Regular visitors to this blog will know that I am on Twitter. I actually have several Twitter accounts, all related to my interest in problem gambling and gambling reform; in fact, I have a Twitter account for each gambling-related website I run. But this is my main website, and it stands to reason that my primary and most active Twitter account is cyenne40.
I am quite interactive on Twitter. I don’t just talk about gambling reforms, or spruik my latest blog posts; I get involved, I have conversations and I have made several good friends over the time I’ve been there. To the mainstream, Twitter is a little-understood and much-maligned social media platform; but if you approach it the right way, in the right spirit, it can be a wonderful place (and don’t let Jim Schembri tell you any different!).
Of course, Twitter is open to everyone… and not everyone likes to play nice. I have written before about a Twitter conversation that was interesting and stayed quite civil; what follows here is a less-friendly “debate” (for want of a better word) that I recently engaged in. The Tweeps (Twitter people) in this conversation are myself (cyenne40) and someone called CudleeCreekTav. I had interacted with CudleeCreekTav before, briefly; they were aware of my interest in problem gambling, and my history as a problem gambler. It is worth noting that this Twitter account does indeed seem to be the official Twitter account of the Cudlee Creek Tavern in South Australia… and so maybe this conversation offers a glimpse into the mindset of those in the pub pokies trade. Then again, maybe CudleeCreekTav is just a close-minded fool. You decide.
A couple of quick points: at various points in the conversation, other Tweeps would comment on what was being said. For the most part, I have left these comments out, along with the responses from both myself and CudleeCreekTav. The exception is a comment that was made likening pokie reform laws to Responsible Service of Alcohol guidelines. I left that one in. I have also reproduced the tweets faithfully… so while you won’t have any trouble reading mine, you may have to puzzle out a few of CudleeCreekTav’s tweets. This is one Twitter user who is overly fond of abbreviations, and in desperate need of a spell-checker.
And for the uninitiated, RT stands for re-tweet. It indicates that you are repeating what someone else has already said. And the “@” symbol followed by a username means that the tweet is directed towards that person. I have tried to keep the flow of the conversation intact.
I started the ball rolling, quite unintentionally, by tweeting about an article I had read concerning Newport RSL. The article focused on how the community was pitching in to help the RSL prepare for ANZAC Day, and that Newport RSL didn’t have pokies, but instead relied on the community in much the same way as the community relied on the RSL. It was a two-way relationship, and (I thought) something to be applauded.
cyenne40: Hardware store staff dig in to beautify Newport RSL http://bit.ly/hinzIi Now this is what being a club should be! No pokies required!
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 reads more like “gee if we could GET a pokies entitlement the club would be far more self sufficient” to me….
cyenne40:@CudleeCreekTav Then I feel sorry for you. You’ve missed the point of the importance of ties between community & clubs that work both ways.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 not at all… U Bcause of “your” ADMITED weakness want controls implemented 4 pokies that “U” hav the skills 2 circumvent?
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 which then penalises legitimate liesure spending & fund raising for service clubs!
cyenne40:@CudleeCreekTav Not so. I find myself wondering just how much/little you actually know about the proposed reforms.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 plenty! Do yourself a favour, research the history of Aborigional “petrol snifing” & the $ “wasted” in tryin 2 fix!
cyenne40:@CudleeCreekTav Poker machines are designed to addict: a proven fact. Controls are needed; the reforms do not impact recreational gamblers.
cyenne40:@CudleeCreekTav So if recreational gamblers are unaffected, & problem gamblers spend less: how is this a bad thing? How can clubs complain?
cyenne40:@CudleeCreekTav Clubs & communities should support each other. There are far better ways of doing this than pokies.
cyenne40:@CudleeCreekTav Clubs should look at other means of raising revenue. There are clubs without pokies; WA is full of them. And they survive.
cyenne40:@CudleeCreekTav Once again, you try to deflect the issue. Shows the weakness of your argument. This is about problem gambling.
cyenne40:@CudleeCreekTav By your logic, no one would ever champion change… because someone once got it wrong in an unrelated area. Crazy.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 avoid the issues? Simply so called reformed addicts trying to promote reforms that are basic invasions of personal rights!!
cyenne40:@CudleeCreekTav “so-called reformed addicts”? “basic invasions of personal rights”? Your credibility is zero if you believe this.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 this ONLY due to thier / your addictive personalities!! As stated b4 Xenephon is NOT a reformd addict AND is listening at last!!!!
