“They still have standard bloggers on staff”

In a text to John Key on Monday Cameron Slater said “They still have standard bloggers on staff”. ‘They’ meaning Labour.

Lyn Prentice has long denied this has ever been the case, but while posts continue at The Standard from unidentified sources they will have difficulty batting this sort of claim away.

On Saturday I posted Attacker hides behind ‘Notices and Features’ and was attacked at The Standard for asking why ‘Notices and Features’ was being used for attack posts. The degree of attack suggested a sensitivity to this being raised.

Despite claims ‘Notices and Features’ was only used to “report” and not to post opinions it has continued to be used through this week to attack political opponents.

I would post proof of this but currently The Standard is out of action.

Prentice has also been involved in “Dirty Politics” and The Standard has promoted a one sided slant on who plays dirty.

Being devious and dishonest runs a high risk of blowing up in one’s face. Prentice may not care, he is likely to bluster on regardless.

But Labour should be very careful about how they deal with this.

“Dirty hypocrisy” is not a good look.

“Them or Us” Standard

In contrast to the often silent censorship at Whale Oil – see Addressing Slater ist streng verboten – message control at The Standard is far more open and amusing (in a sad sort of way). But the intent is similar – to shut out opinions or people that challenge their blinkered views.

Pretty much anything I say at The Standard will be attacked just because some there either don’t like me or simply don’t want me involved in their wee domain.

There was a typical example of the mob mentality recently, beginning with an implied “ban him or I’m leaving” comment – standard “them or us”. This is one of a number of ways they try to pressure lprent into erasing comment they may disagree with (he doesn’t need encouraging).

Weepus beard:

I’m not sure I can stomach PG’s and Hooton’s attempts at micro-managing debate.

If this is the future of the standard then I’m not sure I can continue. Pete George in particular sucks up so much life by inspecting the finest detail while being ignorant of the message itself that it is too exhausting to have to read.

As the thread this started proves most of the ‘sucks up so much life” happens without me needing to be involved, but I’ll get blamed for disrupting the blog. Cute but crazy.

McFlock:

I have faith that pg will be banned or otherwise fuck off in the foreseeable future

Weepus beard:

Indeed.

I guess my point is that the socially responsible side of politics (the left) is divided enough at the moment and has enough internal arguments about the way forward that these trolls, PG, Hooton, BM, fistiani, Chris 73, etc, are in no way contributing to the benefit of the cause. Our cause.

I know Sun Tzu says know your enemy but this shit is just not worth it.

If you’re not deemed to be part of “socially responsible side of politics (the left)” you’re enemy.

Murray Rawshark:

I don’t think they add anything either, and they comment in bad faith.

Of course Murray always adds value to the threads and comments in good faith.

Chooky:

@Weepus Beard +100…”too exhausting”…..i cant be bothered nor do i have the time

Tracey:

Concerted effort by all to leave his self gratifying posts alone.

He has “look at me! Look at me, i AM important” complex

She has a bit of an obsession with this line, she keeps repeating it.

Paul:

+100
I’m sick of wading through all these tr***’s
Using the Standard less as it seems to full of their nonsense.

ankerawshark:

Maybe we need to go back to responding just with Rolling eyes. That might work?

half crown:

I am all for that.

The rolling eyes campaign was enormously successful – at making them look even pettier. Next thing they will want to paint rolling eyes on our doors and make us wear rolling eyes patches (that’s Godwin’s law in action).

And lprent joins in with his message his requirement for behaviour modification – only of enemies of course.

It is a rope thing. You can’t assume that people can’t learn. Most of the time they eventually do.

So people start on the same general basis after each ban apart from ramping up their next ban length if they prove that they haven’t learnt. How they behave is up to them.

The rope is there to hang them if required. But you hope that they have actually engaged in a some thought to figure out how to avoid that same stupidities again.

PG does seem to to adapt, and has after each ban, but he keeps looking for a angle for leverage in the rules rather than simply dealing with the debate.

That’s as funny as usual and presumably the irony is inadvertent.

The troops at The Standard keep looking for angles for leverage – the often flaunt lprent’s behavioural requirements (often led by him) to leverage out anyone they decide should be excluded with little or no attempt at debate.

