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Roy Huggins has posted the following:

Sounds like a storm in a tea cup which could easily be solved by someone apologising first.

Andrew Fields website is the best. He personally finances the website out of his pocket. I have unending respect for Andy and Dan who are great guys with real vision for the future of history teaching.

If folks feel unable to apologise and agree to the rules of the club then they should setup their own website and be sued if they make inflamatory comments that could open them up to being sued.

I hate to take sides, but aren't we in danger of losing thje plot. Its the end of term, everyone is tired, just take a chill pill and come back after a break and you will see things ina completely different light.

Its easy to get uptight and tense and a lot harder to bite the bullet and apologise!

Have a good summer. Make love not war!

The problem with this view is that it is impossible to apologise unless you know what I have actually done. As it stands I am unwilling to apologise for not agreeing that Dan Moorhouse should become the Historical Association representative. I thought he was not good enough. I also thought he was capable of irrational behaviour. This has been confirmed by his decision to get Andy and myself put on permanent moderation as a result of the way we voted on this matter.

I also refuse to apologise for making postings on the History Forum about politics.

If any of the History Forum can tell me what I should apologise for, I will consider it. Until that happens, I cannot apologise for anything.

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Andrew Field appears to be distancing himself from the decision to ban John and myself from the schoolhistory forum as the following message I have received confirms:

What I would like to say is that you weren't banned by me - you were put on moderation meaning that all your posts were to be checked before they appeared.

This, as you know, was due to a dispute with a member of the Administration team. I have no wish to get involved with such matters, but will support my colleagues to the full.

You then chose to resign from the History Teachers' Discussion forum. The Administrators complied with your wishes.

What isn't very professional is dragging issues from elsewhere into this forum. I would have hoped that you would not. This forum is the support forum for the ContentGenerator.net programs, not for general discussions. If anyone wishes to get involved they can indeed follow your link and do as they please.

I'm afraid I have more significant matters to attend to.

It seems very clear now that the whole episode can be put down to a childish revenge tantrum by Daniel Moorhouse. (Remember John and I had raised questions about Daniel's suitability as a member of a European project earlier this week).

I am very surprised and disappointed that an intelligent man like Andrew Field has allowed himself to be manipulated like this. I am also amazed that he hasn't seen fit to explain his actions on the schoolhistory forum or here.

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This is the posting that I made on schoolhistory tonight:

I go away for a few days and come back to find fratricide or should it be patricide on the History forum. I am greatly saddened by the loss of two stalwarts of the forum and astonished that there was a need to moderate any comments. Those of us who have contributed to this forum for a number of years will know two things: 1) the quality and quantity of contributions by John and Andy are rarely surpassed 2) surely we are resurrecting a debate that has long since been extinguished and successfully dealt with (hence, as mentioned earlier, the various 'political' areas of the forum)

I hope that clarity will prevail and that (privately if necessary) John and Andy are invited to rejoin. This forum and the thousands who use it will be the loser if this does not occur

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I go away for a few days and come back to find fratricide or should it be patricide on the History forum. I am greatly saddened by the loss of two stalwarts of the forum and astonished that there was a need to moderate any comments. Those of us who have contributed to this forum for a number of years will know two things: 1) the quality and quantity of contributions by John and Andy are rarely surpassed 2) surely we are resurrecting a debate that has long since been extinguished and successfully dealt with (hence, as mentioned earlier, the various 'political' areas of the forum)

I hope that clarity will prevail and that (privately if necessary) John and Andy are invited to rejoin. This forum and the thousands who use it will be the loser if this does not occur.

Thank you for your support but I suspect that the History Forum administrators will not be willing to go back on their decision. The truth is that they have been waiting for the opportunity to take this action for sometime. They have picked the wrong reason and made themselves look very foolish. Andrew Field, Dan Moorhouse and Russel Tarr are all members of this forum and have visited this thread several times over the last few days but they are unwilling to defend their actions. But they don't need to. Their objective has been achieved. Maybe when we meet Russel at the next E-HELP meeting he will be willing to explain why he joined with the rest of the administrators in putting us on permanent moderation.

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Roy Huggins posted this on the History Forum website:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but schoolhistory was set up as a site to help stressed out teachers by providing downloadable resources, support and advice? There are lots of other websites and forums where people can rant and rave as much as they like. It is just not on to have ago at any of the administrators or the policies set down by Andy.

Everyones comtribution is invaluable, but no one individual or small group of egos or personalities are more important than the collective good that schoolhistory can promote. I would challenge anyone who thinks differently to ask yourself this one simple question: What would happen to the thousands of history teachers and students who use this site if it was closed down because Andy was sued over comments that someone else made? Are you that important?

As for those who go on about free speach. The fact that this thread is up and running speaks for itself. British soldiers, Iraqis, Americans, Egyptians and Londoners are paying the ultimate price in the name of free speach and democracy so that armchair revolutionaries can pontificate!