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav Of course. Blame the addict. The rest of the industry does, you may as well toe the line. #itsunaustralian
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40.. look at smoking reforms.. not working.. why “U can still BUY them”, same with pokies better to CLOSE down completley?
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav So is that your position? You want to ban poker machines rather than implement reforms? Wow, you’re more hardcore than me.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 accordin 2 U clubs dont need them (like the “good old days”) anyway. yep just tryin 2 JUSTIFY your own WEAKNESES!
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav Seems like you’re pretty clear you want to shut down the pokie industry.
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav Must admit I’m a little surprised by that.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 NO thats wot U “adictive personality “d gooders” should advocate as U (if U werent so reformed) WILL find away around ANY systems.
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav And it’s pretty clear you blame the addict, not the product. Your agenda is pretty messed up.
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav Maybe you need a good lie down.
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav Besides: two thirds of the country want pokie limits enforced, according to recent polls. Seems clear enough.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 sample size of poll? Less than 1 % of population I would guess??? HARDLY “2/3 of the population” as you say…
Kieran_Murphy: @cyenne40 @ItsUnAustralian Strange you don’t see clubs such as @cudleecreektav speaking out against RSA law stopping them serving drunks?
cyenne40: @Kieran_Murphy @cudleecreektav I know, seems like a basic invasion of rights to me 😉
CudleeCreekTav: @Kieran_Murphy @cyenne40 @ItsUnAustralian err Kieran PERHAPS U need 2 resarch the OLGC laws in SA..
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav Several polls/surveys from the past fortnight, all indicate 65-70% support for pokie limits. Try again.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 sample size???
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 2 summarise.. thier R already banning laws reforms etc for addict gamblers, & still doesnt stop problem gamblers..
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 NOTHING will stop problem gamblers from punting “IF THEY want 2”! same as smoking same as petrol sniffing…
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 its really about the CONTROL of “addictive disorders”… that is the key & should be the focus NOT creating barriers…
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav You don’t get it. The biggest impact of these reforms will be in preventing the development of problem gambling behaviors.
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav Prevention is always better than cure.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 like preventing under 25s from from smoking?? check the stats NOT working.. think about controling “addictive behaviour”…..
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav You seem unable to stay focussed on the issue. We’re talking about problem gambling.
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav You do realize, don’t you, that many problem gamblers do want to stop? But feel unable to do so?
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 exactly!! addictive PERSONALITIES!!!
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav @kieran_murphy Are you trying to say that it’s legal to serve alcohol to intoxicated people in SA? I don’t think so…
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 @kieran_murphy NO its NOT & the onus is on STAFF serving B4 management… NOT easy to tell someone they have tooo much 2 drink..
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 @kieran_murphy I am sure they would like a “maximum DRINKS” allowed card or would that be “unaustralian??
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav one poll, run by ninemsn, had 100,000 responses. 70% in favor of pokie limits. 100,000 is statistically significant.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 JUST lest tha 1% of the total population & how controlled was it?? eg could more than 1 vote per person be accepted?? I think YES!
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav You’re still blaming the addict, not the product.
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav So you mistrust all surveys and polls then? Because they all work on the concept of a representative sample.
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav Your attitude is demonstrably deplorable. “If we didn’t have addicts…” good lord.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 if we didnt have “adicts” would need the proposed solution would it? as I KEEP sayin its managing the “adictive” populous the key!
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 caused by ADICTIVE personallities!!! U seem to be a research junky, do the homework.. perhaps U might even learn something about U
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav No need, I’ve been clean for 11 years and I’ve done plenty of soul-searching. But I have learned plenty about you.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 truth perhaps HURTS mr reformd addict! hey is Tom Cummings your REAL name or a writers Name??
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav Look me up. My name is what it us. Go on, try google. You’ll find me. But if you want to get personal, be very careful.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 seems EXTREEMLY coincidental U have the IDENTICAL name to the US “anti gambling” campaigner!!