And funnily the thread that follows is about Russell Brown criticising The Standard on National Radio along with Matthew Hooton.

Phil Ure:

russel brown just did a major hatchet-job on the standard..on nat-rad..

hoots also said the standard is ‘never funny’

and hoots said everyone here is ‘crazy’

brown and hoots have a chortle about how brown is ‘on the enemies list’ of the standard..

lprent

[lprent: There isn’t one. There are a few people who I keep my eye on because of past bad experiences with what they do to comment sections.

However I suspect that he ran into some commenters being critical about stance he had. I vaguely remember that it was about some position he took on a film or media matter.

But curiously it now means that Russell Brown has just added a myth of an “enemies list”. Jez – what a dork. ]

There’s a number of people who are automatically attacked at The Standard no matter what they contribute.

I’m sure there is no official ‘enemies list’ but the the troops can certainly sniff out an enemy very quickly, and once an enemy always an enemy.

And they wonder why most voters can’t be bothered with politics and many don’t vote for them.

Incidentally I’m on the enemies list at Public Address too, and also at Whale Oil.

Political blogging is still dominated by last century class warfare – not surprising, as some of the prominent regulars at The Standard seem to be bitter old school political activists, with lprent leading the way.

The more of ‘us’ they excommunicate they less of ‘them’ there will be in a diminishing circle of jerks.

UPDATE: this is really funny:

StandardModeration141125

Maybe lprent does have an enemies list operating.

PG attacks a Standard response

I raised a minor issue yesterday about an attack on Patrick Gower at The Standard.

Gower was quoted tweeting about Laila Harre quitting the leadership of the Internet Party but this was turned into an attack on Gower by also quoting two diversionary tweets directed at Gower rather than the news he reported. See End of the Internet Party?

I made a minor point about the author of the post not using his own ID but posting under ‘Notices and Features’. Anthony Robins later admitted it was him, but he then turned that into an attack on me.

I put up this post Pete. Does it matter? Your obsession with The Standard is unhealthy, and frankly creepy.

An odd over-reaction to being called on something. But that seems to be the normal approach, here are more reactions from The Standars welcoming committee.

lprent:

I guess your conservative spite blinded you into not reading the post.

Draco T Bastard:

You trolling already PG?

weka:

I see the trole is back then.

‘Troll’ is Standard vernacular for ‘I don’t want you posting comments here’. ‘Trole’ is a spelling variant to try and bypass auto-moderation.

Tracey:

It is all about pete. Isnt it?!?

It was obviously about something else, and some managed to discuss some aspects of what it was about.

Glen Jacobs (not a regular Standardista):

When and why did Pete George get his ban lifted?

Whilst I find his pathetic ways somewhat entertaining, I hope whoever was behind the amnesty does realise he’s just going to fuck the forum again

lprent responded as moderator:

[lprent: He doesn’t have one at present. They are generally time limited. His last one expired quite a while ago.

PG tends to ban himself to the great delight of most readers. I guess it helps with his usual senile victim routine as he routinely lies about why he got banned. But I believe he has recently been getting banned from other sites recently. So he is back to get his jollies here. ]

I’ve challenged him a number of times on his repeated claims that I lie about being banned from The Standard. And I’ve proven him wrong. And when facts are put to him he disappears.

weka:

“I don’t believe I lie about bans”

lolz at the senility of that statement.

Shall we start a book on how long it takes for Pete to either get a ban, or self-ban? His comments seem to be mostly about criticising ts, so I’m guessing he either goes quickly, or he’s trying out a new strategy for how long he can do this and stay just under the bannable level of offense.

felix (the king of the Standard jungle):

We all know how it ends.

Can’t someone just ban him in advance and be done with the stupid prick?

I responded to felix and weka:

I’ve no idea what ” just under the bannable level of offense” is weka. But I do know that when the usual suspects start to swarm it raises the prospects.

