Changing Standard


There has been noticeable changes at The Standard over the last few months. More rigid moderation has resulted in long time regulars being banned, and there has been a marked change in volume and nature of comments.

One of The Standard’s most prolific commenters, Colonial Viper, caused some controversy and last year was banned for several months. He returned to commenting yesterday, but didn’t survive for long.

Colonial Viper3.

Hey always happy to argue my points hard out over a beer, but last time I was banned for a month for referring to what official exit polls said about demographics voting Trump.

So why bother.

[That’s not why you were banned. You were banned for making assertions as fact and not backing them up, and that specifically being a pattern of behaviour considered trolling. Here you are misleading about why you were banned. I can’t see any point waiting for yet another series of demonstrations of the patterns of behaviour that have led to multiple bans in the past, so I will just do it now. Banned until a month after the election. – weka]

That’s removed another dissenting voice for the election campaign. CV is wacky agt times, but he is prepared to challenge group think, something the new Standard seems to want to avoid. Ironically this happened on the 1984 post.

There were mixed reactions:


I’m liking the new hard nosed weka.

To many people have spun shit about her point of view, they deserve what they get for misrepresenting her.

As we all should cop, if we tell porkies about the authors.

The authors offer enough reminders not to do it. Yet, people still do it.


Well you can carry on liking her on your own. I’m off again.

Weka banned me when she didn’t like her arguments challenged recently.

She was busy yesterday – also:

Peter Swift

Of course you are my bro, I’m inclusive. We’re all in this together, man, and like it or not, we are the BROtherhood of man.

Best stick that faux race outrage, I’ve lost the argument so will play a race card, back in it’s very naughty box where it truly belongs. :tut tut: 🙄

[ok, you’re out until Monday. Pattern of behaviour that is flaming, and you’ve been warned 10 mins ago and you still do it, so wasting mod time too – weka]

[just seen your response in the backend. You still don’t understand why you were moderated, so here it is again. You were banned for flaming, ignoring moderation, and wasting moderator time. If you don’t understand what flaming is, ask. That ban is now extended out to 1 month for ignoring moderation, wasting moderator time, and attacking an author. Expect moderations from now on to at least double but some will just go to past the election if you do something really stupid – weka]


The most reasonable commentator gets suspended because someone said the word ‘bigotry’… Your position is truly weak, weka.

[Peter got a short ban for blatantly ignoring moderation, and for flaming. Flaming is about behaviour. In moderation we are looking at patterns of behaviour that cause trouble for the site and increase work for the moderators. It rarely has anything to do with the content. Peter already has a history of this, which you are probably unaware of but the moderators are. Marty and adam were both warned as well and chose to tone down the flaming. I would have banned either of them similarly if they hadn’t.

Speaking of patterns of behaviour, and looking at your comments in general, I’ll let you know a couple of things. One is that I personally have a low tolerance for having my views misrepresented. People can disagree with me and they can go hard against my arguments, but when they start misusing my beliefs either against me or to further their own argument, then I will moderate. One of the reasons is that it’s hard enough being an author here without being attacked. The other is that I write to generate discussion, and if people choose to abuse or attack rather than debate then they need to go somewhere else.

You can count this as a warning. We obviously disagree politically, which is fine. But in addition to that you are stepping over a line that will result in a ban if you keep it up. Don’t make shit up about moderation (wasting moderator time is one of the quicker ways to get a ban), don’t attack authors, don’t misrepresent the views of authors. Pretty simple. – weka]

Weka does write to generate discussion, her Kaupapa Pākehā was good, but she also often puts strict boundaries on what can be discussed, and tends to ban when losing an argument (claiming things like ‘misrepresentation’, something she has done herself).

She is easier on some regulars, like:


”It looks like Labour are willing to bash those they see as being in their way politically”
it would appear you as a card carrying greeny are willing to bash labour when it suits weka

[ok, I’m torn between giving you a warning over stupid shit that’s against the rules (having a go at an author over perceived party politics), and asking you wtf you are on about. I’ll go with the latter. Please do explain what me being a GP member has to do with the post or what I said in it. I’m really curious what possible motivation I could have as GP member for apparently bashing Labour. – weka]

She uses her role as moderator to wield a stick in discussions:


You can’t pretend your Green Party allegiance doesn’t influence your frequent attacks on Labour and Little.

Everyone has a political bias, and party membership and allegiance is a huge contributor.

