Thanet Star

In defence of all Thanet bloggers

This Blog is on hold until such time as Kent Council acknowledge my right to comment as I see fit within the law without threats from their paid contractors. writes Tony Flaig of Big News Margate.

Tony may not not the first blogger to be silenced by bully boy builders from Thanet but we all feel the loss as deeply as ever.

A stand has to be made. This aggressive anti-democratic behaviour is endorsed by the official silence that follows it. No More! We are a community and as a community we must stand by each member or fall alone.

Read on to find out how we can do this

Online bullies attack Thanet bloggers

Part of the ongoing attack (flaming) seen on Tony's blog is more commonly known as trolling. But this has been combined with the suggestion that KCC might back a law suit against Tony for expressing his opinion.

Clearly this must end!

Both KCC and TDC must recognise that the actions for those they employ directly or indirectly must be corporately owned by the elected members that, at least symbolically, have employed them.

Help support Tony Flaig and other Thanet bloggers. It might be some tiny corner of the UK that no one has heard of today. Yet tomorrow it could be you that they are coming for.

Join us in demanding "No More Local Government Bullies".

Online Bullies and what to do with them

An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the intention of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.

Your average online bully is simply a lonely individual lacking even basic social skills and they are attacking just for the human contact. More to be pitied than angrily dealt with. However, allowing these sad cases to hurt our community would be unforgivable.

The is a hypothesis that states that in the absence of social context cues, the level of uninhibited verbal behaviour in computer-mediated communication rises. In other words people get far more offensive on-line then they would if they had to look you in the face. By allowing aggressive verbal behaviour we actually endorse it but by disallowing it (despite the usual cries of anguish from the silenced individuals) we create a social cue that states that this is not an acceptable way to behave.

Sadly there are a number of once leading bloggers (mostly TDC councillor for some reason) that rarely leave their own arena and seem to actively encourage aggressive and unacceptable behaviour. Often these people have engaged in such aggressive behaviour thus setting a bad example. As a community we do not have to allow this "norm" to stay.

I suggest that we, as a community ostracise, the troll(s). Agreeing that their comments, blogs and all activities be utterly ignored, deleted (in the case of comments on our own blogs) and treated like the junk they are - not worth even noticing. Robbing them of their power, their satisfaction and indeed every last possible motivation for acting against us.

The result is that we create a new norm where as a group we uphold new values. As an example we might wish to embrace respect, openness, transparency, honour and/or politeness. Only as a group can we make these choices - through our actions.

The issue of corporate negligence in local government

This does not address the issue of local government negligence in the case of Tony Flaig and others whereby local government has, in the past, turned a blind eye to the actions of contractors and sub-contractors or appeared to actively supported them.

This is unacceptable.

Bullying or support of bullying by those to whom we have given the power to protect us from such things is an unacceptable abuse of authority. To my mind it undermines every aspect of the office held. It shows nothing but contempt for tax payers and for the values or country constitutionally stands for.

What can you do?

If you own a blog you can support Tony and others like him. Write about Tony Flaig's blog Big News Margate particularly linking to the last post where Tony tells how Local Government Contractors Threaten Tax Payers and demand change. Recommend that others do the same.

When cowerdly anonymous trolls post anything that is even somewhat rude, aggressive or confrontational then remove the comment from your blog. We bloggers are not a service for the publication of damn fool rubbish - tell them that if they have something to say be very nice or use their name. Otherwise they can go start their own blog.

Publish the IP address of aggressive attackers and exact time of the attack. This is sufficient information to trace the person to a name address and telephone number via the ISPs detailed logs. Persistent attackers can then be prosecuted.

If you are a twitter, facebook or myspace user then tell your friends, contacts and followers what has been done to Tony. Start or join a group expressing outrage at the mistreatment of others by council contractors.

If you own a website link to one or more reviews and to Tony's site and this blog entry. These links tell Google that this is important and the text and images you put with the links tells visitors why it is important. "Spreading the word" about key issues is what our community is best at.

Tell the whole darn world. Submit Tony's post and some of the better reviews to, readit, digg, delicious and other social bookmark sharing sites.

Start a thread on your favourite forum to discuss what is going on and how KCC and TDC are yet to maintain the slightest control over the people they employ.

Write to KCC and TDC and tell them that they have offended you. Demand, politely, that they act to control the people they employ. Write to your MP and demand new laws that force local authorities to take action.

Write to your local councillors and tell them that your vote will be influenced by their action in this case.

Write to the building firm(s) condemning the action of their staff. Mention that insulting tax payers on time paid for by tax payers is not a vote winner.

Comment on Tony's blog and on some of the better reviews (as you decide) and express your support for Tony and other bloggers.

Write a blog post like this one. This story is not about me and should not be so. The more people talking about this story the harder it is to cover it up or ignore it.

In short make a fuss. Talk about it and spread the word. While non of us can do anything worth a hill of beans as a group all of us can be an unstoppable force.

Speak up!

I have had the floor on this topic for long enough - over to you.

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