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What I Hate About Internet Forums

By Matt Traynor :  11/12/2007 :  Comments (32) :
Firstly may I state that this is not a criticism of the custodians of this website (or any other Everton site for that matter). The origins of this site are covered elsewhere but back in the very late 80s when the Internet was but a pipedream, I found a fellow Evertonian in the form of a researcher at Bradford Uni (great Beer Festival they run each year by the way) whilst I was a fresher at Aberystwyth studying fucking genetics. (Hated it, and I?m now an Economist).

There was a Bulletin Board called UNaXcess (or something similar ? but the name was apt as it spent more time going down than certain former models getting caught out by Sunday tabloid hacks) and that is how I met Dr David Shepherd (and Dave if you?re reading this, do get in touch), who was part of the team that ran it.

My Saturday routine was to get the 5am train ex Aberystwyth and then change at Shrewsbury or Wolverhampton, depending on where we played. I met up with the erstwhile Dr Shep at The Mons, and subsequently was introduced to some of the protagonists (some would say antagonists or anarchists) behind ToffeeNet. My life was complete ? my matchday routine was now meeting some of the most funny people for some pre-match scoops, then meeting up again after watching the Blues to dissect what we?d witnessed. I also got to realise how bloody hard these guys work for bugger all pay, just to enhance the lives of those of us who follow Everton.

My main point about what pisses me off is a lack of respect that some people have when hiding behind the anonymity that the Internet affords. That?s really clever ? throwing brickbats around under a pseudonym. I?m not mentioning names (and I?ll admit I?ve actually been guilty of this in the past myself), but ask yourself one question: If you were in an alehouse on County Road, and the topic was Moyes, or Kirkby, or Kenwright or Wyness etc., and you had an opposing view to a stranger, would you resort to calling him a rednose, or gobshite, or fuckwit etc.? Chances are unless you are built like a brick shithouse and with a prevalence towards violence, you wouldn?t.

So my appeal (and I know I?m probably pissing in the wind here with certain characters) is thus:

  • Try to refrain from trading insults (and if you are insulted by someone, don?t rise to the bait ? lots of people read the text, and the majority can judge for themselves).
  • Accept diverse opinions ? one of the founding principles of this site is to stimulate and encourage open debate. Remember there are a vast range of ages of contributors to this site, and some of them have been watching Everton down the years when football was a very different game.
  • Remember we support Everton. Every single one of us has that one thing in common. Uphold our reputation as being fans who understand the nuances of the sport, and the values of a working class club. Believe me when I tell you that that reputation is international. In success-obsessed Asia there is a healthy respect for Everton FC amongst the nouveau-Liverpool / Man U / Arsenal / Chelsea crowd. A number of Asian Everton supporters follow us not because we are hugely successful at the moment, but they did their research and chose a club that has values similar to their own. (I?m not kidding or under the influence of alcohol or medication when I say this).
  • So I?ll sign off with a quote from Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, the guy who said that even if he didn?t agree with what you said, he would defend your right to say it. But this one is perhaps more pertinent:

    ?If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time ? a tremendous whack.?

    Add to that some Scouse wit (or adopted Scouse for those not from Liverpool), and just remember that sarcasm doesn?t always come across straight away on t?Internet, and I reckon ToffeeWeb will once again be great ? hopefully a facsimile of what is happening with the club, on the pitch at least.

    Reader Comments

    Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer


    Michael Kenrick
    1   Posted 11/12/2007 at 01:43:11

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    Ah... the long lamented Dr David Shepherd! A name from the dim and distant embryonic age of cyber space. [Check out this report from the famous Kanchelskis derby at Anfield]

    Speaking personally, ToffeeNet (c 1993) was my introduction to the world of intelligent discussion about Everton, and it was excellent. But the problems you finger tend to bedevil any forum, while we do our best here to discourage a lot of that stupidity.

    Matt, you also provide another excellent reason for insisting on a full name for anyone who wishes to comment here on ToffeeWeb. You?ll never get a perfect forum because we?re dealing with a plethora of diverse human natures here, and that would probably be dull anyway, so we allow a little bit of spice to creep in.

    Your appeal, though, is spot on, and I will redouble my efforts to weed out those who are not willing to participate in the right spirit. They will call it censorship, and that?s fine. The Conditions of Use are there for all to read. I think they are fair and reasonable, but I wil entertian any comments about them on this thread, as long as they are respectful of the principle of open debate about Everton that we encourage.

