Only three months ago I gave a speech to over 100 people on Internet trolling at Ignite Cardiff. Today I had been penned in to give a similar speech at Pontypridd Library, but more related to the area.
I have a number of critics in Pontypridd that use the Pontytown website. When I was being supported on the website the other day I was called a “fruitcake!” Some compliment!
The number of people who turned up to my speech was nil! It was in fact as many as I expected for the reason the Library Manager said – Internet trolling was not a topic most people were interested in, even if it was about Pontypridd.
So my view is that if any of the people on the Pontytown website criticise me from behind their pseudonyms then I will give it no credibility as they had their chance to hold me to account and they did not. The publisher of my Internet trolling book promoted the event widely, so it is unlikely they did not know about it.
In 2011 I presented a poster to a conference in Wrexham on my research into EEG and autism and how it was possible to determine if someone was autistic from their brain-patterns. This is based on a patent I filed in 2010 which is for a device that uses EEG signals to read people’s brain patters and recommend appropriate behaviour.
A year later a researcher called Frank Duffy had a paper published in BMC Medicine titled, “A stable pattern of EEG spectral coherence distinguishes children with autism from neuro-typical controls – a large case control study.”
Even though I told the journal he was replicating work I had done, they did nothing to right the wrong of Frank Duffy not crediting me for the work of mine that he replicated. By Frank a Duffy copying my work without crediting it that makes Frank Duffy a plagiarist. Does Frank Duffy think it is fair that he is doing this?
Earlier this year someone called Tom Hodder placed a job request on PeoplePerHour asking people to present research of patents and EEG research that would effect his use of EEG in motorbike helmets.
When I notified Tom Hodder of my patent and research he wrote two blog posts. One called “patent troll or just troll? I have definitely been trolled.” and another “irrealis mood as an excuse to talk bollocks“.
In these blog posts Tom Hodder admits my patent is similar to the idea he wanted to take to market. Instead of saying how he wishes he thought of it first, Tom Hodder critiques my writing style and my various identities. Tom Hodder like Frank Duffy might not be as clear as they thought they were. In both cases I should be paid royalties if either uses my IP to assist interaction between people.
The news service of my Group of companies – Crocels News – has recently been reporting on ‘Wicigate,’ which is looking at how politicians and other public figures edit Wikipedia in their own interest.
When one of the articles of Crocels News were added to Wikipedia they were removed by an editor of Wikipedia. This editor said the reason was that Crocels News was “not a reliable source.”
Wikipedia seems to think it is a law unto itself. I have experienced these problems with it
- Users say something defamatory about you or your brand on Wikipedia
- You are not allowed to remove the edit, because that is conflict of Internet.
- The Wikimedia Foundation does not let you have the details of the person defaming you or your brand
- You are not able to threaten legal action to people on Wikipedia according to their rules
But here is what the law says:
- United States: The Telecommunications Act 1996 as confirmed by Lunney v Prodigy (1999) says that Wikipedia’s ISP is not responsible for content on its platform, but WIkipedia is responsible.
- United Kingdom: The Defamation Act 1996 as confirmed by Godfrey v Demon Internet (2001) says that both Wikimedia and their ISP is liable for a claim of defamation.
In the United Kingdom a new Defamation Act will mean that it will be possible to ask a provider for the details of those who are defaming someone so that action can be taken. In terms of Internet trolling I think this will make things worse. Even if a person asks for the details of someone and it is provided that person still has to take them to court. And, equally companies like Amazon who may be allowing defamatory reviews to be posted in the review sections of their website, may not hand the details over, knowing it is unlikely they are going to be sued, and if they are they can afford to win. So it will either be an Act that provides free speech or it could also be seen as allowing unchallenged speech.
Being a webmaster I like the fact that my ISP will not feel the need to shutdown my website when they receive a threat, but equally as someone who has been defamed, other websites will have the same sysop prerogative, meaning when I or my companies are actually victims of trolling we will have little recourse.
