Thursday, September 1, 2011

Anonymous and Poisonous

We must give a warm welcome to the recent new commenters who take time out of their lives to parade their bile on the blog.  They are slick, plausible even, indulging in clever and sly distortions of the truth.

The funny thing is, the editor and I know the identities of two of the Anons and we know their agenda.  This is not your average trolley but a rather clever attempt to undermine me.  Their message is that the Prison Service are trying their best to get me out but I keep frustrating them.

They post anonymously solely to disguise the frequency and themes of their comments.  Yet I refuse to indulge in comment moderation or insist that commenters register.  I work on the assumption that most people have the courage to be identified with their opinions, as I do.  Ironically, posing corrosive comments anonymously reveals a huge amount about the moral character of the poster, don't you think?

The basis of their particular brand of poison is to appear to be knowledgable about prison life, spiced up with a few allegations made with such certainty that they appear plausible.  This is quality trolling, but it rests on bluff and the hope that others haven't the time to read earlier posts to fact check.  I mean, that's clever stuff!

Just two stated facts should suffice to make my point.  That I am always engaged in pointless arguments is one. Am I? Alas, my reputation is worse than the reality.  The only arguments I'm engaged in are over my move to Open and my research, hardly minor issues.

That I'm refusing to engage in offence-related work is a second asserted fact.  Hmmm, as I've been assessed as not requiring such work then this claim is quite bizarre.

I haven't the ability to challenge every claim made in comments, and so I ask a favour of regular readers, when someone pops up and claims I do such-and-such, could you ask them to provide some evidence? That way we nullify their poison and signpost their existence as a dissembler.

A blog is a community and where I lack the ability to police poor behaviour then I invite others to pitch in.

That said, I try to appreciate that there are people who are honestly angry and hurt by crime and who pop up to vent their spleen.  Sometimes they are difficult to distinguish from the trolls and their petty spite.  Perhaps one way to deal with both is to invite them to read more of the blog, from the start, and hope that they appreciate that whilst their emotions may be simple, the issues that lay behind them are more complicated.


  1. As you say, the recent anon's are clever and slick and there is clearly more than one of them. This leads me to wonder whether this is a concerted attempt to undermine Ben's blog by an organisation.

    There are two question I have for them, one is what motivates them to do this individually ( probably the money) and second, come clean. Relieve yourselves and tell us who is behind it and why they are making a consistent and organised attempt to undermine Ben and this blog.

    If JK is one of them, he is a particularly aggressive, highly vindictive and unpleasant sort.

    Thirdly, although slick and clever, their arguments do not wash, if they are so inclined to continue commenting on this blog, they might like to bear in mind that generosity is the human essence that is not only more genuine but also more convincing.

  2. Hihi

    I did suggest on two occasions a way to identify comments by the same anon without requiring registration however my words fell on deaf ears.

    I doubt it's the money encouraging such people to post, if I had to guess I'd say prison officers or police officers (or both), certainly someone with an axe of some sort to grind.

    It's simply not possible to shut down a blog with such techniques though so I suspect whoever is responsible is not exactly overflowing with clue when it comes to the internet and how things tend to play out on it.

    To the arses: If you attempt to suppress online content, you will only succeed in ensuring more people read it, if you attempt to discredit such content with lies and half-truths you will be called out on it by other people and your facts (or lack thereof) will be examined. This has all been done to death on the internet before, if I were you, I'd either identify yourself and your organisation and start making well thought out points or disappear from whence you came as now the spotlight is shining on you.

  3. Although one of your culpable and cowardly 'anons', I am never as you say, 'poisonous'. I am never unpleasant or unfair. The most trenchant points I have made are (1) that parole is in this prisoner's hands (to accept or reject); (2) that regular encouragement deriving from a misguided fan-base to further rebel on a regular basis is likely continue being counter-productive; (3) that this poor prisoner is doing the additional time deriving from such wrong-headed behaviour (not the fan base); (4) that a lot of this strikes me in the circumstances as immature behaviour, and nothing better than that.

    The threats in the last day or two against other like-minded free spirits adhering imperfectly to the ain't-Ben-blooming-marvellous party line come across to me as more than just a little bit authoritarian and creepy.

    I may continue to occasionally comment here, despite your efforts to stigmatise the 'anons' (...until you decide that only admiring fans are wanted on this blog –and ban everyone else).