    Thanks again, Matt.

    James Byrne
    2   Posted 11/12/2007 at 07:49:10

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    Hi Matt,

    Spot on report and I enjoyed reading it.

    Before I start one of the most annoying things about this forum is the length of comments posted by people covering various topics; the first thing I do when viewing a comment page is scroll down to see how long it is! If I find myself scrolling down page after page then I leave; I haven’t got the time or the enthusiasm to read anything that could of been written shorter and in a condensed fashion.

    This website is my personal Everton favorite and I access it from all over the world when traveling, if I can get access!

    Over the past few years this site has been one of the main meeting areas for the debate of the Kirkby issue; with the ownership of Everton FC and the standard of football we play along the same lines for discussion.

    With this I have witnessed this site become a platform for some people who think they are a lot smarter through script, than they actually are. This for me is the one most annoying thing about this site together with the people who write those super long comments.

    Just to finish off, I wouldn’t be too bothered about standing face to face with anyone on the Kirkby issue in any environment, simply because I have never yet met anyone who voted for a move to Kirkby!
    Ed Fitzgerald
    3   Posted 11/12/2007 at 08:38:33

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    Hi Matt

    I agree with much of what you say. Lets be frank though the forums have become divisive and abusive over a single issue -the ground move which people on both sides of the argument feel passionately. The posts and responses reflect these passions. I sense that many Blues on Toffeeweb are intelligent and informed and in comparison to other websites the tone is healthy debate rather than abuse.
    It would be boring however if it was all polite chat. People dont always wish to use their own name as information they may post may threaten their jobs. Finally as someone who is a fucking scientist I am upset by your abuse of my profession, check your own post Matt, see how easy it is to upset people (I am joking but can you see my point about worrying too much about upsetting people)
    Gerald Foo
    4   Posted 11/12/2007 at 09:26:15

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    Hi Matt

    Am from Singapore as well and I have to agree with the respectful looks I get when people find out I’m an Everton fan. There is a common reaction that we know our football and are passionate about it. (something to do with the "old school" nature of our support)

    They definitely know that we aren’t glory hunters or fair weather fans. (goodness knows how long we’ve had to endure through the dross.)

    If feels good to now actually have a team that can translate this respect onto the pitch. CYOB
    Ed Casey
    5   Posted 11/12/2007 at 09:34:40

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    This is the second post I’ve read this morning (the other being ’Where have all the Blue Skies Gone’ from the mailbag) that is indirectly related to the subjects of censorship, the difference of opinion and our right, as postees, to have our say. I am of the firm opinion that censorship is never fine, never acceptable and that anyone or any instution that censors the voice of others has absolutely no integrity whatsoever - especially if it then has the audacity to call itself a public forum! There have been times in the past where I have worried that this website might begin practising censorship (due to threats to do exactly that by its editors) but I remain hopeful that they have not yet done so and will refrain from doing so in the future. This is a great website and gives the opportunity to all bluenoses of all persuasions where ever they are in the world to have their say. It is a passionate, often funny and enjoyable place for all Evertonians to make themselves heard, bicker, banter, argue, concour with and rebuke the thoughts and opinions of others. Long may it continue!
    On the subject of stopping people posting under assumed names then I agree this should be stopped but this isn’t censorship its merely preventing people from breaking the rules of the website by which we all should adhere. The need to post under a fictious name is cowardly and I agree with the sentiment above that you couldn’t hide behind a false alias when calling some beefhead a twat in the pub! You wouldn’t do it there so don’t do it here! As for those who might lose their jobs for posting under their real names then I sugest they don’t use this site in work if their employer forbids it - wait until you get home!
    Harry Dean
    6   Posted 11/12/2007 at 13:08:06

