Left troll good, right troll bad

In contrast to Kiwiblog’s tentative steps to clamp down on abusive behaviour The Standard continues to hand out bans almost left, right and centre – the left of the left continue to abuse with impunity while unwelcome contributors are excluded with bans, often accompanied by a tone setting abusive lecture from Lyn Prentice.

Here are examples of abuse and bans on a single thread at The Standard yesterday.

Hard left regulars can be abusive and make unsupported assertions while relatively innocuous responses can cop a harsh ban:

infused

cry me a river.

Another regular abuser makes an unproven assertion – “Prime Minsiter’s Office stealing”…

One Anonymous Bloke6.

Prime Minsiter’s Office stealing NZLP membership data and credit card details. Perpetrators admitted emails boasting of the crime are genuine. Prime Minister’s Office confessing crime to NZLP.

Open and shut case: a theft from the opposition by the government.

Your position: to cheer and wave a little Quisling flag.

  • Del Griffith

    I’m not sure why you saw fit to say I was waving a Quisling flag when I asked a genuine question. I don’t think people should be able to hack into other peoples computers and write books based on the stuff they find in there and profit from it.

    [lprent: That is an assertion that is defamatory, not supported by any facts, and recklessly puts this site into danger. Plus you look like a simple troll with your brains in a tiny deformed dick that you obsessively pump as you comment. Banned permanently. Don't come back ]

..and a relatively reasonable response cops a permanent ban, plus some typical abuse from the ‘moderator’. Yeah, his blog etc etc but he sets the tone and gives favoured lefties a free shot at anyone and typically if the target reacts he bans them.

It can’t be defamatory when it is a general comment and not directed at anyone in particular.

framu 

“He published stolen emails.”

ok – real slowly now – everyone clap along so infused can keep track

He published stolen emails. – AS…. A…. JOURNALIST. – not as an MP sneaking about someones computer system or as a hate blogger

Granted 

Oh, so are journalists entitled to steal emails?

[lprent: Asserting a crime that never happened - which is defamatory. Banned for simple trolling and simply being too stupid to be bothered with as well. ]

Being “too stupid” is Lynspeak for making the wrong arguments so the excising of unwelcome opinions continues although in this case it’s unclear how long the ban is.

Naki man

“they raid journalists over the tea cup tapes…

what is your definition of a journalist?’

This so called journalists hid a microphone at the table,
the smart arse little prick should have lost his job.

[lprent: You mean hidden like this?

See that wee bag in the foreground - that is it being "hidden"

Take 2 weeks off for bullshitting just a tad too much. If you want to make myths up, then do them on your own time. Stop wasting mine looking up an image for you. ]

A response to the ‘Infused’ ban:

greywarbler

Infused is hardly a worthy RW commenter is he. Just a twisted, sneering little twerp. If we want anyone to argue with, we actually can do that amongst ourselves without providing him with his perverse pleasure.

[lprent: I came to that conclusion after reading a series of his comments today. He needed time to refresh himself away from this site. So I gave him that time. ]

One Anonymous Bloke and Weka both abuse with impunity and both have been involved in actions aimed at driving away or prompting bans of commenters they don’t like.

On just the one thread One Anonymous Bloke continues a string of abusive comments and highly questionable claims with no moderator demands to provide evidence.

  • PS: Oh look everyone: a National Party representative advocating that the Police use powers of search and seizure to punish witnesses.
    No wonder the National Party are trash with that attitude.
  • Didn’t take you long to expose your true character, did it, Wormtongue.
  • Keep denying reality, you already look like a complete idiot.
  • They’ll be raiding Slater and the Prime Minister’s Office to ascertain exactly who in that office hacked the New Zealand Labour Party’s computers, stealing membership and credit card details, any day now.
    Unless they’re enemies of society, operating under double standards, that is.
  • So Slater is either a thief or a perjurer, just to bring you up to speed.
  • Are you witless as well as ignorant? You’ve already been informed of the Police complaint.
    We need better wingnuts.
  • Please try and get up to speed Mike: Slater gave evidence in the High Court that the emails are genuine. In the emails he boasts about stealing credit card and membership details from the NZLP with as-yet un-named accomplices from the Prime Minister’s Office.
  • Please stop exposing your cretinous ignorance in public. You’re a joke.
  • It seems to you, and no-one else. Evidence that the Prime Minsiter’s Office has admitted to be true: they stole from the NZLP, doesn’t seem to concern you.
    That’s because you’re either mendacious or ignorant or twisted by bias. Which is it?
  • No murder has taken place. The theft, on the other hand, has already been acknowledged by the perpetrators, although the Prime Minister’s Office (which has also acknowledged its part in the crime) is harbouring one of the accused.

That’s a common tone day after day. One Anonymous Bloke has an undisclosed connection with Labour (lprent discloses a long time connection) and this image is quite damaging to the Labour Party.

It’s also quite ironic on a blog with frequent claims that ‘dirty politics’ only comes from National.

It’s not about reasonable or balanced discussion, it’s about ‘fun':

Once Was Tim 

Back to Hobbitville – the trolls there are just funny rather than frustrating me with their UTTER stupidity despite lprent’s valiant efforts.

[lprent: I don't try to eliminate them. I just try to keep the rabbits down to an acceptable level. Why would I spoil the fun. ]

Another regular from the left gets far more lenient treatment for making a far more blatant assertion, this accusation against a Labour MP and leadership contender:

Colonial Viper

Grant has solid left wing values, and stood up for the membership’s right to be heard and involved in that process, while still being a respectful chair and a loyal deputy leader.

I’m sure that is the case. However, a large number of notable MPs voted against the inclusive, democratic leadership selection process that the NZLP now uses. Grant Robertson was one of them.

[lprent: Offhand I can't think of anyway to prove this one way or another unless you were watching him in the 2012 conference. There are no records of the hand or card votes there down to branches or people. If you want to assert that, then you should also say how you know otherwise I will satrt getting finicky. KL below is completely correct in their objection. ]

If someone deemed from the right (which means moderate left to right) made an assertion like that (or probably if it was a similar claim against Cunliffe) proof would be demanded to avoid a ban. This accusation was strongly refuted…

  • Keir Leslie

    That is a bare faced lie. Robertson voted for, organised for, fought for, helped win us the inclusive, democratic process we use now.

    I don’t know how or if he voted on Cunliffe’s divisive and self-interested attempt to make it easier to roll a leader chosen by that inclusive and democratic process by giving a minority in caucus the ability to depose them. That was a different fight, and one the membership at conference was pretty closely divided on.

    But Robertson was a staunch driver of the party democratisation process, while making sure that the leader of the party wasn’t undermined.

  • Roztoz

    I was next to GR at that vote. He voted for democratisation.

    And that was only after a year of pushing the changes through caucus and keeping NZ Council and caucus talking on it.

…but no action was taken despite two witness accounts.

And on another recent thread an ominous response that hints that moderator mood could play a part in behaviour.

  • Don’t the Nat$i party supporters wish fisi !, why are they so afraid of DC?(why are you going so RED prime mincer?)

