Slugger O’Toole: Redux

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.

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7 Responses to Slugger O’Toole: Redux

  1. bangordub says:

    In all fairness, I did feel for the poor poster on P.ie who asked “Who are Strategem” I knew what was coming next 🙂

  2. Mark. says:

    bangordub ,

    That poor poster from Pie who asked that question got black listed from Slugger today .

  3. Mark. says:

    I like Slugger even though the Ed doesn’t have much time for me . The problem for Slugger now is that there is a couple of vehicles that posters can ask /confront Mick questions on . This site / bangordub and Pie to name a few .

  4. football cliches says:

    Hmmm, hasn’t it been an interesting old week?

    I see MF has probably had a word in Spaceman’s ear to stop starting threads for a little while ’til it all dies down’ while he goes out and defends him, 9 out of 10 times, that and he hasn’t been about since Tuesday (Ed – can he do anything without adding emphasis?), I don’t know, but I’m sure he’ll be back soon.

    I suspect it will be a lot like when SK pulled MF on his snidey, sarcastic asides where he talks to his split personality Ed constantly and the fact that he clearly didn’t respect SF and reserved such shity threats for themselves alone. MF went on to near grovel at how he DID respect SF, honest guv, and low and behold, MF lays of the sarcy nonsense, for a while at least.

    The wheels are starting to come off a little over there, great, I don’t like the site and I like seeing them squirm. Someone over at Pie said something which I would love to happen, I hope MF just gets EVERYTHING off his chest, just tell us what you really think, don’t dance around with pathetic innuendo, just tell us who you hate, tell us what we already know cos it’s not going to surprise us. Then I’ll have respect for you. But, of course, he never will, and that’s why I don’t and never will have respect for him and his coat trailer.

    • The big mistake was letting it drift for so long.
      I dont think the shots are being called by Mick. More likely by Baker himself, or Quentin in the library.
      When any news organisation in the macro world like Rupert Murdochs Empire becomes the focus of a news story itself, it gets uncomfortable.
      Now that Slugger is the message on message boards and such, thats uncomfortable too, especially for Stratagem who would rather be below the radar.
      Slugger has lost key “commenters” and my understanding is that some journos in the mainstream are not happy with the site either.

      Slugger has options. But the current option of trying to bluff it all out is not working.
      It could go nuclear on the issue of “dissident sluggerites” and conceivably people like me would be banned from the site. But as I have no yellow/red card to my name…the only credible way would be to invent a crime of “bringing Slugger into disrepute by tweeting or unfriendly blogging” a bit like the FA and Rio Ferdinands “choc ice” tweet.
      I have no friends on Slugger…so I cant see a mass boycott in my support……..although some SDLP people who look at the site would maybe stop going there. An it would tend to make Slugger even less diverse than it is now.
      Id imagine there might be a few traps set to catch dissidents offside.
      There will be almost daily issues on which Slugger will need to be more careful.
      And while Slugger has been a dedicated observer of the media…..it can hardly have complaint if Slugger is a site monitored by dedicated Slugger-watchers. Certainly months ago the issue could have been resolved. That seems less likely now but it is still possible.
      I just think that Slugger works better as a simple (and partisan) blog rather than trying to glorify itself as the Blog that is “the blog of record” which is above the bunfight. It is very much part of the bunfight.

      I believe that a Blog is better than a Message Board. Blogs are partisan but that is more honest than the “group think” attitude which eventually takes over even the best intentioned message board.
      Bloggers are by nature contrary people…..and I had some experience of that myself during the ill-fated attempt that I was involved in in January/February to make Leveson a “team effort”.
      But perhaps some of the dissidents need to think about having their own blogs….possibly backed by a loose co-operation….the Federation of Independent Bloggers and even then Id only consider it if it was pan-nationalist in tone.

      Federation of Independent Bloggers…….or FIB (seems appropriate lol)
      F****** Bloody Ignorant……..FBI.

      • Regarding the drift FJH, arrogance and complacency are a wonderful combination. Not wishing to brown nose you, but your analysis is pretty spot on IMHO. If you say you are all things for everyone and above the s**t or act like you might be and you are not then people will start to question you on that or point out where you are not.

        Also, SOT takes itself waaayyyy too serious, I mean, it’s not a newspaper or anything like that, it’s a glorified (?) blog.

        On a complete and utter tangent folks, may I recommend the below link. Made and had this for breakfast this morning and though what I may be about to say is sacrilegious and I’m in danger of being black carded by FJH himself, this beats an Ulster or Temporarily Separated 6 Counties Fry any day of the week!

        http://surfingtheworldcuisine.blogspot.ie/2010/01/mexican-breakfast-by-jamie-oliver.html

        Enjoy

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