Sunday, August 12, 2012

Political Betting's Tory moderator makes a mockery of the site's "non-aligned" status - again.

Well, it's been quite a week for me over at Political Betting. I was called a "c***" seven times, I was told that my support for a Scottish Olympic team makes me a racist, and last but not least I've just been banned from the site for the fourth time. I say 'fourth' - that tally does of course include my original 'technical fault' blocking, which by an astonishing coincidence occurred just two seconds after the site owner noticed I had sharply criticised his random banning of my fellow SNP poster Stuart Dickson, and which lasted for 36 hours in spite of me clearing the cache, rebooting my computer, and experimenting with different browsers. Well, what kind of world would this be without coincidences like that to enrich our lives?

I appreciate that some of you must by now be heartily sick of hearing about my running battles at PB. However, one of the advantages of having my own blog is that I don't have to let the cowardly Tory moderators (and I use the word 'cowardly' advisedly, as you'll see) get away with it when they use Orwellian tactics to cover their tracks. The most Orwellian part of all, of course, is that when the moderators abuse their position, anyone who calls them out on what they've done is then subject to an instant outright ban - because even referring to the fact that moderation exists on the site at all is a straight banning 'offence'.

Anyway, simply sit back and marvel at the brazenness with which certain comments are erased from history, and certain comments remain intact, in the following exchange. I've had to reconstruct some of it from memory, such was the speed with which the Tory moderator 'The Screaming Eagles' deleted comments and secretly blocked people from posting in a pathetic attempt to make it look like he had effortlessly won the argument.

For the uninitiated, Mick Pork is a fellow SNP-supporting poster, who tonight was banned for the fifty-sixth time (literally).

The Screaming Eagles (Tory moderator) : Yup, Lord Coe is judged to have down a brilliant job by 68% of Scots.

I was told he wasn't very popular up there.

Me : Now if I was praying in aid Scottish subsample data (such as, for example, the YouGov data over the last two weeks showing that the Olympics has had no impact on support for the SNP), what would the reaction be?

Desperate, desperate stuff.

Mick Pork : The reaction?

You mean from pitiful cowards who can dish it out but can never take it back? Who can say? It's not as if we'll see it for long anyway. But we'll still know it was there and laugh each and every time it's proved. ;^)

The Screaming Eagles : Name the cowards.

Come on name names.

Me : I think among others he's probably talking about you, TSE, for abusing your position as moderator. That would be my guess, since you specifically asked.


Mick Pork : Those who can dish it out but never take it back of course. Who else would it be? :-)

The Screaming Eagles : Specific names please.

Mick Pork : Well since you said please I'll give you the name and even the surname.. Wait a minute! you're trying to get me to break the site rules by actually naming posters Like Pluto did? You are a very naughty TSE aren't you?


The Screaming Eagles : No, their posting names.

Mick Pork : Well that wouldn't be fair either would it? Here's an idea, take a wild f**king guess instead and stop behaving like a petulant child demanding I do exactly as you say. Because as an ordinary poster on PB like everyone else on here you have ZERO ability to force me to do anything.

That must be terribly frustrating for you but sadly that's life.


The Screaming Eagles : As I thought.

You'll throw insults around, but when asked to give specifics, you'll turn into a feartie.

Mick Pork : I named the poster in a reply to James Kelly but sadly for you his post magically disappeared and my reply along with it. I'm assuming because of bravery. How very tragic and incredibly telling. As usual.



Me : TSE, I take it you're now going to tell me the fact that my comment was deleted and you banned me for ten minutes was a "technical fault"?


"PBmoderator" (almost certainly The Screaming Eagles) : No, you violated OGH's rules, and the comment was deleted.

You are blocked from posting while this happens.


Me : "you violated OGH's rules"

Rubbish. A moderator posed a question, and I answered it.

What glorious irony that you were in the middle of trying to 'disprove' the claims of cowardice, and of some people not being able to take back what they dish out.


Chris g00 : You wouldn't talk to that character [Mick Pork] away from this site for obvious reasons, my advice is to ignore him. A great night of sport and still some people appear bitter about life.

The Screaming Eagles : Sage advice.

The site's resident Sun journalist (posting incognito), who seems to be quite chummy with The Screaming Eagles, then trotted out the traditional snide suggestion that Mick's claim to have been banned/victimised must be a figment of his imagination or a recurring technical fault. It's almost like psychological warfare - "we don't have jails, but we have a high concentration of locked doors", "we don't ban you from posting, but our software feels you should take the odd break".

I actually asked Mick a few days ago by email if it was possible that experimenting with a different browser might resolve his problem with being constantly blocked, and this was his response -

"when it started happening all those months ago I did as you say. Tried every conceivable technical fix including every different browser I could, logging in and out and clearing cookies and cache, cleaning the whole drive with CCleaner, rebooting whenever it happened, checking my internet connection settings. etc. You name it I tried it. And none of it worked. Because it simply isn't a Disqus problem. It's a moderation problem."

Given my own experience, I haven't the slightest doubt that's entirely correct.


  1. I wonder, what is the point of running a blog which encourages discussion but stamps on anything that looks like dissent or deviation from what must be the agreed line.

