Author Topic: Spam or not Spam?  (Read 16875 times)

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Offline Grant Shapps MP

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Spam or not Spam?
« on: December 04, 2006, 08:24:16 am »
Quote
This is a minor aside, but one that has bothered me for a while. Why is it that every campaign that Grant Shapps runs involves signing up for what I feel is spam?

Quote:

I understand that I will receive updates on the "Hospital SOS" campaign, as well as to other campaigns run by Grant Shapps MP.

Grant, you do yourself no favours. If I want more information on other topics I'll ask for it, but until you change this policy, I for one won't register on any of your sites or with any of your campaigns.

[Quote moved from the Save The QEII Topic and added to this mail for context - John Fraser]

John,

Unsubscribing to my email list is as simple as asking to be unsubscribed once.

I also run a permanent "exclusion list" and so anyone who accidently signs themselves up to the list (and I can't think why they would do that when all they have to do is uncheck a box) can avoid being mailed anyway.

To be blunt, if I didn't communicate with the public then I'd be damned -- and according to you -- if I do... well I'm still damned!

Sounds like I can't win, but I'm pleased to say that  I've recently won a best use of new technology award for the effort that I do make to keep in touch with my constituents:
http://www.welwynhatfieldconservatives.com/page/3/317/

The moral of the story is either don't sign up to my petitions, or untick the box if you do, or ask to go on the permanent exclusion list, or ask to be unsubscribed.  Really, it's not that hard.

Frankly I've watched forum moderator side-comments about my apporach to communicating with my constituents for a long time with near disbelief and would now be very interested to hear the thoughts of others.

Kind regards
Grant Shapps MP

P.S. At the risk of overcommunicating and back on the subject of the main thread, we received national BBC One News TV coverage for the http://www.HospitalSOS.com campaign launch in Hatfield on Saturday and anyone who missed it can view the video in the first main news story on http://www.shapps.com

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« Last Edit: December 04, 2006, 12:59:29 pm by John Fraser »
 

Offline Cassie

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Spam?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2006, 08:51:35 am »
Frankly I've watched forum moderator side-comments about my apporach to communicating with my constituents for a long time with near disbelief and would now be very interested to hear the thoughts of others.

Kind regards
Grant Shapps MP

P.S. At the risk of overcommunicating and back on the subject of the main thread, we received national BBC One News TV coverage for the http://www.HospitalSOS.com campaign launch in Hatfield on Saturday and anyone who missed it can view the video in the first main news story on http://www.shapps.com



I, for one, am pleased to see you communicating with us on this forum.

I posted the original link to the Youtube video on 11th November as I felt that everyone should have the opportunity of seeing it.

We saw very little of our previous MP so I think we should be grateful that we now have one who uses this medium to communicate to us.

 

Offline sasquartch

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Spam?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2006, 09:25:42 am »
Cassie - I agree with you completely.

Grant - I think you are doing a great job with the campaign to save the QE2. At the very least it raises awareness and if this results in a few extra emails then so what ? I'm a moderator on this forum - not all of us hold the same, I have to say, consistently negative views of JF.

John - It is hardly fair to classify emails from Grant as spam. What I call spam is an endless stream of messages from people trying to get me to buy various medications, shares in unheard of companies or allegedly Afican government officials trying to share their ill gotten fortune in exchange for a percentage. All of Grant's campaigns affect us in BP by virtue of the fact we live in his constituency. I receive the odd email now and again, that's all. Whether you voted for him or not, Grant is representing us all in parliament and as such should let us know what he is up to. As Grant points out it's pretty simple to opt out.
 

Offline Largey

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Spam?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2006, 09:50:56 am »
Well said Cassie and Sasq !!

John, as a forum mod I would have thought you would understand the difference between solicited and unsolicited emails.. anyway lets not get off topic too much as this thread was to generate awareness of the issues with the QEII and not peoples personal opinions about whether to tick a box or not.

As a reminder .. as many as possible to support the quest by signing online at  http://www.HospitalSOS.com
 

Offline Mermaid

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Spam?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2006, 10:22:12 am »
I signed up to Grant's petition a while ago, unchecked the box as indicated, and have only received emails regarding the hospital campaign, which I find totally acceptable. I am pleased that he is leading the fight to keep the QE2 open and it doesn't matter to me which political party he represents as long as he  does the job that he was elected to do, and does it well.

But I must pick Grant up on his comment about the 'forum moderators side-comments'. There are a number of moderators - including myself - and I believe that the majority of us have NOT commented on his approach to communicating with his constituents. I certainly haven't.