A recent survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers found that 79 per cent of teachers blamed parents for the lack of ‘pupil discipline’ in schools.
The survey of more than 800 teachers claimed that there was a sharp rise in the number of pupils with emotional and behavioural conditions (EBCs).
A secondary school teacher in RCT even said: “I’m extremely concerned by the increase in mental health issues such as depression and self-harm.
“I’m alarmed by the lack of expert support made available for adolescents.”
I was told by the old Mid Glamorgan Council that I had an EBC, and was even referred to the Ty Gwyn special needs unit in Maesycoed.
Like the digital teens of today, I grew up with ‘information on demand technology.’
When teachers said something I ‘knew’ wasn’t true because of this technology, I would say so.
The teachers would then say I was wrong, and like today’s pupils I wouldn’t accept that. It is the teachers that have behavioural problems and lack of discipline.
Unless they change their behaviour and start accepting that collectively pupils know more than them, then they should expect to feel the wrath of those pupils.
They need to realise that they have been made redundant by YouTube, Wikipedia and Google Scholar, and unless they change, they shouldn’t expect pupils to.
I was disgusted to read about how Donna Wright got away with only a 12-week suspended prison sentence after years of torment of the family of Katrice Lee, who she claimed she thought she was.
Donna Wright did not make a mistake – she knew she was not Richie Lee’s daughter from DNA tests, but continued her harassment of Richie Lee and his family.
As a trolling expert, the actions of Wright would be the highest on the ‘trolling magnitude scale’ of between 4 and 4.99 – This would put Wright in the category of ‘cyber-hickery’ which is a planned and sustained campaign of cyber-stalking against an individual or group.
Wright should have been prosecuted under Section 127(2) of the Communications Act 2003 for persistent misuse of public communications network to cause needless anxiety to others. She should have been convicted for 6 months for each incident of trolling Richie Lee and his family.
It is not right that Jamie Counsel and Anthony Gristock got over 2.5 years prison each under this Act for simply setting up Facebook Pages during the UK riots, yet Donna Wright gets away with a suspended sentence after a sustained campaign of harassment.
Steve Rotheram said in the Houses of Parliament yesterday: ” The reality is anyone who knows anything about trolling will tell you the problem is there is too much grossly offensive material and it would be far too resource intensive for the criminal justice system to investigate each and every case.”
As the world-leading authority on Internet trolling I must disagree with Steve Rotheram. And I do know a lot about trolling having over a dozen papers published on it and running the Crocels Trolling Academy. I think having edited the book, “Examining the Concepts, Issues and Implications of Internet trolling,” helps as well!
Steve Rotheram is mistaken because the problem is not that there is too much grossly offensive materials – grossly offensive being a legal term – the problem is that the police are not prioritising cases appropriately nor using the right penalty for each offence.
It would not be resource intensive for the police to look at all cases reported, as by developing clear tests from the cases of DPP v Collins, DPP v Chambers and DPP v Connelly, as well as making use of the concepts of ‘actus reus,’ ‘malum resus’ and ‘pertinax reus.’ If they do this it should be easy for them to determine whether or not it is in the public interest to have a formal investigation.
Many people wonder in amazement how the pyramids were built, and other unexplained architectures such as Stone Henge. My answer is simple – There were ancient peoples who were smarter than us. As horrible as that might seem to us, often thinking we are unique, it is what I believe to be true.
In my view climate change is real and has probably happened every 65 million years or so since the planet first formed. It wiped out the dinosaurs – except the ones who could swim or survive the torrential weather conditions.
On that basis I think that any of the ancient wonders that we, indeed, wonder about their creation were not created by primitive people from our evolutionary cycle, but by earlier ones smarter than us. What if they were trolls, like the Mayans’ could have been, leaving weather proof architecture?
