Saturday, October 01, 2005

Clues to What's to Come?

I'm assuming all you lot have been to the UNP website (unpsrilanka.org), I heard that our ol' pal Indi's the one who set it up for them. I don't know if he does any admin work on it now, but I have some serious issues with the way it's being run.

This is taken from a post on the UNP site:
As you know the UNP is the first and still the only party to have an interactive website to invite peoples views on current issues. The response so far has been overwhelming! We are receiving hundreds of comments and emails daily, with views, comments and even specific recommendations. We have already sent the important ones to Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe’s senior aides for necessary action. So help us continue this good work in the spirit of fairness and decency.
Maybe if you count all the comments left for all the posts on the UNP site you'd make a hundred. Go to the site and check it out. Maybe they've hit 100 today, but they were on 90 something last night. So this statement is an outright lie. I don't like people who fudge their numbers and cook their books. If the UNP wants to play fair like they say their trying to do, then they should stop doing things like this.

Moving on to the bigger issue-

If you read some of the posts on the site, particularly this one, you'll be amazed by how all the people who leave comments are people who are very pro-UNP and call Ranil the great leader, and wish him luck and all sorts of such things.

Some golden lines:
I wish you a grand victory.

You are the only One, have a Vision about our Economy & the ethnic problem of Sri Lanka. Good Luck….

The country badly needs a honest, patriotic leader with a vision. You posses those qualities and hope after 17th November the golden era will be back in Sri Lanka.

You are the only honest leader, telling the truth and the reality to the people, with hiding nothing, proving the real meaning of the word “LEADER”.
I'll stop before I choke on my own puke...

Now let me be clear about one thing, I have nothing major against the UNP and/or Ranil Wickramasinghe. (Personally I guess I'd like to see him win, though I won't vote for him myself as I seem to be out of the voter list!). I do disagree with them on certain economic policies of theirs but I admire the party for taking the peace process forward (even if it was only to watch it stall) and or having the balls to bring about the ceasefire.

I do however have a big problem with curtailing the freedom of expression.

Seriously, if the UNP site allows space for people to comment, then it's bound to have a few resident trolls like our buddies dextr and astrocyte. Sometimes people like that (who seriously need to get away from their PCs and get a life) are mildly annoying, but they're quite entertaining. Allowing for anyone and everyone to say what they want, when they want to is what freedom of expression is all about. In standard practice hatespeech and such stuff is not tolerated but over here we've decided to let them be.

Getting to the point, I wanted to see why the UNP website didn't have any anti-UNP comments. The way I saw it, it could be one of several things.

1) Everyone online liked the UNP and thought Ranil was the great leader.
2) The site admin were deleting comments unfavourable to the UNP.

So I decided to test it. Using the name Morquendi, I made a comment on a post about not using abusive language in the comments made on the UNP site. The post has a rant about how the UNP does not engage in mudslinging. (I quoted that part at the start of this post).

This is how my comment went:
In my opinion it would be incorrect to say that the UNP does not engage in mudslinging. While they do resort to personal attacks much less than many of the other groups do, by giving stories like 'PM-CBK Heated Exchange at Cabinet Meeting'' undue prominence on this site the UNP too is resorting to a certain kind of subtle mudslinging. As far as the public is concerned giving prominence to stories that bring out the weaknesses of your opponents is equal to mudslinging.

Also when UNP members make statements like 'Mahinda Missed Opportunity to Clear Name', again they are resorting to subtle mudslinging. They are not accusing their opponent of anything, but they are insinuating it, and in terms of the impact this has on the audience, there's little difference.

This is why I believe the UNP's attempt to conduct themselves in a proper manner during this election campaign has failed so far, and needs to be a more genuine effort.
Many of you may believe that this is a lot milder than the stuff I normally write. But that was the point. I just wanted to see what level of criticism the UNP website's admin were prepared to tolerate. So I thought I'd start at the bottom by being mildly critical yet friendly.

When I was done writing, and had hit publish, I got a message saying 'Your comment is awaiting moderation'. So would the moderators make it vanish? Luckily I had made a notepad copy of it so I would know what I wrote (which is why I was able to reproduce it here DUH).

