We need to think about Giles

41265_142378682459589_100000623749669_252609_8095769_nGiles Bradshaw has commented on this blog over 600 times and many of those comments have been on the subject of the Hunting Act – a subject on which I don’t recall ever writing a blog (although you can find a comment on it in Inglorious pp106-07).   A long time ago, I did publish a guest blog by Giles here and I was, and still am, very happy to do so.

His last 20 comments received 172 likes or dislikes from readers of this blog in the ratio 22 likes to 150 dislikes. It seems his comments aren’t very popular with other readers.

They aren’t very popular with me either, because there are so many of them, they are not very varied in content, they ascribe views to me that I have never expressed and often do not hold, and they are generally antipathetic to me (on my own blog).

But, being a wishy-washy liberal I am in favour of free speech and so a number of other commenters who also have a go at me here are tolerated by me, though sometimes not with completely good grace.  ‘kie’ is another commenter in whose comments I cannot recall ever reading a kind word about myself.  At least ‘kie’ varies his points of attack a little. But you other readers don’t see terribly keen on him (surely ‘kie’ can only be a ‘he’?) either, as his last 20 comments have received 33 likes to 118 dislikes.

But back to Giles. I did ban Giles for a few months quite a while back – why, I can’t remember, but I’m sure it was for a good reason – and I think that is the only occasion when someone has been banned from commenting (unless they were masquerading under a false email address – see here). I don’t want to ban Giles because that seems a bit draconian just for banging on incessantly about one particular thing but I am losing patience with him.

Have any of you, even including Giles, got any good ideas?




65 Replies to “We need to think about Giles”

  1. Keep him on Mark, yes he is very rude about you at times but that just demonstrates how he is losing the argument. Besides I’m sure he gives us all a good giggle every now and then.

    1. Yes he must write more than 2 lines and they should try to make sense.
      I can’t understand any of his comments. They seem to presume that i have all the missing dots.

  2. I have to say I sometimes have trouble following Giles’ line of thought which always seems to be on a single track to nowhere .. especially when the comment just seems to be a personal attack …… Whilst not posting anonymously, I am masquerading as my dog in my avatar – she is far better tempered with ‘keepers (but my email is mine) ………

  3. I normally relish a strong challenge to my views; similarly to the way that you don’t fully know a subject until you have tried to teach it to someone else, I think a good debate with skilled opponent is a key tool in fully understanding the implications of one’s own position. But I think I got a good grasp of Giles’ point of view at the first telling or so, after that it was either a matter of responding along with a bit of resentment that my attention was being demanded again (which i’ve grown bored of), or just ignore his comments with the fairly safe assumption that I wouldn’t lose anything of a learning opportunity by doing so. I’m assuming that most regular readers/contributors have, roundabouts, come to a similar conclusion. Whether you want your tolerate your blog being littered with a monotonously repeated point, delivered in an often less than polite tone, that distracts from new and pertinent points by demanding attention, by boring readers to the extent that they don’t go on to read newer comments, or achieves the same by remaining largely unread, well it’s all a bit philosophical really; your blog won’t lose much by blocking Giles, your readers experience may improve a little bit, but would you feel better or worse about yourself for doing so? Personally I doubt I’d lose much sleep about it, but that’s me.

      1. As a confirmed narcissist i’d love to know my likes/dislikes score (please Mark, my personal well being depends on it, tell me i’m loved).

        1. As a narcissist I’m surprised you don’t keep your own score! But I was only joking Jim Lad, I enjoy your comments and they’re well thought out and relevant

        1. Steady on there Gerard! Well I’ve publically confirmed my narcissism, shouldn’t imagine being labelled a communist is very far off, but I’m still awfully jealous of Mark. How do you go about getting yourself called a ‘truth avoider’ (surely the emperor of all insults) ? Dueling pistols ready but will the day ever come?

  4. As you point out most of the time his comments are at best peripheral to the post in question. I find him tedious not amusing. If he wants to attack you let him do it on Twitter, where his posts will be shorter and we can mute or block him if we want, here we can’t. He can even start his own blog if he’s that passionate.

