A message from the Facebook Admin. Team : new page Admins and important information

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

From the AROnline Facebook Group’s Admin Team

Social media is of the most engaging and instant forms of communication in the modern world. AROnline boasts a very active Facebook Group which has swollen to well over 4500 members – moderating this is no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination. The bulk of the content on the website itself comes purely voluntarily from a bandy gang of folk, most of which have worked at the coal face of our much beloved BL-ARG-related companies. The website itself is tightly administered and never ceases to surprise the us, let alone the readers, with the high level of information, entertainment and mind-blowing facts and figures. It’s fair to say that the site is the world’s most highly regarded for all things Austin to Wolseley.

The Facebook Group’s page is mainly your platform or soapbox for topics of a more general or tongue-in-cheek nature, opening up new avenues of discussion and for the making of new friends with like-minded people. But, as with any forum that encourages free speech, it sometimes gets a little fractious and tempers often can be frayed. We have received a sprinkling of complaints over the past few months from Facebook Group members who have been concerned or upset with some comments or postings on the Group’s page. In some cases this has caused a number of once loyal supporters to leave the group and find other homes for like-minded car lovers.

Every now and again Trolls enter the fray and do what they tend to do best but these can be dealt with swiftly and thoroughly with the click of a mouse. What we are asking of you is to consider your replies and comments while, at the same time, respecting other people’s opinions or postings. AROnline prides itself on being a nice place to be and, even though the Group’s Facebook page has no official tie with the website, word does come back to us from time to time regarding the odd less-than-ideal behaviour patterns on it. Upon closer examination, it has been noted that some remarks and comments would have left people open to legal action had members of the Admin. Team not stepped in quickly.

The answer is clean and simple. You must be aware that, as a member of the Facebook Group, you are legally bound by your individual actions and comments. Everyone has a right to their opinion and views on any topic discussed on the page, but before you hit that return key, think for a moment about the possibility of your actions being taken as offensive or inflammatory before you post them. Some recent comments regarding MG Motor for example have been, to put it plainly, racist and xenophobic. There is nothing wrong with voicing concerns about the last-remaining thread of what was MG Rover – it’s what and how it’s said that makes the difference between an honest opinion which stimulates discussion and a potential legal minefield.

None of us wish to take a hard-nosed stance towards moderation of the Group’s Facebook page but more Admins. have been hand-picked to keep the peace on the page just in case. All of us here at the sharp end applaud the common sense and good spirit that 99% of readers and contributors provide to the family better known as AROnline – after all, it’s your interaction which makes it all bond together. But it needs to be stated that any form of racist / sexist / xenophobic, generally disruptive or potentially hurtful activity on Facebook will not be tolerated and the end result will be a permanent ban and blocking for those who choose to ignore our polite requests for a little more consideration in future.

Many thanks.

Mike Humble

Upon leaving school, Mike was destined to work on the Railway but cars were his first love. An apprenticeship in a large family Ford dealer was his first forray into the dark and seedy world of the motor trade.

Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications

7 Comments

  1. What has always bemused me, being a member of several classic car web forums AND classic car facebook groups, is the completely reversed sense of civility some people have. I know of several people who interact with each other on a webforum with the utmost of respect. And yet on the surface, nobody could possibly know who they are – they have a pseudonym username, no photographs and often don’t even use their real name. And yet on facebook, the biggest social media platform in the world, the same people will tear seven bells of sh*t out of each other using their own name and a photograph! They are probably ‘friends’ with their bosses and workmates, and yet will happily launch a very personal attack on somebody in a classic car group for all the world to see. It is similar with AROnline – rarely do these comments sections get heated as anonymous pseudonyms share a polite exchange, but then there are the facebook escapades. The ‘MINI Prototype Shell’ thread of last year was an abomination of hate-filled racialism that bore no relevance at all to the subject matter. What is wrong with people?! Even taking the morality issue aside, if you are going to be a complete a-hole on the internet, surely you’d want to do it anonymously!

    • Some very good points here. I am one of those who uses a pseudonym on here simply because it adds to my individuality as a car enthusiast and because I have quite a ‘common’ name which might be shared with another member. But it also highlights where my particular motoring passion lies. As a member of several other car-based forums, it can often be quite entertaining when you introduce yourself by your pseudonym and people will know you, but not know you by your real name, even if they have had previous correspondence with you on an individual basis. It is part of a specific social identity you have created for use in a specific context.

      As for the biggest social media, at university we were always advised that posting defamatory or malicious comments can have an adverse effect on how you are perceived. Particularly when applying for a job, a PhD, or even in terms of your existing employment prospects if you make negative comments about your current employer. Most employers are clued up about social media sites and as part of their check on new and current employee credentials, will not waste a chance to find out about the ‘real’ you from your profile and comments.

      Social media profiling is also attracting a lot of interest from some of my former academic lecturers as research material… We have all been warned!

      • I agree that a pseudonym does give you a strong identity online. I went by the name ‘redrover’ for many years. I have nothing against them; my comment was more an observation of those who are polite and civil behind a pseudonym but then often inappropriately aggressive when using a personal profile on facebook!

        You are also right about it hindering people getting jobs, etc. This goes far deeper than an employer casually looking at your profile. In my current job, I am working with a company to implement a piece of software which continually scans several social media platforms for keywords. It collates these in databases and builds graphs to show trends and common themes. It is even capable of deducing the ‘mood’ of a comment automatically (ie, happy, congratulatory, angry, defamatory, etc). This particular software is in use by Tesco. If you post something negative about one of their stores or products (especially on Twitter) you can expect to be contacted by their customer service Twitter account wishing to help you. This happens regardless of whether you tweet to them directly. It is small step between listening to bad product reviews and listening to inappropriate comments from your employees or prospective employees.

        A lot of people are frightened by this reality and use Orwellian language to describe it. But what is social media if not the 21st Century version of being the town crier? Of course people can see and hear what you say if they choose to listen to it. The difference now is everybody has the power to be his/her own broadcaster, and nobody is around to regulate that. Social media is a sociological revolution that empowers everyone to be their own broadcaster. It is the single biggest engine for social change of our time, and has the power to do exceptional good as well as bad. Determining which way it goes is down to the poster.

        I’m almost certain you are a P6 owner, David. In fact, if you are the person I’m thinking of, we have met in person. I think you’re a member of our club (BUT IF NOT JOIN TODAY! http://www.p6club.com 😉 )

        • Hi Michael, Sorry to disappoint you but I am definitely not the owner of a Rover P6. Nor an SD1 – ‘M’ (although I’d love an SD1 Vitesse at some point when funds might one day allow).

          I am involved in the Rover scene through my enthusiasm for the marque and for many of its models, and have also been involved in the Maestro/Montego scene. That’s it, I won’t reveal any more information, but will remain hidden behind my pseudonym!

  2. Good to hear that there are more admins keeping an eye on things. I took myself off the page a while back as I felt a bit detached from it, but might go back on (pending Admin approval!) if it’s being policed a bit better.

    Of course, if folk didn’t take the bait from the trolls then they would just crawl away from whence they came

  3. Yes glad there will be some more admins about. I also stopped reading the page some time ago as with a lot of the comments (although of course everyone is entitled to their own opinions) I didn’t really understand why many of the people were actually on the group, from the sound of it, it certainly wasn’t because they have any interest/fondness for BL/Rover/MG-Rover cars. Although you can block trolls so you don’t have to read their rubbish. I agree with the comment above about anonymous almost entirely mild Blog comments on here v the often aggro and abuse on the Facebook page with people’s real names and photos. I don’t think most of the people on there read this actual AR Online website, although could be wrong.

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