Enjoy the summer break, rest, recharge your batteries, make some new resources, share them on schoolhistory and spend some time with the people who matter in your life, rather than wasting your time arguing over something silly like this. In a few weeks time you will look back on this incident and be embarrassed by some of your remarks. Its easy to get up tight and tense rather than to see reason at this time of year. Act your age, not your shoe size! This is a site for professionals not yahoo chat room surfers.

Schoolhistory needs your support for the collective good of everyone else. Make love, not war or at the very least a teaching resource that can be shared with someone else. Finall, smile its the summer holidays!

I think that means that Andrew Field is in charge and we all have to accept his decisions.

However, I do not understand the following: "What would happen to the thousands of history teachers and students who use this site if it was closed down because Andy was sued over comments that someone else made? Are you that important?"

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John & Andy,

Look I know that in the past we have had a fair share of differences however, the following is not an action designed to stir up more trouble, rather to see if there can be a way out of this.

1) It appears from what has been posted both here on the education forum and on the schoolhistory forum, that you and Andy have been allegedly making statements about forum member(s) that are misleading or untrue.

2) These comments are damaging to the the forum and the collective good it fosters. Whatever your issues are with forum members (including Admin), I'd rather hope that one of two actions are possible:

That you accept the moderation as a means of still being involved in the forum or that you and the Admin Team through more private means see how this situation can change. I rather feel this open method of communication does not lend itself well to a policy of progressing this issue further. If anything all that is happening is that it has become a an exercise in over analysis as with each comment or thread you pick apart every sentence looking for offence or reason to pursue this thread further.

At the end of the day, you have the opportunity to still be a member of the forum, surely through personal email you can work this out. I would hope this thread will end and that my posting will not pulled apart looking for further evidence of conspiracy and plotting.

Have a nice summer.

Edited by neil mcdonald

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This is Roy Huggins...

I would like to point out that I am not having ago at any individuals. I believe in the collective values that underpin schoolhistory.co.uk and would hope that everyone who is reading this thread would agree with this statement.

The time has come to bury the hachet and smoke the peace pipe and stop attacking individuals in public.

History Uber Alas

Kind Regards

Roy

Edited by neil mcdonald

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I agree completely with Neil. I've also had my differences with John over the years, but I recognize the very important contribution he and Andy make to the schoolhistory forum. The forum would be the poorer without them. On the other hand, I also appreciate the efforts the Administrators make both to maintain the forum, and in the excellent contributions they themselves make. I really hope this can be resolved in some way, and I don't think public namecalling by either side on public forums will do so. I join Neil in urging the principals to get in contact directly and privately to iron out their differences, or at least to arrive at some sort of arrangement with which everyone can live...

Edited by mike tribe

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1) It appears from what has been posted both here on the education forum and on the schoolhistory forum, that you and Andy have been allegedly making statements about forum member(s) that are misleading or untrue.

This is the problem. We have not been making statements about forum members that are untrue. So far the History Forum admin team have not specified what things we have said. Nor have they said where they have appeared. Until we have this information, we cannot answer the charges being made against us. That is why Andy and I have asked what these charges are. We are still to have a reply.

I join Neil in urging the principals to get in contact directly and privately to iron out their differences, or at least to arrive at some sort of arrangement with which everyone can live...

You can see from the above exchange that Andrew Field is refusing to get involved in this matter. The person he is referring to is I imagine is Dan Moorhouse. I suspect this refers to the private thread where we discussed the proposal that Dan should be the HA representative to E-HELP project. It seems someone has told him something that was not said. Maybe he should post on this forum what these charges are. Then we can discuss them. I am all in favour of open debate. However, it appears others do not share this view.

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But John I am not in favour of open debate, rather that this issue does not protract any longer and that you and Andy simply sort this out with the admin team without having everything said being placed on a forum. There are no charges, merely disagreements.

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But John I am not in favour of open debate, rather that this issue does not protract any longer and that you and Andy simply sort this out with the admin team without having everything said being placed on a forum. There are no charges, merely disagreements.

You have obviously not read the beginning of the thread. Andy and myself both got the same message:

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

The first charge suggests that we have been making "a series of unfounded accusations". All we have done is to ask what we have supposed to have said. I would have thought that was a reasonable question given the circumstances. Without the evidence being produced, the History Forum administration team are guilty of making "unfounded accusations" against us.

The charges in the second paragraph is a matter of opinion. It is again difficult to answer with specific examples being given.

I of course accept the right of the administration team to remove us as members. If that is what they wanted, as I suppose this is what this is all about, then they should have been more honest about it. The problem then would have been convincing members that this was a good idea. As we have seen, they have been reluctant to do that. John D. Clare has made one attempt with his New Labour authoritarianism. As I said before, authoritarianism is an occupational hazard in teaching. It is still sad to see an old radical resorting to this tactic. I wonder when he was a young man he ever thought he would end up arguing for people on the left being censored? Of course New Labour already have a significant history of doing this.

