Blogging when your science doesn't easily relate to the public

By Grant Jacobs 07/03/2012 38


Ruminating about blogging an area that doesn’t easily relate to the public.[1]

Last year I introduced the new science blogging network at Scientific American.

David Kroll wrote a post introducing this network, too, and noted the lack of chemists in their line-up.

Bora replied in the comments:

I did struggle about it. People with chemistry background whose blogs I like (and think they fit in my network vision) tend not to blog about chemistry much. Or are taken by other networks, or unwilling to join one. But majority of chemistry bloggers write for each other, very inside baseball I cannot understand, thus not really fitting my vision (or SciAm focus on broad audiences).

(Bora co-ordinates the Scientific American blogs.)

Janet Stemwedel also added some thoughts:

a further question to explore, beyond who’s blogging and who isn’t (and why that might be), is who’s blogging as a chemist versus who’s blogging about chemistry. (Undoubtedly, this would prompt further discussion about what exactly counts as ’blogging about chemistry’ – the whole current peer reviewed research versus life in the tribe of chemists versus musings on chemistry in everyday life line-drawing. Because we seem to like line-drawing for some reason.) [Her emphasis.]

This struck a chord with me.

I’m a computational biologist (or bioinformatician) but I currently rarely write on my own subject. I’d like to write more about it, but I feel it introduces several conflicts. In particular, sciblogs is supposed to be about outreach & education so I’d like at least some, or most, of what I write here to relate to a general readership, rather than just my computational biology peers. Ironically, wanting to write more computational biology, in turn, conflicts with wanting to use the blog as an opportunity to explore other areas of science and pass on what I find to readers! But let’s let this slide, as it’s an aside in the context of article.

Another aspect of this is that I prefer to start with the biology and fit the bioinformatics within that. It’s one reason I prefer the title ‘computational biologist’ to ‘bioinformatician’. There are people whose focus it more-or-less exclusively on the informatics aspects. Some aspects of this interests me too. I’ve been in the field over 20 years so I’ve seen these things evolve so it’s hard not to take at least some interest in them and practical things do have to be made, well, practical and practical things affect what you do.

(This starting from a biological vantage point is also true of my work. If someone approaches me wanting me to do x, y and z to their data, my usual approach to encourage them to back up a bit and tell me about the biology and what the biological aims they are hoping to address. Aside from being my preferred starting point, it helps ensure I’m addressing the problem they want tackled.)

Many times when I write about something with a bioinformatics component I have focused on the biological story, with references to any bioinformatics in passing, rather than about the bioinformatics as such.

I could write about the conceptual models of computational methods in a way that biologists might get some basic understanding of what they’re after. It would be hard to reach a general audience this way, but it would be a wider audience that writing to my peers.

Compounding that is that–I believe–many, but not all, biologists have a poor view of computational models. There is an undercurrent that computational models can’t ‘prove’ anything of use to some biologists. For example, I once explained some biophysical work I wanted to do only to be asked what I would suggest for an experimental ‘proof’ – unwittingly the person asking the question had revealed he didn’t consider that a (or the) computational model could stand on it’s own. It’s a bias I’ve seen before, that only a ‘wet’ experiment can serve as a proof.[2]

Physics fares slightly better in the general public arena than computational biology does. Mathematics, however, struggles.

One question this raises is does presentation of science to the public tend reflect things general readers will already have some interest in or connection with and in that sense simply re-enforces this and with that present a skewed view of science.

By skewed a view of science, I mean that general readers see little or nothing about entire areas of science, that great swathes of science is simply out of sight.

As you can see my general thoughts are that this issue is not limited to chemistry, as David related, but has to do with the ease that some areas of science can be related to the public compared to others.

Bioinformatics, my field (although I would properly call myself a computational biologist), has similar issues. It clearly is important – bioinformatics / computational biology underpins a lot, if not most, modern genetics and molecular biology. Despite that most people writing about computational biology (or bioinformatics) are talking to their peers, some to biologists, but very few to the general reader.[3]

Footnotes

1. Yeah, I know, this is meta-blogging and meta-blogging is yeech and all that. It’s also another old post from the drafts heap that I’ve revisited. It might seem I’m lacking originality, but it’s that while trimming out some drafts* I can’t see myself ever returning to this post resonated with thoughts that have been on my mind for the past month or two; see Footnote 3.

