Website Company Threatens To Sue Guy Who Criticizes Quality Of Gordon Brown's Website

from the how-not-to-win-fans dept

Glyn Moody points us to a bizarre story of a thin-skinned exec at a UK company, called Tangent, who apparently has some sort of web content management system, which is used by many politicians in the UK, including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who uses it for his website. A guy named Luke Bozier saw the website, and thought it looked pretty bad for the website of a former Prime Minister, and wrote a blog post about it and tweeted:
Gordon Brown's WebCreator website is not befitting of a former Prime Minister. Tangent should be ashamed.
Apparently, someone from Tangent was not impressed and sent Bozier an email threatening legal action against him if he didn't remove the tweet:
I respectfully suggest you delete that tweet, issue no more similar ones and generally try to sell your products in a more professional way. I really don't like the prospect of either a public slanting match or legal action, but if I need to protect my company's business and reputation, I will.
Of course, even with the ridiculous state of UK libel laws, it's difficult to see what's libelous about expressing an opinion about the quality of a website, and then suggesting that the company behind the tools used to create the website "should be ashamed." And, as the blog post linked above notes, this effort to silence Bozier to "protect" Tangent's reputation, has done exactly the opposite:
The word on the web is now that Tangent, previously unheard of by most, is an aggressively litigious PLC which employs threats of legal action in attempts to suppress the free expression of opinion. This is the result of the utter folly in believing that spurious controls can be put on the sheer democracy of social media.

Instant, online justice is now served on those heavy handed and mindless enough to attempt to suppress freedom of speech through impotent legal threats.
It really is amazing that people issuing such legal threats still don't realize how likely they are to backfire, though it is still amusing to watch.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Schmoo, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 4:38am

    They're both wrong: it's not nearly as bad as Bozier implies, but it's also not nearly as good as Tangent seem to think it is.

     

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      senshikaze (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:11am

      Re:

      Yea. Not horrible, just bland.

       

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        Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:34am

        Re: Re:

        Kind of like their food. =]

        It is hard to see why anyone would pay for such lackluster web page design, especially an elected official.

         

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          Richard (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Kind of like their food. =]

          Whose food exactly?

           

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            Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:49am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Okay...you asked for it. The British and your mom's. =]

             

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              Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Okay...you asked for it. The British and your mom's. =]"

              I'm sure you meant "Mum's"....

              Honest mistake....

               

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              Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 6:00am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Your mom asked for it last night...

              btw, ever been to a curry place in the UK? Hardly bland.

               

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              Richard (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 9:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Okay...you asked for it. The British and your mom's. =]

              Well - 50 years ago maybe. - but in my experience British food is now comparable to other European countries like France, probably not quite up to Italian standards or the far East - but all of these are better then "new world food" (as in US/ Oz/ SA).

              Of course most good British food is not actually British - but Indian/Chinese/Italian/Thai etc.

               

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                Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 9:14am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "but all of these are better then "new world food" (as in US/ Oz/ SA)."

                Please, our German immigrants gave the world the hot dog. That gift alone makes your argument invalid....

                 

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                  nasch (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 9:36am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  You had the hamburger, any number of delicious sausages such as bratwurst, sauerkraut, German chocolate cake, Black Forest ham... and you went with hot dogs?? ;-)

                   

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                    icon
                    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 9:39am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Half of what you listed was not invented in the States. The Hot Dog was, either in St. Louis or the World's Fair in Chicago, depending on who you believe....

                     

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                      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 10:05am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Half of what you listed was not invented in the States. The Hot Dog was, either in St. Louis or the World's Fair in Chicago, depending on who you believe....

                      And yet, it wasn't perfected until it made it to Coney Island.

                      Unlike in Chicago where they somehow think hot dogs are so bad they need to be covered in layer upon layer of gunk to hide the taste.

                       

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                        Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 10:15am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "Unlike in Chicago where they somehow think hot dogs are so bad they need to be covered in layer upon layer of gunk to hide the taste."

                        Okay, see now you're just embarrasing yourself. The Chicago hot dog is the second closest man has ever come to perfection (the first being ninety feet between home plate an first base, as the saying goes). The sheer genius of condiment combination is only surpassed by the clearvoyance that was required to take ketchup and keep it off the list.

                        Here's a good test: count how many venues outside of Chicago sell Chicago style hotdogs, and how many venues outside of Coney Island sell Coney Island or New York style hot dogs, and that'll be your answer. I mean, at least when we had our pizza discussion, you had a semblance of a case. Here? Nahhhhh....

                        Oh, and btw, screw you for getting me addicted to OOTP Baseball. I never knew managing the Peoria Chiefs A ball team could be fun....

                         

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                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 1:44pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Well, let me look around here.

                          Chicago: 2
                          Coney: about 25

                          Yeah, Coney dogs rock.

                           

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                          Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 11:03pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Okay, see now you're just embarrasing yourself. The Chicago hot dog is the second closest man has ever come to perfection (the first being ninety feet between home plate an first base, as the saying goes). The sheer genius of condiment combination is only surpassed by the clearvoyance that was required to take ketchup and keep it off the list.

                          Heh, heh. Well, as with the pizza discussion, I'm mostly joking around. I'm actually a fan of both styles.

                          Here's a good test: count how many venues outside of Chicago sell Chicago style hotdogs, and how many venues outside of Coney Island sell Coney Island or New York style hot dogs, and that'll be your answer. I mean, at least when we had our pizza discussion, you had a semblance of a case. Here? Nahhhhh....

