Is Whale Oil boring?

Most people find politics boring so yes, most people are likely to find Whale Oil boring (and Your NZ too).

But Cameron raises the question in a post that appears to be a mix of self sympathy and self promotion, not uncommon there these days.

Whaleoil is too boring, and its readers are getting shafted

That’s the gist of an email I received today.  The email essentially proposes that all the good stuff is now going into INCITE: Politics, and what’s left here is just the dregs.

More accurately perhaps – a lot of past readers (and commenters) were shafted and the dregs are left – and a few of them do their best to praise their web master.

But Slater has sounded jaded lately and that feeling continues in his post.

As for Whaleoil being boring.  After the mad heights of the last election with Kim Dotcom and then the Dirty Politics fallout, I hope you don’t mind if I say “thank goodness it is!”.   What’s the old saying?  May you live in interesting times.  I can assure you that something a little more sane and sensible is good for my health and general happiness.

However, I still live in interesting times.  The problem is that as I battle people through the courts, as I lay complaints with police, as I am a litigant and defendant in several court actions with Mr A, Colin Craig, Mr B and Mr C, I need to place my own needs ahead of those of my readers by not trying to waffle on in public about it.

That level of legal activity would wear anyone down. One could posit that he is reaping some of what he has sown. But he does waffle on a bit about it all.

And it is boring in the sense that this is a political blog and we’re going through an extremely bland period of politics.

It may be a relatively bland period for Slater as he seems to have been cast out into the political wilderness. Most of his exciting sources have deserted him. He is struggling in a period of significantly reduced importance, for him.

But politics continues beyond Whale Oil and I still see plenty of fascinating stuff around.

Slater asks:

Is the content in INCITE: Politics what you would normally find on Whaleoil?

A few people dutifully promote Incite for him, one of whom gets promoted as a ‘featured comment’.

From what I’ver seen of Incite (the first couple of editions) it’s different to Whale Oil, aimed at a different market – paying political customers. There was some interesting stuff but nothing compelling.

Greg M points out:

*Every issue has polls and analysis by Curia, this doesn’t come cheap, and as we all know Curia tends to be the most reliable and accurate of all political polls.
*Guest articles by respected commenters from all sides of the fence, Willie Jackson and Chris trotter, Carrick Graham and David Garrett have all contributed..
*Simon Lusk and Cam also do a detailed and in depth analysis of the latest events.

David Farrar’s polling and analyse is interesting enough.

But Jackson, Trotter, Graham and Garrett are hardly sought after heavy hitters in today’s world of politics.

And talking of heavy hitters Lusk and Slater, the editors of Incite, must have very limited credibility these days and are seen more as toxic. There’s unlikely to be many politicians who would want to be seen as associated with the Dirty Politics duo.

I suspect that the timing of this post, just after an edition of Incite was published, is trying to talk up some subscriptions, but the tears dripping into spilt milk are apparent.

So is Whale Oil boring?

It’s obviously popular with quite a few people, there are still active comments threads.

But it has become more boring from my perspective at least.

Slater has lost most of his sources so he doesn’t have anywhere near the number of scoops he used to post.

Since WO went to half hourly posts there’s a lot of padding and repetition.

And it’s become very predictable, Herald bashing, Little bashing, Green bashing, Goff bashing, McCone bashing, and until recently an incessant amount of Muslim bashing.

Many of the posts are predictable from the headings. Too much same old.

It’s hard to know how much moderating goes on because most of it is done silently but it’s still happening. But a lot of the damage was done when they purged a lot of commenters, the core of those left are friendly,  fake, or scared to step out of line because banning was done often for very little. Ironically they say they edit out comments that are too boring, and have become boring.

WO is a shadow of it’s heyday, and Slater sounds worn down too. Not surprising given the Dirty Politics exposure, his pariah status and  and all the court actions he has become embroiled in (and in some cases has chosen to get involved in and prolong).

Despite the lack of sources and scoops now Whale Oil does contributed something to the political blogosphere.

But as well as that it has become weighed down by financial necessity.  The number of posts – half hourly – and the number of click bait fillers are presumably seen as necessary to keep the ticks that pay the bills and the wages.

Less repetition and fewer fillers would make Whale Oil more interesting for a wider readership.

There is too much dross to wade through to be bothered. And there is limited appeal in the ‘poor me’ posts.

Whale Oil is obviously still ok for some but the gloss as worn off and Slater sounds worn out.

It’s actually bloody hard work keeping readers interested day after day, month after month, year after year.

And motivation must be especially hard for Slater after having fallen out of the political circles and excitement his was once in the centre of.

While I think Pete Belt is responsible for some of the fall in interest especially in the comments threads due to his fairly extreme ‘moderation’ methods he does seem to have pretty much held together what could have been a train wreck.

For a while it was the Flying Whale, but it has become more like a rickety old Thomas with not much energy left in the tank.

Still Whale Oil survives which is a major achievement in itself. It just isn’t what it briefly was in it’s heyday

I find it boring and mostly lacking in political relevance now. I only noticed this post because someone pointed it out to me. And even they said “I don’t bother looking into Whaleoil much at all these days”.

Perhaps Whale Oil will find a new lease of life some time but for now it is just another political blog that most people will find boring – if they ever find it. That’s a reality of politics and a reality of blogging.

