Tuesday, February 13, 2007

And so it rumbles on and on and on...

Matt Sinclair has written a typically well-reasoned response to this flame war between Guido, Iain and Tim Ireland.
At first Ireland was supposed to be trying to influence the future of the blogosphere and prevent it imitating Fawkes' way of doing things but with his hyper-sensitive response to perceived assaults elsewhere on the blogosphere (not deleting a comment doesn't imply endorsing it) he is widening this into a left/right divide in blogs that is a real shame. One of the best things about blogging are those rare moments of genuine engagement and debate across partisan lines, I would cite my ongoing debate about historical nationalism with Westminster Wisdom as an excellent example of this, such debate cannot take place against a backdrop of such hostility. Ireland may feel that he is the one who has been wronged but surely he can see it is within his power, after Iain made a call to end things, to stop the madness. Any offences Guido may have committed against blogging are surely better ignored than answered with this unseemly confrontation.

As this vendetta is pursued it looks more and more bizarre and is inviting some denunciations which I understand must be hurtful. What might have been an attempt to point out the flaws in the style of one prominent blogger has become close to frenzy and is creating a vicious cycle of unpleasant accusations. It should end.

Quite. However, at risk of fanning these flames, I was nosily looking over Iain's shoulder on 18DS last night (you can see your humble Devil at work here) and could see the barrage of emails from Tim Ireland coming in (including the ones that Iain did not read out) and your humble Devil—who has thus far refused to take any particular side—is going to go out on a limb and state the following:

Tim Ireland is a mad, stalking cunt who should fuck off and die rather than continue his petty and unpleasant hounding of people on the most spurious grounds possible. Anyone who listens to or in any way endorses this insane bastard is getting themselves onto the wrong side of one of the most childish fucking arguments your humble Devil has ever seen.

For fuck's sake, Ireland, GROW UP. You have totally invalidated any serious points that you may have had by acting like a spoilt, obsessive child. If you have a problem with Guido and Dale digging into the Smith Institute, go and expose the Policy Exchange: since you have a reputation as a guy who gets off his arse and does things, go and retaliate in kind and not with this pathetic monomania.

Instead, you allow your hangers-on (Chicken Yoghurt, Tygerland and Ministry Of Truth amongst others), whose motives are precisely as partisan as Iain and Guido's, to do your work for you; this is the kind of behaviour that you condemned your targets for, remember?

Your motives and methods are no purer than theirs, you hypocrite, so do us all a favour and drown yourself in a bucket of snot, OK?

And that is absolutely my last word on the subject.

UPDATE: having said that, of course, Unity has a very reasoned post which—damn his Labour-supporting hide!—I pretty much agree with, as per. As an aside, I find it interesting that I often broadly agree (and would happily have a drink) with people like ChickenYoghurt and Unity more often than some of the right-wing loons and fools that occupy the 'sphere.

Chin chin!


Tim Ireland Too said...

I agree, but Tim is just a tad lonely.

Unity said...


Without wishing to get into this with you, Tim runs to his own agenda and I have no control over that.

I'm not a hanger-on - my particular views, agenda and political background has been made perfectly clear and I've made my response to Dale's offer of a truce - and have probably given him far more leeway than some of his self-serving remarks deserve.

But what the hell, I've set out the parameters for how this goes forward and its up to him how he wants to take that, or not.

The are only a couple of ongoing matters as far as I'm concerned.

One is 'Guido' - and that's only because he's telling his side of a particular story to Sunny and I'm 'in' on the full background, which is not all that it appears and nothing like the spin that few ill-informed sock puppets have been trying to put on things.

You'll see fully what I mean in due course, but suffice to say for now that once upon a time the young 'Guido' let his ideological rectitude get the better of his good judgment, took the general idea of 'the enemy of my enemy...' in an injudicious direction and did something rather stupid, which has now come back to haunt him.

However its not quite what some people seem to think, as will be made clear, he is getting a fair hearing, whatever anyone might think/say and its better, for him, that it goes that way than it get left hanging.

The other is Praguetory, and that's only because like any number of trolls I've fronted up to in the past he's just too plain dumb to appreciate that whining only makes it worse.

One of these days I may even get around to telling the sorry (but true) tale of the vampire ninja forum troll from Kentucky, which may give a bit more of a background to some of my past exploits. That one's a scream, especially the story of the day he claimed to have invented the Ion drive and had his designs stolen by NASA only to run headlong into a real NASA engineer on the boards.