    [lprent: sigh, still auto-spamming. I will be back later so will look then if I am sober enough.. ]

Political blogs like The Standard and Whale Oil (which also bans prolifically) continue to do a disservice to political discussion. They seem to be vehicles for the egos of bloggers and little consideration is given to bettering democratic debate. That’s their choice.

Kiwiblog has it’s problems but at least the discussions are not politically biased by bans of unwanted opinions.

At The Standard it’s very much left troll good, right troll bad.

The term “troll” refers to someone who deliberately incites or disrupts a social media discussion but it is more often used as a pejorative meaning little more than “I don’t want you or your opinion here”.

On blogs irony is very common, rationality far less so. Noting that Kiwiblog and Whale Oil seem to carry significantly larger audiences than The Standard and acknowledging that Prentice likes to have the last word (often enforced with a ban) I’ll end with this “more rational” comment:

Many blogs won’t carry much of an audience because of what people write. The arseholes of the net will choose to hang off the self-destructive like Slater or dive into the older sewer at Kiwiblog. The more rational will come here or to Public Address or Transport Blog where the conversations may be robust but their comments can be heard.

Labour try to moderate members’ and blog behaviour

The Labour Party are trying to improve the behaviour of MPs and party members for the upcoming leadership contest. A letter has been emailed to members, and at least one blog has been requested to remove a post (which The Standard complied with).

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports that a letter has been sent to Labour Party members in Labour member told to keep behaviour in check:

Labour’s President Moira Coatsworth has sent an email to all Labour Party members telling them to keep their behaviour in check during the upcoming leadership contest.

The party’s rules are require members and leadership candidates to abide by a code of conduct – and Ms Coatsworth was clearly keen to emphasise the importance of that.

“Robust exchanges about the merits of any candidate for leadership need to be based on performance and attributes which are relevant to their ability to be the Labour Leader. Members (including candidates for leadership) should not directly or indirectly refer to a candidate for leadership in a way which is denigrating or disrespectful.

“Members should be cautious to ensure that any statements they make are factually accurate and fair. They should ensure that any public comment on the candidates, the Party and the leadership election system uphold the status of the Party and its chances of election to Government, and do not bring it into disrepute.”

Mr Barnett said earlier today that the aim was to run a fair and democratic process and it was not unusual to try to stop damage by over zealous supporters when the candidates themselves were bound by a Code of Conduct.

Labour’s acting leader David Parker said he had given a similar message to the MPs.

The letter was posted by party member Phil Quinn.

Mr Quin took exception to the instructions, labelling them as “a sinister Orwellian gambit designed to restrict speech.” He wrote back to Ms Coatsworth asking who was charged with ruling on breaches of the rules and what the consequences were.

I agree with the principles of behaviour detailed by Coatsworth but you would think that telling people what they should or shouldn’t do in social media would be red rag to a bull.

Not so at The Standard where a post that was highly critical of Clayton Cosgrove has been removed at the request of Labour’s General Secretary Tim Barnett.

lprent: At the request of Tim Barnett, Labour’s returning officer, the Karen Price/Clayton Cosgrove post has been withdrawn during the primary.

lprent elaborates in a comment:

In a most unusual step, I had Tim Barnett, Labours general secretary, request that I remove the Clayton Cosgrove post.
Rather than make this leadership issue more corrosive than it already is and because I am sometimes moderately cooperative to polite requests. I have removed it from public view. It will be restored back to being visible after the election is completed.

This is unusual from someone who usually claims to be strongly independent of Labour MPs or party management (despite being a long time active party member).

How much will the party try to control what can be said in social media? And what will they do to members who don’t comply with their requests?

The Standard post:

Cosgrove, the whining MP

Written By:  - Date published:8:56 am, October 2nd, 2014 - 103 comments
Categories: blogs, Politics - Tags: 

In case anyone had missed it amongst the nasty and vicious level of attacks on David Cunliffe, Karen Price has been on twitter having a go at the people attacking her husband. As Brian Edwards put it in “Shock! Horror! Wife defends husband!!!!”

I suspect that she’d rather not be the wife of a politician. But the wife of a politician she is and he happens to be the newly resigned Leader of the Opposition and his party and much of the country has turned its face against him. And much of what is being said about Karen Price’s husband really isn’t very nice. Tough call!

Well, her method of attacking those who were attacking her husband might not have been well-advised and might have been lacking in Machiavellian subtlety, but you really have to admire it. “Good on you, Karen!” I say. “Well done!” “No apology required.” Those people are assholes anyway.

Amongst the various bits of media debris was this gem from an old fossil Clayton Cosgrove, Labour list MP talking about Karen Price :-

Mr Cosgrove said Mr Cunliffe must have known about his wife’s account.

“Let me put it this way. If my partner set up a Twitter account to attack members of the caucus I would know about it.”

Mr Cunliffe rejected this claim.

But I’d have to say that Clayton Cosgrove is an old fossil quite unsuited for the modern world. All his statement above does is that it makes me wonder what frigging century he is in and why is he so damn certain?

And  I’m not surprised that David Cunliffe wasn’t aware.

If my partner Lyn was twittering or facebooking about me then I am probably the least likely to know. She has her own life, her own career, and her own interests. She wouldn’t appreciate me trying to pry into them too much. I’m not trying to keep her in some weird arse kiwi version of purdah. Mostly I just like it if she keeps me apprised on when she is going to be bugging off to film on remote polynesian islands, on the border between India and China, Shanghai, and other interesting places without good internet connections.

Conversely of course Lyn really isn’t that interested in the minutiae of local politics and my daily grind at The Standard, she usually groans a bit when I start talking about it.

Plus she is more engaged with that side of the social nets than I am and I don’t have time to follow either my own twitter or facebook feed more than sporadically.

This is similar to his comment about blogs.

Mr Cosgrove said Labour MPs had been very loyal to their former leader, yet had repeatedly found themselves attacked on blogs and other places online.

Now I make allowances for our average technophobic MPs who don’t understand the cultures of the net that have grown up over the last 3 decades. But this whining by Cosgrove has several bits of outright bullshit.

Firstly, I’ve been aware of some of his habits of whining and leaking to the press for many years whenever he is unhappy. He really hasn’t changed his pattern. It  is the same old one that I recognize from observing Mike Moore many years ago of “senior Labour MP(s)” and “senior Labour figures” blabbing to the press. Now there are probably other MPs with the same traits, but his statements to someone reading it from the inside are pretty distinctive to lex. He is after all an old fossil stuck in old habits.

Secondly, dissatisfied caucus MPs haven’t been particularly silent in their unhappiness with having the party members imposing David Cunliffe on them. The leaking and whining has been less in the past few months, but it has persisted throughout this year and last. Comments from various people around Wellington suggest to me that he was in the core of the attacks on Cunliffe both before and after his accession to the leadership. It sounds right to me and certainly fits his pattern. That is just my opinion, but I am pretty sure that it is  correct.

Thirdly, the left bloggers don’t have that much interest in being directed by politicians, in fact we tend get irritated when some whining fool suggests it. Sure some of us are loyal to various politicians for reasons of long association, but that particular bias is usually quite evident and well signalled. We’re not interested in doing that daft backdoor creeping of semi-anonymous attribution to gallery journos that Clayton Cosgrove seems to specialise in.