I suspect, from that comment, that Grant may be frustrated by the Editorial policy of the (very successful) site and forum which is to remain non-political and non-religious and not to permit any overt proselytising from either of those groups. I still think that this is the right thing to do, and anyone who wants an injection of politics or religion can easily access other sites (including Grant's own) for that.
 

Offline James Bentall

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Spam?
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2006, 11:17:10 am »
But I must pick Grant up on his comment about the 'forum moderators side-comments'. There are a number of moderators - including myself - and I believe that the majority of us have NOT commented on his approach to communicating with his constituents. I certainly haven't.

I suspect, from that comment, that Grant may be frustrated by the Editorial policy of the (very successful) site and forum which is to remain non-political and non-religious and not to permit any overt proselytising from either of those groups. I still think that this is the right thing to do, and anyone who wants an injection of politics or religion can easily access other sites (including Grant's own) for that.

No - that'll be me. I had a minor er.. disagreement with Grant a few years ago about his email sending policy above- it was nothing to do with this site however. My issue was much the same as John's - if I sign up to get information about his QE II Hospital campaign, I don't really want to receive information about his Quieter A1(M) campaign as well. However, Grant has changed his signup forms since then - at the time they didn't have any option to opt out and they do now, so I don't see it is so much of a problem. I don't see he is doing anything different from anyone else.

Grant has fully got my support on this one - the poster is up in my window at home!

James
« Last Edit: December 04, 2006, 11:18:33 am by James Bentall »
James Bentall, Brookmans Park, Herts.
I post in a personal capacity and not on behalf of North Mymms Parish Council
 

Offline Bob Horrocks

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Spam?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2006, 12:24:29 pm »
If given the choice between Grant Shapps and previous MPs, both parties, I know which I prefer.

Keep up the good work Grant.


John_fraser

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Spam or not?
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2006, 12:34:32 pm »
I've split these posts out from the QEII topic to keep that on topic. I'll post a reply to Grant and all in due course, but for now that's all the time I have available.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2006, 12:46:10 pm by John Fraser »
 

Offline Editor

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2006, 08:03:42 pm »

Frankly I've watched forum moderator side-comments about my apporach to communicating with my constituents for a long time with near disbelief and would now be very interested to hear the thoughts of others.


Dear Grant,

I think it's best if you either message the forum moderators concerned directly or message me and we can discuss this offline, rather than generalise about a group of volunteers who help run a community forum in their spare time.

David
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John_fraser

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2006, 10:38:19 pm »
Grant, the checkbox on the hospital site and every other site says “I understand that I will receive updates on the "Hospital SOS" campaign, as well as other campaigns run by Grant Shapps MP.” I always thought this was a curious use of words, which implies that the only option is to state that “I don’t understand …” If, as you seem to imply, this is an opt out for the mails on other subjects then you should change the text accordingly. Personally I’d also like the option of receiving no mails on any subject and a privacy statement that also rules out giving my e-mail address to any third party at all under any circumstances short of a court order.

My definition of spam is bulk unsolicited e-mail, which is why I feel that this option is promising spam. You may feel these mails are relevant to me, but the guy who sends me Viagra mails probably thinks they’re relevant too. To some people your mails are wanted and relevant, but some people need Viagra too and I’d like to decide who sends me bulk emails. I know it says “You may unsubscribe at any time” but the first rule of spam control is “never ever under any circumstances whatsoever click on the unsubscribe link!” As I see these as spam I won’t use the unsubscribe service.

Grant, you will never and has never been criticized by me for actually communicating. Something you do infinitely better then you predecessor – although I think we’d both agree that she didn’t exactly set the bar too high. Oddly enough I seem to recall the same criticism being raised when I posted a complaint about junk mail being sent to my house despite it being registered with the Mail Preference Service. I don’t think my comment then (or now) was “snide” nor do I feel they were unjustified. Possibly you were annoyed or upset by them feel they were “snide” but I doubt it. By now you are used to Westminster where the atmosphere is a lot more robust than anything I’m going to post.

Finally, I wish you luck in the QEII campaign but I won’t sign a petition (and after all the object is to gain signatures) on this or any other of your campaigns I would like to support, until I feel I won’t be inviting you to spam me.
 

