Sydenham Town Political Bloggers?

The place for serious discussion, announcements and breaking news about Sydenham

Moderator: frenzarin

Post Reply
Ralph
Posts: 11
Joined: 23 Jun 2009 21:54
Location: Sydenham

Sydenham Town Political Bloggers?

Post by Ralph »

I, like, probably the majority of users (joined or not) of this forum - do more of the reading than the contributing to the topics discussed.

However, I enjoy reading the posts of the regular contributors getting to know their views and personal agendas and getting usefull tips about the local area.

But according to discussions with friends recently - local Forums such as these are increasingly under attack from Political bloggers - employed by the major Parties to influence local opinion and mindset.

I was wondering - Is this true? - Is Sydenham Town Forum under attack from such Bloggers? I think I can recognise 1 or may be 2 potential bloggers - or may be I'm being paranoid?

Is this type of political posting insiduous, stifles discussions, unduly influences, moves the discussion off topic from local issues, boring?

Or is it actually a force for good, promotes discussions of different views, gets more people contributing, no real difference to other Political media tactics?

I'm not sure either way - but if you are Political Blogger - please let me now how do you get a job like that - I wouldnt mind getting paid for doing something like that :)
Tim Lund
Posts: 6716
Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Re: Sydenham Town Political Bloggers?

Post by Tim Lund »

Some interesting questions there, Ralph.

As a regular contributor here, I can perhaps start by saying I'm neither paid by or a member of any political party, although clearly I have some political views, which get expressed. Some other contributors I know are members of political parties, but they won't be paid for their contributions, and the fact of any party membership seems completely irrelevant. Political parties are a natural result of how we do democracy in this country, and membership of them is perfectly respectable option for anyone who wants to contribute to society.

I doubt very much if Forums such as this are under the sort of attack you describe, though I'd be interested to know who your two suspects are - pm me if you prefer not to go public here. One reason for saying this is that not many political parties have much money at the moment, and another is that Forums such as this are probably not the best of the new media for influencing opinion in the sort of controlled way you seem to fear, from your use of words such as 'under attack'. Because they are open to anyone starting new threads and commenting on others', they sometimes get side tracked into frivolity, so obscuring a serious message, or maybe worse from the point of view of any would be political control freaks, dubious messages can be instantly shot down by reasoned argument.

On the other hand, there is serious money interested in knowing how to use these new media, and I think it significant that a recent Networked Neighbourhoods conference I attended was hosted by a leading PR company, and that one of the subjects under discussion was the use of 'hyperlocal sites' for marketing. But the impression I got was that they hadn't quite worked it out yet. For the reasons given above, if any of these new media can be used in a controllable way for either political or commercial purposes, I suspect it's more likely to be Facebook, Twitter, or blogs where comments are either disallowed or moderated to such an extent that they might as well disallow comment altogether.

There's also a reasonable public sector interest in Forums, which is well expressed in this YouTube link from Lewisham Council's Liz Dart - https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... 3hJsJjoR5g, in which she says how Forums such as this should be used, not least because they are cheap, but recognises that the Council should not try to control them, because they can't. On the other hand, she also mentions efforts to set up some web site in Crofton Park, which so far seems to have come to nothing, and I believe there is - or was - Council money available from the same budget to set up local sites from traders organisations in Forest Hill and Sydenham - of which again, there is little sign. So even though the Council sort of knows it makes sense to use sites such as this, institutionally it may be hard to let go of habits of control.

There have been discussions here about whether Forums such as this are losing ground to these newer media, and to some degree they are - the massive rise of Facebook makes this inevitable, and one of the reasons for its rise is that it feels friendlier - you can turn off messages from people you don't want to hear. Facebook is also a rather profitable company, with money to invest in making it all the more attractive an experience to use.

I don't have a particular problem with Facebook, Google or any longer established companies in the older media trying to make money to pay staff and shareholders. But I think sometimes misplaced frivolity, flame wars and trolls are a price worth paying for the sort of real openness of discussion which Forums such as this can provide. It's a paradox, if you like, that because of these strengths, Forums retain their credibility even with a lower market share, so will continue to be under attack from anyone who wants to control opinion. But because they can't, on Forums, they achieve nothing more than anyone else with more or less reasonable points of view who choses to post here - in which group I include myself.
Robin Orton
Posts: 3309
Joined: 9 Sep 2008 07:30
Location: London SE26

Re: Sydenham Town Political Bloggers?

Post by Robin Orton »

I don't (yet?) use Twitter myself, but it doesn't sound to me like a suitable medium for serious discussion about politics or anything else. On the other hand, political commentators in the traditional media are always going on about the growing importance of the Twittersphere in influencing opinion. How does that work?

Under pressure from younger members of my family, I am a (rather reluctant) Facebook subscriber, but I don't like it very much. Are there forums ('groups'?) on Facebook for discussing local (i.e. Sydenham) matters? I can't find any.
Hill Dweller
Posts: 500
Joined: 4 Jan 2011 19:54
Location: Upper Syd

Re: Sydenham Town Political Bloggers?

Post by Hill Dweller »

I think it's bound to happen Ralph.

The paranoia and controlled activity on some national blogs, noticable on the Telegraph's writers' and on Andrew Neil's, not to mention the Beeb's ..... and on and on .... is bound to filter 'down' (or sideways?).


I've resisted Facebook myself thus far; although from what we can see so far it's been an engine for good in Egypt I feel its very ease of access could make it just as easy to be mis-used.



.
Ralph
Posts: 11
Joined: 23 Jun 2009 21:54
Location: Sydenham

Re: Sydenham Town Political Bloggers?

Post by Ralph »

May be 'under attack' is too strong a word - but you're right Tim that my fear is that I and others may be subtly influenced and in a way I object to being so.

My friend was leading on from something that I think he heard from some conservative blogger Ian Dale - that the Tories gained a lot more in the last election on the input of bloggers on forums such as mumsnet, facebook etc than the normal media
and the thinking was now, those forums are reaching a saturation and inpersonal point - that the fight for blogging space is moving to a much more subtle local forum level - with Labour leading in this fight (but yes where would they get the money).

Now me being an avid reader of Syd Town - am now taking a second look at the cast of regular contributors such as Tim, Lee, HD, Robin, BBW et al and wondering are they particularly forcefull in their leanings in evry topic in order to influence the overall forum or not.

And now wierdly, even if I have the same political leanings as someone I suspect - if I perceive that they are trying to influence - I am somewhat automatically put off by their argument.

But my paranoia aside - Syd Town is the most important forum in the area so I think would be a important place for Parties to target - But Tim I think you say each forum member has an equal chance of influencing people - but I'm not sure if that is totally true I think some regular contributors are more forceful, articulate and opiniated with their points to get them across compared to others and always 'win' the argument.
Plus there are those like me who arent regular contributors - so their views arent always put across.
Tim Lund
Posts: 6716
Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Re: Sydenham Town Political Bloggers?

Post by Tim Lund »

Ralph wrote:May be 'under attack' is too strong a word - but you're right Tim that my fear is that I and others may be subtly influenced and in a way I object to being so ... even if I have the same political leanings as someone I suspect - if I perceive that they are trying to influence - I am somewhat automatically put off by their argument.
You touch on deep anxieties in the Western psyche about Free Will, which I think most of us share.
Ralph wrote:But my paranoia aside - Syd Town is the most important forum in the area so I think would be a important place for Parties to target
-

Glad you agree. Admin will be able to use such endorsements when he eventually sells out the Forum for however many billions he has in mind :D
Ralph wrote:But Tim I think you say each forum member has an equal chance of influencing people - but I'm not sure if that is totally true I think some regular contributors are more forceful, articulate and opiniated with their points to get them across compared to others and always 'win' the argument.


This is the old argument about equality of opportunity vs. equality of outcome. I don't think what happens here is any more unfair than that one or other team should win a football game because Lionel Messi is a better striker than Andrei Arshavin - or vice versa. If you tried to make it fairer by too many restrictions on what people could write, or made it so that only one voice could be heard, as with many blogs, then it might sometimes look better, but it probably wouldn't be fairer - and the fans might stay away.
Ralph wrote:Plus there are those like me who arent regular contributors - so their views arent always put across.
But now you have discovered your voice!
Hill Dweller
Posts: 500
Joined: 4 Jan 2011 19:54
Location: Upper Syd

Re: Sydenham Town Political Bloggers?

Post by Hill Dweller »

I can't understand why anyone should think anyone is trying to influence others merely by putting their own point across Ralph.

It's all just opinion.

The fact that one person has read a website that matters (such as the subject or topic's own site) whereas another hasn't ..... :shock: it still boils down to them both opining from what they have read or gathered or believed from an.other or faith (well or mis-placed) in an.other.

If anyone hopes to get someone else to change their mind and agree with them I'd suggest trying it in public is the wrong way to go about it.

