Click here to watch Blair's farewell video

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Where is my thinking hat?

There is a whole lot of white noise emanating from the rightwing blogosphere at the moment. Something or someone seems to have rattled their collective cage.

Mind you, rather than buckling down and ensuring their lazy attacks have substance, they actually think they’re on the right track: that unsubstantiated attacks - based on poorly researched non-stories - are in fact the right way to go. Guido Fawkes (AKA: Paul DeLaire Staines) certainly thinks so: -

I would have done him over harder.

He is paid from the public purse and is a public servant. If he wants to express political opinions he should change his career.

Didn’t he also get caught posting a sycophantic “Miliband is Brilliant”* comment on the Miliblog. I rest my case.

Simon Walters is right.

He’s a tough guy, our Guido. Very tough.

Simon Walters, you will remember, is a ten-a-penny hack at the Daily Mail, whose laboured attempt to draw a tempest of shit around former Downing Street aide Owen Barder, only served to attract several languid Tory bloggers with nothing better to do. A quick bit research uncovered that the story was in fact manufactured bollocks.

This is the mentality of the right. Led by a slippery shape shifting Blairite clone, they have nothing of consequence to bring to the table, so they go sniffing after any mainstream media scraps that might tickle their rabid readership.

What Iain and Paul do not seem to understand, is that by publishing uncorroborated nonsense, they actually do the rest of the blogosphere a disservice, by fueling the MSM’s claims that we’re nothing more than a bunch of irresponsible parasites. Mind you, they probably do understand this. The point is: do they care?

As we can see over on our sister site, research is inconsequential if it threatens to distort the intended narrative.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Censorship and hypocrisy (in spades)

In light of Tessa Jowell's misguided call for bloggers to adopt a Code of Conduct, self-proclaimed Libertarian hero Guido Fawkes (aka Paul Staines), has posted yet more hypocritical dribble for his rabid readership to agree with. You can just imagine them, no doubt in their bedrooms, agreeing like those shabby nodding dogs that you get free with a certain car insurer.

Of course the dear readers here at Guido 2.0 know better. We know that Guido is a hypocritical charlatan who – behind the mask - is terrified of 'the truth' and will use the full force of the law to suppress it. Won't you, Paul?

Johnny-Come-Latelies like Paul Staines and Precious Iain Dale don't care very much for what makes the blogosphere work, no, all they care about is what they can get out of it. Iain Dale promises us, "Just for the record, I never portray myself as an expert on blogging," yet he has the temerity to edit a Guide to Political Blogging! I mean, Iain, do you think we're that fucking stupid?

Likewise Paul Staines has the sheer cheek to write, "freedom of speech means you will find people saying disagreeable things in disagreeable ways," and yet Paul Staines has repeatedly done his best to hinder the work of those who are saying disagreeable things in disagreeable ways about him by preventing deep-linking to his site.

FYI - a credible commentary of Jowell's clanger can be found here.

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How very original

Paul Staines' election-day entry contains a 'parody' of a Backing Blair poster, and it's not the first time he's ripped off my material in order to whore his website.

Perhaps one day Dale and Staines will develop some imagination (or at the very least some halfway-decent image manipulation skills). Until then, they'll have to continue ripping off other people's work.

(Or, in other words, perhaps "they would enjoy more success if they tried something less derivative and more novel".)

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Nothing to see here... move along...

As you may have noticed, at this weblog, we have a habit of linking to evidence when we make a claim.

But Paul Staines would rather you didn't have easy access to that evidence...

Bloggerheads - This is a first... 'bloggers' objecting to deeplinks

Just imagine how 'Guido' would react if Downing Street pulled this stunt on him...

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Precious Iain Dale Launches Video Advertising on Blogs

Some of you may have choked back vomit after seeing videos playing across the blogosphere starring Iain Dale.

In the video advertisement launching GuidoSpace's new lickspittle-generated "Lite" advertising service he nauseatingly demonstrates two ways of advertising on Iain Dale. Press play to play with yourself.

Guido should declare an interest in that his legal bills (and a little bit more) are paid by GuidoSpace.

Rumour has it my very own parliamentary tea-boy is to star in the next video advert!

Hat-Tip: Guido 1.0

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sock-puppets etc.

As promised, here is a new article about sock-puppets and why the "If you don't like it, don't read it!" defence does not apply.

This is one of the key static articles on the brand new microsite Iain Dale's Dairy.

The site has launched with a clearly stated moderation policy, and a similar policy will be published here shortly after consultation with our site contributors.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Please stop wasting my time (1 & 2)

1. The new Recess Monkey video is in a sense a tribute video and further evidence that the contributors have a poverty of ideas. They would enjoy more success if they tried something less derivative and more novel.

2. This post is further proof of Guido's talent for spin. Apparently, his blog being private property and/or free-of-charge to the taxpayer makes the harm it does less significant. The "If you don't like it, don't read it." defence makes a repeat appearance, and there is also a suggestion that Staines acts as our great protector twice over... by not only fearlessly burning democracy to the ground, but also selflessly reigning in any possible negative side-effects of the arson process.

Bless him and his little cotton sock-puppets.

The latter point will be dealt with strenuously tomorrow.

(The short version for those who cannot wait: Paul Staines is a lying, selfish scumbag.... and the same applies to blogging 'expert' Iain Dale.)

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A bucket of spin from the chummer-in-chief

I promised you a fisking of this post from Paul Staines, and here it is. Remember when you read this that it comes from a man who claims to hate spin:

Am away for the weekend and forgot to put comment moderation on. You-know-who posts five comments on one post - then cries "he deleted me" when the inevitable happens. Iain has now banned him as well, so he is starting an anti-Iain Dale blog to join his anti-Guido blog. That is fine by me, freedom of speech means he is entitled to publish his views.

It was four comments, with three of them refuting the usual bullshit from his gang on anonymous bullies (i.e. the abuse that is designed to undermine and discourage anyone exercising their right to free speech). But now those comments have been deleted, they can be anything Mr Staines wants them to be.

The difference in audience size enjoyed by the likes of Iain and Guido compared to the contributors to our respective anti-blogs is growing. Now readers will know that Guido, like Iain, is a humble type, shy and retiring even, so it is with some hesitation that Guido ventures to say that the reason Iain and Guido have far more readers is that we try to be entertaining and bring news. Now Guido may only aspire to gossip and tittle-tattle (over 80,000 people have watched the Gordon the Bogeyman story), but that seems to be what people want and enjoy.

Well, that audience may well appear to be growing at an impressive rate, but only because Staines uses the number of comments as a key aspect of measurement... and he's been busy fostering an audience of individuals who like to pose as multiple individuals. Each time his measurement-audience grows by one member, it appears to grow by 3, 6 or 12. The 'humble' comment I'll classify as sarcasm and put down to a rare moment of self-awareness... but it's a dark path that you walk down when your efforts to be entertaining interfere with the selection of news (or when, in an effort to be 'entertaining', you blur the line between news and editorial). As for giving people what they want... do I need to finish this sentence?

It may not be what others think Guido should write about, it may not be in the deferential style that others think should be employed, it certainly gets up the noses of the old media and the embedded-in-the-political-system journalists known as the Lobby. If you don't like it, don't read it.

