Monday, 1 April 2013

The Fool on the Hill

It is just after 2.00am on the morning of 1st April and I cannot sleep. The events of the past week have been playing havoc with my ability to sleep regularly, and I feel emotionally and physically drained.

For the sake of something to do I sat down at my computer to read my emails ... and read the following comment in reply to my blog entry about Operation Sealion:
The German list is rubbish. Both Scharnhost and Gniesenau were unavailable due to damage sustained in the Norwegian campaign. The largest ship available to the Germans was the Admiral Hipper.

The RN would have been happy to sacrifice half its strength to defeat Sealion. Air supremacy was never the issue; this is a post war myth fostered by the RAF.
I take it that the person who made this comment read all the documents that I made available, and felt that there was a need to put me straight about my errors.

What I find interesting is that I actually spent a lot of time researching the information contained in these documents. I went to the Imperial War Museum's library and the National Archives and read the Minutes of some of the meetings that were held in the Admiralty. The Admiralty thought that Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were seriously damaged, but expected that the Kriegsmarine would do all in their power to make them available to support Operation Sealion. They were therefore included in the possible list of ships that the Royal Navy might have to face. The fact that these ships were under repair is made clear in the Kriegsmarine's own Fleet List.

As to the Royal Navy's willingness to risk their ships in an environment where the Royal Air Force did not control the skies over Southern England ... well the Admiralty Minutes suggest that in the circumstances they expected to lose several large warships and to suffer heavy casualties, but that they would do their utmost to destroy any invasion fleet.

So how do I feel now?

Frankly, very upset and annoyed ... and giving serious consideration to getting up and walking away from blogging. I think that on today of all days (it is April Fool's Day after all) that I have been made to feel very foolish for sharing the results of my extensive research with other people. I am the Fool on the Hill ... and in my present state of mind it is not a nice feeling.

78 comments:

  1. If you take any notice of what the klutz posted, you're dafter than he is.

    It's just an apparently unsupported opinion, very badly put, from someone who hasn't done the research. Blogs and the interweb in general are full of the stuff. I'd have stopped reading at the word 'rubbish'. Currently not the time to engage in debate, given the circumstances.

    ;O)

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  2. Bob, please do not let the comments of one person get you down now. The contributions that you make for so many of us would be sadly missed. It is a sad fact of the internet that people show so little tact when they do not need to look you in the eye.

    Hang in there, and know your friends are with you.
    -Steve

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  3. Bob, the wargame blogosphere will be a worse place if you leave.

    Blogging takes discipline, which you have. It takes courage, which you have. It takes style, which you have in buckets. Don't let somebody ever make you feel worse for sharing your unique and important point of view.

    Yes, hang in there.

    - Dan

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  4. It's one thing to question one's research, but that guy was just being a dick. Ignore him until he learns to act in a civilized fashion.

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  5. The internet seems to have its share of the illmannered and illinformed but it also has a much larger, if quieter, population of people who appreciate research, effort and creativity. Please don't allow the former to spoil it for the rest os us!

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  6. Bob I am most vexed by your experience re the comment on the blog.
    The rude and ignorant are around in all walks of life even in bloggdom.
    I would miss your postings greatly- from your cruise adventures to fantastic rules and all inbetween,as would many.many regular viewers of your blog.
    I know it has been a very tough time for you recently and will continue to have for some time.
    You are not the fool on the hill but one surrounded by friends cyber and otherwise.
    take care
    Alan

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  7. Don't let it get you down. There is something about the text format of the web that makes a lot of people lose any sense of tact in how they react.

    I find myself quoting XKCD cartoon #386 sometimes to help keep it in perspective.

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  8. Bob
    I know you are feeling low with all you have had to do latly. Dont let the comments of one person upset you. We as wargamers all have our own interpretation off how things should be, i for one would be sorry to lose your opinions

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  9. Bob

    You are having a tough time, and we always evaluate our positions in such times. As a teacher you understand semantics very well and the posture shown by the words we use. The person making the comment has demonstrated no such depth of character nor knowledge skills as you possess. What the tide washes in today will wash out tomorrow again.

    Let it be.

    Regards
    Arthur

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  10. Bob, besides being a repository of fascinating information and entertaining blogs like yours, unfortunately the internet is also the lurking ground of the shallow, ignorant, stupid and simply downright rude - and you have encountered one of the latter!
    Treat his comments with the contempt they deserve and ignore them.
    I hope the comments from all your friends here will help you put this minor incident into its true perspective, and remember just how many of us do respect what you do and synpathise with you at this sad time.

