In an earlier post I outlined how I had submitted a comment under the Jersey Evening Post (JEP) online report on the Lord Reginald satirical video. The video had been published in the Voice for Children blog. My criticism was that the JEP's online report did not include a link to the video either in the original blog post or on Youtube. I provided a link in my comment to the original blog post which contained the video.
My comment was not published. So I wrote to the editor of the JEP complaining about non-publication and pointed out that comments from a known toxic troll on the island had been published both before and after submission of my comment.
In his reply, the editor conceded that my comment should have been published, and not deleted by the moderator. He also conceded that the actual satirical video should have been embedded in the original JEP online report.
While that would certainly have allowed JEP online readers to view the video without leaving the JEP page online, it would seem to have avoided facilitating those who might want to checkout the original blog post. That is why in my comment I gave a link to the blog post rather than just to the video.
In his reply, the editor seemed to be at a loss to understand my "troll" reference and he also wondered who I was.
In my reply, I said I was pleasantly surprised that he considered that my comment should have been published as submitted. I expanded a bit on the identity of the troll I was referring to. I told him who I was and that at the end of the day I was not anonymous as a few clicks would have shown up my email address. Though I did add that I could see why some people in Jersey would see the need to post their comments anonymously.
I gave a link to my earlier blog post and asked if he'd have any objection to my publishing our correspondence.
In his reply, the editor said my comments were reasonable and he would have no objection to my publishing our correspondence.
He correctly deduced that the troll I was referring to was the infamous Jon Haworth who comes onto his radar really only because he suspects that Jon writes spoof letters to the JEP for publication under false names and addresses.
Finally, he assured me that no one gets any protection as suggested on his watch. "If you read the paper I edit, rather than our website, I think you'd struggle to argue otherwise."
Unfortunately, not being on the Island, I am not really in a position to read the print rather than the web version of the paper but I would invite any resident who wants to pick up on his challenge to do so and let me know the result. I realise this could prove a problem for some people who on principle do not buy the JEP. However there is more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak.
In any event I can assure the editor that the Skibbereen Eagle will be keeping an online eye on him.
In the interest of openness, transparency, and all the other virtues that the Jersey administration are accused of lacking, I am publishing our correspondence below.
But first a amall diversion. You will see below that the editor wonders who I am and why I am interested in Jersey. And now Jon Haworth, in comments submitted under this post, is effectively challenging my commeenting in the Jersey Evening Post under a pseudonym. As explained in one of my letters below this was in no way intended to hide my true identity.
So I have now opened a Jersey Evening Post account under my full real name and challenged Jon to do the same. Let's see how this pans out.
My initial letter (12/1/2017) following
deletion/non-publication of my comment
On 6 January 2017 I submitted a comment on your piece about the Lord Reginald video.
I pointed out that you neither indicated the source of the video nor gave a link to it. I found this unusual in an online article. Leaving aside your reasons for behaving thus, and I can only speculate on what they might have been, I was surprised to find my comment (attached), which I thought reasonable and to the point, was detained in moderation and then deleted.
Both before and after submission of my comment, you published comments from a source you know to be a life threatening troll who has been implicated in various unsavoury manoeuvres to suppress criticism and challenge of the Jersey establishment in the context of its cover up of child sex abuse on the island.
I am at a loss to understand the rationale behind this regrettable and inconsistent behaviour and would appreciate an explanation of why my comment, made in good faith, was deleted.
Pól Ó Duibhir
Thank you for your email of 12 January. Please accept my apologies for not responding sooner.
The simple answer is that your comment should have been published as the points that you raise are entirely reasonable. I think that the original jep.com post should have been embedded with the Montfort Tadier video, a solution that would have made more sense from our perspective as it would have enabled readers to see the video without leaving our site.
The reasoning outlined above also partially explains why your comment was not published by the moderator. The other was that the link it included is to a blog site which routinely includes comments which attack the JEP in ways which can be ill-informed and unreasonable. I have to say that I would have been happy to publish your comment as submitted.
It was detained in moderation by default because you have not commented often enough to have been given the right to comment live (commentators have their first few comments checked before being given that right). It remained in moderation because a combination of sickness and holidays (including mine) meant that the moderation folder was not managed as efficiently as it would normally be. Other commentators will only be flagged up and their comments held in moderation if they use unacceptable language as they are free to comment live as regular contributors.
Your ‘troll’ comment leaves me a little baffled. I am afraid that the JEP site, like many others, attracts a great many commentators who do not offer very much in the way of constructive input. I have no idea which of the anonymous people you are talking about on this occasion, or indeed who those people are behind their pseudonyms.
On that score, I wonder whether you would be good enough to enlighten me as to who you are? As you know, I am aware of your twitter feed and have no idea whether your handle is an abridged version of your real name or not.
