Brummie of the Year 2010

It’s taken a while to finally decide, but there will be no Brummie of the Year award for 2010.

The format of the contest has been: call for nominations late-ish November, shortlist of around ten candidates and voting early December and then the announcement close to Christmas.

This year when nominations opened, the comments thread to nominate within was somewhat hijacked by commenters from a Facebook group all nominating one person. In previous years when multiple nominations have taken place, a polite “enough now” was sufficient to restore order to the thread and allow space for discussion of other candidates. This year this didn’t happen, what did was a heated and not friendly ‘debate’ on the censorship/rightness/hidden agendas of all sorts of people. There certainly wasn’t space for discussion that would lead to a usable shortlist, and attempts to get input other ways didn’t work either.

And those were the comments that I wasn’t moved to delete. In nearly ten years running BiNS I’ve very rarely needed to delete comments, and certainly not because of vicious abuse. But the 100+ comments you see on the 2010 nominations thread is the nice stuff, and reading the nasty stuff, as I had to, depressed me. It wasn’t directed at me particularly, but it’s no fun trying to play legality and decency referee in a shouting match where everyone feels slighted and no-one really seems able to see how absurd they’re being.

You see, despite the accusations of there being shadowy “people behind the site” with an agenda it’s just one person. One person who has done almost everything on the site alone for the enjoyment, and for certainly no money ever (the site has, I estimate, cost me a couple of thousand pounds over its life, not that I want thanks for that: hobbies cost you money). What I don’t do it for is to make me feel worse.

I’m a sensitive person and I never do anything that I think will upset anyone. The reason the whole thread wasn’t deleted was I didn’t think that was fair, the reason I didn’t do anything at all was that I just sort of hoped the nastiness would go away and we could get on with the fun of the site—the togetherness, with our tongues used only to plant further into our cheeks than you would have thought possible.

But it hasn’t gone away, abuse and more accusations and snide remarks have been posted in the last couple of days too, so I need to draw a line under it. At various times over the last month the easiest way to draw that line seemed to be to delete, shutter or somehow else to close the website in total.

This has nothing to do with Gary Critchley, to whom I wish justice, but the behaviour of his supporters and other people on the site made thinking of any action unbearable. Any decision about what to do with the contest would have drawn attacks and nastiness and ill feeling, the attempt to let it die was merely to minimise that.

The site isn’t for hate, it’s for the people of Birmingham to enjoy. But I need to enjoy it too, or at least feel safe when organising it.

There will be no Brummie of the Year award for 2010, there will probably be no award in 2011 or in the future. I’ll continue to ruminate as to whether the site does its job or is best closed.

This discussion is now closed, comments on this post and the original nominations one are shut. Any related comments posted anywhere else on the site will be deleted.