“You only win by being more brutal”

Cameron Slater and Whale Oil are well known for online brutality, from the safety of a keyboard. While this caught up with Whale Oil and Slater is now widely seen as toxic he continues his brutal language.

In Trump gets it: “We’re like living in medieval times” he quotes Donald Trump:

“We’re like living in medieval times,” he said. “If I have to do it and if it’s up to me, I would absolutely bring back waterboardng. And if it’s going to be tougher than waterboarding, I would bring that back, too.”

When pressed by interviewer George Stephanopoulos if that meant the United States employing similar methods of beheading captors, Trump responded: “We’re going to do things beyond waterboarding,” adding, “Perhaps, if that happens to come.”

Slater comments:

However much people want it to be true, you don’t win by being nicer.  You only win by being more brutal.  That’s the price you pay to regain freedom and democracy when it is under attack.  The need to be kind and nice and humane just gets you into more trouble.  Just watch Germany right now.

We need to kill them before they kill us.   Giving them hugs and kisses just gets more of our own killed.

You “regain freedom and democracy” by killing everyone you think could be associated with a risk?

Of course Slater isn’t volunteering to go and do all the killing himself, he just talks up brutality hoping others will do the dirty work.

He claims “You only win by being more brutal”. Apart from the stupidity of that comment it shows how he doesn’t learn from his own mistakes.

He has been rejected by mainstream politics, so is moving more towards extreme  nutterism – while criticising left wing activists for the futility of trying to swing things further left.

Being a blog brute hasn’t exactly been a winning strategy for Slater.

Hooton Oil

Hooton seems to be getting more good oil than the Whale these days.

Whale Oil has waned somewhat since it’s peak two years ago. Cameron Slater now does little more now than post repeats of media reports – ironically I think he used to slam the media for being repeaters – with a few limp bully boy appendages.

Slater has become mostly bark with little bite. This is because he has become politically toxic, his sources have dried up, so he has little to offer apart from a style that some still like but has turned others off and away.

It seems that Hooton has picked up the political leak baton. He still has sources in National and it looks like he is being fed some juicy morsels from within Labour as well.

He has media outlets for political tittle tale and hit jobs via regular radio and newspaper sessions and columns. NBR is better known and far more credible than Whale Oil, and Radio NZ has a long history and a wide spread, far beyond the blogosphere.

So it seems that Hooton has become one of the go to guys for people in politics to spread rumours or stories of substance.

Hooton is also active in Twitter where much of New Zealand’s journalists interact.

And he’s even a regular dabbler at The Standard. It’s interesting to see varying reactions to him there. Often his comments are just on the topic of the day and he gets a standard sort of niggly response.

But you can tell on blogs when someone is getting close to the bone on a politically sensitive, the nature of responses and attacks changes, and a few identities pop out of the woodwork to try and deal to it. The who and how of responses is a fascinating and important part of reading blogs.

Hooton is hitting some sensitive targets, with the help of supplied information.

He seems to be getting some of the good oil that has dried up at the Whale (which is more of a Wail at times now).

And he doesn’t need to obsess about site statistics, there’s much more to the Internet now than one site, one ego and effective reach in social media is immeasurable.

Hooton also seems prepared at times to bite in commentary) the hand that feeds him information, saying things as he sees them rather than as someone else wants to spin.

He’s just one player with known political leanings, with his paid for consultancy work hovering, but Hooton is worth watching out for, albeit with some healthy scepticism of what or who might be behind his leaks, assertions, predictions and spin.

The price of oil may have come down but Hooton Oil is worth watching to see what it might flare up.

Wane Oil

Whale Oil likes to talk up their ratings, and they have done that today in Another month, another good month, but things aren’t as good as they were.

They top the Open Parachute rankings again, but show a significant decline from January last year, while Kiwiblog, The Standard and The Daily Blog have all increased.

Whale Oil visits/month:

  • 2014 – 886,689
  • 2015 – 1,549,207
  • 2016 – 1,120,747

That’s a 28% decline from last year.

Whale Oil is in a league of it’s own compared to other blogs, being the only one that isn’t run as a hobby – revenue appears to be required to cover two incomes.

They sometimes present themselves as Whale Oil Media but they are also in a different league to the big media sites – ones they often criticise, especially the Herald but Newshub copped a blast today.