I had hoped the MOU would give greenies a sense that there was one way to change the govt, and that was backing Labour and the Greens. Support for any other party that won’t commit to changing the govt just makes it less likely this will happen.

[“You can’t pretend your Green Party allegiance doesn’t influence your frequent attacks on Labour and Little.”

So much on one little sentence. I don’t have an allegiance to the GP. I vote for them and I am a member and I support many but not all of their policies, but if they had done what Little did I would be criticising them too. I don’t have to pretend anything. I like Little (that’s on record), I want Labour to do well, I want the Greens to do better, I want the govt to change. You and I disagree on how that might happen and what the best strategy is, that’s fine, make those arguments, but stop making shit up about me.

You will now provide 5 examples of my writing posts that attack Labour and Little in the past 3 months, or some other reasonable example of ‘frequent’ and ‘attack’. If you can’t/won’t do that, you have two choices. You can withdraw that comment and apologise, or you can have a ban. I’m putting you into premod until you answer. If I don’t see anything I will eventually ban just to tidy this up. I suggest you read the Policy and About and that you start paying attention to what is being said in moderation bold across threads so that you learn where the boundaries are.

You seem new here and look like you are bringing good commentary, so I’m cutting you some slack, but you need to understand that commenters are expendable and authors aren’t. Stop attacking authors, and debate the politics and points instead. If you don’t understand anything I’ve just said, ask for clarification. – weka]

These changes in moderation have generated quite a bit of comment. Violet:


We all know, that in little NZ, blogs like TS are often referred to. We also know that one of the biggest arguments against the left in NZ is that they fight amongst themselves constantly, and therefore are not capable of governing the country. The constant criticism of Labour here over the last few months, feeds directly into that view. And yes, I know this not a Labour blog, that is really not the point.

And as a reader for many years, I am sure this has been a relatively recent change. In the past, I have come to this blog to read a practical opposition to the government from a practical left wing perspective. Of late, it seems to be more often a fanciful view of what politics could be if everyone behaved in a way that is so far from practical reality.

I am so disappointed that this blog has turned this way over the last few months. What we need now, is strong support for a change in government at the next elections. And no, that doesn’t mean no criticism of Labour. But the reality is, like it or not, Labour doing well in the upcoming election is crucial for a change in government.

There is discussion on that, mainly from Weka, who continues here:

.weka 10

Violet, from here

A couple of points. One is that the Labour-bashing was going on for most of last year. I spoke against it quite a few times. I’ve even written a post about that that I haven’t published yet. It’s been delayed because of the US election mess here last year, and then more recently because of all the hooha over WJ (I had it loaded and just about ready to go). So whatever changes have happened in the past few months that you are seeing, Labour-bashing is not new here.

A large part of that was the fact that an author and prolific commenter had a lot of leeway here last year to Labour-bash. He’s not here now as an author and hasn’t been here as a commenter for much of the past few months either.

I”ve just had a look through the posts tagged Labour, and apart from the Kaupapa Pākehā one and the Poto Williams one, there aren’t really any ones that are that critical of Labour. Back in early Dec there were some but they weren’t critical of Labour so much as responding to criticism.

I”m not saying your perceptions are wrong, but that unless you can be specific they’re not that helpful in understanding what you mean or looking at what needs to change. I really like it when people talk about what works here and what doesn’t, so have it. I’d just ask that you give examples so we can know what you are referring to.

Long time commenter Anne:


I am so disappointed that this blog has turned this way over the last few months. What we need now, is strong support for a change in government at the next elections. And no, that doesn’t mean no criticism of Labour. But the reality is, like it or not, Labour doing well in the upcoming election is crucial for a change in government.

My sentiments too Violet. Thank-you for expressing them so well. I have yet to figure out what exactly has happened to TS over the past few months, but there is a sense of intolerance and a lack of respect towards points of view that don’t always fit nicely with what the majority are saying on this site. I say that with some reservation because it only applies to a relatively few number of commenters who happen to be more prolific contributors, and by no means are all of them are at fault. However if it continues, it will start to turn people off coming here.

[TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

Weka herself posted several comments that were “off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in”. This double standard is effectively a warning to be careful what ones says, and where they say it.

Moderating is a difficult and thankless task. Every site has a right to do things as they want to. There’s no doubt that Weka’s interventions are having a marked effect at The Standard, for better and worse.

I’ve always had differences with the Standard on their moderation, but the bans and the need to tip toe knowing a moderator is hovering changes the nature and the value of discussions. It looks like this will become more of a thing as election year progresses.