I'm not sure if Staines is suggesting here that I'm a willing/unwilling tool of the establishment, but I can afford to let it go; the "If you don't like it, don't read it." fallacy is the highlight here. It's at blogs like that of Dale and Staines that a nugget of unsubstantiated gossip evolves into (or is deliberately reinforced as) an 'open secret'... and from that point is eventually unleashed to do its damage. I don't like it, but the only way to combat it is to show people how it's done. There is also the small matter of the anonymous bullies that spill over from such weblogs into the weblogs and lives of others. A fire does not go out because you turn your back on it.

Simple. Better still, offer a more compelling and attractive product that beats Guido in the competitive marketplace that is the blogosphere. That takes hard work. The easier path is just to call for censorship or attack and try to undermine the legitimacy of your rivals. Claim that Iain and Guido's ascendancy is not based on hard work or talent, but lies and fiction, claim that the two most successful and well known bloggers in Britain somehow undermine blogging. We have done so much to popularise this medium - it is not going to wash. Blogging is just an easy way of publishing, it is a software platform, not a religious movement. Get real.

Following the path of least resistance is hard work? News to me. There's also a staggering misrepresentation of our respective positions here:

1. As has been made clear, it is Guido who engages in censorship, and there has been no call from me to censor views that I do not like.

2. I have also shown on a number of occasions how anonymous bullies (and those who breed them and/or hide behind them) censor the views of others... usually by intimidating their rivals or (*cough*) undermining the legitimacy of their rivals.

3. There are lies and fiction at work in these claims to ascendancy, and also a fair amount of cheating... but I don't discount the actual popularity or level of awareness that exists. In fact, I've expressed concern about it:

4. When Iain Dale touts himself as an expert and says "This is what blogging is!", he provides an easy 'out' for those who don't wish to engage, and a master class for those who wish to subvert. Dale and Staines have not popularised the medium... they've enabled the dismissal of this medium and popularised its misuse.

5. I don't recall claiming blogging to be a religious calling. All I've been doing is promoting its legitimate and intelligent use... along the same lines that Dale and Staines claim to be doing:

"The power of blogging flows from directly connecting with the readers, key to that direct connection is honesty." - Paul Staines

"Blogging has become a phenomenon which can help shape the political and current affairs agenda. It can be a force for good as well as a means of destruction." - Iain Dale

The new anti-Iain blog is in a sense a tribute blog and further evidence that the contributors have a poverty of ideas. They would enjoy more success if they tried something less derivative and more novel. Meantime Dizzy wants an anti-blog as well. You're no one daahhling, if you haven't got one.

Ah, yes.... this is something that Iain can be proud of. No doubt I'll have to re-think my position lest I give the man more credit than he is due. Nice try. As for the tired old Tory line of 'poverty of ideas' (from the left)... isn't this a bit rich coming from the guy who emulates Drudge and brought the Popbitch concept to politics?

PS - I don't see Iain Dale criticising this actual copy of the Guido Fawkes format or presenting it as evidence of a 'poverty of ideas' from the right... do you?

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Friday, April 06, 2007

More spin? I expected better from you, Paul*

Heh. Mr Staines sure is going to a lot of effort to show us how little he cares. And from an exotic location, no less. It just goes to show that one should not tangle with one's betters.

A fisk will have to wait... the Queen of Sheba awaits my attention in the throne room.

[*No I didn't.]

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Iain Dale has banned me from his website - the gutless hypocrite!

Yes, it's true. And you can read all about it here.

This ban follows Iain's announcement that he would not be answering any of my emails... ever.

Keep a sharp eye out for a brand new weblog that's all about Iain Dale, Westminster's favourite blogging 'expert'... building starts today.

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Unity checking in...

Tim's asked everyone who's joining the Guido 2.0 party to do a quick 'introduce yourself' post, so here goes...

I'm Unity and my online home is the Ministry of Truth.

As for why I'm here - lots of reasons.

I'm a Labour Party member for one thing, so slapping down Tories is almost second nature, but more than that what's coming to increasingly interest me is the way in which so much of modern political culture is systemically infected with carefully crafted propaganda - call it 'spin' if you like, but it amounts to the same thing.


So you see, I really, seriously dislike bullshit, and Paul Staines is a bullshitter par-excellence, so naturally if there's a chance to expose that then you can count me in.

If you want the underlying philosophy behind that then you'll need to read Baudrillard and DeBord, otherwise just sit back and watch the action unfold - you'll get the idea soon enough.

Blogging can go one of two ways from this point. Take the blue pill and it can develop fully into an authentic exchange of ideas, enrich our political culture and become a tool for holding the political elite to account, or take the red pill instead and it can become a cesspit of sock-puppet driven propaganda that benefits no one but the people at the top.

I've taken the blue pill, and I'd suggest you do likewise...

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I'm in it for the Children

Hello there. My name is Aaron and I write the blog.

I'm delighted to accept Tim's invitation to Guido 2.0 for several reasons. But first I'd like to say from the outset that I have no personal gripe with Paul "Guido Fawkes" Staines or Precious Iain Dale, and as far as I know they're both thoroughly decent chaps, although I doubt it very much.

My main reason for contributing to Guido 2.0 is to help shed light on the very serious myopia active within the rightwing blogosphere. What do I mean? Well, firstly, I'm rather befuddled as to how someone like Paul Staines becomes a hero to so many bedroom-bound Tories?

Yes, yes, I know; there are few things that get the Tory juices going like a greying middle-aged banker with a paunch. But seriously, this whole fucking obsession with a guy and his laptop is really odd and just a bit weird.

Secondly, I'd like to bust the myth that somehow over the past couple of years it's become OK to become a Tory.

It's not OK. It probably never will be. Children, please; being a Tory just isn't cool. The dangerous game the Tories are playing scares the hell out of me.

Just think. All these impressionable facebookers and myspacers coming across Paul’s radical looking site or Slipery Dave’s spunky WebCameron video blog; they’re inclined to think that these are just more cool networking opportunities. No Children! Playing with Conservatism is very dangerous. First you’re chatting about what Dave C plays on his iPod, the next minute you’re wearing a 'hang Nelson Mandela' t-shirt and stealing your little brother's milk. This is how it starts people.

So in essence, I see my contribution here as an opportunity to help out the little people: the poor impressionable children. God Bless them.

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Hello, readers. Manic is here to answer your questions an*...




Feel... strange sensation... normalcy... coursing through body!

Cannot... talk... or type... at normal rate.

Must... shed.... third-person.... charad*...



Hello, readers. Ziggy is here to answer your questions a*...





[general panting and slurping noises]


Ah.... I feel much better now.

I'd like to begin by thanking the many supporters who have emailed over the past few days (you know who you are) and pointed out that the 'third-person' gag was getting a bit old and getting in the way of the material. (Kind of like those "Thatcher is a cunt!" jokes of yore... we all knew she was a cunt.)

The watershed moment appears to have come when (as predicted here) Paul de Laire Staines insisted on being disguised and addressed as 'Guido Fawkes' on Newsnight. (A few emails had arrived before this moment, but after Newsnight they came in with machine-gun regularity.)

