Comments are the lifeblood of blogs

Posts are obviously essential for blogs, that’s what they primarily consist of. But comments give blogs life. A healthy commenting community is almost aan essential

There are exceptions – No Right Turn is followed and respected with no comments.

But mostly a blog with no or low comments is a sign of struggling to reach an audience, or ‘moderation’ that deters lively discussion – The Daily Blog is a good example of this (but the awful site layout and difficulty with knowing what the latest posts and comments are are also problems there).

Whale Oil still has an active commenting community, but this has diminished somewhat and seems to be concentrated on social rather than political discussion – a sign that message control moderation suppresses decent debate. Activity at Whale Oil has noticeably reduced since Cameron Slater had a stroke and stopped commenting altogether. Site failure to disclose what happened and apparent pretence that nothing had changed – possibly an attempt to try to protect revenue streams – has probably disappointed a number of now ex commenters too.

The most active commenting is on Kiwiblog – significantly more than on Whale Oil on political issues. This works in parallel to the often well informed posts from David Farrar. Very light moderation encourages a lot of commenters and comments, but detracting from this at times is the level of abuse tolerated there.

The Standard has changed significantly over it’s eleven or so years, in part due to substantial coming and going of authors. It’s commenting community has also changed quite a bit – recently I think for the better. They used to revel in gang attacks on anyone deemed some sort enemy of of ‘the left’, which was a form of self trashing as a serious forum for debate.

Then they turned over authors and moderation was dominated by ‘weka’, who tried to manage and manipulate comments to fit her agenda. She suddenly disappeared at about the same time Greens got into Government with Labour and NZ First. Since then there seem to be fewer posts apart from stalwart mickysavage keeping things ticking over, But the often toxic commenting environment seems to have improved significantly.

Recently MICKSAVAGE posted The Standard a decade on:

The site itself I believe offers a rich historical repository of contemporary New Zealand politics.  If you want to understand what has happened during the past decade from a left wing perspective then this site is a good place to start.

Proposals for suggested changes and critiques all welcome.

An interesting comment from Te Reo Putake (whose approach to blogging has evolved somewhat over many years involvement there):

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people.

For mine, it is the commenters who make this place special. If you look at our comrade Bomber’s blog, which often has posts on the same topics as TS, there is no life in the comments section. As I understand it, each comment at TDB is held until released by a moderator. That means that there is no flow, no conversation, no engagement.

It’s different here. The commentary is effectively live and takes on a life of its own. This permissive approach to debate is vital to the Standard’s success. As WtB notes above, the community has to a large extent self regulated and the moderation workload has dropped considerably in recent times.

That may in part be due to a change of Government changing some agendas, but there seems to have been a noticeable change in moderation practice, with open support for diverse views being expressed, quote a contrast to past toxic intolerance..

I’d also like to give a nod to the righties who comment here. TS is not an echo chamber and differing opinions make for good debate. It’s great that conservative opinion is not shouted down, but rather, is argued against rationally. Well, mostly!

The site is better for the contributions from people we don’t agree with, in my opinion.

In my opinion this is a positive change at The Standard.

I’ll take up the challenge “Proposals for suggested changes and critiques all welcome”.

Fewer posts attacking the Opposition.

More posts debating topical Government initiatives and proposals, and allowing wide ranging discussions (with personal attacks discouraged).

Through that I think that The Standard could become a more useful part of wider political discussion in New Zealand – comments are the lifeblood of political blogs. Too much bad blood is a real negative and puts many people off, but The Standard seems to have found a fairly good formula for now.

Leave a comment

80 Comments

  1. I cut my political blogging teeth at Kiwiblog – I started there because I thought that learning how the ‘other side’ operated and thought was a good way to learn. I thought it very funny that when I then started commenting at The Standard they deemed me an enemy of the left and they (some commenters with agendas) repeatedly tried to both drive me away and get me banned.

    A real problem with Kiwiblog ever since I started there, and since I stopped regular commenting there, are the levels of name calling and abuse. It really detracts from a useful forum for debate, and reflects poorly on David Farrar – his very light moderating makes him responsible for a lot of crap allowed to continue there.

    That’s a shame – The Standard has (for now at least) worked out that inclusive commenting is more useful than an abusive environment, but there is no sign that Kiwiblog will deal with it’s often toxic culture.

