Stuff imposes extensive commenting restrictions

Yesterday Stuff announced new terms and conditions for commenting on their website, which puts a lot of restrictions on types of comments and topics that be commented on. This is a flow on effect of  Christchurch Mosque attacks.

Immediately after the attacks David Farrar caused a lot of angst at Kiwiblog by imposing significant commenting restrictions, with anyone not identifying by their real name being put on auto-moderation (each of their comments needs to be approved by a moderator). There is still a lot of grizzling about it. From the last General Debate: (Monday, for some reason there wasn’t one yesterday):


DF needs to change the name of this blog to
The sickly white liberal apologists blog.

Classical Liberal:

The moderation system is completely unfair to long term, reasonable KB supporters. I have always defended equal rights before the law for men, women, homosexuals, all ethnic groups.

But several of my perfectly reasonable comments are sitting here for hours.

I hope it’s just because it’s a slow Monday, not because the moderators have become immoderate!

Stuff updated yesterday – Terms and Conditions: User submitted content and comments

We (Stuff Limited) invite our readers (you) to post comments and profile information in a number of areas of the website.

The views expressed in the comments areas are not our views or opinions, nor the views or opinions of any of our staff or our related entities. We accept no liability in respect of any material posted in the comments areas, nor are we responsible for the content and accuracy of that material.

If you place reliance on material posted on this website you do so at your own risk, and you indemnify us (and our related entities) from any liabilities, claims, costs, loss (including consequential loss) or damage suffered or caused by reason of your reliance on any material posted in the comments areas.

Comment policy

Stuff welcomes comments from readers on our website.

We invite you to discuss issues and share your views. We encourage robust debate and criticism provided it is civil. But our comment section is a moderated online discussion, not a public forum.

We reserve the right to reject comments, images or links that:

  • are offensive or obscene;
  • contain objectionable or profane language – including use of symbols (we maintain a list of banned obscenities and comments featuring those words will be automatically rejected);
  • include personal attacks of any kind (including name-calling; insults; mocking the subjects of stories or other readers; or abusing Stuff journalists or contributors);
  • are discriminatory or express prejudice on the basis of race, ethnicity, country of origin, gender, sexuality, religion, or disability;
  • contain spam or include links to other sites;
  • are clearly off topic;
  • are deliberate lies or attempts to mislead. While we cannot review all comments for accuracy, we reserve the right to reject comments we consider, on the balance of probabilities, to be deliberate falsehoods;
  • impersonate an individual or organisation, are fraudulent, defamatory of any person, threatening or invasive of another’s privacy or otherwise illegal;
  • are trolling or threatening;
  • advocate or endorse violence, vigilantism or law breaking;
  • infringe on copyrights or trademarks;
  • are self-promoting;
  • violate the law or breach court-ordered suppressions or have the potential to breach future suppressions; or
  • constitute a contempt of court or that contain details of cases and individuals before the courts;
  • violate our terms and conditions for user generated content;
  • promote, advertise or solicit the sale of any goods or services;
  • nitpick other commenters’ spelling or grammar;
  • deny anthropogenic climate change;
  • deny the Holocaust;
  • add nothing to the debate;
  • just generally aren’t very nice.

That covers just about anything stuff decide they don’t want to publish – which is their their right on their website.

Those conditions are quite similar to what Whale Oil has operated under for several years.

Usernames are also bound by these Terms and Conditions and offensive usernames will be blocked. Using your real name is preferred best practice.

We reserve the right to cut, crop, edit or refuse to publish your content. We may remove your content from use at any time.

With rare exceptions, we will not usually enable comments on stories concerning:

  • 1080
  • allegations of criminality or misconduct
  • animal cruelty
  • beneficiaries
  • Christchurch mosque shootings of March 2019
  • court cases
  • domestic violence
  • fluoride
  • funerals
  • immigrants or refugees
  • Israel and Palestine
  • Kashmir
  • missing people
  • race
  • sexual orientation
  • suicide
  • Treaty of Waitangi
  • transgender issues
  • vaccination
  • vulnerable children

That’s a lot of topics deemed out of bounds for commenters.

They say they typically have several thousand comments a day submitted, so it’s a big workload monitoring them all.

Restricted or selective commenting is becoming more common.

Perhaps a reality is that media sites are not suited to open slather comments. Not only are they difficult to manage, they distract from their core purpose, to report news and to provide commentary.

Any site has the right to allow or not allow public comments.