As a comparison Alexa has New Zealand rankings:

  • The Daily Blog – 1050th
  • YourNZ – 830th (which means take these rankings with a grain of salt)
  • The Standard – 669th
  • Kiwiblog – 324th
  • Whale Oil – 179th
  • Radio NZ – 153th
  • 3 News – 138th
  • One News – 25th
  • NZ Herald – 10th
  • Stuff – 7th

Whale Oil appears to be on the wane but are still doing well, especially relative to other blogs. However they are nowhere near competing at the top of New Zealand media – nor are they resourced or staffed anything like them, so they aren’t doing bad for a duo.

Climate stupidity

There’s many silly things said that confuse weather with climate change, and this is as about stupid as it gets.

Hang on, I thought we just ‘celebrated’ the warmest year on record?

Apparently global warming isn’t that bad, after all if it was really real and as catastrophic as has been suggested we wouldn’t be getting headlines about the pending snow-pocalypse about to descend on the US.

… we could help stop these “deadly snowstorms” by embracing global warming.

And someone in comments adds to the stupidity.

It’s “weather” when it gets colder and “global warming” and “climate change” when it gets warmer.

The news item quoted (Millions prepare for deadly snowstorm at NZ Herald) makes no mention of climate change or global warming.

“This is probably going to be one of the top three snowfalls of all time for Washington,” said Daniel Petersen, a forecaster at the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

Snowfall could continue for a day and half, leaving accumulations of two feet or more in the Washington-Baltimore area. Philadelphia’s forecast was increased Friday to 18 to 24 inches by Sunday morning. New York could get 8 to 10, though some forecasts suggest more, Peterson said.

Sounds like a big weather event for some areas – but that doesn’t sound like a major fall for New York, there was a good two feet of snow there once when I was there (on Long Island). The train I was on only just made it to my station and I had to walk several kilometres back to my hotel on cleared roads because footpaths were stacked high.

Apart from being far more snow than I have ever experienced in New Zealand it a surreal aspect for me was that it was in December and many houses had Christmas lights – although I had seen it depicted in many ways many times it was the first time I had experienced a snowy Christmas-time.


Insight and Incite

The latest edition of Incite Politics includes some political insights and incites, but overall seems quite lightweight and I think it’s questionable whether it’s deserving of a premium subscription except for devoted fans of Cameron Slater and perhaps political obsessives who must have everything.


In this month’s edition we have contributions from Chris Trotter, Don Brash, David Farrar and Jock Anderson, as well as the usual contributions from Simon Lusk and myself.

  • Chris Trotter asks a very hard question
  • David Farrar provides some long-term predictions
  • Don Brash investigates Auckland’s affordable housing issue
  • Jock Anderson discusses a very interesting case before the courts

We will also be looking at potential leadership options, what Labour can do about their dead wood and John Key’s not-so-secret strategy that is bleeding resources and support from Labour.

We make more recommendations for our Political Read, Political Video and Political Websites so you can stay as informed as we do.

Farrar’s predictions of the chances of various coalition arrangements after the 2017 election are detailed and interesting but there’s no surprises.

Trotter’s contribution Should Labour Be Euthanased is not much different to his prolific output via media columns, The Daily Blog or his own Bowalley blog.

Don Brash writes about ‘the blindingly obvious’ and ‘the solutions are now well understood’ on the affordability of housing in Auckland. Again it’s interesting but not remarkably enlightening.

Jock Anderson’s ‘A Most Curious of Cases’ is a curious inclusion in a political newsletter. He writes about serious charges against two men, one “an extremely rare one”, and how everything about the case are suppressed. There should be very good reasons for justice not to be seen to being done. This may or may not all remain a secret as the trial progresses.

The rest comprises items and comments by Slater and Simon Lusk. For me this is the biggest problem with Incite, as these two have known histories of providing services to politicians and aspiring politicians for fees.

So it’s fair to ask whether Incite is independent of fee paying customers or if it is in part at least a service to customers.

Much of what Slater and Lusk write is not much different to what would have been seen as posts on Whale Oil in the past, so it appears as a move to paid content by moving to another outlet.

But in doing this they may be reducing the potential effectiveness of their political promotions and hit jobs because Incite will have a much smaller audience than Whale Oil.

There’s little point in trying to spread scandal to a very limited audience, unless they think it might be useful as veiled threats that could be publicised more widely.

Lusk and Slater continue a series on potential leaders of National and Labour. Curiously it states ‘Please note that these comments are considered accurate at the time of writing, but time and events may result in them changing.’

