Posted by Tim Ireland at November 24, 2008

Category: Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement

This entry was posted on
Monday, November 24th, 2008
10:57 am and is filed
under Old Media, The Political Weblog Movement.

Iain Dale has introduced compulsory comment registration on his weblog.

It’s on a trial basis, he’s pledged to give it more of a chance than he did last time, he clearly recognises the way in which the all-comers system was open to abuse, and his stated aim is to make his comment threads “more welcoming and less intimidating.”

So hooray.

This measure will, at the very least, make it more difficult for users of sock-puppets (multiple/false identities) to switch between identities. It will also reduce the number of instances where regular users slip behind a new identity or anonymity in order to deliver a swift sucker punch here or there.

I am now much happier with Iain Dale positioning himself as an ambassador for political weblogs, as I can confidently state this issue to be 90% of my problem with that (and with him personally); I did not want MPs and Councillors watching the way Iain used to conduct himself and using that as a model. Take, for example, what Nadine Dorries regards to be acceptable on her not-a-blog.

Also, in a different but equally welcome step toward accountability, Iain Dale’s magazine Total Politics is now signed up to the PCC Code of Conduct.

That’s another ‘hooray’, right there.

I will continue to treat the issue of the use and abuse of anonymous comments and multiple/false identities as a priority, which will rate equally with developing print-watch projects.

Happily, these two issues will overlap from time to time, saving me a great deal of time.

And on that note:

Adam Bienkov – What’s wrong with Andrew Gilligan?

So far, the only defence of Gilligan has been in the form of a time-wasting troll, and the only person likely to defend the alleged actions (an unapologetic user of multiple/false identities) has turned up, but wasted their time attacking Gilligan’s accusers.

Tellingly, evasive comments and attacks on his accusers are all Gilligan himself has had to offer; there’s been no denial beyond his vague claim that one single identity suspected to be under his control is an account held by his ‘partner’.

There hasn’t been a single comment credibly calling the evidence into question or defending the alleged actions. Also, news has emerged of past evidence of sock-puppetry.

Speaking softly hasn’t produced any results; I think the time has finally come for me to start hitting Andrew Gilligan with a stick.

Related bloggage:
Tom Watson – Being Andrew Gilligan
Matt Buck – Being Andrew Gilligan – or not
Liberal Conspiracy – Andrew Gilligan is becoming a laughing stock
Justin McKeating – Andrew Gilligan: sockpuppet and sockpuppeting
Boris Watch – That’s Enough, Gilligan
Five Chinese Crackers – A lesson in how tabloid journalism works from Andrew Gilligan


  1. Paul.Ferrari says

    Both of these are great pieces of news – maybe persistence does pay off. Well done to you for keeping on and making a difference.

  2. Manic says

    Thanks, Paul.But the comment karma fairies saw fit to complicate my life for some reason today, as you may have noticed. No good deed goes unpunished and all that.

  3. jailhouselawyer says

    Iain Dale has emailed me to say that you and I are no longer on the banned list.

  4. Manic says

    It just keeps raining puppies, doesn't it?

  5. Tom says

    *applause*Now where's my bouquet of roses from Gilligan?

  6. jailhouselawyer says

    Tim: Not in Hull, it rains Datsun Cogs (the old ones are the best). Do you reckon he's up to something?

  7. Manic says

    No, JHL. I think he's quite sincere and deserves a fair shot at it.There are many things that Iain and I will never agree on, but he stopped being a major priority from the moment he switched registration on. Now the only sock-puppeting sewer belongs to Staines. There'll prob. be a post about that shortly.Tom: It's on the other side of this field of thorns(gestures)

  8. jailhouselawyer says

    Tim: It is just that we were not banned for leaving comments and the comment registration thing to me seems irrelevant. Even if this is one of your big gripes. I appreciate Iain trying to clean up his act. I cannot help feeling given the underhandedness before that there may be an ulterior motive.

  9. Manic says

    It's a big gripe for a reason, JHL. And though Iain didn't admit it at the time, I was essentially banned for complaining about anonymous abuse. It was a big issue for you on his site, too IIRC.Let's accept self-interest as a possible factor, though. I'm entirely ready to believe that Iain can finally see what I'm been bitching about for years now. Take for example what happened over his Ross/Brand post:https://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2008/10/sock…A rare 'lefty' sock-puppet has also unwittingly been helping things along by being such an obvious multi-faced troller that he simply could not escape attention.On that note, JHL, perhaps I can coax out of you a pledge to stick to a single identity when commenting or creating sites in future. I'd love to be able to return to you my blogroll.

  10. jailhouselawyer says

    I have not forgotten, it was not my comments that were the problem but some of the responses.It was your decision to remove the link to my blog, note I did not remove mine to either you or Iain Dale's. Therefore, I feel that my honour is intact.There was no JHL reference on my blog attacking John Reid when he was Home Secretary, in that sense it was anonymous. However, it was an open secret. I recall leaving a comment on Bob Piper's and he asked whether I was the real John Reid, I made no secret it was me in my reply. Bob amended his blog roll to add (spoof). As with Ironed Sardine (I'm still proud of the anagram), I emailed Bob to claim authorship and not to worry. I don't know why he chose not to inform you, I just assumed he would pass the message on. I was wrong on that score. I still feel that you were miffed about being left out of the loop.It takes me all my time to run JHL's blog and the legal and political challenges to set up any other blogs. Now and again I come up with a good idea for a name, but not enough to create a full identity and blog and I have difficulty remembering all the passwords etc anyway.My two big issues at the moment are prisoners votes and Titan Prisons. I am disappointed that the Left is not more supportive of these issues.

  11. Manic says

    Responses: Dale's decision to introduce registration greatly reduces the potential for anonymous attacks against anyone, including you. It also makes them easier to police.Blogroll: I explained quite clearly that my stance on sock-puppeting conflicting with yours was whwat prompted your removal from my blogroll. I could not speak out against the use of sock-puppets while carrying a link to someone who thinks its OK and does it on a regular basis. You may note that you have not been banned from commenting all this time.ID: Blogger allows you to create multiple weblogs on a single account.Issues: We all have them.

  12. jailhouselawyer says

    And there was me thinking that you were the manic meddler…http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml

  • NEW! You can now support Bloggerheads by buying handmade firelighters for camping and utility or deluxe firelighters for your home fireplace. Visit fireburngood.com to see my products.

    Fire Burn Good fire lighters

  • External Channels

  • Tim Ireland

  • Page 3 Politics

    Page 3: a short history

  • Main

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • The Cautionary Campfire Songbook

    The Cautionary Campfire Songbook

  • Badges + Buttons