If you are in Jersey, I would be happy to sit down and have a chat. I say that because I suspect you are keen to show how your unfortunate experience as a commentator on the JEP site somehow validates views which you have about the JEP. I am not sure whether you have ever discussed those views, or indeed whether you have any interest in hearing an alternative viewpoint, but I would be happy to provide one. I am also intrigued as to the reason for your interest in the Island.
Best wishes and in good faith,
My reply to the editor (26/1/2017)
Dear Mr Sibcy
Thank you again for the courtesy of the reply.
Regarding its content.
I am glad you agree that my comment should have been published as submitted and that the video should have been available directly to your readers so that they could make up their own mind about it.
I am not sure what exactly the embedding would have involved. Would it have been stand alone or would it have contained a link to the video's location either in The Voice's Youtube account or in the blog post? That was an element of my comment, namely, that your readers should have been able to also go to the source of the video. These videos are an integral part of The Voice's posts.
As far as the content of The Voice's actual blog posts are concerned, I find them well researched and generally moderate in tone. In fact I recollect, from memory, that the blog made a number of positive comments about the JEP after you took over and I think there were high expectations there of a more robust approach to the administration under your stewardship.
As far as comments on that blog are concerned, they vary. I am aware that the comments are moderated, nevertheless the moderator does let through some very critical comments about the blog itself and its readers/supporters. The net effect of this is that I follow the blog assiduously and consider myself fairly well informed as a result.
In recent times I have had to take to moderating my own blog which has been un-moderated since around 2007 and this is purely because of abusive comments from the well known toxic Jersey troll. In fact the only comments I have blocked are those coming from this horrible person. In passing, I note that you are quite happy to entertain him in your own comments section.
In referring to why my comment was not published you quote "the reasoning above" in your reply, but this hardly seems relevant as you are telling me it should have been published anyway. Your second reason is my inclusion of a link to the blog post in which the video occurred. But you are telling me that my comment should have been published as submitted, ie with the link.
I have no problem with my comment having been detained in moderation. All that you say about that is perfectly acceptable. My only gripe is its ultimate non publication and rejection/deletion from moderation.
I didn't really see the deletion of my comment as some sort of validation of my already relatively low opinion of the JEP. I more or less expected it. But your view now that is should have been published as submitted is, admittedly, a pleasant surprise.
Perhaps I can assist you a little further with my troll comment. It is widely known in Jersey that Kaz81 is just one of the many monikers used by the toxic troll I referred to above. If you are not aware of this, it does not speak very highly for the investigative prowess of the JEP. I do appreciate that blocking him would cause a row and with God knows who, given the support he was given in the gang hounding of Stuart Syvret through the courts. I don't mind his comments, I can take it. But it was pointed out to me that they were of such a nature that they meant some (reasonable) people were reluctant to link to my blog posts.
As to who I am, it's really no secret. My name is Pól Ó Duibhir and I live in Dublin. I holidayed in Jersey in the late 1950s and worked a summer there in 1961. I sort of fell in love with the place and with its people and that fondness has remained with me. That is why I find it so heartbreaking to see what it is becoming. The fact that I post under a variety of pseudonyms is really just coincidental and reflects the thrill of adventure when I first started posting some two decades ago. Póló, as you will see, is a contraction of part of my name and was my nickname in school. Irlpol was to distinguish me from the rest of the family and so on. However, my profile in blogger links to my website and that has a facility for emailing me. So I'm not really anonymous.
And while we are on the subject of identity, I fully appreciate the necessity for some of those on island to post/comment anonymously.
I have already published my original letter to you on my blog and I wonder if you mind me publishing your reply and mine and any relevant subsequent correspondence. I will in any event be dealing with the points in a promised updating of the blog post.
In good faith,
Pól Ó Duibhir
The editor's reply (26/1/2017)
Thank you for your reply. The comments you make are entirely reasonable.
I have no objection to your publishing my email.
In my response, I tried to distinguish between my thoughts re the publication (I would have published as submitted) and the reasoning of my colleague who was moderating at the time in question. If that was not clear, I apologise.
As far as 'the troll' is concerned, my ignorance is more a consequence of my not being terribly interested in the often pathetic online bickering which seems to be the obsession of many than a lack of investigative prowess. Frankly, I have far more constructive things to be getting on with than working out who is who.
Equally, while I am sure that followers of various blogs and others (including some who use our comment forum) are well aware of the identities of those who use pseudonyms, I think it a stretch to suggest that they are well known in Jersey more generally.
I suspect that you are referring to Mr Haworth, who comes onto my radar really only because I suspect he writes spoof letters to us for publication under false names and addresses.
I can also assure you that no one gets any protection as suggested on my watch. If you read the paper I edit, rather than our website, I think you'd struggle to argue otherwise.
The offer of a coffee or beer stands if you ever visit. I think that we'd have an interesting chat.