Leave a comment


  1. Loki

     /  20th April 2016

    The timing of the post is the single most relevant point.
    20th April.
    Happy days. We hope.

  2. There’s nothing to see there now. Desperate to monetise a model that’s not commensurate with his preferred lifestyle (i.e. earning a living) he decided more energy into an overpriced subscribe only model was the job. I subscribe to various publications online, Telegraph UK, Spectator, The Australian, NBR and along with all the free stuff I get so much more depth and insight from a centrist’s perspective than CamBelt can dream of offering.

    It’s clear he’s been both distracted and cut out of any loop worth mentioning. Cut from the what was only ever the outer (Ede) of the inner Parliamentary sanctum, beset with legal problems on several fronts is part of it. The Key bashing he did for a year or more pissed many off. The your Belt’s agenda-based auditing, the sycophantic, boring commenters in an echo chamber – take your pick. Even the website is long overdue a shakeup.

    I’ve got to the stage where I cast my eye briefly over the line up, and I’m thinking SB’s Islam posts are the best read. Too much old news, little that’s interesting and all commentary very much expected. There’s literally nothing ground breaking. He’s having a go at The Spinoff today – it might be justified, but when you pop over there you see a very professional site with brilliant content and layout.

    He can no longer rely on being the bloke that broke the Len Brown story (still the same mayor and the Left is on track for a win again). “Journalist” Nicky Hager and Commandant Rawshark handed him his a**se. He looks weak in that he’s had neither LEGAL comeback or any revenge.

    Because of the type of blog he used to run, he needs a very public win and in particular one against leftist activism – that’s if if he plans on being there in a couple of years and wants his mortgage paid.

  3. Brown

     /  20th April 2016

    No, he’s not in my view – you just pick what you like. He does on occasion have a poke at things no-one else seems to touch. He’s worth it for the anti teacher’s union stance, the socialist dam in Hawkes Bay updates and the balance on Islam.

  4. insider

     /  20th April 2016

    Isn’t there an interesting court date for an interesting name this week in Manukau?

  5. Conspiratoor

     /  20th April 2016

    Well colour me surprised. To lead the blog rankings while managing to be both toxic AND boring at the same time is surely an exceptional accomplishment. The man is clearly a freak

    However coming from his political opponents and folks on this blog who have been booted from WO it is a predictable mantra and in itself is becoming a little monotonous

    Toxic? Now I’m no defender of slater. I’ve been given the odd holiday and he does seem to have the unhappy knack of eventually burning off his most ardent supporters and informers. But slater is an attack blogger. That is his style and his direct prose and salty invective will always alienate people

    Boring? Agree with Brown, WO tackles issues in a way that myself and it would appear many others are in tune with. I continue to scan his posts but have become much more selective about which ones receive a click. I’ve largely lost interest in the commentary because there is a sameness to it. Where is the fresh blood? How many torments can the cow man dream up for bureaucrats and how often has the crusading sandal recycled his links?

    As PG has somewhat belatedly realised by purging the bad eggs, it is possible to get a good debate going without the personal stuff

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  20th April 2016

      I haven’t read much WO, but I found what I did read to be dull and repetitive and making extreme statements based upon not very much. It seemed to be a vehicle for praising the woodlouse who runs it, and the novelty of that wears off very quickly.

    • Iceberg

       /  20th April 2016

      “To lead the blog rankings while managing to be both toxic AND boring at the same time is surely an exceptional accomplishment.”

      I think it’s the online version of Stockholm Syndrome

    • What personal stuff??? The blog is public and Slater is a person who has sort a public profile.

  6. Ratty

     /  20th April 2016

    “Well colour me surprised. To lead the blog rankings while managing to be both toxic AND boring at the same time is surely an exceptional accomplishment. The man is clearly a freak”

    All that does is explain the popularity of Justin Bieber (and those folks pay for the pleasure), who could go ‘ummmm’ for 40 minutes and still sell a Number One Album

  7. Ratty

     /  20th April 2016

    Oh and Jock Anderson..

    FFS …

  8. jamie

     /  20th April 2016


    Next question.

  9. Joe Bloggs

     /  20th April 2016

    Yes, Slater’s boring.
    Yes his wife is boring (and a below-par English teacher)
    Yes, Dirty Politics has burnt WO’s sources, so he’s now reduced to cutting and pasting from the very mainstream media sources that he slags off,
    Yes, Banhammer Pete has rooted the posting public, and castrated the commentary, and
    Yes, the whole purpose of WOBF now seems to be to generate click-through traffic for dodgyTaboola ads…


    more interestingly, YourNZ now consistently attracts as many or more comments per post than Whaleoil. So much for this forum being mis-cast as a ‘Tumbleweed’ site… seems Pete George stimulates more interest and discussion than the country’s oiliest blogger. Who’da thunk it, the way Slater speaks so disparagingly of this site…

    • Ratty

       /  20th April 2016

      Good points… except for the “(and a below-par English teacher)” bit, thats not an issue in this context to me, and the kind of comment that Boring Slater would say to get a reaction…(okay, you got a reaction from me about that)

      Just go for her sub-par opinions.

  10. It’s lame. Looks like the average Joe’s Facebook feed, with about as much insight


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