To blog or not to blog…?

There is a short piece in today’s Sunday Life which quotes a Belfast City councillor accusing Slugger of “fanning the flames of sectarian hatred”. The thread that caught the councillor’s eye concerned the continuing attacks on Orange Halls across Northern Ireland.

Update: It seems I rather hastely ran to ‘print’ without checking whether or not the article was published. It was not. My apologies to all for the confusing arising

In that thread, an individual commenter left remarks which could have been construed as incitement to further attacks. They were brought to my attention by telephone, and removed before that conversation was ended.

We understand there is now a police investigation aimed at identifying precisely who made the remarks and to determine whether there was criminal intent behind them.

Before continuing, it is important to clarify something which the councillor’s remarks, if taken in isolation at least, might otherwise obscure. Broadly speaking, the blog is what is written above the line; comments are a ‘right of reply extended to the public as a courtesy.

It’s a crucial distinction, not least in law. We have guidelines for what is acceptable, and they bite a long way before we get near the legal line. But, partly as a result of this incident, we are working on toughening up the registration requirements for commenters in future.

There is generally a tendency of commenters to veer (sometimes at 180 degree) away from the original topic and into their own prefered territory. This is as true of some Slugger commenters as it is to those reading blogs on the Washington Post. Indeed, as Pete noted a couple of years back, Joel Achenbach considered his blog into have developed into two distinctive parts:

My contribution to the blog is what I call the “Kit.” The commenters’ part is called the “Kaboodle.” Some of the everyday Kaboodlers make references to “our blog,” as though they’re co-proprietors. It’s obvious at this point that the Kaboodle is trying to take over the blog. And it won’t stop with me: I can picture the Kaboodle rambling across the countryside, panting heavily, stomping through people’s gardens, tinkling on little kids’ tricycles, etc. The general trend in blogs seems to be the diminution of the blogger and the elevation of the commentariat.

On Slugger this tendency is particularly pronounced when it comes to discussing anything to do with Protestant culture, and in particular the Orange Order. Take this threaded commentary which came in response to blog on Mairtin O’Muilleoir’s determination to find good things to say about the Orange Order.

This, however, is not reflected in the blog output. It is true that not everything Slugger puts out on the Orange Order is supportive. It has been a critical player in some of the difficulties of Northern Ireland’s past, and there have been occasions when the behaviour of some of its members have not come up to, what are in theory, its own very high standards of civil tolerance.

But on this issue of attacks on Orange Halls Slugger has been rigorous in documenting the extent and the seriousness of each attack as they have occurred.

Last March we began a thread documenting all apparently sectarian attacks on churches, and communities. The prompt was a nasty attack on St Columcille’s Catholic Church in East Belfast, but it quickly became obvious the extent to which the Protestant, rather than the Catholic community was bearing the brunt of these often very low level attacks. S

Since then attacks have been reported in Maghera, Killygullib (2 in 10 days); urine attacks on a parade in Glengormley; three halls in South Derry; the 242nd attack since ’89 took place in Lurgan and brought condemnation from Sinn Fein, and the details of which were carried on Slugger. Fair Deal followed up with his own detailed analysis.

Attacks on a chapel in Bushmills and Orange Hall in West Belfast, were followed by attacks on two Protestant churches in South Derry. The Irish News reports all this has cost £4 Million in the previous five years. Then two more in South Armagh, another in Moy, and then a ABOD banner returned by Republicans.

Killygullib gets hit again. We report fifty attacks in three weeks. Sinn Fein councillor Dessie Ward condemns people intent on dragging us backwards. Still they keep happening, this time in Derry and Strabane. Which brings us the thread under discussion, simply noting a second attack on an Orange Hall in Portadown in 24 hours.

This is by no means all of the stories we’ve carried on this disturbing theme, but we’ve been very careful to make sure we’ve gathered as much of the detail as we could as things progressed.

That the issue has largely been ignored in public debate may be as much of a recognition that such sectarian attacks are extremely difficult to attack, not least since there is a widely held perception that for some bizarre reason, Catholics cannot be sectarian.

According to Malachi O’Doherty, it’s not a view that the late Cardinal O’Fiaich subscribed to. He “defined the mechanics of sectarianism in Northern Ireland for many when he said that Protestants were more sectarian in religion and Catholics were more sectarian in politics.”

One way of dealing with this all of this is to just to ignore it and pretend it’s not happening. We certainly would avoid the risk of putting Slugger into legal jeopardy. Another is to close debate on such controversial matters. Several thoughts previously noted on Slugger come to mind. One from the Polish artist Krystof Wodiczko:

“I left Poland in search of democracy and found it was more like a phantom always shifting and constantly lingering on the horizon. Once it is given to someone, it changes. In fact, it needs to be remade every day. It requires the consistent disruption of silences and the [utterance] of things that people do not want to hear.”

