May 2012

My first attempt at what I think is ‘trackbacking’… Hope it works, because this article will be of interest to some people I know…

Inforrm's Blog

The Defamation Bill published last week after the Queen’s Speech contains four clauses of especial significance for the internet:

  • Clause 5  a new defence for website operators in respect of third party posts.  In essence this significantly enhances website operators’ protection for posts by identifiable posters; and is also designed to encourage website operators voluntarily to disclose to defamation complainants the identity and contact details of the author of an anonymous defamatory post.

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So, first the cliche. I’m not homophobic, but…

And really, I’m not. Live and let live is my philosophy. Oh, and ‘thou shalt not suffer a liar to live’, or at least get much peace.

What’s been bugging me about the issue of gay marriage, though, is that in this country, we had a perfectly workable solution to the problem of homosexuals who wanted the same legal securities as married couples, re inheritance rights in the event of a partner’s death, and of course, that all-important right to divvy up property in the event of a relationship going south. That solution was the civil partnership. Some people even thought it might be of use in the case of, say, spinsters sisters, who could also benefit from formal recognition of their effectively exclusive relationship.

The great thing about the civil partnership was that it sidetracked the religious issue of matrimony, that marriage is specifically intended as a precursor to having children, and two people of the same sex can’t have children, so… Sure, they can adopt, even use a sperm donor, or a surrogate mother, so at least half the DNA involved is their own, but it’s still not exactly what ‘marriage’ is about.

So, with civil partnerships in the bag, you might think the calls for gay marriage are pretty irrelevant, and there are many homosexuals who agree, although I think some of them would rather just let ‘partnership’ and ‘marriage’ become interchangeable terms in common usage, so that gay marriage slips in through the back door. So to speak. 

What I think is that marriage is a pretty archaic institution that has survived to the present day, with scrapes and bruises, because it does accomplish something, re stability. Maybe not as much as before (though the changes haven’t all been downside), but something. Whatever it is still worth, though, may not withstand the pressure of this latest attempt to ‘modernise’ it. Campaigners should just accept that this institution is the churches’ dummy, or comfort blanket, and let them have it. It’s more use to them, and through them to us, if they keep it. 


The abbreviation on the side of the building, ‘GC’, looks a lot like the one for Gloucestershire College, and is probably intended to, but there is nothing prestigious about ‘Gloucester College’. you can’t even Google it unless you add the name ‘Shahid’, and then things become a lot clearer. Another big title with nothing behind it, like the earlier ‘Colwell College’, and almost certainly no more than a student visas con trick, or a placekeeper while other plans for the building come to fruition.

At the last local elections, the fence outside this building was festooned with Labour posters. Now it’s the turn of the Tories to find favour with the owners, however they have done so, and although the first set to be put up two weeks or so back have all been torn down, more have arrived, most of them put behind the windows.

I hope that whoever wins, though I doubt it will be the Conservatives, a spotlight will be put on the activities of this ‘college’, and we’ll know what is happening in our community for a change.

The former Colwell Centre

What with the BTNP AGM being put back to May 30th, I suppose I should avoid burning my bridges with a frank (but fair) analysis of the partnership’s progress over the last year or so, in the hope of better things for June.

Instead, I thought I’d put down some thoughts that have sprang to mind, specifically the definition of a ‘troll’. In the simplest terms, a troll is someone whose views you don’t like. Perhaps better to say, ‘whose expressed views you don’t like’, because people sometimes, a lot of the time, think these views are contrived for the purpose of making the person who expresses them unlikable.

But a troll, clearly, is also someone who (whom?) the people applying the label have chosen to de-humanise, often describing such an individual as ‘it’. At the risk of invoking Godwin’s Law, this is what the Nazis did to their victims, what most people bent on asserting their absolute will on others do, in fact. It wouldn’t be necessary, after all, if all that was required was to ignore people that are believed to be wind-up merchants (WUMs).

In my time on TiG’s new website, where posters are required to register an account, which can be ‘disabled’ if a poster breaks one or more of some occasionally excessively strict rules (especially the one about questioning censorship… whoops, moderation), I have, for the record, been ‘Joe K’, ‘Tony J’, ‘TrollhunterX’, and ‘L’escalier’. Also ‘Bartred_NP’, but that’s a slightly different matter. I’m not the only person to find themselves falling foul of TiG’s rules, and many other people have re-registered in defiance of these rules. The length some of them have lasted, in spite of, in some instances, quite appallingly vituperative behaviour, is either a testament to the staff’s realisation that they are really just spitting into the wind, or to the generally low level of reported comments, or both.

What the average onlooker should appreciate, though, is that a) TiG have brought a lot of this on themselves, and b) that ‘this’ isn’t really that big a big deal. Most of it is ‘genial spam’. If some of it goes too far, there is the ‘report’ button, not ‘This is (flame) war!’

So, whatever the paper is like at the moment, the web site is healthy. Don’t knock it, maaan.

And if anyone wants a punch-up, do it here…

Any thoughts/theories/rants welcome 🙂