Daily Archives: March 11, 2007

Barbados Tourism Hype Becomes Reality – When It Is Repeated Over and Over….

I was attracted to an article that appeared in the British Observer, Sunday 11th March 2007 entitled Time to join the party people’.

It makes a number of blatant statements including:

‘around 40,000 people from the UK now live in Barbados’

‘With the Cricket World Cup and other attractions on offer, the BTA (Barbados Tourism Authority) is expecting an extra 600,000 visitors this year’

‘And Barbados is looking well beyond this year’s cricket tournament, with a target for tourist accommodation to reach 9,500 rooms by 2010.

For a population of 227,000, 8.5 per cent work in tourism and this is set to increase to 10.6 per cent by 2012’.

‘The expansion (port) means passenger arrivals could rise to a million a year’

I wonder where they get this information! Do they just make it up and print it regardless?

Or is this part of our problem, the endless hype that reflects anything but the truth…

It is perhaps is easier to believe the hype than to address the reality and put measures in place to curtail the problems in tourism.

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25 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Traveling and Tourism

Comment Moderating – Don’t Get Your Knickers In A Knot

UPDATED: Comments Now Closed On This Post

Hi Folks

Some of our readers get all upset when their comments are held in moderation for hours. They take it as a personal slight and even accuse us of favouring one commenter over another, or of favouring one side of a discussion etc etc etc.

One fellow even accused us of helping out the BLP over the DLP and of being in bed (figuratively, of course) with the General Secretary of the BLP, Dr. Duguid.

I guess we must be doing a good job when both DLP and BLP supporters are accusing us of favouring the other side!

It looks like it’s time to again remind our readers of how a blog works, how moderation works, why it is necessary and what we can and cannot control.

So to those of you who are upset that your comment didn’t make it to the blog for a few hours… quit pounding your desk, wipe that froth off your mouth and breathe deeply while Uncle Marcus explains the facts of life about comment moderation…

1/ What is Comment Moderation and Why Is It Necessary?

Some blogs allow readers to leave comments, and some do not. We encourage our readers to leave comments and participate in discussions – but it is not a free-for-all.

There are various levels of control available to blog administrators to help strike the desired balance between freedom to post and prevention of abuse of the comments section. If the comment section is left wide open for anyone to post any comment without any controls or moderation at all, it soon becomes useless due to a combination of spam advertising, garbage and profanity.

Persons will also attempt to hijack a popular blog like Barbados Free Press to reach thousands of readers who would not normally read their warped ideas. As an example of this hijacking, earlier Barbados Free Press had two persons who attempted to use the blog to propagate their warped ideas that a/ Jews are evil, and b/ The 9/11 attacks were engineered by the President of the United States with the full participation and knowledge of hundreds of Americans who all conspired together to murder thousands of other Americans in the World Trade Centre.

These people tried to post these ideas dozens of times to the point where we simply banned them from posting under their own names, and also blocked any comments from their IP numbers.

But they are nothing compared with automatic internet robots…

Every day automatic internet robots attempt to post dozens or even hundreds of advertisements as comments on our blog. In the last year, we have had to sort through OVER 40,000 SPAM COMMENTS on this blog. Various automatic filters are used to keep these spam comments from appearing on the blog, but each one eventually has to be looked at by a real person.

There are only five of us – and we can’t be here all the time, so we use an automatic filter to hold suspicious comments until we can look at them. We look at every comment and it is a big job that takes hours every day.

2/ Why do some of my comments get held and some don’t?

We use an automatic spam filter to try and sort legitimate comments from the spam. Mostly it works, but sometimes it grabs your comment and holds it until we read it. Other times it lets spam through onto the blog, which is why you sometimes see advertisements for everything from drugs to naked women posted in the comments section. We clean it out when we find it, but sometimes we miss it for days or even weeks if it is on an old post.

The spam filters have their own minds, and also have a list of suspicious words, triggers and IP addresses. For instance, anything coming from Russia gets held for moderation (Russia is the spam king of the world), as will common spam words or phrases such as “viagra”, “drugs”, “hot sex”, “cars for sale”, “blackjack”, “incest”, “loan” and hundreds of other words from the lists.

If you use one of those words in your comment, or you include more than two linked URLs, your comment is held until we get to it. So some of your comments will make it straight to the blog, and some will not.

We don’t like it either, but that’s reality.

3/ Why are comments sometimes held for hours or even overnight?

There are only five of us, and we’re not always here. This is a part time blog staffed by volunteers who have children, real jobs and bills to pay. We get sick. We get tired. We travel. One of us works steady nights. Sometimes we even get fed up and cranky for a day.

You will see the character of the blog changing depending upon who is looking after spam that day, or who is away for a week and not posting articles.

So if your comment doesn’t get approved for 12 hours or a day, or we don’t answer your email or act on your tip, you’ll just have to understand. We are doing the best that we can, and we sure don’t deserve the abuse and innuendo that some folks toss our way when they don’t get service right away.

If you don’t like it – you can head over to http://www.wordpress.com and start your own blog for free in about 10 minutes.

4/ Why are my comments ALWAYS moderated?

Some folks and their IP numbers get themselves put on the “always moderate” list because they have abused the comments section by posting profanities, bad words or being off-topic. Only one person is banned by name on this blog because he repeatedly violated our requests not to post on one specific topic. We told him that his name would never appear on BFP again, and we set the filter to dump that name into the garbage automatically.

But that is the only person who is banned from BFP. So far, every other violator is merely set to “always moderate” – so they can post, but we have to look at their comments first. If we edit a comment, we say so clearly in the comment.