And Czeslaw Milosz from Pete’s post yesterday:

“What is articulated, strengthens. What is not articulated tends towards the non-being.”

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  • Mick Fealty

    Sean, you are not the one in the dock. There are specifics around this case I cannot believe you would be familiar with.

  • Frank Sinistra

    In the interests of freedom of speech, I made the comment in question.

    (I hope for a few ‘I’m Spartacus’ comments at this stage or I’m doing a stretch)

  • me

    Are you serious frank. Are you the one at fault?

  • missfitz

    It’s the old debate again though, isn’t it? The cloak of anonymity certainly provides an area for people to divulge information that they would otherwise not entertain.

    In my case, I didnt think that cloak of invisibility was strong enough, and I take serious care not to comment or blog on anything pertaining to either my line of work or my voluntary public sector roles. I dont think its appropriate to ‘spill the beans’ in such a manner, or to use confidential information to titillate the SoT minnions.

    But that cloak can be used for darker purposes entirely, and that is the reason I feel that registration of some sort should be required. God knows I got enough s*** when I was blogging here, and half the stuff that was said to me would never have been uttered if a name had to be given at some point.

    I dont think there should be public access to the contributor details, but committing your name should make you stop, think and act responsibly

  • Sean

    No I didnt think I was Mick I am just saying if ever it occurs i dont cut and run

  • DC

    When you failed to link the appropriate article in the SL Mick, it soon become possible that this was a SOT ‘up the garden path’ moment.

    But if it is as grave as you suggest surely, as what is being stated, you would be best not to interfer in something that is about to become a legal matter, despite the fact of the comment being withdrawn of the site.

    All the same it has been a truly good thread despite some quips made, which was in response to the thought of being led up said path.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Yes, it was me.

    (what did I say again?)

    Whatever I said, I meant it and more.

    I await the wrath of some Cllr, the Sunday Life and the PSNI.

    So you can all give over about some stupid blog comment now?

  • Mick Fealty

    DC,

    For the sake of clarity (and I am genuinely sorry for misinforming people on the publication of the article), there was nothing in the prospective article that implied legal jeopardy. So far as I know our prompt action kept us from that.

  • joeCanuck

    It’s so easy to accuse Mick of intellectual cowardness, more or less, when you can sit back anonymously and will not have to face any bad music.

  • Frank Sinistra

    And back we come to:

    a Belfast City councillor accusing Slugger of “fanning the flames of sectarian hatred”

    There was a very clear allegation and you ignored it to prove how very certainly you aren’t negative about the OO.

    You, Mick, you, as site owner fan those flames and you didn’t/haven’t challenged that crap once.

    That’s the fear of the man for you and a demonstration of compliance.

    Result: lock the site down. Some dopey unnamed Cllr proves by default Slugger is sectarian.

  • DC

    So freed from such constraints would you be at liberty to disclose who the Councillor is thought to be in relation to this piece that was never published? Despite the verb ‘is’ denoting that the actual has happened.

    So if it’s not a case of a legal ‘uh-oh’ then this post is beginning to seem a bit la-la.

  • fair_deal

    FS

    “Any chance of letting us know which Cllr”

    I don’t know which councillor

  • me

    It does all seem a little strange that you would take pro-active action before the paper came out.

    In honesty mick were you seeking the ‘protection’ that publicity can give you over a commentator?

    Its all a little strange.

  • Valenciano

    How would such a registration system work? It would surely be quite easy for me to set up a free email account under a bogus name and pop down to the nearest net cafe. Of course you could force people to provide a non-free i.e. work email account but many wouldn’t have that or would be prohibited in their jobs from using it to go online. Ultimately it’s a sure fire way for slugger to decline.

    Wikipedia is a good parallel, there’s long been pressure there to ban non-registered users which thankfully hasn’t taken off as many of them contribute usefully and many people who do register vandalise the place. I’ve just reverted vandalism on there from a registered editor for example. The only real solution is to have an adequate number of moderators who can deal with any threats to the sites integrity at short notice.

  • DC

    Ha ha very funny, crikey it was just a thought!

  • Frank Sinistra

    me,

    This is a demonstration of the value of comment zones on blogs.

    A false media report, a series of links, a drive to change ethos – those in the comment zone tease out how little reality there is in a lengthy blog driven by fear of the MSM and hopefully end the drive to limit free speech in one tiny arena.

    This story stops being an excuse.

  • dave

    must have been something to do with something that was said about yer man in the band.

    Although i could be wrong.

  • me

    You are right frank.