Praguetory spent an entire day yesterday finding out how difficult it was to satirise satire, and had this to say when he was finished wiping the white wee-wee from his (short) trousers: Blogging in the style of another blogger is fun for a day, but do it for an extended period could drive you nuts.

He's not far off the mark (for once).

As fun as it was watching supporters of Staines banging on about how moronic it was to post/comment in third-person and/or making out that doing so equated with their sock-puppet nonsense, the charade was very difficult to maintain, and I found myself wondering several times how Staines manages to keep it up so consistently without surrendering to the character and/or going completely fucking mental.

So... no more third-person, here or under comments on this blog or elsewhere.

I'm as relieved as you are... and it's not the only change to this weblog that starts from now:

Guido 2.0 will now also become a META-BLOG and will include contributions from a range of bloggers who are unimpressed with Paul Staines*, his antics, and the antics of the anonymous bullies that he hides behind.

Invites will be sent to potential contributors today.

Contributors will be expected to provide material for an upcoming 'about us' profile page, but apart from this and the necessary bits and bobs designed to stop us from treading on each other's toes, the only condition that will be laid down will be as follows:

You will need to always keep in mind that this is my weblog and it is hosted on my web space; I carry the legal risks and we're dealing with a very litigious 'libertarian', so on contentious issues I have the final say on what gets published here.

One major advantage to this arrangement; the new contributors are allowed to leave comments on Staines' website. He banned me for acting *exactly* like his gang of sock-puppeting morons... just not in his favour. If he bans people from commenting just because they contribute to this website, he's going to look a right twat (again).

Manic has....

Oops. That was a close one.

Cheers all.

[*Iain Dale? Well, he gets to keep his very own category in the short-term... but he should also keep an eye out for a prophecy fulfilled. Those who miss out on contributing to this meta-blog because of the need to keep author numbers to a manageable level need not worry... more opportunities await you in the future.]

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Another major victory for Guido 2.0!

Iain Dale has finally introduced proper comment timestamps on his website. Manic would like to note for the record that Iain Dale did this while everyone was busy pointing and laughing at Paul Staines... was it a good day to bury an overdue update, Iain?

As promised, the Guido 2.0 microsite now also features comment timestamps that show both time and date... and Manic will now offer to switch on 'backlinks' and/or stop talking in third-person the moment Paul Staines does the same.

What use are comment timestamps that show both time and date? Well, they make it impossible for the author to go back at a later date and 'replay' a series of anonymous comments that initially did not turn out to his advantage. They also stop sneaky contributors/authors from popping into long-dead threads and appearing to have successfully had the last word.

Finally, and quite specifically, in threads like this one... they also make it clear how long one normally has to wait for Iain Dale to put up or shut up.

PS - If Manic ever runs quotes on the header images of his website telling everyone how great he is, he will be using the following quote from this exchange:
"You suggest I do something. I then do it." - Iain Dale
Manic has spoken. End communication.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A major victory for Guido 2.0! The 'war' is within measurable distance of its end!

Manic has been after Paul de Laire Staines (aka 'Guido Fawkes') to make one minor update to his website since waaaay back in January.

This update - the inclusion of time *and* date in comment timestamps - could have been done in minutes on the old version of Blogger that 'Guido' was on then, or the new version of Blogger that he switched to a few weeks ago.

Yesterday, 'Guido' had the builders in making a bit of a mess of his website. Major changes were made to the design template, but this simple 'switch it on' measure was still not taken... despite Paul Staines making a clear promise to do so in his Pickled Politics interview (see here and here).

So last night, Manic sent Paul an email:

----- Original Message -----
From: Tim Ireland
To: Guy Fawkes
Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 8:48 PM
Subject: When you're ready II

You promised 'time and date' timestamps during your recent interview (the one where you mistook 'irony' for hypocrisy').

Where are they?


PS - They take seconds to turn on and a few minutes to propagate site-wide. It is not a template issue, but a core Blogger feature that is easy to access and enact. What exactly are you afraid of?

A few short hours later, Paul Staines finally made good on his promise and introduced comment timestamps with time *and* date (well, initially he went with the rather more clunky format of date *then* time, but cheeky beggars can't be choosers).

Manic plans to make a similar update to Guido 2.0, as there is little point satirising a state of play that no longer exists. However... with this in mind, Manic does not plan to take this measure until Iain Dale, that other major breeder of sock-puppets and anonymous bullies, makes a similar update to his website.

Manic would also appreciate Iain making a correction to his design template that allows readers to link to individual comments. It is a simple fix, and an important one, as the threads at his website are often almost as long as his record-breaking blogroll.

In fact, Manic sent an email to Iain Dale last night, too... and requested all of the above (a couple of links have been added for the benefit of newcomers):

----- Original Message -----
From: Tim Ireland
To: Iain Dale
Cc: Guy Fawkes
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 12:32 AM
Subject: Re: When you're ready II

Proper timestamps when you're ready, Iain. You jumped pretty quickly on that search function, and that was a much bigger ask than a simple 'turn it on' Blogger feature like this.


PS - And while you're tinkering, please have your webmonkey fix your comment permalinks. I'd like to be able to point to specific moments when you're a total hypocrite.

PPS - Goodbye! Forever! *gasp* *sigh*

Finally, in the interests of transparency, Manic would also like to publish the email he sent to both parties just before closing up shop for the night. For newcomers, it needs to be pointed out that this entire saga can be summed up as follows:

Manic expressed grave concern about the self-serving hypocrisy of Staines and Dale, and the impact that their reliance on anonymous bullies was having on the wider blogging community. Both responded by unwittingly confirming that they were selfish hypocrites on several fronts... but not before hiding behind their anonymous bullies, thereby pushing said bullies into the foreground for everyone to see... in action, no less!

This helped to prove Manic's point about the underhanded methods these anonymous bullies use to restrict free speech.

Dale and Staines also proved time and again that Manic was the only party central to the affair who could afford to say "Bring it on!" when push came to shove.

This helped to prove Manic's point about the importance of credibility to individual sustainability.

Here's the email:

----- Original Message -----
From: Tim Ireland
To: Iain Dale ; Guy Fawkes
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 1:04 AM
Subject: PS

In case I haven't mentioned it before, it is a mistake to let your opponent know what a coward you are. Both of you have, over the last few months, shown exactly what you are made of.

Your team of bullies have - with minor individual variations - made exactly the same error.

It's not the only mistake you've made, but there's a limit to my generosity, so I shall say no more.

Good luck in the coming months. Oh, and fuck you both.



The shared cowardice Manic refers to is best displayed in the following manner:

Manic had this to say about Paul Staines. Did Staines have courage enough (or consideration enough for his readers) to actually link to it in his partial/misleading response? No, he did not.

Manic had this to say about Iain Dale. Did Dale have courage enough (or consideration enough for his readers) to actually link to it in his partial/misleading response? No, he did not.

Manic had this to say about 'Praguetory'. Did 'Praguetory' have courage enough (or consideration enough for his readers) to actually link to it in his partial/misleading response? No, he did not.

