Nobody knew it was going to happen… The first rumblings appeared only a few months ago. He’d been with us for years. Just one small but crucial staple in a nourishing footballing diet. Rumours abound. Who do you believe? The Firm? People claimed to know, and thus become ITK.
In this case though, in the dungeons, a select few “knew”. We knew he was “injured”. “They” knew he wasn’t really. He was working. Preparing the grounds for a breaking move…
“Will we ever have a match day thread again?” Subscribers moaned.
“WTF. End of!” was quickly deleted in a cretinous act of censorship.
“We’ll never replace Gary!!” cried a few.
“It’s the end of our season. Who on earth can explain such illogical decisions, that benefit the site in no way whatsoever.” Cried most, more eloquently.
Thankfully, after such a dramatic Eastenders-type cliffhanger moment when everyone loses their shit without thinking, staff in the dungeon checked the email inbox and Gary Fulcher – the creator of our preview articles, and one of those staff members who never needs a rest – confirmed he’d be available for the Man City game, and the rest of the season. With no pay rise, or corrupt new boot deal.
Regardless of faux-rumours, hype and hysterics during that time of the season, we at The Towers are often accused of censorship. As Paul highlights in this free-read here, often compared to some of the planet’s most cretinous scumbags.
When interacting with other human beings in real life, imagine using polite words in an incredibly friendly tone: “Remember when Goebbels arranged for his six children to be injected with morphine before crushing cyanide into their mouths? Well, you remind me of him”.
“Different football opinions”.
Now if you went up to Emre Can and said, “Emre, you look like a young Joseph Stalin”, that would be fair. Probably not advised or recommended, but at least factual, because he does! Woof.
But having a likeness to a former despotic dictator, and deleting comments from a social media page are very different. For example:
- The initial comment was by someone who clearly had read neither the article or the book it was referring to, and made spurious “spin” allegations based on nothing but the tiny embers of brain cells he engaged before typing away.
- If you put zero effort into a comment, and dismiss all the effort and hard work of the author involved whilst trying to suggest it is all propaganda, that idiotic comment will be deleted.
- We have plenty of experience in these matters. There a lot of numpties who support football teams (and Liverpool certainly have their share), and live a diet of click-based fuelled Active Agenda Addiction. They know you have an agenda. They shout it loud. And they can read your mind. It’s quite a feat.
- Except it isn’t a feat at all, or if it is then it’s one of unmitigated buffoonery. The main agenda on TTT is civilised debate. Being civilised, as many who use social media driven by rage and anger seem to have forgotten, requires you to read another person’s viewpoint before commenting. Neither of those who got the Stalin-treatment on Facebook had done that. They didn’t even reach the first hurdle.
- Then once you’ve read another viewpoint you think about it, consider how it compares to your own viewpoint? Do you agree with any of it? Is some of the evidence used contradictory to other evidence you’ve seen? Can you add anything to the debate? If so, go ahead (and if not, don’t – Ed).
- When replying, the character, personality or integrity of the initial person has no part in the civilised debate. Yes, highlighting certain biases or biased thinking is acceptable if you are absolutely certain it is present, and can back it up, but primarily focus “on the ball, not the man”.
- Post the comment.
- Well done: you have achieved the Civilised Debate Badge. You are a part of a fairly exclusive club online so enjoy it.
Finally, the funniest part of the assumptions made by the critics is that everyone on The Tomkins Times thinks the same way. It couldn’t be further from the truth.
I disagree with Paul on all sorts; just this season I thought there had been an unfair focus on referees (on the site) without giving them enough credit for doing a difficult job. Then there was Mane’s form, and again we disagreed. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s development; not signing a centre-back in the summer; whether or not we should introduce cushioned rocks into the dungeon. And guess what, I followed numbers four and five above and we had a civilised debate. He didn’t call me Goebbels. I didn’t call him Stalin (although surely it’d be Lenin if anyone??!). Nobody invoked Godwin. Magic.
The only thing we all agree on is you’ve got a point to make, back it up with evidence. Because if not, someone will ask you to – which is crucial.
I am absolutely certain that many subscribers would struggle to be friends with each other in real life. But I’m even more certain they would be civil at the bare minimum. The sheer variety of characters is astounding. Even within the dungeons we all have slightly different approaches, and guess what, it is encouraged. Diversity of well thought-out opinion is vital to a successful forum. Making sure no-one comes in and destroys it is equally important. Get personal with a subscriber and you won’t last long. Get personal with Paul and you’ll be gone quicker than Mo Salah through on goal. The rules are clear. Post idiotic comments on the Facebook page and not only will we ban you, and delete it; we reserve the right to mock you relentlessly until we see fit.
In fact, we should rename that: The Liam Thomas Whitaker Law
Definition: pretending to be civilised, pretending to care about censorship, pretending to understand a stranger; and then showing your true colours by not quite invoking Godwin, but instead sticking to Stalin, China or North Korea, pretending to have faux-subtlety but actually showing ignorance towards context, comparison and reality itself.