  • snakebrain

    A few questions for Mick-

    1) By 5.43pm today, had you really not checked the SL to see if the article in question had run?

    2) As long as you responsibly maintain the site, removing offensive or potentially libellous comments within a reasonable time-frame and making it known that the policy of SOT is to do that, where is the legal liability? What are the precedents?

    I’m sure you’ve had legal advice on this already. I’m pretty confident that you personally wouldn’t be legally responsible as long as you behaved as responsibly as possible and offensive comments are removed in a reasonable time.

    3) Is this lengthy and obscure post simply designed to mollify a “City Councillor” who has made generalised assertions about the tone of your site? I’d find that hard to believe, and if it is true, I’d be very unimpressed.

    Sorry for the interrogation but this is all very strange…..

  • DC

    Under both the influence and the impression that indeed something bizarre has happened in that this has been done to provoke thought on certain comments made in certain areas.

    It is the commenter ‘me’ who should receive a personal email from Slugger offering perhaps a free trip to see Mick at some point as it is that person who went to great lengths to get the Sunday Life.

  • Outsider

    This thread should not have had to come about because of a potential police inquest. It should have came about to try and stamp out the anti Orange Order bigotry that has corrupted this site for too long. As I have said before Mick has attempted to address this issue in the past but I felt at the time he needed to put down stricter guidelines as to what is acceptable and what is not, it is clear muchh of what is said about the Orange Order on this site is both unfair and unacceptable.

    However I must admit that at least Mick has attempted in the past to present the order in a more honest light. When viewing the anti OO rubbish on sites like Ourweecountry.co.uk (a terrible messageboard) it does illustrate that at least on this site moderators recognise there is a problem.

  • joeCanuck

    me whipped himself up into a frenzy despite my warnings that his head was going to explode.

    I could be wrong but I would suspect that Mick would have been more wary of the police investigation rather than the overblown bombast by some councillor. I know I would.
    Even though you have no case to answer, the investigation can be a hassle and Mick seems busy enough as it is.

  • spiritof07

    Mick – what happened to the Anna Lo / Band parade thread? is there a connection with the other thing?

  • Mick Fealty

    me,

    Here’s what I know.

    Someone made a comment on Slugger which I was contacted about, and I agreed tot take down. I did so willingly for no other reason than it contravened the Slugger commenting rules.

    Then the PSNI were informed separately to that and took it seriously enough to initiate an investigation. That much is ‘true bill’. .

    The next I hear is that a complaint has been lodged by a councillor to the effect that Slugger of “fanning the flames of sectarian hatred”.

    Understandably, I was not happy about that. Particularly because we have been documenting, in a fairly objective and robust manner (unlike my ‘hot tip’ this evening), the reality of this anti-Protestant campaign, that not a campaign.

    The truth is that all on-line discussion is ultimately circumscribed by law. That goes for me, and anyone who writes on Slugger. If it is a point of principle, I will happily go into defence. But I am not happy to stand over incitement.

    And I am not best pleased by what looks like a crude and abortive attempt to characterise Slugger as something it clearly is not.

  • Outsider

    As long as you responsibly maintain the site, removing offensive or potentially libellous comments within a reasonable time-frame and making it known that the policy of SOT is to do that, where is the legal liability? What are the precedents?

    Snakebrain

    I can’t speak for Mick but I will address this point, the accusations were more in regard to perception than legal reprimands. Mick cannot allow this site to be exposed as an anti Protestant site i whcih narrow minded Naionalist bigots come on the vent their venom about all things Protestant, and to a point that is what has happened on this site.

    Mick has rightly pointed out that he has started blogs in the past that have illustrated the bigotry that the Orange order has had to face. It also helps his case that one of his bloggers is an Orangeman.

    Therefore what Mick has done is illustrate that topics have been impartial therefore he has fullfilled his obligations.

  • Mick Fealty

    snakebrain,

    I was informed that the article was to appear, but I did not check it before publishing the post above.

    However, the detail in the post above was not intended to mollify anyone. It was to put allegations (that admittedly did not emerge directly into the public domain) into context.

  • me

    Thanks Mick, I’m a nosy git, and in fairness I didn’t have to walk far. I’d like to state tho here and now, I wouldn’t like to see slugger shut down over such claims, and I’m sure you could do with out the hassle. We all have families and no one wants any nonsense like this hanging over us, I’m sure.

    If the site is safe from whatever, and you personally is safe from whatever, and someone commented and did incite passions, then that person whould be held resposible and appropriately punished. But slugger is not sectarian, it does its best to cover both sides equally.
    So I hope its sorted out for you.

