Friday, October 22, 2010

A Black Day For Blogging

It’s a black day for blogging, folks.

It’s a black day when one blogger can accuse another of bullying and yet use the tactics of the bully to try and silence them.

It’s a black day when everyman’s right to free dialogue and to express their own opinion is gagged.

It’s a black day when, here in England, freedom of speech is denied.

It’s a black day for blogger’s everywhere when one blogger seeks to dictate what another blogger can write about on their own blog and threatens both Police and legal action should they ignore this dictat.

Where to begin?

I don’t intend to rake over the entire debacle here – and believe me it is a debacle. It all started on Wednesday when Heather posted a witty and cutting post about some horrid Shhblogger site that was seeking to stir up trouble. I didn’t read this blog myself as I couldn’t be bothered and now it has been judiciously removed.

Heather’s post stirred up a lot of commenters and one of these caught my eye with the amount of punishment they were dishing out, rightly or wrongly (who knows?) to other bloggers. You can follow the link and read it all. I am not going to paraphrase other people’s words for fear of casting my own bias upon them. In the interests of free speech and individual opinion it’s important you make your own mind up if you have a care to dig deeper.

Anyway, this commenter went by the name of 20somethingmum (I’m not going to link to her as I don’t think she’d thank me and I see little point in not naming her; follow the link and you’ll soon identify her for yourself) and in one of her comments proudly proclaimed she was a chav from the chav motherland. Ill advisedly – I admit – this tickled me and I responded with something along the lines of (yes I’m quite happy and legally entitled to paraphrase myself): interesting name but you do realize all them beer and fags will make you look like a 50something mum?

Yes, I admit it was childish. Ill thought out and, in retrospect, better left unsaid. But you know, sometimes you are fed a line and the innate stand-up comedian in you has to come back with something. Unlike 20somethingmum I’m happy to be open and honest about all this and take whatever brickbats or laurels you, my blogging peers, care to thrown at me.

More words were said. I was accused of being a bully. An accusation I thought a little unfair. A pisstaker yes – but a bully? Am I really? I then made the point to ‘20sm’ that her own comments on this post were full of far more invective towards other people than my comment had been to her. I thought that might be the end of it. A little mid-week diversion. One of those curious little spats that sometimes erupt in the blogging world.

I got on with my day.

Later in the evening I was warned that 20sm was having a go at me on Twitter and demanding my email address! Presumably so she could write to me and give me a damned good telling off! Now, I don’t know about you, but giving my email address out to all and sundry is a big no-no. Private and personal data and all that. If someone wants to have a go at me there is my blog sitting quite happily on-line for people to avail themselves of (and believe me they do). I was dismayed at the sheer number of Tweets this person was generating towards me. I – again, ill advisedly – decided to reply; to stick up for myself rather than leaving it to my friends to do so. So I sent some Tweets back along the lines of ‘aren’t we making this bigger than it ought to be’ and ‘isn’t it about time we all moved on, I was sorry they were upset it was just meant to be a mild pisstake’. I’m sure my Tweets are still online for those of you that want to read them. Again, I’m happy to make this whole process transparent and take your censure on the chin.

I thought that this then, finally, would be the end of it.

Not so. 20sm has published a post about the whole thing on her blog today. As she has a perfect right to do. I wouldn’t dare challenge her right to put her own view across to her readers. It is her blog, this is a free country and she may say what the hell she likes. I might not agree with it but she has the right to her views and the right to express them.

Again, I’m sorry, but I daren’t link to the post as I fear legal action might be taken against me – instead you’ll have to do your own digging to find the post should you want to read it. It’s not difficult to find if you know what you’re doing. Again, although my name has not been mentioned, I’ve been accused of bullying and various – quite nasty – slanders have been made against Heather and her blog. It also transpires that 20sm blocked my Tweets and reported me to Twitter for bullying!

I am aghast! It’s perfectly acceptable for someone to generate countless Tweets slagging me off and demanding that my email address be made public but when I try and enter into a discourse with this person I am both silenced and reported to the authorities for being the author of it all!

20sm went on to accuse her tormentors (me, I suppose) of acting out of jealousy towards her because her blog is so successful and is furthering her aspirations to become a published writer. She ended her post on the moral high note that it was a shame that so many people have taken to behaving like children this week.

I left a comment on the blog. Come on, now, you didn’t expect me not to, surely? Here it is below for your judgment:

I don't suppose you will publish this as (unbeknownst to me) you blocked my replies to your accusations on Twitter - I didn't harass you I was replying to the astounding number of Tweets you were generating with my name on them. Before this point I had never sent you a single message. Seems freedom of speech is only a right afforded to the chosen few. I'm glad you have linked to the blog where all this began as it will give others a chance to make their mind up about the whole thing rather than having their mind made up by others. You were not bullied. I made a single - if ill advised - joke centred around the non de plume you use. As insults go it was so mild I doubt a vicar would have felt his eyebrow ruffled. Your comments to other people on the other hand were nasty and childish. Ironic given the pay off of this post. Most of my comments to you on Twitter were along the lines of "let's not make a big thing of something that is tiny and let's all move on". I had. Shame you haven't. And, lastly, as for being motivated by jealousy, I have never heard of you or your blog before Wednesday and knew nothing of your literary aims or successes until directed to read your blog today by a friend. Jealousy did not come into it. A simple exercise in humour and a play on words did. I have saved a copy of this comment and will publish it on my own blog as an "open letter" if you haven't got the decency to publish it on yours. You have made a molehill into a mountain. Still, if it creates a buzz for your blog - and mine I suppose - then both our literary aspirations have been well met, haven't they? I wish you luck with your writing career. I doubt very much our paths will cross again. Perhaps a good thing, eh?

It didn’t get published. In fact another paragraph was added to the original post along the lines of none of my comments or the comments of any of my supporters will get published on her blog. Fair enough. It’s her blog and she may moderate as she sees fit. We bloggers, every one of us, all have that right. Fair enough, good for her. However, she then added that were I or any of my friends to publish our own posts relating to these events and in any way identifying her (though she herself has quite happily linked to Heather's original post where she is quite easily identified) then she would seek legal and police action against us as is her right!

What!?!

