Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Comments Still Going Strong Mongs

So a month has passed since Guido embarked on Disqus-software comment control and the results are in for last week, the first full week after the holidays. Despite dire predictions from some anonymongs in the comments – you know who you are – that the world would end, we’re still thriving and our comments section is doing business as normal. In fact keeping some of the more knuckle dragging morons at bay has kept the comments section vibrant.

ou comments

There were 2,130 comments on Thursday, so much for those who claimed we were killing the blog…

Monday, January 12, 2015

Guido to the Regulator: “Go Away, It’s Not Going to Happen”

Taxpayers’ money is being wasted sh*tting up bloggers.

As Neo-Guido told the BBC this afternoon:

“Free speech is back on the agenda in this election and it’s mind-boggling that taxpayers’ money is being spent on harassing bloggers with these letters and trying to put the heavies on us to sign up to some sort of Putin-esque code for bloggers to be regulated. Go away, it’s not going to happen and stop wasting your time trying to regulate something that is unregulatable. Look at the internet, we haven’t just dodged the Leveson inspired press regulation to sign up voluntarily to some Electoral Commission pen pusher.”

No thanks.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Electoral Commission Trying to Regulate Blogs:
Notifies Guido, ConservativeHome, LabourList & LibDemVoice

ec-pef

The Electoral Commission has written to Guido, ConservativeHome, LabourList and LibDemVoice to provide them with “guidance” to bring them into line with the Putinesque provisions of the new Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014.

Mark Ferguson at LabourList says

“It seems particularly bizarre (and that’s being generous) that there’s one law for “newspapers and periodicals” and another for “websites”. Perhaps the government are finding this new-fangled internet thing very confusing. We’re still working through what the most appropriate response is to this dreadful law – more worthy of a banana-Republic than a democracy – that clamps down on campaigning and free speech at a time when it’s needed most, election time. Whatever response we decide on though, we will not be submitting ourselves to any form of regulation that stops us from writing, reporting and commenting on the election campaign as we see fit.”

ConservativeHome’s editor Paul Goodman tells Guido whilst sorrowfully shaking his head, that he feels the site has no alternative, given the terms of the Lobbying Act, but to “run some pieces by senior Labour MPs during the election campaign”.

After ringing round it seems that other political blogs like the Spectator’s CoffeeHouse and PoliticalBetting.com have not being offered “guidance” by the Electoral Commission. Guido has written back to the Electoral Commission:

Dear Electoral Commission,

Thanks, but we’re not registering with you and
we’re not going to pay any attention to your rules.

Yours in freedom,

Paul Staines
Editor Guido Fawkes’ Blog

Guido has no intention of registering with the Electoral Commission or reporting a penny of spending or anything else to them. This authoritarian law is a nonsense. If you read the guidance it should apply to newspapers. We haven’t just rejected statutory control of the printed press by one regulator for political control of digital media by another…

See: Electoral Commission letter in full [PDF]

LibDemVoice Today Compares Charlie Hebdo to KKK

The first line of this blog published by LibDemVoice today tells you all you need to know: “Let me start by saying that the attack on Charlie Hebdo was a despicable attack on freedom of expression. However…” Nope.

It’s loony author, George Potter, continues: “Charlie Hebdo was, and is, a racist, xenophobic and bigoted  publication. Sometimes it attacked powerful targets like the Catholic Church but it was largely white men attacking powerless, marginalised and oppressed groups in France, especially Muslims who face horrific levels of discrimination. That’s not “satire”, it’s bullying.” It mocked Jews, Muslims, Christians, white people, black people and politicians.

He goes on to compare Charlie Hebdo to the KKK and EDL: “Imagine if a KKK organisation in the US had been bombed. Would people really be saying, without even thinking about who they’re endorsing, “I am the EDL””.

Except Charlie Hebdo were not the KKK or the EDL, were they George? They were just a satirical magazine.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Review of 2014: Guido Has Never Seen Anything Like It

A record smashing 10th anniversary year with over 30 million visits to this site in 2014. The top ten traffic posts published this year were:

  1. THE RESHUFFLE: All the Sackings as They Happen
  2. WATCH: Former Tory Whip Boasts About Paedo Cover Up
  3. LISTEN: Miliband’s Radio Wiltshire Clusterf**k
  4. Khan Crash: Sadiq’s Rush Hour Horror
  5. Islington MP’s Rochester Culture Shock
  6. EXC: Gordon Brown Office Has £10,000-a-Week “Expenses” 
  7. Brown Office Gives Just 1 in 4 Pounds Raised to Charity
  8. WATCH: Penny Mordaunt’s Loyal Address in Full
  9. Roll Call of Shame: Every MP Who Voted Against Recall
  10. UKIP’s Poster Girl Quits Party Citing Racism

