Lewes Forum thread

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The Forum

On 6 Mar 2013 at 12:49pm Old Cynic wrote:
Ive been reading and contributing to the forum for a number of years and have enjoyed the banter and arguments. However, I am shocked at the tone of so many recent posts - so many are down right nasty and cruel, often bitter and sometimes plain racist. Sensible questions or ideas become the focus of mindless and childish responses. Challenges to opinions become the target for abuse - often personal. Free speech is one thing - abuse a whole different ball game! Is this really the image we want to project for our town? Is it time for registration? Or time to give the forum a rest?
On 6 Mar 2013 at 1:07pm drone wrote:
I suspect that some of the racists post under different names & have right-wing discussions with themselves. Probably short of friends too, in the real world.
On 6 Mar 2013 at 1:12pm Sussex Jim wrote:
No, it is not time to give the forum a rest; it is a time to bring the forum back to a useful purpose of discussing local issues and providing up to date information on local services. We have on this forum an advantage that Webbo tolerates a lot more free speech than other forums. Let's use it sensibly and continue with our freedom as Englishmen, and Damn! She who must be obeyed has just called be to dinner
On 6 Mar 2013 at 1:13pm flying dutchman wrote:
What comments have been racist on here then?
On 6 Mar 2013 at 1:15pm grafter wrote:
If people ignore the morons they might get bored and go elsewhere. I think there might be a sort of exhaustion setting in though,maybe there isn't that much to be said about Lewes so all sorts of other irrelevant stuff is getting posted. There can't be much more to be said about some notorious subjects.
On 6 Mar 2013 at 1:24pm Passing By wrote:
I like living in Lewes. I can walk into town and there will always be someone i know to stop and talk too. I like that every year most of Lewes come together to celebrate Bonfire Night. I like walking into my local pub and knowing the people who run it, and the people who drink in it. I like that everyone has an opinion on the parking tickets. I like knowing my next door neighbors. I like seeing friends out with their children playing in one of many free parks we have. I like sitting in the grange/Baxters field/paddock. I like the tournaments held (skittles/toads). I think at the moment too many people on here are too quick to see the bad points of a wonderful town. I have loved growing up here and one day i hope that any future children and/or grandchildren can say the same. I dont have to walk down the road all tooled up in fear of being robbed/shot/stabbed. Lets embrace Lewes. Because really, we could live in a much worse place
On 6 Mar 2013 at 2:09pm Sussex Jim wrote:
Back from dinner to read the post from Passing By, who sums up Lewes well.
I will try to slip out later to have a friendly discussion with people of all political. persuasions in a locally run watering hole.
On 6 Mar 2013 at 2:09pm Contented Resident wrote:
One thinks that you can please some of the people some of the time but never all of the people all of the time!!! Where else has the history, architecture, wide, varied and diverse events occurring and all within a 20 minute walk!!!
Tis about time we woke up and smelt the roses as the alternatives do not bear thinking about!
On 6 Mar 2013 at 2:56pm Blip wrote:
While I applaud and share Passing By's comments, I don't think they are the answer to what is going wrong with the Forum. There is no harm in having debates about whatever is of interest, not necessarily connected with Lewes, and it is interesting to see other people's points of view and air one's own. The problem over the past week, at least, have been the pointless and moronic comments, as well as the racist, illiterate and gender intolerant rantings.
Webbo, how can this be addressed?
On 6 Mar 2013 at 3:13pm brixtonbelle wrote:
Im glad someone has brought this up - it's been a real blight on the forum for a couple of weeks. I'm just hoping the trolls will get bored and go elsewhere. Meanwhile I have nothing to contribute to the debates they start. But maybe Webbo, you could start by deleting posts from people who are obviously out to derail threads or just cause trouble/ bully others ? i think it's obvious when this is happening and I'm not talking about restriction of free speech of those whose opinions might offend me or others, just the idiotic ones that make such a mockery of what the forum is about.
On 6 Mar 2013 at 3:17pm Contented Resident 2 wrote:
In my opinion a lot of the negative views seem to come from born and bred Lewesians moaning about new comers and changes to the town. I have lived here 30 years (yes DFL) Originally my family moved up to London from this area in the early 1900's, I guess for work. Some 80 years later I moved back, had a family, and have settled here.
Lewes has changed over the years, some good ways and some not so good but on the whole it's a fantastic place to live and raise a family, especially when comparing with where I was born, and how that place has changed, there's no comparison.
So to all those moaners yes things have changed, mainly for the better, and lets face it, most born and bred families must have originally moved here from somewhere else. Perhaps your ancestors weren't welcomed when they came and you still wear that chip!
On 6 Mar 2013 at 3:47pm Rookie wrote:
The only way to cut most of the trolling, abuse and multiple names is to go down the registration path like most other forums.
Anybody keen enough to use this forum properly will endure the 60 seconds of inconvenience to register. I know I would. The football club forum is pretty healthy with registration....why not here?
If it doesn't work out then revert back to unregistered.
On 6 Mar 2013 at 3:58pm havenrook wrote:
A new Lewes forum hopefully will bring a Lewes golden dawn.
On 6 Mar 2013 at 4:17pm Blip wrote:
Apart from the actual act of registering, what does registration involve?
On 6 Mar 2013 at 4:46pm bastian wrote:
yet we find ourselves being sensored on things like local politics and speculation...webbo, what's going on?
On 6 Mar 2013 at 4:46pm robin wrote:
hail the new dawn hail victory
On 6 Mar 2013 at 5:06pm Webbo wrote:
I got fed up with reading vicious drivel and thought it was time for a Spring clean.