Nobody, but nobody, has the right to tell me what I can and can’t write about on my blog! And to have this injunction put in place by someone who professes to be a fellow writer thoroughly astounds me. This is not Central America. This is not China. This is England. Free speech, Goddamnit!

So not only am I not allowed a fair and open dialogue with this person but I cannot even write about it on my own blog for fear the police and cyber bailiffs come round to close me down! Well, if my blog disappears sometime soon you will know what has happened. The thought police have done their job and I am languishing in a cell somewhere, being waterboarded with Milton Fluid and formula baby milk.

How can all this have got so out of hand? I am appalled. I am amazed. I am (certainly) ashamed of my part in it. But mostly I am furious that one single blogger feels they have this much power over the rest of us. The same blogger who also used the argument that I was a guy and she a girl and therefore what I did was totally out of order because as you know, you poor little women are weak and woolly and cannot possibly hope to defend yourselves against big butch comments from big butch males like me.

Excuse me? Most of the blogs I read are by women and there isn’t a single one of them who strikes me as weak or helpless. My God, if I ever got into a fight, I’d want you all alongside me.

Oh, yes. Quite right. I have got into a fight.

So what to do? Well, no point pretending to ruminate, I’ve done it. This is MY blog. I’ll write what I like. And anyone – yes anyone – may comment. I’ll not gag or silence anyone. Neither will I seek to get them thrown off Twitter or Blogger or dragged through the courts by the family solicitor. Because (a) this whole tawdry affair isn’t worth the time, effort or money and (b) as a writer and an Englishman I believe passionately in freedom of speech.

And if I’m to be hanged for it I’ll go down talking as loudly as I can.



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86 comments:

Reluctant Blogger said...

Oh Steve, this is terrible. I haven't got round to reading what anyone else has said. I don't need to (although I am nosy so will do) because I know what sort of person you are. You are one of those most honest, supportive bloggers I've had the pleasure to come into contact with in the time I have been blogging. I've always said that you are the nicest blogger I've never met and I mean it.

I did think before all this that you had ventured into unsuitable circles (tee hee - you know me and the vitriolic mommy blogger brigade - always pretending to be so sweet to each other but secretly spiteful and competing for Best Mummy Blogger of the Year Awards or whatever) but I never expected it to come to this. Keep away from them all. You wouldn't stand with these people on the school playground, would you, so don't do online.

How dare they have a go at you? How dare they? I feel very very annoyed now.

Wildernesschic said...

I havent read your blog before.. nor did I see the original post that all are talking about .. but hey I loved this post LOL
Good for you ..
I love to blog but have self gagged myself lately due to feeling rather exposed, I have strong views at times and feel I maybe upsetting friends who I would hate to.. I am not a anonymous blogger.
I loved your comment about the 20 something chav mother ending up looking like a 50 something mother.. I am approaching the second age with rapid pace and hoping that I will never look it LOL xx

Rol said...

You have my sympathies, Steve. The problem is, everybody automatically thinks they're right, even when they're wrong, and some people will argue blue is pink rather than admit they're not.

Just be glad this spat is happening only on the internet... I had a similarly ridiculous disagreement in the flesh with some muppet at a gig last night and I'm still seething. (I'll blog about it once I've calmed down!)

notSupermum said...

I've been viewing this whole shenanigans from the sidelines this week. I'm sorry you've had a hard time with this, it really has all got out of hand. But you're right, you are perfectly entitled to write about your point of view on your own blog.

As far as I can see, some people take themselves and their blogs FAR too seriously. Get a life people.

Steve said...

Thank you all. To be honest I don't know what will come of all this or where it will end. I've been threatened with legal action should I mention the blogger by name or even hint as to her identity...?! But how can I put forward an honest account of the situation and not identify her or hint so much that her identity is obvious? Seems far better to be openhanded about the whole thing. Besides which I'm only identifiying her by her nom de plume - I have no idea as to her real identity at all. I'm one of the few idiots on here who actually uses his real name! I'm also thinking; if she doesn't want a big blogging row about it why publish a post about it all on her own blog in the first place? Don't throw shit in the fan and then moan when people turn the fan around to face you, I say. I'm happy to admit my comment was stupid but this other person is not without culpability in how this whole thing has exploded. I just think a fair and honest and open debate is much more honourable than one person being allowed to have their say whilst gagging everyone else. Who knows whether this blog will still be here next week... eh?

Anonymous said...

I've watched your spat with 20sm over twitter and the blogs this week and you were in every right to say the things you said. Your comments were level headed and well balanced and you were only stating the obvious. She has turned this into some great big thing that it really needn't be. I know she has dished out her fair share of bullying and I am aware of one person that has already reported HER to the police for bullying so needless to say it clearly starts at home and all that.
I wouldn't worry she will soon get bored of you and stick her teeth into some other unsuspecting victim.
Freedom of speech is vital in this country and you ARE entitled to it!

The Dotterel said...

Hello!

(Sorry, can't say any more as it might incriminate me...)

Steve said...

Anonymous: thank you! That's a real shot of steel in the arm!

TheDotterel: it's OK. I fully understand. I now wish I'd limited myself to a simple "hello".

English Rider said...

There are many people in this world who believe that the rantings of their own tiny minds are reality for the rest of us. They are not hard to spot. Ignore, ignore, ignore is the only solution. You cannot engage in intelligent exchanges with one of the aluminium-hatted looneys. Your time and energy are too precious. Save them for Humans.

Reluctant Blogger said...

I had a quick look.

I really wish you would keep away from these circles, Steve, they are nothing but trouble. These people are just too focused and immersed in blogging and the relationships they have formed there. It is impossible to know who you can trust. Such a shame.

I never feel tempted to dip in myself. Reading the Mummy Blogs always makes me want to slap someone!

But don't panic about the legal action thing. It seems to me you have enough witnesses to back you up. Anyone with half a brain would know you would never bully anyone. Please try not to panic.

Right I'm going. I'm not even blogging anymore - this just made me cross!

Steve said...

English Rider: words whose wisdom I now recognize from bitter experience.

RB: there are some nice mummies out there too! I'd hate to see everyone tarred with the same brush but, you're right, I dipped my feet into shark infested waters, made a silly joke and got soundly bitten for it. Doh!

Gorilla Bananas said...

