Blog snobbery

New Zealand has a very diverse blogosphere, with a wide variety of bloggers. There can be a lot of crossover, co-operation – and also a lot of competitiveness.

A topic that is often discussed is the popularity and ranking of blogs. It often displays bragging and jealousy.

Russell Brown has been around for a while and also does a bit in more old fashioned media. He seems to sneer down his fingers at riff raff blogs (and riff raff Twitterers).

In How a thing happens he posts:

Martyn Bradbury wrote a blog post yesterday about why the campaign to invite major Radio Live advertisers to consider their position in light of Willie and JT’s abysmal on-air conduct was a success. In theorising that the advertisers mistook Giovanni Tiso for Whaleoil, Bradbury gets it spectacularly, but tellingly, wrong.

It’s not uncommon for Bradbury to get things wrong. Tiso’s RadioLive advertiser campaign had little if anything to do with Whale Oil. Or blogging – he did it by direct contact via email, and publicised it in Twitter.

Tiso showed that one person can quietly and politely campaign on an issue and get very significant results.

Bradbury is also chalk to Tiso’s cheese – or more like LOOKATMECHALK!!! He not only talks (shouts) himself up, he also sneers down his keyboard at lesser bloggers.

I doubt however many of the advertisers contacted by blogger Giovanni Tiso had heard of his unranked blog or had read it much, I imagine what most Coms people heard when contacted was ‘Blogger’ and that immediately sparked a horror set of flashing visions of Cameron Slater slowly torturing their brand for months on end.

Bradbury tortures the left-wing brand all the time, but that’s beside the point here. He also massively dissed Tiso’s ‘unranked blog’ and implied it wasn’t read much.

Robyn Gallagher commented on this:

An unranked blog! This sounds so cool, like Giovanni is living outside the law. I knew that this blog ranking site existed, but I had no inkling that being a “ranked blog” was a thing.

I can’t work out what significance being a ranked blog has. Even my blog would, er, outrank about half the others on the list. All it would indicate is that I’ve put some naff visitor tracking code on my site.

Brown discussed the blog rankers.

In defence of Open Parachute’s blog table, it is what it is. Ken Perrott compiles two basic stats – number of visits and number of pages – from people who have their sitemeters set to public, and who have generally let him know they’re doing so.

I’d far rather have a simple, consistent measure than place my faith in something like the Tumeke blog rankings, which take a bunch of Alexa woo and combine it with some made-up criteria. 

There are other ways of measuring the way blogs engage and influence their readers, but I don’t think they invalidate the simple measures.

He concludes:

The thing is for me: why would I want to be in a league table that implied Whale and I had common cause or were doing the same thing? Our current traffic would put us in fourth place on page impressions, but I don’t want to be in a table with Whaleoil, Kiwiblog, The Standard and The Daily Blog.

Who would want to be listed alongside the riff raff blogs? Quite a lot of people, there’s hundreds who choose to be ranked.

But Russell seems to see himself as in a different league altogether. I wonder if there’s a table that ranks blog snobs?

Brown/male good, Chuang/female bad?

The Len Brown affair has highlighted political double standards, and it has also raised issues of sexuality double standards. Many have claimed that Brown’s sexual life has nothing to do with his political job as mayor – but some have pointed out that Bevan Chuang has become a political untouchable.

This has as much to do with the fact that Chuang revealed the affair in sordid detail, but it raises the point that rooting around by men is excused far more readily than the women who are involved.

Comments at Kiwiblog in Campbell v Brown (largely critical of Brown) have referred to two posts at Public Address (largely supportive of Brown) – Everybody’s Machiavelli by Russell Brown and The Missing Stair Part Two: The Creeper and the Excuser by Emma Hart.

‘unuha-closp’:

If you want to witness a bit of irony, there is a delightfully descriptive post on Public Address written by Emma Hart called “The Creeper and The Excuser” – 2 September 2013 – get it quick before it is purged.

Emma Hart describes the Creeper as a man who uses Len Browns pick up moves. Emma Hart explains how society keeps this quiet and thus allows the Creeper to form unequitable relationships with his victims. Emma Hart advocates strongly that the behaviour of Creepers should be exposed at every opportunity.

