Saturday, February 07, 2009

Blogiquette 101: FAO Derek Draper

A couple of days ago I was irritated at Derek Draper's misuse of Web 2.0 in all it's various forms, particularly in the way he was treating Iain Dale. So much so that I tweeted this:

Over the years, and yes Mr Draper many of us Mr Dale and myself included have been at this for years have come up with a way to co-exist. We follow some simple rules that newbie Draper in his rush for the top spot seems adamant to barge straight over. This is a lesson in some of the ways of the Blogosphere to help him with his blogiquette.

Now I don't brown nose Mr Dale as our recent spat over his use of language shows but I'd like to think there is a certain respect that goes on there despite of ideological differences. In fact even during that little spat I was conversing in private with Mr Dale and was having a good laugh, but it was our ideological clash that was in the public domain and created a little bit of a debate.

Yes it started as comment on his blog. I then felt the need to blog about it. That is fine that is debate that is what the blogosphere is good at. You can respond almost instantaneously to the posting of another. You use your blog, your social networking, your YouTube or whatever means you want in the plethora of Web 2.0 options to get your reply across. You engage in debate.

That is something that Draper has singularly failed to do over the past three weeks. He thinks he can walk into the room and not so much engage in the debate but set it.

Lesson point 1: you cannot control the debate the Interwebby is too big a vehicle for that.

Now there are two arguments that were going on regarding Carol Thatcher's remarks one was the use of language, the other was the whole issue of privacy and indeed double standards from the BBC. The privacy issue was one thing that Will Young did some up on Question Time last night, but yes it was also a grey area. The green room of a television studio is technically still in a workplace, and it also the equivalent of a staff rest room (with the added issue that alcohol may be present).

So therefore that in this complex issue the fact that Draper published private correspondence received as well as merely what was sent as Dale did. Now every blogger will from time to time publicise their outgoing correspondence. That's natural it is the Web 2.0 version of the open letter to the press. But that does not give you the right to publicise the whole correspondence from both sides to score cheap political points. Heaven forbid if all my correspondence in confidence to other bloggers over the years ever became public. It is often the behind the scenes stuff that does the firefighting, especially if others are getting overly worked up about something which starts to distract from the main point.

Lesson point 2: What comes in private stays in private. What you write back you can publicise.

Mr Draper it may surprise you to learn that by in large the political blogosphere is a pretty amiable group. I mean every day we sit at our keyboards putting out our opinions for the world to see, and those of us who accept by in large all comments know that we are going to be slated, but we raise to the challenge of debate.

Now I don't feature that often on the Lib Dem Voice weekly Golden Dozen possibly for a number of reasons firstly I'm not one of the Westminster/London centric based blogs but also more importantly I think because the majority of my referrals come from the opposition blogs rather than the Lib Dem Blogs aggregator (which accounts for the top seven positions).

Lesson point 3: Engagement in debate with others will get others to read you far better that a soliloquy stage left.

Now it depends very much what Derek Draper's raison d'etre is for LabourList. If it is to stir up the Labour activist core into action then he is going the right way about it, because I read very few of the rest of the party's bloggers (or for that matter some of the moderate Labour ones) that pay much lip service to LabourList. If it is to get his message and point across to the other streams of ideology and those of now he has to be more than an attack blog.

I still love the quote that Nich Starling lifted off my blog for the Total Politics Guide to Political Blogging 2008-9.

Maybe Mr Draper concentrate a bit on the balance of that statement. He's clearly found something in what Iain Dale's stance could be perceived to be attack worth, whereas Iain was attacking a different angle from the one Draper has been running with.

Now as Caron says time to grow up boys.

Update 8 February: Derek Draper has actually been here and left a comment below. It refers to a posting on his website however you cannot post without registering. But of course to register there as well as asking for my email details it asks for my name, postcode and whether I am a Labour party member. The only reason that these three details could be required to allow me (or anyone else) to pass comment on Mr Draper's baby would be for the purposes of electioneering, therefore I refuse to comply. On that issue I posted the following response.

The fact that LabourList requires postcode details before allowing them to post shows the overzealous nature of control of people's personal data. So while I am fully aware that the Local Labour party know full well where I live (indeed both the MP and MSP are aware that I live close to their office) I will not be submitting it to your site to have the priviledge of commenting there.

Doing so is another lack of understanding of the inclusiveness of the blogopshere.

Lesson point 4: Either you are a party site and campaign tool or a blog. Don't expect bloggers as individual units to divulge personal data for your dark purposes to have the priviledge to comment. They will do it elsewhere without this hassle which does make it harder for you to actually keep track on what they think.


Norfolk Blogger said...

Well put. Personally I will be having nothing to do with Draper or any of his blogs and will NEVER link to them.

Derek Draper said...

as i say on labourlist tonight:

By the way, we have had a few people say that we should let this matter drop or that such a strong position is somehow not "netiquette". Well, let me say now: LabourList will always fight the hard fight for Labour values and will tirelessly expose those who support unfairness and intolerance, whether purposefully, or, as we are still willing to believe in Iain Dale's case by accident. However, an apology is now becoming long overdue and it is rightly making people wonder. As for "netiquette", we will always act fairly and thoughfully, but this is proud to be a political website not a prissy debating club.

Stephen Glenn said...

Firstly Derek thanks for dropping by.

I think it has been more that a few. Being a contributer to one cross party blog I do read a fair number of other blogs.

Fighting for Labour values is all well a good, for a Labour blog. Indeed I would expect nothing else. However, when that become a witch hunt that is where the line is crossed. Iain Dale from my reading of his original post never actually said that what was said was right. He did however point out inconsistancies in BBC policy.

Also on the knowledge that he had at the time he thought it was the intent that it had blown up to be. Once this was pointed out to him he used recognised blogging short hand that he had made the error. The srtikethrough and update addition are two conventions that all bloggers normally expect in such situation.

Mind you that fact that are setting out to be a foremost Labour amalgam of a site with Labour list, allow some comments, and consider that the internet is a "prissy debating club" shows the continuing gross disregard that Labour have shown to the opinons of other since 1997.

It also places Labour List in a Web 1.0 or lower state when the rest of us are moving to Web 2.0 Look at John Prescott, look at Tom Harris and much as you don't want to look at Iain Dale. They allow debate and disagreement not beacause they consider debate to be prissy, but because they are prepared to argue their case and their viewpoint. If you do act "act fairly and thoughfully [sic]" you may well gain respect. You haven't really done so yet IMHO.

Until that happens with LabourList you will have limited appeal. I also know that some of the Labour Bloggers are concerned that the approach LL is taking could knock back months or years of good relations and cross party co-operation and respect that have developed across the political blogosphere.

But unlike you I will not reveal anyone who has said this to me in person who hasn't also made a public statement to back it up.

Stephen Glenn said...

PS it not for you to decide when reaction to what you have said will die down. Yes you can say enough is enough but there is no "thought police" guarding the internet, the blog readers, and commentators out there.

Once something has been writen it can fester a long time.

Stephen Glenn said...

PPS The fact that LabourList requires postcode details before allowing them to post shows the overzealous nature of control of people's personal data. So while I am fully aware that the Local Labour party know full well where I live (indeed both the MP and MSP are aware that I live close to their office) I will not be submitting it to your site to have the priviledge of commenting there.

Doing so is another lack of understanding of the inclusiveness of the blogopshere.

eurotrash said...

Draper is such a tw@t and a half. He's not worth blogging about. His blog will not see 2010


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