  • snakebrain

    All smoke no flames then…

  • joeCanuck

    I am non religious and not a member of any political party and I can’t see how anyone could say that Slugger is biased towards one side or other.
    The fact that complaints are raised about bias from commenters on both sides says a lot.
    Mick is standing up and defending his blog from false allegations.
    Can’t we all accept that, at least.

  • DC

    “Mick is standing up and defending his blog from false allegations” from whom?

    Time for the Magic 8-Ball. Give it a roll…it syas ‘cannot predict now’. Ok over to you Mick.

  • Mick Fealty

    Outsider,

    Indeed. And there are several other issues too.

    One, I take a fair amount of heat in order to maintain a decent amount of free speech on Slugger.

    Two, I rarely complain about same.

    Three, if I have been overly sensitive about this particular matter it may be because Slugger (as opposed to me personally) has been diligent in highlighting what looks like a nasty, albeit low level, sectarian campaign against minority Protestant populations in Northern Ireland.

    Four, with one exception, I have always blogged or commented in my own name. Whilst I don’t expect the same of all others, there is something about anonymity that goes to *some* people’s heads.

  • Mick Fealty

    Night guys. I’ll continue this in the morning.

  • Sean

    Joe
    i agree this site probably comes s humanly possible to be unbiased, though complete unbias is impoosible, but to here some one come on here and claim its a nationalist site is looking through some orange coloured glasses

    Outsider I hope the days of croppie lie down are over so get used to hearing people argue with you and your point of view, its the way of the future get used to it

  • Rubicon

    Mike – I suspect you may be late for work in the morning – the Slugger clock seems to be on British Summer Time.

  • Outsider

    Sean

    There is a difference between arguing and being sectarian and with very few Prods on this site most anti Protestant/Orange comments are allowed to go unchallenged.

  • joeCanuck

    very few Prods on this site

    I find that hard to believe.

  • Outsider

    Joe

    There are very few posters a handful at most

  • Harry Flashman

    Yadda yadda ya, enough with this oul’ bollox, tell us the real “Sunday Papers” story, who’s the Royal with the liking for Colombian Harpic?

    *I have never been arrested or even questioned formally*

    Sean, you must have lived an extremely dull life.

  • snakebrain

    Nonsense Outsider

    Off the top of my head, regular posters include Turgon, Shore Road, Sam Hanna, PeaceandJustice, Willowfield, yourself……There are more.

    And that’s just the one’s who declare themselves as Protestant.

  • snakebrain

    Indeedy Harry, any ideas on where we can get the lowdown on that salacious bit of gossip?

  • DC

    Protestant upbringing would include myself. But like many I am an Irish Protestant – I have no religion.

  • Outsider

    Snakebrain

    So few you can specifically name them and post of the members you mentioned are absent from many of the blogs.

    Lack of Prods on this board is not a Catholic problem its just something for you all to be aware when making posts.

    Rather ironically while discussing this issue on Sluggers homepage I noticed an advert for a site called http://www.catholicdating.com, it slogan is ‘Because faith matters’. I found that amusing I thought it was only us old prods who sought partners of the same religion.

  • Harry Flashman

    *I thought it was only us old prods who sought partners of the same religion.*

    Ever date a Muslim? Jesus, my bird had me down to the clinic to get me circumcised within a fortnight of going out with her (and no bacon sarnies either).

  • The Sunday Life report on the “tourist” Mr Kakopa is the real story.

  • Harry
    No problems if you marry a Buddhist.

  • páid

    Doth matter a whit to misspell a word?
    A word, like tit, three letters to wit.

  • Sean

    Harry
    Yeah kind of boring…never so much as tried any illegal drugs

    Like a good brew though

    But mostly i fly below the radar

    I am not a criminal but neither do i particularily attempt to maintain and uphold the laws of the Dominion of Canada, I figure what they do not know wont hurt them lol

    Outsider
    atleast 75% of the Bloggers on here are from a unionist tradition how do you think this is a republican blog?

    As for the oo thing the reason the comments are allowed to stand is because they are the truth and the truth shall set you free

  • Harry Flashman

    *Harry
    No problems if you marry a Buddhist.*

    Aye, but you never have any decent rows with a Buddhist wife do you?

    Arguing with a Muslim lass adds the frisson of excitement that she might actually cut your head off (or other bits!) if things don’t go her way.

  • Paid
    Nue speling!
    Join the Simplified Spelling Society.

  • Harry
    Rows- “talokgarn” as its called here.Who needs rows.I get my cups of tea!

  • Harry Flashman

    All too peaceful and karmic (or is that the Hindus?) for me mate.

    I like the thrill and danger of sharp blades and self detonation, it keeps the sex life spiced up I find (a bit more information than you require I realise).

