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Freedom of Speech? MCH

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Sunday 22 May 2005 8.39am
Anyone who has been reading our thread about the Metro Central Heights bulletin will have seen the posting by timna that now that the bulletin board is back online we have been told that no one is allowed to post negative comments about the management or the Residents' Assoc. committee.....what does "not be tolerated" mean? Is there some sort of jurisdiction on these matters? I know about incitement to racial hatred and so on, but this seems to me to be draconian and undemocratic....can someone advise me?
Sunday 22 May 2005 9.26am
Surely the bottom line is that whoever operates the MCH website can set the groundrules for its use?

'Freedom of speech' is often invoked on web forums but is overrated IMO, as some people seem to think that this means that they can post irresponsibly.

That said, rules being set down in this case do seem draconian and counter-productive.

Presumably "not be tolerated" would mean that your use of their forum would be withdrawn if you were deemed to have broken the rules.

If you are not prepared to accept the conditions laid down by the Residents' Assocation (or whoever), why not set up an alternative messageboard for MCH?

Though I would have thought that it would be better to write a calm and rational letter to whoever is responsible for this policy, pointing out that whilst everyone wants to work constructively with the management and committee, such a ban on negative comment is unlikely to foster an atmosphere of goodwill, etc.

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Edited 1 times. Last edit at 22 May 2005 9.30am by James Hatts.
Sunday 22 May 2005 10.52am
Surely they could only object to offensive personal comments about individuals. If you were to
post a message saying the Residents Committee as a whole was ineffective and giving your
reasons, that could hardly be considered unacceptable.
I must admit since the MCH thread appeared I have paid a lot more attention to the building when
passing, and the number of flats with duvet covers, sheets and all manner of rags serving as
curtains makes the place from some angles look like a dosshouse. But I don't think you can
blame the committee for that. It appears many of the flats are rented out by the owners on short
lets and the tenants have no stake in the building and so don't treat it with respect. It's the same
here in Tabard Gardens. It just takes a couple of anti-social people to make a building look
tatty and neglected.
Sunday 22 May 2005 12.11pm
Ah-HA, phoney, the trouble is that IN THE LEASE it is stipulated that "appropriate window dressing" is mandatory. How come the management dont enforce this? Furthermore, there is a clause in the lease forbidding mutiple tenancies (i,.e. ten students clubbing togethert in order to pay zero quid a week) and further to THAT, forbidding letting to students anyway. HAs anything or anybody managed to enforce any of those? Enforcing astronomical service charges is one thing they're great at, but making the place worth these charges is rather more difficult for them it seems. Yes you are right, the place looks like a tenement, and I have complained to Peverel about this over and over no avail. And now we are going to be rapped over the knuckes or frozen out if we dare say mookie about it on the website. THis seems to me to be pretty spooky.

JAMES. Thanks for your comments, they are eminently sensible. As one would expect from a mature source. Of course noone should "tolerate" bad language or racist or religious slurs, and as educated people we should all know that without being told. But in a block of 420 flats, we have very limited possibilities to exchange views with everyone coming and going through this labaryinthine building. And unless one has feedback one has no idea as to whether one is a voice in the wilderness of one raving banshee or whether there are dozens of people who feel the same and just have nowhere to vent their spleen!
Sunday 22 May 2005 2.59pm
In fairness to the RA, the Metro Central thread in SE1 has already been used by timna to make potentially libellous comments about a member of staff, based on ( according to his/her further posting) rather general information from the Mayor's Office.

Cyberlibel is still an undeveloped area of law, but it's reasonable to assume that there is a responsibility on the website operator's for submissions to the site - just as a paper has responsibility for its content.

I would ask for the site to be dropped if there were anything libellous on it, because libel is a costly legal process. The only people who win are those who can afford to lose money.

Sunday 22 May 2005 3.15pm
I apologise for [my comments], it was based on my opinion and anecdotal evidence.

[Message edited by site editor]

Edited 2 times. Last edit at 22 May 2005 5.01pm by James Hatts.
Sunday 22 May 2005 3.37pm
I think here it would be sensible to pass James's comments on to the webmaster of the MCH site. As one webmaster to the other it may carry weight. One cannot tell people that they can only post "nice" comments. However, I'm sure the SE1-ers are fed up with our inside-MCH wrangling, and we should probably retire to our own website on this subject, allowing for the fact that our webmaster should be less dictatorial about any criticsm which may appear there.
Sunday 22 May 2005 5.00pm
Following use of the 'send alert to moderators' facility I have made minor edits to several messages in the other MCH thread and this one.

I would remind people that the rules that you agree to when you post to this forum state:

You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use this forum to post any material which is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise illegal.

Please don't abuse the platform for debate provided by this forum with carelessly worded messages.

Editor of the London SE1 website.
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Edited 1 times. Last edit at 22 May 2005 5.10pm by James Hatts.
Sunday 22 May 2005 5.03pm
My apologies, it will not happen again.
Monday 23 May 2005 12.01pm
Hey Jackie,
I thoroughly agree that MCH looks like a slum with its shabby and dirty windows but I do object to the remark that 'it looks like a tenement'. Having been brought up in a Scottish tenement I can assure you that for the families who lived there 'Cleanliness was indeed next to Godliness' and we would have died of shame at living in somewhere like MCH. I have also lived in an immaculate Brownstone tenement in NY and currently live in a beautifully clean and well cared for tenement in SE1. Incidently, I have also found that the sense of community in tenement living even extends to London - how many people in the area can say that they know their neighbours by name and that they look out for one another? Don't knock it until you have tried it and put some of the snobbish stereotypes to one side.
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