Manic had this to say about 'Dizzy'. Did 'Dizzy' have courage enough (or consideration enough for his readers) to actually link to it in his partial/misleading response? No, he did not.

Slam. Dunk. (x4)

PS - No, it is not good policy to interrupt your opponents when they are making a mistake... but it doesn't hurt to point the mistake out when (a) it proves educational to others (b) it is painfully obvious anyway and (c) the damage is irreversible.


Manic has spoken. End communication.

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Selective moderation

In Guido's post where he delivers a pissweak excuse for poor design, a sock-puppeteer turned up in comments with a cack-handed impersonation of blogger Chris Paul.

This sock-puppeteer used the loophole Blogger provides when users opt for unrestricted comments on their system.

Using an open system is acceptable for smaller weblogs, and/or weblogs run by responsible users, but 'bloggers' like Paul Staines and Iain Dale allow readers to abuse the system (and/or abuse the system themselves) when it suits their purpose.

Also, by making it easy for readers (or themselves) to post under multiple pseudonyms, they give the impression of a larger interactive audience than actually exists. (You can see this issue being discussed here, after Iain Dale called a halt to his 'week-long comment registration experiment' after a few short days without the sock-puppets he has come to rely on.)

Meanwhile, Iain's sock-puppeteers bitch and moan about Manic's antics, when it should be clear to any reader that Manic uses a single online identity when dealing with Dale and Staines, and makes no secret of his true identity.

Anyway, let's get back to Chris Paul, his habit of calling Paul 'Guido' Staines on his bullshit, and Staines' rather petty patronage of anonymous bullies who impersonate that blogger...

Below is a screen capture of two comments from an impersonator that - at the time of writing - are still live in this thread (here and here).

Not only are the comments allowed to remain in clear contravention of Blogger's Terms of Service (which clearly state that you are not permitted to use the service to "impersonate any person or entity") but another anonymous comment, probably from the same person, reinforces the impersonation and the aspect of it that is clearly designed to undermine the target.

Staines has not deleted the offending comments or even made an effort to correct the 'error' in the reinforcing comment:

You may also note that, in this exchange, there is a genuine response from Iain Dale. Not long after this comment appeared, someone arrived to impersonate Dale and play drunk... i.e. someone did to Iain Dale exactly what had been done to Chris Paul.

Manic is sure that it will come as no surprise to you that Staines deleted the single impersonation of Iain Dale... but not the repeated impersonations of Chris Paul:

The message is clear; Staines doesn't mind you violating Blogger's Terms of Service and/or breaching blog etiquette on his website... just so long as you don't do it to his mates.

Manic has spoken. End communication.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Voluntary Code Free Zone killed by ardent believers

The latest abandoned right-wing blog to fall victim to blog-hijacking spammers is:

The same affiliate scheme used for the Out From Under hijack is being used to redirect visitors to a different destination URL, in a effort to get a bit of that red-hot 'finger wave' action:

Disillusioned & Bored used to be home to the Voluntary Code Free Zone (the genesis of which has been hastily preserved here).

Manic would love to pause and enjoy the subtle irony of that, but there is work to be done!

Recently-abandoned British political weblogs need to be checked for similar hijacks and a list of hijacked blogs needs to be tallied and published.

Why? Well, as a 'just for example' type thing, this recent series of hijacks presents Iain Dale with a small problem; there's no telling how many blogs in his 'definitive' list of British political weblogs now feature links to hardcore pornography (and unprincipled faux-outraging members of opposing parties could easily misrepresent this eventuality in order to cause him embarrassment further embarrassment).

Happily, Iain Dale also presents us with a possible solution... he has one of the longest blogrolls in the entire world!

Manic has some web-browsing to do, and he will check in shortly.

Manic has spoken. Further communication to follow.

UPDATE - These blogs have been abandoned and then hijacked by spammers, and you may want to remove them from your blogroll(s):

After trawling through Iain Dale's impossibly-long (but suddenly useful) blogroll, Manic also found the following:

The David Coleman blog has been spammed in a new and exciting way:

It is not advisable for newbies with unprotected PCs to visit the page hosted at the above location, or the URL it redirects to:

The Injured Cyclist has been hijacked by a Japanese spammer pushing 'Windows Vista' on the cheap, by the looks of things:

The Dave Mills and Pete Kelly blogs are dead, but not spammed:

That appears to be it for now. Complaints have been filed with Google for all spam that has been found... but if you find any more, please tell Manic!

Two side-bars:

1. It was interesting to note how many political bloggers are repeating Iain's mistake of putting all of their eggs into a single Blogger basket.

2. There are many other corrections that need to be made to Iain's record-breaking blogroll, but Manic was mainly chasing Blogger users... and he is not Iain's housemaid.

Manic has spoken. End communication.

UPDATE (16 Mar) - Since this post went live, the spam/re-direct has been removed from and all past blog entries appear to be been reinstated in full (comments and all). No new posts, though. How odd.

Manic has spoken again. End communication again.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Nick Boles and Iain Dale part company with Policy Exchange

A few weeks ago, via 18 Doughty Street, Iain Dale published an investigative report into one charity - The Smith Institute - without declaring his interest in another (some might say 'rival') charity... Policy Exchange.

Shortly after, 18 Doughty Street went live with an attack ad on Ken Livingston. Paranoid leftists were assured that this type of programming at 18 Doughty Street was under the direct control of Tim Montgomerie, and not Iain Dale. Therefore, it was a 'non-issue' that one of the potential candidates for London Mayor just happened to be a friend of Iain Dale and also director of... Policy Exchange.

While Iain was busy dodging relevant questions by hiding behind his resident gang of anonymous trolls and bullies, it came to Manic's attention that Nick Boles was quite serious about running for Mayor of London... so much so that he was foolish enough to register his soon-to-be-campaign website using the administrative facilities of... Policy Exchange.

This alone was a very naughty and stupid thing to do... but Manic also heard whispers of Nicholas Boles using Policy Exchange as an administrative base for his potential candidacy in other ways... and so decided to rattle Nick's cage in earnest.

Now we learn that two people are voluntarily parting ways with Policy Exchange... and those two people just happen to be Nick Boles and Iain Dale.

Iain 'Liar' Dale - Nicholas Boles Steps Down from Policy Exchange

Bloggerheads - Nick Boles steps down! (Nothin' to do with me, Guv'nor...)

The UK Today - Rattled?

Ministry of Truth - Look into my eyes….

Iain Dale is right now busy telling the world that it is a complete coincidence that he and Nick Boles chose now to walk the plank jump ship, and he's urging his readers not to fall prey to conspiracy theories.

Late yesterday, word of this development leaked into the Guido Fawkes blog via comments, and Team Guido (a bunch of anonymous bullies of indeterminate number) immediately started blaming Manic for every anonymous comment that mentioned the affair... because Manic is obviously part of a massive NuLab/Brownite conspiracy.

Paul de Laire Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) made a further contribution by publishing many anonymous smears about Manic. (Apparently Manic is in need of medication... to stop him from succumbing to conspiracy theories.)

