Quinn Norton: Trolling, “Men Are Raised To Hate Women” and Other Confusing Statements.

They See Me Trollin'

Twitter has been big news of late, with reports that they plan to implement an abuse reporting function.  I’ve been asked a few times what my thoughts are on the matter, and I’m all for it.

Threatening and unlawful behaviour is completely unacceptable and those who engage in such a manner should be held accountable.  I displayed my willingness to side with this sentiment recently by reporting a clearly threatening tweet (not to me) to the police.

My only concern is: how will this be regulated?  Will Twitter have the manpower (or women!!!!!) to efficiently distinguish abusers and trollers from genuine disagreement or attempts to engage in meaningful discourse? Given the vast numbers of Twitter users and the seemingly unrealistic task of policing it, is it likely to be an unmanned,  automated process?  An algorithm simply reacting to multiple ‘abuse reports’? Only time will tell.

‘Troll’ seems the buzzword of late.  The problem is, that “troll” in the context of the internet has no unified definition.  I personally take trolling to mean the act of intentionally making insincere statements to an individual, or individuals in order to provoke a response, or as they would call it,  a “victory”. Others use it simply to describe an individual who seeks out arguments online.

I’m trolled daily in the former sense. People will tweet me en masse with clearly disingenuous statements in the hope that I may respond.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.  It often depends on how dull my commute to work is that morning.

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Team GFGS WaterAid Fundraising

Image Created By @Wavish

Image Created By @Wavish

Back in March I started Team Good For Good’s Sake (#GFGS).  The idea was to raise money for a good cause, simply because we agreed that doing good is worthy for its own sake.

The result was staggering.  Nearly £11,000 was raised. Thoroughly spanking the myth that one cannot be good without God firmly to the other side of mythsville.

It is for this reason I have started a new cause for us to support, this time WaterAid.  This is a great charity.  Please click to see just what it is they do, and how important it is.  Please click ‘Sponsor Me’ below to donate.

Just giving

You can also donate via text by texting GFGS99 £5 (or any amount) to 70070.

I’m still constantly awed by the intelligence and compassion displayed by the people who interact with me on Twitter.  This kind of thing strikes me as special, and I’m fully aware that it cannot last forever.  Because of this, I think it’s great to use our shared camaraderie to do something worthwhile whilst we can.  Why?  Because we can.

Rather than having a short space of time to raise funds,  as was the case previously, I’ve decided this will be an on-going initiative, ending on Christmas Day.  I realise £10,390 is probably impossible to repeat or better, so I have set the starting limit to £500, but you’ve surprised me before!

I’ll provide any updates here and tweet them out accordingly.

What will we have achieved by Christmas day?

Thanks

GS

Podcast – Thoughts and Thanks

Podcast

Recently  (Fri 12th July) I was fortunate enough to be part of The Herd Mentality Podcast hosted by Mr Adam Reakes, with special guests Mr Oz Atheist, and a young up and coming comedian, eager to make a name for himself, Ricky Gervais.

He’s going to be big one day.  Remember you heard him here first.

You’ll click below to listen to it immediately if you know what’s good for you.
iTunes (Episode7)
Direct Link
Android (Stitcher)

I had lots of fun.  I’m a huge fan of Ricky; I’ve been to his live shows, adore his sitcoms and hold fond memories of laughter-filled evenings gathered with good friends, cold beverages and a download of his latest podcast.

ricky-gervais-show-550x366The irresistible combination of wondering what Karl Pilkington will say next, how exactly Ricky will react to it, whilst Steve Merchant tries to hold it all together has made me laugh to the point of abdominal pain.  Please seek them out if you haven’t already listened to them.

It is for this reason, that hearing the disembodied voice of Ricky booming from my laptop seemed familiar enough for me to forget I was actually part of the conversation at times.  And I often did.  This is fine by me however, as I said, lots of fun!

A huge thanks to Adam and Mr Oz for making this happen. They were responsible for all the technical aspects and organisation respectively.  All I had to do was take the day off work (already worth it), sound disappointingly Mancunian (I’m not Prof Brian Cox) and be entertained by two Aussie gents and my favourite comic.  A great way to spend a morning, I hope you’ll agree.