    Reply
    • NOEL

       /  30th December 2018

      Teflon John and Horse Mouth Jacinda are useful. Gives the reader reason to skip the remainder of the comment as it is indicative that person posting has no intention of accepting any reply.

      Reply
      • NOEL

         /  30th December 2018

        On second thought.Might be a useful experiment. Every time someone resorts to abuse downv tick and never answer??

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  30th December 2018

          No, just tell them the abuse says a lot about them and nothing about their opponent.

          Reply
    • duperez

       /  30th December 2018

      No sign that Kiwiblog will deal with it’s often toxic culture? Be positive. Just look on it as an effluent pond. The stuff has to go somewhere . At least we know where the producers of it are gathered.

      Reply
  2. I did not realize Cameron had a stroke. My sympathy to his devoted and forgiving wife.
    Unlike a few anonymous low life at KB I do not wish ill health or death to anyone let alone just because someone has a different political view.

    Reply
  3. lurcher1948

     /  30th December 2018

    A real problem with Kiwiblog ever since I started there, and since I stopped regular commenting there, are the levels of name calling and abuse. It really detracts from a useful forum for debate, and reflects poorly on David Farrar – his very light moderating makes him responsible for a lot of crap allowed to continue there.,WHAT MODERATION
    The nicest thing Farrars ferals calls our PM is SLG silly little girl…shes 38 years old

    Reply
    • Chuck Bird

       /  30th December 2018

      lurcher, with the number of post and comments on KB it would be very difficult to monitor. I think some would be very embarrassed if their friends, family and business associates saw their comments and knew who they were.

      I refer to the PM as Comrade Ardern but find comments about her teeth quite disgusting and I am sure David Farrar does as well but as I said monitoring his blog would be a full time job.

      Reply
      • Monitoring comments, especially as many as there are at Kiwiblog, is very time consuming and difficult.

        But bloggers can do something to make it clear what is appropriate and what isn’t. Farrar rarely does this, instead choosing to turn aa blind eye – he must be aware of the reputation of comments at KB.

        Reply
        • Chuck Bird

           /  30th December 2018

          Pete, he would be aware but it is difficult to monitor. Obviously, most who comment on his blog are National supporters. However, there would be a number of swing voters. There would probably be a higher percentage of swing voters among observers who do not comment.

          They will not be impressed by comments about Ardern’s teeth or those wishing Peters will soon die. They also will not be impressed by racist attacks on Maori and attacks on the poor.

          I have enough in the way of income from assets that I do not lose sleep over tax rates. It seems that tax is the be all for many on KB. I know there are poor who rip off the system and spend on things they should not while their children go hungry. I also know that couples on a very low wage with a couple of children who do not waste their money really struggle.

          If people see KB as a National blog and see the extreme views expressed as typical of National voters that will reflect badly on National. David Farrar certainly is not stupid. I am sure he is aware of this.

          Reply
      • Blazer

         /  30th December 2018

        would you have any problem with people calling Bridges ,Herr Bridges?

        Reply
        • Griff.

           /  30th December 2018

          Not quite Blazer.
          The equivalence would be [deleted] Simon Bridges.

          Reply
          • Pink David

             /  30th December 2018

            “The equivalence would be Der Führer Simon Bridges.”

            Yes it would, however, I don’t believe Simon Bridges has ever been a member of the Nazi party, nor greeted people with a Sieg Heil.

            Ardern is very comfortable with the word ‘comrade’ and is very much a socialist.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  30th December 2018

              how about [how about not] ?

            • Pink David

               /  30th December 2018

              Doesn’t really roll off the tongue.

            • Griff.

               /  30th December 2018

              Come on Pete.
              Calling Ardern a commie which is what they implicate with comrade is no different than calling Simon a Nazi.
              Both are equally wrong.
              Labour is not really that different from national.
              NZ is a Democratic Socialist country as are all those that top the OECD better life index.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  30th December 2018

              Why is Labour’s colour symbol red?

            • Blazer

               /  30th December 2018

              ‘ In Canada and Great Britain, blue ribbons are awarded to second place, with red ribbons awarded to first.’

              there you go Al.

            • Chuck Bird

               /  30th December 2018

              Griff, I address as Comrade on Facebook and would do so in public. I have no use for sexual predators or paedophiles and also those who protect them. I believe she was involved with protecting Dirty Darren Hughes along with Goff and King. It is unclear how much she was involved with in the attempted coverup at the Labour Youth Camp.