What English Rider said. You shouldn't be mixing with these touchy, humourless bloggers, Steve. If she were a FUNNY chav 20something mummy I'd be the first one to lick her toes.

eatsdrinksandsleeps said...

Sounds like a tantrum that got badly out of hand.

Hope this doesn't put you off blogging, really enjoy your writing style.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: there'd be no fight in the queue from me, my friend.

eatsdrinksandsleeps: oh I'll keep blogging... for as long as the authorities allow me too. ;-)

Livi said...

I want to say you're very brave for blogging this, either that or I'm a wuss!
You were totally in the right and obviously a huge amount of people agree with you.
On the plus side, I found your blog though it and it looks awesome! :)

Anonymous said...

Blimey. And I used to think blogging was a bit of a laugh. An outlet to vent and move on. It's very sad that some need to take it so seriously, that it ends up taking over their life, which in turn, makes them lash out at anyone who dares comment on their 'precious'.

There are some very nice mummies out there, and there are some that are so set in their clique, that if anything is said in jest, they go up in arms over it.

Pathetic really, and shows a lack of humour. Christ, if you can't laugh at yourself, then there's no hope for you really.

And just for the record, I thought your (supposedly offending) comment, was quite witty...and also knew it wasn't a 'direct hit' to her personally, but more the stereotype. Surely that was blatantly obvious?

No? Oh well.... ;0)

Steve said...

Livi: thank you muchly.

Anonymous: it wasn't a 'direct hit' to her personally, but more the stereotype. Surely that was blatantly obvious? - well, I certainly thought so but patently it wasn't! I guess it's my own fault for crediting people with a certain amount of subtlety and intelligence.

Wanderlust said...

Steve, I am so sorry you have gotten caught up in all this. It's just insanity. I haven't read the linked post and don't know that I will, I don't much care for catfights. But I will say this.

What this other blogger is engaged in, in my opinion, is nothing short of full-out bullying. As someone who has had a recent education in bullying/abuse, trust me. And don't worry about legal/police action, I'm sure it's just a bunch of hot air. No one could possibly take her seriously.

Speak up, speak out, speak loudly. The truth will prevail.

As for me, I came over here looking for a blog button to put up on my site as I'm proud to link to you and call you a friend. I know you to be a blogger of integrity.

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

Seeing as 20something mum won't publish my fair and accurate comment on her blog, I've decide to write a poem for her...

You can tie yourself up in knots
and dig your hole deeper
You can call me a moron
and a husband stealer

You can tell me to shh
(Do you see what I did there?)
But you can't silence me
I'm going nowhere

You can't sue anyone
We've done nothing wrong
We'll all be still here
When you're long gone.

Screen shots you see
Are a wonderful invention
It will all come out in the wash
You should have thought about prevention

Steve said...

Wanderlust: thank you - coming from you, a blogger with real integrity, that's a massive compliment indeed.

Very Bored in Catalunya: you are the people's poet! When I'm sweating it out in prison 1984 style I shall be relying on you to come out with the football style chants that the common people can utter to free to Bloggertropolis 1... unless the powers that be ban chanting, of course.

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

Oi, you calling me common? And me just a poor defenceless bird and all that. I'm from Nottingham you know, they have common people there...

Readily A Parent said...

I shall try commenting again.
1. Reluctant Blogger? Quit that bullying! I'm a mommy blogger and I resemble those remarks. (Though I would like to think Steve would stand next to me on the playground - you know, unless his wife told him to stay away from which I understand as I do have an awful crush on him)
2. Steve, you know that you've got a community to stand with you. Part of what has angered her so much, I think, is that through her own actions her community seems to be quickly dwindling. She's like a cornered animal, striking out at everything.
3. Your comment was a teensy bit mean, but not even close to bullying. I shall have to write a post about what bullying really is to give you lot an education.Tsk. Tsk.
4. Very Bored? Love your rhyme scheme. And Steve's response is oddly reminiscent of a movie I've seen recently...hmmm....

Steve said...

Very Bored in Catalunya: common? Absolutely not; you are a very rare breed of bird indeed. ;-)

Readily A Parent: 1) I would indeed stand next to you on the playground or as close as the police officer's handcuffing us to them would allow. My wife has promised to make a shiv knife so I can protect myself in the can. 2) The response has been lovely and very reassuring. 3) I have to take this on the chin I think. I was a little bit mean and I am now reaping the whirlwind. 4) When Harry Met Sally? V For Vendetta? Toy Story 3?

Anonymous said...

I actually wouldn't take it too personally - if I'm right she feels victimised for being accused of being the person behind the shhitblog. I don't even think she reads comments before sticking her fingers in her ears and firing off more and more weirdness. I actually follow her on twitter and I'm scared not to in case she starts on me (she publishes the data on who unfollows her). Scary times.

Anonymous said...

You need to remember you are dealing with a troll. Not the kind of troll who is clever enough to realise they should hide their identity but someone who puts their full name to their blog and the spiteful things they write there.

I have been observing from the sidelines not only this but many other similar spats this person has been the 'victim' in and it never changes. She uses her poison pen to paint herself as the poor defenseless recipient of hate and jealousy. She regularly harps on about how successful she is but this success is only in the limited realms of getting free products, days out and the odd meaningless award. She is rapidly becoming known as a trouble maker and her name is being removed from more and more lists.

Please, please don't give this the worry you seem to be. She has no legal standing in this (let her waste money on a solicitor) and the police will quickly see her own threatening messages and have stern words should she be fool enough to involve them. In the very same post she accuses you of being an unabashed bully she quite happily (and without irony) launches the latest in her attacks on a woman she brands a home wrecker. Something she is (quite rightly) being accused of bullying herself for doing repeatedly.

I could write on but what good would it do? I am anonymous here (and I thank you for that) because I don't welcome the idea of her attempting to ruin my reputation albeit to her crowd of deluded followers. I will understand if I don't pass moderation, you are responsible for comments on your blog and I know this is close to the bone!

It all comes down to my original point: She is a troll and should be treated as such.

By the way:

"Quote 2: But I have bettered myself.

I beg to differ."

(taken from Steve's comment to her using her own words on Notes from Lapland) I laughed so hard every time I thought of that this week. Spot on.

the fly in the web said...

