Much for bloggers to ponder in managing comments

Something that I have a particular interest in is what part if any that others have in encouraging a lone wolf type attack, or any terrorist type attack.

It is probably easy for them to find a small number of like minded nutters online who bolster each other’s warped thinking, and increase the chances of one of them actually taking action, or trying to take action.

Do they look wider online? Do they get encouragement from others who share and promote their same prejudices and intolerances?

In particular for me (and others in the blogging world) – does allowing extremist views to be aired and promoted raise the risks of someone taking drastic action? I don’t know the answer to that.

But I do know that those with over the top or extreme intolerant views can be very persistent in pushing their agendas.

And also on a lower level, how much some contribute to intolerance, racism, Islamaphobia etc.

There are some who may genuinely feel strongly about what they see as cultural or political dangers who don’t go to extreme levels, but whose persistence, especially if amplified by numbers can be a toxic haze in online communities.

It’s a difficult time trying to work out how to deal with this.

David Farrar is grappling with something similar, putting in place auto-moderation on anyone who doesn’t use their own name (that is, use a pseudonym to keep their identity anonymous).

Kiwiblog: Moderation changes

I have put comments on manual moderation, as the normal process of waiting for someone to complain about a comment was not ideal in this period.

Having me manually approving every comment is not a long-term solution. But neither was the old system of having all comments appear automatically unless there were complaints about them. Because that means some unacceptable comments stay there.

If you use your real name for comments, you will be given a status that allows your comments to appear automatically. There will be no delay. You’re still subject to moderation after the event if your comment breaches policies, but you will not have any delays.

If you do not wish to use your real name, you are entitled to do so. There are many genuine reasons you may have for that. But it means your comments will be held for moderation until a moderator (currently just me) can view it and approve or decline it.

The idea is to incentivise people to use their real names, but to still allow an alias.

Some people have said they are happy to “own” their comments but don’t want to have their name listed as the commenter as it becomes the first thing which comes up on Google. One can qualify for “auto-approve” status if you link your user profile to a page that identifies you, even if you use initials or an alias.

In comments there is some support, but a lot of angst and threats to desert Kiwiblog. Some who have genuine reasons to remain anonymous, and who don’t want to comment with auto-moderation, will be a loss to Kiwiblog. Others will be a welcome clean up, and more may comment with less threat of attacks and abuse which was prevalent there.

What about here?

At this stage I have no plans to require use of real names to allow immediate commenting. Most people using pseudonyms here are good contributors, and I don’t want to penalise them because of the abuse of a few.

But I am considering using auto-moderation (where a person’s comments have to be approved by me before they will appear) more often.

I don’t want Your NZ to be used for promoting division, intolerance, hate, conspiracies, unsubstantiated accusations, abuse.

All first comments from any new identity will need to be approved before it will appear. After that comments will appear immediately – for now I will still give everyone the benefit of doubt, initially.

But some who breach the guidelines here, especially repeatedly, are more likely to be put on auto-moderation.

I don’t have time to monitor comments 24/7. I don’t want to be an on-call babysitter and policer.

So if I see anyone as a risk for posting inappropriate or suspect content, then I will put them on auto-moderation.

For those who comment responsibly and in good faith, nothing will change.

Also note that if I see a comment posted that is a cause for concern, I will bin it. When I get time I will review it, and may release it, edit it, or dump it.

I may not always seem consistent. Tough. I play things as I see them. Complaining about it won’t help your case, but as always I’m open to having reasonable queries brought to my attention.

Not the end of the world or a win for a terrorist

There has been some wailing at Kiwiblog that increased moderation is a win for a terrorist and the end of the free speech world. That’s over-wrought bollocks.

When people try to use a terrorist act to promote an extreme agenda, and that causes a tightening of moderation on a blog, it is the extremist commenters who are to blame for their voices being not being trusted s being responsible enough for unfettered speech.







