community website shut down by political pressure


The old Bells Corners community website is toast and will be erased permanently in the next few days.

Cindy, the newly-appointed LVCA president, wants to start a new LVCA “top-down” site – people can go there to get info and see ads but they can’t post their own content or comments.

Bells Corners residents deserve an open COMMUNITY site, not a simple mouthpiece for the BIA, the councillor and the big box stores.

This is still the official site of the LVCA, at least until the promised elections are held in January.

Somebody wrote me to say that it would be a shame to lose all the useful info contained on the old site, so I’ll try to migrate as much as content as I can here before Ramius pulls the plug and it disappears.

The old site was clunky and slow, but it was free and non-commercial. Anyone could post a comment (and edit their posts later if they wanted to) whereas a WordPress site is less democratic – once you post something it’s no longer yours. You have to proofread what you write BEFORE you post, unless you want careless spelling and sloppy thinking immortalized.

On the other hand, the old site required people to sign up and provide an email address before posting, a sure way to discourage participation.

Plus WordPress is a heck of a lot better-programmed than the Ramius site- way more features and not agonizingly slow like the failed ATO experiment.

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2 Responses to community website shut down by political pressure

  1. ottawaowl says:

    Between Oct. 18 and Oct. 20, volunteers distributed 5000 community association newsletters throughout Bells Corners, inviting residents to visit the Bells Corners community website ato.smartcapital.ca/bc for information on ALL the candidates in the upcoming Oct. 25 election.

    But curious voters who went to the site received the message “this site is no longer available.”

    After many attempts I finally got to talk to someone at Ramius, the company that hosts the ATO sites. He confirmed that a complaint was made “around” Oct. 21, four days before the election, and that it seemed prudent to shut down the website to see if the complaint was justified. No one wants to be sued!

    Since the site was reactivated right after the election (albeit with a different address, http://ato.communityzero.com/bc) I can only conclude that someone at Ramius judged that the website was NOT a libellous ‘hate-blog’, as Councillor Chiarelli and reporter Doug Hempstead had alleged in the Sun.

    The Ramius spokesperson wouldn’t *formally* confirm that it was the councillor himself who bullied the company into shutting down the site until after the election- the identity of the person who complained is considered privileged information.

    Good thing for the councillor that the Ramius guy wouldn’t spill the beans- if it could be proved that RC used his influence and unsubstantiated allegations to shut down an opponent’s campaign website he would have to resign from council!

  2. Overtaxed says:

    Who is Cindy and what makes her so special that she is “appointed” president. We need to find out when this LVCA election is so EVERYONE can vote. Why does the councillor have such an interest in the association? I have just started realizing what was going on when I went to site for the first time in 3 months as I was away.

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