    Glad to see you’re enjoying the Land of Smiles however.

  • Garibaldy

    Harry,

    You’re a better man than I am to let anyone near you with a scapel. As for your danger thing, well you are from Derry, and it’s only to be expected.

  • dewi

    Mal oD’s paper interesting – I really know what Mick has been trying to get at all summer / autumn but when he quotes Paisley junior as describing Catholic protestors as “ethnically inferior” to Protestant protestors you just really wonder…

  • Mick Fealty

    For the record, I have been contacted by Councillor Christopher Stalford who made it clear that it wasn’t him who spoke to the Sunday Life.

    Further for the record, I am not in the least interest in who did. No doubt they had sincere concerns. In making the post above I simply wanted to have some clarity on Slugger’s position and conduct on this issue.

  • oh yeah

    to add a blog containing 30 odd links hardly shows disinterest.
    why no blog about the man getting locked up because he was black. no doubt if you dig deeper it will come out that those responsible for locking him up were members of the orange order too. bigotry and racism is their way of working. always has been, always will be

  • LOL

    “no doubt if you dig deeper it will come out that those responsible for locking him up were members of the orange order too”

    followed by:

    “bigotry and racism is their way of working.”

    Careful with those stones OY, goodness knows what damage they could do to that glass house of yours.

  • Harry Flashman

    *well you are from Derry*

    In the early stages of our courtship I mentioned that my hometown’s main claim to fame was the invention of the car-bomb. She was surprised at this and asked whether there was a lot of terrorism in my country (alas how quickly the world moves on) when I confirmed that indeed we had known the odd terrorist or two in our society she replied,

    “Oh really, I didn’t realise you had Muslims there too, I thought you were all Christians.”

    The new kids on the block have sure usurped our former spot on the world’s stage haven’t they?

  • Harry
    Where is she from,Beirut?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Mick,

    can’t see any clear answer to the query by Spirit07 ( and myself earlier ) whether the Chinese/Marching story is related to this furore? If not why was it pulled? Could the answer to this and other such removals not be placed in a prominent position?

    Any fair appraisal of this site would probably conclude that it is promoting better community relations as anonymity and safe distance offers people the opportunity to enter into vigorous debate with the ‘other’ side. Not sure however if any attitude change results but such engagement can only be positive.

  • Rubicon

    Mick – apologies for getting the 2 individuals mixed up and sincere apologies to Sluggers for being responsible for Mick having to lift a worthwhile thread. It wasn’t done deliberately – but was most certainly the result of carelessness.

    In speed reading I mixed up 2 people with common interests – but only one of whom was convicted of criminal activity. It hurts my ego to be responsible for this error but I can’t say I’m overcome with guilt – sorry Mick – but I’m not.

    For the mix-up to be grounds for litigation then proof of damage to good character would need established. My error would no doubt help in establishing that, I understand why Mick needed to take action because of this – but – I really do doubt damage could be shown.

    Perhaps it could – but then any court case would need to investigate how a letter from Anna Lo got in to the hands of the BNP.

    This is all conjecture of course. I’d have been far better getting my associations correct. I expect half the error was due to speed reading – the other half due to my own sub-conscious proclivity to associate marching bands with intolerance.

    I expect I’ve scored an own-goal ;(.

  • Dewi

    Rubicon – you need to do three hundred of those “Hail Mary” thingies……..

  • Rubicon

    Devi – is that for penance or for the wrath that might come my way? 😉

  • Dewi

    Rubicon – take it how you will my son…..

  • Rubicon

    OK – never did lines, never did confession (not properly anyway – the priest was an old guy and I could have been done for culpile homicide), can’t remember the Hail Mary – guess I’ll have to be content with wrath.

  • Belfast Dissenter

    I expected Rubicon’s slander of a band member to go as he was dubbed a ‘tatooed thug’ and conflated with a convicted criminal – locked up for attacks on Polish migrants – who shared his surname.
    While the ‘tatooed thug’ gibe was probably stereotypical hyperbole, I pointed out that the surname conflation could be grounds for legal action from the bandsman if he was able to see the original item.
    It really was playing dirty and could have gotten Slugger O’Toole into serious legal bother. It did need to be looked at but I was surprised when the whole Anna Lo thread was taken down as it did have some interesting things in it.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    “It was a bizarre happening, an unprecedented situation, a grotesque situation an almost unbelievable mischance” – GUBU/pisstake/chinese whispers/Ulstermania/WTF?

  • Rubicon

    Belfast Dissenter – if my error held me to account I’d be happy explaining my error to any court of law. As it stands, it is the site that can be held liable. I’m truly sorry about that – for whatever that’s worth.