We can’t always list our standards, but when a poster starts to change the feel of the blog or is starting to drive away other readers, we step in. We all saw what happened a while ago when a group of persons conspired to use foul language and bad words to interrupt the mood of Barbados Free Press. All those IP numbers are now moderated all the time.

5/ Can I Be Removed From the “Always Moderate” List?

Sure – if every comment you post is being held moderated, say so in a comment or email and we’ll give you a second chance if you promise to be a good boy or girl. Sometimes IP numbers switch in the normal course of the internet, and you will be assigned an IP that used to belong to an abuser. It happens automatically so we don’t know about it until you tell us – so let us know and we’ll take that IP off the “always moderate” list.

All Comments On This Article Are Now Going To Be Posted

Just so everybody can see what happens when there is no moderation at all – we’re going to approve all comments on this article for the next few days.

You’ll soon see what we mean.

Anyone need any Viagra, Cialis, Sex, Gambling or Hot Sluts? (Watch what happens when the robots get hold of those words!)

Cheers,

Marcus

UPDATED: Comments Now Closed On This Post

OK FOLKS…

Time to shut it down.

See how quickly things deteriorate without comment moderation? Less than an hour and look what happened. If you let it go for two days, you can just imagine!

Even regular readers get dragged down. (Shame on you Jerome Hinds and Curiously Amused)

So that’s it for comments on this post.

I think we’ve made our point.

Marcus

10 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging

Barbados Democratic Labour Party Starts DLP Blog – We Think, Maybe

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The Democratic Labour Party of Barbados has apparently started a blog at WordPress.com – the same host used by Barbados Free Press and the government’s BLP Blog. We learned of this development late last night when a Google Alert for “Barbados Free Press” returned a hit for an article called Lies and Mistruths on a blog we’d never heard of – Barbados Democrats“.

“What’s this?” we thought… and then, much to our delight we found what appears to be an official blog posted by the Opposition DLP.

We say “appears to be an official blog” because although the first post says “Welcome to the Blog of the Democratic Labour Party”, there is no mention of it as yet on the known official website of the DLP (link here). As there is still some tweeking and setup going on at the DLP Blog, it may be that the creators had not intended to announce it formally until everything was just so. The first entry is dated March 8, 2007, so they had been working on it for two days before we discovered it.

Well DLP Blog folks, the cat is out of the bag as whether or not you intended to keep it quiet for a few more days, Google Alerts broadcast you to the world on March 10th.

BFP and our readers will be visiting your blog regularly, so we’ll have more to say about it as time goes on.

Our initial reaction is that more talk can only be healthy for Bajan democracy and Barbados – but you will find (as did the BLP) that your readers will hold you accountable for inaccuracies or unsupported statements. The blog world is a free-for-all that some political traditionalists no doubt wish they had never heard of. (We’re still waiting for the Prime Minister’s much advertised and now forgotten promise to appear on the BLP’s blog. 🙂 )

So good luck to the DLP Blog… and when you are ready in a few days, we’ll take another look at your work. We’ve already added you to our sidebar and featured links.

A Few Technical Tips & Suggestions For The DLP Blog

Your header image is not sized correctly. If you save your artwork at a size of 770 x 200, it will display exactly as it should with no distortion.

You might want to think about turning of the “Snap” feature – that shows an image of the website associated with links. This takes a whole lot of bandwidth and is annoying for those working with less than ideal connections. If you want to turn it off, go to your dashboard, then “presentation” then “extras” and uncheck the “Enable Snap Preview Anywhere on this blog” section and save by hitting “Update Extras”.

We like your clean presentation and your idea of highlighting text keeps the reader’s interest. (Hope you don’t mind if we steal that idea once in a while!)

Catagories – Tags… We are going to redo ours when we get some time as we’ve found that some of the ones we are using don’t work well with the search engines. Your tag of “fishy business” is an example of a non-standard or unusual tag that the search engines will probably ignore. You might also want to post your tags on your sidebar so readers can find all stories on that subject. (Go to “Presentation”, “Sidebar Widgets” and then drag “categories” into your sidebar.

Once again, good luck – and don’t hesitate to ask if you have any technical questions. We helped out the BLP when they started their blog and we’re happy to do the same for the DLP.

61 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Blogging, Politics & Corruption

Passing For White: Race In Film – Central State University, Wilberforce Ohio

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Central State is the only public, historically black university in Ohio, and is located in the town of Wilberforce – named after the famous abolitionist, William Wilberforce. (The more famous Wilberforce University is a private institution affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church.)

As a result of a strange positioning of the moon and the stars in late 2005, Barbados Free Press now has a small but regular following at Central State. Thus it is that we mention for the first time here the excellent Communications Studies programme at the University. As Ian Bourne says, this article is “a shameless plug” for Central State and a chap who teaches film studies and mass communication – Michael Gormley.

“A plan is only an intention, because we never know where life will take us.” is a phrase we first heard from Professor Gormley as he talked about his life so far and his favourite three films that were eventually incorporated into one of his courses. You’ve probably seen one of the films, but track down the other two and see them with new eyes after reading the Wikipedia entries (which, a little birdie tells us, were contributed to by Professor Gormley)

Imitation of Life (1934)

Gone With The Wind (1939)

Cabin in the Sky (1943)

Central State University, Wilberforce Ohio website

OK. Shameless plug over. We now return to our regular programming.

Don’t touch that dial, folks!

3 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues