The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

Rules of the house

Posted on January 10, 2013 by

We’ve closed two comment threads today, both of them coincidentally at the 250-comment mark, which we think is the highest ever. Both had descended into pointlessness, with small groups repeating themselves at each other and everyone complaining that everyone else was being rude. By internet argument standards they were very mild indeed, but it seemed a good time to reiterate our moderation policy.

Wings Over Scotland has, as far as we can tell, by some considerable distance the most liberal comment policy of any Scottish political website of any kind, whether blog or commercial media. We don’t pre-moderate comments, we don’t require registrations or social-media logins, we don’t make you mess around with hideous Captchas and we don’t censor you for disagreeing with us. We simply trust our readers to act like civilised people – very occasionally asking them nicely to calm down a little if things are getting overheated – and it works. That policy will not be changing.

However, just as freedom of speech excludes the right to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, some standards will continue to be upheld. Where users are persistently abusive or intentionally disruptive, and ignore repeated public warnings, we will take action. In the site’s 15-month history we’ve banned two people, and deleted a tiny handful of comments – nearly all of them in a single thread almost a year ago, where one person was using dozens of different IDs to post incoherent gibberish.

Some people have requested recently that there be a place where topics not raised in a particular article can be discussed. We’re not looking to run a forum, but it seemed to us that there was a certain amount of crossover between these two issues. Therefore, as of today we’ve revived a disused old page as a “quarantine”, where disruptive posts can be moved and where people can also, if they really want to, talk about any old thing they feel like. You can bookmark it, or just remember the Q-word.

We don’t particularly encourage its use – as we say, if we wanted to run a forum we’d do so. But if you really must discuss whether the US Government deliberately demolished the World Trade Centre itself, say, now there’s a place you can do so with anyone who’s interested, without derailing anyone else’s thread.

We’ve always thought of any well-run website as being like a pub, where people can come together for a good time and lively discourse, including the freedom to argue. And like any good landlord, we won’t stand by and watch our patrons be glassed. Now, if you want to behave obnoxiously or smoke, there’s an outside to do it in.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

44 to “Rules of the house”

  1. Kenny Campbell says:

    Christ almighty, thanks for pointing out that car crash of a dialogue I’d managed to avoid…Look away now kids. ūüėÄ

  2. MajorBloodnok says:

    Dadsarmy was quite funny though – I’m surprised he’s not gone blind by now.

  3. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    dadsarmy is a lady.

  4. Cuphook says:

    You have to be congratulated on your moderation policy. End of the day it’s your blog and your rules, so it’s to be welcomed that you give people the opportunity to act like adults.
    As to the pork scratchings (is there a vegetarian option?), if you’re looking on the pavement for a sixpence you’re as old as the moon?

  5. Aplinal says:

    Isn’t this a reference to the “owl and the pussycat?”

  6. MajorBloodnok says:

    That’s OK, I’m very open minded.

  7. Doug Daniel says:

    Testy westy.

    Hmmm, does Akismet have something against name-checking a particular ex-patron of the site who has a rather worrying obsession with you, Stu?

    I think your comments policy is very fair. It’s all well and good allowing arguments to flow, but when they’re not reaching a natural conclusion, there’s only one way to deal with it.

  8. Aplinal says:

    Ahah,¬† I googled it – so won’t say what.¬† Nice.¬† thanks rev, and to echo others’ thoughts, I think your whole site is the best on the web (OK sycophancy over).¬† The moderation policy is spot on, and you deal with the very occasional ‘offender’ with calm assertion.¬†
    Lang may yer lum reek

  9. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Testy westy.

    Hmmm, does Akismet have something against name-checking a particular ex-patron of the site who has a rather worrying obsession with you, Stu?”

    Not that I’m aware of, but will check.

  10. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Ooh, wait, I’m wrong. Have removed the filter now.

  11. Doug Daniel says:

    Don’t do that, he might come back!

  12. Strange.¬† I expected one of the threads to be the one¬†about Rangers (RIP)¬†wanting to leave Scottish fitba with the “debate” spilling randomly into any other.¬† Must be a better class of¬†fitba fan¬†inhabits here as these things tend to degenerate elsewhere into “Youze urr sectarianer than us byraway,” “No wur no – whit aboot the time when, etc, etc…”¬† 250 posts would’ve been an expected minimum.

