Political bullshit amplified in social media by opponents

Political strategists are using social media is being used like a dirty jungle.

Danyl Mclauchlan (The Spinoff): In the attention economy, bullshit wins, and you’re helping shovel it along

Twenty years ago access to media coverage was controlled via the notorious gatekeepers: editors and senior journalists who decided what the news was and who got included or excluded from it. And this system had plenty of downsides but did make it harder for transparently bad actors like Cummings to swing crucial elections in advanced democracies.

As the world keeps reminding us, that media model no longer exists: the news value of a story is no longer defined by its palatability to gatekeepers, or anyone else. Instead, in a world of basically infinite content, news value is created by the ability of a story to maximise audience attention as it competes against rival forms of content: every political story vies for attention against stories about wildfires, Trump, celebrity feuds, evil Daenerys, the relentless white noise of coups, protests, riots, counterrevolutions, along with video games, streaming content, group chats, infinite cats, infinite sports, infinite porn.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned this decade, I think, it’s that social media activism is not activism. Liking and sharing stuff; telling people with different value systems that they’re morons and you hate them is not politics. The endless torrents of call outs and sneering are not emotional labour. All you’re doing is producing free content for global tech companies. There’s an exception to that, though: if what you’re doing is amplifying your opponent’s worst messages, elevating them to the mainstream media where persuadable voters can see them, then congratulations. You’re an activist. For them.

So what do you do when you see your political adversaries telling lies?

I think you have to speak up and stand up against bullshit and deceit and attempts to stoke division, but it’s a challenge to work out how to do this effectively without playing into PR hands.

Dim-Post banning admitted

Danyl at Dim-Post has finally admitted that he banned me from his Dim-Post blog. That is the first time I’ve seen him say anything about it,

In February last year I challenged a post that linked to something I thought was disgusting.

This all resurfaced on Dim-Post in May 2012 with a lot of blog comment, where various claims and accusations were mad – I detailed it and the time of the banning in Rhinocrates and Dim-Post set straight. Rhinocrates has admitted to deliberately harrassing me and disrupting the blog to get me banned.

16. Comment by alex — May 9, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

I have a question for the moderator of this blog, is it true that Pete George is banned from commenting on Dim-Post?

At the time I commented – To my knowledge “the moderator” has never commented on any bans, blocked or deleted comments yet.

18. Comment by Clunking Fist — May 9, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

I’m not the moderator, but I believe Pete George was not banned from this site. Rather, he was hounded from it.

Not true. I was standing up to a sustained attack when suddenly my comments stopped appearing. I could no longer respond to accusations or abuse. Several comments were apparently blocked over a period of time. No notice or explanation was given.

21. Comment by Hugh — May 9, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

If he was hounded out my only regret is I didn’t have a hand in it.

33. Comment by Rhinocrates — May 9, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

Sorry everyone if I was such a nuisance in my role, but I thought that it was worthwhile to “go nuclear” as it were and destroy a couple of threads to drive him out (though I shouldn’t take sole credit).

36. Comment by Rhinocrates — May 9, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

Anyway, what I meant to say, in reply to eighteen and twenty-three, sorry if I was a bore, but I felt that it was necessary in my minor role in hounding PG, but it was his persistent stupidity that offended me. In this world, with the gift of life, one has no right to glory in being thick as if it made one a “nobel savage” and PG, like a true narcissist WOULD NOT BLOODY STOP. Sorry if it wreck a couple of good threads, but I felt that it was worth it in the long run. The Dimpost seems to be doing pretty well without him.

A repeat of a closing comment in February.

78. Comment by Rhinocrates — February 27, 2012 @ 10:19 am

Indeed, but I’m (perhaps vainly) hoping that the sacrifice of this or a few threads will finally drive the egomaniacal fool away for good.

A classic blogger irony, Rhinocrates calling me egomaniacal.

It has come up again occassionally since. Danyl (who runs Dim-Post) never said anything that I’m aware of.

Today (eighteen months since I have been on Dim-Post) I was mentioned again,

15. Comment by Hugh — July 28, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

Pete George doesn’t seem to post here any more, but Redbaiter still thinks it’s worth looking in on us every once in a while. I present this information without comment.

For some reason this initiated a response from Danyl.

17. Comment by danylmc — July 28, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

Pete George got banned a while back when I noticed that the majority of the comments threads were filled with awesomely boring Pete George comments.

So finally he has admitted banning me.

He could have just asked me to cease commenting, so the other commenters could find someone else to bore off the blog. He could have at least followed glog etiquette and decency and adviced what had hapened. But for some reason he maintained a silence on it up until now.

This raised doubts about the openness of Dim-Post – if I have been banned and my comments have just disappeared than how many others ahave been censored and banned without notification?

I think that a blog that silently censors seriously compromises it’s integrity. You have no way of knowing how uneven and message and messenger controlled debates are, unless directly involved yourself.

Ultimately every blogger makes their own rules and moderates their blog however they like. But in my mind blogs that silently control what is made public are are unreliable forums.

I don’t care that I was banned, it seems to be common practice on lefty blogs. So far my ban scorecard includes:

  • Dim-Post (Danyl Mclachlan)
  • Red Alert (Clare Curran)
  • The Standard (Lynn Prentice)
  • The Daily Blog (Martyn Bradbury)

Of those only The Standard was open and clear about the banning. The others all just started blocking comments.In a way it’s funny, in a way it’s a sad state of discussion.

Free speech and fair debate seem to be low priorities on the left. I think that is a real shame – for them.

I’m aware that many people will find this post awesomely boring. I have written it up not to entertain, but as a public record. It could be useful for future reference, especially when I’m accused again of making things up about being banned.

If Danyl ever reads this – can you answer how often you deleted comments without saying anything? And how often do you ban people without saying anything?

Final words from Dim-Post:

28. Comment by Hugh — July 29, 2013 @ 12:37 am

@danyl: Whoah, you can get banned for being boring? Bold move. You’re right, he did tend to regard his own opinion as intrinsically more interesting than anything else (including the original post) but if that was a generally bannable offense the blogosphere would be very small.

Yes, especially Dim-Post if academic egomaniacs weren’t exempt.

Still, it’s not as if we’re missing much. I could tell you Pete’s opinion on any given issue without needing to hear him actually give it.

Very funny Hugh. On a thread about the GCSB and spying. What’s your surname?