Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I put this web site together to explain a little bit about who I am and what I do.

I am an  experienced senior manager in the private and voluntary sectors.I am currently head of a charity called Eco-Congregation Scotland which helps churches address environmental issues. This involves governance, policy, staff management, fundraising and communication. I am also involved in a project at Edinburgh University on ancestral time as it relates to climate change.

To find out more about my experience and skills start here.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Communication strategies for charities.

I have just completed developing a communication strategy and associated work plan for a charity. This includes associated social media, member recruitment and campaign strategies.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Why do people spam forums and blog comments?

Since setting up an online forum at work it has been inundated with spam either as new topics or replies to existing ones. I have stopped this by using a challenge question and answer on sign up and by blocking two of the networks they seemed to mainly come from.

I have the same problem with my own blogs. Often they get spates of spam comments. I now turn off comments on posts which are being targeted.

But why do they do this?

Well, there are two main reasons:

If they can embed a link into the post then this might help the search engine rankings of the site that is linked to. Even though a lot of these links are set to "no follow" by default people still think that ading those links will help.

If they add a post into the end of a long topic or into the end of  a long series of blog comments then everyone who is subscribed to those comments (usually everyone who has previously commented) will receive their message as an email. In other words its a back door way of sending out spam emails, but in limited quantities.

The answer to all of this is increased security. So far my question and answer challenge system is working. I had previously tried two image captcha systems and both of these had been completely ineffective. The reason for this is that there is now an industry of human captcha solvers in developing countries. If you find this hard to believe then read this article from ZDNet. And here is one of the companies doing it. There is now at least one company using automated processes to decode captchas.

I note from my own server logs quite a few referals from this site based in India where spammers can open a group of web pages simultaneously, presumably the top ones found in a google search for a particular search term.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Spoke at a local Resurgence and Ecologist discussion group

I had the pleasure of giving a short presentation last night about the work of Eco-Congregation Scotland to a local discussion group in Edinburgh organised through Resurgence and Ecologist magazine. The other speaker was from the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science (IFEES).

It was interesting to hear how similar the Islamic position on environmental issues is to the Christian one. Although there were some differences with a greater emphasis on the example of Mohammed's own words and actions as recorded in the Koran and Hadith. Christianity tends to have more emphasis on principals derived generally from the bible rather than from the specific words or actions of Jesus.

There are Resurgence and Ecology groups in a number of places around the UK.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Edinburgh International Science Festival

Just a note that I am organising an event on faith, values and behaviour change for Eco-Congregation Scotland at the Edinburgh International Science festival.

You will find a press release here (PDF):