    Open fora frequently suspend or ban persistent offenders against their, often arbitrary rules, why not here. The quota idea’s a good one. Set a comment limit – number or total wordage for each original post by you – it can even apply to everyone (no bias there) and if it’s set right no one else will be at risk of falling foul of it. As a safety net apply a warning or two and only then apply an x month ban.

    It’s a difficult decision and I’m glad I don’t have to make make it.

  5. You tolerate Andy Richardson, so you really ought to tolerate anybody – which is more than Mr Richardson does, having blocked me for always asking him to condemn the illegal actions of the shooting fraternity.

    1. Yes he blocked me too, I wasn’t abusive just took his arguments on and trashed them, not bragging isn’t exactly an intellectually demanding job when you’re dealing with a man who videos a diatribe against the RSPB’s management of Mar Lodge Estate when it’s actually owned by the National Trust for Scotland – I never miss an opportunity to bring that up.

    2. I had an extended tirade from andy richardson on facebook for writing that don’t shoot blog 🙂

  6. Mostly I “dislike” or ignore his comments but very occasionally I do actually have to “like” a comment so keep him on I say.
    Perhaps you could ban him from using the words “dog(s)” or “deer” or synonyms?

  7. Giles is a knob. I mean its fairly obvious he’s a posh knob too. He’s called Giles. I never went to school with anyone called Giles…
    However, like all knobs he has his uses and can be entertaining. For example, we need knobs to open doors. If Giles can be even made to waiver in his beliefs but he shear weight of numbers telling him he’s a knob, then he might be the door to changing the opinion of other knobs. If you need to ask why knobs are entertaining, then ask a woman.

    1. I can’t see how Giles’ name is an issue or how ‘posh’ he may or may not be. I would rather hope that contributions to discussions on this blog are welcomed or not purely on the basis of the points made not on the presumed class credentials of the contributor.
      As I understand it Giles has a single point which is that the Hunting Act requires him to shoot any deer that his dogs chase out of his wood which he does not wish to do. If the law criminalizes him for not shooting deer then I’d agree with him that there is a problem with the law. I don’t know if this is a serious problem that genuinely puts people at risk of arrest for harmless behaviour or just an odd technicality that he has turned into an issue through his challenges to it. Either way, I don’t have an issue with him campaigning on the issue; he is not, as he is sometimes accused, campaigning in favour of cruelty to animals.
      Where I do have an issue with Giles is the fact that he continually seeks to hijack other debates and drag them back to his pet issue and, increasingly, throws in ad hominem comments that are neither pleasant nor helpful. He has been provided the platform of a guest blog to express his views and it is discourteous of him to now seek to subvert every discussion to his agenda. There is nothing to stop him from starting his own blog where he would be at complete liberty to set the topics for debate and to allow, or not, others to comment on his posts.
      I would not be in favour of banning Giles. I think the fact that this blog does allow comments from opponents as well as supporters of Mark’s views is a positive thing. When he does occasionally make comments that are pertinent to the discussion of the day Giles’ comments are sometimes interesting even if I don’t necessarily agree with them.

    2. I’m not especially posh however judging you by the content of your post considerably more so than you.

  8. I often find comments posted by Giles to be largely irrelevant to the subject being “discussed” and because he can be persistent and repetitious it can be annoying. However I would not ban him from the blog any more than I would ban Kie or any of the other people whose views I don’t agree with. Perhaps Mark should institute a card system such that when Giles or anyone else for that matter is being boringly repetitious or off subject they should get the yellow card, meaning they should cease to comment on that particular blog post. I haven’t worked out an equitable meaning for the red card if such posts persist however.

  9. At the risk of repeating myself…..100 Club Update

    45 (?). Brighton Kemptown

  10. To be honest I find him boring in the extreme. However, if this was my blog, I’d continue to allow him to post. I would imagine his limited input and oft repeated remark/s would not be missed, but blocking him would almost certainly make it feel like a victory to his limited intellect.

