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Twitter reinstates my account: A huge thank you

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I recently blogged an open letter to Twitter after they informed me that my Twitter account @GSpellchecker would be ‘permanently suspended’.  This produced a flurry of interest and support on a scale far greater than I had anticipated nor experienced for anything else I’ve been involved with before. It seems my fellow Twitter compadres have a potent dislike for injustice.

Well, today my Twitter account was reinstated in record time and I received an apology email from Twitter.  Hurrah!

Although the email (pictured above) is generic and unrevealing, it is the desired and correct decision from Twitter.  Below is my brief reply to it:

Hi,

Thank you for your prompt and positive response.

I would please urge you to review and investigate the individual, or individuals responsible for these bogus reports – and review any other suspensions they’ve caused as I’m aware I’m not their only victim.

Thanks again,

It does appear to confirm my suspicions however – individuals (or an individual) are making bogus reports of ‘abuse or harassment’ to silence criticism, or people they simply do not like.  This is clear given the ‘review’ carried out by Twitter deemed the initial reports against me were not substantive enough to warrant the suspension or banning.

It’s amusing to note just how much this attempt to shut me down has backfired; indeed as a result, my blog visits have hit record numbers and downloads of my podcast have spiked.  Not to mention my Twitter ‘followers’ have now crossed a 50,000 milestone.  I’ve also had media enquiries and received my first new Patreon supporter in weeks.  So, I suppose this is a thank you to those responsible for my suspension too.

As before, I will continue to use my voice to critique bad ideas and their ideologues, with civility – but without abuse or dilution.

I will always oppose abuse and harassment in all its forms, but it’s equally important that those who wish to stifle legitimate criticism, satire and dissent via disingenuous tactics be exposed and held to account for their behaviour also.  I hope Twitter takes a good look at the responsible parties in this instance and revokes the privileges that allow them to influence automatic suspensions and bans.

I want to say a HUGE thank you to those of you who’ve shared my open letter, contacted Twitter on my behalf and sent messages of support my way.  For the first time since joining Twitter I’ve actually been unable to cope with the sheer volume of tweets coming my way, so I apologise if I’ve not replied to your well-wishes, but please know it’s appreciated and has not gone unnoticed.  It’s overwhelming, thank you.

You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

Suspended on Twitter again: Help me find out why this time.

twitter_jail_icon Update 06/12/2015- My main account has been fully restored. A HUGE thank you to everyone who shared this page and asked questions on my behalf. It means a lot. Reason has prevailed!

It appears SkyNet, or whatever algorithm Twitter uses to assess their abuse reports has seen fit to suspend my @Gspellchecker account yet again.  This isn’t the first time.  Given the number of times this has happened though, it’s fair to say it could be my last.  Termination surely looms.

Whenever this happens – I initiate Twitters’ appeal process and wait.  Twitter eventually emails me back (sometimes up to 30 days later) to inform me I’ve been reported for ‘Targeted Abuse And Harassment’.  I respond to say I’ve never sent a single abusive tweet, nor harassed or encouraged the harassment of others.  I also request examples of this ‘Targeted Abuse and Harassment’. Twitter then ignores my request for examples, re-activates my account, warns me it could be permanent next time and the cycle begins again.

Is anyone bored yet?  I am.

Funny thing though; as documented on this blog before, Mo Ansar has accused me of ‘targeting’ him with a ‘campaign of hate & harassment’ via a number of tweets.  You’ll notice these accusations map on to the reasons provided for my suspension by Twitter. I’ve also asked Ansar to provide me with examples of this and to confirm whether he has in fact reported me for these ‘offences’.  I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear Mo has failed to provide examples or confirm he has reported me.

Another funny thing; each suspension occurs the very same day I reply to a Mo Ansar tweet challenging some absurd claim he has made.  This may be simple correlation and completely unrelated of course.  I’m not a naturally paranoid man – but given Mo Ansar has been known to report someone to the police for challenging him on Twitter, or even go so far as contact someone’s place of employment to demand that they’re fired, I’d say it’s a real possibility.

Now, the idea of self-victimisation makes me feel nauseous, but I can’t help but think that it is I who has a case for being harassed, targeted and ‘bullied’ at this point.  I have emailed Twitter to ask them to investigate.  I intend to follow this through until they can provide me with examples of ‘abuse and harassment’ and look into whether Ansar is the one making these false reports.  Who wants to help?

If you are also annoyed with a fellow infidel constantly having their Twitter privileges removed for no good reason and share my suspicions, there is a process you can follow to demand an investigation. Twitter does allow you to file reports on the behalf of others.  This may be a good opportunity to ask Twitter to investigate the reports and users potentially involved (e.g, @MoAnsar).  Politely of course.

