Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New Forum for Crawley interwebbers

A while ago, someone tried to set up a bulletin board covering Crawley. Unfortuantely, hardly anyone knew about it, and only a few weeks after I signed up it folded (presumably because the owners hadn't kept up the payments).

However, yesterday a brand new Crawley-wide BB was set up - http://crawleyonline.org/index.php

It's only in its infancy, and it seems that the format has been directly lifted from the long-established maidenbower forum, but hopefully it will develop over time.

I wonder if it was set up in response to some odd behaviour on Maidenbower. Last week, there was confusion as a moderator changed the blanket word-change facility (usually used to replace rude words with symbols), annoying a few people. It's also clear that some people have multiple identities (inlcuding moderators), and this sort of thing undermines trust.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you're right Danivon, the Maidenbower site moderators have annoyed so many people through the years that it doesn't surprise me that someone has set up a Crawley site. Even funnier is that within a short space of time not just 1 but 2 new forums have been set up.
What happened last week didn't go down very well and reading the messages on their board they're getting a bit nervous. If people are not allowed to air their opinion they'll walk away, saying that looking at the Maidenbower site, there's only a handful of people who post on there considering they have 1071 members!

Danivon said...

Most bb boards nowadays have a large member:poster ratio. And when people move out of Maidenbower they may just drop out of using it.

For the record, I don't alter any comments on here. I have only deleted one, as far as I recall, because it was spam masquerading as comment (and not blindingly obvious that it was spam).

BBs can get a bit 'mod' happy sometimes.

James said...

Hardly a crime guys. I read the word change saga that was in fact changing the word "estate" into "village", something that has been a standing tongue in cheek joke in Maidenbower "Village" since it was built. The whole thing was blown utterly out of proportion IMO. I think they have very tolerant moderators. Some of the stupid accusations that were flying round in the wake of the word swap thing had to be read to be believed. I've been a non active member of the Maidenbower site for many years and find it very informative and certainly the best local residents site I've come across. Anyway each to his own as they say.

Anonymous said...

True James, but this tongue in cheek joke causes a lot of problems for Maidenbower residents.
The amount of people I know who have stopped posting on MB forum because of their posts being taken down. And I'm one of them.
It is informative but I also read very nasty messages coming from moderators, so you're talking about double standards.

Anonymous said...

get a life anonymous above. What problems are caused?

I did to post on there but now just look due to aggresion and too much politcs.

That merryman person and his friends turned that board into a horrible place.

Danivon said...

The Estate -> Village transform was not the only one. Also, a user was using his seperate moderator identity to edit and delete his posts. Other words were changed last week temporarily.

It may have been a joke, but to one of the users affected, a councillor, it meant that what they typed was not what appeared.

I think that yes, some users seem to spend a lot of time just winding each other up, but to see moderators join in...

Anyway, nice to see that so many people feel that they can speak openly about it (such as the multiple anonymouses...).

Helen said...

Danivon, we all know the moderator in question who's doing this. He's a law to himself and funny enough he's not making himself very popular around Maidenbower.
wouldn't be surprised if he's anonymous2 LOL

Richard W. Symonds said...

I pitch into the Maidenbower Forum to 'sharpen my teeth', and find the 'censorship' highly amusing, and highly inconsistent.

To my mind, it was a good community idea which became controlled and corrupted by self-righteous idealogical fanatics.

Sad really.

Gordon Seekings said...

Owen

When you say "...only in its infancy, and it seems that the format has been directly lifted from the long-established maidenbower forum,...." you are basically correct but that forum style is fairly common. I'm in three or four others (some public some private) that use the same layout/style etc.

I think the new website has got the potential to be very good but only time will tell if it lives up to it's expectations.

As an aside, being the Councillor whose posting was modified on the Maidenbower website, you know from the conversation we had yesterday that my concerns are very real. The potential to cause a great deal of political grief and turn innocent comments into breaches of the Councillors Code of Conduct (with all the legal sanctions that go with that) is horrendous.

I appreciate that the changes may have been done as a "joke" but the impact can be very, very serious indeed.

Skuds said...

I imagine the 'for sale' section now contains adverts from people trying to sell a "Ford Modeo 1.8 Village" and there will be lots of discussions about how much houses have been valued at by "Village agents" and about commuting to the Manor Royal "Industrial Village"

But seriously, as you can see from your own comments facility here, anonymity can lead to trouble. Just today I saw a reference to the theory that, given anonymity and an audience even normal people tend to behave like jerks. (It gets even worse when you can get several people posting as "anonymous" or "guest" so there are contradictory messages from the same username)

I don't know how many local resident sites James has looked at, but I have still found none that come close to the London SE1 site. Its more boring than the Maidenbower one of course.

Danivon said...

Gordon. I didn't want to name you, in case it looked like I was putting words into your mouth.

Skuds - That's exactly what happened, Gordon mentioned the Industrial Estate, and it was displayed as Village. It was undone later though.

I reckon both forums can co-exist, without the need for warfare.

Skuds said...

I'm glad to see it. The firm-but-fiar moderation will be a good thing, if it stays fair (I am not referring to political bias but the sort of cronyism which can attach to even the best boards)

Putting a lid on the political aspects will make it calmer but might take a lot of the life out of it.

Councillors might want to just get on with doing the practical part of their job, engaging with their constituents and picking up even more casework, but they only got into the position of doing that by being political in the first place and its not something they can easily turn off.