Today when I went online the comment was there on the post, almost. There was a slight hitch. A teeny weeny bit, but perhaps the most important bit, was missing. It had been edited out of the comment.

This was what was missing:
This is why I believe the UNP's attempt to conduct themselves in a proper manner during this election campaign has failed so far, and needs to be a more genuine effort.
The admin chose to remove this part. This is the level of critisism that the UNP website won't tolerate. What does this say about their attitude towards the freedom of expression? Does anyone here think they should have removed this? Was this offensive? Was this abuse? Was this hatespeech? If the UNP were to come to power would their media people treat the entire media like this? Would this kind of control expand to cover the print and electronic media as well? Would people who are critical of the UNP be 'deleted'?

The UNP just fell quite a few notches in my standing. What does the future hold for journalists and the free media if people such as those who run the UNP website were to manage the media in Sri Lanka?

Things do promise to get better if Ranil wins, but some things like the freedom enjoyed by the media, just might vanish.

Comments:
 
first, i am going to vote for ranil as things stand now, i recently wrote why in my blog.

i also think, that blogs being personal property, owners are free to do what they want with them, including deleting of comments and closing down of discussions. (though as a matter of courtesy they should indicate why they do that and better still have a consistent and clearly stated deletion policy if they want to be taken seriously at all.)

but, i also believe such actions are indicative of intolerance and preference for curtailment of free speech. bloggers who do this are guilty of censorship.

and nobody has a right to edit other peoples' comments without any indication. period. so what they did to your comment is unforgivable.

Things do promise to get better if Ranil wins, but some things like the freedom enjoyed by the media, just might vanish. given that government media is already not free and the main private media are highly sympathetic to unp , yes we will have less media freedom under ranil (we could very well end up like singapore in this regard ). when we vote for him we have be aware of this and decide accordingly. i am voting for him because he is the best option available not because he is the ideal option.
 
btw my comment above does not mean we have to accept intolerance and curtailment of free speech. we have to actively resist that in whatever way possible and whoever is the perpetrator of censorship.
 
that's pathetic ... Morq go back to the site and complain ... see if your whole comment gets deleted....

i cannot handle the really, huge font the web is written in - drives me crazy - it's just too irritating. Indi has a lot to answer for ... it was very obvious that the comments were from the party faithful - so the whole thing is terribly blah blah blah...

we do seem to have a whole heap of alternative candidates on offer though - so as said before - it's a 2-horse race. But maybe we need to look at other candidates?

What about Mr Dias, sittingnut? Is there room for an alternate to the 2 main parties - I know you've done the numbers but what should the people consider?

Morq, apart from playing continual truant with me and not complying with my request that you submit your official comments on the bpp - i am astounded that you are now telling me - you will not be voting in the election .... are you serious.... talk about lazy, shame on you. I suggest you get this rectified asap...

(unimpressed, disgraceful, mutter, mutter - not happy)
 
"If the UNP were to come to power would their media people treat the entire media like this? Would this kind of control expand to cover the print and electronic media as well? Would people who are critical of the UNP be 'deleted'?"

I think you're extending this a little beyond the scope of reality. It's the website of a political party, not a media outlet. They have a different role and a different responsibility - selling their party and their candidate.

In general though, it's sort of understood that a political party isn't about to advertise its deficiencies. If I visit, say, the Liberal Party of Canada's site, I can expect a whole lot of positive spin and absolutely no negativity. It's just expected.

But I agree that it's unethical to accept comments and then edit them, especially without some disclaimer stating that possibility.

It would probably reflect a little better on them if they removed the commenting ability altogether. A shade less manipulative, at least.
 
Gather Indi did the best he could given the resources he had.

Seriously the web navigation is really shoddy & overall the whole thing comes across as very amatuer...

