Friday, 18 June 2010

WADDYA Facing Shutdown

Last weekend, the power-house of political and social debate, WADDYA, had to slam its virtual doors in the faces of the chattering classes because someone had said something rude and made the beautiful people cry.

Apparently, if decorum and sticking rigidly to the official Guardian line cannot be maintained, this will have to happen again.

The sensibilities of people like SpecialBrut are so fragile and the debate on WADDYA so essential to the proper functioning of the world that it has to be protected at all costs.

Here is how the janitor of WADDYA describes it:

This thread was a nightmare for our mods recently (although it was very good this week, must say), and it gets an awful lot of comments at times, especially at week-ends. As you know, we rely partly on our community self-moderating (i.e reporting comments which are clearly abusive or trolling) to keep the Guardian's communities as aggreeable and decent as possible.

Does this area get special treatment for some reason?

In that it will close again if unmanagable? Yes, I guess.

Have a nice week-end.
Thank you. Have a humdinger yourself.

Let's all just hope that none of those horrible wreckers turn up this weekend, otherwise we are all done for.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Congratulations, er, Celebrations, um, Jubilation

It is, perhaps, a mark and signal of the gravity of the occasion that we begin today's post by using solemn words from the monumental talent of Sir Clifford Richard.

Congratulations! der der dah dah, erm, der
Celebrations dah dah doo doo
Jubilation der doh happy as can be!

A weight has been lifted from our collective souls and we have seen the one true light, thanks to a vision which was shared with this congregation by the prophet misharialadwani in yesterday's comments section.

We have been wrong to poke fun at Comment is Free and the Matt Seaton Gang.

As Leo Trotsky said: "The reason we are called celebrities is because we are celebrated. Do you know what that means?" (That was Leo Sayer. Trotsky was called Leon. They made a film about him, called Leon with Jean Reno and Natalie Portman. Ed).

Instead of poking the pointy finger of fun at CiF, we are going to screech and lurch around the bend of righteousness and highlight the good things which make CiF such a special place on the internet, populated with people having special needs.

To kick things off, we start with one of the queens of CiF, Brusselsexpest, also known as SpecialBrut:

[SpecialBrut is a male homosexual who does not live in Brussels, but a damp bedsit in Pinner, from which he travels to wait on tables in a cafe de transport owned by a fat man in a string vest, where he dreams of one day of being whisked off his feet by a lorry driver and becoming an international spy, saving governments from collapse across the world, with a secret night-time career as an opera singer called Hannah Mentalist].

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

CiF Hearts Rupert Murdoch

The Guardian always lays great store by the fact that it is financed by a trust with dodgy tax dealings, which it claims means that it does not have to tug its forelock to shareholders or media mogul proprietors.

Which makes it strange that it frequently runs editorials and articles fawningly praising the abundant and unquestionable brilliance of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

It has even, in the past, run articles (you know, the ones which look like propaganda pieces) by James Murdoch and protected him from embarrassment by mowing down dissenting voices from the BTL ranks and then pulling the article altogether when, presumably, little James's face was blushing with such vermilion violence that there was fear he might explode.

So, here is CiF in its best cheerleader mode, with its pants around its ankles, about to fellate the octogenarian Emperor of News:

Set aside the personalities and the politics for a moment, and the idea of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation buying all of BSkyB makes pure commercial sense. After all, Sky does television and News Corp does papers – and the boundaries between the two are getting increasingly blurred in the digital age. Type into your internet browser and you get an impressive news website that would make any newspaper proud. But BSkyB has an even more important attribute that News Corporation lacks: it is a massive and well-run tollbooth on the media highway.

Free virtual sick-bags for every reader.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

CiF: Beyond Praise, Complaint or Parody

The Untrusted pointed out a spot of possible deletions on the WADDYA thread, which involved whether The Guardian would publish anything from ordinary people, which led me to trundle over there to see what was going on.

Having said that we should start copying and pasting posts which look like prime deletion candidates, this is what I did.

The sequence was this:

15 Jun 2010, 12:56PM


I think it would be a good idea to have a Peoples Panel on Poverty in Britain. Panelists would be peope who are classified as long term relatively poor by British standards.People who are either stuck in mimimum wage jobs and/or long term recipients of State benefits.