Finally, I suspect that Clayton is feeling a bit stung by some of my comments after the election when he started his destabilisation campaign post election. But I merely said what I thought. Clayton can suck it up and live with it.

Welcome to the modern world of publishing. Having privileged access to the press gallery with its incestuous world of traded favours is less useful than it used to be. The cost of running a major political site is about $300/mo and a lot of skill. The people publishing there are as good as their credibility in their chosen audience.

That I have enough credibility to say such opinions and have them believed is the result of hard work over the past 7 years. It isn’t the result of being a Slater style sockpuppet for people who pay for or request opinions. That isn’t real blogging.

That post went up at 8.56 am and the last comment was made at 3.01 pm. Maybe Clayton did more than just suck it up, and lprent blinked.

The last paragraph in lprent’s post is particularly ironic.

How far are Labour going requesting withdrawal of online posts or comments? How balanced will compliance be?

UPDATE: Labour’s full email:

“The agreed principles of our leadership election process are:

democratic integrity and certainty;
transparency and fairness;
membership participation; and
Party growth.
If the process is to deliver this, it must be conducted in a spirit of respect and with the realisation that many from outside the Party are watching the process. This applies across mainstream and social media, our husting meetings, other Party meetings and the informal networks which we all have. The greater our discipline the stronger our foundation will be to unite behind the leader who is selected.

New Zealand Council last night agreed the following expectations for Party members.

Robust exchanges about the merits of any candidate for leadership need to be based on performance and attributes which are relevant to their ability to be the Labour Leader.

Members (including candidates for leadership) should not directly or indirectly refer to a candidate for leadership in a way which is denigrating or disrespectful.

Members should be cautious to ensure that any statements they make are factually accurate and fair. They should ensure that any public comment on the candidates, the Party and the leadership election system uphold the status of the Party and its chances of election to Government, and do not bring it into disrepute.
I ask all members to comply with these expectations throughout the process.

Kiwiblog steps up

David Farrar has stepped up to a major challenge and is promising improvements at Kiwiblog – see Some changes for Kiwiblog.

Farrar has always been one of the most open bloggers on disclosure, and he is are taking that even further. 

I receive up to a dozen unsolicited e-mails a day, suggesting stories to me. Most are from people who are not politicians or staff – just ordinary readers. Some are just links to stories, some make some points on a topical issue. I sometimes quote these e-mails in posts. I have always been very careful to distinguish between content I write, and content people may send me (which I quote as coming from a reader). But I’m going to go a further step and if any content substantially comes from a parliamentary, or political party staffer, source I will state so when using it. I will not name individuals, but if I quote someone I will include information on their affiliations, when relevant. You will find this is very infrequently.

The comments and commenters at Kiwiblog have a reputation for being many things, usually negative. There’s no doubt it can be a very abusive and insenstitive forum at times. Amongst the noise there are also many very worthwhile and interesting comments and commenters, but reputation focuses mainly on the worst.

After the election (ie when I have more time) I am going to consult on a tougher moderation policy for the comments. I want them to be robust and forceful, but focused more on issues than people. I have very limited time to read them myself, so probably will ask for some readers to step forward as moderators. We’ll have that discussion in October.

Moderation can be very time consuming, a difficult beast to confront. It’s a REAL SHAME that more responsibility and respect isn’t shown by commenters who are guests on Kiwiblog. This will be a challenge but it’s worth doing.

Farrar is setting a higher standard for himself – now it will be interesting to see if the blogs to the left who have been busy claiming they are not as bad as those on the right step up and follow your example.

As Bunji has just posted at The Standard – Left wing blogs aren’t “the same”.

No, they are not the same. Are they willing to up their standards too? What about it lprent? 

UPDATE: Already The Standard has indicated where they stand on this, showing their hypocrisy in claiming the moral high ground – No Changes for Kiwiblog.

Whoever wrote and posted that didn’t even have the guts to disclose their name or pseudonym.

Is The Standard “a mouthpiece for Labour”?

Lynn Prentice keeps adamantly denying that his Standard blog is a mouthpiece for Labour. Technically he’s probably correct – but there’s no doubt many mouths of Labour are active at The Standard.

The denials of being very Labour are bizarre. It’s not like Peter three times denying Jesus on one day. It’s more like the twelve disciples denying Jesus throughout the writing of the New Testament.

In a radio interview yesterday Prentice was at best blatantly misleading – see Lynn Prentice on radio on The Standard.

Here’s a list of most of the current and recent Standard authors.

lprent (Lynn Prentice) – Standard trustee, editor, sysop, author  and chief moderator (banner of unwelcome opinions). Prentice is a long time Labour Party member, has often mentioned how much he helped Helen Clark in her Mt Albert electorate, attends Labour conferences but has pledged to vote Green this election. No disclosure on The Standard but this of the “brilliant blogger” is still at The Daily Blog.

lprent (also known as Lynn Prentice) is an ancient geek who fell out of management in the 90′s after getting irritated with accountants and doing an MBA and back into programming. During the process he became involved in real world politics as a reluctant socialist. He hasn’t really emerged from those twin obsessions since.

Lynn Prentice is Editor of The Standard, the largest left wing blog in NZ. Lynn is a brilliant blogger and resides in the high ranking Jedi Knight category. He likes Don McGlashan, a facebook page called Whaleoil Sucks and the Ponsonby Fish and Chips shop.

Currently he programs anti-collision devices in c++, linux, Qt, and touch screens. Since he also acts as the sysop of multi-author blog The Standard, that large left-wing nest of vipers that plague the NZ politicians of all hues. He finds the same predictive algorithms useful in educating the trolls who waste his time. Occasionally he finds time to write the odd blog post on whatever interests him.

Mike Smith – Standard trustee (since 2010) and current author. Retired as “the long standing party secretary of the Labour party in 2009″. Worked as an adviser in David Shearer’s leader’s office up until last year.

mickysavage (Greg Presland) – current author.  Former chair of David Cunliffe’s New Lynn electorate committee and presumably still on the committee. He was the lawyer who set up Cunliffe’s secret trust during the Labour leadership campaign last year.

Bunji - current author and active Labour Party member.

I’m a Labour party member – as I’ve mentioned that – and from my topics, that I’m based in Auckland. That’s further confirmed by the fact that I’ve blogged about Labour conferences in Auckland – which might cause an accurate assumption that I’m actively involved in my local Labour Electorate Committee.

Stephanie Rodgers – current author (also blogs elsewhere). On the Labour campaign team in Ohariu. Communications officer at EPMU.

Stephanie Rodgers is a communicator who lives in Wellington with her partner and two guinea pigs.  One of them was once the Dominion Post’s Pet of the Day (the guinea pigs, not her partner).  She is a communications officer at the EPMU and member of the Labour Party, but blogs in a personal capacity in her own time.  Opinions are her own.

