Why it is better to play the ball…

From time to time I get challenged about the desirability of Slugger’s rules of etiquette (ie, play the ball and not the man), not least the human error that can occasionally creep into what is essentially a qualitative judgement. Well, the alternative of letting it all hang out is not an option. This story tells of the extremes it can lead to if the art of flaming is pushed to its limits.For more check out Flaming FAQs.

  • Mick,
    It’d be great if I could comment on here without having to turn off my
    Google Web Accelerator and I could track the comments here using co.mments which I use to track conversations on other forums/blogs.
    Is nettiqette not a two way thing between the ‘blogmaster’ and the commenter?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Cyberscribe: “Is nettiqette not a two way thing between the ‘blogmaster’ and the commenter? ”

    I’ll bite… how is not having the blog set up for your preferred software profile a matter of “nettiquette?”

  • I addressed this comment to the the blogmaster but anyway,

    If I have to change what I normally do to comment on one forum/blog I’m annoyed to start with. It is up to the ‘blogmaster’ if they expect commenters to go by their rules to encourage commenters to do so by the way they set up their sites. It’s also up to those who post ‘blog entries’ to post them in a responsible manner and not encourage FLAMING.
    Easier said than done 🙂

  • Mark

    Well, a site that blogs rumour then yellow cards those mentioning that rumours exist about someone else (without the specifics)and ignores a direct adolescent attack on the looks and speech pattern of another politican can’t really expect its contributors to consistently apply high standards when the hosts don’t.

  • Mick Fealty




    I like to hear more.

  • Mark


    Found it strange a yellow card was issued for mentioning a rumour exists but not it’s content on a site that blogs rumour in it’s entirity and allows a personal attack on Ruane to stand unchallenged.

    (but its your site so you can do as you wish as you pay the bills)

  • Mick Fealty

    Interesting complaint Mark. Did you send me an email? Which thread was this on?

  • Fanny

    Mick, your flame story is a cautionary one. There are a lot of freaky men on the net.

  • Mick Fealty

    Don’t I know it Fanny! Thankfully most of ours are strictly transient creatures.

  • Mick,
    I’d said “It’s also up to those who post ‘blog entries’ to post them in a responsible manner and not encourage FLAMING.”

    I’d posted earlier about local comedians which, for the 2 mentioned, if they ever read might encourage FLAMING by them or even encourage the unfortunate people that find them funny to FLAME.

    Most people I’d suggest, bloggers included, don’t really care what commenters say or the way they say it. If they don’t like it, or if it annoys them, or if there may be legal repercussions because of a comment the blogger can always delete it.

  • wee ulsterman


    Why were posts on Friday afternoon highlighting the Allister situation deleted?

    Clearly the rumours I highlighted then have been proven right, yet posts were deleted and when I highlighted these rumours you singled me out for condemnation and demanded I name myself, on a site where pretty much nobody names themselves.

    i’ll happily reveal myself if everyone else reveals theirs! mebbe we should have a big Slugger Coming-Out Party or something… 😛

    The whole site thrives on rumours and would not work without anonymity. There have been countless threads containing anti-UUP rumours, mostly baseless. No deletions, or demands for identity there.

    Anyways, yeah well sure I’m a shit-stirrer but I had good info and when I went on here to highlight Allister’s unhappiness on Friday, I well expected to hear the witterings of the DUP press officers scrambling to cover things up (what ya make of Allister now “Carson’s Cat” and “Bushmills”???) but I certainly did not expect the Site Administrator to rebuke me in such fashion!

    It was as though any rumours of DUP dissent were “anti peaceprocess(tm)” and to be clamped down upon immediately.

    To anonymously communicate information that one has on good sources is hardly to be an Enemy of the Peace Process. It was legitimate of me to enquire as to why Allister was not on the platform. If he supported the SAA of course they’d have put him on the platform as the leading potential dissident.

    The incident worried me not a little, as I have enjoyed and contributed to this site for many years. It leaves me wondering whether even this post will be deleted. I trust and hope not.

    Anyways its all spilt milk now, its all over the media, a storm now brewing in the DUP heartland, but the first post on slugger which highlighted this story got deleted. Why?

  • ‘and demanded I name myself’ Why?

    A recent visitor to my blog, where I use a free stat counter, as many other bloggers do…

    Referring Link http://www.sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/why_it_is_better_to_play_the_ball/
    Host Name 19*-2*7-*38-***.dynamic.dsl.******.com
    IP Address 1*4.2*7.*38.**8
    Country United Kingdom
    Region –
    City –
    ISP Tiscali Uk Ltd
    Returning Visits 17
    Visit Length 50 seconds
    Browser MSIE 7.0
    Operating System Windows XP
    Resolution 1152×864
    Javascript Enabled

    If for any legal reason would a name really be needed if all this info is available?

  • Pete Baker

    Why indeed, CyberS?



  • Mick Fealty


    My apologies. I agree it was a poor call. All can say is that I have had experiences in the past of sockpuppets falsely ‘narrating’ events in the past.

    In general, as you will know, I prefer to let conversations establish their own flow, but on occasions, in the heat of the moment, it can be hard to distinguish the genuine from the false.

    I’ve reinstated the original posts.

  • Pete Baker


    It’s also about the tone of the comments.. if someone is genuinely attempting to convey information, whether anonymously or not, it is more likely to be treated in the manner intended if that tone is straightforward, non-confrontational, and as detailed as possible without being libellous.

    Not that those guidelines were necessarily breached in the example given – it’s just a general guideline.

  • wee ulsterman

    Mick, fair enough and thank you.

    I must say that I think what you have built here on this site – surely the first ever true shared space in Northern Ireland where loyalists, nationalists, unionists, republicans, christians, atheists, and nutcases like myself can all smash each other around in glorious freeflowing peaceful debate –

    well, I think it really is quite something special.

  • That’d be good!:-)

    Instead of
    Slugger O’Toole – notes on Northern Ireland politics and culture

    ‘Slugger O’Toole – where people can smash each other around in glorious freeflowing peaceful debate’