Blogs hard out on attack

Political blogs tend to cater for their own audiences much of the time, but in an election campaign tend to put a lot of effort into attacking the other lot. That’s certainly evident at this stage of the campaign.

Kiwiblog is run by David Farrar, who has close associations with National. He can be critical of National and praise other parties, but is mostly posting praise of national and attacks on others. Posts over the last day:

Farrar should be considering displaying an authorisation statement under the Electoral Act, something The Standard displays as a precaution. Recent posts there:

For some time the Standard posts have been promoting the Greens and attacking National, and have recently rediscovered their Labourness joining the Ardern adoration club.

Whale Oil has been noticeably anti-National and pro-Winston for months, but recently has been spreading attention across the spectrum, attacking Ardern and Labour, the Greens, TOP – pretty much anyone but NZ First.

The Daily Blog is a mess of messages. Authors are out in force trying to promote their favourite issues.

John Minto doesn’t see much hope in Who to vote for?

Voting involves a moral choice.

In a capitalist economy you either vote with capitalism’s winners or with the losers. With those who have used the system to enrich themselves at the expense of others or those forced to struggle at the margins.

After this election the new government will be dominated by either National or Labour – not the dramatic choice it should be because Labour brought only a tentative, watery policy mix to the election and capitulated on tax before the first vote was cast.

Labour by itself won’t make a significant difference. Ardern has addressed the desperate social situations of child poverty and homelessness with the usual hand wringing rather than policies.

Labour talks values but these are useless without policies to give them meaning.

The best hope for a half-way decent, policy-driven, progressive government comes with a strong Green Party in coalition with Labour.

Greens are the only option this election for left wing revolutionaries.

Anyone voting National this election has a personal moral deficit.

Trying to attract voters by shaming them? Negative political attack is the fall back option for political activists, and that is evident across the blogs.

Poll trends

Polls are useful indicators, albeit backward looking. Trends are also worth keeping an eye on, but they can disguise sudden shifts.

David Farrar tweeted on a post at Kiwiblog:

This is quite misleading. I don’t know whether this is deliberate or not but the timing of this is questionable. August polls are already out of date. Farrar is National’s pollster.

There has been three public polls in September that add a lot to knowledge of poll trends.

Opinion polling for the New Zealand general election, 2017 is more up to date, and much more informative.

This shows that the dramatic Labour upswing has been sustained in September, and National support is diving.

It also highlights the Green dive in support, and shows that so far there is no sign of the  much touted late campaign improvement for NZ First.

 

Abuse unabated at Kiwiblog

An abusive and toxic environment at Kiwblog seems to continue unabated.

Kiwiblog is one of the most unmoderated blogs in New Zealand, with ‘free speech’ abuses often ruling over decency and fairness.

I have an extensive history at Kiwiblog probably still stand as one of the most prolific commenters there, but I have mostly given up on following comments threads. Too much abuse and awful comments directed at other commenters, politicians and anyone dragged into a topic.

David Farrar had another wee dig at Jacinda Ardern in Interesting recollection

In response Huevon commented:

I couldn’t finish reading the article without feeling I would throw up.

What a self righteous bitch. Brash was voicing perfectly legitimate concerns from many people about race relations in this country and the bogus privileges and exemptions applied to Maori. He is the rarest of creatures on the right in NZ – a man of principles AND courage.

She clearly holds most white NZers in contempt. She wants power simply to fulfil her ideological fantasies. God help us if this woman gets power.

Upticks 55, downticks 3

Daphne Whitethigh replied:

(Hidden due to low comment rating)

I wish commenters would stop the ad feminam insults.

Upticks 6, downticks 46

Rich Prick:

Why? Some of us just don’t have the stomach for the show pony. You are free to scroll past opinions or expressions thereof that you don’t like. But not the right to demand that they not be expressed. We are the right. Here you are free to express an opinion I may not like, and it may surprise you to know that I will take the time to actually read it, rather than grabbing my pussyhat and go rioting.

