I need to discuss, publically, a very difficult topic. This post is not about writing and if you came here for a writing post can I suggest this or this.
Normally when I write for this blog, I do so as Matt – a guy who loves writing. Today I am writing as Matthew Brown, chair of the Thanet Creative Writers charity. With my chair hat well and truly on, I have to point out that I am speaking only for myself – this is not an official proclamation by the charity, just an expression of sadness.
We recently updated our listing of Thanet based writers’ groups. Almost immediately there was aggression and abuse over content relating to one of the many groups called Thanet writers’ (or something similar). Someone actually went to the trouble of registering a new WordPress blog just to express their hate.
To clarify which Thanet writers’ group jennykettle was trolling for: I am not talking about this Thanet Writers who (as far as I know) launched their website at the same time Thanet Creative Writers formed and I am not talking about any of the Thanet (insert word here) writers’ groups (honestly, check the listing, there are a lot of similarly named groups). Back when we were the same group we met in the chapel. That specific Thanet writers’ group, which might or might not meet in the chapel now, is the group in question. They, like others, go by the name Thanet Writers.
In the year since they parted from Thanet Creative Writers, individuals have periodically taken it upon themselves to attack us on their behalf. That’s not good for anyone. The trustees of Thanet Writers have written to assure us that they are not behind the attacks and it is nothing to do with them.
I have said it before and, because it apparently needs saying again, I will say it again. I wish Thanet Writers all the best. Anyone working to support local writers is doing a good thing. If those who wish to enjoy writing are helped then this is a win. I’ve even recommended that particular Thanet writers’ group to people I’ve met who live in Broadstairs. There is no war to fight here, people. I am at a loss as to what else to do.
The entirety of the trustees of Thanet Creative Writers are at a loss to explain why some local people have gotten a bee in their bonnet about our two groups but please leave us (both groups) out of it. We have had to endure spiteful rants from local creatives on Facebook; a hate filled diatribe published on the blog of a local publisher filled with all sorts of misinformation and non-facts; and now, trollish comments on our blog. Even giving the first question of the ask us hard questions series the benefit of the doubt, enough is enough.
I have no idea who is out there trying to stir up hate but at Thanet Creative Writers we are all about peace, kindness, and respect. Thanet Creative Writers exists to foster creativity, to enable people, and to help those that want to enjoy writing to jolly well enjoy writing. We are pretty sure that this is what Thanet Writers are all about too. All this other nonsense is doing no one any good. Please stop.
Yes, I know that the details (in our listing) for Thanet Writers is sketchy at best. This is because their website (at least what was their website when we were the same group) does not load for me. All I have to go on what I remember, hear on the grapevine, or find on other websites.
Clearly, this was not good enough for jennykettle. A user who is now the sole occupant of the site’s blacklist.
I’m at my wits’ end with this. This website exists to raise awareness of the good works of Thanet Creative Writers as a charity and support writers in the joy of writing. The aim of publishing a listing of writers’ groups was to help people connect with other writers. It is not here for petty individuals to start fights. Take your school bully mentality somewhere else – it is not wanted here.
In light of this ongoing abuse, I have come to an editorial decision to carry no further information about this particular Thanet based writers’ group. Thanet Writers, I truly am sorry that your loudest fans seem to be loud and obnoxious but I cannot keep dealing with this aggression from parties unknown. It is really not worth the hassle.
This policy will stand until such time as the board of trustees directs me to change the policy or another, better, approach presents itself. Future editions of the comprehensive listing of writers and poets groups and events will carry a link to this post but no details at all. Unless the trustees want to write to me with definitive details of when and where they currently meet in which case I will include that information.
So if in the future, there is no information at all about Thanet Writers, it is because of the bullies and the trolls. Congratulations I hope this makes you happy, mean people.
Seriously, though, I do not want to disadvantage one group because of a hate filled minority but I cannot and will not keep putting up with this bullying.
I appeal to the trustees of Thanet Writers to join us in taking a stand against bullying and aggression. The aims of our two groups overlap extensively – work with us so that the trolls cannot win.
Thanet Creative Writers and Thanet Writers are siblings and that, in so far as writers’ groups go, makes us family. Family should stand together. Between us, we must surely have more than enough active supporters and volunteers to pack out many of the smaller functions rooms at local venues. Imagine the kind of events we could run if we work together.
Let us write a new chapter in which the small-minded and mean-spirited have no place and writers new and established can work together.
To avoid ending this post on a downer. Here is a fun video about not feeding the trolls.
Do unto others as they should do to you…
Anyway, this is me signing off and wishing you all peace, love, and a joyful writing experience.
What do you know, commonsense has prevailed.
Thank you for your change of heart.