Evening all,

After receiving a second complaint, and reviewing the most recent comments of Stephanie Esther, we have decided to remove her from the site. 

In line with the moderation policy Stephanie was warned about the nature of her comments in June. I had hoped – we had all hoped – that after that message her better angels might prevail.

Sadly it looks not to have been the case. Her comments since then have not been constructive, nor well-founded and certainly not positive. 

This is not a decision we take lightly. As you know we prefer to warn first and hope for the best. However when the experience of the many is continually degraded by the behaviour of one, well, we really must act. 

I apologise to any who have felt lessened by the tone of Stephanie's comments. 

If you have any comments on this please add them below.

Best wishes,


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Hi Catherine,

I like free speech too, and I think there's too much self censorship in the arts world, because people don't feel confident in saying what they feel in case it impacts on their careers. ultimately it leads to boredom and mediocrity. 

But if you don't know why she was banished how can you mount an argument in her support? Were her comments helpul for other poets on this site? Were they advancing the opportunities of writers? My understanding is that this site was losing readers because of Ester. In other words, she was having a destructive effect on the readership and participation in this site.

I feel that free speech is fine but this site should continue to debate what it's standards should be, and there should be continual monitoring and discussion of what is and is not acceptable. In the end though, the moderators are doing a lot of the work keeping this site going and they should have the final say as to what is acceptable.

Catherine, Don't be banished to the four winds, I have been there, it is not a good place.

Some time before the Stephanie incident a guy using the name David W was on this site, he abused every one and everything on the site, Stephanie was an angel compared to him, he had to go. Put your work out there and be proud of it, any comments that come

back take them with a pinch of salt, you know your worth, good, bad, or indifferent

keep going, after all it is only poetry . . .not the Spanish Inquisition !  let your words do the talking. Good luck . . .William.



Fear of wind and a predilection for small aromatic spaces has not so far inhibited the flow of your always in good taste comments and responses. However, in an examination of your page I note that your interesting and informative comments and responses by far outnumber your poetry contributions.  I would be happy to read more of the latter.




Thank you all for the thoughtful commentary, and the lively discussion. 

Three points:

  • Removing someone from the site will almost always be because they've behaved in a careless, superior or malicious way in respect of others on the site. This is troll behaviour. 
  • Removing trolls isn't about censorship. Any decent and thoughtful commenter can couch a critique in a generous way. Trolls are just mean. 
  • Trolls are nothing new on social sites. There are sites with a high tolerance of troll behaviours, and sites with a low tolerance. This is one of the latter. 

Basically trolls can go bowling elsewhere. 

Find out more about troll culture and history over at Wikipedia. 

I hope this clarifies our stance. And of course it's only in extreme circumstances that someone is removed from the site without a prior warning.

As nothing new seems to be happening on this site, I looked up Stephanie Esther. Here's her only poem on the internt, called God. http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/god-169/

Starts withr Rhyming couplets, gives up on them for a while in favour of alternating line rhymes, goes back to them, veers off into free verse...altogether showing the kinds of basic inconsistencies young poets make.

I suspect she was trying to make a name for herself by trolling on this site, as her comments showed a lack of knowledge about poetry and her one poem is not at all good. But while she adopted a sneering, condescending tone, she did not directly abuse other poets, she aimed at their work (in all cases, better than hers). Is that grounds for banning someone?

When a site becomes moribund in a fairly short space of time, I would say no. Sites thrive when there is active discussion and disagreement, not when there is muted harmony probably disguising seething disagreement lurking below.

Isn't time this very old and somewhat personal thread was deleted? Is anyone still moderating this site?


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