The EvilImp™ 'Please!'

Throughout the day yesterday (Tuesday 20th March) Article19, as is our want, was commenting on the latest Digital Capacity building seminar hosted by The Big Bad (Arts Council England).

As we're not invited to such things (previous press access requests have been turned down) all we can do is comment from afar using Twitter alongside the "hashtag" #digicaparts. The sum total of our "tweets" on the subject was 9.

At about 10pm yesterday evening the following tweet dropped on us from Marcus Romer, the AD of Pilot Theatre, speaker for #digicaparts and a recipient of funding for ACE's new "digital" project 'The Space'.

[email protected] are you just a troll or as (sic) cyberbully? http://t.co/ckawNcbp interested to hear from your real name btw :)

First, a small explanation of Twitter tech. The prefix "." in front of our Twitter name means the tweet is visible to all of Mr Romer's followers. If the tweet starts with the "@" symbol then only we would see it.

The "t.co" link is just a web link shortener used by Twitter to save space, 140 characters doesn't leave a whole lot of room for detail.

As for the link itself? Well, that led us to a page on the BBC's iPlayer and a programme called "The Anti Social Network". The BBC describes the programme thus;

"Richard Bacon attempts to track down and confront three cyberbullies, one of whom has targeted him with an obsessive tirade of anonymous online abuse over the previous two years."

Wait, what? 9 tweets on a digital capacity building seminar and suddenly we're "obsessive" and mounting a "tirade of anonymous online abuse?", say it 'aint so.

One of the messages we posted was as follows;

reading the posts about #digicaparts makes your brain melt, it's all buzzwords and nothing else!

Shortly after we posted that message a Twitter user, presumably at the event, posted this message;

"#digicaparts Permission, Purpose, Passion, Platforms, Piracy - rock that boat, PLAY! The new 5p's of #digitalarts"

When Article19, somewhat sarcastically, pointed out that the "new 5P's" was actually 6 the user in question mentioned that they were simply repeating what Mr Romer had said at the conference.

So, when we pointed out to Mr Romer that @Article19 was not a personal account and no names would be forthcoming he doubled down;

"[email protected] people tweet so fess up who is tweeting now #trolls http://t.co/ckawNcbp"

and

"@Article19 so give the name of the person tweeting from your account then? #troll"

We provided both our telephone number and email address and linked to our about page which names the people who write for or have written for Article19 in the past, along with the name of our editor. Mr Romer was encouraged to call us if he wished to speak to us about our Twitter account. He declined to do so.

The conversation rattled along, never raising in volume above a gentle roar, until eventually all was silent. Mr Romer has since deleted most of his tweets to us from his timeline.

Bigger Issues

We mention all of this because there are some important points to make.

First of all Article19 is not anonymous, we are right here, right in front of you. We have a phone number that you can call so you can speak to us in person if you choose to do so. We have email accounts, a Facebook page, a forum, comments and of course our Twitter account.

If Article19 writes something about your work, your company, your project or a nonsensical "digital capacity" seminar then you have an absolute right to reply. You can do it right on our own website if you choose to do so and we will even allow you to do it anonymously.

We do not and we will not hide from anybody. Article19 will say the same things to you in person that we say to you online. We will listen to your position and we will defend our position and we will also defend our right to speak out on any issue that we choose on any and all mediums available to us.

Yes, we are sarcastic, we are satirical, we do poke fun at people and organisations and we absolutely call into question the methods and motivations of people who spend public money on things that have, for want of a better word, dubious merits.

That's our job though, it's what we are supposed to do. It's what sets us apart from The Dancing Times, Dance Europe and all the others, it's why a lot of people visit Article19 and follow us on Twitter and Facebook, because they want something different, they want something that is about something.

What our readers don't want are puff pieces on petulant ballet dancers quitting their job because they don't like getting out of bed in the morning.

Article19 is a lot of things, but a "bully" and a "troll", say it with us dear readers ".......PLEASE!"

  • Marcus Romer

    My tweets from four days ago are here - so all can see we are are offering to meet

    - so therefore telling the whole story about the exchange - for all to see

    "@Article19 that's a shame - be good to get to know who you guys are and what you are about - that is all - debate yes. Anonymous trolling no"

    "@Article19 good to hear - wanted to be able to get beyond the seeming 'troll like' comments - just trying to find out what your deal was :)"

    "@Article19 hi there - very happy to meet face to face and have a coffee if you are ever passing through York. Drop me a line anytime. Best M"

    No response to the last one, unfortunately.

    The offer is always open

    best regards

    Marcus Romer
    Artistic Director
    Pilot Theatre

    [email protected]-theatre.com

    @marcusromer

    transparency / open debate / discussion / creative thinking / ideas / developing projects

    what I am interested in...

    thanks for stopping by

    best

    Marcus

  • Wiseup

    Article19 ia Lame as!
    Some of us have contracts that prohibit us from making coments on social media as we represent our employers.

    I have written comments on article 19 which have never been posted, namely to a blogger at which I trained at the same school! I was offering straight to the point advise on artistic growth, but low and behold, It was never posted! It seems that article 19 can dish the dirt but cannot take it.
    and another thing, article19 had NOTHING to do with the ENO pay increase because no one takes the website seriousley. ( and yes, I am fully aware of who the main instigator of the pay increase was , and it is up to the people involved to be named if they wish to do so)

    When article 19 chooses to conduct themselve's in an informative, respecatable and proffesional manner, i'm positive that the people (i.e Lone ranger) can do good things for the profession, which i'm sure is the main intent.

