My position below on the 'Dialogue Partners' issue, was emailed to the undermentioned in the city. This comment was also posted on Raise the Hammer, which was deleted by its editor without the courtesy of an explanation, and who further went on to ban me from accessing his public website:
Email message sent to:
From: Mahesh P. Butani <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Paul Berton <email@example.com>, "Bratina, Bob" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Murray, Chris" <email@example.com>
CC: Gary Santucci <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Evelyn Myrie <email@example.com>, "Merulla, Sam" <Sam.Merulla@hamilton.ca>, Terry Whitehead <Terry.Whitehead@hamilton.ca>, "Partridge, Judi" <Judi.Partridge@hamilton.ca>, Laura Babcock <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "T.I.O. Hamilton" <email@example.com>, Publisher - The Hamiltonian <Publisher@thehamiltonian.info>
BCC: "Farr, Jason" <Jason.Farr@hamilton.ca>
DATE: Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 11:47 AM
SUBJECT: The public swarming of Dialogue Partners...
Comment posted at:
By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - Posted January 11, 2013 at 11:28:12
Shame on everyone who participated in the recent, most ugly public lynching of Dialogue Partners.
Such behaviour is not representative of the City of Hamilton.
What happened here is more than an overreach of a small town echo chamber.
Here is how this 'trivialization' got started by an individual with his explicit public call to "swarm" Dialogue Partners via twitter.
There was no thought to the legal consequences of inciting such directed public action.
Without allowing Dialogue Partners time to offer an explanation, the inciter acted as the arbiter of DP's website design, and went on to act as the "Judge, Jury and the Executioner" of whom he considered had grossly wronged the entire city of Hamilton.
And the mob, maybe 50 or even less, took the bait and started their one-liner public swarming with sarcastic comments, jabs, juvenile comebacks and re-tweets.
Does such a juvenile call to swarm in the most brazen manner, represent the beliefs and aspirations of the rest of 500,000+ Hamiltonians?
Even the local press along with the three councillors dived right into it, with Ms. Babcock too... all screaming foul.
Okay EVERYONE to Twitter:
Joey Coleman shared a link via HootSuite. January 7
The City of Hamilton wants public feedback about how to address our $150-million a year infrastructure deficit. So the City has hired a Ottawa consulting firm to build this bad website: http://ourvoice.hamilton.ca/ [The logo is hedeous and the picture is bike lanes in Ottawa!]
Joey Coleman, January 7
I went to the OurVoiceOurHamilton Facebook page and offered a suggestion to save $1.5-million a year - stop wasting money on these consultants. Please join the conversation and support my comment:
Joey Coleman, Tuesday
Okay EVERYONE to Twitter and join the #TellOHeverything hashtag - we're providing Hamilton facts for our new City consultants from Ottawa. Let's trend this.
Joey Coleman, Tuesday
We did it #HamOnt - #2 Canadian Trend right now is #TellOHEverything! Let's make it #1
Joey Coleman, Tuesday
EMBARASSING - #HamOnt website links to PayDay loan shark. Thanks @ourhamilton pic.twitter.com/mDjTYY7b (H/T @gumshoe for finding)
Joey Coleman, Tuesday
STATEMENT ISSUED BY SAM MERULLA
In response to the Our Voice, Our Hamilton Fiasco please read below; ...In conclusion, the purpose is merited, the integrity of the process is sound and the objective is progressive. The problem is that we apparently retained an agency that is a stranger of competence and we will be reviewing this issue in due time. I would be disillusioned to not pursue this progressive endeavour of engagement of community and implementing input in our service delivery in the future but I agree we need to assess the continuation of the present course expeditiously.
Joey Coleman, Wednesday
For Immediate Release
Hamilton, ON - January 9, 2013 - The City of Hamilton has instructed our consultants Dialogue Partners to temporarily take down the Our Voice. Our Hamilton. website due to some offensive and inaccurate content.
Joey Coleman, Wednesday
I'm laughing so hard I'm crying. @ourhamilton can't even go blank with competence #404 #fail h/t @GeorgeGeczy http://twitpic.com/btwr0f #HamOnt
"Tomorrow, I engage to get something out of it":
If this was not enough to establish a clear case of public swarming, here is more on the deviancy at play:
Joey Coleman @JoeyColeman
"I've made my point on Twitter tonight. Sad thing-we've wasted the $376,000 already. Tomorrow, I engage to get something out of it"
Joey Coleman @JoeyColeman
@kyle_a_m @Sam_Merulla - "any chance you can make your statement public - its a good one"
What Coleman has done here is no surprise to me at all based on his past history of which I have direct experience.
