It’s always very disappointing when people invited to a debate, to share their thoughts and add their vote, choose to act unethically, rudely and with threats. Sadder still when underhand methods are taken to skew things. I would have thought, given the right’s views on market forces, they would be happy to let such things take their course.
Earlier this week I started a poll asking people whether they thought charter schools would improve educational achievement for Maori and Pacifika students. As you can see from the original article , I used outrageously inflamatory language and forbade anyone not with the same viewpoint as me from voting or discussing things.
Oh wait, no, I didn’t did I?
What I actually said was that “I’d love to hear people’s reasoning for or against or whether they are just plain confused.” Crimminy, I can see how that would get people’s backs up. All that namby pamby listening to others’ opinions even when you don’t agree – whatever next!?
The poll was tootling along. I shared it on facebook on my page and others, and shared it personally with friends* and as a public post, hoping to get a wide variety of voices.
*Believe it or not, I make friends with people who don’t agree with me on things – I know, I am just plain outrageous!
Anyhoo, things were tootling along when the blog suddenly got a surge of hits. Now my blog is reasonably popular given it’s just me and my witterings, but to get a couple of hundred hits in about an hour is a tad unusual. I went a-searching, for blog owners can do such things, and found that most of my hits for the day had come from one source, called Whale Oil. “Oooh odd,” I thought, and off I went to see why so many were coming through.
Jeepers, it seemed that someone had not only set their “Army” on me (their term, not mine) but had also accused me of speaking for the unions. Odd! I am just me – I don’t speak for the unions, and indeed sometimes I have been known to speak against them. It’s okay, I thought, I will ask the blogger to correct that. We all get things wrong now and then.
Not a chance. A tad shonky, don’t you think? Just correct the error already. But by then a good number of people via various media had let me know that this particular blogger has no care for factual information and is concerned only with creating storms. He’s done it before. Lots. And he always refuses to correct his errors.
Oh well, what can you do, I thought. It’s unethical and rather immature, and not how I blog, but hey ho. And on I went with my day, playing Ninjas with my boy and causing trouble with Play Doh.
Then I started getting lots of messages from folk saying they could not access the poll as it was blocked from Facebook. Eh? People were being told not to come to my blog as it was spam. Huh? I looked at the blog – yes, hundreds of poll votes in favour of charters and hundreds of hits coming from the Whale. Facebook traffic – my biggest source of referrals, was down to minuscule levels.
Now I am not one to whip out the tin foil hat and scream conspiracy easily, but what a coincidence. The right show a sudden interest in the blog and whaddya know, the blog is blocked and flagged as spam by facebook.
My lovely blog?
Oh the humanity!
I tried to alert facebook but we know they don’t respond to such things, and so I took the poll down.
I was told that this isn’t a new thing, and sent this tweet to consider.
But there is little point in a poll that doesn’t allow a huge group to vote. (For your interest the pro charter votes were winning 3:1)I have left the comments – all of them – from the sane to the deranged, from the polite and thoughtful to the vitriolic. You can read them and judge for yourselves the various points put forward.
I welcome other people’s thoughts. I read them, I think about them, I often then go off and do follow up learning and research. I rarely even delete or censor anything – in fact I have removed only 2 posts from SOSNZ ever and both people were asked to rewrite them more politely, which they did. They both still contribute. Often.
What I will not do, is be party to anything where people are stopped for whatever reason from joining in. So the poll stays down.
Finally, I want to thank those people who have disagreed with me and really challenged me to consider my standpoint. The ones who argue like tigers but with good manners and good grace, who don’t let me off without proving my facts, and who have got me to go off and build my own knowledge. Thank you. You help me learn and grow, and that is a wonderful gift.
Dedicated to Michael, Rory and Sandra and everyone who puts me through my paces with grace.