  13. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Don‚Äôt do that, he might come back!”

    HE’S still banned, just mention of his name isn’t. (THOUGH IT’S STILL FROWNED UPON.)

  14. muttley79 says:

    I missed all this…

  15. Cuphook says:

    It would be good if Unionists availed themselves of your blog to put forward the elusive ‘positive case for the Union’ but the only ones that you’ve attracted so far have been oddballs (and I’m being polite) or party apparatchiks who think that arguing is of itself a purpose.
    If anyone can get themselves into the position of being banned from a blog with a very liberal moderation policy then their keyboard should be removed and all future comments expressed in crayon.    
    If he who should not be named is who I’m thinking of then please continue the ban.¬†
    And on a political note, has there been any reaction from the opposition parties to Salmond being cleared, yet again, of any misconduct?

  16. Matt Craig says:

    That old (The) Rangers article had some real LOL comments from some hidden-talented comedians! Ex.: “Away back to your independence rants and let the big boys of the Central Belt concentrate on what really matters in everything Scottish.” Now, you have to admit, that’s comedy gold!

    That Quarantine section is like a blast from the past – and not in a good way! Full (so far) of ‘offerings’ from supertroll and all out unpleasant persona Longshanker it left me feeling that my lunch was going to come back up! I had forgotten about him….(Damn you, Rev Stu, damn you!!)

    Anyway, for those with a strong stomach, Google his moniker and there you will find plenty more offerings from Mr. Longshanker, his very own ‘quirky’ blog, comments left at various sites and his twitter account showing a picture of the one and only! You have been warned!

    He’s still really bitter and twisted about Rev Stu of course, naming this site as “Wangs over Skintland” and leaving statements on his own nasty little blog such as,¬†“He needs to grow a pair (commentor) . (Longshanker’s blog) can prove he’s a wee naebaws liar. Fancies himself as a polemicist and an advocate of free speech. That’s why he censored Longshanker and lacks the baws to provide the evidence of his false accusations here. Like one of his home boys called him the other day – aw mooth and nae troosers.”

    Nice, friendly and welcoming the Better Together proponents, aren’t they!!¬†

  17. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Bizarrely, apparently yesterday the psychotic loony accused me of being a “hate driven sectarian thief”. I don’t even know WHAT that’s all about, but he seems really, really angry about not being allowed onto a website he loathes. Anyway, let’s not dignify the wee nutter with any more discussion.

  18. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “And on a political note, has there been any reaction from the opposition parties to Salmond being cleared, yet again, of any misconduct?”

    Yes. Scottish Labour have issued a press release saying he was guilty and implying he’s a liar. Was thinking of doing something on it, but really, what’s the point? They accuse him of “evasion”, despite being a party that won’t tell us its membership, won’t tell us how many people voted for its leader, won’t tell us that leader’s opinion on having nuclear weapons in Scotland, and won’t tell us its official policy on anything. They’re beyond satire.

  19. Matt Craig says:

    @ RevStu “HE‚ÄôS still banned, just mention of his name isn‚Äôt. (THOUGH IT‚ÄôS STILL FROWNED UPON.)”

    Ye gods!!! What have I done?!?!

    Sorry, Stu, I was unsure if [he who is frowned upon] should be even mentioned at all given as how he may look upon it as some sort of ‘win’. I’m not trying to test your moderation policy – honestly!! Do feel free to redact [he who is frowned upon] or to reduce my last post to its first paragraph only. Apologies once more!

  20. muttley79 says:

    Will the media cover the outcome of the complaint against Salmond in the same manner as they did the allegations?.. 

  21. Cuphook says:

    Interesting how non of the media stories have a Labour quote.
    I met a Tory acquaintance for coffee this morning and, surprisingly, he’s now gone from No to ‘don’t know’. If you knew the guy that’s a major chasm that he’s crossed. I somehow doubt that he’ll ever vote Yes but the fact that he might abstain is remarkable. And it’s all thanks to Better Together, apparently; seriously, it’s their campaign that’s caused him to think.

  22. scottish_skier says:


     And it’s all thanks to Better Together, apparently; seriously, it’s their campaign that’s caused him to think.

    I mentioned my best mate before. While he’s SNP he feels both Scottish and English due to family, ergo British and a ‘no’. However, he’s not best pleased at all with the pro-union campaign and might yet change his mind or abstain. Aye, better together are alienating even what might have been guaranteed no voters.