Thanks. And to you too felix. We know how it’s done, don’t we.

felix:

Yes we do. It starts with you raising stupid irrelevant points that no-one gives a fuck about (“omfg someone reposted a tweet”),

then you blow it out out of all proportion (have you written an OUTRAGED STANDARD DISGRACE post on your website about it yet?),

then you use this pretend issue to shoehorn your big issue (“why doesn’t the world take more notice of Pete George?”) into every thread on this site until one after another everyone here gets sick of you and, in one way or another tells you to fuck off,

and then you have a tanty because the web isn’t recognising your god-given right to post whatever you want on every site you stumble across as if you owned it,

and eventually a mod decides they’ve had enough of your passive-aggressive bullshit and bans you for something that, on its own, probably doesn’t rate as much of an offense without the context of the months of trooling that led to it,

and then you fuck off back to your site to write a martyrdom post that no-one except Lynn will ever read and spend the next three weeks reposting it at kiwiblog and whaleoil and having a big cry about the unfairness of it all.

Yes Pete, we know exactly how it works. And we know it’s going to work exactly the same this time too. Seriously, it would save everyone so much trouble if you just fucked off and started working on your martyrdom post now.

That’s a normal sort of manoeuvring from felix. He’s long practiced at trying to engineer bans for anyone he decides should not comment at The Standard. I responded:

You’re as funny as ever felix.

Wouldn’t the logical approach to comments or commenters “that no-one gives a fuck about” be to ignore them? /rhetorical

felix:

Yes Pete, the logical approach to things no-one gives a fuck about is to ignore them.

Your approach, however, is to take those things that no-one gives a fuck about, and mix them in a blender with your dog-shit of a personality, and spray the resulting filth all over this site,

and you’ll be doing it all day, every day, until someone bans you,

because that’s how it works.

My reply:

I don’t intend to comment here anywhere near all day every day. I have a lot of other things I usually prefer to do, unlike you it seems, destined it seems to grump it out here trying to chase anyone away you don’t approve of.

felix:

“I don’t intend to comment here anywhere near all day every day.”

No-one intends that you do. But that hasn’t stopped you yet.

Why don’t you comment on whaleoil instead? Cameron’s getting desperate for attention, he could do with the page views.

Tracey:

And the thread has deteriorated to be about pg, not the topic of the post.

ITS ALL ABOUT PETE

Tracey:

You mean the title of the thread wasnt

What is pete george thinking about today?

Stephanie Rodgers

have you written an OUTRAGED STANDARD DISGRACE post on your website about it yet?

Spoiler alert: he totally did, complete with pearl-clutching about the ~misuse~ of the “notices and features” handle.

Clemgeopin:

Oh, dear George! Did he now? What a witnit!

felix:

Oh gawd. Is he banned from ontheleft?

Stephanie Rodgers

Strangely enough he hasn’t graced many of our threads with his comments after the first few times I told him to stay on topic and cut the passive-aggressive BS.

I haven’t seen anything of interest to comment on there. Funny Stephanie talking about aggressiveness. She aggressively attacks people who stray off what she wants the topic to be confined to.

Tracey:

And the thread has deteriorated to be about pg, not the topic of the post.

ITS ALL ABOUT PETE

And when its not

ITS ALL ABOUT JOSIE

They don’t take kindly to Josie Pagani being critical of them either.

Such is the Standard of debate. And one of the next steps is for them to claim I am taking over threads and should be banned for it.

I don’t care if I’m banned again. It won’t stop me from criticising them when I see fit, and it won’t stop attacking me.

But this time it switched the bash wagon from one PG to another.

UPDATE: In a comment below lprent said:

I really don’t have time to deal with senile lying old gits with too much time on their hands who quote our policies for Notices and Features and then proceed to misrepresent what it says.

However he has found the time at The Standard, in response to me saying “I don’t believe I lie about bans. You keep claiming this, incorrectly. “

His response reasserts that I lie but again he doesn’t back it up with anything apart from a rant…

[lprent: You routinely do. I always give the reason why I ban someone based on what is in the policy. That could be anything from questioning the site rules, to diverting off a posts topic, to simply appearing to waste moderators time by initiating boring flamewars that are invariably about you and your behaviour.

Rather than deal with that and just modifying your own behavior, you invariably choose to interpret that as some kind of hidden agenda or conspiracy rather than dealing with what is said. What you appear to not accept is that it is your own behaviour on our site that triggers the warnings and bans. Your behaviour in this post is absolutely characteristic. Your interpretation of our clear rules about the use of notices and features was just outright wrong and quite indefensible. But you managed to divert a large portion of the comments on the post completely off topic.

