Thursday, 29 April 2010

All Hope Abandon, Ye Who Enter CiF

The Comment is Free bus keeps trundling along and shedding gems as it lurches and wobbles from one accident to another.

As someone who no longer actually posts on CiF and only visits occasionally and fleetingly, today has thrown up material for three posts, which might make up for the gaps on other days.

Anyway, it seems that usini got into an exchange about the business of trolls from the political right being allowed to break the rules to give the impression of CiF being right-on and accommodating and caring, while reasonable discussion from anywhere else gets muffled and disappears.

He asked whether any of this would change once the election is out of the way and the funny old Guardian works out where its political heart might have been buried.

Then he says this:

Hell I don't mind naming a few names but I can't remember them off hand. Next time one of the Guardian black or Asian correspondents comes on I will post them. MaM is a racist, apart from his generally ultra right views but he has been here for ages. Armaros is a ferocious anti-leftist as is tom wollacott. There are so many here now. I may end up getting modded for this post, put on pre-mod or even banned, but to be honest I couldn't care less. Sometimes I am beginning to think like Olching that the whole idea of CIF has gone so badly wrong that it should be abandoned.


Moments later, of course, the post, as usini predicted, was deleted by a moderator.

Mr Chekhov to the Gulag, Please!

Chekhov has this to say over on The Untrusted:

BTW: I've thrown in the towel on CIF.

They are obviously expecting me to go back with a grovelling apology, appealing for a reprieve. Well they can go and fuck themselves.

I stuck with CIF from the outset and gave it the benefit of the doubt but the Mods have ruined it.

Pity really but I suppose it was inevitable since the whole thing is run by Oxbridge fuckwits who haven't got a clue what it's like trying to survive at the "coal face"

And later:

I haven't been banned "technically". I'm in "pre mod" for calling Lord Adonis to account for his scaremongering article on splitting the left wing vote.

I didn't contravene their talk policy so there is no reason why I should have to make a grovelling apology to be allowed back in and I don't intend to do so.

Incidentally, no one seems to have missed me, and there was no collective indignation at my being ostracised, unlike Lord Summerisle who was actually banned.

However he wasn't banned for his usual reasonably thought out wisdom but for this:

"Which part of your brain do you need to have removed to become a moderator"

Anyway, like I said, It's a shame. There was the makings of a sort of on-line community on CIF and they totally fucked it up. Maybe they did it deliberately. Who knows?

Sorry, Chekhov. Obviously, you just didn't quite make it into the Air-Kiss Gang.

Do You Want To Be In My Gang?

There is a website called aSmallWorld. It is only for people who are rich and members of the international jet-set. Not for people who like to pretend that they are living in a Martini advert.

Basically, if you are reading this, you will never be invited to join - and you have to be invited, like all exclusive clubs - because your life operates at a level which is too low to be picked up by the radars of the rich and famous. You are a mere civilian.

The problem is that even with such stratospherically exclusive clubs, there have to be rules and sanctions for those who cannot comply with the codes of the blessed. 

If you make a faux pas, you are immediately jettisoned to the worst place in the known universe; a type of satellite virtual prison-ship, where there are no PAs and hangers-on and publicists and fawning lackeys: a place with the shudderingly grim name of aBigWorld.

Obviously, the threat of being cast adrift is usually enough to keep the brightest and the best in line because, like everyone else, all they want is to be loved and cuddled.

Perhaps Comment is Free is trying to adopt this approach in order to keep (not the gleaming suns and stars and flickering comets of their stellar writers above the line, of course) the filthy scum who jostle and jeer, whistle and cheer in the areas below the line, to keep them herded and fenced and in their proper place.

The problem is, it simply fails to work.

The threat of not being allowed to attend the party has now worn so thin, the party itself so boring and, er, uninviting that nobody is really bothered whether they go or not.

Groucho Marx said: "Please accept my resignation. I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member."

It now seems that once CiF has banned people and then tells them to jump through some hoops in order to have their wonderful privileges of providing free content to the multi-million pound Guardian Media Group restored, people respond slightly more bluntly.

Get fecked.

Jennifera30 says this:

Oh I got an email from someone at Cif saying I would be welcome back after a cooling off period but I am not sure if I want to bother.

Oh, dear. It looks like the glamour of belonging to the CiF gang has finally worn off.

How long will it be before bannings turn into pleading emails asking people to join?

Monday, 26 April 2010

CiF Banning Bandwagon

Interesting that the WADDYA crowd love a bandwagon about banning when it suits them and it concerns one they feel happy to clasp to their collective bosom, but they are never quite so sure when the whole thing is simply a matter of funny old principles and concerns someone they are actually quite keen to see removed from their little party.

The little screeches and parps of indignation range from the heady heights of AllyF all the way to, er, who is winning the competition of bottom-feeder of the year at the moment?

So, banning and the process of being brought back into the fold by begging to be forgiven - you know, like Galileo being forced to recant and retract, to prove that the sun really does orbit the earth - is something which is, like everything else in life, simply not a matter of principle.