2. It’s a real pity as I value working alongside biologists, each contributing to the final result from different strengths and, of course, I am a biologist myself; the whole idea is to bring biophysical insights to biological systems. I just feel too often there isn’t a true peer-level partnership with the upshot that opportunities are missed to let computational biology or biophysics bring what it can to a project. Or statistical aspects if biostatistics is your thing. Some areas of biology are becoming increasingly dependent on biophysics (or statistics) more than I think some fully appreciate or perhaps want to admit to – one in mind is genomics and gene regulation as the three-dimensional arrangements of genes and genomes will come to be of increasing importance as biophysical aspects are an integral part of these analyses.

3. Part of the reason behind this rumination is that, long story short, I still feel conflicted about the mix of material and how to best present it. Part of the issue is that we can’t use categories in our blogs as they’re already taken by the group platform, so how best to indicate different sub-topics, areas or, in particular, audiences. Not for the first time I’m mulling over a few ways to address this as I’d like to try bring a few series or thematic topics to the blog without confusing readers. I can imagine, for example, three different articles about some aspects of the three-dimensional arrangement of genomes: one to a general audience, one to biologist and yet another to computational biologists – and that’s before I start thinking of the very wide range of topics I cover!


Other articles at Code for life:

The inheritance of face recognition (should you blame your parents if you can’t recognise faces?)

Temperature-induced hearing loss

Online lecture series on genomics and bioinformatics

How did you learn to critique the scientific literature?

Coiling bacterial DNA

Career paths, redux — the academic research career is the exception


38 Responses to “Blogging when your science doesn't easily relate to the public”

  • I am a chemist and rarely blog about chemistry. However, I have always seen that as resulting from my retirement. I can now spend time reading and writing about all those other areas of science which fascinate me but I never had time for while working.

    However, i have always thought that if I was still working I would actually be blogging about my work. Maybe even have two seperate blogs – one for work, one for the interesting stuff. Then again while working I often felt the need to communicate with people in the industry. (and we did – just not by bloigging) So I think a work blog may be aimed at a more select audience, and while being presented in an accessible way, it would probably concentrate on issues relvant to that audiencfde, rather than the gereral public. Most of the time anyway.

    Mind you – I thnk most local science bloggers are aiming their blogs more at the general public rather than a restricted readership in their own “industry.”

  • You’re probably right there, Ken: I have a ‘work’ blog (shared with Marcus & Fabiana) where I write stuff with a strong education focus, even if I do cross-post when it’s obviously science-linked. I call that my ‘work’ blog because my research interests are in science education. The ‘bioblog’ is more my ‘outreach’ blog :-) If that makes sense?

  • It’s a thought, splitting the blog into two would at least separate the scientist and general reader audience types. (There would still be overlap, but I guess cross-posting could resolve that.)

    So… perhaps what I need are two independent blogs, i.e. not on sciblogs, one for ‘anything’ (including things that aren’t science – I’ve got interests in travel and tramping for example*) and one more focused blog on bioinformatics/genomics, then syndicate appropriate material back to two sciblogs blogs – one for bioinformatics/genomics/etc and one for general readers – ?

    Or am I over-thiking this? :-)

    (* I’d love to link them all, science, tramping and travel to interesting locations – in both real life and in writing.)

  • I guess it must depend on the individual situation.

    If I had been blogging while still working I think the work blog would have been very targetted at people in the industry who want to keep up with the research of my colleagues and I, and perhaps some general articles that would interest them.

    Now such a blog would have had to have permission from my employers (they would not have given it then and probably still won’t – being terrified of something they couldn’t control).

    So my more general philosophical, religious, human rights issues would have to go into a seperate blog. Outside of any employer control.

    But many research groups perhaps don’t have as direct connection with an industry – so the information is not so targetted. Also, university based scientists probably would not have the manic urge to control imposed on them.

    I guess it’s also personality – someone like PZ can happily combine specific research oriented postings with humorous, aggressive postings and get away with it.

    Having a single blog (with perhaps syndication to SciBlogs, SecularBlogs, etc., is a real advantage. Trying to think about more than one blog at a time with different criteria could be very tiring.

  • mmm… Sciblog claims “The website is for scientists who want to reach out to a general audience to explain their science and how it relates to society. Some Sciblog contributors spend most of their time in the lab or buried in research. Others are authors or entrepreneurs. All of them know what they are talking about and have an interest in engaging in discussion on the big science-related issues facing society.”

