It might be helpful to review the past few days in respect of the firestorm raging around Slugger O’Toole. In this Blog “Keeping an Eye on the Czar of Russia”, I have often drawn attention to a “group-think” within the prominent message board, Slugger O’Toole…noting its association with Belfast PR company Stratagem. I have publicly stated here….on Twitter….and on Facebook….Slugger’s inability to see problems especially around a handful of posters pushing variations on a basically “lets get alongerist” line.
Although others may have been stating this on other websites and many others including commenters on this Blog have walked away from or been “oxtered out” of Slugger….the issue has never really gone public.
Essentially two things have happened. Last weekend the issue was raised on Politics.ie message board. A thread entitled “Slugger O’Toole: Discussion Forum or Ego Trip” has been viewed over 9,700 times and has 401 posts. While much of the posts are spam or trolling, it is clearly an issue.
The other thing which happened is that a good friend of this Blog….mild mannered BangorDub was yellow carded for very little on the Slugger O’Toole message board by that websites most controversial figure. That person has now gone to ground while Mick Fealty….has been sent to defend Slugger’s position on Politics.ie, BangorDub’s blog and by opening up a thread on Slugger itself.
In part the firestorm is due to nobody at Slugger really addressing the issues which were clearly arising over a long period of time. Mick Fealty has been (publicly) trying to widen its appeal by calling out for more contributors to the “team” but this is undermined by the behaviour of the two chief aides to Mick …….who are actually narrowing the appeal of Slugger.
To some extent the pettiness of the way BangorDub was treated….was merely the tipping point that brought all issues to a head.
The irony is that a journalist like Mick….who has had many fine hours including the Norn Iron Water story is now acting like an obstructive Press Officer defensively standing at the crease, tight lipped as he bats the ball back to the bowler. He has not yet reached the boundary.
It is not merely about petty rudeness……and yet it IS about petty rudeness.
It is not merely about a perceived lack of transparency from Slugger O’Toole about its…….influences. And yet it IS about that.
It is not merely about irrelevance of threads where the two aides are indulged on Outer Space and the latest installment of a BBC Farce from the 1960s. And yet it IS about that.
Nor is it about the obsessive pre-emptive trolling of these correspondents who seem to impose their own spin on any news story..even starting a second thread as an alternative to one genuinely raised by another person. People like these aides ofte see themselves as too important to contribute on a thread started by someone else. They are in essence …..headline grabbers.
What will Slugger actually DO…….besides start a thread which breaks all problems down a thread on their own website to “Slugger Doesnt Do Censorship But We Try To Keep Conversations Civil” which beggars belief.