              When it comes to concern about victims of sexual abuse she is a first class hypocrite.

            • Blazer

               /  30th December 2018

              The Hughes case did not involve under age persons.
              The Sabin case sure …did!

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  30th December 2018

              Doesn’t account for their tradition of singing “The People’s Flag”, B.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  30th December 2018

              The ribbon for first place is blue, and red is second.

              It’s cordon bleu, not cordon rouge.

    • The Consultant

       /  30th December 2018

      https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/09/general_debate_1_september_2014.html/comment-page-2#comment-1393926

      lurcher1948
      I have just listern to slater on NewsTalkzb and i think this fat slob ALTRA RIGHTWINGER FUCKWIT sleeping with mark hoshking should die of something got of his keyboard,Mr Farrar you have a blogg slater the fat shit is a cut and paste youtube site ,ps slater looks greasy old and fucked, CAM thanks for the lefts boost, cam slater a fat pig that keeps on giving …SUE john key

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15 REPLY REPORT SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 4:36PM

      Amazing that one can live for seventy years and develop not a single trace of self-awareness or irony.

      Reply
      • Griff.

         /  30th December 2018

        Must say lurch’s written English has improved considerably.
        Well done lurch.

        Reply
      • Corky

         /  30th December 2018

        I blame RED.

        Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  30th December 2018

        Wow, the hate is strong in lurcher.

        Lurcher will be forever reminded of that post. Unbelievable.

        Reply
        • Pink David

           /  30th December 2018

          “Unbelievable”

          It’s really quite believable though isn’t it? Tediously so in fact.

          Reply
      • Conspiratoor

         /  30th December 2018

        The level of moderation at kiwiblog may be considered ‘light’ yet is heavy enough to reward lurcher and his numerous aliases a ban until 2032!

        Reply
      • kluelis

         /  30th December 2018

        Re Lurcher’s assessment of Cameron Slater. Firstly this is normal vernacular I have heard a million times before. Second what Lurcher says is after all 100% correct. To be fair I think Lurch was being quite generous toward Slater.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  30th December 2018

          I’ve little time for Slater but that comment drops your respect rating a bunch of notches, kluelis.

          Reply
          • kluelis

             /  30th December 2018

            @ Alan Wilkinson. Your ratings about me are irrelevant. Find some one who cares.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  30th December 2018

              Already did. Five upticks so far for rating you a twit.

        • The Consultant

           /  30th December 2018

          At least your moniker is accurate, “kluelis”.

          The point of my comment with “lurcher”‘s 2014 Kiwiblog comment, was to contrast the vile abuse, incoherence and sheer, mind-numbing stupidity of his comment with his previous claim that:

          A real problem with Kiwiblog ever since I started there, and since I stopped regular commenting there, are the levels of name calling and abuse. It really detracts from a useful forum for debate, and reflects poorly on David Farrar

          BTW – and this is also a response to Pete George’s complaint about DPF not moderating his blog comments enough for Pete’s high standards, there was another comment on that same thread (which I see “Conspiratoor” has picked up on), which ran as follows:

          Our resident historian & sleuth has been working on “Lurcher’s” background:

          …” Nostradamus (2,860 comments) says:
          June 21st, 2014 at 10:19 pm

          Colville:

          You may not be aware, but “Lurcher1948″ is currently banned from Kiwiblog until 11 September 2032 (yes, you read that correctly).

          He’s previously posted under the following aliases (that I know of):

          – John
          – JSF
          – Joe Average
          – JoeAverage1948
          – Roger Rabbit
          – Jock
          – Harry Glicken
          – paws
          – Plebe

          He’s an ex-printer, from what I understand, and generally uses the CAPSLOCK key when he gets VERY UPSET.

          Rather difficult to moderate when you’re dealing with nutters like that who change names (and presumably email addresses) regularly in order to continue dumping the same crap in all the time. Incidently the banishment system was replaced in 2015 by the “strike” system; 10 strikes and you’re gone, which I think has happened only to one commentator, some Jew hating, Christian-hating nutter called “Kea”. And even he seems to have re-appeared in different guises.

          If “Your NZ” ever gains the level of commentary that Kiwiblog does, we’ll find out how well Pete George copes by comparison to DPF.