A massive thanks to the Podfather himself for giving up his morning just to have a chuckle with a few like-minded strangers.  I was really taken aback by Ricky’s generosity and praise. It’ll stick with me.  Kindness is magic.

“How dare you have a go at Rihanna!” is still making me chuckle. Haha!

Thanks to anyone who has already listened and sent kind words our way.  I’ll never cease to be amazed at how rewarding just having fun on Twitter has become.

Please subscribe to the Herd Mentality Podcast and check in on the previous episodes too.  There’s some great stuff in there.  Also, please check out the hilarious Ricky Gervais on his YouTube channel and subscribe.  Go and get the guitar…

GS

Is Religion Exempt From Satire According To The BBC? Clarification and Your Action Required

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Red Nose Day (Comic Relief) is a biennial UK telethon event, which aims to raise money for charity.  The hook is on the promise of entertainment in the form of famous faces ‘doing something funny for money’. It is hoped that this will attract viewers, and hopefully donations along with it.  (Our team raised over 10k! Just saying)

Over the years, some incredibly talented, hilarious performers and Lenny Henry have appeared during the TV event to participate in various skits, some live, some pre-recorded, some funny, some cringe-worthy. It doesn’t matter, it’s all for a good cause.

This year, Rowan Atkinson of Blackadder and Mr. Bean notoriety gave his time to appear via a pre-recorded sketch.  In the sketch, he appears in character (tongue firmly in cheek) as the ‘New Archbishop of Canterbury’.  Rather than provide an exhaustive description of the, in my view, rather tame contents, you can watch it in full below (until the inevitable swooping of BBC Ninjas):

After the initial live broadcast over 2,000 complaints were received, only a quarter of which, were related to the religious content. This prompted the BBC to issue an apology in conjunction with complete removal of the ‘offending’ skit from their online, on demand service, iPlayer.

I pressed the official iPlayer Twitter account for more details regarding their conclusion that the content was so inappropriate as to merit complete removal from its services.  They were kind enough to direct me to a pre-existing statement, an excerpt of which, is below:

It was clear from this feedback that the Rowan Atkinson sketch was problematic for a number of different reasons, with many viewers noting the subject matter, the language used and its placing early in the evening. It is clear to us that this sketch did not translate as we had hoped and as a direct result of viewer feedback we took a swift decision to remove this from BBC iPlayer.

I requested further clarification from the BBC on some key points, but as of yet, I have not received a response.

 Tweet_to_iplayerfollow_up_q1
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£10,930 Raised For Red Nose Day!

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As my recent and relentless Twitter campaigning may have indicated to those kind enough to check my timeline, Friday the 15th of March marked the 25th anniversary of the Red Nose Day event.

Rest assured, this now concludes my shameless harassment and bribery of the Twitterverse for charitable donations.  Well, at least for this year.  Or unless I find myself out of paid work.

Since creating my silly little Twitter account (let there be tweet! And It took me less than 6 days), I’ve always been incredibly impressed, surprised and flattered by the frequency with which people engage with what I have to say, and how passionately they do so.

From how they contribute to the general discussion, to how they show support for various initiatives (from the Golden Twits, to the Shorty Awards, petitions etc).  The good will, wit and informed comments make it incredibly rewarding.  I’ve laughed and learned. A lot.

It occurred to me that this potent comradeship, good will and initiative could be put to great use if its attention was focussed on a charitable cause.

The excitement I experienced by this thought inspired me to set up the team page ‘Good For Good’s Sake” on our behalf.  The ethos being that all we needed to agree on was:

  1. The Red Nose Day Cause is a good one.
  2. Contributing to this cause would be a good thing to do.
  3. Being good is worthy for its own sake.

It seems we did agree, as by the end of the evening (March 15th ), we had reached a staggering £10,930.  This placed us at number 7 on the overall ‘Leaderboard Legends’ when the event had concluded.  This leader board includes every single team in the UK who were raising funds for the event.