As I said elsewhere, this is tame by the standards of what I'm used to and what goes on over the other side of the big pond.

Just imagine the following - a very busy US political forum with 500-600 regulars split about 50-50 between Bush-loving Republicans and Clinton-loving democrats who really hate each others' politics and believe fervently in their constitutionally protected - in fact almost divine - right to say what they like, when they like and how they like.

Now imagine what happens when a small group of right-wing libbies and left-wing anarchists (including yours truly) decide to have a little 'fun' by lobbing a gun control post into the middle of that lot.

Put it this way, it took three or four posts to get things started...

...and the forum owner and half a dozen mods four days to calm things down...

... and then one of the Libbies, who I know very well and is a right malicious bugger, went and tossed in a post on abortion rights and started it all off again.

I tell you, DK, a few of those guys could even teach you a new use or two for the word 'cunt' and that's with me still still convinced that one of these days someone will look it up in the OED and find a variation on the word whose first recorded use is cited as having taken place here. ;-)

Anonymous said...

...whose motives are precisely as partisan as Iain and Guido's...

Please explain my partisan affiliations to me, Chris. I was under the impression I didn't have any. Give me your evidence or fuck off.

No one is pulling my chain on this and I'd thank you to remember it. Do not make the mistake of lumping me in with any campaign.

Devil's Kitchen said...


The only thing that I meant in terms of partisanship is that I would consider you, broadly speaking, left-of-centre. Would that be correct?

To both you and Unity: I did not mean to imply that anyone was, as Justin put it, "pulling your chain"; only that your political sympathies might -- and I do say "might" -- lead to less sympathy with Iain and Guido than someone who is right of centre.

Now, you can deny all of this and I'll take it on board (and you have, Justin, very properly, declared an interest in the form of friendship with Tim), but I was simply pointing out that, whilst Tim has accused others of doing Iain and Guido's dirty work for them, it could be argued that he has encouraged the same thing.

I declined to take any sides on this until I saw the hectoring emails last night, and none of this diminishes my respect for Unity or yourself as bloggers.

I, however, was inclined to take Guido's side for one important reason: Tim Ireland's constant use of Guido's real name. Given my spat with UKIPHome a couple of months ago, it might have been guessed that I would consider Ireland's "outing" of Guido as a total breach of netiquette.

As I pointed out to Chad, just because you can find my real name, does not mean that you should use it if I post under a pseudonym. Given the problems that bloggers have had with what I called (when talking about SBBS) "bleed through", I consider this to be one of the absolute hard and fast rules of blogging netiquette.

Now, Tim may consider that he had just cause but, like Matt Sinclair, I do not consider that two wrongs make a right. And I certainly don't think that it helps Tim's case when he breaks what I would say is one of the absolutes of poitical blogging.

By all means attack Guido, but do so under the nom de plume that he chooses to post under.

Besides, the trumpeting of Guido's full name that Tim indulges in is pathetic: does he think that I, or any other bloggers, give two shits whether it's Delaire or Delarie? Seriously.

If Tim thinks that Guido's "revelations" are childish, how do they compare to his own?


Reactionary Snob said...

Can someone, in two sentences, explain to me what the buggery cunt is going on?

It all looks a bit bloody schoolgirl to me - and in my opinion backs up everything that pernicious bitch YAB has been saying.


Caroline Hunt said...

It's best not to ask or to have an opinion RS or you end up caught up in the madness like me - although I really should thank Tim for all the added traffic to my blog :)

Aaron Murin-Heath said...


Left-of-Centre, yes; Partisan, No. I'm not with enamoured with the Labour Party.

I have explained my reasons, and it has fuck all to do with Tim.

MatGB said...

I've not got directly involved in it much; I do think that Tim may be taking things too far and being a little obsessive, but I also think his basic point stands.

If blogging is to be the lynchpin of the democratic society us libertarians (of left or right stripe) want, then it needs to actually be respected. Guido can do whatever he likes, but to see him, constantly, held up as the 'prime example' of blogging when in reality he's just the gossip column scandal sheet, it galls.

So Tim went after him with some good points and some bad. Dale, despite being a 'proper' blogger, whatever one of them is, and it seems a genuine democrat, seems to have missed the damage that Guido is doing to the whole 'get politicians blogging properly' thing that I wholeheartedly agree with Tim on.