  1. High Flying Duck

     /  March 20, 2019

    Remember the distant past when we were so shocked NZ had become a place where an MP could get punched on his way in to parliament? That was last Thursday…
    Times can change very quickly.

    • Blazer

       /  March 20, 2019

      we must guard about becoming a mini America…with armed Police ,a rifle associsation on steroids and a ‘gun mentality’ at large.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  March 20, 2019

        We’re definitely heading the right way in the “let’s take guns away from people” view as opposed to the “let’s arm the police to combat the guns” route.

  2. Finbaar Rustle

     /  March 20, 2019

    Police are likely to be armed.
    We have rifle associations.
    We have more than a million guns in private ownership.
    We already have a “gun mentality” at large.
    We are already a mini America.

    • PDB

       /  March 20, 2019

      “We are already a mini America.”

      With the amount of ‘fake news’ you produce on here I’m inclined to agree.

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  March 20, 2019

    Stuff has gone full woke. It’s no longer a news service, just a political campaigner.

    If news services and commentary leave a vacuum it will certainly be filled. That is the danger of knee-jerk changes in policy.

    I haven’t seen any evidence extremists have been radicalised by normal media and blogs. A much bigger danger seems to be driving them underground where nonsense is amplified rather than challenged.

  4. unitedtribes2

     /  March 20, 2019

    But “unitedtribes” is my real name

    • Ray

       /  March 20, 2019

      Of course it is, it must be because you have a real flag.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 20, 2019

        This is my real name, too. Here’s my photo to prove it.

  5. Corky

     /  March 20, 2019

    You have said in the past you may want to move on from blogging, Pete. Now may be a good time to reconsider that given the added responsibility, and what must be conflict with the original intentions of this blog.

    You owe the posters nothing. We have all had a great run thanks to you.

    It can only get worse once the government drafts social media legislation, or stifles free speech in other ways. Youtube clips for example may become a liability.

    Maybe a tilt at politics?

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 20, 2019

      Free speech is a privilege and when it’s abused, the abuser must expect to be stopped.

      I see no reason why anyone would want to watch a murder taking place and would take it for granted that it would be blocked.

      Hate speech that incites violence is not a right. Nor are websites that constantly denigrate particular groups with lies a right . Many of the things that you post are scurrilous lies from such sources. It’s not a right to publish and repeat such things.

      • The Consultant

         /  March 20, 2019

        Hate speech that incites violence is not a right.

        Even in the USA their 1st Amendment does not protect such speech, so that is a nonsense comparison. In the old days it usually referred to platform speaks demanding that a riot start.

        It’s not a right to publish and repeat such things.

        The sort of violence we saw with this member of the Alt-Right (and given his wierd mix of views I think that’s an accurate label), is enabled by the culture in which he is surrounded. In 19th and 20th centuries in Eastern Europe, the volume of Jew-hating language was a sympton of the surrounding culture, and it was when that culture got hold of state power that really bad things started happening, from the pogroms of Russia, Poland, and other such nations, all the way through to the Holocaust.

        By contrast much of the same speech could be heard throughout the USA in the years after WWII, from the stolid middle-class to the nobs on the East Coast.

        But all that hateful speech did not lead to anything like what happened in Europe. By contrast in the USA where such speech and culture combined with local state power, in the form of the former Confederate States, lynchings happened.

        I’ve no doubt this guy’s mind was twisted by hateful speech, and if you could find a bunch of people deliberately egging him and others with direct calls to violence, then they should be found and prosecuted.

        But if you’re simply going to say that there are certain topics that are now simply out-of-bounds because Leftists use the “Shut Up” term “Islamophobia”, then we’re stuffed, especially if we go down the Euro/British path of legislating “hate speech”. And if you think that only affects the Right, it does not. I’ve seen Leftists dumped off The Standard because the moderators refused to accept a difference between opposing shitty totalitarian ideologies and “anti-Muslim hate speech”.