  23. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Ye gods!!! What have I done?!?!”

    Heh. It wasn’t a retrospective criticism, more a clarification of policy ūüėÄ

  24. dadsarmy says:

    Rev says: “dadsarmy is a lady”

    LOL, is that what I’ve been doing wrong all these years?

  25. Cuphook says:

    There was nothing logical that I could see in his reasoning but I did get a sense of disillusionment, both with the No campaign and the UK government. There was also a rant about ‘bloody Labour’ so maybe it had to do with Labour being so prominent in their campaign. I honestly don’t know.¬†

  26. scottish_skier says:


    I’d hazard a guess that its the softer economic right that would be prepared to vote Yes to independence if faced with the prospect of Ed in charge at No. 10. Some evidence in polls for this.

    While someone might be more right inclined economics-wise, hence not so keen on the centist/left-leaning aspect of the SNP, they could well prefer that to an incompetent Labour party for Holyrood. Also, if it comes to it, for an independent Scotland too.

    We must remember that back in the 1970’s the SNP, as a centrist liberal party generally, were in fact to the right of Labour; the latter actually being a real left/socialist party at that time. Of course the SNP have retained a generally similar centrist liberal stance and watched Labour march off to the right under Tony. Ed’s now sailing into the neoliberal, authoritarian sunset.

    At the same time, half of Scotland used to vote Tory, but at that time they were an independent (Scottish Unionist Party), strongly nationalistic (strong Scotland in the Empire/Union), quite socially liberal ‘wet’ Tory, protestant church etc lot. When Maggie went full on neoliberal, the softer right, more socially liberal Scot went to the Libs and to a lesser extent the SNP. Just as the left has migrated from the other side to them after Labour¬†abandoned¬†socialism.

    The problem if you are a Tory in Scotland is that the UK Tories don’t give a rat’s behind about you or your country. You’d be better voting for independence and have some influence through a fully Scottish centre-right party. Call Murdo to discuss.¬†

    What impresses me about Scotland is its perseverance in balance between left, right and centre. Overall, Scotland has always voted for something generally close to the centre, both economically and socially, going right back to the war and beyond. If half voted Tory, half voted Labour and so on. Here we are 60 years on from that and we have a centrist (slightly left leaning), modestly socially liberal government a world away from the 3 main UK parties who are all right-wing and to varying extents authoritarian. Scotland has the type of voter democratic we should be very pleased with as it favours balanced, consensus politics, listening to all sides and finding common ground. Makes for strong policy. Incidentally, the closest comparison is Norway in terms of overall electorate / government socio-economic stance.

  27. Cuphook says:

    We’ve always looked at the prospect of another Tory government increasing the YES vote but never considered the effect that a prospective Labour government might have on some Tory voters. Like I said, I don’t know what’s going through his mind, but I will try and find out next time that I see him.
    I know that like most Unionists he sees the UK as his country so it’s a puzzle as to why he’s become hesitant in defending its future. I had cause to visit his house once and it’s full of books on WW2 and he even has model warships on display, so I’m guessing that his view of Britishness is influenced by the very history that the No campaign go on about. His is the sort of vote that the No campaign shouldn’t have to give a thought about and yet they might be losing him.
    I know that he voted SNP in 2011 to keep Labour out; he also thinks that they’re competent in government and approves of some of their policies, yet, bizarrely, approved of Lamont’s ‘something for nothing’ speech.
    The referendum is a long way off yet but I’m increasingly thinking that there is a change happening in the country that hasn’t been picked up on yet. When the Yes campaign really gets started it should get interesting.
    And remember, when Scots have had the chance to vote on self rule they’ve always voted Yes.

  28. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Thank you.

    I think we will have tofasctor in that the NO camp willbe aware tha ttheyare losing the online war bigtime.

    Disruption on y topics will become the rule very often coming from people pretending to be our friends.

  29. Silverytay says:

    Scottish_Skier   I would just like to say thanks , everytime I feel myself sinking into a state of depression due to all the negativity about , you come up with a couple of posts that puts things into perspective .

  30. Malcolm says:

    Why not invite some commenters to write articles for discussion? There are some excellent analyses in comments on this website, so I am sure some have the talent to write something de novo.