Upticks 47, downticks 4

Daphne Whitethigh:

(Hidden due to low comment rating)

It demeans your opinion if you can’t make your point without insult.

Upticks 6, downticks 41

Wayne Mapp:

On this point I agree with Daphne. I am heartily sick of seeing the level of misogyny of some of the commenters.

And even if that does not concern you, it is politically counter productive. The attitude reflected in far too many of the comments on Kiwiblog will be a real turn off to middle of the road voters, and generate a sympathy vote.

Take a cue from Bill English and Paula Bennett. They both instinctively knew they should condemn Gareth Morgan for his comments.

So, sure you have the right to say what you want. It would just be better not to say stupid things.

Upticks 13, downticks 8

There were a lot of comments following that, mostly ignoring Waynes advice and continuing unabated and abusive.

Farrar runs his blog with minimal moderation, that’s his choice. But it looks bad for Kiwiblog, and with Farrar’s close party associations it looks bad for National as well.

I used to confront crap there often but it was pointless because the abuse continued unabated. I pushed boundaries at one stage because someone kept repeating lies about me, but that changed nothing, I copped my only demerits ever over that.

It’s very sad to see one of New Zealand’s most prominent political blogs continually portraying the worst of politics and some of the worst of public behaviour unabated.

A lot of what goes on at Kiwiblog is disgraceful, this is a relatively mild example where someone decided to speak against and got abused for it.

Political debate is poorly served by this. National is tainted. I have no idea why Farrar has let it continue for so long, but it looks very ugly.

Contrasting comments on Hipkins

Contrasting comments on the involvement of Chris Hipkins in citizenship in relation to Australian politics.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog:  Labour causes rift with Australia

This is a huge blunder by Hipkins, who used his special position in the NZ Parliament to try and help Australian Labor topple the Australian Government.

But what is a big thing is for an MP of one country’s Parliament to use their role to help the parliamentary party of another country’s Parliament. And that is what Chris Hipkins did by asking these two written questions (12)on behalf of Bill Shorten.

It would have been obvious to Hipkins that Australian Labor wanted this information to bring down a Government MP. He may not have known it was the Deputy Prime Minister but he would have known why Australian Labor was asking, and also be aware the Australian Government has a one seat majority in the House of Representatives and so the loss of even one seat could bring down the Government.

Here’s why Hipkins involvement was important, even though there had been media inquiries also. There is no deadline for DIA to respond to inquiries by foreign journalists. Even if it was a NZ journalist asking, they could take up to four weeks to answer under the OIA.

But by having Hipkins ask a parliamentary question, the Minister is obliged to answer within five working days or one week. So Hipkins was able to get Australian Labor the information as much as three weeks earlier.

Make no mistake this has caused huge anger within the Australian Government. Helping the Opposition to try and bring down the Deputy Prime Minister will mean very frosty relations if Labour forms a Government in New Zealand.

Mickysavage at The Standard:  Strewth Cobbah

You would think that New Zealand Labour was in possession of nuclear tipped medium range missiles and had threatened to let off a few into the sea near Tasmania just to make sure they worked.

Such has been the overwhelming response from Australia’s right about Labour’s Chris Hipkins asking Peter Dunne twosimple questions:

Are children born in Australia to parents who are New Zealand citizens automatically citizens of New Zealand; if not, what process do they need to follow in order to become New Zealand citizens?

Would a child born in Australia to a New Zealand father automatically have New Zealand citizenship?

And these were simple written questions to get bits of information, not significant oral questions where the opposition tries to embarrass the Government.  There have been over 7,000 of them this year.

You do not have to be a media genius to conclude that the tip off to Gartrell may have come from within the ranks of Australia Labor.  But to think that New Zealand Labour and Hipkins were responsible for what happened requires multiple levels of stupidity.

