Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Outraged of Thanet

Two conversations with the Thanet Gazette yesterday. I really wonder if they grasp what a weblog actually is? Only vaguely, from the sound of it. Anyway, it appears that there's been a little malicious stirring from one of our readers over a comment thread last week; the one involving an Indian restuarant.

You'll recall that I took the thread down as soon as I was made aware of it and even went so far as to telephone the owner of the restaurant to express my regrets for their appearance here. However, the original content had been captured, printed and sent to our local paper. Evidence of, well, I don't know quite what, as I explained to the editor of the Gazette, as my only involvement was to remove the offensive comments and to write another entry ('Play by the Rules') asking readers to remember the acceptable use policy of this weblog!

Given the many personal attacks you can find elsewhere, it does rather beg the question as to whether the author of the original comments might be the same "outraged of Thanet" who has complained to the local paper. I will be most interested to see if they bother to print this very definition of a non-story.

Alternatively of course, I can turn comment moderation back on again and read every single entry before it's posted here. The result, I'm sure will be even more outraged readers. What do you think?


Michael Child said...

I have noticed during the last year that more local news has come to me first via the internet than via the local papers and also very recently the tentative appearance of local journalists on some of the blogs.

All of which suggests that the local papers websites will catch up with the nationals and become more interactive, how they handle comment moderation will be interesting to say the least.

I suppose there is the possibility of a compromise between total moderation and none at all where regular users to a blog whose comments were neither slanderous nor offensive could be issued with a password, for me the thing I really don’t like about total moderation is the time delay can break up a good dialogue.

With the coming of a new local paper next month from the KOS group noted for its investigative and outspoken style I think there will be a bit of a shake up among both the reporters and the reported.

I suspect that the local paper that is first to have a website where one can comment on its articles with the best of the comments being printed in the next paper edition will be the one to win the battle for advertising revenue.

Anonymous said...

It seems slightly odd to me that the original poster mentioned a London restaurant by name in the same breath as possibly unfit seafood and nothing is queried.
However when a reply is made in the same vein - not actually quoting the local restaurant by name in the first instance - but actually praising the food and not alleging any tummy trouble but only a rather uncoventional thawing practice then a big fuss is made.
What is true and fair comment in the public interest and what is libel or slander?
But I do agree its better not to get involved in any possible cause for action.

Anonymous said...

My objections to the comments on the thread taken down were voiced at the time and were based on the simple fact that the allegations made were easily identifiable to a specific business and seemed to have a racist over-tone. I am glad you removed all items but I am fascinated that some-one wishes to harm a business reputation by 'peddling' the items to IOTG! the gazunder team already skim the Thanet Blogsites for items as,often, an item of interest appears on a blog first! I trust the IOTG will see off the twisted individual concerned.

Anonymous said...

Didn't see any racist overtone myself, I think the same comment would have been made whatever the style of food served at a restaurant.
I have seen some dirty fish and chip shops (not locally) , does saying that make me antiBritish and a racist?
But of course we have to be very politically correct in Blair's, sorry, Brown's Britain where you may be able to get away with all sorts of things by playing the race card - or is that also a racist comment?
Anyway as an alien and immigrant myself (clue - my compatriots comprise 0.9% of the population here) maybe I am entitled to play it? I never did before though.

Anonymous said...

Just read the Lead pencil topic above this one, if anything is racist that is. Not all Chinese products are dangerous, nor would all Chinese people laugh at us for allowing the imports of products known to Chinese people to be dangerous.
The Russians also get a hard time, the Colombians and even the Canadians who apparently in more than 100% of cases (more than 100% ??? what maths is that??) will sell you fake pills online.
My point is that it's just as racist to me to mention and stereotype a nationality in connection with dodgy practices as it is to mention an ethnic restaurant who perhaps lacked a grasp of basic hygiene many years ago.
I suppose one difference is that all these others mentioned in lead pencil topic don't have a vote in Westgate ward of Thanet.

DrMoores said...

Keep taking the pills then 3:36 I'm afraid these are facts and never never travel outside the UK to the Fra East or Africa without sourcing any medication from home!

Doctor Doom said...

For the record (as the third party that emailed Simon about the offending comment thread) I can confirm Simon removed the thread IMMEDIATELY he was made aware of the content, and that he emailed me back shortly afterwards to say he had personally contacted the restaurant owner.

At the end of the day a libel posted on Thanet Life by an anonymous reader is Simon’s legal responsibility. That said, he can hardly be expected to monitor commentary as it happens twenty-four hours a day.

Short of switching on the moderator (against which Michael,10.41, has already made valid objection) it seems down to us, the readers and contributors, to exercise common sense in what we say and to be vigilant and inform Simon when someone exceeds acceptable standards.

Anonymous said...

It only seems like yesterday Dr Moores was down the Gazette office offering his services for free. How times change.

DrMoores said...

And your point, other than the volume of traffic passing through this weblog with any help from the Gazette?

Only now, are we seeing a movement to local news sources online, a bit late though!

DrMoores said...

I must be flagging, all that fire fighting... I meant "without" any help!

Tony Beachcomber said...

I share the eds concerns regarding shellfish, people are taking mussels,cockles and oysters from the shoreline in quantaties that suggest they are not for their own consumption. If they are not for their own consumption are they selling them or processing them for retail outlets. Cockles, mussels and oyster are filter feeders and if they are not "cleaned" properly I sure whoever eats them are running a risk of eating the shellfish's last supper. Bearing in mind we dump sewerage in the sea I don't think that is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Tony's comment should be a warning; the problem of filter feeders is that they concentrate particulates and micro-organisms so that a mouthful of sea water with parts per million might not cause an upset, but a mouthful of stomach contents of a filter feeder might well do so!

Anonymous said...

News? I have yet to see ONE news story on your site that isnt a press release freely available on Thanet council or in the local papers. God knows why anyone visits this site, in fact, why am I even here other than to upset "Dr" Moores. Shame you're MySpace page isn't as blooming as you say this Blog is...

Doctor Doom said...

Anon 957 - one of the key reasons readers come back to Thanet Life time and again is that Simon allows a broad range of topics to be discussed, fom local to national to international, and despite his clearly-stated political affiliations does not censor viewpoints he does not agree with.

DrMoores said...

It's all rather a question of time I'm afraid. I had five weblogs and a column on Silicon.Com at the last count and they are looking rather negelected.

When I have time, which isn't very often during the summer, as I'm not around much, I'll post much more of my own content but I also grab what I see as potentially interesting and provocative topics and news stories, both locally and nationally and put them up here for discussion.

I haven't visited my MySpace page in ages. It's simply an information point for readers, that's all; I use "Linked-in" for professional networking.

You make the mistake of thinking that my world exists in Thanet, when in fact most of my professional existence lies outside the area. People get confused because I have multiple roles and business interests and being a councillor is simply a small part of a larger picture.

As for "blooming" it's all really a question of how you measure popularity, this isn't a beauty contest, if people want to come, they do and in your case, if they don't, then that's OK too!

Anonymous said...

Well put, Doc , but don't put down the Cllr role too much; " being a Cllr is simply a small part of a larger picture" Your electorate in Westgate expect you to be beavering away night and day on our sometimes petty concerns!