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  11. Bob

    Take no notice. Your contribution is of huge value.

    Rudeness is endemic on the web, sometimes from people who wouldn't dream of being rude face-to-face.

    In my experience the wargaming area of the web is very good in comparison to the toxicity that can be encountered elsewhere.

    Richard

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  12. Bob,
    The problem with history is that certain people make the assumption that there is a single "correct" answer; event A follows B due to XYZ.

    Sadly my experience of historical research is that often you are presented with evidence that suggests event B proceeeded event A & was due to 1234 not XYZ! Or that event B never occurred at all.

    My response to people such as your poster is "how do you know? Were you there?".

    Even people who take part in events have limited understanding or recollection, let alone the person who forms an opinion based on limited reading.

    However perhaps his comments came out sounding more rude & abrupt than he intended; electronic communication is notorious for this. I understand he is a friend of Tim Gow.

    I would suggest you do not take his comments to heart. You have a lot going on at present, wargaming should be a pleasant distraction from that, not something that gives you further grief at present.

    Carry on Bob & take heart at the number of supportive comments.

    Neil

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  13. Dear Bob,
    Lots of people in my experience talk balls, just ignore the mutton heads and move on. I now thats easy to say and some times difficult to do.

    Of all the blogs I visit, yours is way up the top of the list for the amount of interest and enjoyment I get from it.

    Keep it up.

    Airhead

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  14. Think of your blog as a public conversation at a club of people with vaguely similar interests.... people vary rarely all agree, they often have different opinions, there are some who are socially challenged, there are some who are paragons of clear thinking/erudition/good manners (that'd be me), there are some who are stupid, there are some who are wrong, etcetc.

    In a real conversation you'd either counter the argument, or think "he's a numb nut, I'll not waste my time" and move on....

    Don't get disheartened, unless you adopt the practices of Howard Hughes, numb nuts will appear in every sphere of your life.... :o)

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  15. Agree with pretty much all the above comments.

    I for one would hate to see you stop blogging, as you're one of the people whose blogs invariably make me stop and actually use my brain on a morning.

    The opinions of one lone ill-mannered lout who's hiding behind internet anonymity (who I'd note doesn't even have a blog) aren't worth the electrons they're stored on, as regards letting them govern your decisions.

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  16. I would take no notice and carry on regardless ! Cheers Tony

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  17. Bob,
    Please don't be discouraged. Your blog is a wonderful combination of enthusiasm for the hobby of wargaming and for military history (I'm embarrassed to admit I hadn't heard of the Chaco war before reading about it here), not to mention the ace film reviews.
    Cheers,
    Pete

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  18. Bob, anyone who can offer impolite comments from behind a veil of anonymity deserves nothing more than contempt.

    Constructive criticism, on the other hand, is only of value when the source is known and verifiable.

    Keep on blogging!

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  19. I read every entry on your blog and value your work.

    Not a time when you are at your most resilliant nevertheless the content and tone make it obvious the writer deserves only a shrug and a reflection that sadly not all people who play with toy soldiers are completely mature and reasoned individuals.

    When I finally get around to gaming Sealion I will remember and come back to your post, I have already forgotten whatsisnames.

    best wishes

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  20. I concur with the guys above. In fact, you have been lucky to run into this kind of comment only after so long. Don't waste time on the naysayers, take strength from those that support you.

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  21. Bob,

    As has already been said, don't let the ill-informed (not to mention rudely expressed) opinion of one person deter you from blogging. The internet is full of jerks and trolls; the best thing to do is ignore them - it is attention they crave and it winds them up if they don't get it.

    Tamsin

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  22. I heard a lovely comment on the radio recently. It went something like: this: "Opinions are like wives. Beware the ones you find on the Internet..."
    Through your blog you will inevitably encounter some idiots - but many more friends.
    T

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  23. Bob

    Illegitium non corobundum!!

    Take care.

    PD

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  24. Poor timing to receive such a comment. I have not read everyone's comments, but can only imagine that they are all supportive. Some people just have no manners and need to be dealt with accordingly. I for one, and I feel safe that I am not alone in this, would be very sad if you stopped blogging. I think your stuff is great. And that's also why I prefer fantasy and imagi-nations. Fewer officious pricks.

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  25. Bob, I can't really add anything more to the comments of your very many friends above. But, I felt I would do so all the same! Bob, you're a true gentleman, a great wargamer and the blogging world would be so much less fun without you here. Tim's comment above was terrific - you'll find the odd chump, but so very many more friends! Have a cup of tea, enjoy the rest of the bank holiday and we' all hope to see you here again very soon, Sir!

