Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Anonymous comment to blog provokes feelings of distain...

My thanks to Rob Greenland and Patrick Hadfield for responding to my blogpost on action for climate change. Firstly, I hope I don't come across as a hectoring judgemental busy body - the last thing I wanted to do was provoke feelings of "oh no, I am not doing enough". Lord knows, I do little enough...

I also received a reply from a blogger called "About Me" and can in no place find out who this person actually is. I am probably not trying hard enough but it makes me think they are cowardly if they don't post their name. I know in the blogosphere we can be anyone who we want and that Patrick might actually be Daisy, Rob might actually be David and I could be Dr Seuss for all you know but somehow, it does not occur to me that someone who uses a name would lie about it (for the record, I am not Dr Seuss). On the other hand, "About Me" gives no name and thus I somehow feel that person has something to hide. I know that is spectacularly irrational and would be interested to know how the anonymous blogger makes anyone else feel.

My feelings are exacerbated by the fact that the remarks "About Me" left are simply silly, defensive, and judgemental. I wonder a few things:

1. "About Me" states that I have misunderstood. The aim of climate camp "isn't to influence companies to but to stop them directly". Forgive me, but how do you get companies to stop? You influence them one way or the other. And having gotten them to stop, you have succeeded in influencing them to such an extent that they have changed their behaviour.

2. How does "About Me" know what I got up to at Climate Camp? Maybe I did empty toilets and do the washing up. "About Me" has no idea and his/her data-free speculation is presumptuous.

3. I did not say Climate Camp are doing anything wrong and I am fully aware of the recent successes. What I did say was that Climate Camp would be even more effective if their actions were more informed.

Whilst I am delighted Climate Camp took up my challenge to read and respond to my original post, I hoped for a more postive and less defensive response. The response I received was childish and unprofessional and I am sorry for that.

For those of you who want to read the original response from "About Me", it is below:

"i think you've slightly misunderstood the climate camp, our aim isn't to influence companies to but to stop them directly and build a movement that is an alternative vision of society. The climate camp isn't about asking others to do things it's about doing it ourselves.if you wanted to feel involved and make a contribution at the camp perhaps you'd have been better off emptying the composting toilets, doing the washing up or one of the other hundreds of jobs needed to build a strong grassroots movement, rather than telling us we are doing it wrong - have you read the news this week? victories for us (not alone but as part of broader movement) include Kingsnorth delayed for at least 3 years and not likely to ever happen, BAA backing off on the 3rd runway and a new coal threat at Hunterston called off before it even starts."

For those of you who would like to know more about "About Me" here is a link to his/her blog:



  1. The guy's a prat (and talks ill-informed, pretentious piffle). Reminds me of those earnest militants back at uni - so full of righteous passion that they fail to see they merely adopt a political position that others are entitled to disagree with.

    For the record I disagree...

    Oh and on the anonymity issue - I've posted under pseudonyms in order to comment on things close to home but think that some hide behind it so as to be gratuitously rude.

  2. Why do you even bother to respond? I have a personal rule that (a) I always put my name to a comment - or I don't make comments I'm not prepared to put my name to; and (b) I expect everyone else to abide by a similar rule -- at least, if they wish to have their comment published on my blog.
    Terry Freedman, www.ictineducation.org

  3. Read 'About Me's post at the time and am constrained to say I thought it surprisingly naive for someone involved in an event as big as Climate Camp, and frankly rather insulting. Considered first dibs on the reaction should be yours though.

    Now you have, for what its worth I wholeheartedly endorse your response. The Aesop's fable - about the sun and the wind's competition comes to mind.

    It is fantastic to have strong and challenging ideals and to want to change your surroundings for the better. Too many of us, me included, if we are honest, think and do virtually nothing and so should be extremely cautious about criticising those who do get off their backsides.

    But to reject out of hand the idea that you can achieve even more, and likely more quickly, by being just a little cannier about the tactics you employ in dealing with the companies with which you have a problem, and more importantly to reject out of hand an offer of free assistance from someone expert in that field is a profound shame.

    Suggestions and offers of help are not criticisms. No-one knows it all, and no-one has a monopoly on the good ideas. If you can accept that, you are far more likely to succeed in whatever you want to get done.

    It would be great if after some further thought and reflection (and perhaps an apology for a slightly ill thought out first reaction - we are all guilty of that from time to time) those involved in CC would see they might benefit from some feedback and assistance in areas where perhaps they don't currently have so much expertise.

  4. Thank you to all for support. You may be interested to know that CC has not responded to me although I did inform them (via Twitter as I cannot leave any kind of message for "About Me") of this post.

  5. I read the original and I also thought it rather out of place - I thought it displayed an attitude that climate protest was a rather elitist activity!

    The notion of anonymity is an interesting one. When I started blogging, it was on a specific, somewhat community oriented, platform, and I viewed it as a social blog. I sued a pseudonym, because everyone else did. (I still blog there, though much less.) When I started on Wordpress, I viewed it as a more "professional" blog - talking about broader issues with a work-orientation, so I needed to use my real name.

    Under either guise, I believe one should only leave measured comments, because it is very easy to misinterpret naked words, without body language and other cues.

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