I'm not sure how sophisticated maketing & advertising is in SL - nonetheless whoever is happily sitting in the editing room deciding how to fool the masses needs a good clop around the ears...

as I was saying to Lohan Gunaweera, the people of Sri Lankan deserve a leader who can hold his head up high, put his hand on his heart and say that he will protect the freedom, liberty & rights of all his people...

who can lay claim to this crown? So Ranil is out there talking about Kings & Kingdoms is he? - well send him the above message from a princess ;-)

For Valiant is the man that forsake his own castle
for the welfare and sustenance of his kinsman,
even though he be in turn forsaken by them ...
such is Valiance, Honour and Noble.
Ye who are able to rise to this challenge
raise thy hand & take the key to the kingdom
Thus it will not last a day nor a night
but for the very people ye choose to serve,
a whole eternity ...

Could someone insert this message into the website - perhaps & see what editing happens ;-)

err - sorry I can't - just do not have the patience - sorry
 
I agree with Ananthan's about the necessity for a disclaimer so that this issue does not come up repeatedly. Anyways, would have expected far more of the design and general online marketing thrust if Indi is indeed the webmaster of the site.
 
At least he's better than the webmaster of PresidentSL.org.

.org? A hotmail address as the official email address of the president?
 
princess :-) :
all the 3 rd party candidates are jokers. and it seems we will have some surprising ones in the next few days stay tuned.

as for website design it would be interesting to know how much the budget for this project was and how many people are working in it? that kind of censorship to work, requires permanent staff. anybody know?

anyway i hope and think ranil will win.
 
well that's a bit sad - I would really like this to be a bit more than a 2-horse race... still I'm going to make up my own mind - but please keep us posted on the new candidates...

re the offending website - well Morq is the man with the info - he has named indi the designer- I go by what you guys tell me as you know...

Yep - sittingnut you have definitely asked the right questions... i mean why would you even attempt such a thing if you could only achieve that.... the overall thing just looks terrible... I guess I've done all of this stuff & there are some very basic principles that should be adhered to ... ah well it's a pity it's such a shambles.

Mephisto doesn't even seem to think that indi did the thing - so again over to the dar k e lf - speak ye dumb beast - SPEAK!!!!

Oh & by the way sittingnut - you keep calling me princess & I'll come up with a few names I might call you - cheeky bloody devil - not my fault I'm the last descendent of the last king of Jaffna - pfff!
 
well that's a bit sad - I would really like this to be a bit more than a 2-horse race... still I'm going to make up my own mind - but please keep us posted on the new candidates...

re the offending website - well Morq is the man with the info - he has named indi the designer- I go by what you guys tell me as you know...

Yep - sittingnut you have definitely asked the right questions... i mean why would you even attempt such a thing if you could only achieve that.... the overall thing just looks terrible... I guess I've done all of this stuff & there are some very basic principles that should be adhered to ... ah well it's a pity it's such a shambles.

Mephisto doesn't even seem to think that indi did the thing - so again over to the dar k e lf - speak ye dumb beast - SPEAK!!!!

Oh & by the way sittingnut - you keep calling me princess & I'll come up with a few names I might call you - cheeky bloody devil - not my fault I'm the last descendent of the last king of Jaffna - pfff!
 
Can someone please confirm to me that this is Ranil's birthday - 26/11/57?
 
Dear Sanjay Senanayake,

Do fix up your own hate speech first before lifting your ass and and trying to preach to others. I guess all that abuse rendered unto you by all those Hindu priests at the kovil has really put some holes in your pea sized brain. How many blow jobs have you been giving the pooooooosaris recently?
 
Oh, and do you really blame the UNP website owners for pissing on your face Sanjay?
 
the site looks amateur, definitely. I've been a bit preoccupied and I really need to focus and fix it.

as for the number of comments, this is what I last saw on the dashboard.

"There are currently 621 posts and 390 comments, contained within 24 categories."

There are actually an awful lot of emails from the site, I guess cause people aren't used to blogging.

As for stuff being moderated, I think its any blog's right to moderate its comments. The UNP, especially, is trying to communicate a message and they have a right to control what's viewed on their site.
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
indi:
As for stuff being moderated, I think its any blog's right to moderate its comments
correct. but be honest about it and put up a notice with the policy. and realize that by 'moderating' as they do, they give up any right to be proponents of free speech.
and i don't think they have a right to edit individual comments without indicating so.
 