Obviously anonymity would have to be guaranteed as some people may be working in the 'Black Economy' to make ends meet.Whilst others may be claiming benefits as a single person whilst secretly cohabiting with a partner.Additionally the poor are often denied mainstream financial services so are vulnerable to the loan sharks.

There are so many different angles to this that could be explored.However the Right wing media has done a pretty good job in either demonising the poor or reverting to splitting them up into the categories of 'deserving' and 'undeserving.'And clearly there are also a few regular CIF posters who are inclined to blame the poor for their predicament.So if a few people who are chronically as opposed to temporarily classified as relatively poor in Britain are prepared to share their stories it could prove to be enlightening all round

15 Jun 2010, 3:45PM

An article, in the Guardian of all places, advocating (essentially) the removal of the right to strike. I honestly never thought I'd see the day. My granddad must be turning in his grave. What with the tone of comments these days, when you get articles like that it's hard to see what differentiates this paper from any other neo-liberal rag.


Then this from carnivalesque:


I think it would be a good idea to have a Peoples Panel on Poverty in Britain. Panelists would be peope who are classified as long term relatively poor by British standards.People who are either stuck in mimimum wage jobs and/or long term recipients of State benefits.

This was actually suggested a year or two ago, at about the time that the Global Economic Meltdown had moved from being a twinkle in the bankers' eyes to a mess in their collective underpants.

No, you didn't miss it. CiF did not pursue the idea, perhaps because nobody at The Guardian knew any poor people to ask how it felt to keep being robbed by the rich from generation to generation.

Don't hold you breath.


An article, in the Guardian of all places, advocating (essentially) the removal of the right to strike. I honestly never thought I'd see the day. My granddad must be turning in his grave. What with the tone of comments these days, when you get articles like that it's hard to see what differentiates this paper from any other neo-liberal rag.

Yes, don't try looking too hard for something which is not there.

How about combining the two, CiF, and just parading a group of stupid poor people on these pages to be laughed and spat at?

The Daily Mail might even stop your losses and buy you out.

Obviously, the comment by carnivalesque was not allowed to live to tell the tale.

Open Copy News

This is how the news used to be presented - by grey people, before anyone and everyone became media stars by simple dubious virtue of being on the telly.

We now have people like George Alaghia who, instead of just reading the news, acts it out as if he is auditioning for a part in a local amateur dramatics production.

We now have people like Chris Choi on ITN and [insert first name here when you remember it] Robinson on the BBC who give their own versions of the news, rather than just telling us what is going on.

This leads to a grateful nation being told that the British Airways strike is all - and only - about horrible people depriving lovely holidaymakers of their chance to sun themselves in wonderful abroad.

So, today is a shameless plug for the new age of me, me, me.

The link above is to a new site I am in the process of setting up.

The line of thought is that news can benefit from the way the open source software movement has used public collaboration and openness of code to make ideas and products freely accessible by everyone.

We are used to receiving news through a process whereby it dribbles from the few and mighty, through the filter of the media (which have traditionally been owned by the same few and mighty and their mates and henchmen) until, after distillation and evaporation and a fair amount of adulteration and corruption, we, the supplicant poor and many, receive it like a gobbet of phlegm spat at us from the passing limousine, filled with  shrieking drunks, as it speeds on its merry way to a party to which we will never be invited.

The idea of the filthy public as newsgatherers and reporters is neither new nor original, but the underlying idea for this project is that all the time we think that we have to scrabble and ferret for the droppings and leavings from the tables of the old media channels - yes, like The Guardian - we are having their versions of news imposed upon us, with only the occasional and limited facility to politely and respectfully beg to differ, before our stupid thoughts are deleted.

So, here we go.

It may be that things will be invitation only to begin with and I am still playing with setting it up.

Anyone interested can get in touch through the contact form on the site or:

atomboy -(at)- atomboy -(dot)- org

If you felt like it, you could even pass it on.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Look at me, Mamma! Top of the World!

Not exactly the top of the world, but this woodcut was supposed to show a pilgrim or traveller who had reached the ends of the earth, the edge of the world and was then supposed to be able to look out into the heavens.

It turned out to be a fake, but is nevertheless an image which is extraordinarily touching and seems to find a ready resonance with people.

