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Rant And Comment Policy, Manchester Confidential

The editor, Jonathan Schofield, explains

Written by . Published on October 28th 2013.

Rant And Comment Policy, Manchester Confidential

IN January 2014 Manchester Confidential is a decade old.

Readers who abuse the ‘rants’ should be aware that we own the medium, their comments are there because we allow them to be there. 

We’ve had our ups and downs but that’s a long life for any independent media in Manchester (think of all the others that have come and gone in the city during that time).

For the last ten years we’ve been unusual in allowing any clever Tom, Dick or Harriet, or any stupid Tom, Dick or Harriet, to say exactly what they want on the comment section of the site, aka the rants.

Of course we’ve always, when we’ve seen them, removed personal attacks from the site pertaining to individuals that are unsubstantiated.

But generally, we’ve been liberal in allowing comment, critical or complimentary, about the subjects touched upon in articles. We love it even more if readers’ comments involve wit and intelligence.

But lately we’ve had a twist into night, the comments have become darker, more loaded, the fun has lessened. Frequently the subject of the article is ignored in a flurry of unintelligent bitterness by certain individuals – the classic sort of ‘troll’ who uses the internet as a coward’s weapon to lash out from the safety of some remote keyboard.

So we’re changing things. A bit.

After all we are not some charitable open forum, we’re a commercial media company trying to pay the wages whilst attempting to comment, report and review the city as independently as any such company can.

Readers who abuse the ‘rants’ section should be aware that we own the medium, their comments are there because we allow them to be there. It's as though we’ve invited people into our house party and we welcome them but we don't want some of the guests, especially those disguised in masks, vandalising the rooms.

So in common with every other magazine with significant readership, we’ll be removing any rants we deem it necessary to remove, whenever we feel like doing so. It's up to us.

Let’s take restaurant reviews for which we are famous.

Comments are welcome on the review, the writing style, the general state of Manchester dining. Reasonable criticism is always welcome, but unsubstantiated, anonymous bile is now off-limits.

If certain readers want to slaughter a business then fine, but we will insist on an email to me, the editor, with proof that you’ve dined in the place. Otherwise the rant will be immediately removed. Any comments which tiresomely claim we are biased in scored food reviews will be automatically removed.

A good friend of Confidential, Margaret Hope, defines the age of the internet troll as one of rights without responsibility. It's a clever line.

So we will police and remove comments far more rigorously then previously. We are well aware of what a minefield this can be and we’d much rather not do it. We're hoping that nobody much will notice the shift because it'll be self-policing. People are fundamentally decent.

But when individuals seemingly with a grudge against Confidential, individuals at Confidential or particular Manchester businesses, spoil a comment thread with explosions of unsubstantiated anger then we will react.

Jonathan Schofield - editor. jonathans@theconfidentials.co.uk

An Old Style Debate With A Rogue Ranter On The Right About To Let Fly

An old style debate with a rogue ranter on the right about to let fly from the shadows

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32 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Mark GarnerOctober 28th 2013.

fill yer boots

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 28th 2013.

I'm trying to fill my boots MARK, but my post was deleted = Manc Guy :(

HGOctober 28th 2013.

Can I have a little "proper" rant? Your site takes soooooo long to load up pages and sometimes gives up altogether. Please please please fix it!

1 Response: Reply To This...
ktfairyOctober 29th 2013.

This does need looking at - I lik reading Mancon but do have to give up sometimes as it's not a quick loader...

HieronymousOctober 28th 2013.

Excellent. More conversation less conflict.

mancadamOctober 28th 2013.

dreadful bias being shown here, sucking up to well know ranting sycophant hieronymous by posting one of his awful paintings. he'll be along shortly to comment how "Excellent" this article is, no doubt.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
mancadamOctober 28th 2013.

on reflection this probably would have been funnier if it was actually heironymous bosch and not edvard much who painted "the scream".

HieronymousOctober 30th 2013.

Doubt it.

Alex24October 28th 2013.

"If certain readers want to slaughter a business then fine, but we will insist on an email to me, the editor, with proof that you’ve dined in the place." How would you prove you dined in a place though? - I think it's important that if you've had a bloody awful experience somewhere you should be able to 'rant' online as you see fit without censorship or excessive barriers being in place. However the first port of call for any kind of rant should be a conversation with a member of staff whilst you're in the place, not a more hyperbolic recollection of the experience online later. It's cowardly and people often employ language they never would dream of using face-to-face with another human being. Also if you are going to rubbish a place online, people should always think long and hard whether it fully deserves that treatment before venting - they are businesses with people's financial futures at stake after all.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 28th 2013.

You would prove it with the receipt they give you, also known as, 'The Bill'. I do however agree with your point that restaurants should be allowed the grace to resolve a situation, face to face, as and when it happens, in their establishment. Just as you would with any other physical product.

