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September 13, 2016 | Bullies

A best-selling Canadian author of 14 books on economic trends, real estate, the financial crisis, personal finance strategies, taxation and politics. Nationally-known speaker and lecturer on macroeconomics, the housing market and investment techniques. He is a licensed Investment Advisor with a fee-based, no-commission Toronto-based practice serving clients across Canada.

bullies

This blog started 2,435 posts ago as a way for me to hype a new book. I admit it. Soulless promotion. At the time I was still sitting in the House of Commons, the US economy was starting to roll over, the housing market there was a mess, the Harper government was playing with 0%-down, 40-year mortgages and few people were prepared for a 55% stock market plunge that would take place months later in the midst of the 2008 election campaign. (In which I was returned to the high office of private citizen.)

Since then I’ve written the equivalent of 32 books here, or almost two million words. Readership has gone from Dorothy and Bandit to 6.5 million visits and over a hundred million page views a year. Posts grew from one every few days to five times a week, then six and, a couple of months ago, to seven. The damn thing never closes now.

The blog’s evolved into a form of daily history, then. The book promotion is long gone (who’s got time for new tomes with this nonsense taking place?). The site has remained stripped of advertising, but it does contain a link to my day job, plus my weekend one. (Blog dogs get free sprinkles at the General Store, by the way.) No other attempt has been made to monetize what happens here, despite a slew of juicy proposals which regularly flow past me.

Meanwhile, over 440,000 comments have been posted. On a typical day there are 150 to 200 of them, and web traffic reports consistently show about 1% of the people who come here to sip at the well actually leave some words of their own. From Day One I chose a moderated format – so no comment is posted without it being approved after sitting in a queue. Trashed, deleted comments go into a special file which will be published after my death. Or maybe sooner.

Throughout the day I grab a few minutes to review what people have written, check the links they post and decide if it’s okay, or too trashy, tasteless or libelous to publish. As you can judge for yourself, some people take the time to offer useful comments. Others use the blog and its now-large audience to spew. As this happens, blog bullies emerge – shrill, argumentative, extreme voices using their cover of anonymity to belittle anyone who disagrees, stifling debate.

Seems to me this is how sites become corrupted, useless, irrelevant and unworthy of continuing. The steerage section fills up with people full of hate – against banks or immigrants, for example, governments or anyone unlike them. It’s loud, ugly and incessant. The goal is to make reasonable people with other views flee, so their opinion will prevail. Many public sites have succumbed to this disease, their owners turning a blind eye because traffic means clicks and impressions and, ultimately, revenues. Telling their readers and users to bug off is bad business.

Fortunately, there are no revenues here. No income stream. No profits to protect. So why should there be compromise?

Soon a significant number of posts, and the bullies behind them, will be punted from this blog. So get used to fewer being published. While we’re at it, maybe the whole section should be nuked.

Got a comment on that?

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September 13th, 2016

Posted In: The Greater Fool

2 Comments

  • Avatar Brian Jarvis says:

    It is the rare comment that adds to your blog. Toxic comments are unhealthy for you to read continually and unhelpful for your readers. Punt all the comments.

  • Avatar Holly Hallston says:

    Got a comment on that? Ya, for a guy who is sooo opinionated, you’re sure growing a thin skin. Have another scotch and chill out.

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