No Comment?

Why do we blog? It’s a gross simplification but I think the reasons are three-fold. Firstly when you write a blog post you have something to say, you need to find the right words and write them down, albeit virtually. Secondly, you want someone to read what you’ve written. Thirdly, sometimes you want to stimulate or generate a debate on a topic, to provoke discussion and to participate in a dialogue with the people who’ve read your words. The last of these reasons is why comments are open on my blog by default and why it’s not necessary to register on my blog, just to provide a name and an email address.

So why then, after writing all of the above, have I closed comments on my recent post on the Ordnance Survey supported GeoVation awards?
I woke up this morning to discover that the post had attracted a reasonable amount of traffic; I saw this from the stats on the link to the post that was publicised on Twitter and on Facebook, I saw this from a quick peek at my analytics logs and I saw this from the number of comments waiting for approval.
I firmly believe that everyone has the right to an opinion and a view on a topic and that they also have the right to air those views and opinions. But I also firmly believe that I have a right not to display abusive, offensive and derogatory comments on my personal blog and so I’ve removed those comments and closed the post for further comments. I’ve never had to do this before and I sincerely hope that I don’t have to do this again.
I made an informed decision as to whether to support the GeoVation scheme; you may not agree with that. You may feel the having the Ordnance Survey support the scheme and provide the seed fund is not something you want to be associated with. That’s totally fine but does it give you the right to be abusive towards me and have me publish that abuse? I don’t think so.
I’m really happy that you had a similar awards program in your country and that you feel it was better, or superior or vastly different that the GeoVation awards were in the UK. I’m not really sure that “my awards are better than your awards” make for meaningful or informed discussion though.
I’m sure that you think you could have come up with better ideas, better venture submissions, better applications, better uses of geography. So why didn’t you? Why didn’t you participate in GeoVation if you’re UK based or in a similar scheme in your country?
Time to move on from this topic I think.
Written and posted from the Yahoo! London office (51.5141985, -0.1292006)

Posted via email from Gary’s Posterous

Written by Gary

Husband, Father, geotechnologist, map geek, coffee addict, Sci-fi fan, UNIX and Mac user.



Gary, I would take the attention – albeit not all welcome – as flattery. I didn’t see those blocked comments but can imagine some of their content. Well done for contributing and trying to bring both worlds together. In my opinion the geovation results were also not quite what I expected but equally I didn’t expect anything drastic, highly commercial or ubercool. But that is beside the point and I think some people missed that. The point is building a geocommunity and bringing people together. Well done on that count.


p.s. I’m still strangely reassured that an analog map won the main prize in a world where digital is the de facto standard. On that note, it may be worth reading Simon Jenkins’ piece in today’s Guardian Tech

James Penman

Building an ecosystem in which start-ups can thrive is bloody difficult. Anyone supporting that, especially in Europe and especially in times when funding (angel, VC etc) is tough to come by, should be congratulated. It’s very clear that GeoVation 2009/10 is the first iteration of a concept so all the best as the years roll on. And, to the detractors, go try it, build something, anything, from scratch. Humility comes quick.

Ed Parsons


I very much regret that you have been the target of abuse in this way, the internet has it’s population of trolls since the early days and you can always expect a contrary view to almost anything you post.

However I think it is a mistake to remove the comments, blogs should be all about two way communication and I would think your case would be massively strengthened by you and others rebuking the comments that have no basis in reality!


Richard O


Well said. For what it is worth a (rusty) quote,

“Everybody is entitled to an opinion, however intellect is less equitably distributed.” Ludwigg Wittgenstein (1889-1951)


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