However, what does happen (and big style, especially on the Telegraph's daily and the Beeb's religious boards) is gang-reporting of posts so that the majority voice is a construct ..... being all that stays ........ so later readers figure everyone's in agreement ...... so they must be right. Delingpole's blogs are very good (bad) examples of that :|


.
Robin Orton
Posts: 3309
Joined: 9 Sep 2008 07:30
Location: London SE26

Re: Sydenham Town Political Bloggers?

Post by Robin Orton »

Ralph said
I am now taking a second look at the cast of regular contributors such as [...] Robin [...] and wondering are they particularly forceful in their leanings in every topic in order to influence the overall forum or not [...] I think some regular contributors are more forceful, articulate and opiniated with their points to get them across compared to others and always 'win' the argument.
I guess everyone likes to win arguments (particularly men, perhaps, because their instincts tell them that it'll make them the alpha male and thus able to attract a bigger harem?) And I guess everyone likes to think that their arguments may influence other people's opinions, even if not immediately - and that must surely happen sometimes?

But I also think that questioning other people's arguments - the Socratic method, if you like - is a good way both of clarifying and testing your own views and of getting nearer to the truth about things. I hope that's the main reason I enjoy arguing on the forum. Although I have political and other views of my own, I certainly don't contribute to this forum to promote a particular political position - my own views keep changing anyway!
Last edited by Robin Orton on 19 Feb 2011 09:16, edited 1 time in total.
leenewham
Posts: 5886
Joined: 2 Sep 2007 11:58
Location: SYDENHAM
Contact:

Re: Sydenham Town Political Bloggers?

Post by leenewham »

I'm not working for any political party lol!

I don't think anyone in here does..aside from Chris Best perhaps!
Ralph
Posts: 11
Joined: 23 Jun 2009 21:54
Location: Sydenham

Re: Sydenham Town Political Bloggers?

Post by Ralph »

Tim Lund wrote: But now you have discovered your voice!
True - but only fleetingly - I'll soon disappear back to the comfort of readership only :)

Some interesting replies (pm'ed and forum) from you all - thanks.

I found your last paragraph interesting HD - so is this like the same user posting under various guises to portray a fake consensus view of the forum. I hadn't thought of it that way ( I was looking for the individual blogger) - Do you think that happens on this forum? I suppose you could say that this forum is small c conservative in a general sense and this could have been cultivated?
Hill Dweller
Posts: 500
Joined: 4 Jan 2011 19:54
Location: Upper Syd

Re: Sydenham Town Political Bloggers?

Post by Hill Dweller »

Hi Ralph, no I didn't mean that although it does happen (and you might / might not have seen that I've suspected a couple of incidences of it on this forum; it's hard to resist the suspicion when a new ID pops up suddenly and with guns blazing as it were.
But .... it's also easy to understand why/how someone that usually avoids 'sensitive' topics might not want to contribute on such a one in their normal frock.


What I was referring to in the post above is the ganging up by people that don't really want a debate or even a convo or exchange of ideas .... on those forums where the 'report function' is easily abused. Those boards are usually moderated off-shore, so a clique doing a mass-report to Mods with EFL can effectively silence differing views by forcing post-removal (or even ID / poster removal). The threads end up looking as if there never were contributors with alternative views.

This forum's unusual in that removals are explained/described.
bigbadwolf
Posts: 726
Joined: 7 Jan 2008 21:21
Location: Forest Hill and Sydenham

Re: Sydenham Town Political Bloggers?

Post by bigbadwolf »

Ralph,

From what I've seen, there's no "political bloggers" attacking this forum. And I don't think that this forum recieves even half the amount of attention from the influencial members of the community or elected officials as some would like to think, or are even aware of Sydenham Town Forum exists, for that matter. I'd even go as far as saying/writing that only a fraction of Sydenham are aware of there being a local message board. But I'd be interested to know who you think this duo of armchair politicians are. By private message or otherwise.

Concerning myself. I comment on this board for a number of reasons. Primarily because it passes the time at work when I haven't got much on, but I do post in my free time, too. There is a small element of 'having my say', but I'm under no illusions that the comments I write on here are chewed-over by the powers-that-be or are in any way acted upon. To think otherwise would be dangerously naive. Neither do I think that my comments are forceful in the sense that they influence the forum, the direction a thread takes or anyone that posts on it. This is mainly because the majority of what I write on here is mindless drivel that's not worth a second glance. But I have my moments, so I'm told.

Lastly, if you are a blogger that focuses on local or regional politics, don't hold on to any hopes of finding employment in that field. If you think your material is worth something, then my advice would be to approach a local newspaper, but if they do accept what you've written they'll invariably offer you an unpaid column. But it's a step towards achieving a higher goal; aswell as adding to your portfolio/CV, so take what you can get.
Post Reply