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 🙂


There is a ‘Big Issue’ piece in this week’s Citizen, relating to Barton & Tredworth, entitled There is no such thing as Islamic terrorism.

In the article, members of a local mosque offer to dispell ‘misconceptions’ about Islam in a single day session or over a few days, and the piece cites several ‘sterotypes’.

The main theme of the piece, as exemplified by the title, though, seems to me like a straw man. Saajid Badat notwithstanding, in the twenty plus years I have lived in Barton, violent Islamic extremism has not been the problem, but rather a creeping assimilation of property and resources, what some would call ‘Islamification’, of the ward, coupled with poor or non-existent interaction with the ‘indigenous’ community. Local people are a lot more bothered, for example, with the traffic disruption caused by the ‘Islamic school’ on Stratton Road, when they were assured a decade ago that the building would be a community centre for everyone, and not a place where parents would clog up the road with their cars, not just in the morning and afternoon, but evenings and weekends as well.

The Working Man’s club on Barton Street is now the Friendship Café, dedicated to the benefit of (Sunni) Muslims. At least three properties on Charles Street have been bought up so that an Islamic centre, with parking, can be built at the back. The Barton & Tredworth Community Trust runs a madressah. It’s trying to sell the premises, due to financial mismanagement, but there’s little danger that a new venue won’t be found for the madressah if the new owners don’t want to share the building.

If the volunteers really want to reassure the community, they might wish to give their assurances that the BBC report about abuse in Islamic schools has no bearing on Gloucester. Islamic terrorism really is as much of a ‘Big Issue’ here as ‘bonkers boundaries’.

I mean, other people must be able to read their articles and appreciate just how devoid of journalistic merit most of them – OK, let’s say ‘many of them’ – are?

Warning signs flash merrily when the headline ‘Boy racers rev up again in Cheltenham’ hoves into view. It’ll be about cruisers, of course, and people have complained before that ‘boy racers’ is a lazy journalist’s phrase which doesn’t describe the behaviour of the vast majority of cruisers, who annoy residents more by being parked up in one place than ‘racing’ anywhere.

Then the report goes on to inform us that the council want to designate the Kingsditch Retail Park as an ‘accident hotspot’, citing three motoring accidents which, shady as my knowledge of what vehicles cruisers like to invest their money in, don’t seem to involve cruisers at all. And the Cheltenham Cruiser Working Group, consisting of ‘police, Cheltenham Borough Council, Highways, residents and parish councillors’, doesn’t appear to include any… cruisers. Perhaps if it did, the problems this working group appear to face wouldn’t have persisted as long as they have. What is it, getting on for five years now? More?

I’d like a closer look at the (parish) council’s data, before buying into any notions that cruisers are a bigger problem on our roads than a lot of other silly buggers who somehow managed to bluff their way through a driving test.

However, a year back, maybe two, there would have been dozens of responses to this story, from both sides of the equation, and varying in degrees of knowledge. Now it seems most people have just given up challenging the drivel the Cheltenham newsroom produces. If anyone out there uses Facebook, and wants an outlet for their criticisms that TIG can’t censor, or just wants to comment on a story that TiG has inexplicably denied responses to, this is worth a shot: Bring Back The REAL Citizen.

This is an email I received from the BBC ( just over a month ago. It’s the culmination of a discussion,ranging over several blog entries, about how the BBC’s online staff (or should that be the staff of BBC Online?) treat their customers, ie., licence payers. On the Beeb’s side, sticking out like a particularly livid thumb, was Nick Reynolds, ‘social media executive’, and a man who can’t seem to post a comment which doesn’t patronise and provoke at the same time. In spite of this rather less than ‘social’ behaviour I, and others, managed to remain civil in our responses, but that’s the thing when someone has decided that you are an undesirable. However polite you are, they see ulterior motives. In fact, the less abusive your posts are, the more convinced they become that you ‘appear to be aware’ of what you are posting, and that it ‘is not true’. It’s no good asking them how they can be so sure, though, as they have already judged you, as they judge anyone with the temerity to suggest that the BBC’s complaints procedure doesn’t encompass its online moderation, which is dealt with by a private company, Tempero, which is thus unaccountable to licence payers or anyone else…