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    Oh boy.
    What a pompous article by Matt the geneticist, or should that be fucking geneticist, now to be known as an economist. Is there anything else you need to tell us. Did you dabble in nuclear physics on the way. I’m amazed with a brain as big as yours you can’t see that people use pen names and pseudonyms for many legitimate reasons.
    My early appeal to you. What has your education got to do with anything you write hear?
    My family have been in scrap metal, refuse and waste collection for generations. Should I bore you with a brief history of ’where’s there’s muck, there’s brass?
    Everyone who goes to Goodison on a match day has a pre match routine. Mine was trying to fare dodge on the 68. I dare say if you have never been to Goodison you have a pree listening routine.
    My second appeal to you. Your attempt to legitimise your history by dropping a few recognised names creates a small problem as anyone who knows or reads Dutch’s posts on Toffeeweb. He has been around for years and this is how he is known. Is he now banned? I go to the match with a mate called Hulk Hogan. No-one knows his real name. That’s what we have always called him and it’s the name he answers to. Is he banned?
    The only good point you make is how greeat Toffeeweb is, but I for one have no problems with pen names. How do you know oh big brain that Steve Jones is not a pseudonym? You don’t. How are you going to find out? You can’t.
    For all you know, half the posts could be fake. Does it matter. Surely the point is the important thing, not the name.
    If you read something you don’t like by someone using a name you asume to be real, are you going to track these people down. No you are not.
    You are even stupid enough to admit you have done it yourself. This really confuses me. Do what I say, but not what I do. I really hope you aren’t involved in ther sort of Economics that could lose people money, beacuase so far you have done a pretty good job at making a fool of yourself.
    Now the alehouse point. You get into a discussion with a guy. Do you before you start say, "excuse me mate, I need to talk to you about football issues, but before I am prepared to start, you must tell me one thing, your name sir." My god, what kind of world do you live in? What if he says "it’s pete." How do you know if he is telling the truth. You don’t. And just to let you in on a little secret, most shites will let you call them rednoses. Just be prepared to be called a bitter blue back. Violence and being built like a brick shithouse has nothing to do with it. It’s all in the delivery.
    Now onto your appeal.
    Who the hell are you?
    You list your appeals like you adressing the Gettysburg conference. Is this your Bill of Rights. Fuck me sideways.Try to
    refrain from trading insults. accept diverse opinions, remember we all support Everton. Are you running for class president at the local nursery school.
    Have you ever listened to music written by Paul Ramone, Clint Harrigan, Sir Percy Thrills Thrillington? No? Well yes Matt. That would be Paul Mcartney.
    Have you ever heard of Boz, the political commentator. That would be Charles Dickens. George Orwell. I think you will find a Mr Eric Blair behind that name.
    Liverpool has just set up a new art gallery called pseudonymgallery. A chance for artist to express ideas they have felt unable to under their real names. Subversive or interesting.
    I personally know of a woman who posts on toffeeweb under a male name, because when she did post under her real name, she felt she wasn’t being taken seriously. Ban her i hear you cry.
    Next you will be demanding Mathew, Mark, Luke and John use their surnames.
    In my opinion, banning opinions on a public forum is censorship. What laws are being broken, how do you know who is using their real name?
    Rich and divers opinion doesn’t come because you use your real name.
    And to James Byrne, the man with the attention span of a goldfish, stick to the tabloids.
    It is a retrograde step for a great Independent site like Toffeeweb to go down this route. the written word in all its forms has allowed individuals a certain ammount of preotection by the use of pen names.
    Let me pose these points to you. If there was someone in the club who had some info about Kirby that would blow the clubs plans to move out of the water, would you only believe it if they leaked it under their real name? Anonymous leaks have almost brought this government to their knees and good luck to these people. You would be mad to use your real name.
    Any ex players at everton would be crazy to post under their real names. An article by Duncan Ferguson would be removed immediatly whether it were him or not.
    It makes the site richer and more entertaining. Ignore what you disagree with, applaud what you like.
    The biggest scandal of all has to be the fact that the Toffee Girl doesn’t use her real name. Burn the imposter I say.
    COYB
    Chad Schofield
    7   Posted 11/12/2007 at 13:12:20

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    Ah ToffeeNet,
    I agree it was great, and I was glad when I found this site too as thanks to Lyndon and Michael (and all the other contributors).

    It?s a shame that often valid points end up in an often infantile slating for someone (or collective group) which is completely off topic.
    However, there are dangers in stopping people providing their input without having a login. Often this leads to greater cliques and in-jokes, and even worse lead to the regulars pouncing like a pack on anyone new. There are a great many forums, and those which have logins flashy signatures etc, often lack the freshness and breadth of opinion that ToffeeWeb offers.

    Personally I think that the editorial team do a great job (merry Christmas, withou trying to sound like a complete suck up), and it must be frustrating to them and avid regulars that the same points are frequently rehashed over and over again, if you are going to give people a soapbox on a set subject then you have to expect that to certain degree.
    Chris Jones (Wakefield)
    8   Posted 11/12/2007 at 13:57:33

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    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking people to be civil toward one another.

