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.
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.