                          Hmm. I'm not sure what you're implying. Almost everywhere I go I see NY style hotdogs. I can't think of anywhere outside of Chicago that I've seen Chicago style hot dogs. Frankly, I didn't even know they existed until a few years ago when I first made it to Chicago and my sister-in-law explained the Chicago style hot dog concept to me.

                          Oh, and btw, screw you for getting me addicted to OOTP Baseball. I never knew managing the Peoria Chiefs A ball team could be fun....

                          :) I did warn you that it was better than Baseball Mogul, yes? Maybe we should start a Techdirt OOTP league.

                           

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                            icon
                            Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 28th, 2010 @ 5:51am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            ":) I did warn you that it was better than Baseball Mogul, yes? Maybe we should start a Techdirt OOTP league."

                            If you gave me another week or so to get completely in tune with the game, I'd would be 100% down for that. The question is, who would be your team? Yanks? Mets? Giants? A's?

                             

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                      nasch (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 10:35am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Oh, so you were going for great food invented in the US? If I'm not mistaken, we can claim pizza and the ice cream cone, both of which are obviously superior to hot dogs. For new world food generally, there's all kinds of Mexican food that's better than hot dogs too. I haven't had much if any South American food, but I'll bet they have some great stuff. Can you tell I don't like hot dogs that much?

                       

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                        Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 10:46am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        "Can you tell I don't like hot dogs that much?"

                        That's okay, most communists don't....

                        ;)

                         

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                        Niall (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 12:41pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        I think you'll find pizza was invented in Naples, Italy. Probably before the US was 'invented' itself.

                        As for British food being 'foreign', we have a tendency to adopt 'foreign' food and make it our own. In fact, one of the most popular Indian dishes in the world (outside of India) is Chicken Tikka Masala, invented in Britain - and I believe it has become pretty popular in India as well since!

                         

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      •  
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        Richard (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:38am

        Re: Re:

        Agreed - it is also no worse than any of the other former prime minister's websites (Tony Blair's seems to be done by the same people - and John Major's is even blander - as you would expect!)

         

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          vivaelamor (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Agreed - it is also no worse than any of the other former prime minister's websites (Tony Blair's seems to be done by the same people - and John Major's is even blander - as you would expect!)"

          From Mr Bozier's blog: "Tony Blair’s is far better, and it isn’t a Tangent website". I can't find who did design Blair's.

           

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    •  
      identicon
      medlaw, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 6:04am

      Re: schmoo

      They're both wrong? That's not the point at all. The point is that the blogger gave an honest opinion, whatever its merits. The corporate giant replied not with facts and reasoned argumentation but with the threat of expensive legal action. The merits of the underlying dispute regarding the value of Tangent's tools is irrelevant. The corporation is trying to crush free speech. Boo on them. Shout the offender down with valid counter arguments if you have been wronged.

       

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        identicon
        Schmoo, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 6:52am

        Re: Medlaw

        I thought Mike covered 'the' point pretty well myself. Maybe I should've just repeated that instead of adding something new?

        (Trivial sure, banal even, but new nonetheless.)

         

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    Gracey (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:30am

    Agreed - sort of bland indeed. Not horrid, but not terribly professional either.

    It does have some good points though - navigation is easy, and it's not too cluttered.

    I would expect something a little more professional, I suppose. It looks like not much more than a wordpress blog, and some of those (even the free templates) have a little more finesse.

    I'd think that one person's opinion would be of little importance if Gordon Brown (or his staff) find it functional.

    Tangent needs to suck it up. Everyone isn't going to like their stuff, so it's time to get over it.

     

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    Fungo Knubb (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:41am

    RE:

    The web site is about as imaginative as one should expect from an unimaginative politician. Its not horrible, but its not something to shout about either, but then what do you expect. If Tangent can't take criticism then they should find some other business. Now everyone knows what a lack-luster product they have, and its all over the web. Justice has been served up, Internet style!

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:50am

    "The word on the web is now that Tangent, previously unheard of by most"

    That's how I know this is a just publicity stunt. All press is good press.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    DS, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:50am

    Tangent Sucks

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:50am

    Glad I don't live in Britain! The United States is bad enough. Britain doesn't protect any of it's citizens from the predatory corporations, just like the US. But honestly CMS sucks. It's a pretext to cutting down work and actually it is more work to learn the stupid system. Who needs it. I wouldn't trust CMS security at all and any web developer that uses one will learn to write his own code and forget the canned crap. Gee will I be sued by Drupal (crap), Joomla (crap) or will they sue me for using Jack Nicholson's lines from Batman.
    More Crap!

     

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      vivaelamor (profile), Jul 27th, 2010 @ 6:03am

      Re:

      "But honestly CMS sucks. It's a pretext to cutting down work and actually it is more work to learn the stupid system".

      Ah yes, the noble tradition of updating websites manually. Did I say noble? I meant stupid.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 5:56am

    Web site lame- tangent lamer. One would hope that their lawyers would try and talk them out of such a suicidal position. I would guess that the tweet was retweeted fairly frequently after the take down notice.

     

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    identicon
    Trending topics, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 7:18am

    Retweet party! :D

     

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  •  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 8:16am

    As Tangent is obviously "well connected",

    then assumed notions of "fair play" and "legalities" are practically irrelevant. My bet is the Tangent "thin-skinned exec" is used to getting his way through political influence, especially since this reflects directly on politicians, and this Bozier had better stay out of dark alleys.

    Perhaps that isn't clear enough for you culinary wits. -- Politicians are *nothing* but gangsters these days, and they and their favored consultants have ways to revenge an insult, no matter if trivial, many of the ways being illegal.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2010 @ 4:01pm

    his website is crap looking, that company should be ashamed

     

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