(And the problem, in a nutshell, is that Reynolds’ bullyboy behaviour can’t be adequately addressed by appealing against a single modding decision, as required by the procedure. The big picture is required to truly appreciate his crassness, but the moderation company literally won’t see the forest for the trees)

Dear BBC Visitor,

Thank you for contributing to the BBC web site.
Unfortunately we’ve had to remove the content below because it contravened one of our House Rules.

We are removing this comment and closing your account due to persistent and harassing comments regarding Nick Reynolds, and the disruption to conversation on the Internet blog by your repeated off-topic comments about the moderation appeals process. Given that you appear to be aware that what you are posting, both about the appeals process and Nick Reynolds involvement in it, is not true the only conclusion can be that you are engaging in deliberate disruption of the BBC website. This is in breach of the terms and conditions of the site, and you leave us with no option but to close your account.

Please note that anyone who seriously or repeatedly breaks the House Rules may have action taken against their account without further warning.

BBC Moderation Team.

URL of content (now removed): [Comment 22]


The Five Most Interesting Stories from Our Week


Nick Reynolds wrote:
If people wish to have dialogue they need to obey the house rules and also accept that some conversations are not going to run on and on forever.

[I wrote] Has anyone expressed a desire for discussions to ‘run on and on forever’? If not, isn’t that an inaccurate and unfair view?

The House Rules are a different story. If rules are interpreted in the strictest, ‘more than my job’s worth’ way possible, with regard to being off topic, for example, how far away can a revision of those rules be? Oppressive regimes are toppling throughout the Middle East because they would not acknowledge the winds of change. Borrowed time for some of the more boorish staff members?

At the root of all this is the gradual eradication of the BBC’s message boards, accompanied by a range of specious and often contradictory excuses. An often made charge is that the BBC are clamping down on the public’s right to express their opinion’s following the Iraq war, and the Hutton report. Maybe this is so. Whatever the cause, we must hope that at some point, actual BBC employees start being accountable to us again, and mercenary outfits like Tempero get the boot. And that the BBC Trust pulls its head out of the sand.

Cheltenham cabbie accused of sexually assaulting teenage student

When any report of sexual assault, to say nothing of rape, immediately creates a presupposition in the reader’s mind that the accused is guilty, it’s important to note that in the above report (which TiG, as per usual, has not permitted commentary on), it is the word of one person, the taxi driver, against the word of another, his 18-year old fair. The article doesn’t include any evidence to corroborate either story, and in the absence of such evidence, a guilty verdict should never have been reached. That probably means that such evidence has not been reported (typical TiG).

As it stands, though, the story illustrates the serious consequences of any individual being prepared to lie shamelessly to serve their own selfish ends, often for the most trivial of reasons. Lying is socially acceptable now, it seems, even to people who have trumpeted their morals publicly and loudly. Why is it tolerated so? Beats me.

‘You think it’s amusing to have a stabbing a week’

Wasters – U – Lot

Post of the week, right there. As unjustifiable an assertion as deriding people as liars or racists, based purely on the inexplicable workings of a bigoted mind.

To everyone who has come here to not read this blog, welcome. You’re all doing a wonderful job of ignoring me, Give yourselves a pat on the back.