We govern ourselves by expedience and whatever it takes to get ourselves back into the company of backslapper stardom.

In fact, advice is also given to simply change your name and go back under another pseudonym. Strictly against the rules and something which is always considered a sign of an utter wrong'un - unless it's your mates, then it's just what you do to stay in with the in-crowd.

So, as far as the WADDYA circus is concerned, banning is a mighty fine and useful tool when it picks off the people who comply with the rules but spoil the party - no comment other than you deserved it when this happens - but everyone presents an affronted face of united outrage when the vile and monstrous moderators clumsily pick one of the blessed.

Not that the CiFerati can be bought and sold like vegetables, of course.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The Banning of Jennifera30

If CiF is going to publish an article called "Rape as a Weapon of War", it seems likely that it will draw some impassioned comments. After all, this is what CiF is doing - trying to maximise comments and page views in order to get as many advert clicks as possible, in order to stop losing money hand over fist. It is simply a numbers game and a money-making ruse.

Anyway, it seems that Jennifera30 made some comments, which everyone seems to agree were quite reasonable. In fact, they were so reasonable that they led to an almost instant ban.

Pretty standard practice as far as CiF is concerned: ban the sensible posters to clear the ground so that the mouth-frothers and the air-kissers can rampage unimpeded.

So, Jennifera30 pops over to The Untrusted to ask whether this is the normal reward for providing free content for the multi-million pound media behemoth which is Guardian Media Group and discovers that, yes, it is actually company policy.

Meanwhile over on the cartoon car-crash which is WADDYA, people are clamouring for the moderators to explain why they have banned yet another poster who has not broken any rules.

Obviously, they can always fall back on their status of Papal Infallibility, conferred on them by Matt Seaton.

The problem is, if the idea of making a noise when anyone is banned catches on, rather than just the sweethearts of the lower-level staff and the social misfits who need the fix of WADDYA to function, CiF will have to open up a new section just to deal with it.

Unless, of course, the new editor decides to overturn the abuses of the Seaton regime and actually bring the moderators into line, rather than pretending they are untouchable and hiding behind their skirts every time the CiFerati get on their hind legs and squeal.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Guardians of Fickle Ideology

It seems The Guardian is quite sure about its ideologies in terms of censoring and banning anyone who questions them for years at a stretch, but as soon as an election comes along, the fickle heart of the media empire flutters and races and can only be quelled by having a meeting and a sing-song and coming to a collective decision about which party the mighty Guardian organ is going to back or back-stab and who is going to be as red-faced as a Murdoch by May 7, 2010.

Thanks to 13thDukeofWybourne  over on The Untrusted for pointing out this comment on Matt Seaton's roundup of the day's events, which were supposed to con the CiFerati into thinking that they would have an influence on the editorial line of GMG.

The Guardian's election editorial meeting  

Oh shit, I wish I'd been there. Love the picture (I printed it off to show my mum). It must have been surreal. I hope it opened with a wise woman uttering gnomic nonsense as a prayer for guidance from each participant's "inner single Somali immigrant mother". Did you stop for herbal tea and energy flapjacks made from organic oats and nettles? Were there prizes for the best knitwear? Worthiest countenance? Most uses of 'progressive' in a single platitude? And, at the end did Rushbridger knock out Cumbaya on the piano while you all trooped out dropping loose chains in a bucket for under-appreciated, transgendered pavement artists in Bolivia?

It was by MavisCoulter and, of course, it got deleted.

It may have infringed the moderation and community guidelines for other reasons, but the main one, of course, is that nobody is ever allowed to poke fun at the achingly right-on credentials of the Seaton Gang and its clustered acolytes.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

The Twilight of the Ciferati

So, we have had the news that Matt Seaton is being demoted or shoved sideways or somehow moved onwards and upwards in a glittering career which seems to have consisted, during its CiF phase, of just being rude and boorish and not very good at the job.

At about the same time, we heard that Georgina Henry was also on the move for some reason, but it would take someone of more impassioned interest to remember why or where.

Now we have the news that Emily Bell is also turning her back on The Guardian and its sinking flagship, the once-mighty HMS CiF.

So, who is left in the office, who might know how to work the photocopier and can wrestle and subdue the cable which plugs CiF into the internets?

The only ones anyone really knows are Bella someone and JemimaReed, so expect the lights to be flickering on CiF by the end of the week.

Still, as long as Jaffa Cake Central (or WADDYA, to the cognoscenti) keeps functioning as a drop-in centre for misfits and fantasists, perhaps most of the ardent Ciferati fanbase will not notice.

PS Lots of bold and italics in that post - must break the habit.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Matt Seaton Out

The news over on WADDYA and The Untrusted is that Matt Seaton is sliding sideways or downwards or otherwise from his wobbly little pinnacle of editor - or something - over at CiF.


It might even have tempted me to go back there under yet another cunning disguise, but he has so successfully ruined the place that I cannot actually imagine wanting to do so.