UPDATE: Stephanie was grumpy at me because she has a disclosure statement – but it is on her own blog, not at The Standard. Some of her posts have a link to her blog ‘Boots Theory’ and if find a hidden menu with ‘About’ on it (the black square on the left) she has a different disclosure:

Disclosure statement

All opinions expressed on this blog are my personal views.

I work as a communications officer at the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.  I am a member of the Labour Party and have previously worked for Labour’s team in Parliament as a lowly receptionist.  Nothing on this blog should be construed as a statement made on behalf of any of these organisations.

Stephanie has been a lowly staffer working for Labour in Parliament but that was before she began as an author at The Standard (which was in February this year, she was working at EPMU last year).

karol – current author (since 2012). Strongly promotes Greens. Previously used the pseudonym ‘carol’. A recent ‘Disclaimer':

Disclaimer:  My primary political allegiance is to the Left. I am not now, nor ever have been, a member of a political party.  I don’t speak for any party.  I have party voted Green in recent elections, and intend to do so again this election.  I will give my electorate vote to Carmel Sepuloni.

James Henderson – author April 2010 until December 2013. Closely associated with Greens. There have been rumours he was Clint Smith who had authored under the pseudonym ‘Steve Piersen‘ until March 2009 when he went to work in Parliament for Labour.  Smith switched to Greens as media and political adviser (of “Hey Clint’ fame), and then in April this year switched back to work for Labour.

Rocky (previously as Rochelle Rees until 2009) – past author, has just started posting again (last posts before this week were in 2012). Prentice’s niece. Political and animal rights activist. Prentice blogged in 2008:

My niece Rochelle Rees has uncovered some unsavory practices operated by element of the NZ Police directed at peaceful protest groups.

You can read them either by buying the paper, or by these links to articles from Nicky Hager.
Police anti-terror squad spies on protest groups
Who the police were spying on
The activist who turned police informer
How Gilchrist was found out:

Twenty-two-year-old Rochelle Rees got involved in politics as a schoolgirl, determined to do something about issues such as cruelty in battery hen farms.

Since then she has handed out leaflets, been arrested for locking herself to a shop selling clothing made with animal fur from China and made the news during this year’s election campaign for a cheeky “Google bomb” calling John Key “clueless”.

Ben Clark – occasional author.  Labour Party member. Brother of Labour MP David Clark. Stood for Labour in North Shore in 2011 and was 69 on the party list. Not on the 2014 list.

Irish Bill - past author (last post September 2013). Earlier in 2013 Prentice denied – “Labour party member”.In the words of a Tui ad – “Yeah right!” but IrishBill corrected him:

We’re a loose collective at TS. I’ve a policy of keeping myself to myself outside of what I write there but would like to correct a couple of things here. I am a Labour party member (and have been on and off for a long long time) and my call for joining up certainly wasn’t tongue in cheek – having seen what happens when the broader left walks away from the party I’m very keen to see as many lefties as possible sign up now – it’s more important for us to be in the party now than it has been since the dark days of the 80s.

Eddie – author until January this year. Seems to have been strongly connected to one of Labour’s factions – see a post from March last year Labour’s three factions. Many rumours since way back about the identity, notably that it is a pseudonym that has been used by a number of Labour insiders or staffers, both male and female. The name Jennie Michie keeps coming up back a few years. Always denied. From Dim Post in 2009:

It’s rumoured that Eddie, the author of the rumour is a senior Labour comms advisor so if there’s a story to be found here I think it’s that Labour are begging the gallery to start smearing cabinet Ministers.

UPDATE: Eddie and IrishBill from The Standard refute the rumour that Eddie is a comms advisor with the Labour Party.

Comments:

“Eddie is not a comms adviser. You need to quote her job title 100% correct then ask her and Irish to deny it again. That is the game they play.”

“Does anybody actually believe Rob and Jennie when they keep denying who they are via their nom de blogs? Ridiculous.
“Senior EPMU staff member and labour staffer spend all day trying to smear and build mountains from molehills. Quelle surprise.”

“So Eddie aka Jenny Michie senior Labour comms wallah and IrishBill aka Rob Egan, Communications Advisor of the EPMU are getting their nickers in a twist over being outed ? Why don’t they just come out of the closet, it really would be much easier for them in the long run.”

An article on blogging in 2009 got a response from ‘Eddie’ plus a counter claim.

Eddie: Sandra. Sorry that we didn’t get back to you on your email about us commenting for this article. Clinton used to handle the public stuff and he tells me he got your email when he was pulling out of the whole blog scene, forgot to pass on the email.

I’ll take this opportunity to clear up a few things.

The Standard is a broad-Left blog, about half the regular writers support the Greens and the other half Labour. We don’t toe party lines and we’re more likely to write critical articles on the parties of the Left than supporting ones.

You could have found this info on our About page and might be nice if you could edit the text to reflect them, at least noting we dismiss Hooton’s conspiracy theories.

Hooton’s got no evidence of any association with Labour, much less than any of us are paid by them. It’s simple lies from a man who has made a career out of spouting extremist rubbish. How’s his blog doing these days? Oh yeah, it died.

Roger: Eddie at the standard is Jenny Michie who is the communications officer at the labour party. When she says there are no labour party link with the standard that isnt credible.

Zetetic - current occasional author. Obvious Labour/left leanings. Rumoured to be many people including Trevor Mallard (I don’t think that’s credible) or associated with Mallard (feasible). Another denial from Prentice here, this time about Zetetic’s Labour-ness.

I can’t remember Zet ever mentioning unions and his posts that even mention Labour are usually somewhat disdainful. However as he mostly stirs in his posts it is frequently difficult to see the difference. He said he was voting for the Mana party in 2011 (and RAM in 2008).

But Zetetic was quite clear here early last year. In For a February leadership vote

No one in Labour can deny there’s a real issue with internal disunity. Not only is the caucus divided (and more than ever since the Shearer camp’s handling of the conference fallout), but there’s a major breach between the membership and the caucus. Unless this is fixed and we can get the party united we’re looking at another term in opposition after 2014.

Increasingly, people are coming to the view that the only way to heal this rift and unify the party is for caucus to take the leadership issue out to the membership this February so we can put it to bed once and for all. That’s what the conference was about. We wanted to make sure we were never ignored again. We simply want our right to vote, and whatever the outcome is I believe that will settle it.

Nearly all of these authors are proven to have close Labour links or are likely to have close Labour links. There are union links as well which isn’t surprising.

Later in the day on Newstalk ZB ex Labour candidate Josie Pagani named three people including Clint Smith who she says blogged as staffers at The Standard. The other two were Neale Jones (ex EPMU) and Rob Egan.

I’m baffled why Prentice and others keep trying to deny that The Standard is closely associated with Labour.

Sure it may be a group of semi-independent bloggers. But most of them have an obvious strong common interest – Labour.

Why do they try to hide from this? Prentice told blatant mistruths on Radio New Zealand about The Standard and it’s authors.

I would have thought they would be proudly promoting Labour, but they seem embarrassed or afraid of something.

They could be a very effective mouthpiece for Labour but they want to hide in semi-anonymity and denial. It’s bizarre. 

