"Yer not from round 'ere" - should we challenge posts from non-SE23 residents?

Continuing the discussion from Unsafe crossing for pedestrians, Honor Oak Rd and A205/London Rd:

Surely on the same basis, we could challenge anonymous commenters? After all, we don’t even know who they are, let alone where they are…

Alternatively, we could respect the local knowledge and connections of all forum members regardless of who and where they currently are?

Personally, I was a homeowner in SE23 for five years. I probably have more local knowledge and connections (particularly due to running this forum) than the average SE23-dwelling forum member.

How about we just live and let live, and focus on the points that people make, rather than who and where they are?

I think it can be frustrating when topics about current local issues get derailed by interjections that aren’t particularly relevant to current local experiences or offered from the perspective of someone in the area. The thread on safe road crossings in forest hill that turned in to a debate about people’s tone when taking about car users is a good example.

Not suggesting that people not in SE23 shouldn’t use and enjoy the forum, particularly given the amount of effort you in particular put in to creating it Chris, but maybe more thought could be given to whether an interjection adds anything to the conversation, bearing in mind it is specifically a forum regarding SE23.


The FAQ is quite clear:

Criticising on the basis of where someone currently lives would seem to fall foul of the guidelines in my opinion.

I’ve said before that the forum is for people with a connection to the area, for whatever reason, and I think it would be sad if members were expected to leave the moment they move away. I also recall some interesting posts from people that either lived in the area a long time ago, or have questions about moving in - they are certainly most welcome.

Of course the FAQ also says:

Perhaps if we can please keep the politics out discussions, instead maintaining focus on SE23, it would help things get along a little better?


Thanks @ForestHull - it’s nice to see the forum retain its open and inclusive ethos under your ownership.

It was actually a local forum member that moved a discussion about the crossing onto a discussion about residents vs. car owners, so this seems an odd example to choose if you want to claim that out-of-towners are more likely to “derail” topics?

Do you have any stats which show that non-SE23 members are more likely to take a topic off-topic?

And did your interjection add anything? Just trying to give some feedback, you asked the question. And of course I don’t collate stats on forum use, come on.

I do think its more relevant for someone currently living here to express their wider views on an issue from the perspective of an SE23 resident, than for someone who doesn’t live here to intrject with something not relevant to SE23 or from a resident’s perspective. I don’t think there should be any limits on this, but if you want to understand why people react to some interjections with hostility that could explain it an bit, it can be hard to see the relevance to the forum beyond being argumentative and seems prone to straying in to general politics or daft stuff like irrelevant immigration policy.


This is a community forum? I find comments from those that don’t have the actually up to date knowledge and experience of a community irrelevant and out of touch and therefore just meddling.

Excuse me whilst I comment on the local forum for Dalston, I lived there 8 years ago and they need my opinion. :roll_eyes:


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To be fair to Chris, it was only something like 2 years ago he moved out, he’s been back a number is times since and was quite involved locally.

So it’s not quite the Dalston example you give, though I get your point.


As far as I am aware, there are a number of forum members who lived here for long periods of time and still have connections to the area and still take an interest in local affairs. We can all name a few. They all still have a valid contribution to make (in my view, anyway) and I always appreciate their comments and the perspective that they often bring. I often find myself disagreeing with certain people, but value hearing alternative views to my own. One or two contributors are a bit provocative at times, myself included but on this forum I think we always stay on the right side of the line,


:+1: @Thewrongtrousers

Relevant post from another topic:

Don’t keep your opinions to yourself, John - you are a very knowledgeable and positive voice on this community and have heaps to contribute.

I used to believe London was a transient place with no real “community” on the basis that people simply lived in the City in order to get a good job, and then they moved away once they’d saved up some cash.

However, when I moved to SE23 and started this forum I started to feel things could be better than that.

Despite some negative comments above on this topic, I still believe SE23 is a genuine community where people build connections with other people that are lasting, and are not purely circumstantial.

And I believe that there’s value in treating long-standing members well even after they’ve left the community physically.


