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 πŸ™‚


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

β€œTim, 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.