Nosy as ever, I went off to take a look.
Gawd Almighty! What a bunch of self obsessed dumbos I found in that section of the blogosphere.
They may feel free to sue me if they wish...jointly or severally.

O.K. you made a joke.
Looks as if it hit a sore spot.
That is hardly your fault.
You apologised anyway.
Should have been end of story.

It is obvious from your blog what a decent man you are...so don't for one moment make the mistake of thinking that this idiot might have any grounds for complaint.

And as for the person concerned taking legal action....no chance!

Get back on your bike before you lose confidence and give us more of the attractions of Leamington Spa.

Steve said...

Anonymous#1: gosh. Scary times indeed. I made a reference to 1984 above but it was only meant to be a joke...!

Anonymous#2: I'm starting to see that my ill placed joke was the top leaf on a tree whose root system is more vast, tangled and troublesome than I could ever have imagined. For me what's done it done. Everyone has had or is now having their say. Tomorrow is a new day. A new day... and a new blog post... this time next week this will all be virtual fish 'n' chip wrapping...

The fly in the web: God bless you! Your sanity and level headedness shine through on your blog so it's very gratifying that you've taken time to dip an elegant toe into these dirty waters. As for me, my foot has come out muddy but I shall clean it all off, take a hot shower and be back writing about my adventures in Leamington Spa before you know it... in fact can I direct you to my original post for today which has been somewhat lost and abandoned in these recent war correspondences...

the fly in the web said...

Anyone who calls my toe elegant has my vote...
I enjoyed the kebab post....and would like to kebab that idiot attacking you.

bubbleboo said...

Ugh, I saw the whole thing unfold and made the decision to keep my distance - self preservation and all that!

But...and here's the thing...I can't just sit and keep quiet about it. Because it's people like her who give us all a bad name. It's people like her that make Reluctant Blogger want to slap us all.

*runs and hides*

So, at the risk of alienation, personal attack, and legal recrimination (sue me, I don't have anything anyway!) I have decided to say my piece.

This, sadly, is not the first time I've seen this blogger make a huge fuss. It happened with BMB. It seems that if she feels attention is being diverted elsewhere, she causes a disruption, picks a fight, whatever. The first time, I stayed out of it. I offered her support as a friend, but didn't involve myself in the issue. That one person can have such a divisive effect is truly astounding - but I suppose it shows just how fragile and small our community really is.

And it's sad. Really sad. Because, in the end, she will only hurt herself. Her success comes of her reputation among PRs and clients. Somehow I doubt that they will put up with too much of this behaviour, especially when it becomes clear that she has alienated a large proportion of her own community.

Either this is calculated, an attention-grab, or there is a much more serious problem in existence. In all honesty, I hope it is the former.

And as for freedom of speech? I would defend it to the death. For you, and for her.

Anonymous said...

I'm a blogger who is a mum, I get free stuff - never asked for but offered and I love to review.
These shennanigans aside, I'd hate to think that other bloggers are put off by 'Mum Bloggers' by one person.
I'm an almost normal person who likes to have a laugh and enjoy life and blogging, I just happen to have kids and blog.
What I'm trying to say is please don't lump ALL mum bloggers in the same group as someone who unfortunately is giving us a bad name.
By the way, I love your writing. Keep up the good work!

Steve said...

The Fly In The Web: there's a lot of potential kebab warfare going around at the moment... makes me realize why I prefer chicken.

bubbleboo: as for freedom of speech? I would defend it to the death. For you, and for her. And without a word of a lie, so would I. Well said.

Steve said...

Anonymous: don't worry, I'm well aware of how many great mummy bloggers there are or, as you put it, bloggers who happen to be mummies. Myself, I'm a blogger who happens to be a daddy and am proud to be both.

lgsquirrel said...

A black day indeed. Sorry for your troubles Steve. If humans can't get along over such a small matter on the blogosphere, then surely squirrels will inherit the world before very long.

marisworld said...

Hi Steve :)
I just popped in for the first time tonight as I've seen your name on various blogs I read and so was curious. By Jove have I had a good read tonight!
I had read Heather's article and commented too, thank goodness I am way out of those circles and intend to stay so, if nothing else it has refocused me on what I initially started blogging for and sadly got sidetracked from in the search of bright lights and fame.
Back on the straight and narrow now, I'll pop in some other time maybe and have a quiet cuppa when this storm has settled.
See ya!

the fly in the web said...

Steve, before war breaks out again, could I make it clear to the last Anonymous that it was me making the sweeping generalisation, not you.

Suzanne said...

Bloody Hell Steve, I go out for an end of term pub tea and it's all kicked off.
I love your blog and get your sense of humour, I am certain you would never intentionally be mean to anyone - you only have to read "Manners maketh" to understand that.

Anonymous said...

Well well well my dear boy, you do seem to have got yourself embroiled in the messy world of the mummy blogger. All I can suggest is that you make amends by bestowing upon this *%t#* a gift, 2ltrs of Lambrini, 20 bensons,several wraps's and a pregnancy test. After all as the self proclaimed queen of chavs her benefit money has just been cut!
20sm, Freedom of speach works both ways live with it or else dont say anything.
Steve keep the cell warm for me and baggsy top bunk :D

Steve said...

lgsquirrel: I suspect squirrels might make a better job of it than we do...

Marisworld: you'll always be welcome to share a cuppa and a nice biccy. Hopefully the dust will settle soon and I can get back to blogging about what I normally blog about - fancying Keeley Hawes and the drunks around Leamington.

The Fly In The Web: clarity established. ;-)

Suzanne: thank you for your vote of confidence. It's nice to know that not everybody thinks I'm a cyber yob!

Anonymous: bagsy top bunk? Only if I can borrow your soap in the shower...! ;-)

Owen said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha....

That's me laughing out loud at this 20sm's total baloney...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha... can't seem to stop

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

"People of the world Relax !" (a quote from Tom Robbins' wonderful Fierce Invalids)

I'll bet she dresses at Afercrombie and B**** !

Yep, reminds me of one of my favorite sayings : You should never try to teach a pig to sing, because it wastes your time, and it annoys the pig !

Please write that one down, and repeat it 100 times before going to bed tonight... "I must never try to teach a pig to sing... I must never try to teach a pig to sing..., and then repeat in coming days as necessary.

