A few weeks ago I wrote of the bully as a type of scholar, but I have been reflecting on another fairly common type: the blog or internet bully. A reasonable commentary exists on this, going all the way back to ‘flaming’ when the internet began. But the way it is manifested is through an obsessive process of bombarding other blog posts with comments, usually with a pointed, nasty and dismissive ad hominem flavour. It’s a fine line, since I enjoy a spirited exchange, never taking things too seriously. But when the comments consistently attack, dismiss and denigrate, not just occasionally but all the time, then they become bullying. A feature of bullies is that they seek to chase away anyone who does not agree and does not become an attack dog; bullies tolerate only themselves or those of their pack. One blogger, Berlusconi Youth, whose identity is known to some readers, used to do so here. It took me quite some time to do so, but a couple of weeks ago I decided, instead of ignoring or replying, to delete any further comments that appeared. The results were immediate: the comments stopped coming after a couple of days, the readership went up noticeably and other people found space to make an occasional comment. Much preferred.

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