I was pleased to see that todays assignment is a free write, because I have had something on my mind for a couple of days now and I really wasn’t sure how to approach it. A few days ago a fellow bloggers wrote a piece on ‘Open Mic Nights’ a phenomena that is becoming increasingly popular in my hometown. He used the piece as an opportunity to vent his spleen in what was perceived as an attack on ‘Open Mic Nights‘ and their comperes. The problem is that the piece was an opinion piece and clearly designed to generate discussion. Boy did it do that! I don’t really think that that the writer anticipated the kind of discussion it would generate. Unfortunately the discussion was interpreted by some as an attack on certain individuals who host Open Mic’s around our area. It wasn’t immediately clear that he intended a follow up piece in support of the events. Before he managed to publish his piece he was subjected to a torrent of abuse and personal attacks, not just on his comments page but also by e-mail. Although he did post a follow up in favour of the events the next day he was accused of writing the second piece in an attempt to pacify his attackers. I was saddened by this as I know the writer personally and I know that he is a massive supporter of the local music scene. His WordPress site exists solely to advertise, support and review local gigs and artists. I suspect that this article and the response it illicited has harmed his credibility with many of the artists and promoters who are influential in the local music scene. I do hope that a temporary increase in traffic driven to his site by the article doesn’t in the end harm his site. The attacks on the article writer had me thinking about my own writing. By coincidence I had an evening out last night and a friend informed me that some of my own articles had been noted by others and that they could lead to difficulties for me at a later stage. Initially I was a bit annoyed by this as the articles were picked up via my private twitter feed. My feed does not identify me as a member of the organisation I attended nor do the posts relate to that organisation but the message was passed to me that “I should be careful about posting articles which are controversial”. This was a clear reference tony recent posts criticising UK Government Policy in a number of areas, particularly with regards to the war in the Middle East and it’s approaches to welfare. I have given the issue a lot of thought. What came out of it for me was the fact that opinion pieces are likely to provoke strong responses, that they can be controversial and that people in influential positions may take a dim view of your public writing. What also came out of my thoughts is that I will not be cowed, if I see something as an injustice I will speak out. I will not be silenced.