    A court hearing of confusion between 2 members of the same band with the same surname reported in a story that had a common racist theme might just understand it for what it was. However, the law doesn’t stop there and damage caused the reputation of the individual who had a different first name would also need considered.

    Sadly, it is the medium of communication that could be held to account. This issue is the one I regret – I’d prefer to be held to account myself and will supply my identity to Mick if that would help.

    I agree with your last point – the thread was interesting and it’s a shame my error caused Mick to take it down.

    As for the allegation that I was “playing dirty” – that rests on your assumption that I deliberately assigned blame due one bandsman on to another. I can tell you that you are wrong and I wish I hadn’t since it prevented me from being able to link the band, their proposed route, their support from the BNP, the grounds for the band’s proposed march and the trumping of a letter from an MLA as a racist issue.

    Sorry to all concerned for my mistake.

  • Harry Flashman

    *For the mix-up to be grounds for litigation then proof of damage to good character would need established. My error would no doubt help in establishing that, I understand why Mick needed to take action because of this – but – I really do doubt damage could be shown.*

    Maybe you’re right Rubicon and Mick could have successfully defended himself in a libel action, although I have seen court cases where one party swore it would be an open and shut case go very horribly wrong once everyone got to have their say in front of a judge, however what you neglect to say is how you would reimburse him for his loss of time and money defending himself in court as a result of your simple inability to read properly.

  • Rubicon

    Fair point Harry.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Ruby baby, that a damn fine apology by anyones standards – time to move on.

    p.s. Get that Chinese Woman on to the parades commission.

  • Rubicon

    Sammy – I’d agree with you if only I could be convinced that the Parades Commission didn’t present a serious threat to rights of freedom. Sadly, I’ve not yet got as far as accepting it to be a necesary evil.

    Perhaps we could recommend Anna for a position on the Human Rights Commission?

  • joeCanuck

    Regarding the whole thread being taken down, my understanding is that Mick didn’t have time to go through the whole thing when contacted, so took the whole thing off the air.
    Maybe it’ll be back when he gets the time to do it. he seems awfully busy these days.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Apology accepted Rubicon. It is a pain in the ass when you spend time doing stuff only to see it disappear in to the ether because someone was careless. Sadly, it isn’t always possible to go through a thread with a fine tooth comb, in which case, the whole entry is binned.

    I’ll probably do something on the subject again if there’s anything to move the story on. It was on Talkback today, maybe I’ll have another listen, though it’s a bit late. The Irish News nabbed the BNP line in this morning’s paper.

  • dewi

    600 “Hail Mary” things Rubicon – and stop digging mun !

  • Rubicon

    BG – gracious of you – thanks. My error was early on in the thread and I may have repeated it. By the time it was picked up it may be too much effort to ressurect the thread. Most of the comments weren’t influenced by my error so I retain hope.

    OK devi – you’d be a righteous candidate for the Inquisition! 600 Mary’s it is! My dear wife ain’t going to like this – gets me in fierce bother mumbling names in my sleep. Lady’s names are particularly punished. But – if it serves your sense of justice – so be it ;(

  • 0b101010

    All this talk of registration and standing behind your comments is grand, but a significant proportion of our wee country still think “debate” means lobbing a petrol bomb through your window, biting your ears off, stabbing you in the eye or beating you to death with a baseball bat.

    Not to mention the fact that this same post proves how many weaselly wee eyes are pointed this way, wondering who, where and why someone posts what they do… and, the timeless bore that so many comments have already salivated at, which foot someone kicks with.

  • Harry Flashman

    *Indeedy Harry, any ideas on where we can get the lowdown on that salacious bit of gossip?*

    Well I certainly wouldn’t want to get this forum into any more legal trouble but I could point out that the Daily Mail today has pretty much told everyone to Google the question “who is the royal victim of blackmail?” and see what comes up.

    So my mate David who has a strong arm did that and went off and left me on my Jack Jones, he’s like that, he used to fly a Vickers Viscount plane out of Linley Hill airfield.

    I still don’t know who the minor Royal is though, bet you he’s not that terribly famous anyway.

  • Belfast Dissenter

    Rubicon. Fair dos for holding your hand up on this. Saturday’s Irish News had the two separate stories on pages one and five respectively. The posting on Slugger mentioned the conviction of the other man in its final paragraph which led to your confusion.
    Still, even now the waters are still a bit muddy. Where do you get the idea that the man convicted and imprisoned for his vicious attacks on Polish migrants in the Village was a member of the same band as the man whose (very common) surname he shares? I haven’t seen anything in the press coverage to support this. Have you? Admittedly, I’ve only been following it in the IN so may have missed the connection you claim.