Their comments on Jacinda Ardern are not much different to what you might expect in a Womens’ Weekly article.

Their National target is Paula Bennett. I think this has to be looked at alongside the knowledge that both Lusk and Slater have or have had political and financial ambitions and interests, especially with the National party, National MPs and potential candidates for Parliament or for leadership.

Both of them pile dirt on Bennett. This wouldn’t look out of place on the old Whale Oil. And if Bennett’s political career and ambitions took a dive it would not look out of place for Slater to claim credit for it.

Without another Rawshark type there’s no way of knowing whether this is just political skulduggery or if it is also undisclosed services rendered for fee paying opponents.

Farrar has already indicated he’s happy to provide services for Incite for payment. Brash, Trotter and Anderson are presumably also doing it as professional writers and their contributions look much like columns you might find in a number of media outlets. That’s up to them

But they risk being seen as padding out a newsletter  that has other services involved.

Lusk and Slater could do something about this – they could declare that Incite: Politics was totally independent of any other business interests and not a part of paid for political services. But I haven’t seen them declare their interests before, so question marks are likely to remain.

Responses to victim blaming

Following up from Victim blaming and excusing thuggery  here are contrary responses allowed on a Whale Oil post that criticised a victim blaming post that has many comments that doubt the victim and excuse the attack.

Responses to the criticisms continue to blame the victim and make excuses for the attacker.


I’m not sure what she was expected to say to a man who ought to have minded his own business. He objected to her speaking Maori. The headline is valid.

By the way, calling an assault victim a crybaby? How lovely.


Nothing… She should of said nothing.


…and he should have taken her advice, but he didn’t – instead he hit her. It would be nice if we all had the discipline not to respond to people who are having a go, wouldn’t it? I suspect most of us aren’t like that though. Most of us would probably say the same thing she said. She did absolutely nothing wrong, and I don’t think she should get blamed for what happened, or called a crybaby on a blog afterwards.


Where is your outcry about the other hundred or so violent offenses that occurred over the weekend then?

gender should not factor into the determination of whether something is acceptable or not. Violence is violence and is never acceptable.


Whale Oil didn’t blog about any of those. I commented on the one he did blog about. But just for you, I would like to take this opportunity, at this time, to condemn ALL the violence. Everywhere. All of it. I would like world peace, harmony, and understanding between people of different genders, races and faiths. Kumbaya!


That’s a nice dream. You do realize however that it will never become a reality because it’s against human nature.

You sir are a sheep. There will always be wolves who wish to prey on sheep. And I hope there will always be sheep dogs to protect you.

Sheep abhor violence. 
Wolves love violence. 
Sheep dogs accept violence as a necessary reality.


Yeah, a drunk, violent PI says something stupid to someone he thinks is a “palagi”, gets called out, and responds with his fists. Happens every day, sadly.


“Gets called out”, telling someone to f off inevitably leads to confrontation. Why should anyone (including a woman) think they can say that to a big guy and get away with it?


Because it’s not normal, legal or acceptable to punch somebody, especially if you are harassing them about something they said, and the civilized thing to do IS in fact to “f off” and mind your own business.


Yes key the word you used was ‘civilized’. My advice don’t ever tell someone to f off just in case they are an uncivilized thug.


I don’t make excuses for uncivilized thugs. I want them out of our civilization. Victim blaming, and making excuses for these guys will ensure that he, and others like him, will keep thinking it’s okay to respond that way.


Victim blaming? If I wore an offensive t-shirt, something really derogatory about Maori and was beaten up. Wouldn’t I have to take at least some responsibility? The woman was a fool, she should have walked away because as much as you might wish it, thugs are everywhere and not going away.


No-one’s making excuses here. No-one thinks its OK to respond as he did. With the benefit of hind-site, and a clear head, what some are saying is that what happened was kind of inevitable. That doesn’t change the fact that the person responsible was the one who used his fists.

Usually this sort of behaviour is inflamed by alcohol. And in some cases, its perfectly normal sober behaviour. Either way, my sympathy in this case is for the woman. How would any of us react when some PI abuses you for speaking your language because you’re (in his eyes) the wrong colour? Unless you believe telling someone what she said, means she ‘deserves’ what happened.

