One thing that has always surprised me about PooterGeek over the years is how good-natured and reasonable most of the comments here have been, compared to many ‘Blogs. ‘Bloggers have linked here commenting specifically on this strange phenomenon. Admittedly, PooterGeek is not a forum for free speech. I have deleted thousands of spam comments, suppressed one libel directed at someone very rich, removed a whole thread after a contributor admitted she had gone too far in attacking me personally, and barred one commenter whose “contribution” linked to a program designed to make visitors’ PCs dial a premium rate phone line.

David Duff has now collected the not-very-impressive honour of being the second person I have barred from PooterGeek. Last night I hoped to head off the problem with a long and silly Duff parody I briefly posted. One of the reasons the debate is healthy around here is that commenters usually take my hints well, but I realised he wouldn’t, so I deleted the jokey post and the single (neutral) comment it had attracted (sorry, Timbeaux).

I thought about banning Mr Duff a while back when he made a false and appalling insinuation about me and my father. He still hasn’t apologised for that. Instead, like a chav caught on CCTV, he pretended, as usual, complete ignorance of an offence plain to everyone else’s eyes. This week he started using the comments here to make excuses for racists. I pay for PooterGeek. I’m not paying for that. For your future reference neither will I pay for people to deny the Holocaust, incite violence, or promote Morris dancing here. Everyone else is welcome to write about everything else, and (especially) to continue criticising, mocking, and abusing me as usual. From now on there’ll be a slight filtering delay after you post before your comments appear on the site.

(Anyone who knows me will know that I do not deploy the words “racist” or “appalling” in print casually and I haven’t been casual about this decision—not that I expect to be besieged by The Friends of Duff any time soon.)