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Yesterday both John Simkin and myself received the following communication form the schoolhistory forum

As from 5pm 22nd July 2005 you are being put on Permanent Moderation on the History Teachers' Discussion Forum.

This is because we are distressed about a series of unfounded accusations that are creating confusion and breeding mistrust. We have no wish to be part of such actions.

We earnestly welcome your contributions which fit into our stated teaching and learning ethos, and wish them to continue. However we are not prepared to allow the negative and unhelpful postings that you have often engaged in and which detract from the aims of the forum.

We are very upset that this stage has been reached and regret this situation. Nevertheless, following the lead set by other online forums it has been necessary to take this action.

The Administration Team

History Teachers' Discussion Forum

It appears we are being accused of spreading "unfounded accusations" about persons unspecified and of making "negative posts" again unspecified.

This is too bizarre and too paranoid for words.

John and I have been staunch supporters of the schoolhistory forum throughout and have made a siginificant contribution to its success.

I am afraid that given the weirdness of the behaviour of some of its moderators recently its success will be severely limited in the future.

I for one am so disgusted by this turn of events that I have demanded that my account be deleted from the schoolhistory forum and that any suggestion that my website is in anyway associated with it be deleted from its banner. So far the administrators haven't had the courtesy to carry out this simple task.

Administrators, moderators and members of the schooolhistory forum will remain as ever welcome to contribute to the Education Forum.

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This is the message I have received from the History Forum:

As from 5pm 22nd July 2005 you are being put on Permanent Moderation on the History Teachers' Discussion Forum.

This is because we are distressed about a series of unfounded accusations that are creating confusion and breeding mistrust. We have no wish to be part of such actions.

We earnestly welcome your contributions which fit into our stated teaching and learning ethos, and wish them to continue. However we are not prepared to allow the negative and unhelpful postings that you have often engaged in and which detract from the aims of the forum.

We are very upset that this stage has been reached and regret this situation. Nevertheless, following the lead set by other online forums it has been necessary to take this action.

The Administration Team

History Teachers' Discussion Forum

For those who are not members of the History Forum the administrators are:

Andrew Field, Carole Faithorn, Dan Moorhouse, Dave Wallbanks, John D. Clare, Lesley Ann, Russel Tarr, Stephen Drew.

Permanent moderation means that the administrators read your messages before allowing them to be posted. The posting that they are at the moment from me is an offer of helping a member with a school teaching the American Civil War (I have suggested that I link him up with teacher friends in the United States).

It is true that some of the administrators have disliked some of my postings. For example, I had the thread that I started when David Kelly was found dead. John D. Clare objected to my suggestion that Kelly was the person who provided the two journalists from the BBC with information about the lack of WMD in Iraq. Of course, this suggestion was correct.

I also got into trouble for arguing that there was no WMD in Iraq and that Tony Blair had lied to the British people over the reasons why our troops were going into Iraq. However, on this occasion, several other Forum members shared my views and they were not deleted.

Andy and I also got intro trouble for questioning those teachers who taught in-depth studies on the Jack the Ripper murders. As we pointed out, by spending such a long time on this irrelevant case, students were missing the opportunity to study far more important topics. I was especially concerned by the failure to teach topics that would help them become well-informed citizens. As history teachers I believe we have a responsibility to do this.

John D. Clare has also objected to my postings revealing the lies and corruption of Tony Blair. John is a New Labour Party loyalist who knows Tony and thinks he is a great chap and should not be criticised. We have engaged in vigorous debate about these issues. Maybe, he is now of the opinion that he has reached the stage where defending Blair is no longer possible and that I have to be banned from exposing his lies.

The only other time I have had my postings censored concerns a comment I made at the end of the Michael Jackson trial. I said that the decision to find him not guilty was a victory for all paedophiles. The point I was making is that as a result of the trial, young people would become more reluctant to tell their stories to the police after they had been sexually abused. Dave Wallbanks was the one who objected to this as he considered that it was possible that Michael Jackson might sue the Forum. The sentence referred to was therefore deleted.

I would welcome those administrators of the History Forum (Andrew Field, Dan Moorhouse and Russel Tarr) that are members of the International Education Forum to explain their decision. For Andy and myself are still committed to freedom of speech. Maybe we can even convince you that is the best way to deal with political disagreements.

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Despite regular instructions and requests to delete my account on the Schoolhistory forum and to remove the link to my history gcse site from its banner, Andrew Field has singularly failed to carry out these simple tasks.

The result of which is to give the appearance that I support his forum when I do not wish this association any longer.

I note also that not one single administrator of that forum has come forward here to defend their eccentric activities...... pathetic

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John D. Clare has also objected to my postings revealing the lies and corruption of Tony Blair. John is a New Labour Party loyalist who knows Tony and thinks he is a great chap and should not be criticised. We have engaged in vigorous debate about these issues. Maybe, he is now of the opinion that he has reached the stage where defending Blair is no longer possible and that I have to be banned from exposing his lies.

