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):

DigNap15:

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.

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.

Disgraceful Whale Oil comments

Whale Oil has claimed for some time that they have cleaned up their comments and that they don’t allow anything nasty.

From their usually strictly enforced ‘commenting and moderation’ rules:

  • Do not threaten to kill, harm or otherwise injure anyone, even in jest. Don’t think that you can get away with clever language like “I propose a lead injection”, or similar.
  • If you see someone else troll DO NOT REPLY. If you reply, you risk being seen as part of the problem (no, we don’t care “who started it”).

From their General Debate comments today:

slateronmentalhealthpatient

That’s three blog owners and moderators making despicable comments about someone who clearly has severe mental health problems.

Whale Oil claim they have cleaned up their comments but this makes it clear that doesn’t apply to the site censors.

It is very unlikely the target of these disgraceful comments will read them, but this sends a clear signal to Whale Oil readers and commenters that nasty is back, big time.

SB, you are welcome to explain here. It wasn’t you making the comments but you have claimed your comments are clean and criticised other blog comments for being disgraceful in the past.

Slater’s suggestions he would get dirtier this year seems to be already evident. Back to the worst of Whale Oil?

Greens turn off comments

Greens have joined the growing number of websites turning off comments. Like others they say that commenting can be done elsewhere, like on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. But that’s not the same.

This is a bit of a shame but political parties and political activists seem more intent on trying to control their messages than engage in open debate.

Sure it can be challenging dealing with trolls and those who try to deliberately disrupt and trash forums, but good democratic debate takes some effort.

The Green announcement:


 

A change to our blog – switching off comments

You might have noticed a change around these parts in recent days. Yes, we’ve deactivated the comment function on the Green Party blog.

We think it’s a good move that will allow us to keep delivering the views of our MPs direct to you. This isn’t a decision we’ve made lightly and we really appreciate our commenters who have engaged with us over the years. Still, it’s time to change things up.

Let’s be clear. The Greens love debate. We love hearing the views of New Zealanders. Indeed, one of our core Green principles is appropriate decision making/whakarite totika, something that only happens when you listen to others speaking. On the other hand, our values also mean that we should:

  • engage respectfully, without personal attacks,
  • actively respect cultural and individual diversity and celebrate difference,
  • enable participation with dignity, and challenge oppression, and
  • foster compassion, a sense of humour and mutual enjoyment in our work.

Over time, we’ve come to the realisation that the comments section on our blog doesn’t really fit with those values. Moreover, as social media has become the main tool people go to for news and discussion, we’ve decided to move with the times.

We’re not alone, indeed we’re in quite distinguished company. Radio New Zealand recently switched off its comment section, something news sites across the world have been doing for a while.

Back when blogging exploded onto the scene in the early 2000s, a lot of people were hopeful that it would usher in a new era of high quality democratic discourse. Sadly, the promise outshone the reality. Now, the most often quoted maxim about comment sections is: “don’t read them”. We’re saddened that the initial promise of online discussion has been undermined by bad behaviour.

But we’re also optimistic. Great conversations still happen elsewhere like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. Our MPs and staff work hard to deliver you interesting and relevant stories, videos, and images on these platforms. That will continue. We look forward to seeing you there!

While the comments might be gone on this blog, we’re not going away and we love your feedback. You can reach us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat, or good old fashioned email. We also like mail!


A blog isn’t really a blog with no commenting allowed.

One person’s account of comment ‘moderation’ at Kiwiblog: Frog Blog bans comments

David Farrar adds:

So the Labour Party blog has closed down and the Green blog no longer allows dissent. Sad.

Remember Labour’s Red Alert? That collapsed under the weight of increasingly heavy handed censorship of comments and MP paranoia ( believe Trevor Mallard and Clare Curran in particular tried to control the message there).

Remember National’s blog? Neither do I.

The Spinoff cuts off comments

Following the lead of Radio New Zealand who earlier this week announced they would no longer allow comments on their website, yesterday The Spinoff announced they are also disabling comments.

Editor and Publisher Duncan Grieve: The end of comments on The Spinoff

Today The Spinoff officially turns off comments. Here editor Duncan Greive explains his reasoning behind the decision.

