May 022011
 

This post is a follow up to the first, second and third rules of the Virgin Media forum moderators.

The title of this post are the words spoken to me today towards the end of a twenty three minute call I received from a chap called Pete, from Virgin Media‘s complaints department: You can blog about it all you like, we’ll allow you to do that.

The call was the result of a convergence of my complaints, sent in multiple directions, concerning the two main issues I’ve been having with the company recently: The first being the new P2P/NNTP traffic management policy (about which I have yet to post), which I believe is both unfair and unreasonable due to the way in which it has been implemented, and the second being the situation I’ve found myself in on their forums, being banned not once, not twice but three times.

The outcome of that call is that the complaints I’ve sent to the company via a number of channels have pretty much amounted to nothing.

On the subject of the bans, we are at a status quo: I am banned, and I will remain banned indefinitely. As I’ve already shown, and pointed out to Pete, I can bypass the ban quite easily if I wanted to – however, I have no intention of doing so. It would serve no real purpose at this stage, given that my previous ‘sidesteps’ of the ban were to raise a flag on the forums and complain to the people directly responsible (through a mechanism that makes it difficult to do so without flouting their guidelines under my specific circumstances), and my complaints have now been dealt with (albeit to my dissatisfaction): Previously, I had good reason – but to do it now would simply be childish.

On the subject of the traffic throttling, that still deserves a post in its own right, and it will get one – but the outcome of the call was pretty much that it is what it is, and you’ll have to live with it, with the questions I’ve been asking (about why both P2P and NNTP are being throttled as one, and not separately or conditionally, as well as whether any figures can be provided to justify the position) met with the response that they can’t be answered because of “business critical information“, which I feel (and said) is a somewhat pat excuse for not providing answers.

Slightly more strangely, of the request for figures, he suggested there would be privacy implications in providing the figures, which is just nonsense, and may have been either another excuse or (being generous) an off the cuff reason that Pete thought of while talking to me, not realising the nature of the figures for which I was asking. He did explain early in the call that he wasn’t very technical.

I’ll expand on all of this more fully when I make a post about the traffic throttling.

Much of the conversation, filling the 23 minutes,was essentially going around in circles, with repeated points made on both sides, and we both made references to comments made in my previous posts – including my bringing to his attention (and ensuring he had read) the suggestions I’d made yesterday regarding the forum. He had. And nothing’s going to change (which is a sad reflection on the company, I think, and demonstrates that it’s not putting its customers first).

And then we came to the end of the call… the magic moment.

Given the outcome was that my complaints would not be resolved in my favour, my questions would not be answered, forum moderators could still act in a way which could allow them to abuse their privileges (if they haven’t already), and no improvements would be made to the way the forum is run, I said to him that I will, of course, write a further piece on this saga, outlining what has now been said – which amounts to negative publicity for the company.

And he said to me that it’s okay, “You can blog about it all you like – we’ll allow you to do that.

Even before he had finished that sentence, I was laughing out loud. Well, it’s a ludicrous thing to say, isn’t it?

I explained why I was laughing – I pointed out that I didn’t need their permission, at which point the call was wound up pretty quickly. I think that was at least partially because the discussion had run its course and there was nothing more to be gained from it – we were drawing to the end of the call anyway – but I can’t help but wonder if it was also because he realised at that point how silly his comment was, and didn’t want to make any further mistakes like that.

Either way, there you go. I now have Virgin Media’s “permission” to blog about them.

How jolly kind of them.

Final thought: There’s an Andy Kaye on Twitter. It may or may not be the same Andy Kaye as the one I believe responsible for the bans, but the brief information shown for him there says “Online Community Manager and Mod Account Lead for Lithium Technologies.” Lithium* being the underlying technology for Virgin Media’s forum, and he does follow the Virgin Media twitter account. His tweets are ‘protected’ which means other Twitter users can ‘request’ access to them – for the sake of amusement, I’ve just done that. I wonder if that request will be accepted or denied? 😉

*Ironically, given what I’ve been saying the last few days, Lithium make a big thing about the positives of CRM, as they should – that standing for ‘customer relationship management’. Oh well.

VinceH