  11. I’m new to blogging but here’s my impression for what it’s worth.
    Your liberalism is a credit to you and your blog. It’s a great blog. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
    Besides, lots of ‘dislikes’ imply lots of activity which in turn attracts more interest?
    So, keep the buzz factor high by being as wet and liberal as possible. Flies attract flies, attract flycatchers…. chase, cut and thrust – it’s all good entertainment. The latter is surely the life blood of any successful blog.

    1. The 2012 Giles blog that you have linked here has 88 comments.
      It’s a good debate and has drawn in a wide variety of people, with some very interesting and well worked comments.
      Please keep this blog’s ‘thinking allowed’ ethos. That way more and more people will visit it.

  12. Yep, I make it 45; note error here; https://markavery.info/2016/05/13/36000/ – Dumfries and Galloway listed twice (numbers 16 & 19).

    Top 10;
    1 Calder Valley -241
    2 Ross, Skye and Lochaber -179
    3 Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey – 157
    High Peak -157
    5 North Norfolk – 152
    6 Brighton, Pavilion -142
    7 Skipton and Ripon -141
    8 Isle of Wight -137
    9 Sheffield Central -136
    10 Derbyshire Dales -135

  13. Leave him on, or risk being labelled a Stalinist censor by folk who are out to get you. Where I come from folk like Giles (although there were no folk CALLED Giles….) are best dealt with by using the double positive-makes-a-negative “aye, right” or even better, the slightly more vague but much more effective, “yer maw”.

  14. I don’t think people should be censored as long as they’re not being any of the ists.

  15. I must admit to trying to have conversations with Giles on Twitter and giving up, he’s a bit odd to say the least , I still do not understand what he actually believes in as he makes little or no sense, I do, as others do, ignore him now, life is too short for the Giles of this world, don’t ban him permanently, but I wouldn’t object to a short ban to see if he can work it out his shortcomings for himself this time.

  16. Know it must be rather tiresome for you, but allowing Giles his say says a great deal about the professionalism and decency of Dr Mark Avery. The other side don’t present us with quite the same opportunities to tackle their ‘views’ so it’s a bit of a moral high ground for this blog to allow Giles to keep countering on, but the brunt of his negativity falls on you, so appreciate you are fed up with it. I actually knew of Giles before I encountered this blog (oh happy day!), he was in a short video about the illogicality of the Hunting Act so I knew who he was as soon as I saw his comments here. If there are valid points they are lost in a haze of eccentricity and occasional offensiveness which makes me think it’s not the message, but saying something loudly and publicly that’s the real issue – I get the feeling he is extremely unhappy with life because he is carrying a huge cross, but can’t get anyone to nail him to it. He has also appeared on the Field Sports channel in a sympathetic light, well your friends say a lot about you! I’m a wee bit nervous too if a precedent is set for banning someone for being repetitive – what if let say an individual keeps banging on about the green party supporting the petition, modern environmentalism being solely focused on ‘climate Change’ or orgs not telling the public about the conservation value of dead wood?

  17. I’d really like to see Giles comment here. He normally has something to say even when it’s only tangentially relevant to the blog post in question.

    Come on Giles you have plenty of defenders and even those who support some kind of sanction only want you to stick to the topic. Like me I suspect many here welcome/don’t mind criticism (especially if it’s constructive) or even a modicum of abuse – abusive shooters may even be good at generating support for Mark’s petition.

    1. My wish was granted. Not in the way I had hoped, but perhaps in the way I should have expected.

      I am vastly entertained by the fact that Giles has now commented, but as usual not about Mark’s original post. He’s instead attacked individual posters comments and also their integrity. Then amusingly and typically he’s gone on to continue the conversation outside the thread structure that helps readers follow a series of interchanges.

      Here is Mark’s problem in miniature. I wish him luck in finding a solution. However, Giles doesn’t seem to care what he does and perhaps he should take his cue from that simple fact.