  31. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Why not invite some commenters to write articles for discussion? There are some excellent analyses in comments on this website, so I am sure some have the talent to write something de novo.”

    I do.

    “We have an inquiring mind, and actively welcome intelligent contributions from all sides of the political debate. Got something worthwhile to say about Scotland‚Äôs future? Try us.”

  32. velofello says:

    Libertie, Egalitie,Fraternitie are my politics. 

    i just wouldn’t vote Labour. Not in the past for union dominated UK pre-Thatcher,and under no circumstance for Lamont’s current inept version. Nor would I vote for Tory UK having experienced Thatcher’s viscious application of power. Liberals are hopeless, Green Party have ideas I can identify with but they are lacking in Real politics. The SNP fits the bill for me.
    i just couldn’t hack being a politician. listening to the slurs that Lamont and Co thro’ at, for me, respectable intelligent SNP persons sickens me.Excusing such behaviour as “politics” doesn’t fit with me.
    That any child in Scotland is living in poverty is one too many. And as for food banks operating here, incredible.
    I studied hard, worked hard, and gained the benefits yet my wee personal mantra was always that sure I’d like to be wealthier but not at the cost of anyone living in poverty.i’ve had more than a fair share of state funded education, of NHS treatment. It was jimmy Reid i think, who looking up at a blocks of council flats remarked “there’s talent in there”. From my work experience I know that to be true.
    ¬†I wonder whether there are “soft” Scottish Tories of the my inclination but reticent,who may well vote Yes.
    libertie, Egalitie, Fraternitie, LEF just short of LEFT! Maybe there is a silent bunch of LEFs, political centrists, reading, listening and ready to be assured.

  33. dadsarmy says:

    Your friend and the WW2 thing, I’ve got books on WW2, but also read loads from the library from a young age, and WW1 and the Boer War, and always followed British defence news¬†– until I got married and had a family. Even read Das Boot in German. For me it doesn’t get in the way of Independence at all, it’s kind of completely disconnected. Perhaps it’s because that’s history, now is now with the future to come.

    Even my moniker “dadsarmy”, if you think of the words of the theme song: “if you think old England’s done”. that doesn’t insult me that is wasn’t “old Britain’s done”, that’s just the way it was. There were Scots, Welsh, Irish – both parts, Poles, Free French, Norwegians, resistance movements, even Americans before they entered the war. And of course all the colonial¬†country forces. But as far as England was concerned it was England as being the whole thing. Who cares, or who did then?

    Trying to analyse why people can be British and Scottish and want Independence for Scotland from the UK is probably a good idea for a thread.

  34. Malcolm says:

    I do.
    ‚ÄúWe have an inquiring mind, and actively welcome intelligent contributions from all sides of the political debate. Got something worthwhile to say about Scotland‚Äôs future? Try us.‚ÄĚ
    Sure – but what about approaching someone who has made an interesting point in comments to actively ask for them to spin it out into an article?

  35. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I’ve done that in the past too. But y’know, there are only X hours in the day, and this isn’t my job. If you want to write something, holler.

  36. Yesitis says:

    Oh there goes Sally Magnusson telling viewers of Reporting Scotland that Newsnight is on tonight featuring an interview with Alastair Darling from the “Better Together” campaign.

  37. Bill C says:

    World War 2 is a hobby of mine (I even like Dad’s Army!), however it has absolutley no influence on my politics, I have been a nationalist for over forty years. Actually, I tell a lie, if anything, it probably has made me more of a nationalist, my uncle¬†was captured at St. Valery with the 51st Highland Division and spent 5 years in a POW camp.¬† He always felt that the Scots were treated as cannon fodder in the retreat from Dunkirk.

    Darling is also on Scotland Tonight tonight. 