Leader_Board_Final6th (2)A few days after the event we were bumped up to 6th place. This resulted due to the merger of two corporate teams.  I don’t care. I’ll take it nonetheless. 6th place everyone!

I fully expect us, of course to drop down, or even off this board in the coming days/weeks as other teams collect their remaining, or pledged funds, but that’s not important.

To be there at all, right up to and on the day of the event is an incredible achievement, one which I’m still a little overwhelmed by.  One that anyone who contributed should be proud of.

This is even more astonishing when you consider we had zero corporate backing or media attention of any kind, unlike many of the top fundraisers.  The funds we raised are a result of one thing, and one thing only: our willingness to do something good for its own sake.  We were simply a group of like-minded individuals with Twitter accounts who decided to do something good.

We had people from all over the planet give up their cash for the cause, and the rapidly increasing total gave no indication of slowing down, from the moment I naively set the starting target at £250, to when the unthinkable happened: smashing through the 10k mark.

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed.  This amount, I’ve no doubt will help improve lives for the better.  And what could be better than that?  Please take the time to have a look here at some of the great work that will be done as a result of your kindness.

You’ve done a wonderful thing and I’m proud to be able to share a little corner of the internet with you.

My non-eternal thanks,

GS

UPDATE (Certificate Download)

In the months following our epic March 2013 Red Nose Day fundraiser, I have been in communication with the wonderful RND team with the hope of getting us a certificate so that I may make it available as a thank you to everyone who has contributed.  This is a huge achievement, one which I doubt I’ll ever be part of again.  I think it will be nice to own a reminder of what a small group of people can achieve when they agree something is a worthy cause.  Click download below.  Please also click here to support our latest charitable fundraiser and be part of the next Team #GFGS achievement.

Download Certificate (PDF)

Good For Good’s Sake – Red Nose Day – *UPDATED 04/03/2013

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*Please skip to the bottom for progress updates

 

Red Nose Day (also known as Comic Relief) is a biennial UK charity event which aims to raise funds for a range of worthy causes in the Uk and Africa. See here for details on the incredible work they do.  Their efforts usually culminate in a live TV event on March 15th which informs the viewers of the total amount raised and how that money will be spent.

The main idea of the organisation is to utilise fun and entertainment as motivation for raising money.  On the evening many sketches are showcased and familiar faces make an appearance.

See below this wonderful sketch to give you a flavour of the general idea.

I’ve created the group “Good for Good’s Sake” here.  Its intention is hopefully self-explanatory.  You are able to donate via debit/credit card or PayPal by clicking “Sponsor Us”.

Non-UK Residents

Those of you without a UK address and postcode may struggle to donate.  Incidentally, Buckingham Palace is a UK address, and the postcode is  SW1A 1AA🙂

Join The Team

Alternatively, would you like to join the “Good For Good’s Sake Team” and organise your own fund-raising activity?

This can be anything from selling cakes at work, to getting people to sponsor you to do something “wacky” for the day.  Simply click on “Join Team”.  From here you will be able to set up your own profile and donations page. Your own fundraising profile will be displayed as a member of the #GFGS Team, and your total donations will also contribute towards the #GFGS team page total.

Anything you can do to raise funds will be fantastic.  I’ll share pictures, stories etc relating to any fundraising you have done here on my blog and via Twitter.

This isn’t an opportunity to divide or make an anti-religious message, but to combine our efforts to do something good simply because we can.

I often find “charity” is a card played when debating the advantages of religious belief.  It is often assumed those without religion are lacking in generosity and empathy.  This is simply not true.

Since creating my Twitter account I’ve been overwhelmed by the general active attitudes of those kind enough to engage with my tweets and feel this would be a fantastic opportunity to put this to good use.

Hopefully we can achieve something we can all be proud of.

I made the #GFGS team page active this morning (Thurs 28th Feb) with a target amount of £250.  Less than 24 hours later we’ve already passed £1000.  This is simply incredible. What will the total be when March 15th arrives?

GS

UPDATES:

04/03/2013:
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