The public are victims of a paltering mischief which has set standards in ethical conduct which fall short of what one expects from gentlemen.

The problem with this administration is that obfuscation and prevarication have become political philosophy and routine practice.

Edited by Gregory Carlin

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The public are victims of a paltering mischief which has set standards in ethical conduct which fall short of what one would expect from gentlemen.

Thankyou Gregory. I am not really sure how this helps me with my problem with the chief administrator of the Schoolhistory forum, but thanks for your input.

I guess I'll just phone his headteacher in the morning and outline my problem.

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I am a little puzzled by this whole episode. Not being party to the facts does not help matters.

I've always enjoyed Andy's and John's postings because they were a) colourful(!) and b ) thought provoking.

I hope this manages to sort itself out next week - maybe it is just a symptom of end-of-termitis?

Edited by Nick Dennis

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Nick

Thankyou for posting here. I expect you will receive considerable criticism for doing so.

Perhaps you could ask on the history forum why John and I have been placed in this suspended animation?

It makes no sense to either of us and none of the administrators are answering our e-mails.

I am particularly angered by the fact that it still appears when you log on to www.schoolhistory.co.uk/forum that I support an organisation I have now lost all respect for.

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I have posted a thread in the 'Cafe' section. I will repost it here as non-members cannot view posts in that forum.

I would like to know why Andy Walker, one of the original members of the forum, and John Simkin, publisher of the Spartacus website and textbooks, have been banned from this forum.

I find this to be very undemocratick, especially considering whatever debate that led to this censoring has been airbrushed out of history.

Not a very good advert for historians at all.

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There is in a fact another reason why we might have had this action taken against it. Recently a representative of the HA, Alf Wilkinson, has suggested that Dan Moorhouse should replace him on the E-HELP project. Andy and I both objected to this decision. We did this for a variety of reasons and suggested that the HA come up with a more appropriate name. Surprisingly, the HA (or Alf Wilkinson) have refused to do this and insist that Dan should be its representative. Andy and I have refused to accept this. As Dan is one of the administrators it is possible that he is attempting to retaliate by getting us banned from the History Forum. It is of course because of this kind of behaviour that we originally argued against him becoming a member of E-HELP.

Anyway, Andrew Field, Dan Moorhouse and Alf Wilkinson are all members of this Forum and are completely free to post their own observations on this matter.

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I have chosen to have my schoolhistory account deleted and wish nothing more to do with that forum. Finally I have received this morning confirmation that this has happened.

I found it incredible that without warning I could be placed in the suspended animation of "permanent moderation" on trumped up charges of "being negative" and "spreading accusations," and have no desire to be associated with the sort of mindset that could invent such garbage.

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I have chosen to have my schoolhistory account deleted and wish nothing more to do with that forum. Finally I have received this morning confirmation that this has happened.

I share your annoyance concerning the cowardly behaviour of the History Forum administrators (I see they have so far been unwilling to defend their actions on this thread or on their own Forum). However, I disagree with your decision to ask them to delete your membership. They now do not have to answer the charges you have made against them. I will remain a member until I get a full explanation for their actions.

As Dafydd has pointed out, this is not the way for historians to behave. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for teachers in authority to behave like this. Authoritarianism is an occupational hazard in teaching. It is particularly unedifying when this happens when young teachers get a little bit of power.

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Nick

Thankyou for posting here. I expect you will receive considerable criticism for doing so.

Andy, I guess you have not met me.

I'm too handsome to be criticised for posting here.:lol:

Seriously, I think this situation has spiralled out of control somewhat. I'm sure (being an eternal optimist) that cooler heads will prevail sometime this week.

Since joining the forum last year, I've come to respect the comments you have both contributed (even when I did disagree frequently!) and I met with John recently at the SHP con.

I also have a huge respect for the Forum Mod team as they have been very helpful in sorting my 'situation' out this year. I also met some of them at the SHP con. From my point of view, it is like a child watching the parents go through a massive argument without understanding why it has happened. From that point of view, it is not pretty.

I do hope this gets sorted out quickly.

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Andrew has now posted this on the History Forum:

As a result of veiled and unfounded allegations made against two of the members of our Administration Team on another Forum for which no explanation or apology was ever given, Andy Walker and John Simkin were put on Permanent Moderation here on July 22nd 2005. This means that all their posts were moderated before they appeared publicly. The posts that they made once put on moderation were allowed through.

However, Andy Walker requested that his account be deleted and we have complied with his request.

No details of these veiled and unfounded allegations have been posted on the Forum. Until this happens, we cannot defend ourselves. I invite Andrew and his co-administrators to post the information they have on this matter.

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