        If you trundle over to the old and fading blog, Public Address you will see Russell Brown simply call David Farrar a piece of shit for “tolerating racists” on Kiwiblog, which DPF has to a certain extent. But Brown being the Leftist, one-eyed partisan thug that he is would not differentiate between an outright Nazi commentator on there like “EAD”, and someone who gets stuck into extremist Imams.

        Only Russell Brown and the Left can make those criticisms and if they stay silent then everybody else should too. They have absolute moral authority to speak and pronounce.

        “Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech.”

        Libertarian Socialist, Noam Chomsky.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 20, 2019

          I didn’t mention the US, so fail to see what you mean by a nonsense comparison; I made no comparison.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 20, 2019

            It’s not a question of views that one despises; it’s a question of hatred and incitement to hate crimes. I despise Corky’s obviously invented stories about his relations and his own supposed deeds, but wouldn’t bother to censor them. But he has posted hate speech in the form of blatant lies about Muslims and things that they are supposed to say and do, designed to make people dislike and distrust them. There is no possible justification for repeating these harmful slanders.

        • Corky

           /  March 20, 2019

          ”If you trundle over to the old and fading blog,”

          I find that unintentionally funny. I would like to tell you why…but can’t. Such is the new world we live in.

    • Duker

       /  March 20, 2019

      PG has had tilts at politics

  6. MaureenW

     /  March 20, 2019

    Personally I think people should be accountable for their comments on a blog. I would support the use of real names.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  March 20, 2019

      A combination of real names, robust debate and avoidance of personal attacks seems a good response to me.

      Blocking unpopular opinions seems likely to be both counterproductive and dangerous. They need to be challenged openly, not blocked.

  7. Zedd

     /  March 20, 2019

    duly noted PG & Gezza

  8. High Flying Duck

     /  March 20, 2019

    Job opportunity Pete – jump on it!

  9. Duker

     /  March 20, 2019

    Not quite managing comments, but I wasnt surprised at all that Odgers resurfaced as a blogger once Whaleoil reached personal, medical and financial bankruptcy.
    You seethe continuum during the Dirty politics saga, national party wanted to ‘herd its cats’ to use them as a backdoor to attack its political enemies. Farrar was to be the ‘fairly liberal responsible one’, while Whaeloil was for the more ‘hard right hard hitting end’, there were other cats involved , a fellow called Keepingstock and of course Cactus Kate, who for a while wrote under a whaleoil type of group blog before dropping out as like some others (busted blonde) didnt like the sunlight of Dirty Politics book.
    There was even group get togethers before elections- as of course they had their part to play in that- taxpayer funded employees in ministerial and Pms office lubricated the blogging wheels with tips and tricks.

    it wouldnt surprise me if a strategic communications plan for bloggers has been laid out in Bridges office- keep him clean but go after Peters on the immigration question.
    They hope that viewers can be fooled by Bridges clearing the decks of ALL that the national party did by saying – ‘History changed last Friday, thats allowed us to have a clean slate’ but using their bloggers and others in the media ( hopefully not in the same way JLR did but dont count on it) to run out cherry picked Peters statements.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 20, 2019

      Simon Bridges has done nothing like that, what do you take him and people generally for ? How do you know what they hope people will think ?

      • Duker

         /  March 20, 2019

        Yes he has. He has a pattern of doing so.
        Fake meth crisis M Bovis, long standing services problems Middlemore, dodgy donations(laughably he says is a problem for the national party), JamiLee Ross (I’m not going to talk about it)… goes on

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 20, 2019

          It wasn’t a fake crisis and he wasn’t leader then. The cow thing is Labour’s over-reaction. The P thing was received wisdom at the time; it wasn’t just National who were doing that to houses.

  10. Blazer

     /  March 20, 2019

    Slater,Odgers,Lusk,Cone-Hill were as thick as thieves…tried a paid for snow job on Hotchin after the Handover rip.

    Don’t mind CC as a writer though.Had to erase her former comments from the internet and now back in biz.