Mrs R:

Two stories appear today on WO with surprising similarities. One, we see a young man out on the town who became the victim of late night physical abuse (see earlier story ‘Another criminal Labour can cuddle’). Did this teenager also verbally respond to his abusers before he was punched to death? Irrelevant. He was the victim, and the mother in me cries for his family’s loss.

Here we see another story with a late night victim who was subjected to physical abuse. Whether or not she responded verbally to her abuser is irrelevant. There should be no ‘but’. She was brutally attacked simply because her abuser wanted to, and he could.

To my knowledge WO has never been a crim hugger so I’m surprised at the tone of this article, particularly in light of the previous article where Kelvin Davis is scorned for doing exactly that.

Spanish Bride:

The man is totally in the wrong.No one should be hit like that no matter what they say and this was incredibly violent to knock out her teeth. He is going to punished by the law so no problem there. If he was going to be let off or not punished adequately then there is a reason to complain.

I guess the point this article was trying to make is that the bar is not the reason the incident happened.Blaming the bar for not having enough security seems unfair. The story should not be about the bar but about the offender. Also the headline was misleading. He didn’t hit her when she spoke Maori, he hit her when she told him to f off after he verbally abused her.


This is gratuitous sledging and is very unfair on the woman who now through no fault of her own besides telling an obnoxious gorilla to **** off got badly assaulted. Now she also has to deal with a negative google result to her name with a photo of her and her innocent child courtesy of WO.

We don’t know if she was drunk, we don’t know much at all about what really happened. Not that it matters- Throw that gorilla in jail. Just ask yourself this- if this had happened to you and played out as it appears to have done here… how would you feel about appearing on WO’s CBOFTW…. Justice??

[As for going to the newspaper- well that was a bit silly, but we all deal with trauma and injustice in different ways- still doesn’t excuse WO from giving her an unnecessary beat up today]

Rex Widerstrom:

Precisely. The “punishment” in no way fitted the “crime”. In Australia they are calling this sort of Neanderthal behaviour a “coward’s punch” as a way to try and make it socially unacceptable, in the way that has – to some extent- worked with drink driving.

This post does the opposite. It’s a mealy-mouthed defence of a violent thug of the type WO would normally be baying for the blood of (hell that’s an awful sentence, but you know what I mean).

Her dad’s silly – it’s not the bar’s fault and we’re already grossly over-policed as it is – so by all means call him on that.

But victim blaming? That’s low.

Yes, there’s some low comments on a low post, but some good responses.

Victim blaming and excusing thuggery

On the same day the Listener posted an article about a study that says that alcohol isn’t an excuse for bad and violent behaviour -see Drunken thuggery not alcohol’s fault  –  Whale Oil attacks the victim of an assault with alcohol involved.

NZ Herald (and other media outlets, I saw it on 3 News) ran a story about a woman who claims she was assaulted.

Mother loses teeth after man punches her in the head for speaking Te Reo

A single mother says she lost five teeth after she was punched repeatedly in the head by a man who angrily asked why she was speaking Te Reo.

Shona Maiden was heading home after celebrating New Year’s Eve with friends at her local bar – 123 Casino Karaoke Bar, in Howick – when she was assaulted, she says.

At the bar’s closing time, Ms Maiden, who is of European and Maori descent, said she said “ka kite ano” (see you later) to people who had been standing outside. The mother-of-four, who lives in Howick, said a man then swore and yelled at her, questioning why a “palagi” would use such words.

Ms Maiden admits she responded, telling the man to “f*** off.” He then punched her several times.

While she was a little “tiddly” she said she wasn’t drunk when she was leaving the bar.

A police spokeswoman confirmed they are investigating the assault of a woman, aged 46, outside the establishment in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

This is just one side of the story, and there’s no indication the alleged attacker had been drinking but it’s a reasonable assumption to make. Assaults outside bars are not uncommon.

Cry baby of the Week: Shona Maiden

She was pissed, he was pissed, and she told him to F off.

It doesn’t take a Rocket Surgeon to figure out what happens next.

And now her dad wants “something to be done” about the security “around the bar”.

Then they run to the paper for a good old bitch’n’whine.

It should have read:   Drunk woman loses teeth after being punched for telling a drunk man to F off.

Slater (if it was he who wrote the post) attacks the victim of the assault.  He does also say:

Listen, it’s never OK.   You don’t punch a woman in the mouth for being a bit lippy.

But he directs most of his criticism and blame at the victim.And I presume he has no more knowledge of what actually happened than what he read in the Herald coverage.