Manic is very happy about all of this; he not only gets to enjoy a clear result, he can now sit back and watch as two of the biggest blog-cheats in the country use the same old tricks in a desperate attempt to downplay the significance of this development... and it's just this kind of two-faced spin-happy bully-boy bullshit that Manic wants to reveal to other bloggers.

In fact, Manic feels that this calls for a 21 Nelson Salute.

Cover your ears, children!

Ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha!
Ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha!
Ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha!
Ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha!
Ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha!
Ha ha!

Manic has drawn blood. End communication.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

A busy week and a hefty legal bill for 'Guido'

Telegraph: Political blogger warned he could be jailed: The Charity Commission has warned an online blogger he could go to jail unless he submits information he has gathered about the activities of the Smith Institute, the left-wing think tank under investigation for links to the Labour Party. The formal direction was issued to Paul Staines, who runs the Guido Fawkes political website, ordering him to release documents relating to the institute by Friday.

Manic will now recline, relax and enjoy the fun as Paul's faithful acolytes 'hit back' with the notion that Gordon Brown may be in trouble, too.

Manic could not give a tuppeny toss what happens to Gordon Brown!

He would, however, like to remind readers of the role that Iain Dale and Fox News Lite played in this affair.

Manic has spoken. End communication.

(PS - Manic is a big fan of spin... and advises you to chew before you swallow. Heh.)

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Beg for blogroll-love here

It's just another Manic Monday... and he does wish it were Sunday.

Arrrr... that were my fun day... my watching 'Guido' spin day.

Manic will - by popular request no less - be away this morning.

He wishes you to fill this time with link-begging, and you can see some excellent examples of this here.

Skill can also earn you linkage, so... you can achieve a link on Teh Guido 2.0 blog by:

1. Begging in comments below (this offer does NOT apply to Iain Dale, who has already begged his alleged heart out).

2. Submitting a *funny* entry to last week's Caption Competition (this offer does NOT apply to Iain Dale, who is totally unfunny... until he gets paranoid).

3. Making a brand new 'Iain Dale is a liar' button to replace this one or this one.

Manic has spoken. End communication.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Welcome to Manic's blogroll

Manic would prefer it if you begged, but sometimes you can earn instant linkage purely by pointing out the bleeding obvious:

BBF - Two Brain Teasers to Start the Day

Manic has spoken. End communication.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Iain Dale is a liar!

Look kids... proof!

UPDATE - Here you go, boys and girls... have a nifty button for your website. All you need do is copy and paste the code below into your sidebar. Even Iain could manage that... with a little help.

Iain Dale is a liar!

Manic has spoken. End communication.

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Iain Dale: paranoid conspiracy loon

Manic invites you to check out Iain Dale's Blogger profile, which includes a list of the blogs he has created:

They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!
The two variations of his name could be passed off as an acceptable safety measure, but 'Iain Dale Watch'?!

FFS! And he calls Manic paranoid?

(Special Tip for N00bs: Manic learned long ago that when a conservative accuses you of something, he or she is usually guilty of the same - or worse - themselves. For example; if they claim you have haemorrhoids, it's a fair bet that they have a complete rectal prolapse the size of a grapefruit.)

Iain also seems to be blissfully unaware of a few basic facts about search engines that make the kind of amateur-hijack he fears totally surplus to requirements.

Manic would spell it out for him, but he is sick of hearing his words come out of Iain Dale's mouth, and so has stopped offering him free advice*.

(*OK, Manic admits it; that decision was actually made following consultation with his New Labour Blairite Brownite masters.)

Iain, you're an idiot. And later today, Manic is also going to call you a liar.

Call your lawyer... or Guido. Manic doesn't care which.

They're coming to me away!Manis has spoken. End communication.

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Nerved touched. Knee jerked. Foot firmly lodged in mouth.

Cheeky Tyger thinks he has scooped Manic, but he is wrong.

We already know that Paul 'Guido' Staines is an idiot.

Still, the dishonest right-wing bully-boy 'bloggers' that continue to shame the Conservatives have done us a huge favour by allowing their alpha-male to run off at the mouth about this, and the details are worth a look-see:

Paul Staines: That Godfather and Fairy Godmother Conspiracy

1. This is the first post from 'Guido' that even hints at an awareness of Manic since 'Guido' embarrassed himself almost two weeks ago (by equating his dumbfounding level of comment censorship with Manic's deletion of duplicate comments) . Such a pity. Manic misses the 'Blog Brother' reports, where Staines acted tough by dismissing Manic's initial charges as an irrelevance on his own weblog... while spending close to a month moaning about them on other people's weblogs.

Manic also misses the thrill of turning up in those threads and watching 'Guido' run away.

2. Note that, from the off, 'Guido' lays in with the conspiracy-loon spin cooked up by Iain Dale (which is based on contributions to Iain's website that he probably made himself).

Funny... Manic was under the impression that Guido hated spin!

3. 'Guido' also seeks to add flesh to the spin by delivering some context.

How odd.... Manic also recalls 'Guido' dismissing/deleting many comments by readers wishing to add context to his assertions about this or that... on the basis that details are 'boring'.

4. 'Guido' loftily assures us that there can be no question of impropriety over the planned Livingstone attack ad, as Tim Montgomerie is charge of the project. He then goes on to tell us what Tim Montgomerie thinks; "If there is one thing Tim Montgomerie wants almost as much as he wants to get rid of the current Mayor of London, it is to make sure that the next Mayor of London is not Nick Boles, the Cameroonie ultra." Too bad for 'Guido' that a (yes, genuine) comment by Tim Montgomerie followed... because in it, Tim M points out that he thinks no such thing. (And who better than he would know?)

Manic laughed out loud at this show of expert punditry!

5. An amazing feat here; Staines falls flat on his face with a poor understanding of "the internal dynamics of Conservative politics", yet he still manages to show himself up as a closet Tory with his detailed knowledge of individual contributors to the mix (i.e. while he often claims is "Not a Tory", Paul seems to 'know' an awful lot about them). It may pay to illustrate this difficult-to-master point with an example; there are a number of individuals who contribute to the ongoing protest outside Parliament, but most people will only be aware of the name 'Brian Haw'. Manic is aware of some of the other players and has even met some of them... but to even begin to understand how they interact and differ on certain issues, Manic would have to spend many nights on a cold pavement. Even then he could misread the relationships between these people, but that would not change the fact that he had spent a lot of time in their company.

Manic knows that Paul Staines is a Tory groupie.... and he also wishes to point out that only far-right-wing nutjobs use words like 'moonbat' in earnest.

6. To show his expertise, 'Guido' introduces us to the Cornerstone Group... but instead of linking to their website, he links to the website of Cornerstone Community Care (a charity devoted to the care of adults and children with learning disabilities).

Manic acknowledges that this may be a joke and not an error... Paul Staines likes to make 'mong'-related jokes because he is emotionally retarded.

7. Note how - through his reliance on Iain Dale's spin - 'Guido' has managed skip right over every pertinent question raised and every fact revealed... including the 'minor' fact that Nick Boles has used Policy Exchange as an administrative base for a personal website with a clear party-political purpose.... when Policy Exchange is forbidden from participating in any party-political activity!