You also appear to be oblivious to your usual behaviour after you get a ban which is the basis of why I say that you routinely lie about it. Felix in a comment in this marathon comment scan (I’m currently on page 12 of 50 comments heading back to about 2pm yesterday) gave a pretty concise description of your usual behaviour.

If you’d just content yourself with actually addressing the topics of the post or the derived debate, and not making whole swathes of commentary being about you, it’d save me a whole lot of time. It’d take a while before the automatic responses by other commenters die down, but just ignore them or confine your responses to your own blog and stick to topics raised, and eventually you’d wind up commenting without the collective “FFS it is PG self-indulgently wanking again” response that you currently get.

Commenters automatically respond to you going off topic because they have seen you use your usual tactics far too many times. Instead of writing when you have something relevant to say, you seem to have an obsession with simply typing crap and asserting it is fact – because you think so. That isn’t debate. Then you complain that people don’t like it, disagree with you, and tell you why. That is the behaviour of someone who has a narcissistic need to be the centre of attention – not someone who is actually interested in discussion and debate.

BTW: If I have to ban you again, I have already decided that the date will be November 21 2017. I really don’t have time for this type of shit again. ]

I assume from this he doesn’t want me to debate, he makes baseless assertions, fails again to back them up, then threatens a ban. That’s very tough Lyn. You must love that power.

Attacker hides behind ‘Notices and Features’

Another pissy fit at The Standard, purportedly about End of the Internet Party? but it is more an attack targeting Patrick Gower:

Duane McGregor @ArdChoilleNZ

@patrickgowernz You’ll have to find another party to shit on.

And…

@fmacskasy

@TheNationTV3 Gower keeps asking about millions spent by Mana-Internet. What about the millions spent by National and ACT, Paddy?

Who is hiding behind the ‘author’ name “Notices and Features’ at The Standard? It seems to be regularly used as a cover for someone making political attacks – someone who doesn’t even have the guts to use their own pseudonym.

From The Standard Policy

See here for an explanation of who writes for the blog. 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.

It looks like a misuse of ‘Notices and Features’.

UPDATE: r0b (Anthony Robins) has admitted doing the post.

I put up this post Pete. Does it matter? Your obsession with The Standard is unhealthy, and frankly creepy.

He had seemed to be one of the more open and up front authors at The Standard, odd he posts things like this under another ID.

Funny he calls sometimes holding The Standard to account “unhealthy’ and ‘creepy’. Some like a pulpit to promote attacks but are not so keen on being challenged on anything.

I don’t have an obsession with The Standard, but as one of the major political blogs I have an interest in what they do as i have with other blogs. I work cross-blog far more than r0b so I don’t see that I’m obsessional about any in particular.

Mixed blog reactions signal a major challenge for Little

There have been mixed reactions to Andrew Little’s elevation to Labour leader around the blogs.

On the left there seems to be a stronger reaction than to the election result – that may be because it was a tight race with uncertainty in the result in Labour’s leadership contest, compared to a predictable election result, there were feelings of despair in Labour circles well before the September vote.

The Standard is mostly congratulatory and supportive of Little in And the winner is …

This isn’t a surprise, they have been Cunliffe supporters and promoters and switched to Cunliffe’s choice in this contest. And there are significant union leanings and involvement at The Standard.

In contrast Andrew Geddis at The Pundit is very negative about it.

Worst. Result. Ever.

The only thing worse than electing the wrong person as leader of Labour is electing him by the narrowest of margins, by virtue of the influence of a handful of individuals acting under instructions.

Labour just made the wrong choice, in the worst possible way.

Obviously, I think that the decision to choose Andrew Little over Grant Robertson was the wrong one however it came about … that’s because Grant is a good friend whom I think will one day make a fantastic Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Russell Brown is just about as negative:

News from home …

I’ll be brief (it’s 5am where I am and have to catch a plane) but the Labour’s leadership result and the means by which it was achieved both seem disastrous for the party and for the prospects of the centre-left.

Little didn’t win the support of the party or the caucus, he loses his electorate more badly every time he contests it, and he’s vowing to dump all the intellectual capital built up by David Parker. I can’t see any good thing about this.

