestly trust in a newspaper that resorts to the 'cleansing' of public comment in order to preserve its own views. Newspapers should not have views. They should report the news and part of that function is the printing of what it does not agree with along with that which it does.

    Old Joe Soap

  2. I am now convinced that the removal of my comments was not motivated by a desire to suppress my views, but a misguided aim to avoid spamming. They consider that excessive links to a personal blog is spam. It makes no sense, and reduces the quality of CIF, but I really don't think that it was motivated by some sort of thought police.

    Recently, I've been putting links to the relevant data in my blog, and have not had any problems. Maybe they have seen sense.