As of today, as of exactly right now, The Spinoff is turning off Disqus, the comments engine we’ve used since we started in September of 2014. The motivations are simple and twofold. First, comments make us no money but have a cost. Second, they have been getting vile at times, a trend I see as likely to worsen as we evolve. I’ve been mulling it ever since I read this excellent summary of The Problem with Comments on, of all ye olde places, Popbitch. And I was spurred into action after reading Megan Whelan’s announcement that RNZ is doing it over on their platform earlier this week.

The financial side:

…we, more so than most commercial websites, lack a mechanism by which we gain from return visitors to a page. While comments may have started as a method of engaging with your audience and allowing feedback on a story, they evolved into mostly being another vehicle by which an advertising-funded site might gain a few more ad impressions. As we don’t get paid per page view – and have no plans to ever evolve into a site which does – return visits to a particular story are nice but essentially meaningless to us.

The cost comes in because comments need moderating. It needs to be part of someone’s job to read them. Which both takes time, and means some poor young Spinoff employee has to spend part of their day wading through a cesspit of weird raging avatars each day. I don’t really see the upside to that.

Using “some poor young Spinoff employee” to do the moderation suggests they put a low priority on comments and their management. It’s not surprising they ended up with a cesspit of weird raging avatars each day.

But the main reason is “We’re turning them off because they have been getting horrible at times”.

Seriously bleak and offensive. And I don’t see that changing.

Why am I so confident that the current plague of nasty, often misogynist comments is the beginning, not the end of a trend? Because we’re gaining a much bigger audience – in June we topped 400,000 unique users for the first time.

And because a big part of how we’re attracting that audience is by confronting some parts of New Zealand’s society and culture which have been toxic for too long. In the past month alone we’ve had commentary on racism, misogyny and homophobia – and that was just in a single piece on a vile RadioSport segment.

One, it should be noted, that has since been abandoned, thanks largely to the furore our reporting of the segment caused.

That’s a shame. Big issues need to be openly discussed. But decent needs to be properly managed, and it seems that mainstream media and journalists don’t have the skills or motivation to do that. So they give up.

This decision helps contain the risk of publishing bad words to just our staff and contributors, rather than a semi-anonymous section of people looking to fight the tide of progress to a more just and rational world.

Because that’s in part what The Spinoff has evolved to become. A place where ideas are tested, where some of the shittier assumptions our society has lived with for too long are confronted and dismantled.

So, as of right now, we’re following Bloomberg, CNN and others into the comment-free future. If that makes you mad and you want to respond, you know where to find us.

How are you supposed to confront and dismantle “some of the shittier assumptions our society has lived with for too long” without allowing them to be discussed?

It’s challenging enabling online debate on contentious issues, but I think it’s important that the effort is made.

It requires hard work and time.

But I think in the modern age of communication we have to find workable ways of being inclusive with our handling of issues.

People want to participate. In an open and democratic society they should be able to participate.

It’s the choice of major media to scrap their attempts to be inclusive. RNZ, The Spinoff and others do some good but we need more than elite media lecturing to us.

Fortunately there are plenty of alternatives that will continue to allow open discussion, and that are prepared to minimise the crap and grow the good things that debate can give us.

RNZ turning off comments

Radio New Zealand is ending an 18 month experiment and plans to turn commenting off later this week, saying it’s too hard to moderate adequately.

Why we’re turning off comments

From later this week, we’re removing comments from RNZ.co.nz

When RNZ switched on comments last year, it was an experiment to see whether we could create a space where thoughtful and insightful comments would thrive.

And while the comments have been, for the most part, exactly that, there haven’t been many people involved in that conversation.

More and more, the conversations around RNZ’s journalism are happening elsewhere. We want to focus on making those spaces reflect that journalism and our charter.

They explain:

Comments on news websites are a fraught topic. For a long time they seemed like the way forward, a way to bring the audience into the stories, and let’s face it, comments are still what media analysts like to call “content”. In the social media, mobile-driven world comments are the ultimate in “engagement”.

But for as long as there has been comments, “don’t read the comments” has been a common refrain. If you’ve spent any time in discussion forums, you’ll be familiar with the pedantry and bad behaviour often found there.

As far back as 2012, Gawker Media founder Nick Denton said the promise of thoughtful discussion hadn’t been fulfilled.

“I don’t like going into the comments … For every two comments that are interesting – even if they’re critical, you want to engage with them – there will be eight that are off-topic or just toxic.”