RS: Guido is a gossip column, has been editing comments, deleting stuff and making himself look good. Ireland caught him out at it, and thinks Guido's behaviour, generally, damages the reputation of blogging. B!tchfight.

Is that a good enough summary for you?

I'm also not particularly partizan, but I'd like to see some good come of this, but think it's got a bit too personal for now.

Guido 2.0 said...

hyper-sensitive response to perceived assaults

You and Matt lose it right here. You have not being paying attention.

And that is absolutely my last word on the subject.

Good. You've shown your ignorance, so your further input is surplus to requirements anyway.

PS - Ms. C Hunt; you brought yourself into this.

Anonymous said...

Is this a full blown flame war?

Guido 2.0 said...

If it is, it's obvious where most of the abuse/escalation is coming from.

Anonymous said...

Where are the naked dancing girles for the interlude?

Devil's Kitchen said...

Guido 2.0/Tim,

I have read your posts. I have read the related posts. If you think that I'm ignorant, then you are wrong. I just didn't care.

You had a point and you have simply taken it too far.

On a related note, your ostensible reason (which had some validity) for outing Guido's sharp practice was that he was a menace to blogging and that he might encourage government legislation.

Fine, fair enough.

But what you do, organising campaigns that are (one would hope) far more actively damaging to the government than Guido's tittle-tattle, could well bring about the same end.

In any case, none of it matters because the EU is going to do it instead, when the Framework Decision on Combating Racism & Xenophobia -- which contains explicit provisions for blogs -- enters force in June 2007.


Reactionary Snob said...

Caroline & Matgb,

Thank you for your summary/advice.

Tim - I'm really not going to get any more involved than I have just become (by asking what was going on?). Having dipped my toe into the bath of 'flamewar' I will retract and go and have a glass of vin at home.

It doesn't interest me - best of luck in whatever you are aiming for. I much prefer calling New Labour ministers cunts, but then, each to their own.

Best wishes,


Anonymous said...

DK, yes I'm left of centre but that is *not* my motivation in this.

My problem is not with *what* is being said, it is *how* it is being said. It is about straight-dealing and good faith. Two things I have worked hard not to deviate from in all of this but two things I have seen precious little of from those on the other side.

Sorry, to sound superior but you have little idea of what's going on behind the scenes. Since Guido's legal dick waggling on Sunday I and others have been in a holding pattern. All with be sorted soon hopefully, not least when we see the outcome of Sunny Hundal's interview with Guido.

If you want to see how I've handled myself in this then ask Iain Dale to show you the three responses to the emails he sent to me over the weekend. He insists his emails are confidential, I insist my replies are not. Read them and re-evaluate your opinion.

If you think Tim is over-reacting then you clearly have no inkling as to the shitstorm he's had to put up with from assorted Fawkes and Dale 'hangers-on', most of who didn't even have the balls to use their own names and think accusations of stalking and homosexuality (two name but two) are big and clever.

All of Tim's assertions have been based on verifiable facts. The stuff coming back in the other direction has largely been abuse.

I'll state again: my involvement in all of this is at the behest or instigation of no one. All in all, I'd rather be back writing jokes but that's the measure of how strongly I feel about this. My friendship with Tim is a side issue in this matter. But friend he is and undeserving of much of the crap the monkeys are flinging in his direction.

Devil's Kitchen said...


I was not trying to impugn your motives, nor was I attempting to suggest that you have joined any one side at the behest of anyone. You're a grown man and more than capable of making any decision on your own.

If you think Tim is over-reacting then you clearly have no inkling as to the shitstorm he's had to put up with from assorted Fawkes and Dale 'hangers-on', most of who didn't even have the balls to use their own names and think accusations of stalking and homosexuality (two name but two) are big and clever.

Yes, but this is my point. Unless you can conclusivey prove that Iain and Guido have specifically told (or even solicited) commenters to do this, then it is simply people acting off their own back.

You too have also acted off your own back but in the opposite direction. That was all that I was pointing out.

If one side is wrong because its supporters attack, then so is the other. I don't actually subscribe to this philosophy (I think that we should be able to say what the fuck we like) but this was, as far as I could make out, one of Manic's complaints.

