As long-term readers will recall, the third and most recent Scot Goes Pop fundraiser was run last autumn, and with your incredibly generous help it raised £5680. As with the previous two fundraisers, the aim was mainly to help cover my own living expenses - and certainly not "running costs", which is the red herring always brought up by the concern trolls. Blogger is a completely free platform and it doesn't have any running costs at all. Although this blog is now considerably more popular than it was prior to 2014, it's still not a Wings or a Bella - there's probably a natural limit of around £5000 or £6000 that any crowdfunder is going to raise, and even that may sometimes prove to be optimistic. There simply isn't the scope to muck around with expensive bells and whistles. Writing Scot Goes Pop has been the equivalent of a very time-consuming part-time job (and at the busiest times a full-time job), and that's what the fundraisers have made possible - just about.
In spite of my frugal lifestyle (ahem), and more to the point a few other sources of income, the money from last autumn has now basically gone. The EU referendum was something of a crossroads - I knew if the UK voted Remain, Scottish politics would go relatively quiet for a few years, and another fundraiser might not even be feasible. I imagined in those circumstances I would probably start to wind things down, and continue with the blog on a much more limited basis. As it turned out, things went the opposite way, and I've been planning to run a fourth fundraiser when the time felt right. Unfortunately, I incurred a large and unexpected expense a couple of weeks ago, so that brought things to a head, and I was intending to get things underway either yesterday or today. Just my luck that a small number of readers decided that right now was the time to declare all-out war on the way I run the blog. This was what my inbox looked like yesterday...
I had to spend about an hour deleting dozens of comments from an anonymous troll, all containing the words "JAMES KELLY IS AN ARROGANT PR**K" over and over and over again. I strongly suspect this is the same chap who called me a "twit" on Tuesday for disagreeing with his ideas on how the blog should be run, and who then gradually escalated the personal abuse after I informed him that the discussion was closed and started deleting his comments. Now someone calling himself "Scottish Labour" (who may or may not be the same person) is declaring his intent to repost a comment no matter how many times I delete it. In a nutshell, people who refuse to accept the very light moderation rules that I apply are now making the blog unmanageable, and it's getting to the stage where I may have to disable commenting altogether as a temporary measure.
For months upon end now, I have replied to repetitive comments asking me why I refuse to ban the unionist troll "Glasgow Working Class". There are only so many times that I can explain that it is not possible to ban individuals on the Blogger platform. For months upon end now, I have replied to repetitive comments asking me why I do not switch to another platform. There are only so many times that I can explain that I actively prefer sticking with the Blogger platform and that migrating to another platform often causes more problems than it solves. This is not a decision that can be made by committee, and there comes a point where for everyone's sanity I have to declare the matter closed and refer people to my previous replies. That point has now arrived.
I'm not sure whether it's possible to run a fundraiser in these circumstances - some people would just take it as free licence to unleash further chaos. I'm going to ponder on what to do - I may delay my plans, or I may revert to my 'Remain plan' and blog much less frequently without running a fundraiser at all. But whatever I do, please note that Scot Goes Pop will continue to run on Blogger (unless the platform changes in some way or becomes too bug-ridden), very light-touch moderation will in general remain in place, and I will reserve the right to delete comments that serve no other purpose than to give me hassle.