Comments, censorship and editorial balance

Yesterday the IPKat reminded readers that this blog does not refuse to post comments with which he and Merpel disagree. Since then it has received a number of comments to contrary effect. One, for instance, reads:
"I have posted much comments in latest days such as information from enlarge appeal board and trying to get letter to administrating council. No comment is ever put in the blog. No one comment. Is strange I think because much comments are more critic".
This Kat repeats: we are perfectly willing to post comments that are relevant to the post on which they are commenting, regardless of the position they take, and so long as they are not abusive or obscene.  He does not think it strange when only one side is represented in readers' comments since it's quite a frequent occurrence -- but he agrees that, the larger the number of comments received on any given blogpost, the more unlikely it is that readers will be reflecting the same view.

Incidentally, the IPKat and Merpel don't actually reach a consensus position and then press for it: the team consists of some ten IP enthusiasts from different countries and with different backgrounds. Sometimes some members of the blog team consult with one another or see each other's posts before they go live, but this is not the rule.

Another anonymous commenter wrote as follows:
"I have commented many times on this blog. Most comments are posted, but I find comments that tend to be critical, directly or indirectly, of the original poster (not o the patently-o type) tend to go amiss. I know that sometimes my postings do not appear because I failed to prove I was not a robot and closed the box without realizing, others I guess may have seen lost somewhere else along the way, but since the ipkat censorship assertion several months ago, I am finding more posts going missing as described.

If posts do go amiss for technical reasons are the ipkat administrators aware of this problem, and how are we to judge whether the censorship line has been crossed?"
For obvious reasons the IPKat's authors (we all check for comments to moderate) cannot be aware of a problem of posts that go missing unless someone tells them, If you have tried to post a comment and it has not appeared on the blog, please email the IPKat at (using an anonymous or pseudonymous email source if you like) and let us have sight of the text in question. We will either post it or, in the unlikely event that it does not meet our criteria, we will respond and explain why.  This Kat will also raise the question with his fellow Kats as to whether we might ask a suitably non-bloggy person to act as an independent referee in the case of comments that are received but not posted.

The following links may also be of some assistance:
  • Diagnosing problems with Blogger comments here
  • Troubleshooting comments for Blogger here
FURTHER NOTE: since posting this item, it occurs to this blogger that comments are sometimes received as emails to individual members of the blog team, and sometimes to an unattended Gmail account that is used solely for the purposes of being able to log on to Blogger and compose blog posts. Also, some people try to respond to blog posts which they have received by email, clicking "reply" and responding to the Google Group which sends out the emails in the first place.  PLEASE: if you want to post a comment, can you seek to do so initially via the "Comment" link at the foot of the blog post upon which you seek to make a comment. 
Comments, censorship and editorial balance Comments, censorship and editorial balance Reviewed by Jeremy on Saturday, December 13, 2014 Rating: 5


  1. I suggest everyone appends a note at the bottom of their comment in the following form: "Please notify me if this comment is not received." :-)

  2. Is the Kat saying here that the many comments not posted, including that posted by the first commentator mentioned above are considered either abusive or obscene?

    There are many comments personally critical of the President of the EPO, which, if I was him, would consider step well over the line of fair comment. These are particularly abusive yet are allowed through.

  3. My take is that there is some strange technical reason why some posts are not getting through.

  4. I inquired several times about the case of my missing IPKat contributions, and the cause was invariably because it had been marked as spam by some robot.

    If you drop a line to the address above, someone at Kitten HQ will happily go dumpster diving.

    I used to think that a secret admirer from my fan club was objecting to my verbosity, the excessive number of links or eyesore of text set in bold or italics. But I now suspect malformed HTML to be a contributing factor.

    Regarding PatentlyO, I gave up commenting there as I too often had to edit my message again and again and again until I could finally outwit the spam filter. There has been many attempts at modifying the message board, but each installment has its baffling features. The comments are mostly of the write-only kind, as they are not indexed by search engines.

  5. To Anonymous 17:42:00

    You are right. There have been some comments that are abusive, and they are bound to get through from time to time since several of us moderate readers' comments and some of us have different appreciations of what constitutes abuse in any given case. Consistency is not easy to achieve.

  6. One man's "abuse" is another's on point, accurate and scorching wit.

    When your "side" is the side going down in flames in any such battle of wits, it is then that cries of "abuse" ring most loudly.

    But that's really just human nature.

  7. I am hardly an establishment person and if there is a received position then I am usually inclined to go in the opposite direction. In my time I have posted comments which have been heterodox and the reaction to them has sometimes been opposing or even critical, but never unpleasant. I thought that the rule (now confirmed by the IPKat and Merpel) that as long as it is not obscene or offensive then anything (else) goes. Obviously there are lines, which are sometimes hard to find but steering the right side of them whilst making you point cannot be a problem. Lawyers, which is most of us in one form or another, do it for a living.


  8. My worry about this blog largely stems from the consistent digs at persons in some quarters espcially knowing that they are not in a position to reply. Today in another part of this blog are the copyright awards and there you will find -not for the first time -a little rant about the stakeholders. Fair enough -the debate in copyright is usually very low at best and no group of stakeholders (including academics)seems capbable of elevating it beyond partisanship. Although the blog entry itself seem to imply that the blogger belongs in the elusive elevated category. Then at the end you find this dig at policy makers (and this is not the first time):"To people who care about copyright (in one way or another)[who are these please -copyright is not different to any other policy area] these arguments sound fairly shabby [which arguments?] Yet, those who advance them feature prominently in the copyright landscape, if not - and quite incredibly to be honest - in the policy-making arena." Now the blogger says there will be no naming and shaming but this is as good as that and clearly someone or some institution and their hapless staff are being targeted.

  9. Anonymous @ 13:35,

    Verily, a blog that only too willingly "entertains" with its own rants and then wants none of that when the attention is turned back...

    Well, see above at 22:02.

  10. While we’re more broadly on the topic of possible technical problems, what’s the deal with IPKat’s RSS feed? (Yeah, I know, I’m old.) New posts appear on the feed only maybe once a week, like this particular one, posted Dec 13, didn’t show up until Dec 21/22.

  11. Anna, I didn't know there were any problems with the RSS feed - and to be honest I don't know how to resolve them either since I've never been an RSS user.

    I wonder if any readers can advise ...

  12. Anna, forgive me for stating the obvious but if new posts are appearing on the RSS feed only once a week, could it be that your RSS reader's properties for the IPKat feed are set with an update frequency of "Weekly"?

  13. Nope, it’s set to update every three hours. I don’t have this problem with any other RSS feed so I don’t think the problem is at my end. (Right now the feed is up to date after I got like 15 new posts today so I can’t test it without a time machine, I’m afraid.)

  14. Okay, today’s new post did show up on the RSS feed so everything seems to be fine on the server side, must be some random caching issue at my end then. Oh well...

  15. The last IPKat posts on my RSS feed were on 1st December. Like Anna, it’s set to update every three hours, and I don’t have this problem with any other RSS feed.

  16. Interesting. I just re-subscribed to the RSS feed and got 19 new posts, from 13 December onwards. No sign of posts between 1 and 13 December.

    The old subscription address was The new one is Both seem to co-exist happily in my list of feeds. I wonder if I will start receiving new posts again?

  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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