Am I missing something?

Martyn Bradbury laments the languishing of his revolutionary dreams:

And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ

The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew, he was the leader of the EPMU, one of the most conservative Unions in NZ, so don’t expect revolution, expect tepid evolution. With MANA killed off, Labour can now try and out-gallop the Greens to the centre because activists and members can’t politically go anywhere else so expect National lite for the next 3 years.

Some interesting blog votes though. That post currently scores a low 2.2/5 approval. And in comments:

MIKE THE LEFTY says:

Martyn, why are you writing off Little before he has even had a chance to do anything? This is not helpful. Give him a chance and stop bagging him before he has even started.

Rating: +44 (from 60 votes)

MARTYN BRADBURY says:

I’m not writing Little off – Labour are trying to reach muddle Nu Zilind now, they aren’t waving the flag for the Left – their pitch will be centrist, not progressive.

Rating: -14 (from 62 votes)

John Minto also has a post at The Daily Blog:

Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem

The corporate sector will be particularly happy with his appointment because they know that when the tide runs out on John Key and National they can be assured Labour will continue to run the economy on their behalf.

His personal style is thoroughly inoffensive and this is what Labour thinks it needs at the moment.

But how important is this to the progressive movement in New Zealand?

Not much. Little will lead a Labour Party which seeks power not because it has a policy programme to make a big difference for working New Zealanders but because senior Labour MPs hope they will soon get another turn to run the free market economy and receive the baubles of power which go with it.

Little won’t cause waves outside the party either. The mainstream media have endorsed him as Labour’s best choice for leader because he is deeply conservative economically and in particular doesn’t support a capital gains tax. He hasn’t advocated any change to economic policy settings that would make a significant difference either to corporate profits or the plight of hundreds of thousands of families struggling on low incomes.

The ability to drive an ambitious policy programme to back up a big vision for working New Zealanders is simply not in Andrew Little’s genes.

Not surprising that Little is not revolutionary left enough for Minto.

And Chris Trotter’s post is more of a Grant Robertson lament:

Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over Grant Robertson.

THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond the confines of the Caucus Room to become a genuine party-wide movement.

It’s all there in the numbers. From being the strong partisans of David Cunliffe, the allegiance of a clear majority of ordinary, rank-and-file members has shifted to Grant Robertson. It is a measure of just how hard Robertson’s people worked for their man’s victory that another 100 votes would have clinched it for him.

He went on (and on) about Robertson and his campaign, and barely touched on Little until the final paragraph – with the only positive comment being directed at Robertson.

Little’s victory is, therefore, a win for those Labour members who still believe in the party’s emancipatory vision and in its antagonistic stance towards the demands of Capital. That it was so narrow is not simply a testimony to Robertson’s political skill and determination, but a worrying indication of just how strong the temptation has become among Labour members to stop struggling against the treacherous currents of capitalism – and turn the boat around.

The left remains strongly divided, with both the hard left (Bradbury and Minto) and the centre left (Brown and Geddis) bitterly lamenting Little’s elevation.

Andrew Little has a massive challenge – and so does the Labour caucus and Labour Party.

“Islamic Extremism: not a threat”

An extreme view on the threat of Islamic Extremism in New Zealand from Bunji at The Standard – nothing to worry about, nothing needs changing.

Islamic Extremism: not a threat

The war-mongering and hysterics are ridiculous.

Calling it ‘war-mongering’ sounds ridiculous. Virtualy no-one in New Zedaland is war-mongering, and especially not our Government which has been very cautious.

Apparently we have much to fear, an unprecendented threat and need to give up our liberties.

Bullshit.

And I call bullshit on that. We have something to be very wary of, and ISIS is an unprecedented threat in the Internet age.

Liberty isn’t an either/or concept, we don’t have it completely (far from it) and nor can it all be taken away.

We have no history of Islamic extremism in NZ.  No groups wanting sharia law.  No noticeable support for IS.

We have a small moderate Muslim community.

In general I agree with that.

The threat is hardly “unprecedented” – IS are not so dissimilar from al-Qaeda, except much more focussed on the Middle East, much less on the West.  Islamic militantism has been about since the 7th century when they made the Mediterranean a Muslim lake.