If if were possible to give that comment two “little red hearts”, than I would do so


I’m going to just dump some thoughts here, considering it’s flagged as ‘Site Feedback’ although it’s not necessarily specific to the topic. That being said, I don’t have an issue with non-SE23 residents posting here - even those that have never lived here. Some of the issues that Forest Hill face are likely replicated across the country, and I’m sure there’s plenty to be learnt from those outside of SE23.

I find that tensions seem to escalate quite quickly in this forum, although I’m not part of any others so maybe that’s just how they all are. It might not help that we’re all cooped up at home because of COVID.

I generally stay away from topics that have already got a bit heated, or where people resort to quoting each other and challenging the minute details of the words they have written. I don’t mind being challenged but I don’t have the time, or frankly the mental capacity, to be arguing about a pedestrian crossing. I expect new members, or those on the periphery of the forum, are put off contributing if they see this happening regularly.

I also get the impression that there’s some specific dislike for Chris, and I’m sure there’s context I’m missing about this, outside of sharing his political opinions - which often seem to stoke high emotions.

I’m not quite sure where I’m going with this or if there are any actions to take, but felt like I should add my thoughts, as it stops me being more active here.



I could not have put it better myself. I still have a very strong affinity with FH and whilst I may not live there now it upsets me when people feel I shouldn’t have a voice.

However, spats like this are quite rare, they just tend to stick out as the explode rapidly, but disappear just as fast.

However, I am glad we have a site that allows it to happen (within reason) as I would dread a world where everything is sanitised.

Thank you for your thoughts again, fantastically summed up.


I think some people struggle with forums, because forums don’t have the block/follow systems of other social media platforms (and this is a deliberate design feature of forums)

No echo chambers or worldview curation here. So there’s a constant risk of encountering opinions that differ from our own.

Like @Thewrongtrousers, I relish that kind of environment.

However, some people struggle to tolerate different opinions, so they react by denigrating and marginalising anyone whose worldview differs from their own.

It’s easier to make a personal attack than it is to come up with a reasoned counter-argument.

I think there are two main reasons for this. My worldview, whilst generally inline with the UK as a whole, differs from the SE23 majority, and so some people seek to marginalise me on that basis.

In some ways I understand this reaction. It’s difficult for people inside the bubble to realise just how skewed and one-sided the political climate is in Lewisham. And there’s a natual tendency for people to distrust and dislike those who differ.

Also, when I was involved in moderating the forum, I (very occasionally) intervened against people for breaking the forum guidelines, which has left people with lasting resentment, which was then exploited and amplified by mobs on other local forums and social media platforms.

The Internet can quickly become a hostile environment when conspiracy theories and hate campaigns gain momentum, and sadly that can manipulate opinion in the real world too. Some really smart and decent people got pulled into the hate mobs. So sad.

One of the reasons I left SE23 was because of coordinated attacks by certain local people. I don’t regret moving to Tunbridge Wells, but I’m sad at how things ended in SE23.

I’m uneasy to see the same aggressors starting to make baseless attacks on @ForestHull too. I think for some, local community affairs are a power play.


Diversity in the usual sense of that word is something that most sane people see as a good and healthy thing. However, a vital aspect of diversity which is often overlooked must surely be tolerance and respect for opinions and values that differ from ones own. This has become increasingly difficult for a lot of people these days, it seems to me. I suspect that the internet has an awful lot to do with it.


I’ll add my bit from a personal perspective not a moderator.

This forum, and indeed any other local forum or group, should be for those with genuine interest in SE23. For me that would include:

Those living in SE23
Those moving to SE23
Those considering moving to SE23
Those who have lived in SE23
Those who work in SE23
Those studying in SE23
Those who visit SE23
Those who have family in SE23
All the above categories who are in neighbouring areas
Anyone else with an interest in SE23 not listed above, of which I am sure there are many.

I think recently we have let a few non-se23 posts and topics go, which takes us towards general politics and more general discussions. Those sorts of discussions have been extremely devisive over generally the last few years and it’s no different here, one of the reasons we stopped general politics.

I think we all need to mindlful of they way we put our opinions forwards, the written tone if you like.

I’ll add my thanks to @Londondrz who, despite moving away, has moderated this forum for years, much more than I, and helped keep the forum going. I hope he uses the forum for many more years.


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