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That Shane Richmond / Charles Arthur Twackdown in full …

April 22, 2009 13 Comments

The Telegraph had to briefly remove its budget twitterfall box after people deliberately tweeted #budget plus swear words to make them appear on the Telegraph site. They filter out rude words now.

But the Guardian came over a little bit (ie a lot) smug about it.

Here's the full text of the row that then erupted live on Twitter between @shanerichmond (Communities editor and technology blogger at and @charlesarthur (The Guardian's Technology editor).

I'm calling it for Shane Richmond

Although Charles Arthur started it without any provocation and had the last word, I'm calling it for Shane Richmond - Charles Arthur's argument that Twitter is a private conversation seems a bit odd. He has 4,796 followers for instance ... (although this aside was funny: "If you offer people a wall, don't be surprised if some try to piss on it. Bank on it.")

That argument in full

Innocuous start

shanerichmond: I've read only one JG Ballard novel, Kingdom Come, and I hated it - Should I read more?

charlesarthur: Read The Wind From Nowhere and The Drowned World.

First sly dig

charlesarthur: You could also set up a Twitterfall page for him. Just watch you don't crash your car into a #ballard

The argument heats up

shanerichmond: I was going to reply with a rimshot but you really need better material. That was barely coherent.

charlesarthur: I'll crowdsource something better, while I read the funniest #budget screenshots from Telegraph of yesterday.

Shane gets dismissive

shanerichmond: Really? That's it? After 15 minutes? [The delay before the last tweet]

charlesarthur: Haven't finished reading the funny tweets yet. The ones about the Barclay brothers are among the funniest. What's yours?

charlesarthur: 50 tweets with #budget for the past hour. I could do this faster than the Telegraph. I could *automate* this better than them. Guys, give up [This was the only tweet not sent as an @reply]

shanerichmond: That's more like it. Smug suits you better than funny.

Shane gets serious

shanerichmond: It's a snapshot of the conversation that's going on around the Budget. Why is that so hard to figure out?

charlesarthur: Why is it hard to figure out? Because there wasn't a conversation around the budget. It hasn't happened yet

shanerichmond: So without a conversation happening you were unable to understand what that bit of the page was for?

Charles gets dismissive

charlesarthur: What "conversation"? You were mining peoples' tweets. That's not conversation. That's eavesdropping, and you got stung for it

shanerichmond: My dictionary has eavesdropping as "to listen secretly to a private conversation". Secret and private don't apply here

shanerichmond: So we eavesdropped in the sense that we listened publicly to a public conversation. Good word choice otherwise though.

charlesarthur: Buy a bigger dictionary - you can eavesdrop in a restaurant to conversations at another table.

shanerichmond: Yes and that would be secret listening to a private conversation. You see how that works?

Charles gets even more dismissive ...

charlesarthur: So tell us - was the outcome of Monday defined as a success or failure in your dictionary?

The end

Thanks to the brilliant Twitter Greasemonkey script for making conversation threading easy.

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