And over that time it has kept changing and adapting, as have many other threats. ISIS may in some ways be similar to previous threats, but those pose different problems, including their use of social media to have a much wider reach than militant Muslims in the seventh century.

I see no reason for us to send troops to Iraq to clean up US’s mess – we weren’t involved in the first place. Humanitarian aid? Sure.

I don’t think any plan has been announced to send troops anywhere in relation to this.

I see no reason for us to give our spy agencies more powers.  A few (and the number is probably literally that) who are misguided and actual potential risks can be easily monitored in current ways.

Our surveillance laws are out of date in a rapidly changing online environment.

It is not easy to monitor all potential risks.

I see no reason for us to make people stateless against UN conventions by canceling their passports while overseas.  We can follow the rule of law, and monitor anyone and charge them with any crimes in the proper way.

And we can change the rule of law to adapt to a changing world if we find that we can’t adequately monitor all risks. We can never fully monitor all risks, and trying to do that would swing things far too far towards a surveillance state and too far away from privacy.

But somewhere in between we have to find the best balance of providing our protection agencies with sufficient tools to enforce the rule of law as much as possible against intruding too much on our privacy.

Let’s just tone it all back a notch.

Ditto.

Saying Islamic Extremism is “not a threat” – and there are other potential threats – is an opposite form of extremism.

Just as our police must have some surveillance tools our national security must be adequately equipped in a very complex world of communications.

We should debate to what extent and under which checks and balances but getting hysterical about small changes is not going to prepare us for any possible threat – and the history of the world, and the history of New Zealand, suggests that it’s a matter of time before something bad happens here again.

I’m confident that most Muslims in New Zealand pose no threat, similar to the general population. But some who use Islam as an excuse to spread religious extremes or terrorism are potentially a threat.

And we should be as prepared as possible for that.

Whale Oil: And yet another medical use for cannabis

The momentum world-wide for allowing legal use of cannabis for medical use keeps building – but not in New Zealand. Whale Oil posts:

And yet another medical use for cannabis

I wonder when politicians will start to realise that they are on the wrong side of the debate when it comes to legalising cannabis.

More and more studies are proving that the plant has more benefits than issues.

This is an issue that I think can and should be be campaigned on across the political spectrum, in social media at least. Whale Oil, Kiwiblog, The Standard, The Daily Blog and Public Address are all sympathetic to relaxing use of cannabis for medical use at least.

Time to start a proper discourse, the only problem is finding a politician with some courage.

Time to put political differences aside and working cross-blog on this? It is difficult finding an MP or a party willing to address this, but a joint effort by blogs could build pressure on them to do the decent thing on this.

Not a right wing blog

This isn’t a right wing blog. Nor is it a left wing blog. It’s an open blog where I can post what interests me, promote what is important to me, and encourage wide ranging discussion – which happens to be one of my interests. A lot of our political discussion seems to be silo-ed into left or right but I think it’s important to debate across the political divide.

On some things I lean right – we need free enterprise and free trade. On some things I lean left – we need social welfare. One of the challenges of politics is getting a good balance. If we have more successful business and more and better paying jobs that reduces the need for welfare – but means we can afford to help those who genuinely need state assistance more.

My first interest in blogs was participation for several years at Aardvark - I just checked, Bruce is still sort of keeping things going there having just revived forums.

Then I found Kiwiblog and jumped in there. I was painted as a leftie but found the challenge there a lot of fun. I’ve been quite prolific in comments there but that has reduced substantially over the last year or two.

After a while I looked around and found The Standard. I was recognised as being “from Kiwiblog” so was immediately painted as a rightie. That made it even more challenging there and it has continued like that, they tend shun anyone deemed to be not one of them, regardless of what you say.

I’ve also dabbled on a number of other blogs including Whale Oil, Public Address, The Daily Blog, red Alert, and have been banned from all of them (and a number of times from The Standard). Criticisms have ranged from being to bland and boring (I’m sure I have been at times) and being to provocative and contrary – DPF’s “fomenting happy mischief” is a practice I sometimes enjoy.

I have generally enjoyed debates on the right more, because people on the right seem more inclined to argue the issues one to one on their merits. Sure it can get very robust, but that’s healthy in debate, especially in politics.