    We all like to win arguments, but, Mick Pork is right; it is a coward who wins by subterfuge or the use of might, rather than by employing intellectual rigour. It is, of course, not a victory at all, but a coward's admission of failure.

    "Unless I get to be the captain of the team, I'm taking my ball and going home!"

    I wonder though, that Smithson hasn't been bright enough to grasp the fact that every time that he, or one of his 'acolytes' makes a scene of this kind of thing, it is written up for the amusement of your readers, whose opinion of PB must by now be quite low.

    I enjoy these always-amusingly-written reconstructions, so for my part no apology is required when a new one comes to light.

    On the subject of the discussion, I'd say that a reasonable job has been does by the London authorities on running the Olympics.

    It was unlikely that there would be no cock-ups along the way, and Munguin's Republic has discussed some of the most eye-catching ones... the G4S scandal, for example.

    As to whether the noble and rt hon lord is popular in Scotland, I wouldn't want to hazard a guess. I can't say I've ever heard anyone mention him one way or the other. I suspect that most Scots under 30 have never heard of him, and probably a fair selection don't associate him with the runner of the 1980s.

    I imagine that the Tories will be grateful to him for delivering the games, but it is hard to imagine what new honour they will bestow on him earldom perhaps?

    On second thoughts, as we Scots are reported to be inordinately fond of the chap, why not ask her majesty to make him a Knight of the Thistle?

  2. Given our scientifically-proven adoration for him, Tris, I was surprised that the same poll shows Scotland to be the 'region' where fewest people think the Olympians' victory parade warrants a national holiday. Perhaps we just want to save the poor guy the workload?

  3. It's worth pointing out that it's not just SNP posters who are subject to the pathetic and counterproductive bullying tactics on PB. It's any left of centre poster who dares speak out against the views of the tory herd.

    Deletion of posts and bannings happen all the time as I know myself and have reliably been informed by others who post on there. And it happens with ever more frequency. This cowardly abuse of power by has predictably only increased the longer they have gotten away with it.

    If you are overly critical of the tories, your posts disappear or you can even get banned. If you are overly critical of a post from one of TSE's tory friends on PB the same thing will happen. Meanwhile the list of subjects and words that are and have been banned on PB over the months because of pressure from the tory cybersquatters grows bigger and more damning by the day.

    It's true that not everyone cares about such things because it happens in such a clandestine and cowardly way but since a basic tenet of the political betting site is that it is non-aligned you would think Mr Smithson would care.

    He doesn't get phoned up and offered radio and the occasional TV spots for comment because his site is tory dominated and tory moderated. Nor does he get invited to write articles in the Telegraph blogs because his site is partisan and biased. His advertisers aren't tailoring their advertising to a right wing blog either though that is what it will remain as long as cybersquatting tories are free to abuse any power he gives them.

    James knows from his own experience of the many incredible instances of blatant bias on the site because it is so prevalent. And even though most of it tries to get hidden on PB by the cowards there's enough left of centre posters on PB who are well aware of that bias by now to testify to the truth of that.

    The tory TSE must have had an epic hissy fit to Smithson last night since James and I are still banned. Quite what we are still banned for is of course as mysterious as ever. Particularly when it's clear to all that TSE was happy to dive in and stir things up and attack in his usual partisan manner but didn't like it when it he was confronted and called out for his actions with the embarrassingly petulant response including the deletions and bannings.

    If SNP posters keep getting forced off of PB one by one by the tory cybersquatters then the likes of Tim and and the other vocal left wing voices will be next. The tory cybersquatters will never be happy until all left of centre thought and dissent with the PB tories has been silenced or minimised to a tiny whisper on political betting.

    The PB tories do actually seem to think and believe it's their own site to do with as they please. And the truly astonishing thing is that Mr Smithson seems happy to let them take over his site or he simply doesn't care about bias and PB being seen as non-aligned any more.

  4. I've sent Mr Smithson an email asking if my banning is permanent or temporary, and what the reason for the ban is, so I'll see if I get a reply. But at the moment it really does look like answering a direct question from a moderator (indeed not just a question - he demanded an answer) is a hanging offence on PB.

  5. Except we know that you were only banned temporarily for your reply to TSE James. So the excuse of questioning moderators for banning you simply doesn't wash.

    And I didn't even mention moderators. I was having an exchange with TSE which has somehow resulted in me being still banned.

    And that can only mean TSE doesn't know that if he gets into a spat with another poster it's not down to him to take the law into his own hands because he thinks his feelings have been hurt or whatever excuse he dreams up.

    The exchange we had certainly was not breaking any rules. It was positively tame compared to some others seen on PB. TSE was the one who came perilously close to breaking the rules by asking for specific names, which I could have done like his PBtory chum Plato did, but I chose instead to obey common sense and not name specific names and the identity of a poster when I could have.

    Having a fairly tame argument with another poster is not a banning offense unless - and here's where it will get proved for all to see if this farcical banning continues - unless you argue with the PBTory cybersquatters who have power and influence which they quite clearly are not capable of handling in an impartial and non-biased way.