Bon courage my friend, it is bloggers like you who make the blogosphere worthwhile...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ... steve, a bully ??? what a joke !

Steve said...

Owen: are you laughing at me? Do me an' the boys 'ave to 'ave another word wiv you behind the bikesheds again? It'll be all your dinner money this time, you know...! ;-)

P.S. thank you.

Claire said...

OK you say you honour free speech. Here's mine.

I had issue with one comment by someone who writes an anonymous blog poking fun at the "chav stereotype", I would ask that you read this to see that I do have a point that the blog is not in any way funny.I have friends, as I grew up there, who this person indirectly pokes fun at, and has done for some time. . I did not say I was a chav, I said I am from that area. But I am sure that if I was to set up a blog anonymously and pretended to be a northern stereotype in the same way, I would, quite rightly, be crucified for it. Its a cheap trick. Apologies for standing up for my home town.

They decided on a blog post to throw an accusation my way. I now know who was responsible. I will speak to them seperately to see what their reasoning behind this was, as obviously due to my being upset by their comment, I am now the bad guy.

I have, and I don't care what these anonymous, cowardly commentators say, been bullied a few times, and it has been since I set up a reviews site. I'm not the only one who feels this way that if you do reviews you are a blagger.
I have been lied about, by one of those who have commented, completely without justification.
You say that I called myself a chav, and thats not he case. I had not been rude to anyone on that blog. I had asked why the person had falsely accused me.That day I had been receiving messages from my friends (and contrary to what one of the brave anonymous people say I have a large number of friends) telling me that my name was once again mud, for no reason at all. As I said, you don't know me, we have never spoken. Not down to malice, just through not having seen you mentioned. But unfortunately, due to the actions of one of the Higher ups of blogging, I am constantly scapegoated and blamed whether I am responsible or not- in the case of the anonymous "comedy" blog, at first many held the suspicion that I was responsible for this as well.

Tell me, why should I be lied about, and then when I tell them to stop taking this action, I am then sworn at by another blogger, at which point you yourself then made a crass comment to me? How would you feel in that situation? You'd surely ask why? I have had enough of being the blogging bad guy. I am not. I stick up, rightly or wrongly, for what I believe in. People here are making wild accusations against me even now, probably again for some sort of "sticking in with the right people" mentality that is rife in blogging, especially it would appear Parent blogging.
I know whole threads have been started and closed by these same people having a go about me. Is that fair?

And I can assure you, I will not leave blogging. Thats what these narrow minded individuals generally do to someone in blogging for reasons which I can only guess at, I am comfortable in the knowledge that I have a great deal of support and respect from the people I work with, and will continue to do so, no matter what the real trolls do to stop that.
I apologise if I took your words wrongly, but at the time, I was receiving abuse from all sides, for no good reason other than in Parent blogging there is always someone that the nastier element have to pick on. Sadly it appears to be my turn once again.

Alienne said...

I admit I haven't read the history, I don't tweet, and I have no intention of boosting your charmless friend's figures by visiting her blog either but ... I cannot see that you have done anything wrong and she has clearly totally overreacted to a slightly unkind joke. Sadly the interwebs make it only too easy for people to get carried away by delusions of their own importance. If you need a character reference for the trial I'll be happy to oblige.

Anonymous said...

The fly in the web - no war wanted, that's not how I roll. I just don't want us all tarred with the same brush. For what it's worth, I find the whole thing laughable and am embarrassed on her behalf (oh and if you read some of her comments to people, you'll realise that Steve was being nice in comparison!). Oh and off to read your blog, not seen it before (sorry Steve for comment highjack!)...

Kelloggsville said...

I watched this happen this week and my stomach has been churning for you. What a complete waste of stress and energy. Anybody who reads your blog will know your sense of humour and will know just where your comment was coming from (somewhere not very deep or meaningful!) I thought that the comment "I know I come from Chatham ....but I have bettered myself" was one of the funniest things I have read recently. I would not have laughed if I'd have known how far it was going to go. Utter madness, life is far to short to get this worked up about it all. It is amazingly easy to offend people in a comment. I have manage to even raise Heathers hackles once and I genuinely am usually just trying to be light hearted or lightly enter a fold. I have a massive concern about people crying "bully" in blogland. I seems to be used for a "I don't like what you are saying" excuse. A bully to me is someone who does something repeatly and nastily, not a one off faux pas. *sigh* I for one will happily be a blogcharacter reference however, I will have to mention the way you wake sleeping tramps, have refused to sleep with me and gratuitously post pictures of Alex Drake whenever possible - please keep it up :0)

Anonymous said...

Steve, this is a lady who sees nothing wrong hurling foul-mouthed insults at people, then saying "all I did was speak the truth and f*ck you if you don't agree, you have no morals." I unfollowed on Twitter because I don't want to see that rubbish in my Twitter feed but was publicly called out with a "lol" for good measure, by her and a friend, someone I had thought of previously as a nice person. It wasn't a pleasant experience. There's a lady many mum bloggers will know as a very kind person who hates conflict but felt compelled to ban her from a group after her (to put it mildly) eratic behaviour and she was publicly pilloried and called a bitch for her trouble. I've seen anonymous blog posts where she has plainly been an anon commenter and then said in a named comment how much she agrees - or vice versa, effectivly talking to herself and continuing a conversation. I've seen comments where she has called someone a "tart and a thief and a liar" and plenty, plenty more. Steve, you sound like such a decent bloke with a good heart, I want to say this to you, this lady is obviously ill. Please consider this seriously, there are many other instances I have observed where she has been behind such venomous attacks, all the time claiming (I would say genuinely believing) she is under attack for no reason. The conclusion? People say get a life - of course they do, or that an "ego" is out of control but I've also seen where she has shared news that she is bipolar and she worries so much about what people think of her. Please Steve and everyone, (I almost feel like I should apologise for pointing this out) please be aware that she is ill and find it in your heart to wish her well. Not as a blogger, not as a professional writer, but as a mum and a human being. Good luck to you Steve and good luck to her in learning to find some good in the world, loving and laughing with her kids and moving on. I know this is nothing to do with me, but I find some of the comments about this lady troubling, she needs love and support to find the perspective anyone can see she needs.

