Tag Archives: blog

Act in haste, repent at leisure

I just found out first-hand what that means.

I posted a comment to an article on a popular UK newspaper’s website. (Don’t ask – I’m not tellin’!). The thing is, I empathised what the writer was writing about in broad terms, and, as a good leftie, wanted to add my un-expert three pence worth. So I, gulp, signed off with a phrase from my bad old days on the placard carrying, peacenik, socialist demonstration circuit, you know the one, which assumes anyone with a credit history is somehow deserving of the suffering the economy rains down on him/her. I won’t repeat it now in case you’re clever and decide to google it, you cheeky monkey!

So I posted it, and several hours later reread the article and my comment, glaringly including my full, real name and blatantly condemning both the government and several important companies to enforced manual labour and severe caloric deprivation. … and a few typos, which, to be perfectly honest, were my first concern, stickler that I am for such things.

“Do I really want to stand by that statement”, I asked myself, and was also asked by my partner, and would I have said exactly the same thing to the people it was directed at, to their face? No I wouldn’t, of course. I would have been more circumspect, diplomatic and, polite. Yeah, polite, something you don’t see a ton of in open discussions on the internet. The more I read my comments, the more I empathised with their plight (even if it was self-imposed and arrogant) and could not stick to my initial statement. Not to mention, there was my NAME, right there, in Verdana 14 px! A name they could google and find out about me with, something I could no longer be faceless and anonymous behind.

So I sent email, after email after email as if it were a complaint (there was no facility to edit my own comment, but at least they let you reportit to avoid libel charges) and asked them to remove my full name so I didn’t have to look at it anymore. 12 hours later, the name was removed and I withdrew back into the crowd, thinking deeply on what it really felt like, and ultimately what it was that was achieved by being able to shout so easily, so anonymously (or not!) and get away with it.

In my first post here I talked about the joy of quick contact with others in the world. Yesterday I experienced the flipside, the embarrassment of having my knee-jerk effluvia dross instantly published and attributed. Fortunately the internet is noisy enough that my words will soon dissapear into the background of the white-hot white noise


I recently completed a submission tendering for the provision of an Intranet to a well-known housing group last week. There were some interesting points they made in their requirements document, like complying with web standards, meeting accessibility guidelines and engaging the users. It got a bit scary when they mentioned the amount of things they wanted in there, how the clients (their 350+ staff) would be expected to tick off reading items, deal with “alerts” and write, blog, post pictures, review local services and businesses like restaurants, wiki, rate other articles and pieces, etc.

They were going to be asked to do quite a bit, for little apparent reward, using a system that sounded very complicated even to me, who lives in the web and creates complex things. But that was OK, as I am accustomed to potential clients who need a hand to understand what can be delivered in a browser, need to be shown how to accommodate user’s expectation, and need expert advice in getting the balances right.

The scary part was the blog.

Or as they called it, the blog-roll. For those of you outside the UK, I just want to remind you, bog-roll means toilet paper and this was the company’s serious attempt at being light-hearted.

The concept is that visitors would come to a page designed to look like a toilet roll on a toilet roll holder, and the sheets would each contain a teaser to the next entry; which people would “tear off to read”, and then place in the “archive” for future reference.


I guess they thought it was a cute idea, blog > bog, tee hee! In other circumstances this might be funny but there is a crucial point they missed. Staff in organisations like theirs are incredibly reluctant to change and any new thing introduced will naturally met with scepticism and derision. Equating something that would be required reading, that you want people to engage with and respect to some degree, or at least enjoy, well… I was speechless!

I had to reply, but I couldn’t tell them it was weird and if implemented would probably be ridiculed and disrespected. Who would want to write for something that was presented on a toilet roll other than novelty toilet roll makers?

How do you comment on ideas such as these and expect your hopefully better ideas to be considered?