But Emma Hart then goes on to describe the other villian of the piece – the Excuser. The Excuser slut shames the victim, makes light of the abuse of power society affords the Creeper.

Bevan Chuang has come out and made a public statement that she felt used by Mayor Len Brown, who induced a one sided relationship exploiting his position of power. Exactly what Emma Hart was advocating just a month ago.

Russell Brown has written a marvellous example of slut shaming portraying Bevan Chuang as weak willed, easily manipulated fool – in fact hardly worth listening to.

Len “The Creeper” Brown is being Excused in the most delightful way.

And Emma Hart – she is talking a good deal of STFU to anyone who disagrees with Russell Brown. Good team player that she is.

‘davidp’:

I followed DPF’s link to Russell Brown’s Public Address post and came away feeling a bit dirty after reading the post and the comments. It was like I’d popped out of a time warp in the 1950s and all the people around me were members of the Misogyny Club.

Cheung may be naive and a bit eccentric. But Len Brown was the creepy old guy in a position of power who groomed and exploited her, initially using the pretext that he was interested in her work. He is entirely to blame for the situation, but the Public Address commenters think she is at fault, and she should feel shame for talking about what Brown has done rather than keeping his sleazy behaviour a secret.

Several commenters remarked that her political career is over. But not his!

He exploits a vulnerable council worker and has a few uncomfortable days and looks contrite for some weak questioning on Campbell Live. But she is the one who is apparently untouchable now, personally and professionally.

The Public Address crowd don’t have double standards… they have negative standards regarding women.

The other Brown (Russell) closes his post:

Slater has responded to the statements by declaring that Chuang must be having a breakdown. Classy.

Unfortunately for her, this scandal has also brought to light her criminal conviction for a gross breach of trust as an employee of Auckland Museum. I’ve actually been following Chuang on Twitter for a year or two, as an interesting oddball. The truth turns out to be odder than I could have imagined.

But really: these are pivotal times for the governance of Auckland. Big, important decisions about the city’s future are being made. Brown’s resignation – which, whatever good oil you heard from Duncan Garner, never seemed all that likely – would have thrown that process into disarray.

I don’t think it’s at all controversial to observe that Aucklanders deserve better than the kind of shit we’ve seen revealed in the past two days – or, indeed, the past 10 years.

Chuang was only a minor political player and Len Brown’s job as mayor is important for Auckland, no question about that, but there are hints here that male power and sexual prowess rule.

Brown/male good, Chuang/female bad?

John Tamihere versus journalists

An attack by John Tamihere on a Herald journalists is getting significant criticism from other journalists, for example Russel Brown @publicaddress::

 Despicable conduct by John Tamihere and his mates. Really, really creepy

@waateanews What the hell are you doing enabling the intimidation of a fellow journalist? #Tamihere

Toby Manhire just added “Thug”.

Of course journos will be a bit disturbed by an attack on a journo’s family. From NZ Herald:

Tamihere’s media challenge

Journalist and family became target in paparazzi-style photos.

roadcaster and Waipareira Trust chief executive John Tamihere has not taken kindly to investigations made by a Fairfax journalist into his personal business dealings, and his retaliation this week has caught the ire of his MediaWorks bosses.

Tamihere was embroiled in legal action in the Auckland High Court last month involving dealings with property developer Brent Ivil and a $500,000 personal loan on his West Auckland home. Justice Pamela Andrews has reserved her decision on the case.

However, the Labour Party hopeful took to RadioLive’s airwaves and website this week to turn the tables on business journalist Matt Nippert.

In a personal statement issued on the MediaWorks website, Tamihere accused Nippert of “spin” and invited him to go head-to-head on his RadioLive show.

“I don’t have a problem being put under scrutiny, but I’d like to know whose agenda is being pushed. I’ve had photographers jump out of the bushes to get shots of me and my family,” Tamihere wrote.

However, any sympathy Tamihere may have courted was quashed when Nippert and his family became his target of attention in paparazzi-style photos.

Three pics were uploaded to the RadioLive website, alongside Tamihere’s statement. They included a secret snap of Nippert, the street he lives on and the house he shares with his wife and young baby.

Tamihere says Nippert has an “infatuation with Waipareira and its business”.

But what business is it of RadioLive, and parent company MediaWorks, to allow one of its radio jocks to use its website and airwaves as his own personal platform?

