Gossip, rumours, malicious lies..

"From a cast-iron source, you say?!..."

I love the Internet, and I love the fact that the increased availability of it – be it just in accessing it, or using endless ways to generate information to be included upon it.  I’d be one hell of a hypocrite not to, really – it’s these very mechanisms that give me the opportunity to splurge my Forest-related diatribes to the lucky masses (sic).

But with this increased accessibility of relatively simple-to-operate technologies seems to come an exponential increase in people attempting to subvert it.  Ridiculous rumours seem to be in over-drive this season, admittedly exacerbated by Forest’s chronic inability to sign the players we feel we need to progress, fuelling frustration and therefore those people who seem to like to capitalise upon it.

Back in ye olde days when I started watching Forest any unofficial views came in the form of fanzines – many a happy hour was spent poring over The Brian, The Tricky Tree and Forest Forever – reading material that was, by today’s standards, weeks out of date.  That said, it was generally reading material that was probably better thought-out than my average rambling on here!

Occasionally there’d be some quite risque material, or propagation of rumours or dischord – but the ‘lag factor’ meant there was rarely breaking news, and I suppose the nature of having to write, layout and get the thing printed then sell it meant they were perhaps edited by more responsibly minded people than folks like myself, who just find a bit of free webspace and let rip without nearly as much commitment.

But ‘Billy-on-the-plane‘ gate has got me thinking, and it’s far and away not the only example – just one that managed to even get a mention in the local media.  Online forums are a rife area for potential rifts developing (or widening?) between the club and fans.  We’ve already seen the example where Sheffield Wednesday sued a fan site, and there does seem to be a general lack of awareness of legal obligations when pushing material into the public domain.

The same goes on here – I try to have a policy of not moderating comments, but occasionally I have to remove one or two.  You see, as the controller of the content it’s me that’s liable for them.  Of course, you can put disclaimers up about comments being the opinions of the original poster and all that jazz, but ultimately, if it’s contentious then it’s the editor that needs to act and remove it.

So when on the Vital Forest forum a person posted an incredibly detailed account of a conversation with Billy Davies they supposedly had (amounting to 24 detailed points – a long ‘chat’ for a fairly short flight from Glasgow to East Mids!), perhaps their moderating team should’ve been a bit quicker off the mark to get it binned.  Because if it wasn’t true (which I don’t think it was) then it was libellous.  Extremely so.

That it has been removed following supposed interest from the club potentially damages the reputation of the Forest supporting community on the Internet.  It’s a tricky one, because like most people, I believe in freedom of speech – but of course, once something goes down in print it becomes somewhat different.  Whilst I wouldn’t want to see it, Forest or Billy could probably pursue legal action.

In the days where football rumours were peddled in pubs, occasionally fanzines or the typically well-screened arena of radio phone-ins it was a little more difficult to get your rumours to take root.  Your coverage wasn’t great – but now with so many burgeoning online communities all keeping an eye on each other’s ‘in the know’ type posts, once an exclusive drops it spreads like wildfire.

That’s before we even get on to Twitter or Facebook for proliferating the boom.  We really are living in a world of information overload – and it would seem that legislation is a bit slow to catch up – or perhaps, more accurately, people with access to preach to this massive digital audience aren’t aware of it fully, nor perhaps their moral responsibility.

I know from my own site stats that news or rumour of a signing spikes my hits like no other subject, so if cynical traffic-generating is the name of the game then it’s a cheap trick to employ.  Every forum I lurk around seems to have a select group of people with ‘sources’ – this summer their hit-rate has been pretty poor, yet still people cling on to their latest updates.  It’s a bit bizarre.

If I were in a position where I knew some information before everyone else then I certainly wouldn’t jeopardise that position of trust by spouting it to a load of strangers on the Internet (honest!).  It does make one rather question the motives of those folks who do claim to have some kind of inside knowledge.  I suppose it’s likely to be either just a good old wind-up or possibly attention-seeking.  Who knows.

Apologies for the long waffly rant.  I think it’s awesome Forest has such a vibrant and varied online presence courtesy of fans who put time and effort into providing their views – of course, my favourites are those of you that post here – but we do need, as a collective, to be careful not to cross the line.  Of course we have opinions, views, speculation and ranting to do – but well, isn’t it about time we cut the bullshit?

I used to quite enjoy some of the hints offered by a few posters around the forums, I might even have commented on them here – but the experience of this summer has rendered me completely numb to the rumours that have done the rounds this time around.  I wonder whether other teams suffer from it the same degree as we do?

Tell you what, a win against Reading tomorrow should improve the online mood immeasurably – come on Forest, do your bit, please!  And if anybody spots me spouting nonsense rumours then give me a virtual slap!

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15 Responses

  1. I understand what you are saying but these people who think they are in the know on Forest forums are just as bad as the crap the newspapers post everyday and just stir it all up again. Like this article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1304572/Nottingham-Forest-hold-talks-Cardiff-winger-Peter-Whittingham-1-8m-move.html

    Could be true but very much doubt it.

    • Agreed! The media are quite careful with their allegedlies though, of course… and they are quite well versed in printing teeny tiny retractions.