    If an anonymous person telephoned me and called me a fat twat (quite an accurate description, btw) I’d be supported by almost everyone in going to the authorities and having something done about it. So what’s the difference with this interweb thingy? Why automatically label something as censorship when it is aimed at tackling people who sometimes behave like naughty school children?

    Finally, another appeal. Before people attack one another, could they first re-read the piece they are responding to. I know many times I’ve been taken aback by responses to my own offerings, if only because it appears to me the person has simply mis-read or misunderstood my own posting.
    Peter Fearon
    9   Posted 11/12/2007 at 14:22:55

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    It’s hard not to agree with Harry Dean on this one, harsh as his judgement is. The whole point of a forum like this, and the Internet in general, is open, free and (virtually) uncensored expression. If Michael and the others choose not to post something because it’s offensive or irrelevant or whatever, so be it, but otherwise the only rule should be there are no rules. So what if we disagree? That’s the point! The discourse itself is supposed to be enjoyable. I read as much as I can of Toffeeweb every day, especially the posts of fellow Evertonians whose views oppose my own. And guess what? Sometimes they’re right and I’m wrong! By the way, it wasn’t Churchill who said ’I disagree with what you say but defend to the death your right to say it’ as Matt claims. A man who sends troops to break a miners strike wouldn’t ever have originated that. The quote is usually attributed to Voltaire. Voltaire, ironically, was a pseudonym. Would Voltaire have been banned from Toffeeweb?
    Phil Bellis (I think)
    10   Posted 11/12/2007 at 15:33:31

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    Harry

    Let me start my giving you my academic, commercial and match-going history....nah, bollocks!

    That post was both pointed and funny. Reminded me of the 2 best ever football monologues -
    ’it’s not the shorts, it’s what’s inside ’em’ and
    ’proper names like Wilf, Bert’
    Well done mate
    Jamie Yates
    11   Posted 11/12/2007 at 16:14:03

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    I think one thing is that with all internet messageboards - similarly to pubs i suppose - there develops a hardcore of ’regulars’, either those who contribute articles/topics/whatever - setting the tone of the site opinion/comedy-wise, etc - and those who read everything on a pretty much 24/7 basis and offer their responses. Naturally a camaraderie develops between them. If you’re not as much of a ’regular’ yourself and you care to chip in with an article or opinion you often get shot down as you’re not always au fait with the in-jokes and unwritten rules which exist within such close-knit groups. I contributed a few articles to one of the independent Everton sites this time last year and was a little upset if I’m honest by some of the bile spouted in response. It made me feel a bit like my own Evertonian credentials were being questioned, as if I was gatecrashing someone elses party. It was probably as much to do with what I wrote not being especially witty or what the regular crowd were used to - which is on the whole pretty funny, well-crafted stuff. I guess it’s more a case of being thick-skinned and continuing to chuck in your views and rantings without giving a monkeys. Some people will be riled by them, some people just enjoy being sarky and we all see things differently - some people probably like what you wrote but don’t bother commenting on it. As a long-distance Evertonian for much of my life I know I’m guilty of having had something of a Toffee-tinted view of all us Blues as great folks and when I read some of the comments slagging my offerings it was a slap in the face really. Nonetheless, I’m sure I’ll live and who knows, maybe one day I’ll post something that’ll go down brilliantly and everyone will respond with praise, glee, joy and goodwill. In the meantime, as long as the boys in Blue keep winning, who cares eh?!
    Art Greeth
    12   Posted 11/12/2007 at 16:28:45

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    Matt Traynor or Harry Dean?

    No contest. Laugh out loud funny Harry and absolutely bang on the mark about pseudonyms and the like and censorship.

    Very much a man after me own heart with regards to censorship and the right to read, write, say, see, hear, ignore what you choose and how you choose.

    Best read I’ve had on here in a long time.

    Top man, Harry Dean...
    Steve Hogan
    13   Posted 11/12/2007 at 16:39:44

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    Message to Harry, suggest you stay off the ’funny stuff’, it clearly does’nt agree with you.

