Pete belt has being doing a lot of explaining at Whale Oil lately, and he should know what Cameron Slater thinks of explaining.
In response to feedback on TRAVIS LEAVES WHALEOIL he has posted a follow up comment.
Travis has alluded to it – I deliberately oversimplified things. It isn’t just about swearing. The reason Travis has chucked in the towel is that a lot of the people he enjoyed conversing with have been blocked. I’ve tightened up the rules over time to include things like “do not debate Cam directly in the comments, use email”.
That still oversimplifies things. From what Travis has said it’s not just about “people he enjoyed conversing”. He said:
It is sad to see so many former loyal readers tossed aside like a bag of shit, readers that the blog built it’s base on. Intelligent people, business owners, all sorts of decent people. I have witnessed on several occasions now in recent weeks where people have been banned or severely warned for dissenting views. To be treating adult humans as though they are children that need behavioural control and told what not to say is patently wrong.
Then Pete switches from Travis’ friends to ‘trolls’.
The reasons for this are very good – most trolls will come in and have a go at Cam personally. It’s a net I use to catch a lot of stuff that has no place here. But it also has had the effect of catching people who are genuine commenters who wanted to have a debate with Cam on the blog. Few realised Cam was hardly ON the blog, but that’s another issue.
The banning binge has been far more indiscriminate than that.
Everything has a reason. But in the end, the bolshy types started falling by the wayside as they kept pushing. In the end, there was only one outcome.
Many have said they didn’t push, they were shoved out without warning and without knowing what they had done wrong.
One area where Travis is particularly unfair is that Whaleoil, and it’s ‘staff” have been through hell and back over the last 6 months. We have been under organised and sustained attacks to try and destroy us – as a blog, and as people.
I don’t think he’s been unfair at all there. This sounds like more ‘poor us’ syndrome. Yes, things have been tough for Whale Oil over the last few months, but that’s not sufficient excuse for the draconian reaction.
In a way, Travis leaving is another Dirty Poltics “win”, in my mind. Another man down. But the barrage of trolls and deliberate attempts to start conflict was so intense and sustained, there is no doubt in my mind some of our own got caught in the cross fire.
This has also been tried in comments on Whale Oil – the ‘if you complain or react you are letting “Dirty Politics” win method of squashing dissent.
And Pete is ignoring the fact that the changes and the banning binges started happening well before “Dirty Politics” was launched.
That’s what the amnesty after the election was about. At the time, we were barely holding on. There were times I was doing nothing but read, delete and block for a whole day. It was insane. This was at the time where we all were under scrutiny, and it was hard to know who was a friend being critical and who was a political operative intent on destroying Whaleoil.
That’s nonsense. A number of longstanding commenters and supporters of Whale Oil were purged. Pete must have known and Cameron will have known that the net was being cast far wider than a few new trolls.
Travis told me the amnesties haven’t worked because nobody that got culled wants to come back.
That’s because in effect to be reinstated you were told to grovel and were also told there was little chance of success – according to what Peter has said:
8. can I ask for a review? are there amnesties? is that it, forever?
No. Sometimes. Probably.
An admission that indiscriminate banning went too far…
Anyway, he alluded to it, and I think he’s earned this addendum – there have been people that have been blocked that probably shouldn’t have been. But then there are also those that never stopped needling – a bit like Travis, in fact. And in the end, enough was enough.
…Travis says he walked, he wasn’t pushed.
At this stage, the people who are blocked are all speaking from how it has affected them,
This isn’t correct. I’ve seen many people speaking about how they think it has affected Whale Oil too.
with little or no regard for the way it is going against what Cameron Slater wants. I may be the poisoned voice that whispers in Cam’s ear, but nothing gets done unless he’s on board.
Cameron wants many old and loyal supporters and commenters banished from his blog? I’d be interested to hear his take on that.
Sadly, Travis, and others, have needs from Whaleoil that Cam is no longer wanting to cater for. And I am the whipping boy because I’m the one that’s actually making a lot of the day to day judgments.
He no longer wants people with independent thoughts and a willingness to express their opinions and to debate?
Whaleoil is more than a place for some blokes to come shoot the breeze. It’s part of a larger plan. It has to provide reliable income for the Slater family. It needs to pay my outrageous fees.
Real reason #1 – money. The cleansing was to keep the advertising necessary to pay the bills and wages. Fair enough.
In closing, Cam Slater, and/or Whaleoil, were in the news every day for a month, and not in a good way. Nobody else has been put under the amount of pressure that we were under. In the mean time, we tried to run a blog. This is while we were subject to commissions of inquiry, we had major privacy breaches, and we were committing to legal action we couldn’t afford to pay. It was insane.
And many thought the draconian and erratic ‘moderation was and is insane – and it began before the pressure piled on.
Against this backdrop, Travis’ needs, and those of his commenting friends…
As already said it’s far wider than Travis and a few friends.
…that are no longer with us, really didn’t register. Some pretty quick and dirty decisions were made to ensure we survived this period, and this included pushing away any negativity, even if it came from within.
But this all still ignores what Cameron posted today:
I am very happy with where we are placed, and very happy with where we are going.
Big things are going to happen soon, and then you will see why it is that we have headed in this direction.
The media landscape in New Zealand is about to change forever.
It might seem mean…bit FIFO applies.
So participation and support don’t matter now, Whale Oil is moving on to new things and those who helped it’s past success don’t matter now.
That’s Cameron’s call. Perhaps he thinks he can build a new audience. He must be confident because he should know that when you kick a loyal audience it’s difficult to win back trust and credibility.
And despite what he claims:
It won;t become an echo chamber, I refuse to allow this site to become like Twitter has become, or like the 3News site where ranty, abusive and shouty leftists just howl down other peoples ideas.
There are other types of echo chambers than ranty howly ones – and Whale Oil has become one – like a well oiled PR machine, with any sign of dissent papered over or pushed aside.
That doesn’t sound like a change to the media landscape. Whale Oil used to be a change. It seems to be becoming something very similar to what they claim they are going to take over from.
It’s going to be a challenge to succeed despite both Dirty Politics and the discarding of a significant audience.
If this proves too difficult Pete Belt might have quite a bit more explaining to do. And Cameron knows what that means in his language.