Being Me said...

Ok. I'll say this once. This is my sweet daughter's advice (you know the one, she has a cool party dress you'd like to try and wear but you can't because you're a big butch male bwahaha) - I let out a guffaw at the thought police line. She came over and asked what I was talking about. I said 'Nothing'. Because I"m sorry, as you've said.... this is SO nothing. Made into something. Ingenious! Anyway, I asked her what I should tell my friend to do about nothing. And she said? "Don't be in the world or in a house or outside at all. Just be in a cave. By yourself. In a forest. With a torch because that's all you can find."

Wise words from a 4yo. Now to work out whether her advice is for you or this strange and intriguing nemesis....

On a serious note: Steve. Honestly. This is gobsmacking. I daresay someone is the pot calling the kettle the darkest shade of black here. Anyone who spends a skerrick of time on your blog or sees you commenting on others knows that you are a highly intelligent, articulate and witty, sensitive soul. If anyone in the cyber community cannot take one of your quips and is strangely hellbent on silencing you, then that community has just become a darker place. What utter nonsense. Don't waste any more of your precious energy on it.

And legal action? Sister would have a hard time getting any real, qualified legal advice if she tried to explain the sequence of events and expect a slander (or other) case to be made against her. Come on. I think it's a case of an overblown sense of self-importance from all I've heard. And just as an aside, this is not the way to make oneself a legitimate author - think a publisher would touch that one with a barge pole if legal advice could be threatened over something so relatively banal?? Really.

Hot Under Collar signing off.

Previously (Very) Lost in France said...

Steve - that's a 'prize-winning' blog? Sheesh! It's just one long advert with little to recommend it. I scrolled down a few posts but then needed a large dose of heart stimulant because I had literally died of boredom. Yours, on the other hand....

Her post, 3 comments, yours 40 (well 41 with mine) says it all really!

Dan said...

For around a year I was fairly heavily engaged in the mummy blogger world. I was on all the lists and talked to all the people on twitter.

And it made me bloody miserable. That "community" is pure poison.

I unsubscribed from all the blogs and twitter feeds and almost instantly felt better about humanity. I miss some of the people (Heather for one) but it's just not worth being dragged back in.

Not all mummy bloggers are bitchy shit stirrers. But there are enough of them to make it not worth wandering into the neighbourhood.

Steve said...

Clare: I'm assumming you are 20sm? Thank you for leaving a comment - genuinely. Now I feel like we can have alevel headed dialogue. I didn't read the anonymous blog at all so can't really comment on it other than, from what others and you yourself have said, it was just load of troublemaking idiots trying to stir things up. I guess they succeeded. That the site has been quickly removed suggests they have seen the error of their ways. Let's hope so. As for my comment to you... I admit I leapt on the chav stereotype and, though the comment was genuinely made as a bit of light jest, I can now see that in terms of timing and being directed at someone who already felt themselves under attack, it was stupid and crass of me. I quite freely put my hands up to that. In retrospect I should have just kept my nose out and my mouth shut. Wisdom that may serve me better next time. Nobody here wants you to stop blogging - certainly not me. Everybody has a right to blog and say what they like on their own blog. As I've already said it is a right I would defend on anyone's behalf; yours, mine and everybody else's. I sincerely hope that we can all move on from this now, leave any bad feeling behind and get on with what we all would much rather be doing: enjoying our blogs and getting on with our lives. Thank you again for taking the time to comment.

Alienne: I shalll bear that in mind should the coppers kick my door down in the morning!

Anonymous#1: not at all, The Fly In The Web comes with my personal recommendation!

Kelloggsville: guilty as charged. Especially the pictures of Alex Drake! I guess that's the overriding lesson that I've taken from all this: just how easy it is to cause offence and kick off a huge blog war! Hopefully it has now all fizzled out.

Anonymous#2: agreed, certainly regarding your final senitments. Let's wish everybody well and get on with the happier side of blogging!

Being Me: your daughter is wise beyond her years... I'm off to find me a cave right now. Might be the best place for me! I feel a lot calmer about it all today and feel it has all been a foolish waste of time and I quite regret how it has hijacked my attention and my blog for the last couple of days. I've got so many other far more interesting things that I should be getting on with! Thank you.

Previously (Very) Lost in France: I have to say I've been amazed at the sheer volume of support - not just comments but emails too - some from people I've never even encountered before. It's been very gratifying but I certainly don't want to see anyone vilified or made a scapegoat. I would now like to appeal for calm and ask that everybody moves on. At ease people!

Steve said...

Dan: sorry - you're comment popped in late and out of order for some reason... I guess it pays to be selective. I hope I am being. At the end of the day I don't consider myself a mummy blogger or indeed a daddy blogger. I am a blogger / writer who happens to be a dad... most of what I write about has nothing to do with parenthood at all. Hopefully that will be my saving grace...

20somethingmum said...

Steve, yes I am 20sm. I am glad that you now understand the reasoning behind my being defensive.
You may now have seen the level of (anonymous) vitriol levelled at me, with your post as an excuse to once again round on me. Sadly as Dan says, this is all too common in Mummy Blogging, and fed and encouraged by one particular blogger who should know better.

People's problem with me is that contray to one comment here, if I have a view, I always without fail put my name to it. I do not hide, as so many here have done, behind the Anonymous catch all. I have never ever written comments anonymously and then written in my own name or nickname, as is alleged (falsely I add) here. I am of an opinion that if I have something to say, I put my name to it, if I believe something is the case I have the courage to stand by what I have said, and can thus be made accountable for it.
The reason I made mention of the Police is due to this being thrown at me by someone whom as I said I had no knowledge of until it was widely told to me that this vindictive and clearly ill person was alleging that I had been bullying her, and they had blocked me- blocked me why? I do not follow this person and have little to no interest in their blog feed or anything else.
I felt let down by Heather, yes, because it seemed that my right to reply was taken from me by her swearing at me. Again I notice I am accused of being foul mouthed, which is untrue.
Again, thank you for taking the time to realise that I was upset and yes the timing was indeed unfortunate. I was in no mood for jokes at all.
As to my mental health, why this anonymous person feels they can comment on that, well, says it all they don't back it up with their name. I know there is nothing wrong with me other than I do that which is not considered the done thing in Mum blogging and regardless of the person I stand up for myself.