Their basic problem is that the media was already onto the issue well before Hipkins asked his questions…Hipkins had nothing to do with it.

Australian media may have beaten him to it, but Hipkins still got involved in some  questionable digging after talking to a mate working for an ALP senator.

I guess the right in Australia and in New Zealand are fearful of losing power and are lashing out in an attempt to damage their opponents.  But it is clear to me that on both sides of the Tasman the clock is ticking for the right.

So far Ardern seems to have handled things well, but she has made it clear she doesn’t approve of Hipkins getting involved.

The clock could be ticking for Hipkins.

Just now on RNZ – Ardern “refused a request” to be interviewed this morning, and Hipkins isn’t answering calls.

Single child tax?

Labour (Andrew Little) has claimed Single Child Tax hidden in Budget

Buried in National’s so-called family Budget is a Single Child Tax that will hit medium to low income families, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.

“National’s Single Child Tax will see a family with one child lose as much as $830 a year in Working For Families payments.

But there is no ‘single child tax’. Labour seem to have found that in some situations (dependant on income and number of children) some people won’t benefit as much from tax changes in the budget as others.

It seems very dumb calling not as much of a reduction on tax as a tax.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog: Labour now calls an increase a cut as someone got a bigger increase

So actually they are around $750 a year better off. Claiming they are worse off is like claiming that if you win $800 in Lotto and someone wins $1,000 in Lotto you are $800 worse off.

Stuff: Govt’s income package leaves 20,000 families with one child worse off: Labour

Leader Andrew Little is calling it the “single child tax”, and says it’s the consequence of a more aggressive abatement rate that the Government also introduced to ensure the package was targeted to those who needed it most.

But it had failed to look after a large chunk of low to middle-income families, he said.

While those families would still see a net positive gain to their weekly pay packet, ones with a single child would get a smaller piece of the pie.

So Labour’s complaints are misleading and stupid. Do they think that everyone should get the exact same net positive gain (less tax taken off them)? Except rich people.

“Whenever you’re putting these packages together, there’s always a complexity about it. But I’d be surprised if they understood there’s 20,000 odd single-child families that will now be worse off – but that’s the reality. “

Joyce said those families still saw an overall gain, and Labour was failing to see the bigger picture.

“The abatement changes mean they don’t get as much from the Working for Families part of the package, but they gain more from other parts of the package, in particular the tax changes. They may also in some cases gain from the Accommodation Supplement Changes.

Farrar claims:

They are $15 a week better off as a minimum and if they get accommodation supplement may be up to $115 a week better off.

The Standard pushes the Labour line in Family package that punishes families but does include :

While those families would still see a net positive gain to their weekly pay packet, ones with a single child would get a smaller piece of the pie.

It’s notable that that post got very few comments – perhaps deflated by ‘JamieB’:

From reading the headline and first couple of paragraphs I was under the impression this was a demographic that would have their incomes reduced from the changes.

But then “While those families would still see a net positive gain to their weekly pay packet, ones with a single child would get a smaller piece of the pie.”

So they’re not actually worse off, and Labour and this opinion post are really grasping at straws to find an actual problem with this budget.

Labour have handled their budget reaction quite poorly.

It will be interesting to see if Little or Grant Robertson try to push this in Question Time today.

Blogs on ANZAC Day

David Farrar has a very sobering reminder of the size of war casualties in Lest we forget:

  • 1914 – 1918 WWI – 17 million killed
  • 1917 – 1921 Russian Civil War – 6.7 million killed
  • 1927 – 1949 Chinese Civil War – 8 million killed
  • 1936 – 1939 Spanish Civil War – 700k killed
  • 1939 – 1945 WWII – 60 million killed
  • 1950 – 1953 Korean War – 1.3 million killed
  • 1954 – 1962 Algerian War – 700k killed
  • 1955 – 1975 Vietnam War – 1.5 million killed
  • 1966 – 1970 Nigerian Civil War – 1.7 million killed
  • 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War 300k killed
  • 1980 – 1988 Iran-Iraq War – 600k killed
  • 1983 – 2005 Second Sudanese Civil War – 1.4 million killed
  • 1998 – 2003 Second Congo War – 3.6 million killed
  • 1979 – 2000 Afghanistan War – 2.6 million killed
  • 2001 – 2013 War on Terror – 600k killed

WWI saw 42% of New Zealand men (of fighting age) serving in the NZ Forces. 103,000 served, 17,000 died and 41,000 were wounded.