Normally 'Guido' lives for this kind of thing. He has been on about similar shenanigans at the Smith Institute for weeks now, *and* he claims to hate all politicians... so why a sudden lack of interest in juicy details?

8. If you made a total arse of yourself on your weblog, and you were an honest blogger, you have to spend a rather awkward day or two wearing some well-deserved flak. Happily, 'Guido' can delete such comments at will because they are 'boring'. Also, Manic is forbidden to pose difficult questions himself... as 'Guido' banned him for asking one too many difficult questions.

A common technique Paul Staines uses is the instant deletion of difficult questions; especially those that risk showing him up as a total hypocrite. When faced with this kind of deletion, most normal contributors will persevere and repeat their question(s). If they are lucky, Staines will finally let the question(s) go live and stay live... but not before he bans that contributor for 'spamming' him. You can see a recent example of this here (see comments as well as the post).

Below is an even more recent example of the type of thing Staines likes to delete before claiming that it was 'spam', 'mindless abuse' and/or 'pointless frothing by conspiracy-moonbats'.

If 'Guido' is so sure of his ground, why is he afraid of such questions?

Paul 'Guido' Staines has, in a single post, not only shown that he is an idiot, but also reinforced Manic's contention that he is a disgrace to blogging... and a duplicitous spin-happy control-freak on par with Tony Blair for cheek and the avoidance of the realities not in keeping with his world-view.

In fact, Manic suspects that the bunker mentality has already taken hold.

Please continue to drink the Kool-Aid, mighty righties... but do make sure that you use a fresh batch of potassium cyanide this time. Your current 'walking dead' situation is freaking out the latest inductees... and Manic doesn't want you scaring them off before they don their white robes and line up at the vats!

Manic has spoken. End communication.

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Iain Dale and the non-existent neo-cons

Iain Dale was in his element on his little television show last night.

At approximately 11:10pm he mumbled through a declaration of interest that should have formed part of the introduction to this report and followed with heavy emphasis on a fresh delivery of his latest bit of spin; that any accusation of impropriety could easily be dismissed as the work of 'conspiracy loons' who claim he is backed by far-right Christian neo-con nutbags.

Speaking of far-right Christian neo-con nutbags... discussion later turned to Iran developing Teh Bomb. This, apparently, is a danger because there are influential elements in Iran that seek to bring about the end of the world... but Iain ignored Manic's email pointing out that there are influential elements in the U.S. that seek to bring about the end of the world.

(strokes beard)

[Note for the record: Iain also ignored Manic's email saying he wanted to swap his Connect 4 set for a Buckaroo.]

Manic has spoken. End communication.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Nicholas "Call me 'Nick'" Boles is one of the potential Conservative candidates for Mayor of London.

Nick is widely tipped as the favourite to be chosen by the Tories to run against Ken Livingston, but currently he is forced to stand hat-in-hand with a number of other Tory hopefuls while the Conservatives stuff about trying to decide when the ring will be open for business.

Still, he's using his time in limbo constructively; he is using email and a special website - hosted at - to ask the London public what they're concerned about... before, we can safely assume, he decides he is concerned about exactly the same things:

Nick butters up the Londoners
That's not to say that Nick doesn't have his own opinions; he recently sat on a panel joining ex-London mayoral candidate Steve Norris in calling for City Regions across the country. While there, Nick "was keen to draw a distinction between the approach of a Conservative London mayor and Ken Livingstone's micro-management of many London issues."

Manic is curious to know how this differs from The Smith Institute allegedly helping to formulate an anti-Cameron campaign strategy, and how this all fits in to a certain broadcast outfit run by Iain Dale (and championed by 'Guido Fawkes') suddenly deciding to run an anti-Livingston ad... especially when Iain Dale is a trustee of Policy Exchange and Nick Bowles is the Director of that same outfit (which also happened to be a part-sponsor of the event mentioned above), but he will let all that go for now.

Manic does not wish this post to become 'long and boring'!

Last night, Iain Dale was asked if Nick Boles was still in the running for the London mayoral candidacy, and he seemed very reluctant to answer, so Manic went to have a look for himself.

On his travels, Manic had a poke around the WHOIS information for the domain names relating to Nick Boles' campaign-preparatory website (,, and and he discovered that each and every one of them was registered using a Policy Exchange email address, the Policy Exchange mailing address and/or the main phone number for Policy Exchange:

Nick Boles: busted
Imagine for a moment the shit you would be in with your boss - even in an everyday job - if it was discovered that you were using work details, time and/or facilities to register domains intended for personal/political use... then consider this:

1. Nick Boles is no lowly employee; he is the Director of Policy Exchange.

2. Policy Exchange bills itself as an independent think-tank and it is a registered charity, and - as Unity points out here - "Registered charities are permitted, in Charity law, to engage in political activities but - and this is important - they may do so only on the basis of well-founded research and only in a non-partisan manner. Charities can ‘do’ politics but not party politics."

3. Nick Boles used details, time and/or facilities provided by Policy Exchange to create a home for a personal website with a clear party-political purpose.

Therefore, if he is a man of honour, he should either resign as Director of Policy Exchange or formally withdraw as a potential London mayoral candidate to save that organisation further embarrassment.... but Manic suspects he will instead try to spin the website as an extension of his research duties for Policy Exchange and/or offer a pissweak apology for 'a unfortunate oversight' (which was perhaps the work of an overzealous underling).

Manic is waiting, Nick; what's it going to be? Spin or substance? If you offer the latter, there are still all those tasty safe seats to look forward to!

Manic has spoken. End communication.

UPDATE - Now you've read that, read this:

We're going to have a little competition, oh yes we are. Click here for your chance to win!

Manic has spoken again. End communication again.

UPDATE (21 Feb) - Bloggerheads - Nick Boles steps down! (Nothin' to do with me, Guv'nor...)

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Manic's Tips for Becoming a Successful Political Blogger #2: Defending Yourself

Good morning, class. If you recall, yesterday we covered spamming your way to the top.

Today, Manic is going to teach you how to spam yourself out of trouble.

As usual, we are going to begin with some project material:

First of all, you need to know that there are some blogs that are set up in a way that allows the author to discuss politics, but bans others from doing the same in comments. Then, there are other blogs that actually allow you to challenge the author on any given point; the latter set-up can present the author with potential difficulty if he is in the habit of talking complete bollocks and/or unwilling to face difficult questions, but - while these two types of blogs have fundamental differences - many of the same defence techniques can be used in both types to dodge, undermine, minimise and/or bury such questions.

For this reason, you will first need to review the following document, which covers defence techniques as used in the former type of weblog:

Bloggerheads: The De-Briefing (Guido and his political astro-turfers)

When you are done with that, you will need to watch a 'pro' in action as does his best to avoid tricky questions in the latter type of weblog. You can find out more about the issue(s) the author may wish to avoid by reading the following...

Bloggerheads: FOX News Lite on its first major mission

... then watch the author in action via the posts below. Please pay particular attention to the comments, and how they unfold:

Iain Dale's Diary: The Questions the Smith Institute Should Answer

Iain Dale's Diary: Charity Commission Opens Formal Inquiry Into Smith Institute

Iain Dale's Diary: Sticks and Stones...


