Dear fab VentnorBlog commentors, among the 45,000+ comments that you’ve put on VB, 6.66 one-hundred-thousandths of a percent of them (that’s 0.0000666%) have contained the phrases ‘brown envelopes’ and council or councillors.
Now, it wouldn’t surprise us if every council – the length and breadth of the country, or even worldwide – frequently had those phrases used in the same sentence, normally without any grounds whatsoever. It’s just something people say occasionally.
The Isle of Wight council obviously feel very sensitive about these words – so much so, that each of the three times it’s happened, they’ve used the not-cheap resources of the council’s legal department to write legal threats to VentnorBlog about it.
In the glass-half-full way, we guess it’s flattering to all VB commentors to know that the council finds your comments so fascinating that they’re reading all of them.
Unlike others, who take issue with the occasionally VB comment that is near the knuckle, the council legal department don’t just use the ‘Report this comment’ that sits next to every comment on VB, but go to the extra time/expense of instructing the legal team to compose and write a letter.
Press accreditation threats
They’ve also taken the opportunity to threaten VentnorBlog that they might remove our ‘press accreditation’, if we don’t read and moderate each and every comment that appears on the site.
As we’ve told them – VB isn’t going to do that, for a couple of reasons.
Not enough hours in the day
Firstly, frankly there aren’t enough hours in the day to continue to provide the Island news service that we do currently, never mind read each and every comment.
Second, a little bit of research into the online publishing world will also give them the clear guidance that post-moderation (ie comments go up without passing through and editorial filter and are may be removed only if there’s a problem with them) is the industry-wide standard approach.
Having to deal with the ‘you naughty things’ letters from the council’s legal department is a dreadful drag, as well as throwing yours and our taxes down the drain, so please do us a favour and refrain. If you have proof of a claim of corruption, that’s quite a different matter, so please get in touch with us.