Your Daily Dose - Or Fix

Now that various people have mentioned this place over at The Untrusted, I shall have to see about making some efforts towards putting up a daily post - which will probably be a bit more sporadic and incompetent than Montana's efforts - so that news junkies can get their chance to shoot up and shoot off at the mouth about what is going on over at CiF in general and, perhaps, WADDYA in particular - or Jaffa Cake Central, as HankScorpio calls it.

Anyway, feel free to dump idiocies spotted, posts you have made which have been deleted and those in breach of the guidelines which are allowed to stand, along with the howlers from those charmed beings above the line, all of which go to make up the mad and magical mix of CiF's moderation policy and tactics, which are like a less elegant and more impenetrable version of Catch-22.

PS Note to AndySays: Yes, it has been going on for ages. Each time I made too much of mentioning it, I tended to get banned.

PPS If anyone wants to write things here in an ATL capacity (yes, a joke), please feel free to get in touch. See the About page.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The Matt Seaton and JayReilly Question

I posted this over at The Untrusted, but it may as well also go here.

Morning everyone

Out of interest - and because I am not looking at CiF any more in anything other than a very cursory and occasional manner and not managing to get here much, either - did Seaton ever get back to JayReilly or anyone else regarding moderation?

I seem to remember that he said he would select one happy camper to provide evidence of CiF's crimes and that joy seemed to fall on JayReilly, who was going away for some days at the time.

Someone else stepped in on the now, presumably, forgotten thread and there was a lot of coughing and ahems and "Just because hundreds of people below the line keep pointing out that moderation is unacceptable doesn't prove anything and you have no right to question the moderators anyway because they have each been stamped with my personal seal of approval, which will trump anything you stupid, filthy scum have to say so just feck off, I hate you all" from an increasingly shrill Seaton, with a face set to explode.

So, just as a final check, did the reinstatement of Summerisle make everything better? Was that all it took?

Were any other bribes or threats used to seduce or scare everyone back into mute and apologetically supine submission?

Or was the lure and heady junkie fix of being able to type "Hi!" with as many exclamation marks as your heart could wish to people you do not know and indulge in a figurative dance of slapping high-fives and jive handshakes just too much to resist?

Despite the sniffy, aloof claims from Seaton and Henry that CiF was decidedly not a social network, but an arena of ideas, was it the fear of losing a line-up of virtual zelebrity people the thing which allowed everyone to let Seaton off the hook, just as long as he did nothing to impede the mingling march of the lovely faux society for which people will give up any principle, as long as they are allowed to belong?

As has now become de rigeur when signing off:

Just askin', like. I'll get me coat...

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Still Waiting for Seaton

JayReilly mentioned this place (thank you) over on The Untrusted a day or two ago, which has prompted me to actually post something here.

One of the problems with the ease of creating places on the internet is that there is no longer any feeling of achievement or attachment to them once you have done so. You can have a blog up and running in about five minutes; after about ten, you have made your first post; after about half an hour, it is forgotten and abandoned and you are on to something new.

Anyway, I think this blog was started when there was a little parpy, squelchy uproar over on Comment is Free about the banning of LordSummerisle. CiF has these little episodes of outrage every now and again and the formula of the editors is always the same: let it blow itself out and all will be forgotten.

It is a policy which certainly works because Matt Seaton has, as far as I know, still not made any pronouncement about the fact that all the below the line contributors to CiF had noticed that the moderation had become fickle, malicious, politically and ideologically motivated, probably swayed and skewed by personal vendettas and byzantine and detached from its own guidelines in execution.

On the plus side, though, WADDYA (or Jaffa Cake Central, as it is called by HankScorpio) was still providing a forum for luvvies to back-slap and air-kiss and an arena for occasional idiot-baiting.

Comment is Free, from the viewpoint of the onlooker (oh, I forgot to mention, I was banned during the great Summerisle Siege and have never bothered going back) seems to be getting predictably and inevitably worse.

There are highlights, though. Sometimes, when a particularly imbecile article is doing spectacularly badly, Seaton will step into the fray to save the day and the reputation of The Guardian, or so he thinks.

From the sidelines, it looks like someone strutting into the room to parade their ignorance like a trail of soiled and smeared lavatory paper protruding from their trouser leg and clinging to their shoes.

This is Seaton's little star turn: displaying an aggressive social ineptness at the same time as breaking most of the community guidelines in one or two clumsy and meaningless sentences.

At the moment, occasionally checking on CiF is like watching a discarded bag of improbably-coloured boiled sweets melt into a soft, sticky clump in the sunshine. No bang and no whimper as they simply ooze and cling together in a welded knot of sickliness.

Anything more spectacular, though, would probably be like a small explosion in a marshmallow factory - all soft, inoffensive and unmemorable colours and the substance of a damp cloud mixed with the spittle and sputum of a right-on, outraged hissy-fit.

So, if anyone should read this and if they have also seen evidence that Matt Seaton ever managed to address the moderation scandal of Comment is Free, perhaps they could let me know.

Otherwise, it is probably safe to assume that the fantasy land of CiF has reverted to abusing and making fools of those who keep it propped up with free content and the mutually idiotic symbiosis continues.

PS The reason for not doing much here is that I am doing stuff elsewhere. More in due course.