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  26. Ignore him, Bob, he's not worth worrying over!

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  27. Bob,

    You're spot on that there's a Fool on the Hill involved here, but it most certainly is not you--my nominee would be Mr. IKnowItAll.

    Ignore him--he's shooting BBs at a Battleship.

    Best regards always,

    Chris

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  28. Don't be downhearted by a tactless email. It takes time and courage to do research and then write about. You create and make yourself visible by standing on the hill; the critics are unable to create so destroy the work of others.

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  29. If I were you I'd take this as a cause for celebration. It means your writings are reaching a wide enough audience to find people who disagree with you and care enough to get annoyed about it. That's a win in my books, just remember what Churchill said about having enemies.

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  30. I have always found your blog to be amongst the best, as seemingly are your other followers. Unfortunatly a representative of the wider internet community seems to have broken through - it had to happen one day.

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  31. Keep going Bob, yours is always a pleasure to read and one of the main reasons (as well as the blogs of other WD members) that I started as well.

    Count the positives out of this not the negatives.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Some [people just don't get social interaction (especially tactless considering your recent loss, etc), nor the idea of constructive criticism. Ignore him!

    BTW, you certainly have the ability to delete obnoxious comments from the blog - use it, if you have not already done so!

    Peter

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  33. Methinks your critic is more Luddite than Wing Commander. And plain rude into the bargain. I agree with all 32 commentators who have preceded me here: take WCL's comment for what it's worth: squat.

    He has picked on one aspect of your list to rubbish the whole lot, and even then many wargamers would accept that as a 'what if' situation, if not debatable withal. Judging by what I infer from the Royal Navy's intelligence at the time, it is a very plausible 'what if.' At that, if the Germans really wanted to push 'Sea Lion' along, those repairs might have been completed betimes, or at least sufficiently to get the invasion job done. WCL has little understanding of historiography, that's plain.

    But I notice that this twer-- this guy didn't suggest any alternative lists, offer any opinion upon how an alternative list might affect the game balance, suggest that the different RN and KM lists be seen by respective sides (e.g. the BRit KM list has Scharnhorst and Gneisenau on it; the German list with them absent, or perhaps their availability uncertain). In fact he had nothing - straight up nothing to offer at all.

    Ask yourself this: How much do you value WCL's opinion? For mine, if that is the best Mr Wing Commander Luddite has got to offer, he might as well shut the h-- save himself the trouble.

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  34. Hang in there Bob! The simplest entry in your blog is more interesting and more intelligent than the "Compleat Works" of the whole Troll Nation. Your civility and that of your friends is a light in a dark Web. And I don't blame you for getting discouraged, but remember that

    A) The guy was trying to correct history that never happened

    B) could have argued, made a case, whatever in a way that was supportive but chose just to heap scorn upon your effort

    C) Could not do one half the stuff you do, nor do it one tenth as well

    D) Is damned lucky that I do not have the wretch horsewhipped on the steps of his club.

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  35. Dear Bob - speaking as a solo war-gamer and someone who has only just discovered your blog, I have really enjoyed reading not only recent posts but delving backwards and forwards in the material. The inventive, considered and generous approach to our hobby is a godsend.

    This is obviously a really hard time for you and yours but I hope you are able to discount the nay-sayer long enough to read the supportive comments you have received here.

    It is readily apparent that almost all of your correspondents value your ideas, work and thoughts. But most of all, I think it is the spirit with which you share your enthusiasm that is the key to this successful blog.

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  36. Crazy Joe,

    You are absolutely right; I should ignore him ... and will.

    The problem was that I read his comment when I was feeling very tired and very stressed, and it just got under my skin.

    Thanks for your support.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  37. Dear Bob
    My sense is that you sre being unfathomably unkind on the dear old chap. His lack of a greeting or a farewell, or indeed any stabette at courtesy is not to be taken seriously - he's probably just a frustrated texter. Text speak is much easier for those with a limited vocabulary and parsimonious social skills. I've just re read his post. WTF WAC

    In any case - the extensive repairs required might have involved a malicious contravention of the Frame Breaking Act.

    Greetings as always from the grim north. Flt. Lt Ned Ludd

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  38. Steven Page (Steve),

    Thank you very much for your kind words and continued support.

    The comment was made - I understand - by someone who has a habit of doing this sort of thing 'after taking drink'. This is no excuse, but probably tells me more about them than anything else.

    I will start blogging again on a regular basis just as soon as I have anything that I think is worth saying ... and that I hope are worth reading!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  39. Hadik (Dan),

    Don't worry ... I'll be back blogging very soon, now that I have got over my anger and upset.