Please follow this link and the instructions: https://support.twitter.com/forms/abusiveuser. (UPDATE – 03/01/2015 –  Twitter may require you to provide a link to a tweet when reporting someone.  Here is Mo Ansar accusing me of a ‘campaign of hate and harassment’ –https://twitter.com/MoAnsar/status/521955583625539585) – UPDATE – 04/01/15 – Tweet deleted, please see footnote (1)

I’d wager contacting someone’s employer constitutes harassment also.  There’s also the unexplained mystery of Ansar’s Twitter followers suddenly increasing by several thousand in a single instant.  Twitter may want to look into that too.  Not to mention Ansar repeatedly posting this private conversation he had recorded on to Twitter.  I’d imagine this also violates Twitters’ policy on sharing private information.  You may be required to reply to a follow-up email, so check your emails.  I feel requesting Twitter to investigate could reveal the following things of interest:

  1. Someone is making false reports to silence criticism, and worse still, these reports aren’t being reviewed, but automatically causing the suspension of accounts without even confirming whether they are guilty of any wrongdoing.
  2. Civil questioning, or disagreement on Twitter is a violation of their terms and services.

You can follow my back-up account: @Gspellcheck. Even if my account is reinstated, I will not dilute, or disengage from criticism of religious/bad ideas simply due to the fear of having a Twitter account suspended.  I demand answers.  I hope others will too.

  1. It appears Ansar, has deleted this tweet after it has been linked on this blog.  He may be able delete it off his timeline, but I doubt he can delete the conversation from Twitters’ servers.  Please feel free to still provide them with this link when reporting and I’m sure they will be able to locate the relevant exchange.  The tweet in question relates to a conversation where Ansar falsely accuses me of ‘targeting’ and a ‘campaign of hate and harassment’.  You can find screenshots of the full conversation here. Is deleting it to be taken as an admission of knowingly making false allegations? And if so, did he make false reports to Twitter also?  As usual, no answer from Mo Ansar

Tommy Robinson’s Speech At The Oxford Union

RobinsonBack in October I hosted a podcast with the excellent blogger and author Eiynah as well as the notorious founder of the EDL, Tommy Robinson.  You can read why I felt the conditions and context for this discussion made for a better idea than some may haveinitially feared.

Needless to say, I’ve never had any affinity for the EDL, and I hope my thoughts on that were made clear here:

The EDL’s numbers increased rapidly and they became well-known to the public, media, and the law – for all the wrong reasons. Whether they were always a thuggish, racist & far-right movement, devolved into such, or were simply hijacked by those elements is a topic of debate for some – but regardless – that’s certainly the picture I have of them (which is not to say all members fit that profile of course). I’ve been vocal in my condemnation of The EDL in my personal life, and on Twitter. I hope it’s clear that I harbour no sympathies towards the movement whatsoever…

 

Needless to say, this doesn’t change what I did know and see of The EDL and I certainly didn’t like it. I didn’t recognise anything in what they were doing that I could identify with or support. Sure, they were making sounds about some mutual concerns, but these sounds were woven amongst a tapestry of sinister ideologies and tactics. As far as I was concerned, The EDL and Islamism were different sides of the same coin.

Tommy Robinson however, remains an interesting character that continues to polarize opinion and challenge perceptions. Whether or not you feel he is the right person to be speaking up on these serious issues is a topic for debate, but the reality is; very few people are speaking up unfortunately.

This is not intended to be an endorsement of Tommy, past or present as I don’t agree with a lot of what he says and does – some of which I brought up on my Podcast when I disagreed that the 10 commandments are a worthy foundation for British society, and argued in favour of secularism instead.

I finally got around to watching his speech at the Oxford Union, which was, as with most things involving Robinson, preceded by controversy.  Indeed, there were protests and attempts made to prevent him from speaking at all, even from Academics, once again highlighting the moral confusion of the far-left. The full talk has finally made its way to YouTube and is well worth your time. I think he raised some good points and is clearly passionate about these topics on a personal level.  Let me know what you think in the comments, I’d really be interested in gauging opinions given the preconceptions and expectations some may have had before this talk.

You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

David Cameron Tells Us Our Values Are Christian

dcameronAlastair Campbell famously said of Tony Blair’s labour government: “we don’t do god” and this sentiment seemed to summarise British politics at large, happily.  Unlike our American cousins, elected officials stating their religious convictions too loudly are likely to end up counting sniggers rather than votes.

Thatcher learned a lesson when she temporarily demoted herself to theologian, and crackpot demagogues spewing nonsense on the link between homosexuality and the weather are promptly shown the door.

Yet, David Cameron is committed to rubbing me up the wrong way on pretty much everything he has to say concerning religion.  There’s the constant pissing on our shoes and claiming it’s not Islam, to encouraging Christians to be more evangelical and divisively asserting we are a Christian country. This brings us to his Christmas message which includes some patronising spiel about the importance of ‘Christian Values1’.