      1. That’s a little unfair – I actually replied to Miles’s post which then got deleted

  18. I’m always amazed how civilised and intelligent the comments on your blog are. I strayed into comments on a very anodyne 9actually, quite cute) Daily Mail article and was staggered by how rude and pointless the comments were – and got the same feeling from your stream of twitter abuse earlier this week. Why do people seem to lose all sense, humanity and inhibitions at their keyboards ? It doesn’t do them much credit, does it ?

    So my feeling is that Giles is a relatively minor irritant in the blogosphere – and who knows, he may be picking up some different ideas from the comments around his comments. Incidentally, his area of obsession is one I’ve come across before – in this case it involved ‘soft mouthed scent hounds’ whatever they might be, but it seems also to have involved chasing deer with dogs.

  19. Giles has left a number of comments on my recent blog about Chris Packham. After the second one it was clear he was just saying the same thing again and again so I have stopped publishing them. Now that Giles knows I won’t publish his comments any more, I haven’t received any more from him. If I write a new post about something he’s interested in, I’ll consider carefully whether his comments will be published, but it’s my decision.

    If you put the effort into writing a blog, then it’s yours to decide what you do with it. It’s not a democracy. Nobody votes to decide what you write about or what your views are.

    I started out with the view that all comments should be published, but after receiving a few libellous ones, some general abuse and the attention of some “climate denial” trolls, I changed my mind. I publish 99% of comments received, including ones that disagree with me, that’s fine indeed I encourage those. Just repeating the same thing over and over again is not edifying to me or my readers, so comments falling into that category will no longer get published.

    1. I think that is a little unfair Miles – the conversation was useful to establish the extent of your and Chris Packham’s hypocrisy wrt nutjobgate and my comments including the ones you did not publish certainly were not repeated as you falsely state. That is quite simply a lie. They were part of a productive exchange in which your central point was exposed as a cynical disingenuous sham.

      To summarise. Your point was that Chris Packham in using the term ‘psychopath’ in connection with hunters was merely ‘pointing out a link’ and not actually calling hunters psychopaths. When a quote from him was pointed out that quite clearly called hunters psychopaths (and not just hunting psychopathic), you changed tack and said that was a ‘semantic’ point. (ie just a point about what he meant) (I love that).

      Two things are obvious from this.

      Firstly for all your (and I have to say Mark’s) moral outrage at hunting solutions comment using a mental health label to detract from someone it isn’t really that which concerns you. What concerns you is the use to which this can be put in furthering a particular divisive debate. If you were genuinely interested in how mental health labels are used you’d be condemning Packham’s use of them as much as Hunting Solution’s.

      Secondly it is blatantly obvious that Packham is not ‘pointing out a link’ between hunters and psychopaths. If he were then how could he in the same article call for them to be armed with lethal high powered weaponry and sent out into the countryside? All that Packham is doing is using his celebrity riding on the vast amount of prejudice against the mentally ill to try and make a political point – and you and Mark are apologists for that behaviour (in my opinion).

      Lastly if you or Mark find what I am saying ‘insulting’ that’s really not my issue. For the record I don’t actually know you I merely commented on the content of your blog. I’ve read quite a lot of Mark’s output (as it appears he has mine) so i kind of ‘know’ him a bit and actually I quite like what i know. Your hypocrisy is your own issue. Perhaps if you don’t like it being pointed out then deep down you are uncomfortable with it?

      For myself I find it a beautiful thing, something to be explored appreciated and celebrated as one would a great work of art.

      1. Giles re use of term psychopath in a mental health context, whereas autism, depression and Aspergers are unfortunate to those that suffer from them, and those that care for them, a psychopath is not a very nice person who inflicts damage directly on others. To what degree we can call anti social behaviour of any form a consequence of mental health or moral choice is rather moot, but to me the all too many in the hunting community who can be referred to as psychopaths could just as easily have that term interchanged with Pratt, tosser, arsehole etc (note I have so far been referred to dirdctly as twat, ignoramus and retard when I have never issued such an insult to those I have been debating with). Not so much as poor mental health as personality. Trying to equate using the term psychopath with mocking people with genuine mental health issues is pathetically weak even for you.