The political left seems more abusive, exclusive and pack orientated, where “if you’re not with us you’re against us” seems a common mentality – but the right isn’t immune from that as Whale Oil is currently demonstrating.

The “Dirty Politics” attempt to swing the election has become a one-sided “right bad, left perfect” campaign.

I have experienced bad abuse from the right, and there’s a few dishonest regulars at Kiwiblog who lie and abuse to try and discredit, with little or no attempt to debate.

But abuse and harassment has been worse from the left, for me at least. They may not be as extreme and direct as Cameron Slater but the intent and the practices are just as dirty in their own way – they also try to discredit and drive away alternate opinions.

And until Whale Oil’s clampdown on dissent and alternative views the left was clearly the worst for censorship.

So I’m sort of in the middle politically but swing either way depending on what makes sense to me. I’ve voted both ways over the years – I think governing competence is more important than election campaign inspired policies.

And this isn’t a left wing or a right wing (or a centrist) blog.

It aims to offer something a bit different – open debate across the spectrum, with an emphasis on robust but respectful debate backed by as many facts as possible (one thing that seems to get up the noses of some blogs is arguing against them with facts).

Many in political blogging want to impose their opinions, their ideals, their favoured parties and politicians. And in doing that they often try to exclude alternate views, frequently through name calling, abusing and making false accusations.

Your NZ is for something different – debate from all sides is welcome and encouraged. We can learn a lot by exploring issues with the other side of the argument.

It’s a well used phrase but right or wrong versus right or left.

And accepting that right or wrong is often not simple or binary. Sometimes it’s looking for the least bad alternative, as in dealing with the ongoing problems in the Middle East.

This is not a right wing blog, but people who consider themselves right wing, or left wing, are welcome to contribute.

Bad language on blogs

Much has been made of a clamp down on bad language being behind the clampdown on comments and commenters at Whale Oil. In his announcement of Travis qutiting Whale Oil yesterday Pete Belt later conceded he over emphasised it. He initially said:

There has been a shift in culture, where we’ve changed a bunch of foul mouthed blokey commenters for (what they see) a knitting circle.

It all comes down to the ability for people to swear in the comments, and old commenters that could not change being resentful that they’ve lost “the only place on the Internet” where they felt at home.

Many pointed out that the issues were far wider and deeper than “the ability for people to swear” so later Pete conceded:

Travis has alluded to it – I deliberately oversimplified things. It isn’t just about swearing.

I’m puzzled by the over-emphasis on swearing.It seems to have been a simplistic approach that ignores a much bigger problem – abuse.

Note: I infrequently swear on blogs but was banned from WO for, apparently, using the phrase ‘man crap’. The word crap is used so obviously allowed on NZ Herald and Stuff online.

Attitudes to swearing have changed markedly in my lifetime. When i grew up swearing at school was severely punished and you just didn’t swear in front of adults. Print media, radio, movies and TV were very particular about what language must be excluded. That has relaxed a bit in print media and radio, and substantially in movies and in TV programs where nearly anything goes at times. It reflects real life.

Younger people in particular swear far more openly than they would have last century.

While I don’t swear much I usually don’t have a problem when people swear, I’m now used to it being common, including on blogs.

I don’t recall much if any criticism of Whale Oil for the swearing. There was a far bigger problem with personal attacks, regardless of whether swearing was involved. Non swear words are commonly used to viciously attack people.

One of Cameron Slater’s biggest moments of infamy was not for swearing – he was quoted without censorship for language in the Greymouth Star:

Blogger puts the boot in

Provocative right-wing internet blogger Cameron Slater was today standing by a headline that described Greymouth car crash victim Judd Hall as “feral”.

Mr Hall, a 26-year-old from Runanga, died when a car in which he was a backseat passenger left the road and crashed into a house about 11 o’clock on Friday night.

At 7.21am on Saturday, Mr Slater’s Whale Oil blog site carried a brief story on the crash under the heading, ‘Feral dies in Greymouth, did world a favour’.

When contacted by the Greymouth Star today, Mr Slater accepted that he did not know Mr Hall or his family, but justified the “feral” description by saying: “It is Greymouth, isn’t it? Didn’t Helen Clark say that you are all feral?”

