Despite the entry below, and despite the fact that my complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about, among other things, editor (in chief?) Ian Mean claiming the individuals who caused disturbances in Barton & Tredworth and the city centre in August were from my ward (the implication of claiming they ‘shamed’ B&T), has been rejected, for the spurious reason that a brief line four days later (almost) said otherwise, I do have to complement an organisation, or a part of it, when it’s merited.

Anyone who still visits the thisisgloucestershire website, particularly if they are interested in political stories, and especially ones involving Labour, will be aware of an individual going by the name of ‘James_Glos’, who for the most part, only posts comments against our Conservative MP, and in defence of the local Labour party and ex-MP Parmjit Dhanda. When I was able to post, I used to use his name in inverted commas because unlike myself, he is cagey about his identity, which is the hallmarket of a ‘Red Flag’ style sockpuppet. The only purpose of ‘James’ seems to be running online interference for the aforementioned local party.

Yesterday, ‘James’ posted this, below the ‘Date with your MP’ article:

Wednesday, October 26 2011, 2:35PM

“Tim, I’ve no idea who “my lot” are but I’m afraid whoever is MP there performance is going to be judged and commented on. I don’t think Mr Graham has done very well thus far, so I’ve said that.

I assume you were equally saddened when the previous MP was criticised on those pages. In fact I’d have thought you would have been more than saddened since the abuse was real quite crazy. So much so that a harassement order and a ban from this website were required for the main perpetrator. An honest critique of Mr Graham’s performance doesn’t really compare with that does it?”

The last part contains a reference to a rather despicable attempt by Parmjit Dhanda to gag me in the run-up to the last general election, which failed in its intent but was ultimately a success in that, although the local police completely mishandled their attempt to serve me with a harassment warning order, when I later referred to PC Steven Crown in a TiG article about (another?) city centre police officer abusing his authority, it was enough to get me banned from TiG, which ultimately has led to a whole world of hurt.

So, since the above comment is also pretty despicable when I have no way of responding, I complained about the post when I saw it yesterday, on the grounds of ‘libel’. That didn’t work, perhaps because TiG’s moderation company don’t view it as untrue. Just as I didn’t think what I said in passing about local Labour so many months back, and would say about any main party, being economical with the truth, was in the least bit controversial. This being the case, I reported the comment again, as ‘abuse’. This tends to always work, because nowadays, it’s enough to just say one feels offended by something for it to be labelled as offensive, without question. I rather suspect that it was ‘James’ or someone very like him, who made the same complaint about my innocuous comment. Innocuous, certainly, when compared to other comments on TiG that are left alone because nobody has an axe to grind with the commenter.

And work it has. Before 10:20 this morning, the comment was still there. After 10:20 it wasn’t. So my praise where it’s due is that everyone, even me, has an equal right, in the eyes of TiG’s moderation company, to get comments removed if they choose to take it.

Of course, as Marge Simpson once said, ‘That’s not necessarily a good thing…’

P.S. some people might question why I should get a comment removed, then re-post it here. Well, it isn’t the lousy comment, it’s the fact, mentioned above, that I don’t have the opportunity to respond. People can say any nasty thing about me they like as long as I have right of reply. Having that denied is quite frustrating. It’s funny, but with Richard Graham being such a disappointment (really, more so than I could ever have thought), and the Liberal Democrats being their typical selves, I flirted with the idea that, even with Dhanda still on board, there was little other choice but Labour. ‘James’ has reminded me why our local branch are still, for the most part, a shabby, untrustworthy bunch.

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This is an email I received from the BBC (donotreply.moderation@bbc.co.uk) 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.

Regards,
BBC Moderation Team.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs
http://www.bbc.co.uk/messageboards

URL of content (now removed):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/blog101/F21628708?thread=8251277&post=109728436#p109728436 [Comment 22]

Subject:

The Five Most Interesting Stories from Our Week

Posting:

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.