Note: I’ll amend this with any credible corrections or additions. Put in comments or email me at petedgeorge@gmail.com

UPDATE: Duncan Garner writes in Politics is a sleazy business – regardless of who is in power

Senior Labour  ministers and press secretaries rang to point me toward The Standard, a Left-wing blog, to read its vitriol on certain days. Who had written those posts? I’m told many were written under fake names by Labour staffers paid by the taxpayer.

More Labour connections

The Standard re-posts from Polity by Rob Salmond:

Rob has wide experience relevant to public affairs. He has been a Parliamentary adviser to two leaders of New Zealand’s Labour party (Helen Clark, David Shearer), and through Polity continues to work with Labour leader David Cunliffe.

They also re-post from Imperator Fish by Scott Yorke:

My name is Scott Yorke. I’m a lawyer, but this site doesn’t really have anything to do with my day job, because, really, what kind of twisted job would that be if it did?

This blog is my own, and the posts do not represent the opinions of anyone other than me.

Nor does anything on this blog represent legal advice. This is my hobby, not a job. I don’t give out legal advice over the internet.

Disclosure

Yes, I am a bit left leaning. But some of my best friends, etc. etc.

I am also a long-suffering member of the Labour Party. Now you can’t say I didn’t tell you.

Scott is also active in electorate campaigning for Labour.

These are both very good disclosures and they both do some very good posts, but it makes a nonsense of The Standard claiming no Labour input into their blog. 

 

Who’s been hacking?

This post follows the Hager precedent where it is ok to float a few bits of information and let others join the dots.

Cameron Slater has accused Kim Dotcom of being involved in hacking his email and Facebook data. Dotcom has stated:

For the record: I haven’t hacked Whaleoil. I have nothing to do with Hager’s book. There will be legal action against Slater & co

However that is a loose disclaimer. I asked for clarification:

Can you confirm that you had no knowledge of or anything to do with the hacking of ?

No response to that.So there’s an obvious possibility there.

The next dot – David Farrar claims I’ve either been hacked or spied on.

I started reading more fully the book yesterday, and the footnotes in the book. To my shock I realised that Hager had info in the book that could not have come from the hacking of Cameron Slater, but could only have come from my computer, my apartment or my office.

Specifically he refers to copies of two scripts used by my company, Research, this year. There is absolutely no way they could have come from Cameron Slater’s computer systems, as Cameron doesn’t have them. No one has them but me and my office.

I thought about how this could have happened. The two most likely scenarios are that my computer systems have also been hacked, or that someone physically removed the scripts from my office (or possibly apartment).

A commenter ‘berend’ points out:

The source is an employee. Footnote 17 for chapter 9 says “Confidential source.” Footnote 18 calls him “The employee said”.

Next dot – as I posted yesterday, the gmail account I use for political correspondence and my Facebook account have been hacked.

What would I have in common with Slater and Farrar? They are big time bloggers with long and substantial involvement in politics and with the National Party.

I’m a small time independent blogger with scant political connections.

Another dot – suddenly another blogger who usually shuns mainstream media is going public – see Prentice irritated by Labour links and he was interviewed on Radio NZ this morning. Lynn Prentice, known as lprent.

Prentice and I have sparred online for years. He has made some funny claims like this last year in an ironic Pete George – an example of right wing blogging falsehoods (his grand entrance at The Daily Blog). He and many other left wing activists cal me a right winger. That’s very funny.

A post at The Standard (ironically on a post called Happy Labour Day):

The likes of Cam Slater, David Farrar, Brett Dale, John Key, Jami-lee Ross, Mike Hosking, Leighton Smith, Lucia maria (she also want to see the gays exterminated), Colin Craig, John Banks, Simon Bridges, Bob McCroskie, Gosman, Fisiani, Santi, Grumpy, Matthew Hooton Monique Angel, Pete George and all others that I have left off my list (sorry, will be here all night), are to trade unionists what the SA brownshirts were to the Jews in 1930′s Germany, common thugs who see those who belong to a trade unions (along with homosexuals) as vermin to be exterminated in a Final Solution.

Get ready folks, post 2014 we will see trade unionists streaming through our court system when National make joining a trade union to be a crime, and the PPTA outlawed in our schools.

Slavery, here we come.

That’s not an unusual view from the far left, anyone seen as an opponent is viewed as an enemy to be defeated by an means possible. 

Some of the Twitter respnses to Dotcom’s hacking denial are also indicative:

go get him kim, teach him a lesson the old fashioned way. Bet em’ at their own game! Eradicate the problem!

Slaters are nasty creatures. Slimy, greasy and sticky to stamp on.

Pete is missing the point. Whoever hacked WhaleOil’s computer deserves congratulation.

Back to a Standard stalwart, ‘felix':

felix

The thing that sticks out for me about the Slater boy, Farrar, and their unpaid intern Pete George, is that they all resort to variations of “He’s got to be more careful, there are some real scumbags out there who will twist his words against him at every opportunity”.

Hey dicks, that’s you guys.

No-one else gives a fuck.

And another:

Clemgeopin

@Pete George
The way you come across with your posts is that you are here to put down Labour and the left, and take the side of the right wing. That is irritating and mostly time wasting rather than genuine debate or discussion.

If your intention is to push the agenda of the right, your natural place to hang would be the well known right wing blogs, of Slater and Farrar.

And back to Prentice who links me with Slater

Leaving the perverted obsessions to Cameron Slater and even Pete George seems like a wise thing for us to do.

and the right wing

Appointing PG makes me immediately suspect the organisation is just another right wing shill like the Taxpayers union and other previous ones.

…etc etc – it’s fair to say I have irritated Prentice for some time and he seems to have had a habit of targeting me. And David Farrar. And Cameron Slater.

I have absolutely no evidence who hacked me. I haven’t seen any evidence who hacked Slater or Farrar.

There’s a likely connection between the hacking of Slater and Farrar. Who on earth would think to put me in that same basket of cases?

There is one piece of evidence linking lprent and the hacking of my gmail.

Got one of those this morning. Looks like PG’s email has been hacked. Virtually identical to several others over the years.

That’s just because he (and mickysavage) were in my gmail address book.

Who’s been hacking? I don’t know. But there’s as many dots here as in a Hager hatchet job.

In any case would lprent have the IT expertise or the desire to axe some opponents to resort to illegal hacking? 

 

Standard election authorisation notice

The Standard is trying to cover electoral advertising rules by having it’s own authorisation notice. This may not cover all authors and posts.

The Electoral Commission on the ‘regulated period’ for the upcoming election.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE REGULATED PERIOD

The regulated period for the 2014 General Election will start on 20 June 2014 and ends with the close of the day before election day (19 September 2014).

What is the significance of the regulated period? This can be a source of confusion. The answer is that it is significant for election expenses and Parliamentary Service funding.

In terms of election expenses the regulated period is the period during which the expenditure limits for parties and candidates operate. Currently these limits are: $25,700 for candidates and $1.091 million plus $25,700 per electorate contested for parties.

However, it is not the only time that the other rules regarding election advertising apply. The requirement for a promoter statement and the requirement for written authorisation to promote a party or candidate apply at all times.