OK, now that we've all had a good look at the project material, we can begin:

Manic's Tips for Becoming a Successful Political Blogger #2: Defending Yourself

1. You Are The Best Friend You Will Ever Have

As you can see in the image below, the 'anyone'/'free for all' comments setting in the system allows even the author to leave comments under different names and identities, even when he is logged into the system. You can be anyone you choose to be, at any time you please:


So the technical challenge is minimal; all you require is the ability to tick the right box and/or enter a fake name.

The moral/ethical issues raised may seem to present you with more difficulty, but they are easily addressed with the following self-justification technique...

Simply ask yourself the question:

"What would a member of the public say if they were here right now?"

Once you have the answer to that question and you are reasonably certain of it, it should become obvious to you that this theoretical member of the public is now surplus to requirements, and nothing is stopping you from speaking for them in their absence.

You are now ready to give yourself a well-earned pat on the back, but try not to be too sycophantic. Below is an example of a self-congratulator overdoing it:

"That was an excellent video report, Iain. Well researched and very professional as usual. And my, you do look handsome in that overcoat. Intelligence and looks? The Conservatives have a real catch here!"

2. Prompting Actual Comments with Fake Comments

If you have already taken the step above and are lucky enough to have a weblog that already enjoys a high level of response from actual members of the public, then you may also wish to extend matters with this technique...

Simply ask yourself the question:

"What is not being said right now that I cannot say for myself?"


"How can I guide or prompt my faithful charges to say what I cannot say for myself?"

From here, we advance to the most common forms of weaponry you may wish to use when you are suddenly and unexpectedly faced with a difficult question or interjection from an actual member of the public

3. Stalling For Time

If you are faced with a particularly difficult question and you cannot or dare not give an honest/direct answer, you will need time to formulate an alternative response.

Happily, as you are now fully prepared to speak on your behalf posing as several members of the public, you can use this time to undertake a little immediate damage control and also lay the groundwork for your (eventual) 'answer':

4. Questioning the Interrogator

This works particularly well if the difficult question has to do with the motivation behind any given act. All you need do is (posing as another member of the public) ask what motivated the questioner to ask that question. Often, this works as a fine introduction to...

5. Undermining the Interrogator

Here you can really cut loose; because you are not commenting as the author, and you are leaving comments under a variety of pseudonyms, you can use any or all of the following without looking like a complete bastard... and without contradicting yourself!

- The interrogator is mentally unstable*
- The interrogator is physically unattractive
- The interrogator is merely seeking attention
- The interrogator is only trying to promote his own website
- The interrogator seeks to divert us from the real issue, which is [insert issue here]
- The interrogator is a [insert party here] activist
- The interrogator is part of a conspiracy
- The interrogator is a conspiracy theorist

Along the way, invent damaging claims about the interrogator and state them as fact repeatedly until they stick (but do not make the mistake of challenging the interrogator to prove their claims under the same pseudonym).

[*Hint: The longer you keep this up, the more likely it is that the interrogator will press you for an answer. Once he has done this two or three times, you are then free to claim that he is a stalker.]

If you have the luxury of a stable of genuine contributors (or if you are able to borrow from the stable of an associated weblog) then they will soon join in and follow your attack pattern; your role will be blissfully minimal from that point on. You are now (almost) ready to present your alternative to a direct/honest answer.

6. Creating Your Own Loopholes

While you may be pretending to be other people on your own weblog for your own benefit, this does not mean that every comment you leave has to be from 'your side'.

If you are clever, you can appear to take the side of the interrogator and add an easily-refutable challenge or claim. If you can make a claim so outlandish that it enables you to shout "Conspiracy loon!", then so much the better.

Also, if you are facing a particularly difficult question and you are not sure if your alternative to a direct/honest answer will fly, you can garner sympathy by threatening yourself.

This works especially well if you also leave a comment from a 'former supporter' of your interrogator who is disappointed in 'their' behaviour.

Now you are ready to present your alternative to a direct/honest answer.

7. Enhancing Your 'Answer'

Answering the question directly is a hazardous affair, so remember to tie your answer closely to the material you have already prepared (i.e. primarily 'rise' to the easier challenge that you have set for yourself while appearing to answer the original question).

If you get a chance, explain your 'absence' by claiming that you have better things to do than answer silly/pointless questions.

[A quick example: if the question is asked who funds your activities, lay the groundwork that allows you to apparently ridicule the interrogator by pointing out the 'obvious'... that using is free. From here you can further undermine their question by asking if the interrogator thinks you are funded by the Illuminati, the CIA, or Mossad. If your gambit is successful, the question about money will be fully defused, so long as no-one identifies your reliance on what is essentially a false dichotomy... or sees fit to mention that does not typically feed, clothe and house their users.]

8. When The 'Answer' Doesn't Fly

Actually, there will probably be very little need for any action beyond this because, by now, you will have created a comments thread that is so long and so peppered with material designed to undermine the interrogator that the majority of readers will not see the difficult question, or they will assume that the interloper is so despised by 'the general public' that his question can safely be ignored.

However, if you are unlucky enough to attract the attention of genuine members of the public who are also seeking a direct and honest answer to the question (and especially if you are unlucky enough to have them repeat the question or pose and even more difficult question) then it is time to bring out the big guns...

9. Playing The Victim

Remember, if you paint the difficult question as a senseless, partisan or just plain old mean-spirited attack, then most people will take your word for it.... especially if you as the author have never visibly taken part in the nastier aspects of the thread (because you are leaving comments as other people, you can simply let these comments stand and maintain a 'dignified silence').

But what really helps is if you fully commit to the idea of anonymously taking the side of your interrogator... this allows you the pleasure of being as mean as you like yourself, and every comment you leave makes you look more and more like A Nice Guy Copping An Undeserved Beating.

Feel free to go to town on yourself... but try not to use any genuine ammunition. The blows need only look convincing.

If you are presented with further difficulty, wheel out a dead relative**.

[**Note - For advanced users only.]

10. The Master Stroke

By now it should be clear that you have effectively spammed and/or trolled your way out of trouble on your own website.

But it gets better...

At the same time, the interrogator will have been forced to press you for an answer on a number of occasions and/or address a number of fake/genuine attacks.

All you need do now is expand on the earlier 'the interrogator is only trying to promote his own website' groundwork and proclaim them to be a comment spammer!

To the untrained eye, your banning them will appear to be completely justified.

You are now free to immediately delete any future difficult questions from this interrogator.

If you face a new interrogator, simply repeat steps #1 through #9... you'll find that it gets easier over time.

Manic has spoken. End communication.

UPDATE (5 Feb) - Iain Dale migrated to the 'new' version of Blogger over the weekend. As a result, many of the comments by people who could be identified (including yours truly) are now displayed as anonymous comments. When this is fixed, Manic will redistribute the project material.

Manic has spoken again. End communication again.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Manic's Tips for Becoming a Successful Political Blogger #1: Spamming for Links

Manic published a series of link-begging emails yesterday, and was disappointed at the lack of comments guessing at the identity of the sender... until he received two private messages from two different people who received near-to-exact copies of one of those emails!

Below is Manic's copy, followed by the two others.