And so, news websites began turning off comments sections. Popular Science, CNN, Mic.com, Reuters, Bloomberg and The Daily Beast have all turned off comments in the past couple of years.

“It is no longer a core service of news sites to provide forums for these conversations,” wrote The Week’s editor-in-chief Ben Frumin. “Instead, we provide the ideas, the fodder, the jumping off point, and readers take it to Facebook or Twitter or Reddit or any number of other places to continue the conversation.”

Stuff made it clear that they still allow commenting…

Patrick Crewdson Retweeted RNZ News
RNZ commenters will be welcome on @NZStuff. (Have I mentioned this?
https://www.fairfaxmediacareers.com/jobdetails?jobmc=22137TW

…with a link to a job description:

We are seeking two highly-motivated Comment Moderators to join our dynamic and growing team at Stuff, based in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.

This job would suit a journalist who cares about fostering lively (but civil) debate; who believes that audience views should be solicited and celebrated, not disparaged; and who wants to help shape the conversation on the country’s biggest news website.

You will need to have a strong understanding of media law and ethics and be comfortable making judgment calls about community standards. You will be able to work quickly in a high-pressure environment without compromising accuracy.

You’ll be adept at spotting potential news stories or Stuff Nation submissions in the comments section and will help bring them to life.

StopPress discusses news site commenting and moderation: RNZ scraps its online comment section

Whelan says that for RNZ to serve the public, it needs to know what its audience is interested in.

“Increasingly though, that’s happening in places away from our own website. In the days before social media, the idea was that comments were a place where our audiences could engage with our journalism, add their thoughts and expertise to stories, and in the best possible way, deepen the discourse,” she says.

Fairfax group digital and visual editor Mark Stevens says comment sections are important, and that some of Fairfax’s audience is reading/watching content on its social platforms, but some aren’t.

“But they all deserve to be able to engage with us on that content. Commenting is a very important part of the relationship between the newsroom and our audience,” he says.

However, he admits moderating comments on Fairfax’s websites and its social media channels is difficult.

“It’s hard. It’s time consuming and the comment queue can be a pretty toxic place. But that’s not a reason to give up on it or ditch it for the majority of commenters who actually have something constructive to add to our stories,” he says.

It’s difficult enough moderating a small website with a modest number of comments.

We have seen here the extremes some go to to try and disrupt and shut up sites that they don’t like. Marc Spring, with the help of Cameron Slater and Dermot Nottingham, misused the Court to gag Your NZ and put me in jail because they didn’t couldn’t handle a bit of criticism and didn’t like me stopping their ongoing harassment here, contrary to Court limits (to those who complain about me continuing to critique Whale Oil one reason why I don’t roll over and shut up is to keep standing up to the bullshit bullies).

Is comment moderation endangering freedom of speech?

“Possibly, but equally we have a responsibility to ensure we aren’t breaking the law or being unnecessarily offensive in what we publish on our site,” he says. “That doesn’t translate to moderating out opinions we don’t agree with, but it does mean we have no tolerance for hate speech, or swearing, or defamatory remarks etc.”

He says in addition to ensuring comments met Fairfax’s terms and conditions, he is also an advocate of keeping the comment section civil. “We don’t nail that every single time, but we do try hard to keep the nastiness out of there, even if the trolls are managing to stay on the right side of the law.”

We’ve had a few pathetic trolls here too – see The Willis syndrome.  Why some people seem determined to disrupt sites, hijack discussions and abuse people is hard to comprehend but a small but dirty dishonest minority do things anonymously online they wouldn’t dare doing under their own identity in person.

It’s a tricky problem, and its trickiness is in perfect correlation with the rapid growth of publishers’ online audiences. It seems only time will tell if comment sections will buckle under the pressure of offensive comments and trolls, but with initiatives like The Coral Project aiming to solve the technology behind the problem, hopefully things will only get better and people can continue to comment freely, sans those bad eggs. 

One of the advantages of a smaller site is it is easier to build a community that gets the aims, limitations and responsibilities of free speech and jointly keeps the crap to a minimum.

As in real life there will always be people intent on causing others harm and challenges when they are determined to shit in other people’s nests but they lose if we keep succeeding.

Reviewing comments

Things have changed markedly here over the pasty year or so, especially recently. Your NZ used to chug away quietly with quite quiet comments threads. There’s more interest in joining in now, which is great.