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 indulge me pls!!
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav Quite a coincidence, no? You must be proud of your google abilities. Doesn’t change the fact.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 not at all just curious as to the exact same name of the same style campaigner in the US.. perhaps a compliment to U..
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 perhaps U should then do some research on addictive personallities?? it may enlighten U..
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav No, don’t back-pedal now! You’re accusing me of using a fake name, are you not?
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav The same name I used on my submission to Federal Parliament on gambling reform? Hmm?
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 coincidental and a question no accusation made…
cyenne40: RT @CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 coincidental and a question no accusation made… > your earlier tweets say otherwise, but I will let it go.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 hence an interesting coincidence.. the “slavery comparison” U & Nick are Useing is a bit “sad” I must say…
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav Given that slavery was legal, and benefited some at the expense & suffering of many… comparing it to pokies is valid.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 perhaps BETTER applied to the “illegal” drug trade than the pokies industry??
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 so is the taking of illegal drugs in this country and not in others…
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav Again: we’re talking about problem gambling. You want to talk about illegal drugs or petrol sniffing, talk to someone else.
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 now who is DUCKING for cover… LOL** been stimulating but must away.. do yourself a favour & research “adictive” persobnalitys..
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav If you’ve read my blog, you’ll have read my thoughts on addictive personalities. And you’ll know I’m focused on this issue.
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav It is you who could benefit from some research, and an open mind. Blaming addicts without blaming products is unforgivable.
That was, I thought, the end of it. However, the next day CudleeCreekTav decided to try and be smart, by posting a link to an article about poker players earning millions of dollars, and suggesting that I had “played the “wrong” pokies”. A nice thing to say to a reformed gambler… and I’d had enough.
CudleeCreekTav: “@OZstralia: QLD: Secret millions of Qld’s poker kings bit.ly/gRXPeN” perhaps U played the “wrong” Poke ies? @cyenne40
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav Equating poker with poker machines is beyond stupid. You are an example of everything wrong with the gambling industry.
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav And your insistence on blaming addicts for their problems, while excusing the product, is unforgivable.
cyenne40: @CudleeCreekTav If you believe the rubbish you spout, then you are a fool and I have nothing more to say to you.
At this point, I blocked CudleeCreekTav from my account. This means that their tweets no longer appear on my screen, and they cannot “follow” my account. I had nothing more to say to CudleeCreekTav, and I had no interest in anything they had to say. Their position and their contempt for gambling addicts was clear.
CudleeCreekTav didn’t notice that they had been blocked. When I succumbed to curiosity a day later and ran a search on Twitter, I found the following tweets that had been posted after the block was imposed:
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 perhap “reallity” if this scheme is introduced? Problem Gamblers will find a way round ( no doubt U wld if U R the IT xpert)
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 as the famous one liner went from “a Few Good Men” “U cant handle the truth”!! Addictive personalities create ADDICTIVE behaviour!
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 “U cant handle the truth”!! Addictive personalities create ADDICTIVE behaviour thats the real TRUTH!!!
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 sorry but there is PLENTY of eveidence of problem “poker” players looseing more than they can afford.. STOP being so narrow minded
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 my “consistant” view / statment / position is addictive personallities are the cause..
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 BUT its also the cause of issues with smoking, drinking, drug addiction etc… hence this should be the researched as a solution..
CudleeCreekTav: @cyenne40 sadley like all reformed “addicts, junkies, petrol sniffers etc etc” U cant handle the truth & continually avoid it..
There you have it. You can make up your own mind. Maybe I’m being precious, but when a discussion like this turns personal it usually indicates that the person responsible has run out of arguments.
Oh, and a footnote: yes, my name is Thomas Cummings. I’m very open about who I am. And yes, there was an American whose name was Thomas N Cummings. He was a compulsive gambler for many years; he managed to break free of his addiction and spent the rest of his life (15 years) trying to make a difference. He founded the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling, and was held in the highest of regard. He passed away in January 1998.
We are unrelated (and my middle initial is J). And I can only aspire to make a fraction of the difference that Thomas N Cummings made to the lives of problem gamblers; he was a truly great man.