Saturday, April 28, 2007

A small, petty world

In August last year, in the aftermath of the Lebanon War, I wrote a piece on a discussion board at the posh people's network "A Small World" (aSW for short). I re-posted it on Freedmanslife because I thought readers over here might be interested, and also it saved me writing a blog entry for that particular day...

A couple of weeks ago - fully 8 months after the posting - someone posted this pair of comments:

At 9:38 PM, Anonymous said...
You might review the terms and conditions of aSmallWorld. Discussions and content, not to mention details about members (such as names), is expressly not permitted.

At 9:42 PM, Anonymous said...
Oops... Meant to say that forum discussions and content (and member details) in aSW are not permitted to be published in public. It is a private community, and members expect their comments to remain within the community, not published to the world such as you are doing.
Underwhelmed, I responded:

At 11:32 PM, freedmanslife said...

You might want to read more carefully before making petty remarks. You would realise that my postings on this site are of MY OWN remarks on aSW and therefore I see no reason why aSW has some kind of copyright over my own writings.

The only other piece I posted was from a very pleasant guy I got into some dialogue with on aSW, on the understanding that he was favourable to a broader audience reading his insightful and interesting comments, but you don't seem to have made your dig at me under that entry.

I also note that the average thread on aSW probably has a higher readership than my blog, and that you decided to post anonymously.

If you have a problem with me copying my own words across from aSW or using those of someone I had a dialogue with, whose opinions I did not agree with but nonetheless gave them a platform on my own website, please feel free to have me banned from aSW, which frankly has deteriorated from a serious professional network into a talking-shop for trustafarians anyway.

I can only conclude that you have a very specific agenda in sniffing for this kind of thing 8 months after publication... unless you work for aSW, are the person who wrote those original remarks, or are prepared to identify yourself, kindly stop flaming my site.

Then today for the first time in quite a while, I logged into aSW out of curiosity and found this message:

From: aSW Webmaster
Subject: Blog - Request
Sent: Apr 19th

Dear Michael,

We are referring to your blog, specifically the following link

In this regard, we respectfully ask that you avoid mentioning our members by name unless you have their express permission. Would you be so kind as to edit the names out of the prose and let us know when this has been done?

Kind regards,


Now just a little peeved, I sent this response:

From: me
To: aSW Webmaster
Subject: Blog - Request
Sent: Apr 19th

George Orwell, Sharon, David, Goliath, Arafat, Abbas... wasn't aware they were aSW members.

Ah, here we are:

"I cannot wait to show Payam, Adil, Malik, Marwan et al around the cooperatively built and run gas-fired power station between Sderot and Gaza that lights the schools in which children on both sides learn about the culture of the other, and visit each other to find out more."

So one of these people is so worked-up that their FIRST NAME appears in a blog posting that is nearly a year old, on a site read by about 100 of my friends, that they have involved you and invoked the "aSW rules"?!

And in a piece which was about aSW members and everyone else finding ways to beat swords into ploughshares, and generally have uplifting and informative debates?!

I will edit their names at once, and additionally I will write a highly critical piece about some of the bile some of them - and other aSW members - spat in my direction last summer.

You had anti-Semites, Zionist-conspiracy theorists and Holocaust deniers and belittlers getting away with all kinds of disgraceful remarks, and you are chasing ME because I put someone's FIRST NAME on a blog 9 months ago, in a context that revealed nothing about their identities or their opinions, and was calling on them and everyone else to find positive common ground.

Shame on aSW for allowing all this to happen. I will enjoy writing a precis (with edited names of course) that shows exactly the kind of content that you seemed to miss - and hence permit - on your own site, whilst at the same time persecuting me for publishing my own words on a little-read blog 8 months ago.

No wonder this site has all but lost credibility as a quality network amongst many of its original users. You are allowing these people to take up a petty and spiteful vendetta against me and I am not going to be cowed by them. Nor should you.

We will see what the response is. I am sure that the complainants, if not aSW themselves, will note this blog posting, and I look forward to receiving a formal warning from aSW on their behalf. If that does happen, they can just go right ahead and ban me - then I can publish what I like, without their censorship.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't get so worked up about it, I mean, doesnt seem that unusual to me, the Internet is filled with unjustified acts, alot more than in reality as a matter of fact.
That is the price of freedom of.. well everything.

Come on mate, say something about the Vinongrad Committee! nothing better than critisizing others to get over annoyances like those :)

So how about it? Tell us what YOU think about the report.