Exactly three years ago today, on 5 January 2010, WordPress took down several of this blog’s posts.
Actually, Ecologics didn’t fare too badly; even as a handful of my posts vanished without warning, WordPress, or rather its parent company, Automattic, closed down the entire blogs of some other writers (at least one has subsequently managed to find an alternative home). To be sure, WordPress also agreed to republish the censored posts. What we the censored bloggers had in common was that we had all published information about one Howard Newby, the former vice-chancellor (director) of the University of the West of England. It seems that Newby took exception to our views regarding a financial scandal which erupted around him in 2007, and which involved a private training firm which subsequently went bust (Carter & Carter).
Soon after the scandal emerged, and only about a year and a half since he first took up the post, Newby left UWE. But most peculiarly, it was not before three years had passed that the legal department of the University of Liverpool, Newby’s new home, got Automattic to close the blogs with information about Newby’s practices at UWE [...]
I hope to revisit some of these issues again myself when I have the time. Perhaps even The Bristol Blogger – now relocated beyond the walled garden of WordPress.com, but quiet for nearly a year – might themself pipe up once more some time in 2013.
In the meantime, here’s a quick rundown of the various pieces I wrote about the whole Sir Howard Newby/Lady Sheila Newby/Kevan Ryan/University of the West of England/University of Liverpool clusterfuck:
- BristolBloggerGate: WordPress suppresses words… But which ones and why?
- BristolBloggerGate: It’s just a typical n00b mistake!
- BristolBloggerGate: Backlash against WordPress censorship builds up head of steam over Sir Howard Newby takedowns
- BristolBloggerGate: Wot Private Eye said about Sir Howard Newby back in 2007…
- BristolBloggerGate: What would Jon Snow think of his old university trying to silence internet critics of Sir Howard Newby?
- BristolBloggerGate: Why was Liverpool University so reticent in releasing details of Sir Howard Newby’s appointment?
- BristolBloggerGate: Craig’s list of libel lawyers who bottled it
- BristolBloggerGate: Newby’s numbers 15 and a half MILLION out!
- BristolBloggerGate: Search engine query of the day: Lady Sheila Newby’s salary