Offline supersonic

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2006, 11:22:31 pm »
Grant,

I too have criticised you in the past. I am still not yet a local resident, but when I do get to be one of your constituents you definitely will not have my support. I believe the way you attempt to hijack personal data contact information to use it across all your campaigns is just wrong, and as before (though I'm sure this will continue to fall on deaf ears) I would again encourage you to be transparent and switch to an opt-in approach rather than an opt-out one.

supersonic
« Last Edit: December 04, 2006, 11:55:54 pm by supersonic »
 

LongTallSally

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2006, 07:55:47 am »
Firstly, I would like to congratulate Grant on his hard work. It is great news for all of us that our MP is not only actively involved in local matters but is also easily accessible. I really appreciate that I can walk into the village and chat to him about issues that affect myself and my family. Never before has my local MP been so approachable.

I do feel here though, Grant has misjudged the public mood.

Coming from an IT background, I am well aware of the dangers of giving out too much information. At a time when identity fraud is prevalent it is vital we all take steps to protect ourselves...and that means keeping important details within a controlled environment.

It is understandable and sensible for people on this site to complain about the prevalance of spam. I have recently been the victim of an email address hijack, and although no crime has been committeed, I have received multiple replies from automated systems regarding emails they believe I have sent. While I wasted considerable time filtering these 'cursed' emails out of my inbox folder I inadvertedly deleted emails I wanted. Annoying, frustrating and a waste of my precious time.

Nor, do I think it wise to criticise people who comment frequently on this site. This site is a valuable asset to the community and although I don't always post, I read most of the remarks.

If you regard sensible complaints as snide-remarks, you may find this site disappearing and that would be a great loss to us all.


 


 

Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2006, 10:37:41 am »

It is understandable and sensible for people on this site to complain about the prevalance of spam. I have recently been the victim of an email address hijack

Me too.  I have occasionally received an email which purports to have been sent by me. I opened them just to see what I was supposed to have sent out in my name.  The usual of course - pills and potions.

On the news this week I heard that about 90% of emails are spam.  Mine is about 99%.  Please note - this is not the start of a competition to see who gets the biggest percentage of spam!

Offline Peter Hastings

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2006, 07:23:06 pm »
My "bank" has emailed me again today to verify my personal details!

From my MP though I'd rather have too much info than not enough. I can opt out easily if I want to and its cheaper, more efficient, more effective and tidier than leaflet drops every week or so! I particularly have no problem with this full use of the modern tool of the internet because these are local campaigns, not party political ones. I wouldnt want too many "Cameron for PM" messages but keeping our hospital and green belt-happy to sign up and get more info.
 

Offline Editor

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2006, 09:51:33 am »

Frankly I've watched forum moderator side-comments about my apporach to communicating with my constituents for a long time with near disbelief and would now be very interested to hear the thoughts of others.


Dear Grant,

As you haven't responded to my invitation to expand on this, am I to take it that you have resolved the issue with the moderator/s you were referring to?

I am extremely grateful to the site's nine moderators and can't see any of them making comments that were not part of a healthy and open debate.

Are you able to expand on the "forum moderator side-comments" that you read with "near disbelief".

If you are more comfortable mailing me privately, I would be happy to discuss offline.

David

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Offline ADM

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2006, 09:47:26 am »
I think we're in danger of being a little bit precious.

John - Grant didn't say 'snide comments', he said 'side-comments'.

Dave - Grant's not attacking your moderators so there's no need to act like a mother hen.

Grant - when I try and untick the 'spam' invite, I get an error saying...

A runtime error has occurred.  Do you wish to debug? 
Line: 278
Error: 'chcked' is undefined (sic)

Could be a spelling error, could be the network here at Global Superbank, whatever, I can't sign the petition without signing up for a load of stuff I don't want.

That's a problem to me and prevents me signing the petition.
 

Offline Grant Shapps MP

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2006, 01:02:56 pm »
Hi all,

Oops, I hadn't meant to kick off quite such a debate and do want to say how proud I am to live in a village with such a great forum and website. We're very fortunate indeed. Also, I don't underestimate the amount of work required to keep a forum up and running, let alone moderated. I know all about this from personal experience of running the Welwyn Hatfield Forum.

But to clarify my original comment about moderators continuing to go on about my email list, it was actually a comment intended for John Fraser (because you'd happened to just commented on it John) and David Brewer (because you also have a bit of a thing about it and do mention it periodically) -- but I should say that I hadn't appreciated that there were so many other moderators working this forum and didn’t mean to involve them.

As far as my email list is concerned I simply cannot see the problem…

Look, this is really very simple. If you do not want to be on my email list simply DON'T SIGN UP TO IT.  That's it, the end of the story! 