Danivon said...

I agree. If I make a point on there, on comes Duncan (or aspiring politico, Richard), to point out who I am and so deflect from the issue.

I know who I am, and I don't really hide it. What's the problem?

Richard W. Symonds said...

Excuse me, Owen, I only mention your Labour Press Officer role when it relates to the issue being talked about, NOT "to deflect from the issue".

With elections not far away, it is often highly relevant, and acutely significant.

I also mention it 'to wind you up' - well, the elections you know...

And you still haven't explained whether the Smith-Maude Pease Pottage Hospital is NHS, PFI, Bit-Of-Both, or None-Of-Above ?

I really haven't a clue what sort of hospital it is, and I guess that will also include most voters and potential-voters.

People will ask me, I'm sure, if and when I start knocking on doors.

My honest answer to anybody who asks, at the moment, will be : Sorry, I don't know.

Danivon said...

Rubbish, Richard, you mention it all the time, whenever I mention politics. I am not in the 'role' when posting on maidenboiwer (or crawley online), as they ARE NOT THE PRESS.

I have explained the difference between the Maude-Smith hospital, but you don't seem to get it. They are proposing a private hospital.

I give up.

Richard W. Symonds said...

Rubbish. Owen. You and I both know that our comments may well be read by the Local Press, especially as Elections loom.

As to The Smith-Maude Hospital, I can quote you can I :

Owen Richards, Press Officer for Crawley Labour Party, states that 'The Smith-Maude Hospital' proposed at Pease Pottage will be a private hospital - not an NHS Hospital or PFI Hospital ?

Richard W. Symonds said...

And Owen Richards, Press Officer for Crawley Labour Party, appears not to pick up on the staggering hypocrisy of his political opposition, Cllr Henry Smith (Con), who recently pledged 100% support for the NHS - as WSCC Leader.

(Sources available)

Danivon said...

Richard. Enough with the accusations and (yet again) repeating the same thing over and over again.

I advise you to READ the c4pph proposals. Properly. Then perhaps you will see what they are.

If you are still confused, ask Henry, not me, because they are not my baby.

But my impression is that it would be a privately run hospital which the NHS can buy services from. Similar to Redwood, next to ESH.

I can see why people get so annoyed with you, Richard.

Richard W. Symonds said...

Oh, spare me your nonsense Owen.

I've been campaigning for over 7 years now - at considerable cost - and I have been lied to, deceived, hoodwinked and conned during that period - and so have many others in this community.

Telling it straight - telling the truth - has been a problem for those in party-politics.

It behoves us to try and dig out the truth, in the absence of it.

I have tried to do that - and if that "annoys' you, or anybody else - so be it.

Cllr Smith has not been 'straight' regarding his hospital - and you are not helping to clarify the situation for people in this community.

Danivon said...

Well, Richard, you ain't helping much either...

You asked me a question about Henry's proposals. I answered honestly and to the best of my ability. You seem to ignore that, and insist that I tell you again, even thought it's a plan put together by the Tories, so it's not really for me to defend.

If I give you another answer, you'll just ignore it or claim that it's tainted by my political associations. So why ask me anything?

That, my friend, is why you annoy me.

Richard W. Symonds said...

It looks as though the party-political days of Maidenbower Forum (MB) are coming to an end.

The new Crawley Online Forum look set to replace it - learning from MB's 'moderator' mistakes. People are voting with their feet it seems.

I predict Henry Smith's propaganda platform will soon have an audience of two - himself and his wife.

Richard W. Symonds said...

Cllr Henry Smith, and his idealogical fanatics, confuse the word "moderate" with "control" on the MB Forum - and elswhere.

You cannot, and should not, attempt to 'control' people on an on-line forum - if you do, they vote with their feet.

Personally, I would allow people to write anything they want - it's the other people on the forum itself who 'moderate' what is said - they are its 'conscience'.

CrawleyBorn said...

There was a concerted campaign by people from outside Maidenbower to cause as much trouble as possible on the Maidenbower Forum.
It was set by the Residents Assoc. originally, therefore I believe it has a right to be biased towards Maidenbower issues. This seems to annoy non-maidenbower residents & they assume we are snobs & whiners because we attempt to improve the area & facilities on our doorsteps.
You wont like this, but, if you havent got something pertinent to say, dont post on the Maidenbower Forum. Use the CrawleyOnline Forum instead.

Danivon said...

Well, I'm not aware of a 'concerted campaign'. There's nothing wrong with the forum being 'biased towards Maidenbower issues', but that is different to being biased towards Maidenbower itself, or toward certain polticians.

Additionally, I went on to the forum because it was discussing Crawley issues, not limited to Maidenbower, and because I felt that a certain point of view was missing - not to mention that people on there had asked why no (identifiable) Labour people were on there.

Some people from Maidenbower are snobs and/or whingers. As it is, people from all over town can be as well (even from Broadfield, Bewbush or Southgate...). It's just that the maidenbower forum has users who openly display such attitudes, and they are there for all to see on the internet.

As it is, I will post on Maidenbower as long as I want to, while the admin allow, and I will try to keep it relevant. If people slag off Bewbush, then they shouldn't object to being called on it.

(BTW, it's nice to see a name, crawleyborn, although it would be nice if people who comment on blogs linked to their own. Do some people no understand blogging?)