Asterick Jones

Possibly the strangest person to inhabit the airwaves, certainly the most troublesome.

Asterick Jones (aka AJ) was the Marmite of the schedule. 

AJ styled himself a comedy producer and would replay a raft of shows he had crafted over the preceding years. Going by the name Channel 107, they were a difficult listen. But, like everything else on 1Radio, they made the schedule varied and unpredictable and had just as much right to be there as anything else. The fact that the shows garnered no audience was no reason to stop them. It was always my objective to give people a platform to create and share varied content and indulge their passions. So long as they were technically sound,  they were given a spot regardless of popularity or appeal.

The difficulty with AJ was that he was incredibly sensitive about his own work yet insensitive and outspoken towards other’s efforts. His shows were often ignored and his craft not recognised or appreciated. He’d sound off about the station and use the shoutbox to air his grievances. In retaliation, his shows were the first recipients of the phenomenon called “Drive by negging” - people (usually other presenters) giving the electronic thumbs down to his show despite not having listened to a single second of it.

I was aware of AJ’s growing frustration and spent a lot of time trying to ease the situation and help him cope. As a compromise, I introduced a mechanism whereby presenters could disable the “Like/Dislike” voting functionality on their individual shows and hopefully save themselves the stress of the neg. Sadly, even this wasn’t enough of a concession and AJ began acting like a disgruntled union rep, hassling other presenters, withdrawing his shows at short notice and generally being a disruptive influence. He’d often quit on a wild impulse then return later when calm. After one such tantrum, he’d taken to ranting in the forums and creating endless posts criticising everything and everyone.

It was in response to AJ’s forum bothering that I introduced the word count limit on individual posts. To sidetrack that, he would then begin a post and continue it over numerous replies to himself. The record was one post and twenty follow up replies. He was also a huge fan of the NEWLINE key and would have you scroll down a post for hundreds of lines only to find nothing at the end of it. He would also use his show descriptions, guestbook comments or blog replies to further his agenda and it became a battle of wills to limit the ways in which he could rant publicly. Ultimately, I tired of the battle and his persistance wore me down. One day, I simply gave up trying to limit him programmatically and just removed him from the rosta. Big mistake.

His expulsion only inflamed the situation and AJ returned in countless guises to disrupt the station. It was probably the busiest period in terms of website development, as I looked at ways to lock out troublemakers and limit what they could do. I became pretty adept at spotting his sly incursions into the shoutbox, his canny use of VPN and the pattern of shoutbox names he used. This helped me keep him out and over time, he gave up trying to infiltrate the station.


Posted by Tim on Sat 04 Jun at 12:35 and viewed 1,146 times.

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