On that basis I think there are two possible truths for Stone Henge:
- The were moved by the extreme weather during a previous climate change episode from Pembrokeshire to Salisbury Plane, where they were then erected by other peoples.
- People with technology as advanced as ours moved them from Pembrokeshire to where they are now and erected them something close to what we have now.
In both cases the reason the stones look as ragged as the do was because of the rough weather conditions from climate change. The next time I come across something from ancient times where humans wonder how it could have happened, my first premise will be that ancient people, likely to be smarter than us, did in it ways more likely to be advanced than early humans would have been capable of doing.
So when climate change wipes us out, maybe some of the following will happen (tongue in cheek):
- The Statue of Liberty could float to France
- The Millennium Dome and Eiffel Tower could finally be destroyed as planned
- People will be wondering what people were worshipping in the US Pentagon
- People will wonder if the Angel of the North was who we thought ‘God’ was
I’m certain climate change will wipe us out and in millions of years time there will be people who have evolved like us writing and speaking us in the same way we do ancient species.
Climate change is going to wipe out most of the human race. The lyric in the ‘Wherever you will go‘ song that says ‘If a great wave shall fall, it shall fall upon us all’ sums up my view on climate change. Climate change wiped out the dinosaurs in my view, where the world flooded and most land animals drowned. The animals that could withstand the wild tides, waves and chaos can be seen among us today. Some land animals have bone structures that could only exist if they evolved from the sea animals that survived from the age of the dinosaurs.
It is therefore my view that the only humans that will survive climate change are those able to take to the waters or skies to avoid it, or otherwise be great land navigators. So I have named 5 ways to do survive this. One of them is not to take to the earth’s caves, where you will be unlikely to survive.
1. Support Trident and Join the Navy
Trident as most people know is a nuclear defence programme where submarines travel in the seas of the UK telling the world that if they attack Britain with nuclear weapons they will be attacked back. This will be a good place to be as there is a strong chance you will survive.
2. Become an Astronaut
Whatever is going on with the planet earth, if you travelling into Space, there is a very good chance you will survive climate change. There are many ancient paintings of space-ships; it might have been that we invented and used them in a previous time before or after the dinosaurs.
3. Choose the right continent
It is accepted today by some, though not all, that at one point in the earth’s history there was a supercontinent that the current continents came from over millions of years. At present, both Australia and India are moving northeast at around 5–6 centimeters each year. So one might want to choose the content that is shifting the least.
4. Choose your friends carefully
You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. At some point after you survive climate change reproduction is necessary. If you are a woman wondering who should ‘go wherever you will go’ (from the above song), then it might be better to pick your gay man-friend than your brother. His DNA is likely to be more diverse.
5. Buy some Alsatians
It is likely that if you survive climate change you will meet other humans who are as unsavoury as they are now. You may even meet dangerous animals. An Alsatian will be a good friend to protect you, and a good companion through your journey. They may even save your baby from being attacked by a fox.
The song I referred to earlier, ‘Wherever you will go,’ contains the lyric partly mentioned earlier,’If I could turn back time, I would go wherever you will go‘ – When climate change starts to hit home, this will be a common thought. People will be separated from their lovers, not knowing whether they are alive or dead. The same with their children, who may be parted from them. Science is like a cancer drug – at present it is unlikely to cure climate change, only give the human race a little longer to live. So, enjoy your lovers and children while you have them, for tomorrow we shall die.
You are deciding who should be trained up to save the human race by going into Space or manning a submarine. Who would you choose and why? Maybe your partner and children, as whatever the future for you, it will probably be better than what we have now. Who knows, you might meet other human survivors, see a dove, or eat fruit. You could compare your experiences with the story of Noah’s Arc, which could be a meme for generations into the future.
Having written columns for newspapers and had letters published in them, the ethos around the press has carried through into the way I deal with academic publications. The former editor of the Pontypridd Observer, Wayne Nowaczyk said what he printed was based on whether it was ‘interesting’ and not simply whether it was written well – as being the editor these things could be changed.