Both my grandfathers served in WW1, although one was as a British soldier (and was seriously injured). Two great-uncles were killed in action.

Quiet at The Standard so far on Anzac Day.

Lest we forget.

There is a list of Anzac Day services here, and a list of peace vigils here.

An appropriate day to contemplate “the meaning of honour”.

The Daily Blog: TDB will livestream alternative ANZAC Day commemorations 11am Tuesday

Auckland Peace Action are hosting an alternative ANZAC Day service 11am from the Band Rotunda at the Auckland Domain.

That was well down their dog’s breakfast home page.

Whale Oil has started off just about exclusively ANZAC orientated:

Cameron Slater: This is my ANZAC Day trib­ute post­ing. ANZAC Day means a great deal for me and my fam­ily. I sup­pose it is because we have a con­nec­tion to the orig­i­nal ANZACS in 1915 and Gal­lipoli and to a vet­eran of a war much fresher in our minds, Viet Nam.

 

Farrar on Israeli settlements

David Farrar has posted his thoughts on the UN vote on Israeli settlements (he thinks it was unfair to Israel) but he thinks the settlements are an ongoing problem for Israel.

Personally I support Israel around 95% of the time, especially when it comes to their own security. But I’ve never been persuaded that settlements on occupied territory are a good idea, or will lead to a two state solution. A one state solution is worse for Israel as that would mean having to give citizenship to those living in those areas and Jews would become the minority in Israel.

Hamas are evil and Fatah corrupt and the Palestinian leadership bear most of the blame for there being no peace settlement. They have rejected some very good offers in the past, and I remain sceptical that their leadership are interested in a two state solution.

There’s certainly some serious problems on the Palestinian side. But Israel doesn’t help the situation, especially with the provocative settlements.

In my view the settlements are wrong and provocative. Israel surrenders the moral high ground when they persist with them. The settlements are not the cause of the conflict, but they aggravate it and make peace much harder.

And while some have portrayed the UN vote as the world against Israel there’s a lot of opposition within Israel to the settlements.

The settlement policy is divisive even in Israel. Most acts of the Israeli state have widespread support (such as military action against Hamas) but the settlements are a policy most associated with the Likud party. They do have majority support, but also significant opposition.

There have been some polls inside Israel on them. They have found:

  • 42% say the settlements hurts security and 27% helps security
  • 41% say Israel should leave the West Bank/Judea and Samaria and 48% are against

Farrar’s suggestions for solutions (which hi is not optimistic about):

  1. There should be a two state solution
  2. Palestine should be given territory equal in area to the pre-1967 borders based on the original mandate.
  3. The territory for Palestine must be good enough to allow them to form a viable prosperous state, not just a series of enclaves, and be agreed between the two parties.
  4. The settlements should cease as every extra settlement is less flexibility for agreeing final boundaries.
  5. The Palestinian leadership of Fatah and Hamas must agree in words and actions to the right of Israel to exist and cease terrorism
  6. Palestine would be a demilitarised state
  7. Jerusalem is the most difficult question and is the biggest challenge (after the fact the Palestinian leadership has little interest in peace). In theory it serves as the capital to most countries, with all citizens allowed in all of the city, but different areas under different control.

To get anywhere near solutions like this it would take significant changes in attitude from both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Neither look likely to go there at this stage.