          Reply
          • kluelis

             /  30th December 2018

            @Consultant. None of your rambling reply changes the fact that what Lurcher said is 100% correct. Get over it.

            Reply
      • Ray

         /  30th December 2018

        This has to be up for some sort of an award, “best remembered comment”
        Especially with Lurch saying today that the problem with Kiwblog is “the levels of name calling and abuse”
        How do you spell hypocrisy ?

        Reply
  4. zofiaray

     /  30th December 2018

    i love it so much.

    Reply
  5. Loki

     /  30th December 2018

    Surprised to see you have bought into the “stroke” story.
    Having known our hero most of his adult life I am highly dubious.
    Very convenient timing with his comeuppance(s) all stacking up in front of him like jets at O’hare airport on Xmas Eve.
    More likely a recurrence of his minor Bells Palsy.
    Happy new year Pete.

    Reply
  6. kluelis

     /  30th December 2018

    Any post is offensive to some one. Most sites have a general demographic bias of sorts. There are no truly balanced sites. There should be open slather sites. If you go there you know what to expect…the worst./best.. but you can give the worst back. Blogs are great places to vent..better than having every one going round breaking shop windows. Long live blogs. Who’d have thought Joe Bloggs would have become so popular after all.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  30th December 2018

      The thing to do, in my always humble opinion, is to know when to just not get caught up in the battles & just soar above it all like a pukeko.

      Reply
      • NOEL

         /  30th December 2018

        Nah… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_soaring_birds

        But I do wish Puke’s would flap a little more when crossing the road.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  30th December 2018

          I’ve told all mine to keep off the road and stick to the stream. So far they’ve listened. You always worry about the young ones though. Very impetuous. Not the brightest of birds. They prefer to walk and run rather than fly.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  30th December 2018

            I must say it certainly pays to develop a thick hide posting on blogs. Some people can be downright horribly rude & try to upset you if you’re bloody sensitive like I am. Mostly people named Sir Alan.

            Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  30th December 2018

          They don’t flap much on our roads either. Mostly they just lie there looking squashed.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  30th December 2018

            Yours haven’t had the education mine have though.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  30th December 2018

              Very true. They have been blamed for eating all the fish in the horses’ water trough that were there to eat mozzie lavae but possibly their feathers were just laundry cast-offs and the culprits were really the kingfishers.

            • Gezza

               /  30th December 2018

              You might need to put some fish back in there and stake it out?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  30th December 2018

              Perhaps. Have to pump some water first, maybe tomorrow, because the tanks are nearly empty. Wasn’t helped when a horse broke the float valve arm and the trough overflowed for 2 or 3 days last week.

  7. alloytoo

     /  30th December 2018

    I try to avoid personal insults, or reference to physical attributes.

    I however have no qualms about referring to Ardern as a liar, as this is demonstrably true.

    Reply
  8. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  30th December 2018

    Comments are the lifeblood of blogs
    Going by the 70 comments on this posting, I’d say they are tolling the death knell.

    Reply
  9. phantom snowflake

     /  30th December 2018

    PETE: I’m wondering whether you would be prepared to comment about the following post; I’m interested to hear whether Mr. Guyton has been banned from ‘Your NZ’ as he seems to be implying.

    https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-24-12-2018/#comment-1565316

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  30th December 2018

      I don’t think he is implying that. He did cop a lot of heavy and well-deserved criticism so he may have retired to lick his wounds.

      Reply
    • I’ve just noticed this – same as my reply to Gezza:

      He hasn’t been banned at all. I warned him several times, then after he kept ignoring warnings told him he’d have to wait for comments to be passed by moderation, and he hasn’t tried to comment since then. It was his choice.

      Reply
    • And he has just commented at TS:

      Yeah, Pete – we “won’t forget your greed, your self-interest, your self-interested membership of global fiscal tentacles”!!
      Ya rotter!

      https://thestandard.org.nz/the-standard-a-decade-on/#comment-1566621

      That’s a dirty attempt to link aa quote to me I know nothing about. When I called him on it he responded:

      Just teasing’ ya, Pete; Jum seems to know (or at least think) something about you that provoked him to post those words in your honour.

      A greasy attempt to make an excuse for a smear. Sadly that’s typical of how Robert operates.

      Reply

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