This moggy notes with concern that the posting of comments on the IPKat's weblog on European Patent Office (EPO) matters has got somewhat out of hand. The IPKat has asked her to have a word with readers, which is exactly what she is doing now. If you are one of the participants in the recent strings of comments, please take careful note:
This weblog has been accused by many anonymous readers -- but not as yet by any named ones -- of "taking sides", "bias" and "partiality". Merpel would like to remind everyone that this weblog doesn't have a policy or a position: it would be difficult for it even to formulate one, seeing as it is a team of some ten individual bloggers with different professional or vocational skills, spread across different countries and with a variety of intellectual property interests.
|Sometimes a good roar can open a dialogue...|
It remains the case that, since July of last year when the governance of the European Patent Office was first seriously addressed by this weblog, the overwhelming majority of readers' comments and emails received by the IPKat's Gmail account and individual members of the blog team has been highly critical of the activities of the European Patent Office, its President and some of its senior officials. This moggy and the other Kat-bloggers are quite busy enough with their day-jobs and with covering other IP developments and have no interest in either manufacturing comments or manipulating debate. Their interest, as is everyone's, is in the existence of a smoothly operating, efficient and high-quality EPO which will function both within the context of the European Union's new patent regime and beyond it, in a manner which offers confidence to its users, dignity to its officers and genuine job satisfaction to its staff.
Incidentally, a reader has recently pointed out that the European Patent Office has its own weblog, which you can access here. Like the IPKat, the EPO's blog has a comment facility but a brief inspection of some of the blogposts suggests that it may not have been used.
This moggy will repeat what this weblog has said in the past. There is no policy of censoring the comments of one "side" and promoting the comments of the other. All comments are however moderated and will be routinely blocked if they are abusive, obscene, blasphemous or defamatory. They will also be blocked if they contain nothing of relevance to the substance of the initial blogpost. This much is standard for all comments on all blogposts and on all topics.
With regard to EPO posts we have also taken down a number of blogposts, at the request of the person posting them or a body representing them, on the basis that, since the identity of the comment-poster has either been stated or can easily be identified from the content of the post, there is a reasonable expectation that the comment-poster will face disciplinary proceedings and/or possible dismissal.
|Comments may end up here|
Better management of readers' comments.
In the past, when blogposts rarely attracted more than 15 or 20 readers' comments, even the most controversial posts attracted strings of comments that could easily be monitored by the casual reader. In the case of blogposts attracting a large number of comments, where there were two or more strings of discussion and with most posts being authored by "Anonymous", the convention of placing the commenter's time next to the word "Anonymous" (eg "Anonymous 15:37") enabled readers of a later post to identify the string and the comment to which response was being made. Now that this moggy's posts are regularly attracting vast numbers of comments over several days, this system has become unworkable since readers of later posts can easily miss earlier comments (or assume erroneously that they have been taken down) because they were posted some days earlier. This moggy therefore has the solution:
no comment will be posted if it is merely ascribed to "Anonymous". Any reader wishing to conceal his or her identity must adopt a pseudonym (which should not be obscene and should not be the name, or the mis-spelling of the name, of a real person). The pseudonym need not be an actual login name, as long as it is stated clearly at the beginning and/or end of the comment itself. This way, it will be easier for people who post later comments to identify and remember the earlier comment-poster and to recall the discussion string. Where, as has already happened on occasion, a string carries over from one blogpost to a later one on the same or a related subject, readers will be encouraged to use the same pseudonym for the sake of continuity.A reminder to pick a pseudonym will be added to each subsequent blogpost on European Patent Office matters -- of which there are several currently in preparation, the first of which will be available on this weblog in the very near future.