I like to think (naively maybe) that people could rub along together on here the way they would AFK. The general feeling running through this forum has ebbed and flowed over the past 17 years, regulars have come and gone (and lurked) and I hope the overall status quo will reflect all views of Lewes as the vibrant varied community it is but I don't feel that has been the case recently and there has been an unusual amount of peurile nastiness in the last few months.

Recent discussions however haven't reflected well on Lewes and its residents in general and that's not what I created this site for.

Bringing misrepresentative organisations in power to book seems to be harder to accomplish than it used to be but this forum can and does serve Lewes to bring discontented voices together. I believe that is something a democratic society should seek to protect.

Registration wouldn't stop anyone from saying anything but would make them easier to find in the event of legal action.
It would make people slightly easier to ban but anyone can create a new email and online identity at will so its not foolproof by any means.

It's your Forum and soap box as well, use it wisely and enjoy it but treat it with some respect too please.

On 6 Mar 2013 at 5:13pm Rookie wrote:
Registration gets you a password enabling you to "log in" and post under one name of your choice. People who like multiple names would have to use multiple emails which puts of the vast majority of them.
On 6 Mar 2013 at 5:33pm Honesty wrote:
@webbo, if people don't lie they have nothing to fear from registration, I get on it before you fall victim to a law suit at the irresponsible hands of others!
On 6 Mar 2013 at 5:57pm weary again wrote:
I totally agree with Honesty; The undermining of women in recent times - Nigel's post on single mothers for example - should have been taken down immediately.
On 6 Mar 2013 at 6:23pm bastian wrote:
i'm not sure these posters are from Lewes, it's an open world wide web so anyone can post from anywhere. Theer has been another nasty one just now , tastelessly racist.
On 6 Mar 2013 at 7:33pm Independent Thinker wrote:
I'd vote for registration. When someone can't even ask on a local forum for suggestions about local childcare or local dressmakers without being subject to abuse, that's a problem that needs to be fixed. Doesn't seem to hold back freedom of speech on the BBC, Guardian, Telegraph, Independent or any other message boards I've looked at. Doesn't stop Trolls, but should cut down, or cut out the people who swamp the forum with inane or offensive posts using multiple names. That's the real problem with the situation now. One or two people can give a completely false impression of Lewes by pretending there's widespread support for their extreme views. I know I fell for that when I first came here (like CR2, my family moved away from the area before I was born, and I recently came back) and expected a town in the middle of a full blown class war, that hated all newcomers. Instead I've found it to be the friendliest, most welcoming place I've ever lived, and as so many say, a wonderful place to raise children.
On 6 Mar 2013 at 8:51pm Screaming J wrote:
As a (very) long time viewer but only occasional poster I'd vote for registration to, UNLESS its too much of a hassle for Webbo - as I presume he/she also has a life!
I don't think it would cause too much constraint on debate, as any Albion fan who has ever been on North Stand Chat would know! But it might allow some control on a few of the trolls blighting the site.
On 6 Mar 2013 at 9:18pm the old mayor wrote:
It seems they had a problem with a Jury recently asking stupid questions in the Vicki Pryce case in Southwark, so there could be a general 'dumbing down' factor and as Webbo said at the end of his post 'Treat it with Respect' Something else that is disappearing from the UK. So not just local to Lewes.
On 6 Mar 2013 at 9:44pm TDA wrote:
I've noticed a dumbing down on here lately too. Don't think registration is needed - it wasn't before, was it? These things just get self-regulated. Think Webbo deserves a life, but perhaps we could have a way of alerting him to generally offensive threads so they can be deleted. The morons will leave eventually.
On 6 Mar 2013 at 11:16pm Southover Queen wrote:
Here's my tuppence worth. I'm not convinced that registration would improve matters all that much, except that it gets slightly easier to ban people, as Webbo says. However since you can create as many online identities as you can dream up email addresses it's hardly foolproof. I agree with TDA that a button to report this post or similar might be a good idea, but that would inevitably end up in Webbo playing policeman quite a bit.

The problem here really is classic trolling. Many of the troublesome posts come from the same few people, I'm sure: they're semi-literate in much the same way. They're simply seeking a rise from the other forum members: the more outrage and offence they cause the better.

Then there are the people who really do believe some of the nonsense they write, whether it's misogyny or homophobia or racism. I do sometimes engage with them but it's probably pretty pointless. However they're not seeking the same rise as the trolls.

When it really does get nasty is when the trolls and the others turn on individual posters, and that has happened several times to me recently. I nearly did leave a couple of weeks ago, but in the end I decided that I wasn't going to let a small number of illiterate Golden Dawn types hound me out. I welcome Webbo's Spring Clean and I think the right stuff has gone. If threads are filled with stupid smilies and pointless and puerile remarks so that no-one can be bothered to fight their way through then they've won. This forum has been useful, and it can be again. I hope.
On 7 Mar 2013 at 12:36am Independent Thinker wrote:
The thing is, SQ, with registration, if you want to post under multiple names, you not only have to create lots of e-mail addresses, you need to log out and log back in under the different names, with the different addresses, and different passwords, and change your IP address each time so Webbo wouldn't notice. That takes time, effort, and a degree of computer skill that most trolls couldn't be bothered with just so they could post some inane nasty comment on a thread about local child care, for example. Doesn't get rid of trolling, but I think it would reduce it dramatically.

Also, this isn't new. Been particularly bad recently, but it's been a problem on these forums for years. I can't remember the last time I saw a thread with an interesting local question or concern raised that didn't have at least one attempt to derail it.
On 7 Mar 2013 at 8:59am Southover Queen wrote:
Yes, you have a point about the multiple identities. Certainly a troll who is the source of 90% of the insults or inane comments and smilies on a thread would have vastly less impact. I suppose I was thinking about Webbo having to do more, but in fact you can make registration automatic so that it doesn't require his input - or rather you can with off the shelf bulletin board software. However since I'm fairly certain that this forum doesn't use any of the forum software out there (such as phpBB) it would mean Webbo having to customise this and that might well involve a lot more work on his part.