The main person behind this accusation, although a member of this forum, has not been willing to argue his case. That is his right. He has won. Andy and I will no longer post on the History Forum. As far as I am concerned, unless one of the History Forum administrators is willing to post details of their charges against us, the debate is over.

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Two more contributions from the History Forum (for Andy Walker and non-members):

John D. Clare

Let’s keep things in perspective.

Beware the danger of over-interpreting. The issue is as it appears on the surface, and people will miss the point if they try to take it any deeper. An issue arose between John Simkin and Andy Walker on one side, and member(s) of the forum administration team on the other. Whatever has been inferred about that matter, its details are crystal clear to those involved, and – quite frankly – no business at all of those who are not involved. In an intensely uncomfortable situation, the Admin team – after a great deal of discussion – decided that they wished to preview (= moderate) any posts by Andy and John. Again, despite posts suggesting differently, the moderators are in complete agreement on this; there is no chance that they will change their mind.

Andy’s response to the moderators’ decision was to resign; John’s was to send a message via another member that he was not going to post again. They are adults, they are not bound to this forum in any way, and they have the right to choose as they wish. I respect their choice. And for the moment, at least, that seems to be the resolution of the matter. Literally, 'it's now all over bar the shouting'.

In the meantime, John and Andy have the Education Forum – which they run – as a vehicle of self-expression. I am sure that eschewing the History Teachers’ Discussion Forum is not the greatest loss they have ever experienced. Many members of this forum are also active members of the Education Forum and I am sure communication on both forums will continue as normal. There is no issue of ‘loyalty’ here. BOTH forums are a service, which people will dip in – and out – of as they choose.

The current situation is not about the role of politics on the forum – even if I have clarified my own standpoint on that issue in this thread. The action of the moderators most certainly was not to stifle political comment – as if!!!

Neither is the issue about freedom of speech on the Forum, nor an attempt to create homogeneity (what a boring forum that would be). The moderators have tried to stay out of the ensuing discussions, because we genuinely to do not want to stop people having their say. The decision was NOT a veiled attempt to impose greater discipline on (any) HTDF members, or to stifle freedom of expression.

The moderators’ decision was a specific response to a specific situation, and there is no need to read anything more into it than that.

All that the moderators would insist is that members guard their posts, refrain from personal comments, and treat each other always with respect (PARTICULARLY when the other person doesn’t deserve it!!!!)

Gavin Holden

I'm coming to this a little late but there are a couple of points I would like to make.

First of all, if I remember correctly the political section of the forum was set up because it was proving impossible to separate politics from many of the other discussions taking place on the forum. On any forum members can potentially libel someone - as far as i am aware it hasn't happened on this forum. So I dont see this issue (as Roy suggests) as one about protecting the existance of this site. Members may have been put off from joining political discussions (as John argues) but that is not the point - they have a choice to post or not. Surely John isnt sugesting we water down political discussion to make it more accessible.

The reaction amongst one or two members of the forum in this thread has been disappointing, however, I think that the general feeling - and is especially my own feeling is one of confusion. I suppose some of us want to know more about the issue because if some forum members can be censored over what appears to be a political issue, then anyone can.

(for the record I also dont think the George W Bush approach of 'you are either with us or against us' is any help either.)

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An issue arose between John Simkin and Andy Walker on one side, and member(s) of the forum administration team on the other. Whatever has been inferred about that matter, its details are crystal clear to those involved, and – quite frankly – no business at all of those who are not involved. (John D. Clare)

It is not "crystal clear" to me what this involved. That is why I have constantly asked what we have supposed to have said. How can we possible defend ourselves against us until the charges are posted? Have you actually seen these comments that we were supposed to have made? Where were they?

In an intensely uncomfortable situation, the Admin team – after a great deal of discussion – decided that they wished to preview (= moderate) any posts by Andy and John. Again, despite posts suggesting differently, the moderators are in complete agreement on this; there is no chance that they will change their mind. (John D. Clare)

Do you mean therefore that we were put on permanent moderation because of what you feared we might say about the issue that you cannot talk about? If that was your fear, why did you not delete comments after we made them. If we did libel anyone (that has been implied by the original message) then we could have been taken to court. The point is that we have never libelled anyone. By saying this you are guilty of what you accused us of: making “unfounded accusations”.

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I posted this on the History Teachers' Discussion Forum:

My goodness - what's going on?!  :unsure:

I've some semblance of an idea of what's going on, but it seems like handbags at ten paces to me...

Since joining both the Education Forum and the History Teacher's Discussion Form I've always seen the former as a place to discuss things seriously (e.g. politics, philosophy and serious History) and the latter to knock ideas back-and-forth about more practical things. Why can't we just leave it at that?

Let's sort things out like adults.

Doug

I agree that both punishments and rewards should be accompanied by a reason. However, I do think things have gone a little over the top...

:plane Doug

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