Colonial Viper has been a Labour candidate (Clutha-Southland, 2011) and has since clashed in the party (in particular with Claire Curran in Dunedin South). He added a lot to The Standard (not to everyone’s liking) so his absence makes a difference.

The biggest difference is that even Labour supporters and members are now not necessarily safe to comment as they please there. Or at all. Earlier this week:


So TRP can author posts but not comment on them?

That continued with CV joining in, click on this to see the thread:


Leave a comment


  1. Kevin

     /  24th February 2017

    Moderating a blog is easy (it’s actually infinitely more difficult to get people to comment), All you have to do is ask is this person building or trying to destroy? And by “building” I mean for adding something the readers would find worth their time reading – i.e. adding new insight or even simply adding something entertaining (the cardinal sin of any blog is to be boring).

    The most important person here and on any blog by far is the reader. Far more important than any commentator and even more import than the people who run the blog. Without the reader a blog is the tree falling in a forest that no one sees or hears,

    The problem with some commentators is that they don’t realise that they are not the most important but the reader is and when commentating they should always consider the reader i.e. building not destroying.

    And that’s one of the reasons flamewars are so damaging – they turn off readers. And why comments which are hateful, attacking and malicious are so damaging – again, they turn off readers as the reader wonders what kind of blog they’re reading.

    Anyway the main takeaway from this is again the reader is the most important, or as they say, thy reader, thy god.

    And hopefully some of you reading this have found some value in this. 🙂

  2. pdm

     /  24th February 2017

    I am in the middle of a 12 week ban for suggesting that they made a big mistake in shafting Shearer.

    I haven’t bothered with TS since and probably won’t go back there.

  3. Noel

     /  24th February 2017

    I would agree with you Kevin. I moved to this blog because it appeared there were people open to factual debate. I guess time will tell if it will be interfered with by trolls and people who wont follow simple blog rules.

  4. Brown

     /  24th February 2017

    It seems that the left is so busy policing being correct they don’t actually have time to think about things that really matter. Long may it continue.

  5. Nelly Smickers

     /  24th February 2017

    You should build a *Paywall* PG, a beautiful big *Paywall*. Then after some serious vetting, you could charge any *new immigrants* that might want to come over XD

  6. pdm

     /  24th February 2017

    Blazer – Shearer was able to move Labour towards the centre and had them polling at about 32/33 when he was shafted. He seemed a sensible man who was growing into the leadership and appeared capable of growing Labour’s vote further.

    These are not things that could be said about Andrew Little.

    • Blazer

       /  24th February 2017

      He seemed well out of his depth to me and an easy kill for the Natz.Look how Key easily morphed into a politician,as slick as you could hope for.Waiting for Shearer to learn on the job was not an option.His media advisor Fran Mold was also a flop.

      • PDB

         /  24th February 2017

        You’re right, Cunliffe was a far better choice as leader, just look at how successful he was.

        • Blazer

           /  24th February 2017

          Labour infighting ABC,lead to his demise.You have to credit Crosby/Textor with great strategy and give Key credit as a front man.

          • PDB

             /  24th February 2017

            Cunliffe lead to his own demise, smarmy & totally unappealing to a majority of New Zealander’s (including his own party).

  7. duperez

     /  24th February 2017

    As an observer and sometime participant there it is interesting to read this stuff.

    Weka at times writes some stuff all serious, with gravitas, all sober. Weka at times has a very finely tuned sense of what is acceptable and deciphering a contributor’s intent. Weka at times is extremely sensitive in reacting, striking quicker than a snake’s tongue.

    I’m sort of daring myself to post in response to one of the reactionary, over-sensitive outbursts. Something like, “Typically temperamental female reaction.” How do you reckon that’d go?

    • Missy

       /  24th February 2017

      You should just ask if she is on her period, that will go down a treat! Of course you will probably be banned permanently! 🙂

  8. All censorship starts with pompous rules and ends with banning opposite view points. David Farrar gave up his negative points policy, and I don’t think he censors much, if ever.

    • Kevin

       /  24th February 2017

      And his comments section is pretty much a sewer.

    • PDB

       /  24th February 2017

      As I’ve mentioned before;

      Whaleoil: Crap posts, good comments.
      Kiwiblog: Good posts, rude comments.
      The Standard: Crap posts, rude comments.
      Yournz: Good posts, good comments (well, in the main).

  9. Alan Wilkinson

     /  24th February 2017

    The lunatics are definitely in charge of that asylum.


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