    I feel it is my right to remain anonymous as I have obligation to do so, However I have and always will be honest when asked my views in the media.

    I find it highly dissapointing that Article19 seems to get wrapped up in insults and jibes when a little bit of respect can go a long way.

    As a student I felt that the points raised and highlighted where very relavant and approached in a productive mannaer, however as a succesfull professional it feels like failure is praised and success is bashed! (VERY SAD)

    NB: I cannot and have always had difficulties with grammar, let's not get childish about insignificant things and stay strue to the messages that we as artist are trying to send out!

  • Your comment has all the hallmarks of somebody making things up. Claiming to have knowledge of things then refusing to say how you know because we should all trust you, some random dude from the internet.

    We do know who was responsible for the dancers pay increase, if in fact the increase was a response to the outrage over the crap pay for DoK, it was the dancers who spoke out and gave us the information in the first place.

    As for commenting on Article19, take a look around, take a long hard look at how many negative comments are posted on here about us. The reason you know the comments are there is because, well, they are there for you to read.

    The comment you just posted has been "published" because we don't vet them beforehand. Anything pathetic or abusive is of course deleted. So you're lying about your previous comments not being "published".

    Finally, you mention "staying true to the message that artists are trying to send out". What do you know of truth? You sit there cowed by "contractual" limitations, according to you and all you have to write is some fairly banal criticism of Article19, as if we were the biggest problem facing the arts and dance today.

    Tell us oh wise one, what else you got? You know where our phone number is.

  • Lewis Seares

    Article19 is informative, enlightening and great fun. Sometimes I don't agree with its editorial position but recognising opinion and bias is an essential aspect of interacting with any news media. If people are offended by an Article19 position then they should mount a solid defence, not just accuse Article19 of being a troll and a cyberbully. Who ends up looking ridiculous in that situation?

  • Katie

    From what I can see Article 19 may well be the only outspoken online site where we can read another view point to everything that is offered to us from the organisations promoting their product. In my opinion if it wasn't for Article 19 raising issues surrounding such programmes from ACE or other funders, companies and directors - where would we be?! Lost. It also gives everyone a platform to express their own opinion and express how they really feel about topics raised.

  • clouddancefest

    A friend pointed out yesterday that ENO are now offering a higher salary to dancers. I hope that it was Article19's spotlight on ENO which helped make that happen!

  • insomniac

    I understand that article 19 is not a personal twitter account, but some company tweeters add their initials to the end of tweets on their company account - personally I like that as it looks less like a 'hive mind' tweeting. But each to their own!

    I have to confess I have envied the fact that on article 19 it's possible for the online presence to have a kind of anonymity or safety in numbers. While some articles are individually credited, plenty of them aren't. There seems to be a general frustration here that more people in the arts don't speak out about the general ridiculousness flying around - however many of us don't have the luxury of anonymity or safety in numbers. As individuals in large companies or independent artists/managers, we have to be political, it's difficult to be on record online criticising the Arts Council then have a meeting with them to discuss a G4A!

    So, it's sometimes a bit rich that unsigned articles here criticise specific individuals on the arts world or berate us all for acting like sheep... if you want others to stand up, why not stick your own head above the parapet?

  • Kema

    Insomniac:
    No what I mean is there is more power of opinion in a group if you are all prepared to be seen and counted and depending on the context - trust.

    I have emailed Judith Mackrell, Luke Jennings etc when they have written something I disagree with in The Guardian. Obviously I use my own email address and real name and I think they respond because I appear less troll like.

    You've seen the attacks Article19 gets from anonymous dance people. It's very easy to criticise from behind a virtual mask. If your colleagues know you feel the same way about something a change can start through unified thinking. Like the ENO wage issue.

    cheers

    Kema

    Insomniac are you based in London, Scotland or Middle England (North West)

  • Kema

    insomniac; I assume you live in Great Britain. You have the luxury of free speech use it.

    The reason why dancers are so badly treated is because we stay silent, anonymous and uncounted and yes many dancers do act like sheep and are too scared to speak their minds.

    A few friends of mine have left dance companies because of the working conditions.
    Professional musicians won't do anything that isn't in a contract or has been agreed and passed by the Musicians Union. Dancers do whatever's needed without question.

    Like Article19 said above if you want to get in touch with Article19 phone/email/text you will get a response.

    If you use your real name it shows you are serious about the point you are making.

    cheers

    Kema

  • insomniac

    *sigh* too late for commenting if grammar goes to pot: last comment should have read: Do you mean we should also think unsigned Article 19 articles are not serious about the point they are making?

  • insomniac

    "If you use your real name it shows you are serious about the point you are making."

    Do you mean we also shouldn't think unsigned Article 19 articles are not serious about the point they are making? Is the Evil Imp a real name? Again why demand others use their real names?

  • from our most recent video feature "This video feature was funded in part by Arts Council England."

    we get in their face all the time, you just have to do it, in fact ACE has told us directly that they welcome criticism, so call them on it. Our heads are so far above the parapet, we can see the whole castle, come join us, it's fun, most of the time!

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