  • oh yeah

    page 4 of todays irish news…complaint made against sluggerotoole by dup counsellor william humphrey, who was complaining about someone inciting persons to burn brownlow house. what a sad, sad person.

  • joeCanuck

    The person didn’t actually incite burning Brownlow House. Suggested that all Orange Halls should be burned and used the pseudonym Brownlow House Next.

  • joeCanuck

    Comments made under that pseudonym were very quickly removed.

  • joeCanuck

    People have made comments about the clock being an hour out.
    I suspect that this is because the site is hosted in the USA.
    They made a decision a few years ago that summer time would be extended by 4 weeks, 3 weeks earlier and one week later and it came into effect this year.
    Canada followed suit because of business reasons.

  • oh yeah

    i hope the cops who investigate this tell humphreys that this is the internet and if he isnt able to tolerate that others have a difference of opinion to him, then there is a back button in his browser.

  • Frank Sinistra

    Website accused of hate content

    By Rebecca Black

    POPULAR political website Slugger O’Toole is being investigated by police following an allegation of incitement to hatred.

    Mick Fealty, who runs the site, confirmed that police were investigating the complaint but he said he is more than happy for them to do so.

    The allegation arises following a debate on the site earlier this month about attacks on Orange Order halls.

    The PSNI became involved after a complaint was made by Belfast DUP councillor William Humphrey about a comment which called for the burning of Brownlow House Orange hall in Lurgan.

    However Cllr Humphrey declined to make any comment yesterday.

    “We have been keeping a very close eye on the attacks on Orange Halls over the last few years,” Mr Fealty said.

    “My feeling is there is something going on in civic society that people are in denial over.

    “This is not just a question for the Orange Order but for all of society.

    “These incidents may not be as spectacular as what happened during the Troubles but it is still disturbing, particularly as many of the halls targeted are in areas where the Protestant community is in the minority.”

    A spokesperson for the Orange Order said: “We are surprised that a website

    with such a good reputation allowed its space to be used by people supporting and encouraging the attacks and actually singling out a property to be targeted.

    “We believe this is something the police should

    investigate.”

    A PSNI spokesperson said: “The police service does not monitor internet websites on a day-to-day basis but we will take action when we receive complaints of criminal offenc-es which occur within our juridiction.”

    Slugger O’Toole was set up by Mr Fealty in 2002. It receives on average 6,000-7,000 visitors a day and up to 10,000 during a major news story.

    Did that journo used to comment here? Worked for the UUP? Or is it a different Rebecca Black?

  • You can’t miss Brownlow House, it can be seen from

    What a load of bollox! There was no incitement to hatred or inciting people to burn anything. This thread and that fella Humphrey’s complaint are nothing more that a hissy fit by those who still can’t tolerate opinions that are different to theirs. I was the author of the original posts while they were meant to provoke a debate which some would find challenging, they were not intended to incite anyone to burn anything down.
    There are at least five unionist posters on this board who regularly peddle views that give succour to extreme loyalists. This is clearly illustrated for example when a topic such as Rosemary Nelson is mentioned when we get the whiff of a suggestion that “she must have deserved it” because of the clients she represented. When the GAA is mentioned we get the usual inheritor of “IRA at play” slur that was regularly used to justify attacks on the Association. Then we have the deliberate attempts to insult others such as when the Hunger Strikes are mentioned we get the ‘jokes’ about weight-watchers etc (so much for not resorting to ‘ad hominem’) or when the Irish language is brought up we get a complete denial of the cultural heritage of a major section of the community in the north.
    There are many other examples I could use but the point is, I deliberately articulated a mirror image of those types of opinions in order to see what the response would be. Instead of attributing the attacks on Orange Halls as the actions of mindless thugs, I put forward views which have become very common in North Armagh since the PSNI took the side of the Loyalism and Unionism in relation to parades and flags in the Lurgan area the summer before last. Those opinions would articulate the view that the Orange Order have brought the attacks on themselves because of the supremacist nature of that organisation and because they still insist on trampling over the wishes of nationalists and republicans in that area.
    I have to say on this thread that those are not necessarily my own opinions and hence the reason I did not put my own name to the original posts, but having witnessed at first hand how the actions of the Orange Order and the PSNI in the area are driving countless young people into the arms of republican dissidents, I felt that these are opinions that need to be debated in public in order to shine a light onto what is happening in the area, namely that, the insistence of this organisation that they mark out territory with marches and flags are both fuelling these attacks and acting as recruiting sergeant for the CIRA. The sad thing for the rest of us is that this probably suits their agenda quite well as allows them to play the MOOE (Most Oppressed Organisation Ever) card.
    Which all gets me back to the purpose of these forums. Are we now saying that opinions that are unpalatable to some in our “new dispensation” are to be censored or sidelined? It that is so, then there should be a bit of balance and those posters that attempt to deliberately provoke or insult nationalist posters should also be censored and reported to the PSNI on the same basis as my orginal posts were. And where does that leave you Mick as guardian of the IP addresses. Will you also be handing the IP address of those on this site who regularly glorify in the deaths of IRA personnel or hand Ingram over Martin McGuiness the next time he libels him on this board?
    Should your commenting guidelines not include the following disclaimer:
    6. If you express an opinion that some Neanderthal backwoodsman finds disagreeable, the Editors will find themselves duty bound to hand over your details to the PSNI and submit you and your family to the embarrassment of a house search, arrest and questioning, not to mind the indignation of having to argue your case out with a fool.