A number of commenters played along with Slater’s framed blame game, expressing doubts (about the victim’s story), diverting and criticising many things – except the attacker.

Keanne Lawrence:

Simple action and reaction by a couple of drunks. Most people are unlikely to say “see you later” to bystanders outside a bar in any language. This is not newsworthy as it is a common occurrence throughout the country frequently.
If it is her way to be so lippy best she learns to duck, bob and weave in a ladylike manner. Lol


“F**k off” isn’t Te Reo – the headline is not only misleading but incorrect.

Lesley NZ:

““I’ve lost five teeth, my top plate is cracked … my lip is out there, I can’t eat yet,” she said.” Was it 5 false teeth that were lost?


Looks like The Ferald is really getting the hang of clickbait headlines!!!


why dont they just say – ‘Brown looking person offended by White looking person speaking Te Reo – assault ensues’
This begs the question – is it ‘cool to korero’ if you dont look the part?


No one really deserves to be assaulted but it has happened so the best hope is that she learns from the experience. Maybe being in a bar tiddly in the early morning and answering back wasn’t the wises of moves.


My tried and tested method for avoiding fights with thugs is to not inflame the situation at all. So someone took exception to what she said, the better approach would be to try and placate things and apologise to the aggrieved individual, and exit stage left. Being indignant and telling the other person to “get lost” only inflames the situation.

Betty Swallocks:

“Her father, John Maiden, is upset at what happened to his daughter and says he wants something done about safety in the area around the bar.”

OK Dad, you can make a start by making sure your “tiddly” daughter doesn’t use abusive language to complete strangers on the street. That will go some way to raising her chances of getting home safely at least.

Wolfman Jack:

I call BS on the story. Read it this morning and did not believe a word of it. It’s all “She says” and the ridiclulous photo with it means I support the cry baby title.

No bullswool:

Strange that a PI would be offended that Te Reo was being spoken.Seems that there may be more to this story than appears on the surface of it. No woman deserves that treatment at the hand of any man for any reason.In saying that if better judgement had been used, could have avoided this situation.


This isn’t about whether the assault was bad, it’s about the media deliberately misleading the public. In this case looking to incite racial discord.


why would you antagonise a big mountain gorilla, did she not realise that these people will hit anyone irrelevant of age or gender.

Johnny Bravo:

She is all class. Especially the video clip on her facebook page involving the black power gang. I dont think her teeth were punched out i think they saw a tube of tooth paste coming and jumped out and ran away


Now that is the comment of the day. Thanks for giving me a huge laugh.

Johnny is not so brave, or classy.

Pete Belt:

This should be a man assaults woman for a police complaint. The fact this is not a police complaint and ended up in the paper with only one side of the story makes this very much a story that WO shines sunlight on.

It is a police complaint, that is clear from the article and from the post.

What WO is shining a light on is the blog’s habit of attacking victims. And perpetuating the culture of excusing or acceptance of thuggery as shown in Drunken thuggery not alcohol’s fault.

To the credit of Whale Oil moderation they allowed a number of critical comments to remain. They are detailed in the next post Responses to victim blaming.


Dunedin, Syrian refugees and Saudi Arabia

The anti-refugee campaign continues at Whale Oil, with Spanish Bride using ‘Face of the Day’ as an excuse to repeat nonsense.

She posts what looks like an out of date file photo of Dunedin mayor Dave Cull and a report on violence in the city.

Dunedin’s Mayor is urging caution after a spate of violent incidents in the city…

In a sense there’s nothing that the community can do to prepare or prevent in some circumstances that sort of thing, you just have to deal with it.”

“But Dunedin is probably one of the safest communities in New Zealand” added Mayor Cull.


Atkins uses this as an excuse to launch into another anti-refugee rant.

I am glad that Dunedin is a safe place to live. It will not stay that way if it takes too many Islamic refugees. At the moment the numbers appear small but as each person can apply to bring family members into the country after they settle, the numbers we are told are not the true numbers.

The numbers are small. Dunedin will be one of six centres taking 750 refugees over two and a half years. It’s likely some of them will already be family groups.

Saying “the numbers we are told are not the true numbers” is meaningless.

Even if a hundred or so refugees settled in Dunedin – and stayed in Dunedin – and that number doubled through more family being able to join them – that’s a very small proportion of the Dunedin population, a fraction of a percent.