Steve said...

20somethingmum: it does seem like there is a lot of bad feeling generated amongst certain blogging groups which is a great shame. Blogs after all are free and there's room for everybody! If you don't like what a certain blogger writes about don't read their blog! It's so simple. The trouble is we, as human beings, respond so emotionally to things and only calm down once we've had our say. I'm certainly guilty of that. As for Heather I don't think she had any intention of denying you your right to reply. I don't think Heather would block anybody's comments or deny them access to say what they need to say. She might swear if she was unhappy about how they were expressing themselves - but that is something she is entitled to do on her own blog just as you were perfectly entitled to not publish my comment on your blog. Anyway, Heather does not need me to defend or explain her actions so I will shut up. Today is a new day. The sun is shining here and my kids are already excited about Christmas, half term and Hallowe'en. These things, I'm sure you will agree, are more important and more enjoyable than rowing with people on the internet. Hope you enjoy them as I am enjoying them.

Modern Military Mother said...

I love it!! Stats-tastic!!!I wonder how much it costs to sue someone? I think you are safe. I am sure she doesn't have the funds to waste litigating a case she won't win. Free speech rules!! Merlin tonight - whoop, whoop!! xx

Steve said...

Modern Military Mother: yes, three cheers for Merlin! A quick fix of Katie McGrath is a nice way to knock all this on the head!

missbehaving said...

Jeez, I left my post for five freakin minutes and all this happened, I'll never ever take a break again.
I read what you wrote at Heather's, I don't think you should regret it, it was a good non-offensive joke.
Remember, you're one of the good guys. xx

Steve said...

MissBehaving: please don't leave again... it all goes pear-shaped when you're not around! ;-)

LöstJimmy said...

First of all, sorry about all that nonsense Steve...why can't people accept others opinions and get on with their own without descending into a petty personalised vitriolic soup and always scream, without foundation or intention, "legal action"...pathetic

You are no bully.

I have a question, forgive my ignorance but what is a 'mummy blogger'?

Steve said...

LöstJimmy: someone who harbours maternal feelings towards her own kids but not necessarily to other bloggers. ;-)

rummuser said...

Very interesting. More than the post, the background, the various developments, the comments and your responses are all up, way up in my list of just what blogging should be like. I have little to add but here is offering to stand by you and if it is a twitter war, a blog war or a Facebook war, I am willing to participate wholeheartedly.

Owen said...

Hey Steve, top of the day to you...

Did you ever hear that King Crimson song with the line in it that goes :

I repeat myself when I'm under stress,
I repeat myself when I'm under stress...

Title was "Indiscipline"...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLF8GX6idR0

Just thought of that because your answers to some comments above appears four times in succession... or perhaps it is just Blogger that repeats itself when under stress ?

Anyway, from skimming through this tempest in a teapot, it would appear that you have a multitude of friends ready to provide character references for when this gets to the Old Bailey. You can add me to the list. But then, as many have pointed out above, I guess this won't actually ever get there. Can you imagine if every off the cuff bad joke turned into a court case ?

Oh, and pardon me for laughing out loud above, but that really was my first reaction, here's my lunch money, all 50p of it... please, please don't send the boys around back the woodshed. I'm still in plaster casts from the last time.

And don't forget to repeat before going to bed... 100 times...

the fly in the web said...

Sorry to comment again, Steve, but one thing struck me.
Why is it that most of the posts from the Mummy Blogger sector wish to remain anonymous?
That just doesn't sound healthy at all.

Steve said...

Owen: Blogger had a hiccup... didn't spot it until you pointed it out. Damn. That means I didn't have as many comments as I thought I did! Have deleted the duplicates now. Still, I've broken my personal record with 60+ - just a shame it had to be this post that did it. I'll call the rough boys off Owen, as long as you behave yourself from now on! ;-)

The Fly In The Web: yes, that struck me too but I got the impression there is a lot of genuine fear out there; fear of reprisals and personal campaigns being launched. I don't blame anyone for masking their identity but it does make me question why anyone would want to belong to such a blogging community where that is necessary.

Steve said...

Rummuser: that is an astoundingly generous offer - I'm glad to say an uneasy peace has been called. At least I think it has. Still, it's good to know that I have such staunch allies to whom I can turn in my darkest hours... thank you!

Heather said...

Well goodness gracious me, what a palaver over nothing. Steve, I adore you, you are a wonderful blogger, a fair and level headed man and I am honoured to call you my friend. It seems I'm not alone, a lot people I respect have commented offering support.

I am sorry that I unwittingly dragged you in to this and although I didn't realise when I wrote the post that this would happen, obviously, I do regret writing the damn thing in the first place now, it seems to have unleashed such furry and hatred.

And for what it's worth, I thought both your jokes were funny.

Steve said...

Heather: I'm honoured to call you a friend too and, honestly, you didn't drag me into this... nobody put a gun to my head and made me write my comments, that was entirely down to me and I take full responsibility. Hopefully it has all now died down.

P.S. "unleashed such furry and hatred"... that's all we need; the animal rights protesters after us! ;-)

Anonymous said...

dont trust her she has been exposed as being behind more than one fake blog. run for the hills or caves before the mummy bloggers get you lol.

Not Me said...

Since my blog is linked to my commercial activity, (well, you never know) I'll stay anonymous, but I thought your 50something comment was funny, too.

Steve said...

Anonymous: hmm.

Steve said...

Not Me: that's very kind but I don't think I'll be headlining at The Apollo just yet... ;-)

The Family Panel said...

You know what I love that through this you've been able to see why I'm so guarded. And to all you brave anonymous people- thanks for proving me right. Again. Sorry but get a life, will you already. You can clearly see that making up lies and being nasty about me isn't going to get rid of me if thats your goal. Why not move along now.

Sorry Steve, but seriously you see what I mean? And bullying in blogging, please see this post-http://clinicallyfedup.com/?p=3625

Steve said...

The Family Panel: to be honest I can't keep up with who is actually who and who is having a go at who. I'm just going to go back to writing about my shit days at work, not having any money and all the women I fancy on the telly.

Pearl said...