  38. Cuphook says:

    The reason that I brought up WW2 was because the No campaign use it as an example of what makes Britain great, and my acquaintance (he’s not a friend) is the sort of Tory whose vote they should be guaranteed of. The irony is that the No campaign are doing exactly what they mistakenly accuse the Yes campaign of, playing to historical passions, yet losing the vote of someone who buys into their view of things. I’m not suggesting that anyone who’s interested in WW2 would by nature be more inclined to vote No.
    I’ve always assumed that we in Scotland have a better understanding than the English of the nuances of British culture. I could be wrong but as most English people think that English and British are, in most cases, synonymous, I doubt it. To them British is English unless it has a tartan wrapper. Scots are victim to the English assumption and are adept at translating the two words into context.
    It does appear though that different Scots have different takes on what is English and what is Scottish as I notice on the succeeding thread that Cath describes Monty Python as British whereas I’ve always seen it as English. I do agree with her though that the Beatles are British.
    A lot of this perception will, of course, be influenced by age, social class, education etc and just some random stereotyping. Personally I’ve found that politics also plays a part as I recently saw an episode of HIGNFY and found that it had no relevance to my life; it was an English political show.
    It would be interesting to see how Scots identify UK ‘national treasures’ but what would be more interesting, to my mind, would be to see how they identify Scottish productions when having to choose between Scottish and international. Taggart: Scottish or international? It was a big hit in Denmark and influenced shows like The Killing. Anyway, I’ll save my rant about the forced parochialism of Scottish TV for another day. (I don’t watch TV btw. It’s so 20th century.)

  39. Clarinda says:

    Dadsarmy – my father, also captured at St Valery (Seaforths)¬†had much the same view of Dunkirk – at times more colourful re the alleged ‘sacrifice’.¬† He¬†wrote many articles published in newspapers as to the spirit of the¬†various nationalities he came across in POW camp and their fierce spirit not to be subjugated by another. Being Independently minded before WW2 this 5year POW term confirmed his political and social thinking. He worked hard to set up,¬†teach, and lead a pipe-band in all his POW¬†Oflags which he maintained did more to establish the heart and soul of mostly Scots who took part.¬†He was one of the original composers of the 51st Reel music which was subsequently re-written in the spirit of his original theme.

  40. dadsarmy says:

    Bill C / Clarinda
    Yes, they were used to cover the retreat, and subsquently virtually abandoned. It’s hard to know if they were deliberately selected from convering the retreat early on, or just happened to be most suited once the retreat was finally decided on. Probably the latter, they were associated with the remaining French army, and moved with them. But retreat was inevitable for a long time, and I expect¬†there would have been time to have planned their covering role further back in time.

    It’s one of those things that’ll never be know for sure I guess, and someone had to cover the retreat to give the main force the time it needed, and that might be deemed to be the best force available. Monty was very fond of the renamed 51st, and you’d have to wonder if there wasn’t a little guilt behind that.

    Almost makes me want to read all they books again.

  41. Holebender says:

    The point is, though, the 51st has been written out of any British perspective of Dunkirk. It’s all portrayed as some sort of divine intervention and that all British troops were evacuated with no-one left behind. Somehow the Germans just held back and let the entire BEF escape back to Blighty.
    I wouldn’t mind the abandonment of the 51st so much if their role was properly acknowledged by the UK. It’s their invisibility which really upsets me and which proves that nothing has changed since General Woolfe’s days.

  42. Cameron says:

    I do not want to earn myself the reputation of being a trouble maker, but I wonder if the posters who have referred to WW2, appreciate that it was in fact a “managed conflict”. Much in line with the Hegelian dialectic of problem/reaction/solution.

    The problem was the competeing ambitions of Nazis and the Soviets, who’s war capability had been enabled by western bankers and industrialists. The solution was the conflict itself, which provided enourmouse profit potential for the same bankers and industrialists. The solution is what we see today. A foe political paradigm of left and right, overbearing political power of central banks, the diminution of civil liberties, ect.

    So to think that WW2 has no significance to the politics of today, is to misunderstand the conflict entirely. For evidence supporting this opinion, I would refer you to two of the most highly regarded American historians of 20th century;

  43. Cameron says:

    Correction: the reaction was the conflict.

  44. Clarinda says:

    Holebender – couldn’t agree more. There are books written about this – Bill Innes’ for one – but as usual the remarkable holding efforts with many 51st¬†losses or subsequent 5 year POW experience was/is brushed over in the political-miltary spin to describe the Dunkirk retreat as almost a victory.¬† Certainly it was a tactical one but to ignore the role of the 51st¬†hides the potential real disaster that was so narrowly avoided at Dunkirk.¬† Hence I think my father and others of the same experience referring to the ‘sacrifice’ of the 51st.¬† Perhaps the future teaching of Scottish history will give overdue recognition? …………….?¬†

Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

↑ Top