Australian Idol message board inundated

The Australian Idol Web site message board was inundated with posts following Monday night's appeal by contestant Emelia Rusciano for users to be nice, with the show's producer, Grundy, saying messages were logged at the rate of one per second.Following her defeat from the competition Rusciano addressed users of the shows official Web site forum saying "there's been some negative things coming in, some of it quite nasty", adding that the Idols "do actually read them".

The Australian Idol Web site message board was inundated with posts following Monday night's appeal by contestant Emelia Rusciano for users to be nice, with the show's producer, Grundy, saying messages were logged at the rate of one per second.

Following her defeat from the competition Rusciano addressed users of the shows official Web site forum saying "there's been some negative things coming in, some of it quite nasty", adding that the Idols "do actually read them".

"Personal comments are being said....we just don't understand why people would feel that way when all we are doing is trying to make you all happy," she said.

Grundy said that in using the message board fans must abide by the "member conduct" statement, available via a link on the message board main page.

The conduct notice states that users must not upload "any content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive... defamatory, vulgar, obscene... hateful, or racially, sexually, ethnically or otherwise objectionable or vilifying", and must not impersonate someone affiliated with the company.

However, the message board round up, posted on the site, claims that some "mischievous" users have been impersonating Idols.

A Grundy spokesperson added that the Web site is also equipped with "profanity filters".

"When users try to post a message that contains swearing, they are flashed a warning that their message may be edited," she said. "The warning invites them to change the way they've expressed things. If they don't take up that invitation, the board's moderators will change the message so the swearing is removed."

Blank posts are littered throughout the message board, giving reasons such as " Personal attack", " Profanity", or " Off topic" as to the cause of the message's removal.

As some users have found, spelling errors have been one way of getting around the filters, as is seen in one message addressing contestant Anthony Callea which states "Anthony's head is up his own ****!!!".

However, the spokeswoman said some negative messages are not necessarily deleted.

According to Grundy, users are permitted to address the Idols and attack their looks, performance and personality "as long as it is done in a reasonable way".

"Generally, we prefer comments to be in keeping with the tone of the show, where opinions are expressed every week," she said.

Yet many users prefer to attack the Idols directly, as seen in another comment to Callea that states "what happened to his growth spurt?? Could his legs be any shorter??", or one directed to Rusciano that states "she looks like a half eaten Barbie doll".

Yet, the spokeswoman said Idol contestants are given "extensive mentoring" in how to deal with the media and fans.

"They understand the nature of message boards, and know if they read them, they might see things that aren't necessarily flattering," she said. "But they're also becoming more familiar with the fact that fame has good and bad sides, that some posts will fall into the latter category, and that they should try to focus on the main game."

Grundy said the site typically attracts around 15,000 postings a day.

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