The fact that otherwise intelligent people in this city, recognize him as a 'journalistic voice' is what is shocking, and sad. It is clear that he has lost his way in journalism, and has now managed to drag many in this city along with him into a world of vigilantism.
I sure hope that Coleman, Merulla, Whitehead and Partridge among others have kept sufficient money aside, just in case 'Dialogue Partners' are advised to file a massive law suite against them and the City of Hamilton. The tax-payers sure as hell are not going to foot it, I can assure you of that.
Such juvenile acts bring more ridicule to this city than the much needed change we all talk off.
To me people who promote and support such trivialization of important issues do not represent this city or its people, no matter how many followers they are able to garner on the new media, or how many opportunistic politicians they get to take advantage of such acts of public swarming.
Marke Tharme pointed to this news article from Calgary. This was all that was probably needed to be sent to the City Manager when any errors were found with Dialogue Partners' work. And corrective measures would surely have been taken without this national ridicule.
There was no logical need for publicly attacking anyone for such errors, in such a foul and unrelenting manner--unless of course, the aim of the inciter was to draw attention to oneself and ones superiority over the broader interest of the city.
Is this not what actually happened here? or is there another version which can justify such brazen swarming and unforgiving public humiliation?
Laura Babcock: you recently took down one of your podcasts upon my request for reasons which I considered were inherently foul. There was gross lack of judgment on your part and hence you quickly took it down before anyone heard it.
How would you have felt, if instead, I had invited the whole world on twitter to swarm you on discovering your gross mistake, instead of first requesting you to consider removing what I thought was patently foul? Or worse, not have informed you at all of what I thought, and had the person who was wronged, hear it and watch the inevitable consequences to your reputation?
Swarming of this kind is a crime, mostly enacted by a compliant mob which is momentarily empowered by a call to charge, usually with lies and half-truths. The mob cannot think, it just acts out the instructions based on buzz words, followed by cheers of pride and more jeers at the one swarmed. Often followed by an expansion of the inciter's mandate, as was clearly the case here.
Is this the kind of city you want Hamilton to become?
Hopefully the schools of communication in Ontario use this as a case study to unpak what really went awry with the "Our Voice, Our Hamilton" campaign.
Hopefully "Twitter Lynching" becomes a topic worthy of research in our new media classes. It may even get named after Joey.
Maybe, the next time someone else gets "Joey'd" by a frenzied net mob, it may even be classified legally as a crime in Canada.
Mahesh P. Butani
My additional comment from: Mon, Jan 14, 2013
To: Mayor, Councillors, City Manager, and Integrity Commissioner, City of Hamilton.
This is in reference to the on-going issue of "Dialogue Partners" and the conduct of certain councillors who have made public comments on Twitter / press regarding the integrity of above named consultant.
My position on this was circulated to three concerned councillors, the Mayor and City Manager among others. This position was also posted on a local blog: 'Raise the Hammer', and deleted within hours by its editor who then banned me from accessing this public blog.
Two of the three councillors responded as below:
A) Clr. Sam Merulla's reply was incomprehensible:
On Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 1:53 PM, Merulla, Sam wrote:
Many thanks for you input.Thank You,
Councillor Sam Merulla,
B) Clr. Terry Whitehead's & Clr. Brad Clark's replies was responsible and acknowledged the gravity of the situation :
On Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 12:28 PM, Whitehead, Terry wrote:
Mahesh P. Butani your comments on this matter are so true. I did not participate in th tweeter universe however, I expressed an immediate comment when asked by the media. Please understand the full context of my comments to the media would of more clearly helped you understand my position.
Unfortunately I have no control of how it is expressed by the media. I have sent out many responses that clearly indicate that we as leaders do not have the latitude to knee jerk react to any campaign.
Yes there could be legal ramifications. Our job is to investigate assess and act on all the information. I for one have not taken a position on the consultants contract until I have all the information in front of me. Your comments are well stated and really do reflect what happened here.
Once again thank you for your insightful comments.
On Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 4:44 PM, Clark, Brad wrote:
Mahesh, I genuinely appreciate your timely comments and caveats. Perhaps, if people stepped back and realized that some professional reputations are at risk, they might refrain from piling on.
3) Clr. Judy Partridge failed to reply. And I did not copy Clr. Bernie Morelli as it was much later that I saw his comment on this issue.
Subsequently, The National Post carried an article, written by a journalism student (who also has a blog called Katrina's J-school Blog--Tales of a journalism student). Her above article repeated the mis-characterizations and misrepresentations of events and the consultant, just as the local press, cable tv and blog have done to date.
From the facts as found here, it is clear that she failed to investigate this story beyond the local story line, and instead of seeking comments from the broader community, she chose to ask the very person mentioned in my position, and asked him for his feedback on this issue.
Is it any wonder, that the National Post story is totally slanted to the viewpoint of those who this rookie journalist chose to interview?
Sadly enough,Clr.Sam Merulla without bothering to research the facts and having already committed the first sin of of a knee-jerk reaction with his premature press release, further goes on to commit many more sins by continuing to feed the frenzy with his many more Tweets, and then shockingly even goes on to promote the the ill-researched National Post story to justify his earlier Tweets.
He has taken the governance of Hamilton to new depths. Without any deliberation with city staff or authorization by the City Council or the Mayor, Clr Sam Merulla has in the most brazen and shameful manner taken it upon himself to be the representative of the entire City of Hamilton, and gone ahead and unilaterally set the tone, direction and public perception of how the elected city council is to proceed on this most dubious matter.
In my opinion, not only has he seriously violated councillor ethics, but by boldly circumventing the role and function of the elected Council, he has caused grave and irreparable harm to the reputation of this city with his barrage of biased Tweets.
His unilateral actions in attempting to publicly define the issue and lobby a solution even before the "accused" in his eyes, has had a chance to present their views, borders on gross negligence of councillor duties to the tax payers of Hamilton.
As an elected official, Clr. Sam Merulla has a special responsibility to exercise due-diligence and refrain from indulging in such debauchery by not participating in the feeding frenzy that was publicly witnessed by all across the country. That he continues to do so via his Twitter account using a city payed electronic device, is one of the most shameful acts of defiance in civic life this city has ever seen.
I have copied my position (see below), to the Editor-in-Chief of the Hamilton Spectator as well as the Managing Editor of National Post (NP), and the only reply I have received to date is from NP:
On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 11:10 AM, Libin, Kevin (National Post) wrote:
Thanks for all this detail, sir. I’ll keep it should we decide to do more on this story.
Considering that not one individual in the local media, or the City Council have yet taken the time or energy to ---research facts--- before rushing to the press, tv or Twitter with judgments by make bold public statements that are derogatory towards the consultant are simply devastating for the reputation of this city.
Below are some snapshots of the old-media driven "conclusions" of this issue, and the origins of the new-media led public swarming and lynching of the consultant.
This is the social background of the recent story in the National Post:
20h Joey Coleman
@JoeyColeman I'm a reporter at the national post working on a story about Our Hamilton. Would you be available to talk to me today? Thx!
10:54 AM - 10 Jan 13 ·
I have researched and documented over 200 pages of Tweets that are central to what appears to be a managed effort to publicly lynch this consultant by a few people who seem to be fully aware of the ensuing "rush to judgment" by many unsuspecting and innocent users of Twitter in Hamilton.
An ---innocent question & reply exchange--- was used to drive a wedge in between the consultant and the people of this city. And then via a network of friends Tweeting and Re-Tweeting, the flames of ---feigned affront and anger--- were maliciously spread across the Twitter users in this city.
What started this sordid drama, was the ---intentional mis-quoting--- of the innocent "What is HSR?" exchange, between the consultant and a local resident, who was asking a straight forward question -- which was not necessarily framed tightly, which gave rise to the consultant's question.
This is how the "What is HSR" exchange was hijacked by a "few" who appear to just show up in the middle of a conversation!!
(Re-read the first question and reply exchange for its Language and Tone. And then compare it with the almost immediate onslaught of accusations. It should tell you what the clear intent was here from the start, by the "few"who joined this conversation. Note who introduces "Outrage" here for the first time; and who introduces the idea here that the "entire Hamilton audience" was insulted?)