    You have let yourself down with this silly sinister and totally unnecessary stance IMO

  4. Anon @ 10.38

    Blaming the "fan base" for Ben's incarceration seems a bit odd given he has served more than 30 years and this blog has been going a mere 18 months...

    Heaven forbid some people should dare to hold a view that is different from yours!

    As for "threats" and "stigmatise", have you not noticed that, despite regular requests from some of us that Ben moderate away the most obvious trollery (which wouldn't include your posts because, much as I usually disagree with their content, I doubt anyone would accuse you of not adding to the debate) Ben has steadfastly refused? He is very committed to free speech and it is only because of the shear quantity and vitriol of the recent infestation that he is starting to consider doing something.

    You know, sometimes it isn't all about you.

    As for getting annoyed with your using "anon", that is purely practical. It's bloody annoying figuring out who is saying what in a conversation when everyone has the same name. Please, pick a unique pseudonym and stick to it: that's all you're being asked to do.

  5. To be perfectly honest if there are people who wish to spread lies which in the end does no good either way it just goes to show how narrow minded and low society has gone.

    Pretty much my whole circle of friends spend time in and out of jail and yes some of there crimes I do not agree with but some are out of need to survive and some are blatantly arrested for crimes they did not commit because its nice and easy to get a conviction, I to myself have been very close to entering the prison system and I come from a good upbringing my family also has strong morales but yet all criminal behaviour is judged as the same.

    In my eyes petty offences get dealt with harshly and more serious offenders get jail terms that are laughable, I also do not believe that the prison service is set up to rehabilitate as some of my close friends have interacted with all the various drug, drink and offending programs on the in yet I have never seen any real support the second they walk free and if anyone says well they get probation that to is a laughing matter.

    Sorry if I have strayed from the point but everyone's views should be heard and although I know nothing about Ben just the simple fact he has worked on this blog he deserves respect it is 10 x more productive then what most do whilst serving time.

    I doubt you will ever get to hear this comment Ben or at least not for a while but I think you could do a lot of good for the rehabilitation of cons and this is coming from someone who has been involved in that lifestyle for 6 years so I do know what is really going on.

    (I currently run a blog about my personal heroin addiction and recovery which is a big reason why I will be promoting this blog as I think it has some very important points

  6. Jordan, thank you for your appreciation of Ben's efforts. Be assured that I do print off comments and send them into him, so he will get to read what you have written. Ed.

  7. ***That said, I try to appreciate that there are people who are honestly angry and hurt by crime and who pop up to vent their spleen.***

    If he's going to dismiss it the venting of spleen, it's a little hard to trust Ben's sincerity in claiming to try to understand those who are honestly...etc.

  8. Bit of a strange rant this one. There is an option under the comments section to remain anonymous and if people choose to exercise that right the there is nothing wrong with that. The fact that you don't like, or agree with what they write is another matter. However, trying to bully people into choosing not to use the anonymous option is interesting. For a man that harps on about free speech and freedom from oppression it doesn't sit well. Not everybody out here blindly follows the gospel according to St. Ben and if they have a different view of things then that is only healthy. If dissent and opposing viewpoints are not allowed perhaps you should change the name of this site to Ben's Fan Club or something like that :)

  9. "Sshhh anoymous! Free speech, of course!" said Daddy pig as his hand went to grasp the dictionary personal slagging.

  10. 11.22 anon, what an awful and distorted way you look at this blog, what contortion is in your heart, and such cowardice too, this 'jump on the hate Ben and anyone who sounds like they have time for him' bandwagon.

    And yes, don't they all cry about 'free speech', quite, nothing wrong with free speech if we were all truly free, but there are gros inequalities arn't there?

    There are people with power (who misuse it to everyones detriment), people with immense priviledges who would do anything to hang on to them, including with coniving and deceit.

    Ben and many others, some who comment here oppose this reality and are trying to bring about change, and there is nothing wrong with that, it is a continuation of what the people who came before us did, we take up the age old struggle for better and for freedom, we carry on.

    The ungratefulness is also astounding, any benefits to the human race and to our society has always been fought for and against much resistance from the privileged ones and their sicophantic supporters, but then those same people are happy to benefit from those hard won reforms. Hypocracy, double standards, cowardice and brazen comtempt for fellow men are what these people who cry 'free speech' are, 'free speech' to undermine and hate others more like.

    There really should be no room, no room anywhere for that sort of mischievous pedaling.

  11. Sometimes, when people tell you you are being an arsehat, it isn't bullying: it's because you're being an arsehat.