Iain Dale’s many small deceptions (and one big flounce)

This entry was posted on
Friday, March 16th, 2007
at
2:18 pm and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

flounce (verb):

To walk or move with exaggerated, affected or unnatural motions expressive of self-importance or self-display.

When I first raised an objection or twelve about the way Paul de Laire Staines conducted himself as a blogger, I made it very clear that Iain Dale played a significant role in the decay in blogging ethics that was the core concern: In his laughable guide to political blogging in the UK, he pushes Guido forward as his poster-child and states that; “The power of blogging flows from directly connecting with the readers, key to that direct connection is honesty.”

Since that time, Iain Dale has desperately tried to brand this intervention as a war and cast himself as an innocent bystander. In fact, you can see him trying this on right here (and reactions to this post can be seen here, here, here, here and here).

Please note that in his response, Iain Dale dismisses allegations made against him without providing his readers with a link to those same allegations. Just like ‘Guido’, Praguetory and Dizzy did.

You may detect the acrid tang on censorship here, and you’d be right…

Iain Dale is not an innocent bystander, because two of the core issues here are censorship and anonymous bullying (see: censorship).

Over the last 12 months or so, both Iain Dale’s blog and the ‘weblog’ of Paul Staines’ have acted as training grounds for an unknown number of anonymous bullies, many of whom now operate their own weblogs.

The reason the actual number of anonymous bullies is unknown is because both websites normally allow a comments free-for-all that is only interrupted by the introduction of pre-vetting/moderation when the reputation of the author is at risk… the rest of the time, these blogs allowed anyone to post under any damn name they pleased.

Many personal smears with a clear political purpose have been published at both weblogs under these conditions, and to the casual reader they may have added credence because they appear to come from multiple sources.

In both cases, anonymous comments have also been used to defend/help the authors, and these comments seem to pop up at the most opportune moments. I’d like to think that I can be forgiven for suspecting that – like Dizzy – both of these individuals are sad bastards who often feel compelled to intervene on their own behalf while pretending to be someone else (i.e. they engage in the use of sock-puppetry and astro-turfing).

[Sidebar: Meanwhile, these same people seek to bat away valid criticism as ‘smears’, and/or shout down every criticism as the work of a ‘New Labour astro-turfer’.]

What Iain Dale has definitely been doing on a regular basis is hiding behind these anonymous bullies when he faces difficultly. Meanwhile, he gallivants about town billed as a ‘blogging expert’ and pontificates on the values of honest communication via weblogs… because he’s a duplicitous mouth-breather.

Bloggerheads (February 13, 2007): If you run a weblog that contains a significant level of political discussion, you really should have some form of comment registration in place or be ready to moderate your arse off. If you don’t do either, you lay fertile ground for anonymous bullies who seek to limit free speech by undermining and intimidating those they don’t agree with (while simultaneously screaming about their right to free speech). No matter where stand politically, if you allow the above on your website and/or are irresponsible enough to actively use it to your advantage, the only thing you really prove every time you ‘win’ is that you are afraid to conduct an open and honest debate. This does not indicate a significant level of confidence in your political beliefs.

A couple of days ago, Iain finally responded to my concerns by introducing comment registration on a week-long trial basis.

Please note that in this response, Iain makes no mention of my repeated calls for him to put responsibility before ego and introduce comment registration… in fact, he even went so far as to suggest that the only reason for its introduction was a series of personal smears from New Labour astro-turfers (see sidebar above).

I thought he deserved to be called on that… and here we take a big step closer to the almighty flounce.

Here is the guts of the initial exchange of at Iain dale’s weblog (the first text in italics is a quote from an earlier comment):

Guido 2.0 said…

Shame on the trolls.

Shame on Iain, [for] actively [encouraging] trolls by hiding behind them.

You can never be too aware of sock-puppetry.

1:23 AM

Iain Dale said…

Tim Ireland, stop link spamming you [unbelievable] hypocrite.

1:41 AM

Guido 2.0 said…

Spam you say?

Iain, you really are a silly boy sometimes. Do you follow Guido on *everything*?

PS – Please fix your comment permalinks.

8:59 AM

[Sidebar: Note the repeated use of my name in this exchange and many, many others that – to the casual reader – might suggest that I am engaging in sock-puppetry myself. Not so. Both the Guido 2.0 profile and the Guido 2.0 website make it abundantly clear who I am. I have been engaging Dale, Staines and their bullies using the Guido 2.0 Blogger profile because all of the blogs involved rely on Blogger’s kiddy-tech, and I never tire of hearing complaints about my talking in third-person… just as Paul Staines does.]

The last link in the above exchange is supposed to link directly to a comment left earlier by Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) in this thread, but it doesn’t work because Iain’s individual comment permalinks are borked. Basically, ‘Guido’ (aka ‘Daddy‘) passed Iain the ‘link spammer’ ball and Iain ran with it.

But, sadly, he was not able to carry it very far.

Here comes Iain’s big flounce, boys and girls… it begins with my objection to an outright spammer making a false claim of spamming:

[Note: The ‘And you say…?” response has been shamelessly lifted from CuriousHamster’s tangle with Praguetory. It seemed fitting.]

From: Tim Ireland
Sent: 15 March 2007 9:50 AM
To: Iain Dale
Subject: link spamming…?

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Do you really [believe] that’s what this is?

Tim

From: Iain Dale
To: Tim Ireland
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 9:56 AM
Subject: RE: link spamming…?

If you accuse me of spamming you when I merely email you to ask for a reciprocal link then sure, constantly posting comments on other people’s sites with links to your own is spam.

From: Tim Ireland
To: “Iain Dale”
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 10:15 AM
Subject: Re: link spamming…?