As to your second point: yes, I heartily agree. In fact, I've recently had off-board correspondence with a couple of regulars here because they wanted recommendations for local builders. The last time I posted a public recommendation the xenophobic and frankly defamatory abuse which followed was horrifying, and I'm not going to do that again. Or not, at any rate, until I have a reasonable expectation that we can have a sensible discussion about local trades people or the state of the roads or whatever without attracting a slew of vicious, negative replies. In a local forum such as this that's crucial.
On 7 Mar 2013 at 4:39pm bastian wrote:
we could all vow to ignore and not be drawn into a debate with the trolls, just skim over them and carry on until they realise the bait hasn't been taken. I think that's part of what webbo means by self regulation.
On 7 Mar 2013 at 5:00pm Local wrote:
I don't think the enjoyable thread about roundabouts was side-tracked, was it?
On 7 Mar 2013 at 6:26pm Southover Queen wrote:
No, it wasn't, Local, but then I guess it wasn't treading on other people's toes! I don't know if you remember the thread I'm referring to, but I recommended a local builder who was then accused of tax dodging, not paying his workers properly, doing shoddy work and lord knows what else. It spun off into a whole anti-Polish rant as well. I guessed that this person was either an aggrieved ex-employee or - more probably - someone who had failed in a competitive tender for work. I'm sure you don't need telling how vicious such a thread can be, and his wife was really upset by it. That's why I hesitate now to post such recommendations, and that's a real shame on a local forum.
On 7 Mar 2013 at 9:04pm Local wrote:
Luckily there don't seem to be any vexatious picture framers in town!
On 7 Mar 2013 at 10:01pm Southover Queen wrote:
Well no, I guessed I was probably safe on that one...!
On 7 Mar 2013 at 10:27pm Independent Thinker wrote:
I know I keep banging on about registration, but it also really helps with things like getting views on local businesses. I find I only really trust the ones from people who stick to using the same name on here, as they're less likely to be a tradesman pretending to be a satisfied customer, or a rival tradesman (or disgruntled ex-employee) pretending to be an unhappy customer. I remember a while back someone posting about how great a certain pub was. Then three other people chipped in saying how they had great meals there, how friendly the staff etc. Wasn't till you saw the first post was sent at 6am and the others less than 10 mins later that you could guess they were all from the same person sat in their pub waiting for the morning beer delivery to arrive.
On 7 Mar 2013 at 10:53pm Curious wrote:
Sitting around waiting for the beer delivery would allow plenty of time to sort out multiple addresses etc.
Just be realistic, FFS! You wouldn't employ a builder or child-minder on the basis of a stranger in a pub saying they were good, so why expect to do the same on an internet forum?
Do personal or professional recommendation research like any sane person does, please!
On 8 Mar 2013 at 1:06am Independent Thinker wrote:
Yes, a bored pub worker could go to Gmail and register some new e-mail addresses, then go through the registration process on here with each one, changing their IP address each time as well so Webbo couldn't tell instantly what they were doing if he felt like checking, then log in and out each time to post messages with the different identities. They could do that. But do you really think they'd bother? Right now they just need to write a name in the box, type their message, submit, then write another name in the box, type a message and submit etc. No time or effort needed to do that and we see the results of that on here.

Interesting attitude to call people insane for asking for thoughts about local services on a local forum, by the way. So what do you consider to be legitimate, sane, topics for a local forum then?
On 8 Mar 2013 at 6:35am padster wrote:
there are a lot of people who live in glass houses throwing stones. I sometimes throw mud back but some of the abuse i get on here i think is quite shocking billy boy sprngs to mind but no one seems to mind because i offer a different view on bonfire i am a catholic priest child fiddler loon etc....never has webbo felt the need to remove those posts and noe should he it is a forum, free speece etc. I would happily register my details.
I dont spend much time on this forum now it's shouty and rude. I say nice things as i see them and i get thumbs down in seconds, some people are not liked, i think i am in that caregory and i couldn't care less.

This thread has reached its limit now
Why not start another one


Harveys 42:132

I was quite fond of the guy. But Boris is, of course, behind the serious over-coverage; it is a welcome distraction from travel... more
If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
George Orwell