    Shame it’s a false claim… mostly folk write about stuff they are not very expert on…

  • Shame it’s a false claim… mostly folk write about stuff they are not very expert on…

    Care to elucidate, Ron?

  • Ron. Is your comment some how a dig at me? It comes directly after my comment so looks like it.

    My comments (and my blog) are written in good faith. I am happy to respond to anything you misunderstand. But make sense, man. Be specific.

  • Ken… it’s not you… Alison; I’d love to.

    Sciblogs claims All of its bloggers know what they are talking about and have an interest in engaging in discussion on the big science-related issues facing society.

    As Grant notes above, he rarely writes about his area of expertise… in another recent blog he even acknowledges he doesn’t know much about the topic he was writing on…

    It appears to me, a casual reader, that most blogs are about trying to ridicule anyone/thing that disagrees with their belief system…. they are not about things that the bloggers are expert in… that’s a real shame… and brings sciblogs into disrepute… sciblogs has failed to deliver what it says it is about.

  • Ron,

    “rarely writes about his area of expertise […] doesn’t know much about the topic he was writing on”

    Both key phrases are twisted out of meaning, of course – as we’ve come to expect from you. Either that or you are terribly confused, rushing at words that ignite some sort of anger in you.

    What’s doubly wrong with you lately, is that it’s not making a (false) case about a subject, but trying to attack a person.

    “It appears to me, a casual reader, that most blogs are about trying to ridicule anyone/thing that disagrees with their belief system…. they are not about things that the bloggers are expert in… that’s a real shame… and brings sciblogs into disrepute… sciblogs has failed to deliver what it says it is about.”

    Twisting words to set up a straw-man case.

    It appears to me that you get so upset at me addressing issues with ‘natural remedies’ or those that, like you, promote anti-vaccine stances that you rally wildly against whatever you think you can find in my articles.

    Only these days you’ve basically given up trying to address the subject at all (as you once did, more-or-less) and now are resorting to the very lowest form of argument – attacking people, me in particular.

    You seem to have something of an obsession with attacking me. Goodness knows what drives it. I hope not some kind of (mild) narcissistic rage. Honestly—and I’ve told this before—I think you need to go someplace else. You’re not helping yourself or anyone else in what you’re doing here.

    It is curious though. Others have written on the same subjects and are quite a bit harder on (say) the natural remedy industry than I am. Despite this, with rare exceptions, you limit your attacks to me. Your focus seems to me on me, not the subject. In one recent case someone else wrote something you didn’t like and you had to carry it over to my blog and make out that I was supposed to answer to it! Ha. I pointed out that if you’re interested in the subject, as opposed to harassing me, you’d ask the person who wrote it – but you didn’t.

    most blogs [on sciblogs] are about trying to ridicule anyone/thing

    As a simple exercise, there are twenty blog articles linked on the top page. Of these, 2-3 could possibly be viewed as opposing others views (and there’s nothing wrong in that in and of itself). None of these were written by me. But here you are, following on from hassling me in a thread on that general subject line, attacking me in a thread that has nothing to do with it, interrupting a polite conservation with your rudeness.

  • It appears to me, a casual reader, that most blogs are about trying to ridicule anyone/thing that disagrees with their belief system

    In which case, I suggest you may need to read a bit more widely here. Ron, there are a large number of people who write for Sciblogs on a regular basis. Most of the time we write on material drawn directly from our areas of expertise – my PhD’s in biology & I’m a qualified teacher, so I write extensively in both areas & with a lot of overlap. One of the things I teach is critical thinking, so I certainly feel qualified (as I think anyone with extensive training in science & its methods would – & this would definitely include our host here) to apply that to various ‘out there’ claims in biology. Given the potential for some of these claims to cause actual harm, I’d be remiss if I didn’t.

    Of course, if you disagree with the views presented here you have every opportunity to say so (which in my experience is not the case on pseudoscience sites – I wonder why?) – or to start writing your own blog to present your own point of view. WordPress is easy enough to set up & use.

  • Blah, blah… “It appears to me that you get so upset at me addressing issues with ‘natural remedies’ or those that, like you, promote anti-vaccine stances that you rally wildly against whatever you think you can find in my articles.

    You’ve at least recently acknowledged you don’t know much about natural health products… well done.

  • David, these blogs haven’t disappointed me one bit… in fact I find them an refreshing source of entertainment! :-)

    I’ve even used it as a potential source of info regarding evidence of harm caused by natural health products… an area of my business that I am particularly interested in… what I got was a wesite full of anecdote… from a skeptic who proclaims to work off an evidence base. If someone dished up a website of children who have died following a vaccine they’d be criticised for using anecdoe to scare the masses.