I want it to be as open and inviting to commenting here as possible, I see freedom of speech as important. I’ve experienced some awful forums where abuse and bullying prevails far too much. I want discussion to be able to be robust but not be repellent.

Alongside freedom to speak here is a responsibility to be fair to others, and there’s a responsibility to stay within the law.

I push boundaries at times, and I know how easy it is to get a bit lax in off the cuff comments.

Something I need to do here is be up front and open about what I’m doing.

I’ve had a phone call from Matthew Blomfield, and he expressed concern about some comments here that he feels are unfair and not factual. I’m open to anyone raising issues here and I’ll provide anyone with a reasonable right of reply.And I’m open to anyone being to have their say as long as it fits within standards.

As Matthew is currently involved in legal action he is limited to what he can say publicly. So I asked him to detail any specific concerns and send them to me, which he has. I think he has a fair point with some of them at least.

I’m going to go through them and edit comments when I think it’s appropriate. I’ll do this openly and make it clear when I’ve done it. I have a responsibility to do this fairly.

It can be illegal to make false accusations. It’s unfair to make accusations that can’t be backed by any evidence.

I’m open to anyone who thinks they have been unfairly spoken against to ask me to consider editing it. I want to keep editing to a minimum so co-operation would be appreciated.

I ask that you keep the personal insults and abuse out of it here, and stick to opinion unless you can back up what you say with facts.

One of my primary aims here is to allow the addition of facts that will help the understanding of any relevant issue. This works for any side of an argument.

Matthew has agreed to supply me with information that I think is pertinent to things that have been discussed here, when that becomes available. As long as it’s fact based I’m happy to do that.

No matter what interest anyone has with any issue you are welcome to submit it here for posting.

And I hope you still feel free to rip into discussion here – within reason and within the law.

I’d like Your NZ to be different, where anyone feels comfortable and unthreatened contributing here no matter what their political or social leanings are.

More input and more facts and evidence will improve debate here and it would also improve our politics and democracy generally if practiced more by others.

Pete George

Comments on media news sites

Comments and likes/dislikes on media news sites have always been contentious. With an election looming they risk becoming meaningless, with armies of message manipulators likely to be busy.

A comment at The Standard from ‘Anne’ highlights part of the problem.

What I have done in the past few days is to set up log-ins for most of the media outlets so that I can instantly respond to their crap stories – stories that are only going to increase in number the closer we get to the election.

Note to self: write down the different pseudonyms in case you muddle them up girl.

Potentially many people using multiple anonymous identities to create the appearance of approval of party messages and disapproval of opponents means the numbers are worthless.

The same applies to online polls, with orchestrated voting likely to be common.

Recent comments from ‘Anne’ under one of her identities at The Standard:

Yes, there are journalists deserving of respect and praise David. There are also journalists who are deserving of nothing but contempt.

An ironic comment considering Anne’s tactics.

I. for one, would be more than happy to donate to a Labour initiated fund so they could hire lawyers to fight the case (against the Herald) for them without dipping into campaign funds. If the Herald comment section is any indication, I think there would be a substantial amount of money flowing in from non-members and even non Labour voters who nevertheless want to see a fair election campaign on a relatively even playing field.

A “fair election campaign” using deceit.

Talking of a Labour is bad smear campaign…

Anyone else see the Good/Bad banner in yesterday’s HOS? (It usually appears mid way through on the top right side. Under Good is a photo of someone who has ‘done’ Good and ditto for Bad.) This week Prince George was awarded the “Good” title. No prizes for guessing whose photo appeared alongside for the “Bad” title. Couldn’t have produced a more stark contrast could they… the cherubic little prince and the nasty, nasty politician called David Cunliffe.

I actually found that piece of slimy, subliminal messaging far more offensive than the written stuff. I’m rapidly coming to the view that the Labour Party can’t roll over this time. They must investigate and then start legal proceedings against the HOS at the very least.

The old campaigner seems to be bitter about all media that’s negative to her party.

Comments are from this search – some interesting reading.

There are likely to be hordes from most parties all over social media trying to fight for their patch.

It’s likely that many online comments forums are dominated by party operators preaching to the already converted. Most ordinary voters aren’t interested in politics, especially on a day by day basis.

It’s like a rugby test match with no audience. Converting the online fray to votes is a dubious benefit.