Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Not for nothing am I known as an ideas man, and this week I've been toying with the notion of inaugurating a 'Thanipedia', a kind of online encyclopedia of all things Thanetian along the lines of Wikipedia.

The old Eastcliff brainbox clicked into gear as I was trying to research the number of fires the Ile has witnessed in the past decade. Finding what I wanted via Google was doing my nut, but imagine if there was a single repository of knowledge where you could rustle up that kind of info quick as a flash. All Thanet history, places, people, and concepts (e.g. 'arson', 'pit bull', 'track suit') would be there.

Mind you, we'd have to keep a close eye on it. Even Wikipedia, which can be edited by anyone on the web, suffers from the occasional attack of mischief. Last week the former Labour leader Michael Foot was temporarily dead for a few hours (as opposed to just looking as if he's been dead for the past 30 years), and the cause of death for one Herb Peterson, inventor of the Egg McMuffin, was rather cruelly given as 'salivary gland cancer' until someone who didn't get the joke removed it.

So come on Thanet, what are you waiting for? You've got the knowledge and the know-how, and I've got the sponds. Let's get to it!


Anonymous said...

I've started to work on a list but has anyone any suggestions for K, Y or Z?

Ramskateraider said...

Never fall asleep in a gay bar.

adem said...

There will definitely be people who will hijack or sabbotage this 'Thanipedia', and Wikipedia gets around this by having people who act as moderators (but finding neutral ones will be hard). It'll also be worth knowing the legal ramifications of libel as I'm sure there's quite a few people out there who will find themselves the subject of some articles.

Anonymous said...

And as we have seen over the past week or so most people in Thanet seem to have only a very tenuous grasp of the UK's draconian libel laws.

Lucy Mail said...

Draconian or modern American?
Everyone is either a fraudster, embezzler, thief, liar, sexual deviant or a combination of those things, so I can't see what all the fuss is about.
Must be an easy way to make money, I'd suppose.

Eastcliff Richard said...

In that case how about we start a 'Wickedpedia'? We could anonymously write all kinds of lurid and libellous things about ourselves and then sue each others a*ses off!

Anonymous said...

Why are most people frightened by Great Britains libel laws?

Just start your jottings with "I think..."

Eastcliff Richard said...

Well there are all sorts of get-outs anon, but they are not universally foolproof. Truth is a pretty good defence, as is 'fair comment' i.e. 'in my opinion' or 'I think' as you rightly point out. But don't forget that the burden of proof is on the defendant rather than the claimant, so in effect a libel writ is more or less a cheque made out to very expensive lawyers.

In the US, where they have that freedom of speech thingy, it's much easier to say what you think. [Cue grams: Star Spangled Banner]

Dick Rubin said...

ECR was recently caught in a torture dungeon attached to nipple clamps whilst being serviced by a gimp holding an abrasive grinder powered by a wankel rotary engine.....Allegedly. (I might need to see a Doctor soon if this goes on much longer).

Anonymous said...

The big wikipedia deals with the libel/slander issues with a policy that bios of living people must be fully backed up by reliable source of evidence.

Then when Bob Smith says: "you printed that I had sex with nine women at once I'm gonna sue ya!"

They can say: "yes we did because that's what the following news papers said..."

That's the plan anyway. In theory editors would say "I have a vested interest in this one" put their comments in the comments section and leave it up to other people to write the article. The wikipeida policy section is not exactly thrill-a-second but it is reasonably sound stuff.

I'm happy to invest time and effort (and cash) into such a project so long as I don't end up significantly out of pocket.

BTW: ECR I sent you a long ol' email on the subject.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Interesting Matt, but of course it's just as libellous to repeat a libel, so if they were to refer to something in the newspapers that had previously been judged libellous it would still be, er, libel. As I understand it Wikipedia is US based, though, so maybe we're back to the old freedom of speech, Star Spangled Banner, God bless America, etc. etc.

I'll peruse your email with interest.

Anonymous said...

Personally i often us the word "allegedly" as it gets you out of most situations...or there is the old standby, a factual statement i.e. you might stand in the street and loudly shout that X,Y,Z is a convicted criminal and walk away muttering. If its a statement of fact then it's not libelous, or slanderous - and yes i know one is put down on paper and one is verbal. Now where's me megaphone i wish to make a verbal statement relating to some fires and me council tax rises?

Anonymous said...

Why not go the whole hog and call it Wickedpedo?
We could dress up as priests and choirboys and sh*g eachothers a*ses off!

Anonymous said...

With yer libel.

If a reasonable third party says it is libel.

Then it ain't libel.

And if the person named says it is libel

Then it aint libel until he finds

a reasonable person who says it aint libel

then it is libel

but only if the named person has a reputation to lose

then he must act within a reasonable time after establishing his cause of action.

He must declare any knowledge he has that is detrimental to his cause.

For hypothetical example "I did once own a box of matches" "I have benefitted from insurance claims in the matters at issue" "I might suffer business disadvantage if speculation continues"

And it is said that inevitably the libel action becomes a competition between the plaintiff and respondent's life records.

Then things like former brief spells at HM Pleasure would be weighed against the good standing claimed by the plaintiff.

"Libel" is mentioned thousands of times in Thanet. But how many actions have there been in the past decade.

Maggie Mortlock proved libel against george Maison former Vice Chair of North Thanet tories

And Richard Card represented himself against the Suffolk Chief constable who seven months later retired from police service aged 53 in spite of the ruling that Card was out of time to sue.

After the ruling Card argued that a Chief constable is not entitled to a limitation defence in a duty charged as he is sworn to the Queen to answer unto law unto death (not to abandon his duty to the Queen after an arbitrary one year has passed). No best before date on a duty charged under the Crown. Anyway the Chief constable retired and nothing more was said.