    What a ramble!
    Pete Gunby
    14   Posted 11/12/2007 at 17:42:14

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    Last week I was fortunate enough to meet Pele. We chatted for a couple of minutes and he mentioned that he could give my 10 year old son a few pointers about playing up top. Obviously, I told him "if your not willing to use your real name how can you expect my boy to listen to you". Colin(my son) was upset, but when he’s older and as well educated as Matt Traynor he’ll understand.
    Tony Gee
    15   Posted 11/12/2007 at 17:50:25

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    Harry Dean...

    I think you got a bit of green eyed monster coming out in you...

    Its not Matt Traynors fault your family are rag and bone men/ binmen etc, and he is an economist....

    Your lot should have tried harder in school...

    Neil McKinney
    16   Posted 11/12/2007 at 17:52:22

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    I have posted in response to previous threads about using pseudonyms and I must agree with Harry on that point. There is no way of validating whether the name given is a "real" name, so just because it has two parts ie John Smith or Ivor Bigun, doesn’t mean it’s the person’s real name! Many of the pseudonyms are amusing!

    I do think Harry was a little harsh in his epic response as I agree that often quality debate is ruined by some idiot lowering it into a playground spat of name calling and questioning of integrity. However, this is an unfortunate consequence of avoiding censorship and I for one will put up with the odd person doing this if it means that we can still post our views without fear of censorship.

    I see nothing wrong though in calling for people to act more responsibly and think twice before they get involved in petty abuse. If you don’t want to listen to Matt’s appeals then don’t, that’s the whole point! You are free to ignore any comments made by anyone. Alternatively, you can respond with your own opinion. That is a public forum.

    Of course the right to remove content will always lie with the administrators, but I feel that in general the guys try to stay out of it. I would like to think that they would only remove something deeply offensive that has no relevance to the article to which it responds.

    I too have called for less back biting and more debate before. It is a suggestion, or in Matt’s case an appeal, not an order and people can choose to take his comments on board or ignore them. If it makes one person think twice before getting involved in abusive posts then I’m sure Matt would argue that he has achieved something.

    Amusing response from Harry, much of which I agree with, but fair points made by Matt.
    Ed Fitzgerald
    17   Posted 11/12/2007 at 18:23:45

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    Note to Ed Casey




    You cheeky get, I do my e-mailing from home, depends who your employer is doesnt it! If they check this website as they do for info on Kirkby you would be daft to post your name would’nt you.

    ps
    My real name is Bill Kenwright and I dont want to go to Kirkby, but I am scared of Keith Wyness and my bird wants a big fat payout from TESCO





    Lyndon Lloyd
    Editorial Team
    18   Posted 11/12/2007 at 18:29:16

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    Pseudonyms are fine as long as you’re consistent — pick one and stick to it. It’s as much about building a community and knowing who people are as anything else. "Dutch Shaffaer" is a classic example; highly unlikely to be his real name but we all know who he is and where he’s coming from — well, usually :) — from months of discussion.

    Richard Dodd’s recent run-in with his employers over the use of ToffeeWeb during work hours is a case in point where it makes sense to use a pseudonym. We have no problem with it. Where the problems arise is where people post across multiple threads with an array of nicknames, either just to be a nuisance or to slag off other posters behind the cloak of anonymity.

    As far as censorship goes, some stuff does get removed and not just because it’s abusive. In an ideal world, we would gate all Comments posted and only publish the best ones (like some of the national dailies’ sites do) but we simply don’t have the man hours to deal with hundreds of them per day. So, we operate a kind of loose standard whereby anything unsuitable, anything that is absolute nonsensical drivel, anything that singles out an individual poster for abuse or unnecessary criticism, or Comments that moan about the website’s Editorial policy is removed so that the threads don’t get bogged down by off-topic banter too much.

    If you want to know why we exercise some editorial control, read the ’Kipper forums. They’re great for what they are, they’re very successful and well-trafficked so more power to the BK lads, but we’re catering to a different audience. It’s what TW was built on and what we continue to strive for.

    Thanks for continuing to support, read and interact with the site.
    Micky Norman
    19   Posted 11/12/2007 at 21:15:35

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    I use a pseudonym because in real life i’m quite a well respected person and I hold down a very responsible position with people’s lives in my hands. But on here i can talk like a knobhead.
    Steve Templeton
    20   Posted 11/12/2007 at 21:37:33

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    Lyndon,
    Whilst I can see the point of censoring posts that add nothing to the debate, my gripe is that some posts appear to be getting deleted solely because Michael does not agree with the writers point of view.