    There appear to be two standards. Anecdote can’t be used to support proposition A, but anecdote can be used to discredit proposition A.

  • “You’ve at least recently acknowledged […]” – repeating a false claim won’t make it become right (esp. whilst ignoring what has been said). I notice you’re focusing on me again.

    “I’ve even used it as a potential […]” – and bait and switch. Also travelling in circles – this is revisiting old stuff that has already been dealt with.

  • Returning to what this thread was about:

    I guess it must depend on the individual situation.

    For sure.

    If I had been blogging while still working I think the work blog would have been very targetted at people in the industry who want to keep up with the research of my colleagues and I, and perhaps some general articles that would interest them.

    I’d like to do more of that for biologists in particular, but with a view to those outside of biology too. I’m less worried about the “in” crowd in that there are a lot of blogs already out there that focus on bioinformatics in and for itself. I prefer the ‘computational biology’ moniker and prefer to carry stuff from one to the other I guess. (Except for stuff about algorithms, which I haven’t really written about at all.)

    Now such a blog would have had to have permission from my employers (they would not have given it then and probably still won’t – being terrified of something they couldn’t control).

    I’m my own boss!

    I guess it’s also personality – someone like PZ can happily combine specific research oriented postings with humorous, aggressive postings and get away with it.

    I suspect there is an element for some of being very well-established, has a very good idea of where they stand with their institution and having long been the person who plays along with the students, etc.

    In my case I just prefer a different style. (Occam’s Typewriter, for example, is a place I like for it’s conversation.)

    Having a single blog (with perhaps syndication to SciBlogs, SecularBlogs, etc., is a real advantage. Trying to think about more than one blog at a time with different criteria could be very tiring.

    Yeah, that’s one reason I’m reluctant to start spinning off ‘sister’ blogs, even though it might be the best idea in the end. We’ll see. Quite a few people seem to run several – I presume they are effectively just binning their posts in the way stand-alone blogs use categories.

  • Being your own boss has its advantages. It probably also means you have an identifiable audience in your client base. That makes targeting easier for a narrow science blog but I think even a narrow audience can well be exposed to more general and philosophical or even personal posts.

    I guess you do have to be careful of offending potential clients more than I do – although I am sure Ron is not in that category. (In fact for a business operated blog there would be an argument for putting such commenters into spam relatively early to maintain quality).

    I can control which of the posts on my primary blog get syndicated to SciBlogs by use of tags. Some of my posts also syndicate to Secular News Daily but I think all the work is done at their end.

    So I think it is possible to run several blogs that way which involves just basically concentrating on a primary blog where everything goes.

  • Ken, an interesting comment: “I guess you do have to be careful of offending potential clients more than I do – although I am sure Ron is not in that category. (In fact for a business operated blog there would be an argument for putting such commenters into spam relatively early to maintain quality).”

    Firstly, with the exception of a single advert, I have never advertised my business. On ‘lists’ I’m involved in I have never needed to use the spam filter, though I understand some bloggers without moderating posts might get concerned. Most bloggers here use moderation… Darcy is a standout in not hitting the censor button… ups to him.

    Censoring criticism is censorship… not maintaining quality.

  • I guess I do something similar, in that many of my ‘education’ posts for Talking Teaching are ‘crossover’ items & I run them here as well, while others remain solely in TT territory. (I don’t feel the need to expose everyone here to all my thoughts on teaching!)

  • Ken,

    I tend to view this blog as separate from my work, being more ‘outreach’ and general-interests oriented, although it would be good to add more material that relates to my ‘professional’ research interests as well as my peripheral interests. I’ll find myself split between writing to a general audience (‘explainer’ type articles) and discussing more detailed stuff though!

    “In fact for a business operated blog there would be an argument for putting such commenters into spam relatively early to maintain quality”

    ‘Proper’ business blogs wouldn’t even accept them in the first place. If I moved off and syndicated back I’d likely permanently block people who are just being a nuisance pretty smartly – partly for the sakes of a better standard of conversation (which I feel I had in the first year of this blog) and partly to have that sort of stuff over with so I don’t have to waste my time babysitting twits whose only real interests are to be disruptive and negative.

