I subscribe to an online daily program which publishes significant academic papers, inviting comments from readers.

Recently, the issue of Captain Cook arriving on his Australian coastal exploration 250 years ago elicited a number of papers on the subject of his voyages and the aftermath.

Comments were not allowed and the opportunity to comment was barred by restriction as soon as the papers were published.

I emailed the editor as follows.

“I wanted to ask why it is that comments are not being allowed on any of the papers being published to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Captain Cooks’s coming? I can’t understand this limitation.”

The editor replied:

“… Perhaps there was a concern about racist comments. We have very limited moderation capacity so it’s an issue for us to keep things on track and sometime we have to close comments rather than run the risk. I’ll try and find out what happened here, but I’d imagine it would a combination of being short staffed and fear about racism.”

It often seems that two way conversation on the subject of Australian history and development is discouraged. That there are at least two viewpoints to every issue is held to be blasphemous when it comes to consideration of Indigenous Australians.

And that is so wrong!

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