Closed pigeon chat rooms in the modern era.   Leave a comment

Freedom of Speech.

Closed racing pigeon chat rooms are certainly a big asset to the sport. I actually run one, on Facebook, its ‘Pigeon racers Chat Room, Auckland, rest of NZ and further’. If you are a racing pigeon enthusiast please feel free to request membership. The more members the merrier and remember it is closed. If you have trouble finding it then message me on Facebook, Fergus James Elley.
So, what are the advantages of closed pigeon chat rooms for world pigeon bodies? Naturally, it is a great way of interacting with new people around the world with the possibility of forging new friendships, some of which may turn into life long ones.
Secondly, it provides a bulletin type service when fanciers are in need of assistance with obtaining clocks, new birds, race information and results etc.
Also, the sharing of pigeon articles by members is a great way of adding to your knowledge pool. Facebook’s design is set up so that it is very easy to share links to all sorts of things pertaining to pigeon racing on the internet.
Although I am unable to work and some might think this means I have all the time in the world to locate and digest copious quantities of pigeon information on the net, this in reality is not true. A healthy retiree would have ten times the amount of time to undertake such activities if they would choose to do so!
Another big advantage I see is that when there are contentious subjects to discuss, then such a closed group allows fanciers to do so in a safe and private way. For instance, if some in a said group think that some things could have been done better at times, then due to its closed nature this is an excellent forum for such discussions.
If you like, it is very similar to a closed meeting situation of which, when I was on meds to stabilise the pain and inflammation of my CFS, I would attend at times both at a club and Federation level. Of course the forum of meetings can be one of conjecture and even rowdiness; we only have to turn on the TV and watch our MPs to observe that this is a true statement!
So too, chat rooms may at times get heated. But let us remember that iron sharpens iron and conflict in discussions doesn’t mean that there isn’t something to be learnt or is not valuable to the improvement of the sport. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. In saying this, there is no place for rudeness.
Several years ago, when in better shape and on more meds, I was put in the chair to be acting president by the then Federation President Howard Luff when he resigned. Had I become President I would have welcomed groups like the one which I run on Facebook. However, I didn’t take on the position for health reasons and the greater legal obligations that come with running an Incorporated Society.
Indeed, closed chat rooms are an excellent forum for fanciers to give feedback to their governing body on the many aspects of running a pigeon organisation including races and their outcomes.
Free speech is certainly to be encouraged and within closed groups it can’t really go wrong as there are rules to follow; members can edit their comments, perhaps even apologise or even remove them if need be and so on. Complaints can be made directly to Facebook or the moderator can be written to with a clear intelligent argument from an individual or group of fanciers why they think something might need changing.
Certainly gagging efforts should be frowned upon as they simply curb free speech and may even give those instigating the gagging the appearance of being undemocratic.
Since the inception of the internet, the rate at which public opinions and political movements have formed, have increasingly accelerated and thus public consensus has been achieved and communicated at a much faster pace. Modern political parties have harnessed the political power of the internet for some time now and even pigeon bodies should use it for good and to their advantage without subjecting members to repressive actions.
Most people use the internet and anyone over 13 years of age can join Facebook. So for example, in the case of my closed Facebook pigeon chat room, it is open to every pigeon fancier to join and so have the right of reply and opportunity to participate. If they don’t have a pc or smart phone then they can always visit the library!
However, I would advise not to single out specific people in comments, especially those not in the chat room as it’s unfair and they might get upset. Remember, to only write that which you are happy to have others read and would not like to be said about you. After all, we are only human! Also technology does not absolve one of responsibility.
However, if we are to keep seeing positive changes in pigeon racing around the world then the important issues still need to be discussed. Some of us can’t attend meetings for different reasons and thus a closed group forum is an alternative avenue to discuss ‘the good oil’. Do you agree?
There really are no detrimental effects of discussing pigeon welfare in closed pigeon groups. To me it shows external agencies (we have the SPCA here in nz) that the sport around the world can still be internally regulated since freedom of speech and of expression in the forms of ‘fair comment’ is paramount for the sport’s survival. I personally saw the benefits of this in the Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation from the South Island old bird races in 2012 and 2013. Simply put, ‘they were two glorious, golden years” since rigorous discussion was permitted on this blog around three years ago and even more rigid release protocols instigated and we can really praise those involved in those series of distance races from the South Island in 2012 and 2013, well done!!
In addition, the danger to the sport of the banning or curbing of certain aspects of pigeon racing anywhere in the world are more likely to come from the circle of friends of fanciers who have been within the sport for a long time and know the sport backwards, upside down and inside out. Harassment of such fanciers, especially if they have major health issues may result in their friends deeming them disenfranchised and might just be the straw which broke the camel’s back for those fanciers’ friends who may then instigate whistle blowing to animal welfare agencies and even Human Rights agencies. I would imagine that most people running pigeon organisations around the world would not welcome such actions and really it should not be necessary in a democratic, civilised arena.
The South African Million Dollar Pigeon Race isn’t an event which pleases everyone, even within pigeon racing itself. But one thing I would commend them for is that they run an OPEN Facebook Page which any Facebook member can comment on and critical comments (which might be taken by some as derogatory) from my studying of the SAMDPR page, are left for public scrutiny and surveillance i.e. there is no gagging and free speech is not frowned upon!
One might surmise that South Africa has come a long way given the apartheid history and who knows, perhaps South Africa will lead the way in the future with pigeon rights. Indeed, with the opposition to the SAMDPR from groups like PETA, they may well have to. It is very interesting to see that both Vets and animal welfare groups are welcomed and included in the proper running of the SAMDPR series. It seems the SAMDPR is a long way ahead of many parts of the world in how they present themselves openly to the world, even if it can be a gruelling final race. In general, the checks and balances are there, and we in other parts of the world can certainly learn from them.
The ARPF has an OPEN facebook page titled ‘the Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation’. At the moment, I can’t see the type of open forum discussions, like some of those on the SAMDPR facebook page, happening on the Auckland page for many reasons. Nevertheless, in the mean time, a safer option is for discussions to be in the closed Facebook chat room arena such as the one run by me. Apart from that, there is the opportunity for discussions to be held at meetings. But wouldn’t this be time consuming and would all members be able to attend? Surely we should take advantage of the modern technology that is available and embrace the good things which it has to offer pigeon clubs, Federations and fanciers in general worldwide.
What’s your opinion?

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Posted February 26, 2015 by ferguselley in Food for thought

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