    For what it’s worth one of my favourite blogs (bioephemera) has no comments at all – Jessica (the author) decided filtering out nonsense was just too much stress & hassle! (Must update the blogroll – the URL to it is out of date.)

    I’ve already had a wordpress.com blog for a long time, I “just” have to find time to migrate all the current material over there (assuming I don’t bump into storage limitations!) & fool around setting it up as I’d like it to be. I also want to find a better way to write them but that’s another story!

  • Ron,

    Firstly, with the exception of […]

    Ken was referring to me. (His reply is to me.)

    “Most bloggers here use moderation… ”

    Overlooking that you switched verbs midstream (from moderate to censor – more word games from you…) all bloggers here moderate, if they didn’t the comments would be rolling in spam, so everyone hits that ‘button’ actually.

  • Most bloggers here use moderation… Darcy is a standout in not hitting the censor button… ups to him.

    Please note, Ron, that ‘moderation’ =/= ‘censorship’. Yes, most of us use moderation ie posts from new commenters are held for moderation. It’s a means of cutting back the spam that would otherwise inundate some comments threads.

    Censorship = removal or non-posting of comments someone disagrees with. I don’t think I’ve ever done that & I seriously doubt that ‘most’ here do. Almost all science bloggers with whom I’m familiar (here & on other sites) tend to ‘ban’ only those who repeatedly & deliberately troll: derailing discussion & adding nothing of substance to an ongoing discussion. The ‘bioephemera’ blog Grant mentions is a rare exception. (A bit like shutting the kids in another room with a minder, for a while.) On the other hand, as I said previously, many pseudoscience sites will ban someone for simply presenting an opposing view – & you may need to present such a view only once before you’re history. If you’re really concerned about ‘censorship’ you might like to shift your focus.

  • Just to briefly extend on what Alison wrote, writers (bloggers) are free to ask that conversations on their blog are held to standard they feel comfortable with and fair enough. There’s no reason they should have to accept what they’re not happy with. It’s not a ‘right’ that visitors to a blog can harass the writer or generally be disruptive.

    (For the curious, my comment policy is at the end of the About page linked on the banner at the top of this page.)

  • Grant, Ken said, “I guess you do have to be careful of offending potential clients more than I do – although I am sure Ron is not in that category. (In fact for a business operated blog there would be an argument for putting such commenters into spam relatively early to maintain quality).”

    He included me in on that comment… don’t be so sensitive.

  • Ron,

    Repeating myself from only a day ago, “Please at least try read what people have written before replying.”

    Read what Ken wrote – carefully. When Ken wrote “Being your own boss” he was referring to me as I explained earlier; your reference to your business has you misreading him.

    Where you are mentioned is as not being in the category of potential clients of mine. Similarly following on from that you are (obliquely) included in the ‘such commenters’ that he suggested would be put “into spam relatively early to maintain quality”.

    It’s silly have to spell out English for you (and not for the first time). Try read and understand what others write before replying. It would save everyone a lot of hassle.

    Finally, please stop being argumentative, you are continuing to be childish. Lift your game please.

  • Syndication, yes.
    I also syndicate content based on tags. By default the sciblogs tag is applied automatically to every post, I can remove it if I feel it’s not appropriate. This works for me, you might need a different scheme if a larger fraction of your hypothetical out put would be split out from the normal sciblogs channel.

    Occasionally formatting issues crop up (videos in particular tend not to display properly), or other things happen which require changes to the original post I don’t want copied to the sciblogs version or I want to change the sciblogs version and not have the original re-syndicate over the changes.

    To help with these issues I’ve recently found you can turn off syndication to specific posts from the sciblogs side. Handy. This is an option in the edit post page for the article on the sciblogs backend.

    Otherwise things tend to go fairly smoothly.

  • mmmm, Grunt… so can you explain to the masses what Ken was referring to when he bundled me into the post????? “although I am sure Ron is not in that category.”

  • Hi Darcy,

    Guess I’ll try a foot in each camp (that is, run both setups for a while) and sync a few in tenderfoot fashion until I’m happy with it. It’ll be a hassle to have to rejig video settings – I set mine to 640×390, does that carry across in your experience? Should look out for that ‘hold syndication’ option you mention, but I might also experiment with just cut’n’paste “syndication” for them – I’ve done this between posts in the backend, so I presume it’ll work. (I’ve found copying the whole post out the editor and pasting it into a new empty post works just fine.)