He said anybody travelling at 140kph in a car in a 50kph area was ‘feral’, whether on the West Coast or in south Auckland.

He did not regret the headline and would not be apologising for it.

Mr Hall wasn’t even responsible for the crash. Many may consider calling the driver a fucking idiot far more appropriate than the language Slater used.

Excessive swearing can detract from blogs, as it can detract from conversations, depending on the context and the company you are in.

But I think are worse than swearing on blogs are abuse, personal attacks, harassment and stalking.  And message control censorship.

Whale Oil didn’t have a bad reputation for swearing, it had a bad reputation for attacking people, sometimes viciously. Slater led by example.

The Standard has a bad reputation for one sided abuse and attacks, protected and even promoted by the site moderation, with lprent leading the way.

Kiwiblog doesn’t have a bad reputation for swearing, it has a bad reputation for personal attacks. David Farrar isn’t criticised for his occasional swearing, he’s criticised for allowing too much free speech – and his recent moderation improvements have clamped down on abuse, not swearing.

There’s probably more annoyance expressed and complaints on blogs about bad grammar than swearing. I saw someone complaining yesterday about mixing brought with bought. For some people the misuse of apostrophe’s seems to be a major offence (and I deliberately misused one there).

So what’s more important on blogs, having swearing police or grammar police?

I’d prefer that people were allowed to freely express their opinions and feelings, as long as it’s not done to attack and abuse.

I’d prefer less religious or Bain argument on Kiwiblog than less swearing.

I’d prefer an even playing field on The Standard to less swearing.

I’d prefer less silent censorship on The Daily Blog than less swearing.

I’d prefer more honesty on Whale Oil than using swearing as an excuse to ban people to sanitise and propagandise  the comments.

Each blog to their own. Cameron got around his own swearing ban yesterday by using an acronym – FIFO. That means fit in or fuck off. I don’t think it’s the swear word that is cringe in that, it’s the intent. If you’re careful not to speak contrary to the Whale Oil authors or sponsors and you’re lucky not to strike Pete Belt on a bad day (which seem to be frequent) then you can keep commenting there.

Fuck, I’d rather promote free and robust (with respect) expression than be mob controlled with crap like that.

The most damaging language in society and on blogs is not swear words. Bad language isn’t controlled by using banned word filters.

I’d prefer no censorship and more relaxed language dictates – and as I have my own blog I’m free to have that.

Good Standard on Labour leadership

An unusually good post and comment thread at The Standard on Labour’s leadership contest – My (late) vote.

Lyn Prentice is a campaigner from way back and has a good idea about how things work, especially with Labour – he’s it bit off the mark with some of his claims about National but that’s not his strength.

For a review of the leadership contenders and an insight into Labour campaigning it’s worth reading through the post and most of the comments.

Prentice happens to pick the leadership contest similar to I would (I’m not a Labour member so haven’t had to decided):

  1. Andrew Little
  2. David Parker
  3. Nanaia Mahuta
  4. Grant Robertson

I think I’d reverse Mahuta and Robertson.

And another old school Labour campaigner Anne names her preferred front bench.

  1. Andrew Little
  2. David Parker
  3. Grant Robertson
  4. Nanaia Mahuta
  5. David Cunliffe
  6. Phil Twyford
  7. Jacinda Ardern
  8. Annette King
  9. Phil Goff
  10. David Shearer

Her comment:

Yep. I came to the same conclusions for exactly the same reasons as lprent. A Little/Parker combination is what the Labour Party needs with Robertson, Mahuta, Cunliffe, Twyford, and Ardern taking the next five places. Annette King and Phil Goff still have a lot to offer in the way of experience and knowledge, but they have to give way to a new team. Having said that, I think they should – along with Shearer – take the next three places.

Leader plus ex leaders/acting leaders fill half of those positions – experience is valuable but it’s time the worked out how to work together and put the party ahead of their own ambitions or grievances.

I’d swap Robertson/Mahuta and Twyford/Ardern to put more female presence up the list. And I’m not sure that Goff should be that high, I’d rather look to the future more through Hipkins instead.

It’s worth repeating – interesting and worthwhile post and comments at The Standard.

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