Yes Indi - that is a point. I mean it's no different to writing a letter to a newspaper. An editor has the right to streamline or shorten a letter.

However, do you have a right to totaly misconstrue the original meaning? No, not at all. C'mon when are Sri Lankan politicians going to treat their voters with respect?

Indi, looks like you're the man behind the wheel. Why don't you talk to the powers that be & change their attitude? Ranil is going to win 1000s more votes, espcially amongst the younger votes if he is seen to be accepting and tolerant of criticism.

I tell you, I am desperate for Sri Lanka to move on. Just desperate. Those of us that are in a position to change the old way of doing things & attitudes, MUST do so. I implore you to do so. Why be so blase about peoples freedom of speech?

I mean, I don't want anyone to get the sack, or get bashed up or ... whatever, but please, speak out if you can influence things for the better.

I'm more than happy to put up with the err... sorry Indi ... errr ... mediocre design so long as I know that the forum is being used in an honest & fair fashion & shows respect for it's viewers.

I'm behind Ranil 100%. I haven't finnished his astrological chart yet (don't worry it's comming warts & all!), but regardless of that, I want him to win. Doesn't mean I want him to bury his head in the sand like all the other brutal despots that run around our country. If he gets a second chance he absolutely MUST live up to the aspirations of ALL his people.

I don't give a bloody damn what caste he is or who his hairdresser is. It's a job & with it comes enormous responsibility.

I can't tell you how much of responsibility also rests on all of your heads. Please show some leadership.

The FILTH & disgusting personal attacks that go on in this blog are an indication of the pea-sized brains of some people. They have nothing to contribute to our country. But they bay like brainless morons & make the loudest of noise so they get noticed.

We need to keep our eye on the ball. What is it that we ultimately what for our country? Just because we are privilidged and will never be in the firing line does not mean that we forget the reality of our country.

By the way Indi, I owe you an apology, or more specifically your sister, it will be posted on my blog later on today...
 
This was what Morquendi or Sanjay Sennanayke said to Mitch Wagner of www.securitypipeline.com (http://securitypipeline.com/56800178) on last December 4th

"I think I have sent over 4,000 messages in the past four days. My keypad has just about stopped working—it's been giving me trouble this afternoon," he said. He also quips that his thumbs are nearly numb from all the activity."

Now a bit of simple arithmetic ....4000 sms in 4 days means 1000 sms per day ...50 sms for hour...

hmmm...to send 4000+ sms with in 4 days you have to sms at the rate of 50sms per hour...that is assuming that only thing you do is smsing...

I checked this numbers with the guy who sit next to me...'cause he sends some 600+ sms per month to his girlfriend. I think he can use the cell keypad at the same speed I use my PC keyboard..."this fellow must be using speech to sms converter" he coomented...

Wait! Some more to say... Wagner says...

" Senanayake said his phone is a very old and basic Nokia model.
....
...
Ironically, Senanayake was a late adopter of mobile phone technology. Mobile phones have been nearly universal in Sri Lanka's middle and upper classes for the past four or five years, but Senanayake resisted mobile phones until about four months ago. Prior to the disaster, he sent at most one or two text messages a day."

The same ....now writes...

".......So this statement is an outright lie. I don't like people who fudge their numbers and cook their books. If the UNP wants to play fair like they say their trying to do, then they should stop doing things like this..."...


So Morquendi! Are you one of those guys who hate themselves? Well I know for sure that some day you are going to start regret and hate yourself for what you do and how you behave...but I didn't know that day has already come...
 
????!!!!!

what is this all about - will someone please explain it to me - i am truly confused now....

i give up - is there any hope in hell that we can live together in the same place on this planet????

dear God never mind peace how about sanity!!!
 
Oh my god sanjay. You lying little bitch... So much for being the inspirational tsunami journalist. Sanjay took thousands of dollars from international donors/media etc saying he broke the world record for the most number of text messages per day. Fuck man.. think about the children.

Sanjay was too busy jacking off to dead bodies of little boys. How could he have sent 4000 sms in 4 days.