Here are our favourite stories of the last 12 months:

emily

Ten hours after Guido added the word “snob” to Emily Thornberry’s now infamous Image from Rochester, Labour’s Islington MP had resigned from the Shadow Cabinet. ‘Snobberry’ had never seen anything like it, making Ed “more angry than he has ever been” and incurring the wrath of White Van Dan. According to the BBC, it was Guido wot won it. And don’t miss the tale of Lady Nugee’s walled garden… 

In the absence of a Twitter storm it took slightly longer to secure the resignation of David Ruffley. Guido had reported on Ruffley’s anger management problems before, yet the Tories were silent when he accepted a caution for assaulting his ex-girlfriend. Despite Ruffers telling Guido he was “cheerful“, the people of Bury St. Edmunds demanded their MP do the decent thing, domestic violence charities called for his head and, crucially, the Dean of the local cathedral told him “your position is untenable”. In June Ruffley finally announced he would be standing down, and parliament was rid of another nasty piece of work…

2014 was a year when several Tory MPs found themselves in Guido’s crosshairs, none more so than Tim Yeo. From leadership contender to loser in nine years, this blog has been exposing Yeo’s absenteeism and conflicts of interest for the best part of a decade. In January Guido went to find troubled Tim, not in his Suffolk constituency, but in Sandwich in Kent, where he had gone golfing. The following month Yeo was deselected by his local party. Victory at last…

Last but not least, who can forget Brooks No-marks, the Tory women’s champion who sent a paisley-clad dick pic to our very own Sophie Wittams. Despite the wailing from the less popular parts of the press, a public service was confirmed when Brooks was revealed to have used the exact same modus operandi. Yes, yes, yes Minister. 

Despite our detractors’ weak claims of bias, we’ve had a direct hand in ending the careers of three Tory MPs who had absolutely no intention of quitting in 2015. That’s 1% of the parliamentary party. Happy New Year, roll on that election. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Comment Update

comments

So after the first week of troll control, comment making is heading back to normal levels. Comments were down at the beginning of the week as people came to grips with the new system. The down kink on the right hand side was the normal Sunday drop off (traffic basically halves on weekends). On Monday the number of comments made was a healthy 1,209…

ANONYMONG

We still have a pretty liberal comments policy, you still don’t have to register, though if you don’t your accompanying avatar defaults to the handsome chap above. We have permanently banned only a handful of people this week who basically objected to not being allowed to be particularly abusive. The comments are about as rowdy as a saloon bar. The landlord reserves the right to throw people out…

Saturday, December 13, 2014

De Re Commentari

Guido will soon be winding down for Christmas and the team would be faced with the tedious job of comment moderation over the holidays or to decide to just let anarchy prevail. For the last few months we have as an experiment adopted an even more laissez faire attitude to comments. Animated GIFs, YouTube videos, tweets, images and the like were allowed. The result was gay porn, racist videos and it generally getting worse. We have now after ten years tested the “no pre-moderation” model to destruction.

During the run up to the election this site’s readership will probably top-out at some quarter-of-a-million hits per day, comments will be in the thousands daily. The post-moderation system is just not viable, the team would have to spend all day reading the comments instead of doing the writing that provokes them.

This graph from this article on the economics of blog comments summarises the situation:

comment moderation costsGuido has over the last decade copped a lot of criticism for the generally laissez faire attitude towards the comments – remember Derek Draper calling the comments “a sewer” on Andrew Neil’s Daily Politics? In some ways it was easier for Guido to take a laissez faire attitude, counter-intuitively it provides some degree of legal protection to not pre-moderate.

Comment moderation costs a fortune, we occasionally have to spend time with lawyers and the police as a result of comments we have not written or often even read. It is expensive in time, every day the Guido team deletes a load of comments which have, in our rather arbitrary judgement, just gone too far. The software algorithm modbot blocked as much racist, scatological and gynecological nonsense as could be predictable. The truth is that we were happy to tolerate profanity and such like directed at the political class, we were not so keen on the repetitious and tedious stuff about minorities.

Picture credit : GQ

Some get very worked up about online comments because they are so often rude and abusive. We’ve taken a “sticks and stones” view to a large extent, particularly with regard to prominent public figures, it is actually pleasing that Ed Balls gets angry about the abuse dished out here, that self-important politicians hate it so much, that thin-skinned journalists don’t like a taste of their own medicine. The comments and the blog itself perform the role of a cyber-stocks, you can say almost whatever you like about leading political figures and it will go unchecked, however say something gynecological about a lowly intern, it is likely to get deleted (if it is noticed).

Originally when this blog started and had readers numbering only in the tens, rather than the tens of thousands, some of the regular comment makers were very witty and brought actual gossip. In the last decade millions of comments have been made, the signal to noise ratio and average quality of the comments has declined. That is an inevitable consequence of having among the tens of thousands of readers a fair number of moronic, window licking, certifiable loonies for whom this is their preferred outlet. Mostly it is people just venting about their bugbears and commenting on the character and parentage of politicians, with a few gems to be found. Guido has no problem with readers swearing at politicians. That has its place, and that place is for better or worse here.

