Let me start off by saying that MyTelegraph isn’t just a great idea–it’s a brilliant one. The idea of people of all backgrounds coming together to share ideas in an open forum is something I delighted at–the concept of which, remains a source of delight. But sadly her demos have become too great in respect of numbers and too small in respect of any modicum of intelligence–lest decency to facilitate much meaningful debate. Because of this, the Academy hath descended to the ethos of the gutter–and at times worse.
Free speech is a brilliant thing and as a free speech absolutist it’s not for me to tell the Telegraph how to police their fledgling child nor is it for me to dictate what her members can say. I can however offer my opinion, and seeing as this place was built on the crumbling masonry of the frustrations of that other place–why not do it here?
The biggest problem with that other place is that membership is not connected with any sense of institutional loyalty. This may at first sound overly old fashioned, but by letting every tramp, miscreant and illiterate onto a sight associated with the world’s finest paper(as the paper itself remains), it cheapens not only the name Telegraph, but devalues the contributions of loyal readers of many years–people on the left, centre though primarily the centre-right. Don’t think for a moment that people like Damien Thompson aren’t worried about the cheapening of the name. It’s the reason member originated content is hidden from view on the main page.
Indeed, what logic is there behind a paper working hard over many years to build a reputation millions have come to admire, only to allow itself to be the breeding ground of sub-standard ideas, spoken by sub-literate tin pot dictators? This is the question is it not?
If one wonders with specificity about the problems of that other place, it is fundamentally the same problem inherent in any overly heterogeneous and overly stretched democracy–the demos are too widespread–with loyalties spread too thin and no way to forge a common, high minimum threshold of intelligence.
I should very much think that an invited method of membership is preferable to the Lourdes ‘come as one is’ method currently being employed in that place. A monetarily viable invite system based on the liberal and tolerant methods employed by Bearsy in this place wouldn’t be a bad starting point–it would of course be limited to Telegraph readers, which hopefully a basic test of literary and historical knowledge applied to entrants. When people feel some thread of commonality the kind of blood feuds that transpire would be doubtless minimised.
Another idea would be for the Telegraph to partner with places like this and others like it, and subsequently allowing the best bloggers in places such as this to compete for a spot on the main Telegraph site–even though the person I’ve in mind isn’t in this place.
As of now, between the haphazard, cynical policing of that other place–reminiscent of a banana republic and the demos which have outgrown the britches of any sense of order, I see no hope for the place. I made the decision when that place was off-line to focus the primary output to my personal, one author site(http://agonenation.blogspot.com/). Here I can spew my drivel to my heart’s discontent, as frequently as I want–policed only by me.
I’ve still every intention to continue writing in multi-author fora, but between this place and that, this is the clear winner. It is more user friendly, the demos more individualised and therefore slightly more sensible, and it is policed by a competent and fair man. Make no mistake, I’ll continue to post there for the benefit of the several people there and not yet here whose comments I value. But frankly between this site and another one-author site which puts the leader writers of every Fleet Street paper to shame–I find myself less and less excited about going to that den of swordsmen, still to fall on their own rusty daggars.
Goodnight to all in The Cave–a better place to be, indeed!