        1. “a psychopath is not a very nice person ” I think that your prejudices might be coming to the fore here..

          But yes I would agree Packham is using false attributions of mental illness as a means to attack and insult people.

  20. You could adopt the John Scalzi moderation approach. If someone goes off topic, give them a warning to stay on topic, if they do it again then smack their post with a public banhammer. People generally learn to stay on topic after a couple of rounds. I personally have a high tolerance for thread drift and people wandering off topic as long as it doesn’t get personally abusive, so keeping him (with the dislike tool enabled so we can get a feel for how well supported his arguments are) around is no problem to me. I am well practiced in rolling my eyes and moving on to the next post.

  21. Other blogs deal with off-topic, vexatious, obsessive or libellous comments showing Name, time [snip – off topic] or some such. Commenters remind newcomers not to feed the Troll, often simply posted as DNFTT. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I favour that method – it shows that the commenter is active but not conforming to an acceptable level of blog civility.

    I get daily grief from Dearly Beloved Mrs C who contends that my function in life is to labour tirelessly to keep her in the steady supply of Organic walnuts, celery and avocados to which she has become accustomed and not to waste valuable working time that “You won’t have again!” reading blogs and news feeds and if she had her way she would uninstall my RSS reader. That aspect aside – what dull places blogs would be if they were populated only by grovelling sycophants. It would be worse than living in the People’s Republic of Arslikhan.

  22. Whilst I freely admit to being quite terse, and sometimes combative in my posts, I generally try to respond positively to those with an opposing view if they make their points well, and behave in an appropriate manner. I recall a great discourse with Dennis some time ago, regarding Magpie predation. Not sure how convinced he was by my argument, but it was a pleasure to discuss the issue in such a civilised fashion. Some, on the other hand, are totally unwilling to accept basic scientific fact, and often a little scratching reveals their true agenda. As for Giles, his posts appear (at least to me) to be contrived, thinly-veiled attempts to attack the hunting act in general, by introducing a “side issue” in order to circumvent the main thrust. Whether you “give him his ticket” or not is, of course, entire your choice, Mark. But my personal opinion (for what it’s worth) is that he contributes exactly zero to this blog.

  23. Wonderful, illuminating and entertaining. Now I feel that is a representative range of comment which gives both Giles and Mark some useful feedback! It also illustrates what a great bunch of followers the blog has.

  24. I’ve read with interest all of these comments and from Giles’ own posts on this blog and elsewhere, I really cannot fathom out in which corner he stands …. Giles reminds me of a terrier …… always there or thereabouts ….. but never quite in on the action.
    I do think that having dissenters contributing to a blog – as long as comments aren’t personally insulting or libellous attacks (which could be bracketed out) – constitutes a healthy atmosphere for debate, as long as their comments relate to the subject in question …….

    1. ” I really cannot fathom out in which corner he stands”

      that’s because I don’t have a corner and in actual fact the ring isn’t even square. Protagonists find them selves boxed into corners that exist solely in their own minds.

  25. Mark,we think a description of you would be you are passionate about the things you care about and coupled with that I find your tolerance is to be admired so I guess Giles presence on the comments section will continue.
    I do hope Giles takes note of your tolerance and alters his ways to everyone’s advantage.

  26. Hi Mark – it’s a privilege to be able to comment freely on your blog and to read the comments; I hope I use it wisely myself (especially as I don’t give my full name – I have my reasons). If going off topic and banging on about the same stuff all the time could have got me banned I wouldn’t have lasted very long! I say it’s your blog and you can do whatever the hell you like; if it was me I wouldn’t ban him as such, just reserve the right not to publish individual comments if they are completely off topic and/or offensive, which presumably you already do. It may act as a deterrent perhaps as Miles suggests. And if you ever feel the need not to publish anything of mine for these or any other reasons I completely understand… (not that it matters if I understand, it’s your blog!).