@ericgillis @ourhamilton Noticed the project hasn't officially launched yet-- but still: The continuation of voluntary pay for disabled on the HSR. @ourhamilton to bother to file complaints/question through the phone, and I'm sure they're miss
The behaviour of Eric Gillis who asked the first question on HSR was innocuous and the reply was fair and reasonable.
What follows is a classic moment of interjection and hijacking of a conversation -- and a clear instance of bullying of the representative of consultant who was taking questions.
Group bullying as usual starts with an intentional distortion of fact and where others join in to expand the distortion via jabs, and more distortions.
The saddest part of this exchange is that some one like Sara Mayo thought it prudent to join in on what was obviously the start of ganging up on the consultant ---- she appears to have taken it upon herself to tell the consultants: You insulted your
#HamOnt audience when you asked what HSR is.
This kind of behaviour from someone who is a social researcher is astounding. Her accusations against the consultant are worthy of a separate research in itself. Given that she goes on to questions the consultant's credibility entirely based on what is a clear distortion of first exchange regarding HSR.
Who are these five women and one man who showed up at this conversation on HSR? Who did they tweet and re-tweet this unfolding madness to? and Why?
Who showed up to Re-tweet at the above conversations which launched the lynching?
Who was hanging out on Twitter with Michael Pett, the night when he thought of launching TellOHEverything? When did the local press dive in and helped fan the flames?
@LauraBabcock @raisethehammer I am enraged by this - will discuss on OShow tonight
#HamOnt's official Pinterest page for @ourhamilton has a nice pic of Hamilton OHIO Courthouse http://pinterest.com/ourhamilton/what-services-are-important-to-you/ … #TellOHEverything @jason77leach Would've loved to hear what the network producer said to them during the commercial break after that one!
A perusal of over 200 pages of Tweets will clearly show how this grew and was fanned -- catching many innocent Hamiltonians in its vortex.
And it will also lead you to the "central cast of characters" who initially showed up prior to the launch of this lynching, and who drift in and out after the author of #TellOHEverything, Michael Pett (who calls himself an 'Educator"), got inspired to launch his madness based on what he thought was unfolding truth - as he says: “The fact that this PR firm from Ottawa didn’t have the decency to learn anything about Hamilton is obviously insulting."
Whether the agenda of those people who instigated, fueled and fanned the flames of hate and mis-information, until it grew into a mob, was merely to teach an "out-of-town consultant" a lesson for supposedly "taking away the work from a few locals" -- as has been verbalized by some and even echoed by a past mayor in his Tweets, or whether there was something more sinister behind their motives, the truth will most definitely emerge from further researching the patterns of Tweets, its language, and the recurring appearance of a few central "characters" at ---key moments--- of the unfolding events that triggered this real-time public lynching of the consultants.
From my initial study of patterns of conversations amongst these few people who appear to be central to this lynching, it is already clear that the National Post article is one very ill-researched piece of journalism.
It would be a national shame if our City Council were to use this and other local news article in any manner to understand what has really transpired here, let alone to find a solution to this mess.
It is up to the council to step back from the media coverage of this issue to understand that they have been worked into a very awkward position by some very dubious characters in our city who have mis-used the powers of the new-media to thrust their agenda onto this city, and Clr. Sam Merulla, who has had a history of using such issues to promote himself as the leader and saviour of this city.
It is up to you as council and city staff to investigate this in depth if you believe that the governance of this city cannot be driven by Twitter comments which are prone to being hijacked and manipulated by a few not-so-smart individuals, who either have an axe to grind, or an agenda to thrust onto city council, or very simply are so disenfranchised and intellectually weak, that they feel this is the only way they can be heard by the Council.
The people of this city have elected the council to govern its affairs, and not a handful of Twitter users.
This issue demands a thorough investigation by the council. Given that much needs to be discovered about what happened, the council cannot point fingers at anyone simply based on media stories.
I will be glad to share more of my research on what clearly appears to have transpired with anyone on council and staff who may be interested in evidence based decision making to mitigate this situation.
Mahesh P. Butani
My additional comment from: Mon, Jan 15, 2013
From: Mahesh P. Butani <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 3:37 PM
Subject: Find out who hacked into Pinterest and you will find the culprits behind Hamilton's public lynching...