A post in typical lprent fashion at The Standard:

Time to do the authorisation notice

This site frequently has opinions from authors and comments promoting promoting political positions and telling people who they should vote for or not vote for, and why.

Because of whining in previous election periods by some of the more obnoxious fools around the blogosphere, you’ll notice that we now have a notice at the bottom of the site.

Here’s an example of some whining by an obnoxious fool (love the irony) coming up to a previous election period, in July 2008 – Why is Labour so hypocritical on transparency?

Then in 2007  burst into life. They would have you believe it is a totally independent collection of activists who just happen to not like National. The reality is somewhat different.

The Standard says they are all independent bloggers. However the following e-mail has been forwarded onto me:

From: xxxxxxx xxxxxxx
Date: 11 June 2008 12:24:42 PM
To: labourmembersofparliament@parliament.govt.nz
Cc: pm@ministers.govt.nz, mike.williams@labour.org.nz
Subject: The Standard Blog

Dear all

I have a serious issue to raise with you all. It has come to my attention that two Ministerial staffers – Chris Elder and Andrew Kirton, both political employees – are blogging anonymously at the Labour-hosted, anti-John Key blog the Standard, http://www.thestandard.org.nz.

Given that a large number of these posts (most notably those by Chris Elder or all_your_base, a communications staffer on the ninth floor) occur during office hours, do you all believe it is appropriate that political employees are spending their time blogging anonymously? Is this approved behaviour?

Kind regards

xxxxxxx xxxxxx

After I was forwarded a copy of the e-mail by a parliamentary staffer, I asked the e-mailer the basis of the information, the e-mailer replied “A young Labour person I know who is also a blogger”

It has in fact long been speculated that Elder blogged as All-your-base as this was allegedly a favourite saying of his (referring to the tag line of a famous hacking group). He has denied being involved with The Standard, and it is of course impossible to prove or disprove without computer logs.

But it is likely that two of the bloggers are Beehive communications employees, and a third is the Labour Party Head Office Communications Manager. A fourth and maybe a fifth are employed by the EPMU – Labour’s largest affiliated union.

The Standard still promotes itself as a collective of independent activists, although admitted at one stage

We set The Standard up as an independent left-wing blog in August last year. As you probably remember by about November our traffic had got so large our server was crashing every day, sometimes for hours at a time. We put out a call and at the end of last year someone from Labour emailed us and offered us some temporary server space until we worked something out.

They have worked that out long ago and have also worked out a number of operation matters. Pseudonymous authors have come and gone. Like ‘Zetetic’, who coincidentally posted not long after lprent.

John Key on Iraq in the Herald today:

We are not a country out there looking for a fight.

John Key on Iraq 2003:

That links to a video on Youtube that was first uploaded leading into the 2008 election by ‘greenwoman’, who loaded seven videos around that time all critical of John Key. Zetetic must have a good memory.

Back to the lprent post that warns of the consequences of “comments left on our site”:

Thereafter I will consider that that comments left on our site about our conformance to the Electoral Act 1993 and the Broadcasting Act 1989 about any content on site will in themselves constitute unwanted advertisements on our site, and I will take the appropriate action. This is logical extension of our existing policy about handling people who try to tell us how to run our site.

Perpetrators will have their comments deleted and will be banned until after the election.

It’s interesting doing a search at The Standard on ‘banned until after the election’. The most serious offences tend to be challenging what authors post, speculating on the identity of authors and (allegedly) diverting from the message that authors want to promote.

From The Standard ‘About':

We write here in our personal capacities and the opinions that are expressed on the blog are individual unless expressly stated otherwise (see the policy). We do not write on behalf of any organization.

That links to:

The authors write for themselves with the following exceptions.

  1. If we are putting up material from a guest poster, then it will go up under “Guest Post” and may or may not have a name or pseudonym attached.
  2. If the site is reposting material from another site with no opinion or minimal opinion from an author, then it will go up under the name of “The Standard” (aka notices and features).
  3. There are some routine posts like the daily OpenMike that will also go up under the name of “The Standard” (aka notices and features) because they also offer no opinion.

The bar is high because we like robust debate, but there is a bar.

One could imagine their barn door:

The bar is high because we like robust debate, but there is a bar on debate we don’t like.

There’s been a number of other coincidental posts from the independent authors recently. Try this search:

http://thestandard.org.nz/?s=david+farrar&isopen=block&search_posts=true&search_sortby=date

lprent has frequently been accusing David Farrar of being a paid operative of the 9th floor of the Beehive.

It’s interesting that lprent has decided to put a blanket ‘authorisation notice’ on The Standard. But that’s under his own name.

The key messages are:

  • Publishers and broadcasters must ensure that election advertisements or election-related advertisements published at any time, in any medium, contain a promoter statement.
  • Publishers and broadcasters must ensure that any election advertisement that promotes any candidate and/or party has  been authorised in writing by the candidate and/or party secretary(s) before it is published/broadcast.

(Part 1 Election Advertising)

But lprent is registering as a ‘3rd party promoter':

1.3         Registered promoters

Any individual or group who is a third party promoter who spends, or intends to spend, over $12,300 (including GST) on election advertising during the regulated period (20 June to 19 September 2014) must register with the Electoral Commission. 

The following cannot be a registered promoter:

  • a constituency candidate,
  • a list candidate,
  • a  party,an overseas person,
  • a person involved in the administration of:

                – the affairs of a candidate in relation to the candidate’s election campaign, or

                – the affairs of the party.

http://www.elections.org.nz/third-party-handbook/part-1-third-party-promoters-and-parliamentary-elections

So he must not be involved in the affairs of any candidate or party (he has previously been involved with Labour and with Helen Clark).

What I don’t know is how lprent’s site authorisation statement affects anything that could potentially be posted or commented at The Standard by candidates, parties or persons involved in the administration of candidate or party election campaigns.

But it seems logical to me that parties, candidates and any person involved in the administration of campaigns would still need their own authorisation statements.

If they were being honest and transparent. lprent concludes his post:

In my opinion this policy should neatly eliminate some of the nuisances that we have had in previous elections.

It would be a nuisance if an author or commenter who disguises their connections and their intent by using a pseudonym would have to use an authorisation statement.

The use of pseudonyms at The Standard is strongly defended. It is explained that it doesn’t mean they are anonymous, the identities are known to the blog administrator.

So lprent should know which authors and posts may not be covered by his own authorisation statement, if any. He said:

So if you think that there are issues to do with how we have done this, you now have between now and prior to the start of 20th of June 2014 to comment in this post and only this post.

I can’t comment on his post, I’m currently banned from commenting at The Standard, but lprent will see this post. He could clarify by stating that any post at The Standard by anyone or on behalf of anyone associated with a candidate or party campaign will have it’s own authorisation notice.

Gutless Standard

The gutlessness of The Standard via the self touted tough enforcer:

[lprent...

We don't (usually) ban for what people say on other sites. The one exception to that was Pete George and his rather continuous lying about why he gets banned from here.

...]