  27. No he shouldn’t be banned, although if this were my blog my patience would have already worn out and I probably would have banned him. Which makes me a hypocrite I know.

    I do agree with the central point of Giles ‘campaign’. The non-lethal use of dogs to protect ancient woodlands from having as the late Oliver Rackham forewarned: ‘their guts eaten out of them by deer’, is a useful management tool.

    Whilst part of me admires his persistence, he has overstated his case and at times it does appear as as though his main issue is with LACS rather than an obvious flaw within the Hunting Act.

    Although sometimes ill-informed, Giles is quite clearly no fool, although he does appear to rather treat everybody else like one, particularly when new ‘commenters’ suddenly appear for the first time for to either back up his posts or to oppose him with some strange and often offensive ad-hominem vitriol.

    The pathetic comment from ‘Blyth’ above possibly illustrates my point. I’d wager a pound to a pinch of salt that this was ‘Blyth’s’ first comment here…

    Anyway, this reminds me – whatever happened to Trimbush?!

    1. “whatever happened to Trimbush?”

      … and the report he was compiling

      1. Ah yes – the report that promised to provide all the answers re bTB. I wonder if that ended up in the same place as his ‘Rural Army’ ?

  28. Typical reaction of someone unable to respond to the substantive points being made.

    You can’t actually think of a reason why defending Packham’s use of ‘psychopath’ while attacking someone’s use of ‘nutjob’ isn’t hypocritical can you?

    Unfortunately such prejudices and bigotries will not be expunged until they are exposed.


  29. I suppose don’t ban Giles. Ban green ink. Giles seems to use a lot of it. Of course green ink can be hard to detect on social media but you could set up a green ink moderation panel. Meanwhile, your blog contributes to your livelihood so you can do what you like, including asking Giles to write less often with green ink. And banning him if he does not do you the courtesy of complying.

  30. Go on then. I’ll bite.

    Most here are intelligent enough to be able to differentiate between an opinion voiced about a group/activity/unspecified individual, and a cowardly, personal attack (which cynically exploits recent revelations regarding the mental health of that person) from those with no intellectual argument.

    That clear enough?

    1. I can appreciate that distinction coop but I think you slightly misunderstand my point.

      I think we would all acknowledge that Packham is using the term ‘psychopath’ as an insult. If he really thought that hunters were psychopaths he would not be calling for them to be armed and set loose on our wildlife.

      If we accept that the question becomes – is it really appropriate to use such terms as an insult – whether directed at a group or an individual?

      Let’s try with some other groups and terms:

      “muslims are gay”

      do you see what is wrong with that?

      a) using the term gay as an insult
      b) targeting a group with it in order to insult them

      how about

      “birdwatchers are spastic”

      Is that acceptable?

      a) is it appropriate to use a handicap as an insult
      b) is it appropriate to apply such a term to a whole group of people.

      now let’s try

      “hunters are psychopaths”

      are there any similarities between that statement and the previous two in terms of

      a) how it uses the term ‘psychopath’ – a form of mental illness as an insult
      b) the way in which it is applies to an entire group.

      Is there something about either ‘psychopath’ or ‘hunter’ or perhaps ‘Chris Packham’ that makes the last use ok and the previous two not?

      1. Don’t know where you get your quotes from, but here’s what he actually said.

        “I don’t understand it, I suppose. That’s the bottom line. To me, it has to have a psychopathic element, if you’re taking pleasure from killing things, just for that pleasure. If you’re going to eat it, if you’re culling an animal that is otherwise damaging the environment because it’s too abundant, I have no problem with killing animals. But if you have no reason but pleasure, then that surely is psychopathic.”

    2. Hi @coop I did respond but mark didn’t publish it. Which is fair enough obvs.

      Just so you don’t think i am being rude

  31. Can everyone please stop feeding the troll(s).

    As there are no troll predators in this part of the blogosphere, only by removing their food supply, will they move on to forage somewhere else. Perhaps someone should write a blog about troll-phic cascades.

Comments are closed.