However, if you are on the list already and want to be removed, as you know there are instructions at the foot of every email to do so and for clarification they amount to simply emailing me at grant@shapps.com and ask to be taken off. I honour all removals almost instantly.

I don't think I can really make this much more straightforward. I absolutely hate spam and we effectively sacked a volunteer who once went overboard in proactively trying to gather emails. I would do the same again. Spam has no part to play in keeping residents informed and it is in fact completely counterproductive if people don’t want to receive the information.

So just to recap....

1. If you don't want to be on my email list, please don't sign up and you won't hear from me.

2. If you are on it and want to come off, just let me know and you'll be unsubscribed.

3. If you simply don't think you can trust yourself not to sign up in a moment of weakness, but want to permanently insure against being on the list, then just ask to be added to my permanent exclusion list which I run according to the law on data.  That way even if you ask to be added to the list, you can’t be.  That's it!

Now how about we get back to fighting the real issues that concern us all, like saving the QEII Hospital.  Although I’ve established this campaign, it's now a completely cross-party and if you haven't yet signed the website is here: http://www.HospitalSOS.com

All best wishes
Grant Shapps MP

P.S. Thanks for feedback on the runtime error.  I am having it investigated.

« Last Edit: December 11, 2006, 01:11:14 pm by Grant Shapps MP »
 

Offline supersonic

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2006, 03:28:01 pm »
Quote from: Grant Shapps MP
Look, this is really very simple. If you do not want to be on my email list simply DON'T SIGN UP TO IT.  That's it, the end of the story!

Grant, I find this to be pompous arrogance of the very worst kind, and very disappointing from an elected public servant.

You have had through this forum some significant feedback about a concern over the way you gather and use identification information from people who sign up to your petition(s).

Rather than acknowledge those concerns, or give any kind of courtesy to those who have taken the time and trouble to post their thoughts for you so that you might benefit from their feedback, instead you stamp your feet like a child throwing a tantrum and yell IN BLOCK LETTERS that the answer is, if we don't like the way you do it, we shouldn't sign up. (Err, Grant, have you noticed? none of us who have expressed the concerns have!)

I, rightly or wrongly, expect more than this kind of response from an elected representative. I certainly expect you to treat me with respect, and to be courteous about my views even if you don't agree with them. In short, I expect you to respond to me with the same kind of civility I have used in expressing my feedback to you.


supersonic
« Last Edit: December 11, 2006, 05:02:56 pm by supersonic »
 

John_fraser

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2006, 06:17:15 pm »
So just to recap....

1. If you don't want to be on my email list, please don't sign up and you won't hear from me.

Are you collecting signatures for good cause or are you collecting email addresses for your own reasons?
 

Offline sasquartch

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2006, 09:33:38 pm »
I've always been interested in the forum and have been a regular poster for years and am now a moderator.

A friend of mine calls the site whingers.com and I now have to say I completely agree with him.

I think certain people have too much time on their hands as the continual pettyness, pedantry and cynical remarks posted on this thread will only damage the reputation of the forum.

We are lucky to have someone in a prominent public position, Grant Shapps MP, who has taken on the cause of fighting the proposed closure of the QE2. Certain people have made continual complaints about Grant's website and supposed spam which are a) extremely minor in the grand scheme of things, and b) Grant has responded to every point.

Come on everyone, if we could use all this effort used to continually criticise everything about Grant's alleged spamming activities for something positive we might acheive something, eg help stop the closure.

John Fraser - you said you haven't signed the petition. You should be ashamed of yourself. You seem hell bent on criticising every aspect of his petition - yet you could spend a fraction of the time you've spent posting and sign the petition and then add yourself to the permanent opt-out list. I hope you won't have problems taking yourself or your children to Stevenage, Watford or Barnet if the QE2 does close. For someone supposedly in IT I'm sure you ought to be capable of setting up an email address used only for Grant's site if you're that worried about it.

Dave - this is your site and obviously you can do what you like with it, but I feel the issues of spam have been raised and addressed by Grant. At some point, there has to be a degree of trust and whilst the cynical among you would say 'never trust a politician' I can't see how a cross-party campaign can be bad for anyone in the village. So perhaps we should try and give the benefit of the doubt for what is a worthwhile cause.

Supersonic - I think you may be guilty of pomposity yourself. Give the guy a chance ! I think your attack on Grant was over the top.

ADM - fair point !