Atkins launches into bigger bull:

All the rich Muslim countries who are part of the UN like Saudi Arabia, have taken ZERO refugees…

The Guardian: Saudi Arabia says criticism of Syria refugee response ‘false and misleading

Saudi Arabia has said reports about its response to the Syrian refugee crisis are “false and misleading” and it has in fact given residency to 100,000 people as war rages in their country.

The kingdom’s statement followed a similar defence issued by the United Arab Emirates after questions were asked about how wealthy Arab states had reacted to the outflow of more than four million Syrians.

Saudi Arabia “made it a point not to deal with them as refugees” but had issued residency permits to 100,000 Syrians who wished to stay in the kingdom, the official said.

“With that came the right to free education, healthcare and employment according to a royal decree in 2012 that also states that Syrian students visiting the kingdom be admitted in public schools,” the official added.

The kingdom had supported Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and other countries in co-ordination with the host countries, while providing a total of about $700m in humanitarian aid, he said.

More on this in Western Media’s Miscount of Saudi Arabia’s Syrian Refugees.

And from Wikipedia:

Syrians in Saudi Arabia include migrants from Syria to Saudi Arabia, as well as their descendants. The number of Syrians in Saudi Arabia is estimated at around 500,000 people in August 2015 and consists mainly of temporary foreign workers.

According to the UNHCR’s representative for the Gulf region, there are 500,000 Syrians in Saudi Arabia, but in “official documentation they are referred to as “Arab brothers and sisters in distress”” and not as Syrian nationals

So the “ZERO refugees” claim is at least highly debatable.

Edgeler explains – achievable versus futile

David Farrar thinks Graeme Edgeler’s attempt to abolish racist legislation – see Edgeler gets support for racist law reform – is a good idea in A bill for an MP to pick up:

There’s 20 or so MPs who don’t have a bill in the ballot. I hope one of them picks this one up.

Others want to be much more radical, eg wiseowl:

What about a private members bill repealing all the race based legislation that is dividing this country .

Who would be brave enough to try that?

Cameron Slater at Whale Oil also wants it to go much further Internet Lawyer wants racist Maori law repealed:

Why isn’t Graeme Edgeler concerned about all the laws that provide Maori with advantage over non-Maori?

The Treaty itself would be a great example of this.  Even though it is a partnership document, it splits the country into Maori and non-Maori.  We even have a Maori electoral system, and so on.

Surely if this law is of such huge concern we should be removing ALL race-based law making from the books, including the provision of Whanau Ora, Maori Electorates, local council Maori Statutory Boards, Maori Land Courts, the Waitangi Tribunal, all references to tangata whenua, removal of the treaty from laws, dissolution of Maori Wardens, and the dissolution of Te Puni Kokri, Maori Television and all other race-based media.

Edgeler explains the reality – he is trying something that’s potentially achievable as a sole person who isn’t an MP:

Doing many of the other things you discuss, some of which I may support, some of which I may not, would be complicated. Some would be impossible in a member’s bill, as they’re budget issues.

I would be wasting my time, and any MP trying to advance a bill on the issues would be wasting their time.

I’m a guy with a blog, and a twitter account. I had a couple of spare hours, and thought I could write something that might actually get an MP to advance a member’s bill and possibly change the law. I reckon this has a shot. And it seems you don’t really disagree.

If I wrote a blogpost calling for the abolition of the Treaty of Waitangi, there is zero prospect of that happening. And if it ever does happen, it won’t be because I tweeted it as a suggestion. I could draft a member’s bill to abolish Whanau Ora, but no MP would take it up.

This is one thing that’s simple to do that could actually change the law in a small way. So that’s why I’m talking about this and not something else: I reckon I have a chance of changing this.

Edgeler does have a chance of succeeding with what he has proposed. It’s a sensible and pragmatic approach

And Wiseowl and Slater have no chance of getting what they want.

Slater added:

I did read the post…and took it to its logical conclusion…that if we are against racism in our laws then let’s cleanse them all. This is one of those cases when racism is racism…you can’t remove one law because it is racist and leave others standing there…those are still racist laws…shouldn’t they go too?

There’s nothing logical about what he suggested. You can remove one racist law and leave others. A lot of legislation addresses specific things without being total reforms of multiple laws that have no chance of passing through Parliament.

Insights into Whale Oil #3

Whale Oil has posted on the December Open Parachute rankings that show them well on top as usual.