New to you -- and will be back -- but you are absolutely within your rights to write as you please.

I had a similar occurrence early in my bloghood, and it damn-near put me off. It's difficult to be attacked, and so vehemently, by people you don't know. There are a number of righteously indignant people, everywhere, that have nothing to do but loudly proclaim having been misused at another's hand, deliberately misunderstanding. Best to stay away from them.

Read back a couple of posts and really enjoy your style.

Pearl

Steve said...

Pearl: thank you... though actually I think you've been here before a few years back...! I obviously made a big impression! Will pop over to yours and return the compliment! Thanks again.

vegemitevix said...

Just want to add my 3p couldn't comment last night as I was out with some of the other real, witty strong women of the blogosphere sharing wine and giggles in Reading! I'm thinking of starting a support group for sane women of the blogosphere. Of course you can have special membership. There are a few of us out here. Really!

femminismo said...

Keep writing ... please!

Steve said...

Vegemitevix: do hope Reading has survived the experience! Don't worry, I'm well aware of who the good bloggers are! ;-) Hope you had a great time.

Femminismo: have no fear... I have posts already lined up for this week. I'm going nowhere.

Louise said...

I only read the first part of your blog here sorry, but I've read about a million blogs today and need to get ready for work.

However, I did see your reply message about the beer and fags on Notes From Laplands blog and thought it was a funny piss take reply, and thought "horay, someone trying to lighten things up!!" It was just a jokey reply thing... if it were me I'd laugh!! Like if it were about the Scots drinking too much and what not =) Sorry that it wasn't taken that way by folk. Guess it's also that it can be hard to put across humour sometimes with words. I often misread the boyfriends texts etc as meaning other than what they're meant to coz of him typing them quick/me reading them quick, and I think sometimes that can be a reason too. Misunderstandings.

I'm with you on the blackness though. I hate all this blackness too... it's been truly a sad time online lately.

Steve said...

Louise: it's been very black hasn't it. And you're right, the simplest text or email can take on a very different cast depending on who reads it and the frame of mind they are in when they read it. However, we all choose how we react - a polite query works far more than a vitriolic attack - and this for me is what is so wrong with this current nastiness. People are too geared up for a fight; it's like any excuse for a verbal punch up. I hate it. It's not why I write. As someone advised above; the best way to respond is to disengage from it.

zooarchaeologist said...

One good thing has come from this, I have discovered your blog *waves goodbye to lunch breaks at work*
Hello, pleased to meet you. Can I say you bear a striking resemblance to one of my friends who happens to live in Cheltenham. You'll know if you ever bump into him....

Steve said...

zooarchaeologist: I haven't been to Cheltenham for years... or have I? ;-)

Be most welcome - hope you'll return. I shall pop over to yours tomorrow... for now, it's zzzz time...!

Anonymous said...

I too have been watching this whole pathetic thing roll out and whilst mildly entertaining at first it is now just sickening.
I'm not a bully and this is not a bullying statement but think about all of the issues from Shhblogger to Heather's post to Clinically Fed up's post to your post here Steve and now Liv's post..... who is the common denominator in all of this?
Can I mildly suggest that that certain blogger just shuts the fuck up and stops making everything about her. It's so boring.... and from where I'm sitting this all smacks of a childish way to boost her page views. Take a look - she has a visible stat counter on her blog....
http://statcounter.com/project/standard/stats.php?account_id=2739883&login_id=1&code=432c58803f01c1c58ca28fe28e25d5fc&guest_login=1&project_id=5185412
My how her traffic has grown through all of this.
If I was a brand I would be looking to work with bloggers who will be positive lights around my brand and not ones who openly bitch and bully.
Just sayin.

Steve said...

Anonymous: to be honest the whole damned thing revolts me. It's not why I write and it's not why I blog. The behaviour of a good many bloggers caught up in this is reprehensibly immature and ugly in the extreme. I do not want to engage any further in any part of the debate.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear... I've just read the comments that started this off on Heather's blog... EEK!!

I think what happened, Steve, was that you posted your comment just after someone had started having a go at someone else and the 20sm person must've thought you were continuing that. She obviously isn't aware of your writing style or your blog so wasn't aware that you 'normally' take the piss... I am aware of that as I love your blog (and am posting this comment anonymously as you know my blog and I'd really rather not have any fall out on mine. Sorry if that seems disloyal, it's just a self-preservation instinct on my part!) and I love your writing.

There's a whole lot of crap in the blogosphere and always has been. I got involved in this sort of shite years back in groups.

If 20sm felt harrassed by the comments before you posted yours then she was probably already in a defensive state so anyone would have set her off.

There's a whole lot of ugliness in the comments in heather's blogpost in question... and that's what happens when people aren't face to face (well, it happens then, too, but at least one can read body language and possibly have some chance of explaining oneself in a more rational manner.

Keep going with your blog. Oh - and well done with starting the sign language course!

Steve said...

Anonymous: I just wish I knew who you were - I'm more intrigued by that, that anything else! I think my initial comment was an error of judgement; I think as, you hint, I really ought to save my own special brand of humour for those that know me well! This whole thing has been a bit of a shock in truth. I've had rows with bloggers before but nothing of this magnitude and the fact it is still rumbling on (only with different combatants and different offenses) is quite frankly horrific. I really don't want any part of that side of blogging.

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

DAMN!!! I missed a lot. So sorry Steve, I have been MIA for about a week and didn't know all this had gone down. I read a tiny reference to it somewhere and responded, but didn't know the depth of the situation until now. Sorry I've been a bad friend.

And I want to say that I think some people get big offensives going on the internet mainly because they think it will be good for their blog. Maybe that sounds petty. Maybe I am wrong. But why else would someone go so ballistic over a tiny comment like the one you made.

Esp. considering it sounds like there was already a ruckus brewing. I love blogging, but the drama is ridunkulous. You are awesome, Steve. You had no place in this. I support you and am sorry such insanity fell into the lap of a great person like you.

As for her, she sounds like she needs a day off.

Steve said...

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip: thank you from the heart. A day off for everybody involved would have been the best remedy I feel. Looking back on it now - a week later - the whole things grandiosely stupid; a carnival grotesque... a blogging sideshow. I don't intend to be the prime exhibit at another I can tell you...!