Pax.

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 18, 2007

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

This entry was posted on
Thursday, January 18th, 2007
at
12:06 am and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

The following is the full text from an email I sent this evening to someone from the ‘other’ side after the many developments following this post. A small level of detail has been changed to protect the identity of the recipient, but it’s pretty much unedited.

I’m going to post it as an intro to a peace-offering that I hope will keep the shouting down to a dull roar:

Xxxxxxxx,

I promised a considered reply:

Any escalation following the first post has primarily been the result of Guido playing to the audience instead of addressing the issues I’ve raised (yet somehow I’m the attention-whore) – *and* he knows what they get like when he revs them up in this way . The way he and his audience have reacted proves many of the points I raised.

He’s also a committed political arsonist and has said so himself; he wants to ‘fuck them all’. That’s his mission and he said as much to me directly.

You may think that’s a good thing, but it’s my opinion that the way he is influencing the growth/direction of political weblogs will simply make life easier for the complete and utter bastards of this world. Not just right-wing, or left-wing or corner-ring, but bastards of every shade there is. ‘He who shouts loudest wins the argument’? Fuck that.

Working to dampen his fire is not an attempt at destruction, it’s to attempt to minimise damage… and fixing the overall problem will involve a lot of effort from a lot of people – not just Guido. That’s why the wider debate is so important (see ‘on fucking Guido’ below). If you have a poke around, you’ll see a few comments/posts of mine on the subject of free speech, and you can find the most recent one here:
http://www.eridu.org.uk/blog/2007/01/17/more-on-the-blogwars-freedom-of-speech/#comment-62

I’m not psychic, but I do (and have done) a lot of things in political blogging that no-one has done before, so please excuse me for moments like this when I think I can see just a *bit* further into the future than most (and/or that my paying a lot of attention to the past counts for something):

Rest assured when I tell you that – if we keep down this path (and Guido’s not responsible for it alone; there are plenty of people out there greedily or lazily championing him as the acme of blogging) – the next General Election will involve a compromising mess for all concerned… including any nearby bystanders. Even trolling will lose its appeal, as every fucker will be at it. There will also be a few firsts, things that I refuse to discuss with anyone, as I can only increase the risks of it happening by releasing the ideas (two of them are just waiting to be plucked off the shelf and could be put into action at any time… one of them might even turn up during the upcoming council elections, because it’s That Easy To Do).

Finally, it needs to be recognised that Guido has his way of running my blog, and this is the way that I run my blog. I see stuff that I care about, and I act on it as openly and as honestly as I can. My balls have been on the table for quite some time now. I’ve gotten used to the breeze.

Cheers

Tim

PS – If you want to talk about taking things personally/seriously… if this were really a personal matter and I simply wanted to ‘get’ Guido, I could have fucked him easily with No. 11 alone. Or, if I didn’t believe in all the things I’ve said, I could easily have set up my own sock-puppet(s), infiltrated the regulars and quietly dropped Guido in it at the most opportune moment (there are several ways to do this that I know of).

Now, I’m pretty sure that Guido is not going to take up my ongoing offer of ‘right of reply’ for a number of reasons, not all of which implicate him on any specific charge I’ve laid against him.

I also remain concerned about the effect Guido is having on the blogosphere. Nothing about that has changed. I stand by what I’ve posted, here and elsewhere (not including the elsewheres where you neither know me to be here nor there).

However… I think we have reached a stage where people are talking about the wider issues… and, for now, that is enough for me.

OK, so much for the line I’m trying to draw… now back to you:

A lot depends on what Guido does after he reads this, and lot depends on what you do after you read this:

If you’re keen to address any/all points or claim that I’ve put Guido in an impossible position*, then feel free to do so. If you’re keen to call me names, taunt me with empty jibes about jealousy or ‘out’ my hamster, then I wish you luck (he’s staying right where he is).

[*Sidebar: This is a link to a comment from an anonymous user using the comment features on Paul Linford’s blog. Paul is on the fence, and – unsurprisingly – ends up with one of the few posts on this subject that edged toward mainstream media today… but if I don’t say this, someone else will, and they’ll probably be a dick about it; Paul, please think about setting your comment timestamps to show the time and date of any given comment. The more of us who do it, the better. Ta.]

