Apr 132010

UPDATE: I’ve had an email from the mods telling me, among other things, that I nearly crashed their site because of everybody voting multiple times. This is considered unfair. Be told.

It appears that the mods over at publicservice.co.uk did not appreciate the free traffic yesterday’s pollbomb gave them. One of the mods has left this remark on the poll feedback site:

It would seem there are people out there who spend so long in their blogging basements that they a) have lost any understanding of democracy and fair play and b) consider their actions to be revolutionary and even relevant when in fact they are risible and, well, bordering on the just plain silly…

The actions by such people don’t do anything other than allow them to snigger to themselves (and each other) which is all very satisfying for them, I’m sure. But the whole point of a poll is for people to express their honest opinions which will hopefully be of interest to people who actually do have something worthwhile to say. Bombing polls is ridiculous and pointless, much like the sites that advocate it and relish in it. And the whole premise that there is a public vs private battle like a City vs United thing is nothing short of lame and shows extremely shallow thinking. For those of us who have operated (and still do) in both sectors, we know this is simply not the case.

So to the rest of you out there who do believe in democracy, intelligent debate and discourse, please keep voting and sending in your opinions. We do value them and we will not abandon any poll simply because someone thinks it’s clever to attempt to sabotage it (but sitting at 43-57 at the time of writing they haven’t even managed to do that) for the sake of a collective online giggle.

This is standard practice for humourless precious types, I’m afraid. Let’s examine whether the mod’s own comment meets the test of ‘intelligent debate and discourse.’

1. Insults:

  • ‘risible’
  • ‘silly’
  • ‘ridiculous’
  • ‘pointless’
  • ‘lame’
  • ‘shallow’
  • unintelligent
  • think it’s clever [implying that it’s stupid]

2. Baseless accusations:

  • no understanding of democracy and fair play
  • dishonest
  • lack of belief in democracy
  • ‘sabotage’
  • ‘for the sake of a collective online giggle’

3. Derision:

  • not ‘revolutionary’ or ‘important’
  • nothing worthwhile to say
  • opinions of pollbombers not valued
  • ‘ridiculous and pointless’ pollbomb failing anyway

Is anyone out there surprised by this method? You shouldn’t be. It’s straight out of the Righteous Manual of Pious Outrage.

In light of this unprovoked nastiness and accusation, I moseyed back over and left my own comment. Knowing that they censored DK straight into the aether, I reproduce my words in full here.

Hi there! I’m the ‘plain silly’ blogger who started the pollbomb. I know the assumption by the moderators here is that I’m shallow and think myself ‘quite clever.’ I’ll omit pointing out the essential hypocrisy of such swipes and merely explain my motivation.

On the ‘about us’ part of [the publicservice.co.uk] site, you will find these statements:

‘We are THE provider for all your public sector information needs’

‘We continually strive to build on our reputation as a key source of news and analysis on public sector matters’

Given the self-proclaimed prominence of this website and its parent company in providing the public sector with THE information it needs to know, perhaps you could explain to me why you judge it unfair that some of us should choose to send an informative message to the public sector by voting in your poll.

If, as you claim, the poll ‘won’t die any kind of quiet death,’ then I hope that when you disseminate the results to your public sector clients, you report very clearly the following:

1. Numerous people took time out of their busy days and evenings to bring traffic to your site and participate in a survey to which you presumably wanted answers.

2. Many of those same people felt strongly enough about your question to leave comments explaining why they voted in the way they did.

3. There is a significant amount of resentment felt by private sector workers toward public sector ones. This is not because we assume all public sector employees earn huge amounts – far from it. We know nurses and policemen are generally not highly paid. The resentment stems from the fact that private sector employees are forced by law to fund public sector entitlements which they themselves could not afford and which reduces their capacity to afford other things too.

This is why we ‘ridiculously’ chose to ‘sabotage’ your poll, and why we hope that as THE provider of public sector information needs, you pass along the message.

And a message to the moderators of this site: given that you are censoring responses, I will also be publishing this reasonable and non-abusive (unlike your own) comment elsewhere.

We shall see whether they are truly in the market for ‘honest’ input.

  8 Responses to “Pollbomb part 2”

  1. […] Seems that publicservice.co.uk don’t appreciate people taking interest in their poll – the poor dears. Bookmark […]

  2. Err, seriously? A few thousand people crash (or nearly) their site?

    Are they using the standard public sector contractors or something?

    • *shrug* They’re a private company, actually, so maybe they’re using a tiny server. Who knows.

      • Tiny privates, the source of all the world’s woes.

        Love their debating gifts though – straight out of the Goebbels’ information handbook.

        Now I’ve created some sort of comment loop here…

  3. I’ve had an email from the mods telling me, among other things, that I nearly crashed their site because of everybody voting multiple times. This is considered unfair. Be told.

    Um err yanno most halfway decent poll scripts set cookies and things so that it is relatively difficult to vote multiple times. The fact that these folks can’t apparently do that seems like a kind of perfect example on why government IT is so shite.

    PS Someone should import NJ Governor Chris Christie – http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/NJ-Gov-Christie-on-Morning-Joe-90751484.html

  4. From your original post: “Can we round up enough ‘Yes’ votes to make them think pubic sector workers are all in favour of paying higher pension contributions? It would save the rest of us money, after all. And they deserve our spiteful little tricks.”

    Surely it’s disingenuous to then say “Numerous people took time out of their busy days and evenings to bring traffic to your site and participate in a survey to which you presumably wanted answers”, as you admit in your previous post that the intention is to fool the people conducting the poll.

    • I have discussed this issue privately with the managers of the site in question and, as far as I know, the matter is resolved.

      But thank you so much for reminding me of what I wrote. Obviously I’m too egregious a moron to remember the content of my own bloody blog.

      In other words: butt out, narc.

  5. Whenever you follow a HTTP link, it sends a “Referrer” field revealing the location of your link. That’s what gave you away. Next time you do something like this, use one of these workarounds:

    1. Highlight the HTTP address, copy to clipboard, open a new tab in your browser, and paste into the address bar.

    2. Force your readers to do likewise, with tricks such as using the word “dot” in place of the full-stop.

    3. Use a service like http://anonym.to/ — Make their pseudonymous site appear as the referrer, not yours.

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