Actually the hourly rate should be much higher. If he was working for 10 hours every day for 4 days, he would have had to send 100 text messages every hour.
 
I'm sorry if I have shattered dreams of anyone of you...I just want to give you all a hint about the pathetic efforts of guys like Morquendi to portray themselves as "sophisticated journalists"...
 
Lying bastard. "Late adopter of mobile phone technology", using a "very old and basic Nokia model" sent 100 sms per hour for 4 days?
 
I don't think Morquendi is a liar. Are you Morq? I'm confused... Please tell me it's not true.
 
jini , dextr , anon:
get
1) a life.
2) a phone with sms,
3) some friends(just joking! i know you can't, so just get jhu loser list with phone nos)
4) send a broadcast
5) ask a person with a brain what all this means.

only then, since you will continue to suffer from insecurity, feel free to choose a new anon name to post more .... comments here.
 
Shut up bitch. Who asked you?
 
Go jerk off to a nice little dead boy with Tsunami-Sanjay. Fucking libbie... I'm not jini or anon btw.
 
sittingnut why are you so worrying ? Let Morquendi speak for himself
 
as i said get a life beore posting with a new name.
 
Sittingnut, the Princess would like to say that she is glad of the arrival of her esteemed royal Cavlary & would like thou to proceed with the utmost vigour!!!

Actually - I wish you guys were here... we've all been celebrating a bit of an event ... & of course I've got to cook & ... I tracked down some MALDIVE FISH!!! Ohhhhh - Joy, happy, happy, joy, joy!
 
So saith the wasted coke whore.
 
dextr why did you say 'so'?
 
Dude ru the coke whore's smack fag?
 
Jini, heard of 'sender lists'? or cellcasting?

It is possible to send out one message to more than one person at the same time.

I suggest a tech update for you.
 
Moving on to the original debate,

I don't think the UNP's site is personal property. For chirissake the UNP is a political party that we elect to or out of power. Anything they display publicly is not personal property in any way.

If a comment were deleted on a blog run by..mmm...Siripala, then we would know that Siripala is not too hot about free speech. That would be the logical conclusion.

But the difference here is that Siripala is not asking us to vote him in as the Executive President. If Siripala went around deleting comments on his blog that he didn't like, would you vote him in as Prez? If you cared anything for free speech and the freedom of the media, you wouldn't.

The UNP is a political party that has run Sri Lanka at various points in the past and is now asking us to vote their leader Ranil W as our President.

Now let's look at how this would play out in the other media. Let us think Siripala organised a press conference to talk to the media about his jock-itch. When a journalist asks him a question he asks them to shut up and go away. Big deal. It's not going to decide the fate of millions of people.

How would it look if Ranil W or someone from the UNP asked a journalist to shut up at a press conference? All hell would break loose, right? Because it would be a blatant indication of the way they plan to treat the media if they were to come to power.

So why should things be any different online?

To summerize, the UNP blog is not personal property, but the property of a political party that wants to run this country. How they run the website and treat the people who leave comments there is an indication of this stand on free speech.
 
Since our friend Dextr's been such a loyal fan, I decided to visit his blog today.

It's funny, almost an overdose of the single-brain-celled creature we have come to know so well :)
 
morquendi:
yes unp is a political party and it's actions should be judged as such. and it's blog policy certainly indicate a fondness for curbing free speech and censorship. people should be aware of that before deciding to vote for them.

but that is not the only issue on which people decide to vote. i for one will still vote for them because they are the best available option.

anyway this censorship business seems to catching. so called liberal party's blog 'lanka citizen' seems to have decided moderating comments like unp does is not enough so they close off all discussion.

when will sri lankan politicians understand the meaning of democracy?
 
posted a response as to why blogs are free to delete or moderate comments. Blogs are intrinsicly personal spaces, and the blogger (or organization) has full control over every word that's displayed on their site.

Blogs aren't obligated to publish comments in full any more than the Daily Mirror is. Acting like they do displays a fundamental misunderstanding of what a blog is.

Post: Blog-Eka?
 
Curtailing the freedom of speech or writing is a definite no-no in my list. People just have to exercise responsibility.
 
Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts.

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