      I wonder if they papers get their stories from the fan forums? 😀 Now there’s a chicken and egg dilemma!

  2. It’s interesting to ponder the effect of the web’s instant “news”.
    Most of us with a few brain cells can filter out the obvious dross but as for the remainder of what’s read, we probably base our assessments of validity on its source (i.e. BBC website = probably accurate; The Sun = webshite).

    From the numerous Forest-related websites, after a while, one begins to focus on those where the webmaster/blogger writes with a sense of realism, humour as well as fair command of the English language. So, my intake of Forest news & gossip is limited to daily calling up http://www.newsnow.co.uk/h/Sport/Football/Championship/Nottingham+Forest and then searching for an item from . . . . . err..TTSBU (and maybe a couple of others) 🙂

    Yes, it’s been a disappointing start to the season and apart from the first 30 mins of the Leeds game, we’ve not been exactly inspired. In the dark days of Balsawood, I remarked on this site “how long has it been since we could be confident a Forest match was won before the kick-off?” It seems we back to that again now. OK, we lost a string of games at the beginning of last season but that’s hardly relevant. Our away form requires no comment, but yet I’m strangely content. For all the criticism, our chairman is a shrewd businessman and I’d rather we were in his hands than those of the receiver.
    I can’t get to Reading but I’ll be there to see us beat Norwich and that’ll start the recovery, no worry.

  3. Interesting post. Has almost got me wondering if I should verify the source of that BARCA MOVE FOR ADEBOLA IN £30m DEAL story. It’s just the idea of ronaldo and messi being used as makeweight in the deal that doesn’t ring quite true. 😀

  4. There are so many rumours that we hear day in day out about Forest and with the lack of activity in the transfer window lots will be said and very little will true! I heard yesterday from some friends that we are waiting to see what happens with the premiership squads and the new rules as players will be demanding to play and we too could end up with a Craig Bellamy situation?
    All the same another rumour with no weight and no player associated to the discussion. Just hope.
    Your articles are great and I always take time to read them.
    Many thanks for your insights to Forest and what goes on around the club!

    Just know we will beat Reading today and Norwich and the City ground next week.

  5. good post, you should see the e,p site every body but me know’s billy davies and the forest team 🙂 some people really are sad with the stuff they claim to know. bring on the royals u redssssss

  6. my only advice would be stop reading the crap; only source for me NFFC blog, Evening Post (don’t get involved in the comments as populated by fools) & reds own website.
    Admittedly the club don’t help but there are a lot of ill-informed idiots out there.

  7. Too right Graham. EP has such poor, ill researched articles that it begs the question why even take any credence to whats written by them let alone the pill wits that crap on with their comments after. Half of them are Notts or Derby fans with nothing better to do anyway.

    Its all about adjusting your shit filter. This site and 1865 are the only ones I think that have people who are reasonable enough to respect other peoples opinions and have a sound logical debate about whatever issues are being discussed. It never degenerates into farcical name calling or my dad could beat up your dad that so often happens on other forums.

  8. But the rumours have now gone up a notch… see the News Of The World today and the article linking us with Martin O Neil. For all Billy has done for us in the last 18 months, could the chairman be thinking it’s now or never to finally bring Martin in? I know that some will decry this as gutter journalism but these journalists normally work from a piece of information gleaned from either an agent or club. I just can’t help thinking their is too much smoke coming out of the club for their not to be fire somewhere. Added to which, Billy’s tone appears to have changed in the last week – he appears almost resigned to his fate if you ask me.

  9. […] nor myself made it to the Majewski Madejski Stadium, nor have we commented much on the much-vaunted Billy Davies rumours, I thought I would point you in the direction of the excellent Stress and Pie, where they […]

  10. I did’nt realise that billy-on-the-plane-gate originated on the vital forest site, but that does make a lot of sense.

    I say I did’nt realise it was them, because I honestly did’nt pay any (and I do mean any) attention to that rumour. But like I say, to know that vital broke that one makes all the sense in the world to me, and I am vindicated in not taking any notice of it (I couldnt even tell you what any of those points supposedly discussed were – I smelt it as BS straight away, and I’ve got to be honest, it dissapoints me that people were suckered in because I didnt think I was all that perceptive a person, so if I can spot BS, well you know the rest).

    Anyway, can I just draw it to people’s attention some of the transfer rumours that Vital forest have put out in recent years? Is anyone aware of their appaling hit-record in that dept? The names they sometimes mention are embarassingly outlandish. In many online spots, vital forest has the reputation of the site that cried wolf, not just once, twice, but many times. I did’nt think anybody still took them seriously, but apparently people still do.

    It makes me wonder why.

    I have a low tolerance for BS, you only have to bullshit me once or twice and then I start to ignore everything you say, which is why it did’nt take me long to get to know vital forest and to quickly come to ignore its output on any given matter. I wholeheartedly recommend same to other people who possess brains.

    Like I say, it makes sense that billy-on-a-plane-gate was broken by vital, because I smelled bullshit from the first second, even before I knew it was them.

  11. […] I’m not sure – but there’s a lot of disharmony about the place.  I’ve lamented before some of the less positive manifestations of the techno-literate football fan, and as I noted then, […]

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