Or perhaps he was just at his wits' end.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Bring Out Your Dead!

Just a quick thought, which I put on UT earlier.

If you are posting on Comment is Free and finding your work disappears faster than you can keep putting it up, you can dump it here for safekeeping.

I will try to post something to kick the day off every morning or thereabouts, so that there is a thread for people to either copy and paste the efforts of others who are making intelligent contributions to CiF or, of course, their own.

Either way, we all know that Comment is Free moderators are always very ready to censor and ban and far too impressed with their own perfection to offer an explanation to those whose efforts pay their wages, so once your comment disappears from CiF, it is gone for good if you have not taken the trouble to keep your own copy.

Think of it like the virtual bin into which your work is thrown, but one in which you can ferret around and find the pearls you and others have been casting before swine.

The Life and Death of Henry III

The expected lifespan of a mayfly is supposed to be less than a day.

The lifespan of a good poster on Comment is Free seems to be about the same, before the moderators see the potential for unapproved lines of thought and ideological dissent, requiring the need to delete posts in order to deprive that particular producer of free content of the will to bother.

After that, it is just onto the next until everyone who posts comments on CiF only ever thinks of conforming with the approved pattern and there is only choreographed and manipulated artificial dissent to give the impression of actual thought, to harmonise the robotic chorus from the CiFerati who have been stamped with the Matt and Jess seal of approval.

This is HankScorpio yesterday on The Untrusted:

Anyway, fuck it. HenryTheThird just posted a doozie on Barbara Ellen's thread.

This is 13thDukeofWybourne today: 

Oh, and I am enjoying HenrytheThird's posts. He/she is shaping up to be a promising young poster.

This is Alisdair Cameron today:

I agree with those praising HenryTheThird: he (? never know) is eviscerating the Observer's big-name,big-salary columnists one by one today in a very clinical fashion.

This is Atomboy, in the same place:

Yes, so no surprises, perhaps, that by the time I get to have a look on the thread to see what is going on, HenryTheThird has been deleted virtually out of existence.

Perhaps we should all just take to copying any posts which seem too good to last and pasting them here or elsewhere, linked to the place from which they were snatched to safety before the moderbators attacked them with virtual scissors and knives.

Let me just run this by everyone again:

We do see a consistency in moderation, don't we, in the sense that good, intelligent posters get deleted wholesale and idiotic spouters of verbal sewage get patted on the back and invited back to virtual dinner-parties by the lackeys and servants at CiF Towers?

Why would anyone want to be a member of that stunted and grotesque artificial social clique?

And back to Alisdair Cameron:

Just checked and you're dead right, Atomboy. HenryTheThird has had 5 deletions this morning, and not one of them to my recollection contravened any purported talk policy, but they all embarrassed the paper and its columnists. Wouldn't expect anything less from the august Guardian Media group.
Ah,well, it's their funeral.No point in getting worked up about their moderation, since their judgement is demonstrably flawed in so many ways.

So, a brief word of warning to any putative HenryTheThirds out there:

If you have something interesting and intelligent to say, don't bother posting it on Comment is Free. They really don't want to know.

If, however, you can chuck out forty one-line posts a day of utter inanity, you will be welcomed with open arms.

Saturday, 12 June 2010


Here are some of the thoughts from people on The Untrusted regarding Jessica Reed's little hissy-fit in closing WADDYA for the weekend to prove that the voices of the horrible people can be silenced if you know which button to press - or which member of the IT team to ask.


Waddya was developed into its current format shortly after UT rocked up - as a holding tank for potentially unruly account holders, a place where moderators could go and gaze at the wild and uneven outside world, but without having to delete comments on mind-numbed reflex, because they also knew everyone would there act out of aspiration rather than egalitarian exchange of ideas; they would therefore moderate themselves and yet make CiF appear cooler

The fucking amateurs.


I see Cif as a place for bored middle class professionals to get together to pontificate about how the world would be a much better place if only the poor worked a little bit harder, and for less money.

It fucking annoys me beyond endurance that kizbot and bru get indulged on there, the pair of them posting arrant nonsense on there all day, while Athens and Brussels burns in the background, and neither them or fellow posters question whether middle class jobs could be cut.

Let's cull the jobs of middle class wasters like kizbot and brussels if efficiency savings need to be made.

Stick that up as an idea on waddya and see where that gets you.


@martillo and chekhov - fair play to Jess for taking the ball home with her. The waddya thread is a fucking joke, and has been for a year or more. It's somewhere for kiz and bru and all the hangers on to bitch and gossip and ultimately say nothing much at all. MavisCoulter and MelissaDarley have seen through all the crap there, and their comments got deleted as a result.

It's interesting to note, as HenryTheThird said, that the proliferation of posters with "C"s against their names on Cif over the last year or so have almost exclusively come from the ranks of the luvvies who kiss each others' arses on waddya.

There are a lot of interesting and informed posters on Cif, posting on domestic politics, finance, foreign affairs etc. A vanishingly small number of them get commissioned to write ATL though, because they're not in the waddya gang, and the editorial staff at Cif are too lazy to read those threads or to talent-spot beyond the tea and jaffa cake crowd of time-wasting idiots on waddya.

Very few of those who have got commissioned by Cif to go above the line in the last year have anything of interest to say, and very few of them post regularly elsewhere on Cif because they would be shot down in flames by those far more informed than they are.

La Ritournelle

Just a quick slag off - Kizbot is a bloody pain in the arse, but "Imogen -Pleeeeeze give me job on the Guardian-Black" is worse. Her comments btl on the Unemployment thread are infantile and as for being asked to 'contribute' well, pah, her 'contribution was pretty asinine - I'm sure someone will commission her soon (Jess/Matt) as she's got everything they need - nice white middle class girl, pwetty face (just look at my professional shot avatar) an ex-actress, miles of vacouous vaguely left wing b/s to spout and her contributions below the line read like one long CV.


They shut waddya just when it was likely to get interesting. Kizbot posted some old shite about waddya just being a cosy little corner, not to be taken seriously, so why did trolls go on there and get so venomous about the regulars on there. The usual self-justifying crap we've come to expect from the self-appointed Queen of Bland, to which HenryTheThird responded (paraphrasing, from memory):

"Nobody would have objected to waddya being a cosy little corner for Cif regulars to while away their working days.

The problem was that waddya became disproportionately important in the eyes of the Cif staffers, who started commissioning the in-crowd to write stuff above the line, even though it should have been clear that the only reason waddya regulars posted their views regularly on waddya was because they would have been exposed as woefully out of their depth elsewhere on Cif."

As I say, I'm paraphrasing. I'd have copied and pasted but the post in question has been deleted.


Hank I pretty much agree with you
I see it as a grooming ground to get BTL that fit into the "profile" of the average Guardian's kind of Islington wine bar chit chat...full of identity right on politics that spew from the mouths of people that essentially haven't had to fight for anything in their lives and have no real intention of doing it unless they risk their iPhone...what sums it up is that bloody "rush home for the nanny" thread the other day.......
Alas decent posters and ATLers are in a minority...

Alisdair Cameron

Did get talking to someone who knows a lot about the Guardian's working, knows q a few of the staff. In brief,they are bollocksed. Business plan is like the South Park underpant gnomes but my source was very enlightening about the staff. The upper echelons are hated for being overpaid and massively incompetent, and of more interest to UTers there is little love lost between real news journalists and the all-singing,all-dancing multimedia fluff merchants, and some figures disliked on the UT are disliked in their workplace too.


Hank: agreed with most of your comment on "wadya". However, as much as I don't have much time for Kizbot et al, she made a valid point in that when the wadya thread was first set up, it was ignored by most people and the ones who did respond ended up inventing a chat room.
That's my recollection of what happened anyway, feel free to tell me I if I am wrong.
Well we all know how it panned out; more and more people joined in and started to challenge the orthodoxy. To cut a long story short the Oxbridge cretins who set up the thread didn't like the fact many btl were more intelligent than themselves, so they called in the "Mods" to hose down the hoi polloi.
It didn't work of course which is why Jesicca has taken her bat and ball home.

Alisdair Cameron

@ the Duke. That's about as much as I got, I'm afraid, but a certain cyclist's departure wasn't viewed as sad by all...
The big bunfight though is between those obsessed with new media gimmickry, video pieces etc (which are too often fronted by good-ish print journos, who aren't broadcasters, and it shows...and most readers don't have the internet speed/bandwidth to watch the bloody pieces) who hog all the resources, and those who think a little more focus on, er, news, in a newspaper, might be a higher priority.
Non-'sexy' items (i.e. those which aren't unsubstantiated, ATL trolling typically on gender/race/faith,those centred on vacuous ephemeral celeb shite, or thos tenuously tying something topical to the author's hobby-horse, streching credulity all the while) are getting marginalised, and the notion of actually investigating anything, or sophisticated,nuanced analysis has been marginalised.
Obviously you can guess with which category of staffer my source consorts and sympathises, and that cohort of journalists are looking to jump ship before they are thrown overboard.


There may be more but, as I have said, CiF has become a dead horse which I am no longer very interested in flogging.

I am working on one or two other things, so if anyone has an interest in CiF which can beat mine, (which cannot be bothered to struggle anywhere much above nil) they are welcome to take over. Otherwise, things will just have to remain very occasional and desultory in terms of posting here - unless something interesting actually happens on CiF, for which I am not holding my breath.

All The Stars Are Out Tonight

This needs to be prefaced with a confession. I started this blog (and you, too, can have one up and running in about five minutes, so it does not require a great deal of thought) under the impression - the misapprehension - that I would somehow forever be bothered about the fate and fortunes of Comment is Free (or CiF to its friends).

The simple truth is that I now could not care less, to the degree that it hardly ever crosses my mind to make the one idle, thoughtless click which would take me back to its pages, teeming with the furious activity of people living life on a tiny scale. 

CiF was buggered and bludgeoned, beaten into senselessness, neutered and strangled by Matt Seaton and his imbecile acolytes, all obsequiously aided and abetted by the clamouring wannabes of WADDYA and those achingly desperate to acquire a blue sticker to prove that they had become the monitors and gatekeepers of the CiF ideology.

In wanting to iron and hammer out the imperfections, they smashed out all the character and quirkiness it once possessed - the very reasons which made people want to go there - and skimmed the surface into ultra-smooth bland banality.

The first time I had a comment deleted, the initial reaction was not affrontedness or outrage, but simple curiosity. Why would they bother to delete something which was just a poor joke as an addendum to an earlier, more detailed post about an article besotted with the virtues of a Victorian woman, who happened to be what could very loosely be described as an explorer?

The reason the joke was deleted became clear. If every one of the six billion people on earth read the comment; if they all studiously avoided and ignored the obvious humour; if they were all, each and every one, rabid, swivel-eyed and frenzied followers of a particular religion; if they utterly missed and misinterpreted the flow and context of the comment; if they  blew it up out of all proportion, egged on and bribed by invading aliens - then, it was possible, (remotely, statistically vanishingly and stretching the robust elastic of probability to snapping point) just possible that perhaps one person over the course of a million years might be slightly offended.

The other fact was that, in the earlier and longer comment, I had stupidly suggested that, rather than lauding the dubious achievements of an aristocratic female from another age, perhaps we should look at the plight of ordinary people in the here and now.

No wonder I was done for. Wimminz, class and rubbing the nose of CiF in the fact that it basically hates the poor.

Anyway, that has been a roundabout way of saying why I am not bothering much - well, hardly at all - with this blog.

A few days away from CiF and you wonder why you ever cared.  A few more days and you forget it exists.

However, I do look at The Untrusted and it has been noted there that CiF has had to close WADDYA for the weekend.

I do not yet know why. After all, WADDYA is the flagship of the sinking CiF and Guardian fleet. It is the place where Kiz and Bru daily display their viciousness and spite and challenged intellects and then run screaming to JessicaReed if anyone says anything they dislike.

People have said that JessicaReed has had a fit of pique and has taken the WADDYA ball away from the ruffians below the line to teach them a lesson.

The lesson they might learn is that there is a great deal more to life than posting inanities and publicly displaying your own stupidities, obsessions and bigotries on WADDYA.

It may work for a day or two, Jessica, but anything longer than that and people will just wander off in droves.

Which is something which CiF and The Guardian really cannot afford, either financially or in terms of saving the gulping, glugging, gurgling HMS CiF from sinking beyond the heroic salvage of whoever is going to replace the disaster of Seaton.

PS I will post here some of the comments from UT about this.