There are roughly four or five Facebook pages I’m blocked from posting on. Actually, I’m being excessively harsh to myself, I’m pretty sure it’s just four (the half dozen or so message boards I’ve been banned from probably make it seem like more, although, to be fair, more boards closed than barred me, which suggests where the greater balance of fault lies). In every instance, my ‘crime’ was the same, though. I expressed opinions that displeased the people in charge. I was, from their point of view, a ‘troll’ I guess, which is one of the reasons I like the name ‘trollhunter’, rather than ‘trollkiller’. ‘Troll’ is such a lazily applied label now that to speak of trolls in such an entirely negative way indicates an excessively fixed mindset. Not everyone who looks like a troll fits the common description.

It happened again about a week ago, just two or three weeks after I joined the GFM 96.6 Facebook page. Like the message board five or six years before, none of GFM’s listeners were using it, in spite of one or two staff members’ pleas for discussion. Even they completely ignored the ‘Favourite Tracks’ discussion thread I then created, as innocuous a subject as could be imagined, which I suppose demonstrated how genuine those pleas for input were.

It was the station’s ‘revamped’ website that tore it, though. A quick perusal showed that the all-singing, all-dancing ‘Listen Again’ function didn’t work, and the ‘Story So Far’ section had not only now been replaced, post- about 2005, with annual reports, but the 2007, 2008 and 2009 links didn’t work. I mentioned this below the link on the Facebook page, posted on Feb 18th. Chris Maltby replied (although he seems to have deleted his comment now), saying that these were teething troubles and not to panic. I said I wasn’t panicking. I just didn’t want a repeat of my first experience on the unlamented GFM message board, when DJ Callide (Dan Robertson) was in charge of the website and, as it turn out, deleted my account several times, blaming it on a ‘glitch, mate’, which is why I even bothered to re-register. If they’d just said, you can’t offer even the mildest criticism of someone’s presenting style, or note that the station aspires to be a community version of Severn Sound, but fails to make clear in newspaper articles that it plays exclusively music of black origin (MOBO), which Severn Sound does not, then we would have all know where we stood, and I would have stood somewhere else, without having to be lied to, but Dan Robertson had other ideas, and that’s why the board closed, not because of me. Chris Maltby was warmly accoladed by the station boss for ‘defending’ GFM at that time, but, as staunch a Christian as he appears to be, he has never offered a view about the dishonest behaviour of GFM in that affair. I think Chris is an honest person, much as I am inclined to see artifice in the attitudes of people like Robertson and Shaun Moore, the whey-faced ‘columnist’ who fronts GFM’s news section, but I suspect there will come a day when the rose-tinted spectacles will fall from Chris’ face, and he’ll ask himself why he devoted such a prodigious amount of time, as a carer, to the GFM cause.

Anyhoo, the last two reports were made available, but not ‘2007-2008’, or ‘Listen Again’. Shaun Moore weighed in, in response to my comment that the website was supposed to be finished in November, saying that they’d only started ‘designing the new site in November’. I posted the quote from the boss, Derrick Francis, in the 2009 report, that the site was ‘almost finished and should be live by 19 November 2009’. Shaun fell strangely silent then, but I guess that was it for me. After I noted on the 27th that I probably wouldn’t be able to ‘Listen Again’ to an interesting Saturday Soup if the function wasn’t fixed soon, I found I couldn’t make any further comments. I did get a link to an audiofile of the programme sent to me by Chris Maltby a few days later, via Facebook. Also, Shaun Moore responded to my comment the next day (after effectively banning me) that I could pick up a CD copy of the programme at the station. I don’t think he really expected me to, and it’s still not an adequate substitute for fixing ‘Listen Again’, but I guess it creates the impression he’s making an effort. What I could pick up from the station is that report, though…

Anyway, there you have it, Facebook. Potentially a useful tool for galvanising a community, but not when little Hitlers are put in charge of pages.

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