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The truths they don't want you to read....

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The joy of blogging

One of the few downsides to being in the public domain, and inviting comment, is that you attract the nutters, wierdos and those with a huge axe to grind, who often try to subvert the blog.

Just yesterday, a friend let me know that I had received some repeated adverse comment on a "Rate-this-site" site, and that it looked like someone was having a go.

As Silversprite has said, the comment pages are not for the faint hearted, and I deliberately encourage and permit 'vigorous debate' i.e. general abuse, to be cast at all and sundry, in a constructive manner.

A quick scan at the log files indicated that in the space of a couple of hours the same group of IP addresses had logged on to the blog, jumped straight through to the rating site, and not returned. Strange, but it got more interesting when the IP addresses resolved to a very large and prominent public sector organisation, which does not have 'public' computers.

A quick search on the particular computers concerned confirmed that all the machines had visited the blog on numerous occasions previously.

Where it got really, really, interesting was that these civil servants had been posting comments anonymously. Not just defending their employers, but actively criticising others who were questioning Government actions and policies.

And then: it looks like these computers are responsible for a series of very offensive, and I believe wholly untrue, comments on the Labour candidate in the Western Isles, which I feel sure exceeds by a very large margin their permitted political activity as civil servants.

I have retained the IP logs, in case of anyone disputing these facts, and with two sets of logs giving the same information, I'm very happy that what I say is absolutely correct.


! said...

I get my fair share of nutters too, though concerning different issues to yours. Though the first comment I awoke to this morning is from an online chimney cowl shop on the mainland, threatening me with legal action unless I remove my review about their excessive delivery charges to the Outer Hebrides.

Which isn't going to happen.

I got the feeling, looking at the patterns of comments in your blogs e.g. times, odd phrases, that when it comes to political stuff, it's a greatly smaller number of different people to the actual number of comments.

Anonymous said...

I don't see what the fuss is about, unless your point is about council employees wasting their paid time commenting on your blog.

A civil servant is entitled to an opinion and I think venting it anonymously is fair enough. Might well be against the rules but why would you want to stifle it? (oh... because they're giving you a poor rating?) It's a useful way for those of us not working in the white house or snuggling up to councillors to get a sense of what's going on. I think the readership is intelligent enough to be able to recognise chips on shoulders and partisan flag-waving when we see it; and you can filter out the truly outrageous comments (which are inevitable, and indeed a necessary part of the process, as commentators push the limits of acceptability and you smack them down.)

Anonymous said...

Another nice teaser from Angus.

Are you may be referrring to our friends in Bayhead using the Parliament IT systems to make political attacks on Labour?

If so, very naughty, but I suspect you are challenging them to deny their involvement, befroe you pounce.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Angus is trying to stifle comments, this is the point of this posting. He certainly isn't scared of criticism otherwise he wouldn't blog at all and allow all the comments through that he does.

I think that you will find that there are people out there who are trying to gag Angus any which way they can and by giving the web site a negative comment, will stop people looking at it.

There do seem to be a small group of people on here who object to everything and everyone that may criticise their own personal views. The trouble is that they don't seem to be able to constructively comment but would rather personally attack commentors.

The point of this web site and others like it is to have a robust debate, otherwise it wouldn't be particularly interesting. My advice would be, if you can't stand the heat......

Anonymous said...

anon 10:43 I think you are correct and that they did see 9:53

Anonymous said...

Civil servants are generally people directly employed by Government, so Comhairle employees cannot be who Angus is referring too. So who are the guilty ones??? This issue will have far reaching consequences, once the perpetrators, and their false witnessing, are exposed.
So says Rebus.

Anonymous said...

I'd imagine there are quite a few people with axes to grind with Angus LOL, but it is a fact of life that hours and hours of productivity are lost through non-work related internet activity.

Anonymous said...

"far reaching consequences" ??
Nobody cares what happens here. We make our entertainment.

AIF said...

A techie query Angus. When you say "log files" I assume you aren't referring to web server log files - unless you work for Google, or are you able to host your own blogger site these days?