Blogger of the year

Political blogs in New Zealand serve as a useful enough niche in discussions on democratic matters but are waning in influence and newsworthiness.This is largely due to the growing dominance of Facebook as a forum for just about everything, but is also an effect of ‘Dirty Politics’ on the two largest blogs.

Twitter has it’s uses in monitoring news, and views of the news writers, but as a forum it is also diminishing in importance. It has been tainted by misguided and often bitter social crusaders with too much bashing of anyone with different views.

Kiwiblog still chugs along as one of the biggest and most worthwhile blogs to watch. David Farrar was rocked by ‘Dirty Politics’ but kept going and is still a knowledgeable and very well informed political commentator. He is trashed by some on the left because he is closely associated with National but gives some good insights into the Government without being a yes man, he is prepared to criticise his own side and praise opponents albeit with an obvious preference overall.

Amongst the daily noise there are some good comments and a number of commenters are worth watching out for.

The Standard has had a difficult year, with internal divisions causing more than a few problems, and a couple of long serving and prominent authors/commenters being banned over differences. While it there are still strong Labour connections there is a growing influence – often negative – of Green supporters, active in effectively censoring The Standard by shutting out and driving away views and people deemed unwelcome.

There are some commenters worth watching out for but there is a lot of repeat bleating and unrealistic idealism.

The Daily Blog has waned. A lot of effort and resource went into Waatea Fifth Estate which was designed as a great alternative to the struggling traditional media, but failed to get repeat funding for next year -it was interesting at times but didn’t build an audience. Some posts are good but the messy site design and too many rants and ridiculously slanted assertions from Martyn Bradbury detract from overall credibility.

Commenters have been heavily filtered since the beginning a The Daily Blog, with Bradbury’s  lack of confidence in his arguments resulting in him protecting them from examination, so the comments threads are rarely of much value.

Whale Oil is still the biggest blog stats-wise, mainly due to having by far the most daily posts (25 yesterday), by many of these are fillers and click bait. Slater sometimes has some fresh and breaking content but not much these days, and tends to bang on about a few topics repeatedly. Insider sources have diminished markedly. He also now relies a lot on other media content, ironically heavily criticising that same media for being past it and irrelevant.

The commenting community is still very active despite major purges in 2014 in particular but you have search for good content, which can be tedious with the often very slow Discus system.

On blog comments – while Whale Oil keeps conquering the click stats their number of comments gives a better idea of comparative interest, with most posts getting few if any comments. There are often as many comments per day at Kiwiblog, and The Standard usually isn’t far off in comment numbers either (but not the last few days).

Public Address sometimes has some very good posts – Legal Beagle is always worth looking out for and  Russell Brown’s posts on drugs are worthwhile – but they are barely daily so it’s more of a magazine style blog. Comment numbers are spasmodic.

The Pundit is still there but only has the occasional post. Andrew Geddis is always worth checking out but otherwise, from a 16 strong line up of authors there isn’t much content, with only 9 posts this month.

No Right Turn is worth keeping an eye on but with no commenting allowed it lacks community and variety.

Blogger of the Year

For me there has been a stand out political blogger in New Zealand this year – Danyl at Dim-Post.

Dim-Post evolved from a semi-satirical site with an interest in literature into political activism to an extent in 2015. Danyl helped James Shaw in his campaign to take over Russel Norman’s co-leadership of the Green Party, and became a part of the Green campaign committee.

But this year, especially in the second half, Danyl has done something unusual for a political blogger – he has been prepared to examine his own political views and critique his own side, the left, with some very good insights and challenges. He has also been prepared to look across the political spectrum and mix criticism with praise and acknowledge positives with the current Government.

It’s rarely refreshing to see someone involved in politics prepared to break out of the bubble and look at the bigger pictures, even when they are not painting what they prefer to see.

Comments are also often worth skimming through as there are some good contributions there.

For a sort of a lefty Danyl is notably different to the idealists with entrenched views and no tolerance for alternative views.