Before we begin our lesson, you may wish to check through your email archives to see if you have received a similar email. (Extra credit will be given to those filing a report that shows learning from personal experience.)


----- Original Message -----
From: [censored]
To: Manic
Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2006 4:35 PM
Subject: Bloggerheads

> Hi Tim, I've just been looking at your blog and I wondered if you'd like to add
> a link to mine? It's at [censored].
> If you do add one please let me know and I'll reciprocate - I'm getting several
> thousand hits a day now, so it should drive a bit of traffic your way.


----- Original Message -----
From: [censored]
To: [censored]
Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2006 4:30 PM
Subject: Blog

> Hi, I've just been looking at your blog and I wondered if you'd like to
> add a link to mine? It's at [censored].
> If you do add one please let me know and I'll reciprocate - I'm getting
> several thousand hits a day now, so it should drive a bit of traffic your
> way.


-----Original Message-----
From: [censored]
Sent: 29 January 2006 16:44
To: [censored]
Subject: Blog

> Hi, I've just been looking at your blog and I wondered if you'd like to
> add a link to mine? It's at [censored].
> If you do add one please let me know and I'll reciprocate - I'm getting
> several thousand hits a day now, so it should drive a bit of traffic your
> way.

Now that you have the project material in front of you, we can begin the lesson:

Manic's Tips for Becoming a Successful Political Blogger #1: Spamming for Links

1. Prioritising Personalisation

What may not be obvious (due to the need for censorship of details that may identify the sender) is that the sender's email address appeared in both the 'To' and 'From' fields in emails #2 and #3.

What this indicates is that the sender used a common technique for sending bulk email via programs such as Outlook Express (if you want to send a bulk email without revealing the identity/number of other recipients all you have to do is send the email to yourself and BCC the recipients). The timestamp difference between emails #2 and #3 is easily explained by the latter being parsed through a local mailserver.

What should be immediately apparent is that Manic's copy of this email (#1) is personalised.

The sender has clearly chosen recipients he felt worthy of a personalised email, and bulk-emailed the rest with a generic version of this same email.

We will now dissect the body of that email.

2. How to Appear Polite and Generous

"Hi, I've just been looking at your blog..."

Note here how the sender makes a bold attempt at honesty; he does not claim to have been reading the blog of the recipient, just looking at it (and perhaps just long enough to dig out that all-important email address of the author).

"... and I wondered if you'd like to add a link to mine?"

There's a lovely casual tone to this statement, which is only enhanced by the addition of the question-mark; this morphs said statement into a non-threatening request (and possibly also implants a subconscious feeling of warmth via use of the rising inflection made popular by Australian soaps such as Neighbours).

"It's at [censored]."

Here the sender includes his URL, making the task of responding to his request as easy as possible. He has led with 'no pain' before emphasising the gain:

"If you do add one please let me know and I'll reciprocate..."

Jolly good technique; the sender appears to be kindly offering a 'like for like' exchange, and he even goes on to sweeten the pot:

"... I'm getting several thousand hits a day now, so it should drive a bit of traffic your way."

Very clever indeed. Note the use of 'hits' as opposed to 'page impressions' or 'unique visitors'; this allows for the use of a more dazzling number. Also, as the recipient is probably unaware that they are one of many recipients, they are unlikely to consider that they may be exchanging a link on their very short blogroll for a link on an impossibly long one. (The latter type of link will receive less traffic even on sites of equal popularity, through the miracle of 'dilution'. This will be covered in more detail shortly.)

3. Watch Out For Spam Filters

Though one of the emails (#3) was dumped in a junk folder after being classified as spam by the probability-based mail filter SpamBayes, the carefully-crafted message managed to pass though SpamPal (#1) and the in-house spam filter of Gmail (#2) without raising so much as a blip.

Songwriter and marketing/performance expert Jim Steinman will be the first to tell you that this level of acheivement ain't bad.

4. Managing Your Resulting Blogroll.

Many old-fashioned types will try to convince you that your blogroll should be made up of close friends and associates and/or blogs that you read on a regular basis. They are wrong.

Your blogroll can - and should - be as long as you want it to be. What really matters is the inbound links that register in Technorati, and the cumulative inbound traffic that registers in your statistics (and reliable performance-measuring outfits such as Alexa).

Remember; you are only giving the appearance of a 'like for like' exchange; after you have included all of the reciprocal links that you promised, your blogroll will soon be the equivalent of 19 printed pages of A4 paper (making even the shortest post generate a page longer than your arm).

The result? Outbound links will be buried in one very long list, while you will typically be benefiting from inbound links from many, many shorter lists.

5. Managing Resulting Blogroll Requests

If you play your cards right, this can elevate you to a level of reputation where you no longer need concern yourself with the whole begging rigmarole, because success breeds success.

In fact, once you have spammed link-whored cleverly self-promoted yourself into the position of 'leading blogger', you will soon find that is is other bloggers who are sending link-begging emails to you.

Typically, these will be the kinds of trusting fools that begin by linking to you as a sign of good faith before they send their begging email. Then, if you are of a mind to refuse the link, all you need do is claim there is no room at the inn (or simply allow your impossibly-long blogroll to speak for itself).

Manic has spoken. End communication.

UPDATE - *This post is about Iain Dale; all of this spam came from him and proof beyond what has been published on this website can be found here, where an unwitting recipient of the spam has blogged its contents. Manic wasn't going to say anything about Iain being the source of these begging emails ever ever ever... until he discovered that Iain was a spammer... and an ungracious twunt.


Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Never Gonna Give You Up

Manic wishes to share with you some email correspondence going back many moons.

Feel free to guess which individual all these emails are from under comments... Manic will never tell*!

----- Original Message -----
From: [censored]
To: Manic
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2004 9:54 PM
Subject: Bloggerheads

> Tim
> I'd be soooo grateful if you'd add a link to my blog
> [censored]
> Idiot in The Guardian said [censored]. Typical Guardian!
> Enjoyed your Tim Yeo blog.

----- Original Message -----
From: [censored]
To: Manic
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2005 10:42 PM
Subject: Bloggerheads

> Tim, I’ve returned to blogging and would be very grateful for a link, which I will
> reciprocate. I’ve also [censored]. I hope that's OK!

----- Original Message -----
From: [censored]
To: Manic
Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2006 4:35 PM
Subject: Bloggerheads

> Hi Tim, I've just been looking at your blog and I wondered if you'd like to add
> a link to mine? It's at [censored].
> If you do add one please let me know and I'll reciprocate - I'm getting several
> thousand hits a day now, so it should drive a bit of traffic your way.

----- Original Message -----
From: [censored]
To: Manic
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2006 3:30 PM
Subject: RE: [censored]

> Does this cement our relationship and link exchange? Dontcha think it's
> about time?!

(Psst! In case you need to be told, Manic thought it was not 'about time'... just as he did each and every other time this person went begging for blogroll love.)

Manic has spoken. End communication.

UPDATE - *This post is about Iain Dale; all of the desperate link-begging emails came from him. Manic wasn't going to say anything about that ever ever ever... but he later discovered that Iain was a spammer... and an ungracious twunt.