POLITICAL BLOGS DOMINATE TOP 10 by Pete Belt has some interesting comment on site statistics, including accusations that other media blogs are cheating on traffic statistics.

There have also been claims that Whale Oil cheat on their statistics. I don’t think this is necessarily true, Whale Oil is just highly tuned to maximising page views.

Their number of posts per day is a significant factor – no other blog comes close to their 30+ posts per day, drip fed every half hour. So it’s not surprising they get significantly more hits.

A few comments by Belt provide further insights into Whale Oil.

People see this blog as Cam’s, when in truth there are about 20 regulars that keep the place ticking along just so that Cam can saunter in and throw a few articles in…

 Like any headline act, Cam is supported by stage managers, sound and lighting people, roadies and many more.

Whale Oil is in a different league to probably any other New Zealand blog, in the number involved in keeping it running, and the revenue required to keep it afloat. As his next point illustrates:

Dec, Jan and Feb are tougher months for us as off-blog income slows down, nobody pays our invoices, and new work is hard to drum up when everyone is out there having some deserved downtime.  But we still need your spare change.  I so like being a hypocrite (not!), but in the same breath as mocking Nigel Haworth for asking people to check the back of their couches for spare change, I am now going to do the same.

I’d noticed the Labour fund raising mocking hypocrisy. At least Belt is candid enough to acknowledge it. Keeping the click cents ticking over is a Whale Oil essential that other blogs don’t have to worry about.

What about 2017?   Will Freed (ever) happen?  Where will INCITE: Politics go?   Those aren’t my concern.  Both are initiatives that may involve Cam, but have nothing to do with this blog.   I can report that the Freed people are having a meeting this month with another successful high flyer to see if we can find the ever elusive 2nd investor, and INCITE will hit its second edition in February.

What about 2016?

Freed and INCITE Politics may be separate enterprises but must impact on Whale Oil. Slater only has so much time to spread around, and only so many unique stories.

Whaleoil itself will continue to do what it does.  But after a year of consolidation, Cam will be back and more available.

Slater is expanding into to other avenues but will also be more available to Whale Oil? Time will tell whether he can manage that.

An exchange in comments adds more insights into that aspect of Whale Oil.

Steve (North Shore):

On the first day of 2016 you have one red note sent by credit card.
This place rocks, I will like it more than last year and hope I don’t get a holiday.

That highlights a past problem that Whale Oil has had, enforced ‘holidays’ for people who donated to the site. Steve seems to be hoping his payment will ensure he can continue to comment.

Pete Belt:

I think you’ve stopped baiting me, so you’ll be fine. :)

Steve (North Shore):

Baiting was never the intention Pete, I just own my own shit, and sometimes just have an outburst. Happy New 2016.

Pete Belt:

I apologise. At the time, I genuinely thought you were trying to push my buttons on purpose.

I think there were significant problems with over-sensitivity to Belt’s buttons – the buttons perceived to being pushed and the ban buttons.

People see what we do as some barrier, but if you had any idea what pressures we were under before, during and after the election and DP debacle, we were indeed erring on the side of assuming people were after us. Some of them were, but no doubt others got lost in the noise the same way.

I suspect quite a few ‘others’ got lost in the paranoia and noise.

Things have been very very quiet and manageable. I think I actually blocked one person yesterday for the first time in 3 weeks. And I may delete about 5 comments a day.

Five comments a day during a quiet time is interesting. Those comments just disappear, so it’s impossible to know why they were deemed unsuitable.

That’s not because I’ve gone all soft – it’s because our adversaries have gotten distracted with other projects.

Like Christmas. And holidays. But that hints that Belt still suffers from a touch of paranoia. Just disagreeing, criticising or posting alternative opinions doesn’t make someone an ‘adversary’ or enemy of the blog. It’s kinda normal in forums where discussion and debate are allowed.

Whale Oil’s main adversary seems to be financial pressures – the continual need to clock up clicks. To keep their income ticking over they seem to have a need to carefully control content, but overdone that has a negative effect on both commenting activity and page views.

Belt’s openness over the last few days has provided some interesting insights into how Whale Oil operates. I wonder if he is open to allowing more open debate even if it sometimes disagrees with him or Slater.

Most people who comment on blogs aren’t out to shoot them down. They just want a free shot at having a their say.

Beggars can still be choosers, but more reasonable choices may be less self-defeating.


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