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Waltzing Australia


Monday, January 14, 2013

49. Welcome Back To Lonely Planet

This was the subject thread in the Community FAQ's when Thorn Tree came back online on 6 January after having been shut down unceremoniously by the BBC. It was posted by Zabba, the community manager. There are other moderators too of course.

I was surprised to see 432 posts on that thread after not having had access to a computer for three days. Sadly, regardless of how many posts are made there, I doubt it will have any affect on management's decision, nor will it lead to an outcome that is satisfactory.

I also highly doubt the answer to the question, "Why did the BBC shut down Thorn Tree"? will ever be known. (They will give their version of course), but let's not forget, bs walks and money talks!

There are a number of people who are very angry because certain threads and posts which meant a lot to them have now gone and they no longer have access to them. Why didn't they do a C&P I can hear you ask? Simple - because they thought they would always be there. There's a lot of posts I whish I had saved - informative posts about travel plans and trips I was planning and other stuff as well.

White-washed, clean and very polite may be angelic, but it is also very boring. Ho um. I feel like I'm at a tea party where no-one ever says what they really mean and the greatest excitement is shall we have fruit cake or lamingtons. If there are to be no chat branches then my work will always get done, I'll have the cleanest house on the planet and I'll be looking for alternatives.

This whole thing has been very badly handled from the start and the over-moderation is akin to living in a country with a totalitarian government.

From A to Z - Andreas to Zabba and those (mods) in between, they are not to blame for the lack of information they give. Their hands are tied and are in a frustrating position. They are expected to scroll back through thousands and thousands of posts going back months? years? - no words can describe the un-believability of this.

Transparency, moderation practices and consistency are not the realm of the moderators - maybe it was once, but not now. Posts which are "approved" and published are (sometimes) then found to be un-acceptable and deleted - I know this for a fact because I posted a post on Henning's thread (Saturday 12) and it was "approved" by a moderator and published, but I see today (Sunday 13) it has been deleted. And do you want to know why? Because I had the temerity to write un-flattering remarks about the BBC and they don't want the truth. They can't handle the truth because they have their heads so far up they ride roughshod over everybody to save their own necks.

Allowing only un-critical posts towards the BBC seems to be a high priority. Abiding by guidelines and standards does not and should not mean restricting a person's right to have an opinion. After all, the BBC is in London no? And London is in England which the last time I looked was a democracy - unless of course that has now changed and England is now communist.

What is a democracy? A democracy means the right to freedom of speech without fear of reprisal, it means having the right to voice your discontent, to voice your opinion even if it is the opposite of what you hold dear. It means knowing that your voice will be heard. But here on the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree, that is not the case. Those freedoms which we are used to are no longer available. There is to be no dissenting voice, no dissatisfaction - in short, you may say only that which certain people's want to be known.

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