From Sky News:

David Cameron has reiterated his commitment to “Christian values” in his Christmas message to the UK.

The Prime Minister said Britain should be proud of “giving, sharing and taking care of others” at home and abroad.

He also praised the work of the British military, aid workers and medical volunteers abroad. He said: “Among the joyous celebrations we will reflect on those very Christian values of giving, sharing and taking care of others”

You see – giving, sharing and taking care of others are “very Christian values”, and not simply human values.  These are all perfectly commendable values of course, worth encouraging –  but why does the Prime Minister of The UK feel it necessary to place them in such an exclusionary and divisive context? This is the moment where many would suspect it’s not religious sincerity on Cameron’s part, but rather an attempt to keep the Christian vote onside.

Perhaps that’s true, but is that wise? Data shows the majority of Brits believe religion and state should be kept separate. Recent data also reveals a huge decline in Christianity, yet an increase in Islam amongst the youthful.  Perhaps it would have been wise for Cameron to talk up ‘Islamic values’ in his Christmas address too. Perhaps not.

I look forward to the day when our leaders are unafraid to champion compassion, good will and empathy towards our fellow creatures without tribal rhetoric or so much as a nod towards a defunct superstition.  These values aren’t Christian, they’re human.  They’re no-one’s to own – but everyone’s to share.  Merry Christmas.

You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

  1. Cameron Stresses ‘Christian Values’ In Message, Sky News http://news.sky.com/story/1397003/cameron-stresses-christian-values-in-message

Sony pulls the plug on ‘The Interview’ along with freedom of expression.

KJUThe upcoming release of the Seth Rogan-James Franco comedy caper ‘The Interview’ has been officially canned by Sony Pictures, marking the latest in a series of controversies surrounding the movie, and indeed the studio.

The movie’s fictional plot revolves around an assassination attempt on North Korea’s ‘Supreme Leader’ Kim Jong-un by our aforementioned leads. Here is the film’s synopsis from The Internet Movie Database:

Dave Skylark and producer Aaron Rapoport run the celebrity tabloid show “Skylark Tonight.” When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, they are recruited by the CIA to turn their trip to Pyongyang into an assassination mission.

You can view the trailer here, which is still up at the time of posting. As you can see, this is comedic farce at its most potent and obvious. Needless to say, we are not dealing with a sensitive game changing political exposé here. The movie was scheduled for release on Christmas day in the U.S, but its future now hangs precariously in the balance after Sony confirmed they have scrapped all current plans for its release, without indicating when – or if – the movie will even be released at all.
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One Final Push For The 2014 #GFGS Charity Appeal

https://www.justgiving.com/Godless-Spellchecker1/

https://www.justgiving.com/Godless-Spellchecker1/

Back in 2013, I decided to launch a charitable fundraising initiative named ‘Good For Good’s Sake’.  The idea behind Team #GFGS is a simple one; regardless of what you do or don’t believe about anything else, all that is needed to do good is to agree that doing good is worthy for its own sake.  Gods, scripture and ancient tablets are not required to appreciate the importance of our fellow primates’ wellbeing.

Witnessing the good will and compassion emanating from a large number of atheists & humanists I interact with online, convinced me that this shared camaraderie could be harnessed into achieving something good together.  And you’ve proved me right time and time again.

Our first fundraising drive for Comic Relief raised £10,930, which put us at number 6 in the top ten UK fundraisers.

We followed this up with another drive for WaterAid.  Surely we couldn’t better our last effort, could we?  Well, we did, raising an incredible £11,843.03.

This was accomplished without any media attention or corporate backing whatsoever. Furthermore, no attempts were made to indoctrinate or demand acknowledgement of a specific worldview. We simply just wanted to do something good.

This brings me to our third and current fundraising effort for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).  The target amount1 is currently set to £2,000.

We’re within touching distance of this amount, but the fundraising will end Christmas Day 2014.  If you’re yet to donate and wish to be a part of something good, now is the time to do it!  Any amount is welcomed, and you can donate a number of different ways.

Donations can be made via PayPal, Credit or Debit Card, or by Texting2 from your mobile phone.

Just giving

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Donate Via Text by following the above instructions

 

Thank you for all your support for Team #GFGS over the last two years.  Your generosity and passion is truly astounding!

  1. Update 03/12/2014 – The original target amount has been reached!  Given we seem to like a challenge, I’ve increased it to £2,250. 10/12/2014 – The target has been smashed yet again! I’ve increased to £2,500. Update 17/12/2014 – The Target has been smashed once more.  The new target is £3,000 Fundraising closes on 25/12/2014
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