Nippert didn’t want to comment about Tamihere’s online statement, nor the paparazzi photos, but he told The Diary Tamihere had an opportunity to comment in “the two stories I wrote, but he refused to answer questions”.

Tamihere did not return calls, but a rep for MediaWorks told The Diary the offending material was removed immediately when RadioLive bosses became aware of it.

“The online statement and photos came down as soon as management became aware of them. We don’t condone our hosts settling disputes of a personal nature on air or on our website,” said Rachel Lorimer. New processes ensuring it does not happen again were being examined.

However, Tamihere’s statement and the paparazzi pics remain on the Waipareira Trust’s home page.

That report is by another journo (Rachel Glucina in The Diary) , but it doesn’t sound good from Tamihere. Personal attacks on Journalists and their families is bad enough, but it is also an intimidation on freedom of speech.

There are already suggestions this will quash (or should quash) any chance of Tamihere standing for Labour next election, including from Labour supporters:

Alex Coleman@ShakingStick
Some calls are tough to make, whether Labour should select Tamihere to stand for them again as a candidate is not one of those calls.

@ImperatorFish
On the bright side that should put an end to the John Tamihere Labour Party candidate selection bid.

Tamihere’s return as a Labour Party member was already highly controversial. This won’t help his chances of getting preferential ranking for the next election – or if he does get a good list ranking it will rankle in an already cranky party.

Cannabis deserves a decent debate

Don Brash has raised the decriminalisation of cannabis as an election issue, but it’s far more complex, and more important, than to rush policy in the heat of a campaign. Various issues around cannabis use – social, legal and medical – deserve decent public exposure and debate.

It would be a mistake to simply decriminalise cannabis and hope that the change will make things better. If the inevitable problems turn out to be greater than any benefits of giving people more free choice on use of drugs it would be difficult to undo.

The Act Party is deeply divided over Brash’s thoughts. The Green Party gives low-key support to relaxing drug laws. The rest of parliament does not support decriminalisation of cannabis and has no plans to change the status quo. The best way to test if this is the best stance or not is to examine it with informed debate.

There’s much more to the cannabis issue than giving a few recreational users the legal right to smoke as they please.

Kate K, who has just published a book called “Matters To A Head: Cannabis, mental illness & recovery” suggests on Dim-Post that “the decriminalisation argument is far less important to NZ than the real issue of providing and resourcing appropriate treatment and services to those who become unstuck by the drug.”

Russell Brown agrees and asks “this is actually the debate we should be having: how do we prevent early use of cannabis?”

Young people are much more susceptible to the adverse effects of drug use – it is unlikely there would be widespread support for unlimited use of cannabis for all ages. We need a process were we can debate and decide as a society what we want, and put that to the politicians.

I’m going to initiate more debate on cannabis. There are too many distractions for the rest of the year, so I propose planning this for next March, once the University year has restarted. In the meantime I will find what organisations and interest groups want to contribute information and want to participate in debate.

I will promote this debate on two levels, online and based publicly in Dunedin:

  • publish an initial discussion document
  • public meeting involving any interested legal, medical and social inputs, and local and national politicians
  • debate in local media
  • a possible organised public debate
  • utilise online media extensively for discussion and debate – this can extend nationally
  • close the debate period with a public meeting
  • poll or referendum on what the people of Dunedin prefer to be done, if anything

Other regions would be welcome to link in with this process.

Politicians will be involved as much as possible with the results. Ultinmately any action will be up to parliament, but this will provide a good indication of public preferences.

This will be a good test for establishing better ongoing community involvement in the social/political process.

Notes:

I am the UnitedFuture candidate for Dunedin North. These plans for cannabis debate will proceed regardless of the outcome in the electorate or via the list.

Current UnitedFuture policy includes “Oppose the decriminalisation of cannabis for recreational use.”

UnitedFuture party leader Peter Dunne has “no problem at all” with this debate proposal – the party encourages debate on issues as is open to alternate opinions.

My personal position is to support the status quo unless good evidence and informed public opinion supports change. I have never smoked cannabis, but I have inhaled party bong pong.

I don’t have a strong stance either way, I’m interested in helping determine what people want and supporting the popular view.

If anyone wants to join the planning of this debate please contact me at petedgeorge@gmail.com

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