An on-topic link is preferable to a bunch of text that has already been published elsewhere. It is not spam.

You sent out a bulk unsolicited email. Spam in anyone’s book.

And you say…?

Tim

(no response)

From: Tim Ireland
To: Iain Dale
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 10:37 AM
Subject: Re: link spamming…?

And you say….?

(no response)

From: Tim Ireland
Sent: 15 March 2007 7:14 PM
To: Iain Dale
Subject: Re: link spamming…?

Iain, don’t jerk me around. You picked up Guido’s baseless ‘spammer’ smear and ran with it. Either withdraw the comment – as it was made, publicly – or be prepared justify it.

Tim

From: Iain Dale
To: Tim Ireland
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 9:44 PM
Subject: RE: link spamming…?

Oh do get real. Have you really got nothing better to do with your time?

Virtually every comment you leave on a blog at the moment has a link back to your own. If that isn’t link spamming then fuck knows what is. But then you do need the traffic I guess.

Nothing further to add. See below. End communication. Permanently.

Goodbye. Forever.

Goodbye forever?!

Bloody hell! Move over, Blanche DuBois… there’s a new drama queen in town!

It’s tempting to run with the flounce alone, but that would be cheating. Instead, I’ll take on the entire email:

Have you really got nothing better to do with your time?

Yes, I do have better things to do with my time, which is why I get a little terse with idiots who level baseless accusations against me and then run away when they can’t back them up with evidence.

Virtually every comment you leave on a blog at the moment has a link back to your own.

Check the figures below. This statement is only correct if you take the last day or two into account… and if you don’t look too closely at the circumstances in which the links were posted.

If that isn’t link spamming then fuck knows what is.

It’s not link spamming. Either Iain is an idiot or he hopes his readers are.

If it comes down to a choice between a comment with a lot of text or a link to a page containing the same text, I will always go with the link. In fact, most blog moderators prefer this method, too…. unless they have a bunch of shit they’re trying to hide from their readers.

But then you do need the traffic I guess.

Oh, not this “You’re just jealous!” shit again. Look, I’m not a big fan of stat-porn; in fact, I usually limit myself to one report a year… but in this case I’ll make an exception:

Here’s Iain Dale’s monthly stat-porn report (for February):

Iain Dale: 181,537 unique visitors and 312,778 page impressions. Bloggerheads is the 5th-highest referrer of traffic to his website.

Currently my site-wide tracking does not identify unique visitors, but the comparative page impression data is pretty fucking clear…

Bloggerheads: 130,569 visits and 237,073 page impressions. Iain Dale does not appear in the list of top referrers… at all.

Does it look like I’m benefiting from ‘link-spamming’ Iain’s weblog? Does it look like I need to chase traffic in this way?

Iain’s having himself on…. and enjoying a good tug in the process.

Nothing further to add. See below. End communication. Permanently.

See below? Where?

Goodbye. Forever.

Oh, I see. It’s a flounce. And a pretty fucking big one at that.

In fact, it’s such a spectacular performance that I think it deserves a picture:

Goodbye! For EVAH!!!

For those who need it, what appears below is a complete tally of my comment record on Iain Dale’s weblog this month.

Don’t be too impressed by the general numbers; many of Iain’s readers make multiple comments, and some of them (like Dizzy) have a bad habit of making multiple comments under different pseudonyms. Which is, as you’re probably now aware, part of the reason why Iain has been ‘dragged into this blog war’…. before flouncing off like a big girl’s blouse.

March 1st

Posts by Iain Dale: 4
Comments (total): 62
Comments by me: 0
Containing links: n/a

March 2nd

Posts by Iain Dale: 6
Comments (total): 167
Comments by me: 0
Containing links: n/a

March 3rd

Posts by Iain Dale: 4
Comments (total): 121
Comments by me: 1
Containing links: no links

Threads with comments from me (‘Guido 2.0′)
Iain Dale – February Was a Record Month

March 4th

Posts by Iain Dale: 5
Comments (total): 218
Comments by me: 0
Containing links: n/a

March 5th

Posts by Iain Dale: 8
Comments (total): 196
Comments by me: 0
Containing links: n/a

March 6th

Posts by Iain Dale: 7
Comments (total): 170 (not counting these deletions)
Comments by me: 0
Containing links: n/a

March 7th

Posts by Iain Dale: 8
Comments (total): 233
Comments by me: 0
Containing links: n/a

March 8th

Posts by Iain Dale: 8
Comments (total): 384
Comments by me: 2
Containing links: no links

Threads with comments from me (‘Guido 2.0′)
Iain Dale – Patrick Mercer Resigns
Iain Dale – Why Won’t the BBC Interview Robin Aitken?

March 9th

Posts by Iain Dale: 8
Comments (total): 188
Comments by me: 0
Containing links: n/a

March 10th

Posts by Iain Dale: 3
Comments (total): 158
Comments by me: 0
Containing links: n/a

March 11th

Posts by Iain Dale: 5
Comments (total): 256
Comments by me: 0
Containing links: n/a

March 12th

Posts by Iain Dale: 5
Comments (total): 273
Comments by me: 0
Containing links: n/a

March 13th

Posts by Iain Dale: 5
Comments (total): 210
Comments by me: 0
Containing links: n/a

March 14th

Posts by Iain Dale: 11
Comments (total): 332
Comments by me: 15
Containing links: 10 links in 15 comments

Threads with comments from me (‘Guido 2.0′)
Iain Dale – Comment Registration
Iain Dale – The Wrongs and Rights of Tom Watson

UPDATE (5:45pm) – *sigh*… Iain has given up on comment registration after only a few days of his ‘week-long’ trial.








About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
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