This is an assertion without any evidence. I was banned (again) a few weeks ago so lprent knows he can make claims like this without being challenged. Typical gutlessness. And wrong.

Why I have been banned is out in the open, anyone can make up their own minds about why, but I think it’s obvious and widely known that The Standard doesn’t tolerate their assertions and attacks being questioned or challenged. They insist on proof of any slight perceived (often incorrect) insinuation but make blatantly wrong or unsupported accusations frequently.

The irony here is that lprent took this gutless swipe in response to a comment that pointed out another attack post absent any evidence –  Why does David Farrar hate Winston Peters so much?

I simply pointed out that there is no corroborating evidence to support your post. There are far simpler explanations, and IMHO your post is pointless because many many posts could have been written with the exact same ‘facts’ but completely different implications. Your post is the equivalent of gossip at best, and making shit up at worst.

And, as I pointed out before, if someone accused Labour, a Standard author, David Cunliffe or Matt McCarten of the same (on the same evidence) on this blog, they would cop a warning or a ban. Unquestionably a double standard.

It’s a bad post, just own it.

It was a bad post. It’s the sort of nonsense lprent himself might write, and warning a commenter challenging the claims shows that lprent supports what was posted.

It’s obvious why this sort of gutless attack is allowed, lprent sets the Standard. In this case he has blatantly lied by accusing me of lying, under protection of his own extreme form of blog ‘moderation’.

This reinforces Labour’s lost credibility and respect.

Standard fine print

Another approach to manipulating debate in a post at The Standard – The Human Cost of Inequalitywhere lprent has appended fine print that seems designed to catch critics out.

* It is my contention that most of the people who decry this book are also people who haven’t read it. I think that they are also the same people who don’t read all of my posts before they start commenting on them. So lets try a wee experiment in inequality shall we!. People putting in links to “disprove” the claims in The Spirit Level into this post will be called on to show that they have in fact read the book. Those who cannot display their personal knowledge of the contents of the book will receive a free and unencumbered banning until after the election. This will be known as the “fine print”. Please refer to it as such.

Here it is more readable:

* It is my contention that most of the people who decry this book are also people who haven’t read it. I think that they are also the same people who don’t read all of my posts before they start commenting on them. So lets try a wee experiment in inequality shall we!.

People putting in links to “disprove” the claims in The Spirit Level into this post will be called on to show that they have in fact read the book.

Those who cannot display their personal knowledge of the contents of the book will receive a free and unencumbered banning until after the election. This will be known as the “fine print”. Please refer to it as such.

That highlights the inequality of political debate at The Standard. lprent doesn’t actually need excuses to ban people who disagree with him but he tries token excuses. Like this.

 

The desperation of political sockpuppets

Political bloggers push stories, they speculate, they try to score hits against their opponents. Some of them make things up – they lie.

Naitional linked blogs Whale Oil and Kiwiblog are major players.

Yesterday David Farrar posted Are Labour planning smear campaign on Shane Jones?

This is very unusual. Whale blogs about a poll being done, presumably on behalf of Labour, asking if people’s view of Shane Jones was:

  • Shane Jones delivered amusing one liners but his political career was accident prone and did not amount to much. The most attention he got was for using his parliamentary credit card to pay for pornographic movies.
  • Shane Jones was one of the few politicians who tells it like it is and with his attacks on Countdown has been the most effective Labour politician this year. He will be a huge loss to Labour especially amongst Maori and blue collar voters.

If the polling was being done for a media client, then the question would be sensible – it would be for a story on the impact of Shane Jones. But presumably the poll is on behalf of Labour (as was being done by their normal polling company) and the question is why would you poll on Shane Jones…

It’s easy to make the presumptions made here. UMR is Labour’s usual polling company and it’s a Labour related poll question. but it seems very unlikely it was Labour, as pointed out in UMR poll on Jones not Labour.

Farrar did some research, possibly taking Russell Brown’s word for it but he may also have checked through polling company contacts (he is a pollster and runs polling company Curia). He appended his post.

UPDATE: I’m told from a very reliable source that in this case Labour is not responsible for this question. So it will be fascinating to discover who is, if it ever comes out.

Later in the day Farrar put up another post at Kiwiblog – Is this photoshopped? This showed a photo of David Cunliffe at a rally at Parliament. While the photo did look unnatural the implication that Cunliffe had not actually been at the rally was lame. Farrar again updated:

UPDATE: Have had confirmed that was at the rally. So the image may be touched up, but is genuine.

This isn’t unusual. It’s common for bloggers to float ideas without full details or evidence, often to initiate discussion and try to flush out more information – sort of crowd-sourced story development.

Farrar can be provocative and devious – note his masthead statement: “DPF’s Kiwiblog – fomenting happy mischief since 2003″.  He is also relatively open about his interests in About Kiwiblog which includes disclosure statement is here.

He sometimes oversteps, notably with an attempted hit job on Winston Peters just before the 2011 election. But as he said on Facebook yesterday “Umm, everyone knows my viewpoint”. If they don’t know they can easily find out.

Later yesterday Farrar and Whale Oil’s Cameron Slater were blasted by their main opposition in the blogosphere, The Standard. The iron fist behind The Standard, lprent (Lyn Prentice) posted The desperation of the National’s sockpuppets.

National Party pollster David Farrar must be seeing some numbers he really doesn’t like because he is claiming that David Cunliffe photoshopped himself into a rally that he was really at! Yeah right – a doyen of the local net governing body failed to use google before making a complete dick of himself on the net. I expect we will see a lot more of National’s paid for bloggers acting like fools heading into this election because National only being good at putting us heavily into debt (again!) rather limits the good news they can write.

There are a number of ironies in Prentice’s post and comments. Desperation comes to mind, as does sockpuppet. Pot/kettle stuff. In the thread Prentice says…

As you might have picked up, I am pretty pissed off about the lying that showed up today at the sewer. It is stupid, shallow, and something that needs quashing as a political technique.

However I am pretty sure that it is simple to make up such mischief. Farrar will make quite a good target between now and the election. With a bit of luck we can see if he appreciates the attention enough to donate me some discovery time.

Threats of a blogger war, one way at least. In the post…

This looks like another odd attempt to smear a man that the Nats are clearly worried about. It looks David Farrar finally realised how much of a dickhead he looks as he goes from this incorrect assertion (ie a lie) with a touch of plausible deniability.

Irony keywords: smear, worried, dickhead, incorrect assertion.

And on to a series of justification about why he David Farrar really is not just a petty dipshit putting out this kind of nonsense and never bothering to check it. I guess he is trying to remember the glory days when he was the single big voice in the local blogs and could lie like this for his paymasters with relative impunity.

He pushes the paymaster/sockpuppet theme strongly.

But even weirder (as usual) is the under-employed Cameron Slater, a blogger with no visible means of support and with lots of friends in the Prime Minsters office, posting creepy, paparazzi style pictures of David Cunliffe eating his lunch at parliament.

This picture was prominent on The Standard yesterday:

The question one has to ask is from whom did the bloated moron get this photo from? John Key our Minister for Photo-ops or his personal blogmeister Jason Ede perhaps?

