Wednesday, June 21, 2006

When civil servants blog....

Stephen Hilton at Bristol City Council - shouldn't bother blogging

It's my birthday today. All donations to the usual charity please. And because it's my birthday, I'm going to seek to correct a very minor wrong that I believe I've suffered. Forgive the self indulgence here - anyone annoyed by this can get on with something else.


When civil servants blog, they behave like civil servants, I'm afraid. Well, Stephen Hilton does anyway. Ages ago, I posted a comment to his blog referring to a project he is involved in (one that I have political objections to). For background on those objections, I’ve written about them here and here.

Stephen 'moderates' his comments, or course. And they don't appear for a while - until he's had time to post a suitably cutting response. In this case, he chose sarcasm. Here it is:
Hello Paul,

Is your ideal representative democracy one where ward councillors say hello to their constituents once every three-to-four years and then don’t engage them again until next time there is an election?
And then - if you can disprove anything in his response - and you follow it up with a reply - he doesn't publish it. Or respond to an e-mail asking why he won't publish it.

Annoying or what?

So, here's a suggested rule. Civil servants - if they decide to blog - should restrict themselves to post-hoc moderation (to weed out the abuse). Or not bother blogging at all.

If he hadn't combined rudeness with censorship, I'd have forgotten all about it. But he did, and I haven't.
And if I weren’t annoyed I would have kept my views to myself about how tedious and self-congratulatory his blog is as well. But I am, so I won't.

(Oh yes – did I say that I DO practice post-hoc moderation? And if there is cock-up answer for the fact that comments are lost and e-mails go unresponded-to, I’d be happy to amend this post accordingly. I note that the Read My Day blogs suffer rather from trackback spam *grin*).


Tom said...

I'd never seen that blog before, and I don't suppose I'll look at it again. But, since you were asking for well-designed blogs the other day, can I nominate Steve Hilton's as one of the worst-designed I've ever seen. It's the font, I think. That and the white-on-black text.

(And yes, I know mine isn't well-designed either. But at least you can read it without your eyes hurting.)

Paulie said...

Yours is the worst-designed blog I've ever seen Tom. Can't think of which other blog it reminds me of tho'....


Andrew Brown said...

Ban Comic Sans