  • btw

    If there is nothing wrong with your opinions then why not own them and post them under your own name? Your apparent fear to do so is telling.

  • from everywhere

    bwt

    As I said:
    1. They are not necessarily my own opinions. I was expressing those that are becoming very prevalent in the North Armagh area
    2. I suspected, quite rightly as this furore as shown, that anyone expressing such opinions would be subjected to ‘man playing’ attacks such as this incitement to hatred accusation instead of debating the real issue.

  • joeCanuck

    You can’t miss,

    You may have dropped Mick into a big hole.
    If the PSNI come to him asking for your IP address, will you give Mick the OK to release it rather than him potentially having to go to court to claim journalistic freedom, something which has yet to happen in the case of Blogs, AFAIK.
    At the very least, that would be very expensive.

  • nmc

    there is a widely held perception that for some bizarre reason, Catholics cannot be sectarian.

    If you go back and look at this post, you will see the vast majority of nationalists saying that this is bullshit, which it clearly is. Unless you are suggesting that the entire nationalist people are labouring under the delusion that all of any group of people can be charcterised in a single way. Like for example, other ridiculous ideas we all don’t believe is that all Americans are thick, or all Scottish people are drunk. That would be mighty close to racism – (defintion from web – Racism is prejudice or discrimination based on the belief that race is the primary factor determining human traits and abilities).

    Go and read the comments below the title (which is in quotes) to see how “widely held” this perception is.

    The only person who is trying to characterise a large group with having one characteristic (like we are clones of one another) is the person, who is quoted in the title of that thread. Only problem with that is that it’s not even a verbatim quote.

    The thread author has used quotes, and must have been quoting himself, no-one else made such a daft statement, the vast majority of nationalists realise that we come in all shapes, sizes and with a wide variety of character traits. By the way why would someone say something and present it in quotes when it isn’t a quote?

  • Saying that the content of a post (hint) constitutes incitement to hatred is hardly man-playing.

  • Facts

    Beno,

    if you search for it, Brownlow’s original comment can be found in Google cached pages. Unless Mr Humphrey is an expert in detecting subliminal messages and Brownlow regularly listens to bad heavy metal music backwards, there was no incitement to burn down Brownlow House. In fact Brownlow House is not even mentioned in the content of the post (which is reproduced in a response from Concerned Loyalist), so I can’t see how it is an incitement to hatred.

  • Facts

    Apologies, that should ‘Beano’.

  • benjamin

    Juande wil play 4-2-1-2-2

  • oh yeah

    “””If there is nothing wrong with your opinions then why not own them and post them under your own name? Your apparent fear to do so is telling..”””

    yes, you never know which of the loyalist murder gangs the orange order have employed to kill you, so its safer that way

  • snakebrain

    That doesn’t really help things does it oh yeah?

    Apart from being a brain dead statement…

  • fakename

    I was under the impression this board was on a server located in the USA, and that, therefore, it would be US laws around freedom of speech that determined what is and is not legal. What is this to do with the PSNI? Do they even have the authority to demand IP addresses be given to them?

    Perhaps I’m wrong. Is there a lawyer in the house?

  • I Wonder

    “There are at least five unionist posters on this board who regularly peddle views that give succour to extreme loyalists.”

    I think the PSNI might be better engaged in sitting undercover in certain drinking dens eavesdropping on situations where a combination of rhetoric, alcohol and other intoxicants might reasonably be thought to lead to an attack on neighbouring “enemy territory”.

    Besides that, rarely if ever, could the leading articles here be accused of inciting religios/racist hatred or even, violence. The posters who follow on are in another position.

    Contrast that with another site where the author almost invariably spews personal venom on local people and local places, venting a visceral hatred eagerly lapped up by the other posters. Is it beyond even the limited imagination of a court to think that there has never been and could never be a link between an act of hatred and those words?

    One potential incitement of hatred on Slugger, 47 on the other site to date.