And accusations of the Prime Minister’s office being involved in it all.  More pot/kettle.

The previous day The Standard ran a Q&A for David Cunliffe. When someone said “@ Lynn – thanks for organising this” he responded:

I didn’t. The request came from Cunliffe’s staff. They did most of the work.

I just went to work early so I could go home early to moderate.

And Prentice often brags, like yesterday:

I’d also point out that I spent several decades in volunteer work working for and with Helen Clark across 7 elections (whilst usually in disagreement with her) so I have a fairly good idea what is required for the task.

But you only find out about things like this if you see them in the comments. The Standard has very vague and misleading disclosures. From ‘About':

We write here in our personal capacities and the opinions that are expressed on the blog are individual unless expressly stated otherwise (see the policy). We do not write on behalf of any organization.

The Standard doesn’t disclose it’s own connections and it protects it’s authors’ anonymity – Prentice says they are not anonymous because he knows their identity, but most of the authors’ identities are either not publicly disclosed or are vigorously protected. Attempts to speculate on identities is discouraged with threats of bans – threats and bans are the standard way of discouraging questioning anything to do with authors.

Apart from Prentice who are the authors? They state:

Why don’t you say who you are?

Some of the authors here use their real names, but others choose to blog anonymously for a variety of reasons. Some of us have professional reasons for doing so, others of us are reluctant to expose ourselves to the kind of personal threats sometimes made online.

While there is no formal disclosure some details about authors have dribbled out over time.

Mike Smith is Prentice’s co-trustee of The Standard. Until recently he worked in David Shearer’s leader’s office.

mickysavage (Greg Presland) is closely associated with David Cunliffe via his New Lynn electorate committee and recently became known as the lawyer behind Cunliffe’s secret donations trust.

Ben Clark stood for Labour last election and is the brother of MP David Clark.

Stephanie Rodgers is “a member of the Ohariu LEC and campaign team I’m obviously very biased, but Ginny is a fabulous candidate and a wonderful person.”

Geoff has started to post and you can get an idea of where he’s coming from in Judith vs John and Moving Collins On.

Bunji is relatively mild but does his bit for the team. See John Key challenged!

Zetetic is unlikely to have been used by Trevor Mallard as some have alleged but has  fairly obvious intent. See Cabinet Club.

The ‘Eddie’ handle seems to be in remission at the moment but had strong hints of various internal hands.

Karol is currently the odd one out claiming to be a Green supporter.

James Henderson seems to have retired from The Standard but had close Green connections (which may have turned red again).

And the author messages are not to be messed with. Criticising authors is severely frowned on, proving them wrong usually invites wrath commonly leads to being banned.

Prentice illustrates this in his latest thread.

[lprent: That may be your opinion - and I'd say that it is impossible to tell. Go and raise your pet lies, assertions and conspiracies on your own post on your own blog or comment in Open Mike. Don't do it on mine, they really are just a diversion troll.

My post is almost entirely about David Farrar and Cameron Slater being a complete dickheads stalking Cunliffe with silly picture posts. ]

‘Diversion troll’ is Lyn-speak for questioning his bull and bluster.

But the post isn’t about the image it is about Farrar and the bloated moron being dickhead stalkers. So this is your warning. Try Open Mike for conspiracy theories.. or return to the banned… ]

Lyn is the only one who can refer to images apparently.

[lprent: I didn't say that you did. I said that David Farrar did? Is this a sockpuppet? But you didn't heed my warnings about what I the author considered this post to be about. Do not repeat the offense for which you got warned - banned 2 months. That is one fast way to de-amnesty yourself. ]

Lyn-speak translated means that if you say something they don’t want said you will be banned.

[deleted]

[lprent: Banned 4 weeks. ]

That one may have been fair enough.

As the most widely-read and influential leftwing blog in New Zealand, The Standard is a great platform to get yourself heard.

Only if you toe the line and are accepted as one of the comrades.

But there has been a significant change of tone at The Standard over the last few weeks. The resident trolls are protected from this sort of moderation for obvious reasons, anyone deemed a threat to Labour can be freely attacked, abused and harassed.

Some trolls are specialists at trying to initiate bans on people they decide are not welcome. They frequently make things up (lie). And the end game is for Prentice to use an excuse to ban them.

When Prentice posts about sockpuppets and desperation wry and black comedy (inadvertent) come to mind. There’s plenty of same old, but it seems to be deteriorating into sad farce. Debate on the left is dire.

The abuse will continue until the disillusioned absentee voters return to Labour. /wry

Labour’s double edged social media

Social media plays a significant part in politics now, but  as John Armstrong says in Labour’s brutal week reveals Achilles heel, it can be a double edged sword.

With the left of the party running its own agenda which puts purity ahead of pragmatism, Labour’s appeal is shrinking. Those voters whom Labour needs to capture will see Jones’ exit as a further narrowing of Labour’s appeal.

Those voters will also view the disdain shown towards Jones and accompanying calls for the purging from Parliament of such Labour stalwarts as Phil Goff, Annette King and Trevor Mallard as pretty solid evidence that Labour’s disunity is such that it is not yet fit to govern.

Much of the arguing of the past few days has taken place in social media and the blogosphere. Too late Labour has discovered these tools can be double-edged swords. They are fine when it comes to disseminating a message. But not so fine when the protagonists in a digitally-sourced debate start hanging out their party’s dirty washing simply to score points against a competing faction.

I’ve posted a comment on this at The Standard – the normal response there would be to diss the messengers and deny.

Hopefully they will also digest. Social media can help Labour but only if it dispels the image of disarray and damaging dissmania.

Another indication of the pros and cons of social media is a post at The Standard celebrating a very creditable 14,000 posts. I’ll voice my congratulations here, if I say anything there it’s likely to attract detracting reactions.

lprent comments:

I tend to view a site like this as largely to make people aware of how others of similar viewpoints are thinking. It means that the surprises are limited and people can make decisions based on how they know others will react.

Then they act on their similarities rather than their differences and despite their known differences. The effect is a more concerted action rather than dissipating effort in pointless dissension. They know that they will be listened to (and disagreed with) rather than simply ignored.

If that’s their aim then it’s up to them, but it probably explains why non-similar viewpoints are often unwelcome there, and reactions are often very negative if ‘similar viewpoints’ are challenged or criticised.

But if they want an effective ‘concerted effort’ they need to be able to deal with dissent that any political forum invites, and in particular they have to be aware that negativeness and nastiness can impact more on potential allies (and voters) than on opponents.

Miravox commented:

Thanks also to the well-reasoned, and sometimes very funny, commenters who provide great examples about how to discuss a political point in the real world.

There’s quite a lot of that, but it often gets clouded amongst the negative noise.

I guess I should also say I appreciate some of the heated debate as well – good for confirming, or not, certain views and being aware of the other sides of an argument.

This is a very good comment. Healthy politics needs healthy and robust debate. Some of the more vocal opponents of differing views at The Standard could do well to take this on board – for the good of their own impressions as well as the greater good of presenting a positive and effective edge to their political sword.

Voters (and especially non-voters tend to be repelled by the negative and nasty approach.

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