Monday, February 13, 2012

And the lights come on ...

Aha. It would appear that I am not allowed to comment on moderation as per the Guardian's Community Standards. It makes a certain sense, except that it doesn't quite. Not when it's obviously in jest. I'd always assumed comments were removed either for legal or "moral" reasons. Or simply because they cause digestive disruption, massive internal bleeding, or at least prolonged flatulence in exposed readers. Fair enough, but I still don't understand the problem with the initial comment that was removed. I do have about 6-7 years and several hundred of these behind me. I had assumed that I would have fallen foul of anything obvious before.

I'm officially intrigued, is it possible to get banned without actually saying anything offensive? Can I establish a covert rapport with my moderators? What is the shortest possible comment that would get me binned?


This is getting highly amusing. Or not. Apparently, sarcasm is also no longer allowed on the Guardian site. The following comment to this was instantly deleted moderated:

"I'd post a long, thoughtful comment if the last one hadn't gotten binned for no discernible reason."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

And another one ...

And another deleted comment on the same Guardian article, this time at 12.05 PM. This introduces an interesting recursive question: why can't I comment on the fact that I can't comment? Obviously, the rule is meant to prevent abusive commenters from perpetuating their abuse. However if the first comment was not in fact abusive, it just makes me look like a twat. Innit?

"I find it quite incredible that the rather rational comment I made earlier has been adjudged in breach of something or other. It goes without saying that it was hardly inflammatory, even if it questioned Taylor's (and the FA's) main narrative.

I find it quietly amusing that the only other comment, from hundreds, which was moderated was one in which I poked fun at those who believe Obama has no right to be president."

Deleted comments

This post was removed from the comments section of this article on the Guardian website 12.02.2012, I have absolutely no idea why. The Guardian does not explain its deletion moderation policy, nor is there any apparent recourse. I don't really know if one should use quotes when quoting oneself, or if therein lies the road to perdition and/or megalomania. I don't particularly care.

"I don't condone racism, nor for that matter, discrimination in any form. The Suarez-Evra incident however, does not hinge on supporters against opponents of racism. That would obviously be difficult to defend. It hinges on what constitutes racism, or rather racially-motivated abuse, within a particular context. Which would already be potentially muddy without the added complexity of a conversation in Spanish between a Frenchman and an Uruguayan on an English pitch and judged by an English panel.

If Suarez sported a swastika tattoo or made a raised arm salute, not many Liverpool supporters would think of backing him, but let's get the facts straight:

- the FA panel unequivocally stated that both they and Evra accept that Suarez is not a racist
- all the black players in the Uruguay squad, as well as the others, have spoken out in his defence
- Suarez himself has a black grandfather and by all accounts his closest friend at Ajax was Urby Emanuelson, who is of Surinamese heritage
- numerous Uruguayan and South American personalities have all stated that at worst, this is a case of cultural misunderstanding

Now let's examine Evra:

- in the Stamford Bridge incident, the FA itself judged Evra to be an unreliable witness and prone to exaggeration
- the French FA, after the WC 2010 debacle, actually called Evra a liar
- Evra has gone as far as to accuse the whole of Senegal, the country of his birth, of racism towards him after opting to play for France

Regardless of what you may think happened in this particular case and let me repeat it one more time, there were no corroborating witnesses or evidence. It's just Evra's word. On the balance of probabilities, as the FA panel phrased it, it would at least seem fair to say that while Suarez has no actual history of racially abusing anyone (the contrary seems true), Evra does have a history of having a hair-trigger sensibility as to perceived racial abuse.

Which does not mean that he lied. Indeed, since the Spanish word for black, "negro", is awfully close to the derogatory French term for black people, "nègre", I can see how Evra could have misunderstood and felt slighted. But conversely, it's equally possible to understand how Suarez might feel slighted at being branded a racist. Within that train of thought, it's hardly a leap to see why he would refuse to shake Evra's hand. If one thing is clear about Suarez it's that he is a highly emotional person. I fail to see how Daniel Taylor can state that it was premeditated.

Be that as it may, the whole thing is a sorry mess. No one comes out of this looking good. I would however point the finger squarely at the FA for first seeming to make a clear-cut judgement on a very muddled case, let's not kid ourselves about the independence of either FA or FIFA panels, and then for pretty much setting up the fiasco yesterday. It would seem fair to question why they scrapped the handshake for QPR-Chelsea and didn't do it for UTD- LFC. Unless of course they were trying to deflect media attention from what happened in between. Namely, Terry being stripped of the captaincy and Capello resigning in protest.

Again, let me be very clear. I am not blindly defending anyone. Nor am I blindly condemning anyone. I am trying to make a case for the minority position in what has become an extremely ugly spat. I do think the press have largely missed the mark by never trying to question the main narrative, however worthy their intentions."