To: Paul Berton <email@example.com>, Bill Kelly <firstname.lastname@example.org>, john best <email@example.com>, Publisher@thehamiltonian.info, Mike Cameron <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Katrycz, Mike (CHCH News)" <email@example.com>
Cc: Bob.Bratina@hamilton.ca, Brian.McHattie@hamilton.ca, Jason.Farr@hamilton.ca, Bernie.Morelli@hamilton.ca, Sam.Merulla@hamilton.ca, Chad.Collins@hamilton.ca, Tom.Jackson@hamilton.ca, Scott.Duvall@hamilton.ca, Terry.Whitehead@hamilton.ca, Brad.Clark@hamilton.ca, Maria.Pearson@hamilton.ca, Brenda.Johnson@hamilton.ca, Lloyd.Ferguson@hamilton.ca, Russ.Powers@hamilton.ca, Robert.Pasuta@hamilton.ca, Judi.Partridge@hamilton.ca, "Murray, Chris" <Chris.Murray@hamilton.ca>, "Kirkopoulos, Michael" <Michael.Kirkopoulos@hamilton.ca>, "Johnson, Paul" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
1) The cycling picture story was a lie perpetrated by Joey Coleman on Twitter --- the press even after it was proven continues to shameless not apologize for its mistake and is hell bent on spinning it further.
2) The "What is HSR?" story is a shame - as it was clearly and with malicious intent hijacked by a few women and then passed on by their supporters on twitter ( I have already offered clear indications of which women were involved in this lynching, and those who supported them will be exposed eventually).
3) The discovery of pictures on Pinterest was first pointed out by Joey Coleman on twitter. Below is what can be easily done on Pinterest --- this is public knowledge, and yet the "local press" continues to allude to this as a fault of the consultant in the most shameless manner.
The role that the local press has played here is no different than the role played by a few misguided kids empowered by none other than our misguided Clr. SAM Merulla and self-appointed community leader Ms.Laura Babcock who have and are continuing to spread the flames of lynching online.
SAM you will stop your ongoing childish nonsense on this issue now. Your actions in this affair are an embarrassment to this city. Bad Karma does come to bite back in this lifetime!!
Mahesh P. Butani
Pinterest users are taking to Facebook and Twitter to complain about their hacked accounts, in what appears to be yet another round of spammers attacking the pinboard-style photo sharing site. In fact, many users are noticing that their friends and followers are pushing Pinterest spam to Facebook (showing up on users’ Timelines and thus friends’ Tickers as well as News Feeds) and Twitter, since users often link the social networks together for cross-posting purposes.
A search on Facebook shows the apparent hacks go back as far as this past weekend. The earliest one that is publicly available to me comes from Tanya Boyd on Saturday night:
Someone hacked my Pinterest account! Deleted two of my boards and renamed another one and changed it’s contents. Called it, “im da boss”. I changed my password! No, “I’m DA Boss!”
Minutes later, Kathleen Cobcroft chimed in:
Peter’s just had his Pinterest account hacked by a spammer (password now changed) – they post dubious adverts to your boards. Also one of his tablet apps started giving him pop up ads (hopefully now deleted). I blame the assignment on metadata that he’s just started for his Information Organisation and Description class.
Last month, Pinterest users started to complain on Facebook and Twitter about their accounts getting hacked and pushing spam onto the social networks. The company never got back to The Next Web when we requested for comment on the situation. A quick check this month shows that the problem continues with more users reporting their accounts have been breached.
Like most people, I’ve enjoyed Pinterest to collect random images for a while now, and praised the service, as well as used it for client strategies, to drive traffic and awareness. But as of today, I’ve had it! I deactivated my account and until they resolve some issues, I will not be back.
In light of glaring facts (some of which are above), there are some in our city who are still continuing the lynching of the consulting company.
You decide whether such people are really journalists? broadcasters? city-builders? or something else altogether... and do they truly represent 500,000+ Hamiltonians and their views?:
facebook:Just read the multi page lecture & letter to council from Ottawa consulting firm - just when I didn't think it could get worse - what is wrong with these people?
TIP: Apologize in a sincere & timely manner (not after days of silence) take FULL accountability for mistakes (not look for technicalities) and acknowledge harm you've caused ( not continue to blame loud voices on twitter). Then explain how you will fix. Maybe redemption then.