    I have recently had a post cut in half for no obvious reason other than this reason and I know of another person whose post did not appear for reasons unknown although he suspects it was because certain members of the editorial team i.e Michael(!) did not agree with his (pro-moyes) views.

    You cannot have a vibrant website representing the views of the supporters of the club if you censor posts based upon your own subjective opinions.
    Michael Kenrick
    21   Posted 11/12/2007 at 22:42:26

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    Simon, [Steve? — Other Ed] Here?s what was deleted from your post:

    "The anti-moyes brigade on here wanted to use it as a stick to beat him with without actually thinking about why he was playing him in midfield.

    It?s funny how they have gone very quiet all of a sudden......."

    And here?s why it was deleted: it was simply not at all helpful to the debate. It was another effort by someone who wishes to polarize attitudes and opinions, to simplify characterizations, and condemn through the use of labels. None of these things promote open and intelligent debate and this sort of chidish nonsense will be removed, whatever end of the spectrum it comes from.
    Lyndon Lloyd
    Editorial Team
    22   Posted 11/12/2007 at 23:35:46

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    See, Steve, I probably would have left everything bar your last line. You played ToffeeWeb Ed Roulette... and lost.

    :)
    Deja Blue (Real Name)
    23   Posted 11/12/2007 at 23:32:26

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    [Oh, Deja Blue, I soooo wanted to let that stay up there but just can't — Ed]
    Steven Templeton
    24   Posted 12/12/2007 at 12:42:19

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    Cheers Lyndon!

    My point Michael is that you are more than happy to publish the views of writers with an ’anti-moyes’ stance on threads of any nature but you are not prepared to allow people with ’pro-Moyes’ views the same air time.

    I can only assume that this is down to your own subjective views on this issue.
    Michael Kenrick
    25   Posted 12/12/2007 at 13:54:33

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    Steve, that is a downright lie. All you have to do is look at what is being posted to see that it covers every part of the spectrum. What I promote through my editorial decisions is a better standard of response, irrespective of viewpoint, as I explained above. I don?t mind if you have a problem with that but don?t please use this forum to make totally false statements.

    I await your retraction.
    James Power
    26   Posted 12/12/2007 at 14:00:35

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    Harry Dean
    Interesting post. What on earth has got you so annoyed? I like the way you wade in with all guns blazing as if you are occupying the moral high ground. You question why he reveals his educational background and then you reveal your own credentials by droning on for 400 paragraphs. I?d prefer the former, it takes less time. Secondly, your response would have more impact if your spelling was correct (hear hear!) and your rant a little shorter.
    ps that is my real name.
    Steven Templeton
    27   Posted 12/12/2007 at 14:07:50

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    Michael,

    You say that you want to promote a better standard of response which is fair enough however you do not appear to take your own advice.

    Your response to Mr Dodd’s post about someone from here telephoning his employers (which has now led to him being suspended from his employment) was quite frankly one of the most childish and immature responses I have seen for a long time..

    I have to ask the question, would you have replied in the same manner to one of the regular anti-moyes posters?
    Art Greeth
    28   Posted 12/12/2007 at 16:56:55

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    My sympathies are 100% with you, Steven Templeton. Michael’s example of your ’unacceptable comments’ are completely harmless and contain none of the naked vitriolic language used by posters that - shall we say? - are closer to MK’s own viewpoint. I truly believe in the anarchic and democratic nature of the web as a forum for offering a point of view and have no problem in reading such diverse and extreme opinions as offered at times. Mr Kenrick takes another view and periodically claims the moral high ground in justifying his actions as an attempt to maintain ’standards’. That is what you are a victim of here. Don’t worry about it...

    I too have personal experience - and still have the private exchange between MK and I - of having a legitimate post censored when on the same day opposing and far more personally offensive posts were allowed through. MK’s justification and self-promotion of his ’good judgement’ was quite frankly embarassing.

    When I saw his response to you in this thread, I too recalled his response to the unfortunate Doddy being shopped and I concur totally with your comments above on that little matter.

    No... Mr Kenrick is not one to practise what he preaches, but basically - ignore him.

    The site is what it is in spite of Michael... not because of him.
    Deja Blue (Real Name)
    29   Posted 12/12/2007 at 19:52:49

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    Dear ed
    I find it ironic that given the nature of this debate ( however obliquely it impinges on the question of free speech) that you should have deemed my offring worthy of censorship. Hey ho....
    James Byrne
    30   Posted 12/12/2007 at 21:53:33

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    Thanks Harry,

    For giving me a mention in your super long, i’m on a pedestal statement!

