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Bringing Nothing To The Party: Cleaning up the net, one satirical vigilante page at a time

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Book extract As the second dot com boom hove into view, journalist and self-confessed "arrogant little shit" Paul Carr decided he wanted in. Armed with several years of insider knowledge, very little money and a new suit, he and a motley band of believers took a running jump into the internet. Nothing could go wrong. Well, not much.

Paul's entrepreneurial adventures, from cult satire publication The Friday Thing to London-centric Facebook-botherer Fridaycities with a lot of schmoozing/insulting of major dot com players along the way, are chronicled in his new book Bringing Nothing to the Party: True Confessions of a New Media Whore. In our first extract, Paul recalls his first brush with internet infamy - as The Reg reported back in 2002, notoriety came in the form of a Brass Eye-ish web quip that got a little out of hand...

If you turned on the TV towards the end of 2002 you could have been forgiven for thinking that Britain had gone absolutely horseshit mental. Every week, it seemed, another pretty young girl from a nice family, who was happy and popular and always did well at school, was being kidnapped or murdered by what the Sun newspaper cheerfully termed ‘evil paedo scum’. Naming and shaming was as popular a feature in the Murdoch press as Page Three girls and discounted holidays to Butlin’s.

Unfortunately, for every story of an actual sex offender being driven from their house by a baying mob there was one like that of Dr Yvette Cloete, a doctor at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, South Wales, who returned home from work to find that a group of ‘concerned parents’ had daubed the word ‘paedo’ on her front door in bright red paint.

Dr Cloete was a consultant paediatrician. Easy mistake.

If you’re an absolute fucking moron.

And so it was that one hung-over morning, after reading yet another story about vigilantes who had threatened to stone Maxine Carr, the girlfriend of Soham killer Ian Huntley, to death during her high-profile trial for perverting the course of justice, I decided to set up a website parodying this collective national madness.

The result of two or three hours of hung-over labour was thinkofthechildren.co.uk, a spoof campaign site which claimed to offer a handy online guide for crazy vigilantes of all stripes to coordinate their crazy vigilante efforts. The front page of the site read as follows:

Who are we?

We are concerned parents, many of whom have children of our own and who want the law changed to protect them. Every day in Britain happy, popular children who do well at school are being murdered by evil paedophile scum. Well enough’s enough! It’s time the law got tough on child murderers.

What do we want?

We want the law changed to make it illegal to murder children and bury them in woodland. We want it to be made illegal for adults to work with children. We want an end to the ridiculous process of ‘criminal trials’ for suspected child killers.

When do we want it?

Now.

There then followed some essential advice on starting your own mob:

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