Jenny CollinsOctober 29th 2013.

Given the number of social media vehicles on which to 'review' unfortunately it's getting increasingly difficult for the 'reviewed' to respond to any critique. I wonder how long before we see some kind of legal action for slander/libel (I'm no lawyer). However I do think there is a place for public customer reviews (indeed following addressing any issues face to face): it encourages places to get off their laurels and up their game. Good reviews are also essential, if a place is doing something well, let them know as I'd expect you'd want the same service/dish/whatever next time (as most likely would other patrons) Essentially what ever increases the choice of quality places in Manchester the better for everyone!

JoachimOctober 28th 2013.

Man con should be for "grown up" discussion, those who wish to slag off restaurants just go to tripadvisor If you can't speak to a person face to face about the food/ service / value for money etc then why should they be able to hide behind anonymity on this web site! Just to be cynical is this also the proposed libel laws where the web site becomes liable for all postings.?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 28th 2013.

MARK, Unlike anyone in here, I've been more than 'grown up' to offer to meet ManCon folk on more than one occasion, and all offers have been ignored, so I wouldn't consider myself hiding behind anonymity. - Manc Guy

GordoOctober 28th 2013.

Manc Guy, I want you and one other person off this site. My Site. The one I own, pay for, along with 14 other people work my arse off for. You are poison. I have nothing else to say to you. Go somewhere else. We do now know who you are and shall be sending a cease and desist letter to your place of work.

NorthernGeezerOctober 28th 2013.

Personally, i don't believe a rant should be anonymous, at least with a soo-der-nim the ranter has to have registered with an email address.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
GimboidOctober 30th 2013.

You can't comment without being registered. Once you're registered you can choose to post anonymously instead of using your pseudonym.

AnonymousOctober 30th 2013.

Like this.

AnonymousOctober 30th 2013.

Not so, I've not signed in for years and have changed PCs etc and I've always been able to comment as anon.

Jonathan MoranOctober 28th 2013.

Jonathan was good enough to reply to my email and I understand his standpoint. Maybe myself and others have gone too far with some of the personal stuff. At the end of the day Mancon is a site I really enjoy reading. It is commercial enterprise and it was never my intention to 'attack' the business -if it came across that way I apologise to him, Gordo and the staff. I will continue to comment (using my real name incidentally) but will be more constructive with my criticism.

Richard HJOctober 29th 2013.

Lols not trolls.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 29th 2013.

Best comment on here!

Stephen LakeOctober 29th 2013.

I'm going to put that on a t shirt

HannahOctober 29th 2013.

I think you have completely missed the point of the comment section. Unless libellous (which you could moderate before comments go live) surely an open debate is healthy? After all sticks and stones....

1 Response: Reply To This...
Calum McGOctober 30th 2013.

But the point is, more and more crap is being posted on Man Con, including trolling, and it's diluting all the useful commentary and debate.

Jenny CollinsOctober 29th 2013.

I suggest removing the word 'rant' as it has negative connotations... I have posted on here many times and not once have I felt I was ranting although being quoted as a 'ranter' in a piece written by JS made me sound like a rather angry person (which I am not at all). If you want to promote debate and discussion rather than trolling maybe change the button to 'Post my comment' (Boring I know!)

DavidOctober 29th 2013.

I have no doubt what comments will be removed..Ones that the editor of this website does not like,ones that criticise him. His suggestion that Manchester Confidential is somehow more tolerant than other websites is just not true.Readers comments on the Guardian or Telegragh websites are far more critical of journalistic pieces.The problem is That Mr Schofield is an extremely sensitive soul to reader criticism of him.Now he wants to resort to censorship to hush it.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Mark GarnerOctober 29th 2013.

David. *Yawn* you won't be censored for criticising any of the writers. You will be censored for being boring, rude, libelous, again, boring or having an opinion on places you haven't been. I can't stand Jonno warbling on about sodding Architecture and I tell him on the rants. Did I mention boring? Go to Liverpool Confidential and look at their rants. I piss my pants they are so funny. But the two readers, out of 400,000 who visit us every few months, can go and get stuffed. It is because of them we are bringing in this new rule book. Did I mention the greatest crime? Boring?

Jonathan SchofieldOctober 30th 2013.

David I'm having a sensitive holiday, kittens, the works, don't ruin it.

AnonymousOctober 30th 2013.

Boring is subjective, so David's correct. You will delete posts you just don't like. Boring?

AnonymousOctober 29th 2013.

JS: In addition to your new policy can you do something about the crystal-ball commentators on here? I'm talking about those who preface every opinion with 'I have no doubt' or 'I can guarantee' in any and every situation where doubt and non-guaranteed outcomes are inherent. I don't want to ban them; let's just have a mini-spreadsheet of their confident predictions and see whether they could make a living on Blackpool Pier.

AnonymousMay 11th 2014.

I like cats

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