I now edit Crocels News, am a director of a publishing company, The Crocels Press Limited, and edit books and special issues for publishers like IGI Global and Springer. For me the most important factor is not the academic rigour pe se, but whether the paper is one that is interesting so that a lot of people would want to read and cite it. It should be more important for an editor to be pleasing their readers than their reviewers in other words.
In this article I will discuss a recent review of one of my papers, which I felt would be really interesting to the journal’s readers. I have quoted from the editor and the reviewers throughout this article. But to make it more anonymous I changed the order of the sentences and put them through a translator a number of times. This was the opinion of the editor of the journal:
I sent manuscript to three reviewers. Comments manuscript has been received by three. In comments attached to e-mail, you see recommend not publish work. Based on comments, I decide reject manuscript for publication in journal.
To get a researcher paper into press and for it to count towards one’s academic record it needs to be peer-reviewed. This means that the research article in question has been either scrutinised by an editor, or people the editor asks to give their opinion, or both. My attitude to reviewers on publications I am the editor of is; “I am the editor, it doesn’t matter what anyone says, if I think the paper is interesting I will have it.”
This is not the view of most people in academia – few of them have a background in journalism. Most of them have their books and journals published by established publishing houses, and they never have to deal with the business side of things. So all they care about is whether something ticks the boxes for rigour someone would need to on a PhD and things such as relevance and timeliness are less important. Below is one of the things a reviewer said about my paper:
This version much better to draft. Most important weakness is assess reliability. The paper essentially develop scale. Scale development need robust methodology, single factor analysis and Cronbach Alpha test can hardly considered thoroughly.
Firstly the reviewer has no clue what they are talking about – they have probably never used factor analysis! The method I applied was based on an assignment I did on my research methods Masters, accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council, which I got a good merit in. When I was at Kingston University, I learned from an expert in factor analysis – Professor Stavlos Kalafatis, and he said a Chronbach Alpha was one of the best options for testing a scale’s reliability – the other being using a Structural Equation Modelling output. It was up to me the research to decide which method I used, and it should not be for someone else to hold up publication of my paper because they have a different point of view, when the choice of method is equally rigourous and used by leading Professors like Stavlos Kalafatis.
Even so, for me, whilst it is important for research papers to be accurate and reliable, factors such as sample size, whether the papers used probability or non-probability, whether or not it is possible or impossible to generalise qualitative or quantitative research are all academic. It is all very well to have to demonstrate an awareness of these during one’s viva for a PhD, but otherwise they can get in the way of interesting research. Here is one of the comments from a reviewer of this paper:
Many allegations are not set correctly. You identify values not clearly explained. The contribution to discussion and conclusion are poor. The author not specified research questions, not importance of the subject, and not inform rest of the article. How I choose questions? How people selected? The literature difficult to understand. Paper difficult to read. Paper presents alternative model and is empirically rigorous. They representative sample? Need to better explain preliminary analysis not clear.
This reviewer sounds like they are teaching a research methods course, and that if things don’t follow a prescribed model it is not good enough for them. What does it matter that research questions are not stated? That might be fine for an university assignment, but in the real world it doesn’t matter. Every teacher knows you’re supposed to, in theory, but the learning objectives on the screen at the start of the lesson, but most don’t because it doesn’t work in practice.
Here is a comment of one of the reviewers after I had changed the paper to make in more relevant using their feedback.
The authors have an important contribution to revise the document based on the feedback. However, data collection and development on a scale not sufficiently rigorous. The entire document is much more structured. I would not recommend paper.
From my point of view, it is more important that the author in question gives my readers what they want, rather than please reviewers like these who are likely to not be experts on the topic they are asked to review. This is why now for the publications I edit that I ask the authors to name three reviewers to look at their paper. Some might say they will pick people who are biased – but it does not matter. As the editor it is me that decides whether a paper is published and not the reviewers!