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10 February 2011 @ 09:38 pm
The ongoing barring from the BBC.... a rant  
I really don't think the BBC cares, to be honest.

Or as we discovered on the Radio Two boards last autumn, the focus had changed somewhat. Rather than allow the boards to be a place for open, frank and free comment, even for reasoned constructive criticism of the BBC and its policies (as had hitherto been the case), the new line of thought was to censor the criticism out of sigh and whitewash it away. The BBC had sunk a lot of investment and prestige into a revamp of Radio Two, after Sir Terry Wogan retired, including importing a presenter hitherto unfavourably known for the size of his ego and the spectacular and totally unprofessional way his previous employment at the BBC had ended. some of us had warned that this was Russell Brand all over again - had R2 learned nothing from that particular train-crash? - and that this presenter appeared to have been given far more power and ability to influence things than was good for him. In the old days, reasoned comment like this, quoting the facts and drawing reasonable inferences from them, would have been passed by mods and left to stand. But the new online management appeared to have been given its orders to allow the messageboards to be a place where only praise of the BBC and its chosen golden boy was allowed to be posted. In short, they wanted the R2 boards to be like a Soviet party conference, where only praise of the regime was allowed and dissidents were ruthlessly trampled and sent to an online Siberia. They could then present the result as unforced listener praise for the new post-Wogan morning and use it as free PR and advertising.

Modding was woefully and painfully inconsistent. Those of us, including me, who were slow to realise the implications of the new regime were placed in the ghetto of premod. The BBC cited "libellious content" as he reason for the premodding. (I have spoken to other people culled at the time, on the independent R2OK! boards, and they all tell the same story). Yet one particular poster was allowed to repeatedly troll abusive and nasty comments about the departed Sarah Kennedy, by then no longer a BBC employee. Those of us who reported this person's deeply personal and offensive postings for abuse of the system were told that we were ourselves abusing the "report abuse" buton, ansd if we persisted, action would be taken against our accounts.

then - and it wasn't just me this happened to - a BBC mod must have been instructed to trawl through my postings. A total of seventeen postings I had made while in premod - and remember, the very definition of premod is that a mod has to see your postings first and agree they are not in contravention of house rules - which had been allowed on the board were retrospectively yikesed. This included a couple made to h2g2 while under premod, and permitted as fair comment by a hootoo mod. I believe the BBC mods ddid this - not only to me but to several other regulars - in order to retrospectively accumulate evidence to justify what they did next, which was to ban me completely from all BBC boards.

I protested that this was unfair and unjust, especially as my membership of hootoo actually predated its being assimilated, Borg-like, into the BBC machine. I had up until then had a total of four postings yikesed from hootoo -a drop in the ocean considering postings made and Entries and UG material submitted. (Two were for good reasons - written in a flash of blood to the head when I wasn't thinking straight. No argument there. One contravened the foreign language rules because it was in Welsh; a fourth I had protested about at the time as it was to my mind fair comment on a Guide entry I felt had been written by an employee of the company concerned for commercial reasons, the intention being disguised advertising and product placement ratrher than information. But that was it - I have largely had an amicable and friendly relationship with hootoo, and to be barred because Radio Two's boards went Stalinist, or rather Evansist... as I recall, I even emailed the hootoo eds for support and a friendly word at my showtrial!

So that's what happened. The BBC banned at least a dozen long-time messageboard contributors, as far as I could make out, and the timing stinks. Apart from our input over R2's internal problems, were cuts being planned even then, and it felt in needed to neutralise the sort of articulate people who would raise opposition? The R2 boards were closed not long after it kicked "the awkward squad" off BBC Online... the last ever message posted was one of glowing praise for Chris Evans...

The masterpiece of character assasination the BBC sent me to justify my exclusion concluded

"Your unwillingness to adhere to House Rules presents an unacceptable
editorial risk and because of this we are not prepared to uphold your

Please note that that once banned, users are not permitted to return to the

It took them eleven years to work out I was an unacceptable editorial risk? And by the way, the letter I got was word-for-word identical to that received by other dissidents ejected at the same time...

So do not look for truth, justice, or straight talking from BBC Online at this time. You may be dissappointed.

Thank you

shandyopip on October 31st, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)
I’ve been into blogging for quite some time and this is definitely a great post.Cheers!

agprovagprov on August 28th, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC)
Was I so bad-mannered that I never acknowledged this post and said thanks? well, I am now...