Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Comment Is Free

Commenting on a blog can be a funny old business. Some people are happy to do it, and merrily chirp their way through the blogosphere, dropping comments like Johnny Appleseed. Other people comment sparingly, or only on particular blogs. And some people prefer not to comment at all, and good for them.
  Crime Always Pays tends to receive relatively few comments, in part (I think) because it’s an info-driven blog, and that kind of delivery doesn’t encourage interaction. It’s also true that I don’t have the time during the day to interact with each comment individually, which can in turn lead to further comments. It may also be true that I’m simply not the kind of person / blogger who generates comments and on-line connection. If the blogosphere is an on-line party, I’m the guy hanging out in the kitchen beside the fridge, talking geeky niche-niche-niche content and scaring away all the pretty girls. Well, not all the pretty girls, obviously …
  I’ve received quite a few emails and Twitter messages in the last week or so, letting me know that the comments function on CAP has been restricted to ‘team members’ only. I’m a little bit surprised by the volume, because as I say, CAP posts don’t tend to attract many comments in the first place. What they do attract is spam - which is the reason I shut down the comments function so that it can be accessed by ‘team members’ only (i.e., yours truly) - and in increasingly annoying amounts.
  These days I can spend as much time weeding the spam comments out as I can writing up a post. And I really don’t have that kind of time to waste.
  It’s also true that while the spambots are irritating, the human spammers are far worse. ‘Hey, nice post! It reminds me of my new book, MY GIANT ARSE-FACE, an autobiography you can find at this link. Have a nice day, and don’t worry at all about me leeching off your work!’ What kills me about those particular spammers is that if they’d had the common decency to contact me in the normal, natural way, I’d have been more than happy to accommodate them on the blog.
  Anyway, I’ve opened up the comments function again, less by popular demand than because I’d hate for anyone to think that they were being frozen out of any discussions. I’ll have to try to work out some fool-proof way of making the blog anti-spam whenever I get a spare ten minutes. But if in the near future you try to leave a comment and discover it’s only accessible by ‘team members’, please don’t take it personally. It’s just one frustrated blogger’s knee-jerk reaction to the spam munchkins and what can at times seem like a tidal wave of spam …