    On another day I would have just ignored his comment, but it arrived when I was not feeling at my best. It got under my skin ... and produced what was - in retrospect - rather an over-reaction on my part.

    Thank you for your kind words of support ... and keep reading!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  40. Peter Fitzpatrick,

    You are absolutely right and I intend to ignore any of his future comment ... should he make any.

    Thanks for your support.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  41. Whisperin Al,

    Thank you very much for your very supportive comment. You are right about the Internet being a place where the ill-mannered and ill-informed have the opportunity to make their 'opinions' read ... to the detriment of the enjoyment of the quiet majority.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  42. Tradgardmastare (Alan),

    I will be back blogging again soon. In retrospect my reaction was probably an over-reaction, and had I not been feeling tired and stressed I would probably have ignored the original comment ... but I didn't.

    I will begin blogging again (and hopefully providing entertainment, information, and enjoyment for my regular readers( just as soon as I have anything worth writing about.

    Thank you for your help, advice, and support.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  43. Ed Allen,

    You are spot on about the way that the 'distance' between writer and reader provided by the Internet can lead to things being written that people would not say in a face-to-face situation.

    Many thanks for your support and words of encouragement.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  44. Johntheone,

    Thank you very much for your very kind comment.

    I am over the upset and annoyance the original comment induced in me ... and I will be back blogging again very soon.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  45. Arthur,

    As usual your words are measured, insightful, and absolutely spot-on ... and I thank you for them very much.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  46. Arthur1815,

    You are quite correct in what you write. In the midst of the good on the Internet there is bad ... and I came into contact with it this week.

    I wish I had been able to follow your excellent advice at the time ... but the comment was made when I was feeling very low, and I reacted (possibly even over-reacted) to it and allowed it to really annoy me.

    The supportive comments that I have had over the past few days has made me realise that I have a lot more friends out there than I had every thought that I had, and as soon as I have something interesting to write about, I will be back blogging as usual!

    All the best (and thanks for your very helpful and encouraging comments),

    Bob

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  47. Doctorphalanx (Richard),

    You are quite right about the level of rudeness on the web ... although my experience of life in London makes me think that it might be endemic within society today, even in face-to-face situations.

    Thank you for you good advice and support.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  48. Neil Patterson,

    Even the best historical research cannot give one the full picture, and as you comment, being there is no guarantee that you have seen and understood everything.

    In the case of this particular ‘comment’, I understand that the person concerned has a reputation for writing rather rude comments after ‘taking drink’ … and that you are right in stating that he is ‘known’ to Tim Gow.

    In retrospect I probably over-reacted to the comments of a drink-inspired troll, and in the cool light of day I can see that. I will return to blogging on a regular basis in due course … which I hope will be in a day or two.

    All the best (and thanks for your supportive comments),

    Bob

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  49. Airhead,

    Cheers! Your comment really helped to lift my spirits … and thanks for taking an interest in my blob and what I have to say.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  50. Steve-the-Wargamer,

    I must admit that I had never thought of blogging as being like that … but the analogy is a good one. The only problem is that if this had been a comment made to me in a pub at a time when I was not feeling at my best – and by someone who was under the influence – I might just have punched his lights out!

    In the circumstances it was probably just as well that he made the comment via the Internet! :^)

    All the best,

    Bob

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  51. Mike Whitaker,

    Thanks for your support and very complimentary comments about my blog. I hope to start blogging again as soon as I have something worthwhile to say.

    This ‘troll’ (I understand that this is the term by which such people are referred) does have a bit of a reputation for doing this sort of thing, and had I realised I would not have taken his ‘comments’ to heart.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  52. Mosstrooper (Tony),

    I have ... and I will!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  53. Pete,

    The amount of support I have had from people like you has made me realise how many friends I have out there amongst my regular blog readers.

    I hope to be blogging again very soon … and trying to find even more obscure wars to write about!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  54. Jim Duncan,

    Constructive criticism I can take … but ‘troll’ attacks are something that I find offensive.

    I do now know who this person actually is, and what is worse, I have met and talked to them socially.

    I doubt that I will do again if the situation ever arises … which I doubt.

    Onwards and upwards! (My old college motto.)

    All the best,

    Bob

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  55. Xaltotun of Python,

    Very wise words ... and ones that I shall take to heart.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  56. Johnpreece,

    The comment did come at a time when I was not at my best, and perhaps I did over-react … but you are right that such a person does not deserve anything more than a shrug … and perhaps a tiny bit of sympathy.