Everyone else who has criticised the campaign - Get a life and stop complaining about everything. You are clearly intelligent people, surely you realise this constant, unconstructive negativity serves only to devalue the site further, that is in no-one's interest. Post when you have something constructive to say. The nickname of whingers.com will only become more popular if the forum is just full of people trying to criticise everyone else. Which is perhaps what I'm doing of course.

Grant - I suggest you stop wasting your valuable time responding to the handful of posters who seek only to put down the campaign. I am absolutely sure the vast majority of BP residents support you.

Let's all remember the importance of saving the QE2. That's what important, not winning some pedantic argument about spam or otherwise, it's such a minor issue in comparison even if it were abused which I don't believe is the case.


 

Offline peppermint

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2006, 10:20:49 pm »
Well said.
 

Offline Editor

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2006, 10:24:09 pm »
Sasquartch,

This thread is about spam, which is what some people are genuinely concerned about with good reason.

David
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Offline sasquartch

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2006, 10:31:24 pm »
Dave

The point is that emails regarding Grant's campaigns can hardly be defined as spam.
 

Offline Angel

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2006, 10:56:22 pm »
Well said.

I agree (easier to quote your post rather than Sasquatch's which is quite long!)
 

Offline Editor

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2006, 06:42:40 am »

A friend of mine calls the site whingers.com and I now have to say I completely agree with him.

I think certain people have too much time on their hands as the continual pettyness, pedantry and cynical remarks posted on this thread will only damage the reputation of the forum.


Hi Sasquartch,

I have been thinking more about what you wrote last night.

I think we need to respect people who have genuine concerns. That is why the forum was set up. You might not share those concerns --- and you might not know the circumstances that have led to those concerns being raised --- but if they are expressed within the rules of the forum, then they should be respected as valid points of view.

The beauty of a forum like this is that people can express their points of view and others can either agree or disagree. Those who are uncomfortable with what is said can register and offer their own perspective. Those who don't welcome robust debate are also free to dismiss the site as "whingers.com ".

Either way, I feel we should encourge the diverse range of opinions made in the contributions to this site as a positive rather than a negative.

David

 :)
« Last Edit: December 12, 2006, 06:43:41 am by David Brewer »
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Offline sharks

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2006, 09:52:17 am »
Open posting to all members.

I think you will find that I am the person that Sasquartch refers to about whingers, not sure if the quote is entirely mine but a sentiment I share none the less.  Sasquartch sorry if not - i'll buy you a beer in Wednesday.

The website does have many good uses and serves the community well.  All of the moderators should be particularly proud of what they have achieved.  I do feel that sometimes we step beyond the boundaries of appropraite use of the website when postings become personal.  This they have done recently.  The instant messaging facility is a particularly good tool for this so debates that have gone on in public previously can be had in private.

We should all be mindful that people can be overly sensitive about subjects they care passionately about.  Wouldn't it be nice if one of those instant messages turned into a phone conversation and then maybe mutual understanding and dare I say it friendship.

My point is this.  Heres hoping that the site continues its good work in the new year.  Lets wish each other a merry xmas and a very happy and prosperous new year.
 

Offline ADM

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2006, 10:49:45 am »
Stuff that.

Let's have a punch-up.
 

Offline sasquartch

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2006, 01:31:09 pm »
sharks - I agree. The exchange of views has possibly become too personal, and I apologise if I have offended any of you. I do feel that other people have unfairly criticised Grant Shapps and I still stand by everything that I've posted.

I believe the website and forum are valuable resources and we as a village are lucky to have someone of Dave's talent and professionalism willing to spend considerable time running it. Just as different newspapers have different reputations, I wouldn't like to see the website's reputation become one based on whinging. There is a real possibility of this in my opinion but of course I will defend anyone's right to post anything, as long as it's within the bounds of the forum policies.

I would also like to echo shark's sentiments and wish all users and moderators a happy Christmas.

ADM - wait until I've had the beer from sharks first - then I may feel more like a fight  :icon_jokercolor:
 

Offline Local Walker

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2006, 03:22:02 pm »
should there be a poll on the topic
 

Offline peppermint

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Re: Spam or not Spam?
« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2006, 04:29:53 pm »
Sharks and Sasquarch - I agree with both of you.   This is an excellent forum for discussing local issues.   We do not all expect to agree with each other all of the time - how boring would that be?  and I am sure we all whinge at times about topics that irritate us.   I do think that when whinges are written down rather than spoken they do sometimes come across as petty but the majority of discussions on the forum are proactive.  Long live the BP Forum and a Merry Christmas to you all. :icon_jokercolor:
 

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