Things are changing, you will still be able to say what you like (within somewhat arbitrary inconsistent limits) without pre-moderation or registering. That privilege will be removed from people who cross the line, they will be blocked from commenting. We’re not known for political correctness, we believe in freedom of speech, exercise it elsewhere if you want to post porn or abuse people witlessly. Will the obsessive who posts “Vote UKIP” all day be blocked? Maybe. Will we lose traffic? Not as much as those obsessive comment makers think. Will it work? That is up to you.

Friday, November 21, 2014

BBC on #Snoberry: It Was Guido Wot Won It

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Silence of the Spinners

politics

“He doesn’t want to speak to you” Guido has been told many times. We’ve never had a problem being put in the “sin bin” by politicians, we don’t seek to do interviews, so if a politician refuses to speak to us, it doesn’t matter too much, we can still talk about them. In fact we will probably shout about them even more. (Some free advice to any MP in our crosshairs, we don’t go away if you ignore us, we redouble our efforts.) These days however it is usually a party press officer – a professional spinner – who refuses to do his job and comment.

After a string of negative stories the LibDem press office earlier this year decided not to engage with us, did it help their cause? No. Stories on the blog went unchallenged and into print the next day in the national press. To be fair to the LibDem press team, our guess is they usually haven’t been told anything by the Deputy PM’s office in Downing Street, so it is not as if they can say anything of consequence. Amusingly after the Guido Fawkes Tenth Anniversary party they called, hurt, to inquire why press officers from the Tories, Labour and UKIP were all there eating caviar and drinking champagne whilst none from LibDem HQ were invited. “We put you in our sin bin” we told them…

Janan Ganesh in the Financial Times this morning analyses Labour’s attitude to the press

They blame the “rightwing press”, particularly the chunk of it owned by Rupert Murdoch, not only for the leadership tremors but for Mr Miliband’s low reputation in the country. If voters disdain Mr Miliband, the party seems to believe, it is because they are brainwashed. The best that can be said for this theory is that it has ideological pedigree; the one morsel of Marxist doctrine still evidently cherished by the British left is false consciousness.

Labour’s view of the press has soured to the point of self-harm. The Sun is read by more than 5 million Britons every day, many of whom vote Labour or entertain the prospect of doing so. Yet the party talks of the Murdoch-owned tabloid as a remote Other. It is just about conceivable that Labour can win power while ignoring anyone who disagrees with it. How it expects to govern a plural nation with such a sectarian cast of mind is harder to understand.

Unhinged by indignation, Labour MPs even joined a hashtag campaign on Twitter to insist that “We back Ed”, like Brezhnev-era Kremlin officials denying rumours of a coup. To repeat: a major political party decided that having to affirm support for its own leader six months before a general election would somehow leave him an enhanced figure.

The idea that being put in the “sin bin” will hurt Guido is bizarre. We’re going to light up those pixels and fill up those column inches regardless whether or not you engage. The pixels on the #1 political website in the country, the inches in the political column in the biggest selling newspaper in Britain…

We want to get the facts right when we run a story, press officers and party apparatchiks may not like the tone or the thrust of an article coming down the line, nevertheless running away won’t help. Look at Sadiq Khan‘s recent 48 hours of bad publicity. Sadiq thought he could tough it out with “no comment”, that didn’t work with us because – unlike the Leveson leery dead tree press – we ran the pictures without a response anyway. In the end ignoring this blog meant the broadcast and print media eventually joined in the mêlée. As Tom Watson once said, if you can’t take a kicking from Guido, then you don’t deserve to be in politics…

Saturday, November 8, 2014

What Do You Think of Guido’s Facelift?


Seen Elsewhere

Users of Gay Hook-Up App Grindr Infected | TechnoGuido
ISIS Raising Funds Online Using Bitcoin | TechnoGuido
UKIP’s Youth Challenge | BBC
ISIS Operative: This Is How We Send Jihadis To Europe | BuzzFeed
Shapps Defends Bashir Defection | Seb Payne
Tory Leadership Contenders Jostle Over Europe | Alex Wickham
Cutting Taxes is Good For You | Art Laffer
Suspects Will Now Have to Prove Innocence | Laura Perrins
Labour Cllr: Cops Shouldn’t Stop Petrol Thieves | HandF Forum
Creeping Cultural Acceptance of Anti-Semitism | Eric Pickles
Time For Greece to Leave Eurozone | Allister Heath


Rising Stars
Find out more about PLMR AD-MS


Boris on British Jihadis. Apparently based on MI5 intel:

“If you look at all the psychological profiling about bombers, they typically will look at porn. They are literally w***ers. Severe onanists. They are tortured. They will be very badly adjusted in their relations with women, and that is a symptom of their feeling of being failures and that the world is against them. They are not making it with girls, and so they turn to other forms of spiritual comfort — which of course is no comfort.”


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