    I used to write under a pseudonym until the nice toffeeweb police told me I had to use my real name!

    I use toffeeweb for my own entertainment and choose carefully what I wish to read, clearly avoiding the "stories" as opposed to the "comments".

    Broke my heart to read all of your story and to struggle through the spelling mistakes but I made an exception since you gave me a mention.

    COYB!
    Harry Dean
    31   Posted 12/12/2007 at 22:52:18

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    James. I almost fell of my chair when i saw your name again. This from the boy who finds it hard to read more than a page. If only I had had time to include pictures for you. Good to see you have stuck with the reading classes. Got a little extra tutoring have we. Bit off message I thought, but you too have used pseudonyms. I guess it wasn?t more complicated than another post from Ug.
    Stick with a few more posts mate and you will soon have a fully rounded and informed opinion.
    Do you find yourself struggling over newsround James. God help you if they decided to increase the format to six minutes.
    Dear Alfred, or should I say 1st Barron Tennyson? Born barely 69 years before the mighty blues were formed. How can I be occupying the moral highground when I was the first reply in defense of pseudonyms. Surely i am occupying the uncommon ground.
    No matter.
    There is nothing bothering me more than the freedom of speach my dear sir, and as a former poet Laureate, if of somewhat mediocre verse, you should be more sesitive than most to the right to expression.
    it is a well known fact that you are sensitive to criticism so I will go easy. I believe after one severe criticism in 1832 by my good friend John Wilson Croker, you were unable to write again for nine years. Well here?s hoping for repeat business.
    You actually bring nothing to the debate, for or against pen names.
    If reading time is a worry for you, you obviously haven?t ever had to wade through verse after verse of your boring poetry on such subjects as "Is my lord really a bluenose", "Foresooth are you avin a laugh?" and "Perchance young gent, have you eaten all of missus Miggins pies?"
    If you are moved to write my Lord, then do so with a point.
    As for Art and Stephen, I have a tad of sympathy for your posts. Michael, in my opinion, has a negative take on our success. I seem to remember a recent post pointing out we have only beaten average sides in our 10 game run. He wrote a post recently about our inability to beat teams higher than us in the league, as if this were some acid test. Michael, The Shite, Arsenal and United lost to struggling teams. It really does happen you know. I don?t understand why you don?t just see where this run takes us. We have just won our biggest cup game for god knows how many years against a team below us. Does this take a bit of the shine of the result for you? It shouldn?t.
    I personally would like the Shite in the semi?s or final. I would love to destroy that cup ghost of the 80?s.
    Let that nagging doubt go and who knows how long this run might go? It will come to an end, but I won?t blame the players, nor Davey, nor will I look back to defeats against lesser teams.
    One final thought, and this is not for those of you who like your argument any longer than "I?ll smack your face in if you don?t pass the remote control love."
    Michael, you say that when Rooney left you were never going to go to Goodison and give your hard earned money money to Everton again. How come it was ok for you to leave but not Rooney?
    Dave Roberts
    32   Posted 12/12/2007 at 23:03:46

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    The problem with censorship is that only the censors know what has been censored! (apart from the individual who has been thus treated...who is nevertheless powerless and can’t do much to address it) The general audience know nothing about it. That is why the practice is dangerous (although I don’t want to overstate the ’dangerous’ aspect with respect to a footie website!)

    I recently took exception to what I considered to be a ridiculous comment from one of the editors about players interviews only to find the posting was very quickly removed. I tried to point out the injustice of this in a separate post but it never got published. Instead I got a stern e mail encouraging me to be ’consructively’ critical if I was to be critical at all!

    That’s the problem, it’s the censor who decides what is constructive (or acceptable.... to them) and that is why some of us get uncomfortable with the practice.

    As for pseudonyms, I always use my own name unless there is a jokey reason why not. But I am not trying to hide on those occasions because there is always my registered e mail address to hand as I know to my cost. Much of the greatest literature in the English language has been written under pseudonyms and personally I don’t have a problem with the habit. Careful reading of the style will often tell you who the poster is anyway. A post has value or otherwise not because of the name that goes with it but as a consequence of what it says. That is what is important and what should not be forgotten.

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