  • I haven’t tried altering the video display setting to see if that helps, I suspect not but worth a try. What normally happens is the syndicated post gets a small image representing the video which links back to the original post.
    Copy/pasting should work fine too, does mean you can tailor posts somewhat as well. A bit of extra work that’s all.

  • (I’ve found copying the whole post out the editor and pasting it into a new empty post works just fine.)

    Which is pretty much what I do, if I write something for SB & then think, hmmm, this would go down OK on TT as well. Or vice versa.

    Back to your original title – I think one of the trickiest things to get right when you start blogging (& I think it applies particularly to science with its own vocab & conventions) is your ‘voice’/register. Scientists are so accustomed to delivering information in a particular way that it can be quite difficult to make the jump to writing in a chattier, open-ended style.

  • Hi Alison,

    “I think one of the trickiest things to get right when you start blogging (& I think it applies particularly to science with its own vocab & conventions) is your ‘voice’/register. Scientists are so accustomed to delivering information in a particular way that it can be quite difficult to make the jump to writing in a chattier, open-ended style.”

    I think you’re right, especially for those that go straight into trying to write for a general audience without first spending some time reading the better blogs to get a feel for what works (and ideally reading some of the many articles about science blogging and writing!)

    Aside from style & voice, terminology wants to be used very directly when talking amongst your peer group, even in a casual conversation, whereas in writing to a wider audience (e.g. in ‘explainer’ articles) I try hard to dig back to the concepts and convey those instead.

    There are a few good blogs that deliver in a more formal style for those seeking that sort of thing and I think there is still a place for that, provided the writer accepts they’ll receive a limited, niche, audience. In fact sometimes I wish there were more of this, too. (Well, we can be greedy and ask for it all and more!)

  • Well, speaking as a non-blogger but a regular reader and occasional commenter at SciBlogs I’d like to say that I think you all get the tone pretty much right. Love your work!

  • Ron, I was simply saying that I did not think you would be one of Grant’s clients. I was referring to his business and his blog, not yours.

    A business oriented blog probably could not afford to allow unfettered comments and vendettas like yours as the childish tone produced could turn genuine clients away.

    I don’t think science bloggers get into censoring in the way you imply. I have only had to do it a few times when a commentor has threatened violence, resorted to extreme crude abuse or has blatantly been advertising their own book. I treat those sort of things as spam and put their details in the filter - better for all. Otherwise I allow free reign and I know that it is SciBlogs editorial policy to encourage comments.

  • Thanks for the clarification Ken… I’ve re-read your post in light of your explanation and conclude it is somewhat ambiguous…

    I can assure you censorship is alive and well on sciblog… at least it was for a bit.

    My ongoing criticism of Grant is that he (and others) who claim to be guardians of science and the scientific process often blog on topics outside of their expertise and apply the skeptic’s paradox… they use anecdote to debunk anecdote… If people want to label criticism of such hypocrisy as childish, then so be it. When I referred recently to using first principles in affirming so-called evidence, Grant lambasted me as not knowing what I was talking about as, he claimed, first principles didn’t apply to medicine… C’est la vie…

  • Hi Ron,

    Raise the standard and tone, please. You’re travelling in circles, repeating (empty) accusations, too – these things have all been addressed before. (Your comments are full of classic trolling: trying to be argumentative, bringing up old points, putting words in others mouths, trying to drag the conversation off-topic, bringing things across from other threads, etc. Bleating on about being ‘censored’ when they get moderated is standard line from trolls, too.)

    The difference between censorship and moderation has been explained to you many times now, most recently by Alison earlier in this thread – which you appear to be ignoring. (You also appear to be ignoring her other earlier comments in this thread addressed to you.)

    Most bloggers who are faced with trolls will moderate them, that’s all that’s been done to you (and I’ll continue to – your behaviour deserves it). Some ban them. I reserve that right myself. My policy is explained in the ‘About’ page. No-one expects them to like it; bleating about it is more likely to result in further moderation.

    As I explained earlier, people set a standard that suits what they are comfortable with and what they want to achieve with their blog. If accusations, word games and childish taunts like you use are ‘your thing’—they’re certainly not my thing—set up your own blog at wordpress.com or blogger.com, etc.

    It’s always possible to raise points in a polite way. Similarly, points can be raised without directing them ‘at’ someone. Dressing up attacks on people won’t excuse them.

    For what it’s worth, I consider the way you focus on me unhealthy and I would like you to move on, as much for your sake as anyone’s.

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