[MINI-UPDATE: Which is exactly what Paul has done. Top stuff!]

But I would much rather move on and discuss matters like:

– The importance of anonymity on an individual basis balanced with the crippling effect it can have your weblog and blogs in general if anonymity becomes too commonplace.

– The importance of securing and building under your own domain name.

– Our status as a community, the way we conduct ourselves, its impact on our community, and its impacton the communities we live in when we walk away from our computers.

– Erm… now’s not the time for a really, really long list; but there’s a reason for all of this, and if you’ve talked to me recently or if you’ve been reading Bloggerheads within the past few months, you’ll know what that reason is**. There’ll be a lot of this as part of that… if that’s your thing.

[**Sidebar: Sorry it’s late. Beta-testing soon. Promise.]

So… here we go… a peace offering… and because there are wider issues here, I’m going to start off reeeeal gentle-like…

To Guido and all users of Blogger:

If you have a Blogger weblog, I’d like you to seriously consider doing the following (if you haven’t already);

a) Introduce comment timestamps that show both the time and date of a comment
b) Email Blogger Support about this disgraceful state of affairs

To Guido:

Hey, mate… your call. I’d really appreciate you doing the above, and it will be taken as a genuine sign of good faith. If you also introduce trackbacks/backlinks (even on a trial basis) or, alternatively, have a quiet word with Iain Dale to tone it down with the ‘ideal blogger’ bullshit (when you will be the first to admit that what most bloggers consider fair you couldn’t give a tuppeny-stuff about), then you’ll find I’ll become a great deal calmer… but I still don’t buy the concept of letting a tide wash over me***.

[***Sidebar: Private ‘joke’.]

To Guido:

Well, what more can I say? I’d love you to turn comment registration on, but we both know that this is going to cut down on comments. Even then, any old fool can sign up for a Blogger account and use an empty weblog as their base, but there are legal advantages to this extra filter that I’m sure you’re already aware of. Have a ponder on it… and the type of comments currently going live that put your ongoing income at risk no matter what the hell I say about it. Don’t think for a second that they add anything to your blog; just a glance around recent reactions for and against what I’ve said shows how many people find you entertaining, but the comments distasteful.

I’d like to think that that’s pretty open and fair. Depending on how Guido reacts, I’m even open to the idea of moderating the original post in a way that makes it clear that ideas have been exchanged, my position has been moderated and/or an agreement or sorts has been reached***.

[****Sidebar: To everyone saying ‘Who does he think he is?’, I’ll need to remind you that search engines are already playing a role and a lot of people will visit the original post over the coming weeks/months. I think they deserve context.]

Over to you, folks.

Cheers all.

(PS – Sorry, Dennis. It’s too late to goad me, but thanks for taking a belated interest.)








5 Comments

  1. James Barbour says

    Surely 'moderating' the original post would render you guilty of one of the many crimes of which you're accusing Guido?By all means add a date-and-timestamped postscript, but the original text needs to remain otherwise the "context" you talk of becomes altered.As you say, Guido's strategy has been to exacerbate the shouting match rather than to address your criticisms – that's his way, and it would have been naive to expect anything else. So the criticisms remain mostly unanswered, from which we can draw our own conclusions.Personally I think we should just move along … You've achieved your (presumed) objective of encouraging people to take Guido's writings (and probably your own) with rather a large pinch of salt. Question, though – was the 'peace offering' all part of the original plan?

  2. Manic says

    "add a date-and-timestamped postscript": exactly what I had in mind.The peace offering isn't part of some grand Machiavellian scheme.As for what can or cannot be expected of Guido… well, I haven't seen or heard anything yet.

  3. James Barbour says

    Big Bother

    It's been nigh on impossible to escape the controversy centring around "Celebrity" Big Brother this week. …

  4. James Barbour says

    ""add a date-and-timestamped postscript": exactly what I had in mind."Righto – just clarifying.

  5. Ministry of Truth says

    Celebrity ‘Big’ Blogger? Big Deal…

    I’ve been studiously doing my best to ignore the whole Shilpa thing – so we’ve learned that Jade Goody is a pig ignorant chav and that’s news? – on the premise that the best possible response to the whole show is ‘don’t wa…

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