    If you ever do try gaming Operation Sealion, let me know and I will see what else I have ‘locked away’ in my electronic archives that might be of help.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  57. J de Jong,

    In retrospect I have been very lucky not to have been subjected to a 'troll' attack before ... but I have put that behind me now and will start blogging again very soon.

    Thanks for your support.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  58. TamsinP (Tamsin),

    Yours is good advice … that I have already acted upon.

    From now on I will ignore the ‘trolls’.

    Thanks for your support.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  59. Tim Gow,

    I had not heard that before ... but it is a very apt quote.

    As to meeting more friends than idiots on the Internet ... well the last few days have been the proof of that!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  60. Peter Douglas,

    How very apt!

    What my reply to the original comment SHOULD have been is ...

    Cōleī!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  61. Sean,

    Your are right about the level of supportive comments that I received, including your own.

    Having considered the matter - and after deciding that I probably over-reacted in the immediate aftermath of reading the offensive comment - I will be returning to regular blogging as soon as I think that I have anything worthwhile to write about ... which should be very soon indeed.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  62. Sidney Roundwood,

    Thank you very much for your kind words. The level of support that I have had has been amazing, and I will be blogging again very soon indeed.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  63. Mike,

    You are absolutely right ... and henceforth I no longer care what he thinks.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  64. Chris,

    True words indeed!

    Perhaps there is a need for an award for 'The Most Annoying Troll on the Internet'. This person would certainly get my vote!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  65. Unknown,

    Thank you for your very supportive comment. People like you have made me realise that I should - no, MUST - continue to blog if I think that I have something worth saying.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  66. Arquinsiel,

    I am hoping that you are referring to the quote 'You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.'

    If I have managed to do that, then I have achieved far more than I ever hoped to do.

    Thanks for your support and comments; they are much appreciated.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  67. Barry Carter,

    I suppose that I have been very lucky to have not been 'trolled' before ... and I will certainly be taking steps to stop it happening again.

    Thank you for your kind comments and continued support.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  68. Pete,

    You are right about taking the positive rather than the negative point of view on what has happened ... and I hope that you will continue to read my blog - and remain blogging yourself - in future.

    Thanks for your kind words and support.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  69. Gonsalvo,

    You are not the first person to suggest that I ignore this 'troll's' comments ... and it is advice that intend to act upon.

    It appears that I have met the person who made the original comment, and I must admit that I think that you are probably spot-on with regard to your comments about 'Some people just don't get social interaction ... nor the idea of constructive criticism'.

    Thanks for your supportive words and kind comments.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  70. Archduke Piccolo,

    You are so right on so many levels!

    After I had written my response and had some sleep, my first impression was that he had not read everything I had made available, otherwise he might have picked up on the factual differences between the Fleet Lists and Intelligence Report provided to both sides.

    Then I thought that he might just have a bee in his bonnet about Operation Sealion, and that whatever I had written did not 'agree' with his particular point of view.

    Finally I realised that he was just a 'troll' ... and that he was not even worth bothering about.

    The one good thing that has come out of this whole affair is the knowledge that I have even more friends and regular blog readers out there than I imagined ... and that is something worth celebrating.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  71. Paulie Rockets, Boy Genius,

    What a wonderful comment!

    I think that you are just about right in everything that you have written ... especially the bit about the horse-whipping!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  72. Southernsologamer,

    Thank you very much for your kind words of support. I was very touched - and rather humbled - by what you wrote. It was much appreciated ... and I hope to continue to try to enthuse people with my blog in the very near future.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  73. Ken H,

    Your comment actually made me laugh out loud!

    Thanks for making it; it helped to make me feel a whole lot better, and for that - and you continued support and friendship - I thank you again.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  74. I would like apologise publicly and most sincerely for upsetting you so much at this time in your life.

    Don't give up blogging Bob, the wargaming world needs you more than it needs people like me.

    I really need help with my alcohol dependency.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Wg Cdr Luddite,

    Thank you for your apology. I am pleased - and glad - to accept it.

    It takes a lot of guts both to admit that you made a mistake and that you have a problem ... and you have shown that you have got guts.

    Please, for your own sake - if no one else's - do something about your problem. You have already shown that you have the desire to do so.

    Good luck,

    Bob

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  76. Bob and Wg Cdr Luddite
    Well said both of you. Now let's get back to wargaming....

    ReplyDelete
  77. Tim Gow,

    I have written a blog entry that publicly acknowledges the apology that Wg Cdr Luddite made. After all, I complained in a blog entry, and I think that his apology deserves at least the same level of exposure.

    As you comment ... let's now get back to wargaming!

    All the best,

    Bob

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