Stuff: Our rights

We retain the right and discretion (but not the obligation) to edit, delete, reject or remove any comment which you post or seek to post in the comments or Stuff Nation areas.

As does any website owner or manager.

Kiwiblog Comments Policy:

Who has the right to post comments on this blog?

Apart from me, no-one at all has the right to post comments. Posting is a privilege, not a right.

Okay, so who is allowed to post comments here?

Anyone at all, up until the stage I ask them to stop or suspend them

There are plenty of other places that people can comment online, so it’s not really a restriction on free speech – before the Internet there was far less freedom to speak via newspapers, radio  and television.

Online discussion and debate will no doubt continue to evolve.

Leave a comment


  1. Gerrit

     /  27th March 2019

    Slowly but surely (inch by inch) your freedom to speak is driven underground. Even the work lunchroom is not immune from the restriction on free speech.

    ” A PlaceMakers spokesperson said she couldn’t comment on specific employment cases within the business.

    But we have clear company values which include being respectful of our fellow employees, customers and the community. Expressing or spreading prejudiced views against any religious or ethnic group does not fit with our culture.”

    Those that control what is “hate” speech or what can be labelled “prejudiced” speech is; controls free speech.

    The days of a Tim Shadbolt standing on a soap box in Albert park, to express his views, are long over.

    • Ray

       /  27th March 2019

      And as the various news sources cut off any right of reply we seem to getting more and more opinion pieces spouting the “party ” line.

      • Duker

         /  27th March 2019

        There is no right of reply. all you have is the off switch.
        gee , thats what ISPs have too .

  2. Finbaar Rustle

     /  27th March 2019

    Stuff has always been heavily right wing and really
    just a National party propaganda lackey.
    It may refine the delivery style but will remain heavily right wing.

    • Trevors_elbow

       /  27th March 2019

      Parody levels reaching new highs with that comment Finnbar…. the DomPost is the civil servants bible and is definitely no mouth for the National Party….

      • Duker

         /  27th March 2019

        They may read it . But its certainly been a long history of anti labour “stuff”. Even back in the 1930s they were claiming a vote for labour would be the last vote you ever have – I kid you not.
        Companies like Stuff and NZ Herald serve the advertisers first and foremost. telecom used to be famous for its complaints to editors about negative stories when it was truly big bad telecom.
        PG doesnt have advertisers so is largely free from outside influence

  3. duperez

     /  27th March 2019

    The message to DigNap15 (quoted at the top): Start your own blog and welcome whoever aboard to say whatever.

    It’s Farrar’s house, he will determine acceptable behaviour. ‘Free speech’ gets plenty of attention and there are about 7.5 billion views on what it is, what it should be and how it should be seen.

    Think about it without airy-fairy theories and notions. David Farrar has decided to put up sign: “Leave gumboots and other muddy footwear at the door.”

    DigNap15’s sign will say “All footwear, or not, welcome, whatever the state whatever the intent.”

  4. Duker

     /  27th March 2019

    Cant believe the entitlement of some. There never was ‘freedom’ to comment on someone elses blog or newspaper.
    Newspapers when they had letters to editor always restricted comments either from certain people or about certain topics.

  5. FarmerPete

     /  27th March 2019

    Stuff has been censoring comments for a long time. Nothing new here except they are more public with their stance.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  27th March 2019

      I seldom bother to read them, they are so stupid, semi-literate and bigoted.

  6. alloytoo

     /  27th March 2019

    Stuff’s commenting system is a waste of time anyway, they’re clearly getting tired of closing comments which are contradicting editorial.

    As a commenter on Kiwiblog, I’m finding the new restrictions mildly annoying, but I’m hopeful that at some point David will approve those of us who refrain from anti-social behaviour for automatic posting.

    Worth noting that Kiwiblog’s approvals are a lot faster than stuff ever was.

    • Duker

       /  27th March 2019

      Kiwiblog’s approvals are a lot faster than stuff ever was….. they might get 2000 per day while Farrar would have 40 people making 5 comments each

    • Conspiratoor

       /  27th March 2019

      You may be right alloy too. Farrar did what the political climate demanded. Im sure he sees this as a long overdue cleanup,

      Over time the wheat will emerge from the chaff as it inevitably does

  7. Conspiratoor

     /  27th March 2019

    These would clean some rubbish…

    nitpick other commenters’ spelling or grammar;
    add nothing to the debate;
    just generally aren’t very nice.

    This could be a bit touchy.,.

    deny anthropogenic climate change

  1. Changes to moderation of website comments | Your NZ

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