This entry is about a recent entry on the Gloucestershire Blog (see links on the right), in which Eddie Eldridge has indulged himself with a little paddy about me. Of course, I responded, and of course, he has rejected my comment, which is entirely in character. Since then, a spattering of ‘worthies’ have added their devalued coins to the ‘discussion’. Great to see Jerry Jenkinson and Shaun Moore, since they vanished from the message boards after asking for a Barton & Tredworth board that Shaun now fails to moderate. Pointing this little fact out was one of the reasons I was ‘banned’ before, so good to see that the guy who said ‘I think you are a sad act but then that’s what I think’, and Jerry (who said the site Softdata UK made for the Trust Centre was ‘rubbish’) are still making a contribution. I have absolutely no idea who ‘Allison’ is, but unless she’s lying, I guess I made an impression (but why do so many people feel the need to add ‘little’ to their worthless jibes? I’m of average height, as ‘Allison’ should know, supposedly, but what has she got against the vertically challenged?).

But can we really take no notice of ‘Andy’? With a link like that, isn’t he just another dirty spammer? Never mind, he’s agreeing with Eddie. That always works.

So, what I would have said on Eddie’s blog, if he would have let me, is below. Anyone who feele they want to contradict me, fine. Or just ignore, because Eddie can’t possibly be in the wrong, can he..?


Eddie you have it the wrong way around, You had three chances, and you blew it. Now you have absolutely no say over what I write, and I am of course likely to write about what an intolerant, bigoted person you are. How does that feel?

Now, of course, you probably aren’t likely to allow this post. It’s ironic… no, let’s call it what it really is, hypocritical… that Reg can claim I won’t allow a comment of his on my blog, but when I do, he won’t admit it and makes himself scarce instead, and you don’t say a word. You choose to allow your members to be as boorish as they please, as long as they direct that bile at the right person, someone you’ve taken a childish dislike to.

But you must know very well that if you don’t allow this post, I’ll happily put it on my own blog, and contrary to what you would hope, people will read it there, if only because people like to see a good old barney in progress. And you’re grasping at straws if you think other blog owners share your petty views. Maybe you should have tried a bit harder at persuading them you had any opinions worth listening to, rather than parochial rubbish about ‘political correctness’ and Muslims in swimming pools…


There’s that, Barry, and I have given Eddie full thanks for putting me on to, although the occasional site outages can be annoying. What you don’t know is that when I showed him the site I made, he sneered at me for having only two members, both myself (‘Joe K’ and ‘Webmaster’). This from ‘Eddie/’Admin’, who just happen to share the same age and birthday…

I have a great memory (well, mostly). I remember being ‘banned’ three times with pathetic justifications (if ‘justifications’ is the word) each time. I wonder if Eddie’s memory is as good? The third time was for noting, twice, that the board blogs had been over-ran with ‘trackbacks’ which linked to porn and drug sites. Not that I was foolish enough to click on any of them, but links proclaiming ‘anal rape’, ‘father/daughter sex’, gang banging’… Do you think Eddie was worrying about his business when he left them on there for months, or worrying about his ego when he deleted my first mention of the trackbacks, without even bothering to PM me? I’ve been subject to Eddie’s heavyhandedness before, so I posted my note again. That was when Eddie ‘banned’ me. And you’re talking about ‘vindictive’? If Eddie lost ‘contracts’ before, it was because of his own carelessness. If he loses any now, it’ll be because of his arrogance.

And it’s ‘prat’, Dave, and I don’t own TiG. Ask Mat.

Nota Bene: there is another individual on the Gloucestershire Boards called ‘Shaun’ (though he has never even once posted, and I wouldn’t trust that Shaun to tell the truth as far as I could ‘dump a giant incinerator on the outskirts of Gloucester’, either. Has he graced Eddie’s blog with his presence?

And as I said, my memory is mostly great. The second ‘ban’ was over the trackbacks (the first was when I was ‘Joker’, and dished the dirt on Shaun ‘Barton Media’ Moore over the obviously unnecessary B&T board). The third barely counted, because my feet hardly touched the floor when Eddie noticed that Facebook had let me sign in again with the same name, and have a discussion with Reyaz Limalia, the chairman of Gymnasian/Friendship Café (GFC), about Fair Shares.

Too many words, ‘innit? Some people despise words…