Manic has gone too far and he is damaging his reputation more than anyone else's.


Devil's Kitchen said...

P.S. Tim must have expected shit to be thrown at him: Iain and Guido get a lot of commenters but it isn't as though very many of them indulge in sensible political debate on those blogs, is it?

The comment threads mainly consist of posts saying, "oh, yes, you're so right", "oh, yes, he's really wrong" and "[x] is a total bastard, eh?".


Guido 2.0 said...

Gah! You almost strayed into the point there... but, again, you mainly fail to see the point because you have not been paying attention (and/or you do not care).

Happy to reveal what you've been missing in private (as some of it just that... private). Just ask.

Oh, and your 'last word' appears to have an echo about it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but this is my point. Unless you can conclusivey prove that Iain and Guido have specifically told (or even solicited) commenters to do this, then it is simply people acting off their own back.

Yes, that's true. But take yesterday: Iain Dale wrote his post calling for pax and then allowed his *moderated* comments to fill up with (largely) anonymous hangers-on to give Tim another kicking. In other words. Iain read those comments in moderation and let them through.

No, he didn't ask for them but was happy to approve them. On the bottom of a post calling for the end of a 'blog war'.

What's that about then?

(I see as of 20 minutes ago Iain's starting retrospectively deleting some but not all of those comments. To late as far as I'm concerned.)

Devil's Kitchen said...

Yes, that is a bit weird, frankly. But then, I don't understand this comment moderation nonsense; who the hell thinks that I've got time to go through and read every comment made here? (And I don't get many compared to Iain.)

Comment moderation seems, to me, to be a double-edged sword. If you don't let comments through, people will accuse you of censuring them. I got a very angry email at one point from someone who accused me of being too "chickenshit" to publish their comment criticising me. Actually, it was just Blogger playing up and their comment appeared about 5 minutes later.

If, however, you let all comments through then you are assumed to have endorsed them all. It seems to me something of a no-win situation.

Personally (and for the record, Manic, as you will have noticed that I allow Anon comments) I don't use comment moderation for the following reasons:

1) I don't want to get involved in the dilemma outlined above,

2) I simply cannot be arsed -- nor do I have the time -- to check them all,

3) if people want to contribute, then I'm happy that they wish to do so. If they act like a total fuckwit, then people will see that this is the case, and

4) I fully expect anyone who contributes to The Kitchen to be able to defend themselves against trolls and loons.

I allow Anonymous comments because:

1) I want to encourage people to comment, and

2) although some of them are a bit loony, the majority actually contribute something useful and they might not do so if the "barrier to entry" was that little bit higher.

3) I do not feel the need to act as a "sockpuppet" or similar on my own posts. If I have something else to add, I'll "UPATE" the post or write another.

Oh, and for the avoidance of doubt re: Guido 2.0's post above, in which he says "Just ask", I have.


Anonymous said...

The real problem with all this is that it's just so fucking boring. Reading blogs that are endless repitions of 'well your political charities, leanings, supporters are just as repugnant as ours' made blogs that had provided real insight mere cures for insomnia.

Frankly I don't give a toss about whether they are offending each other (and no I don't expect them to give a toss about my opinion). I've stopped reading them, hopefully when they get back to posting about stuff that actually matters they'll be linked by someone who is worth reading at the moment.

Martin said...

Does anyone really give a shit?

Anonymous said...

I see your a good looking chap DK ...in a sort of poor man's Leigh Lawson kind of way

Anonymous said...

"Is this a full blown flame war?"

Nope, it's a storm in a tea cup.

Matthew Sinclair said...

"hyper-sensitive response to perceived assaults

You and Matt lose it right here. You have not being paying attention."

Well, I've been trying to pay attention and my attitude at the start of this debate was to agree that Guido's method of blogging is hardly a role model but just disagree with you on his importance. However, when you start demanding apologies and getting ridiculously angry just because someone may have called you a nihilist I can't interpret that as anything but hyper-sensitivity.

Equally, calling someone a liar in the most angry of terms just because they may have given the impression they know less about Wikipedia than they do. Can you not understand why that looks pretty insane?

My mind really isn't closed on this issue. If you want to make your case please address this on your blog. Explain why it is that being called a nihilist has upset you, why Iain Dale's "lies" get to you so much. That might excite more sympathy than dredging up new affronts from comment sections that are always a showcase for trolling.

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