Some of Danyl’s thought provoking recent posts – if you have spare time over the holidays it could be interesting to revisit these posts and comments.

I think Key’s tendency to blow with the wind has more to do with political expediency than intellectual honesty, and I said so. But I agree that the ability to change your mind is an important trait, and since then I’ve been trying to think of recent instances in which I’ve changed my mind on political issues, and I couldn’t really think of any, which worried me a bit.

I guess I know what twitter and all of the Green and Labour Party MPs have been talking about today. This poll conducted by a Feminist charity in the UK is a pretty typical example of the various surveys about public attitudes to feminism (I’m not aware of any similar work in NZ). Most people will say they believe in gender equality but very few people will self-describe themselves as feminist.

I’m not a fancy media strategist etc but when you’re twenty points behind in the polls and there’s a huge, unpredicted political change, probably not that smart to go around saying ‘nothing has changed.’

One of Key’s strengths was an apparent indifference towards his government’s policy agenda. There were no bottom lines, no hills to die on. With the exception of major natural and financial disasters, everything else in the country was pretty much fine as it was but could be changed, preferably slightly, if the public mood seemed to call for it. ‘We think we’ve got the mix about right,’ was Key’s first response to any problem. It gave him enormous flexibility, and he’s leaving his office with popularity and political capital unmatched by any other Prime Minister.

A series on Marxism:

The Standard has one of those ‘Maybe Marx was right‘ posts you see a lot on the left nowadays, linking to a column in the Guardian suggesting the same thing. Reading the Trotsky biography I’ve mentioned on here before has lead me to a lot of secondary reading about Marx and Marxism, and my half-informed take is that Marx was right about some things but very wrong about other, very major things, and his total wrongness on those major things hasn’t yet sunk in for the radical left, which is a source of a lot of their failure and irrelevance. I want to talk about one of the wrong things.

One of Marx’s big ideas was that history operates according to scientific laws. This was a much more sophisticated way to think about history than people back then were used to. A lot of intellectuals thought that history was shaped by a ‘world spirit’, viz Hegel. Most normal people – In Europe, at least – thought the Judeo-Christian God made everything happen. Most historians thought that ‘great men’ shaped history. The idea that technological and economic change and other materialist factors drove history was, well, revolutionary.

Yesterday a few people asked me why on earth I wrote a long confused rant about Marxism. Like, what does that even have to do with anything that’s happening in the real world? Possibly nothing, increasingly so, but I think it’s relevant to some of what’s happening on the left. The post is a culmination of stuff I’ve been thinking about for a while.

When I wrote my screed about Marxism one of my fears was that Scott Hamilton would show up and tear it to pieces. Happily he has not done this, instead he directed me to this post he wrote a few months ago also critiquing the base-superstructure model.

Giovanni Tiso has written a post about Why he is a Marxist.

I like forums that challenge norms, that provoke thought and encourage discussion. It’s lacking in the big blogs. I think that Danyl has done this better than anyone this year.

Debating Castro’s legacy

There have been contrasting responses to the news of the death of Fidel Castro. A hero who stood up to the US, or a brutal dictator? Both.

Wikipedia:

Castro is a controversial and divisive world figure.

He is decorated with various international awards, and his supporters laud him as a champion of socialism and anti-imperialism whose revolutionary regime secured Cuba’s independence from American imperialism.

Conversely, critics view him as a totalitarian dictator whose administration oversaw multiple human-rights abuses, an exodus of more than one million Cubans, and the impoverishment of the country’s economy.

Through his actions and his writings he has significantly influenced the politics of various individuals and groups across the world.

In Browning can’t understand why Cuban exiles are celebrating Castro’s death David Farrar points out  a Facebook comment of Green MP Stefan Browning.

I’m saddened by the death of Fidel Castro. He represented so significantly the battle against the worst of the forces of capitalist greed and the tyranny of oppression by the USA industrial military complex. Cuba has problems but its achievements and humanitarian reach have been significant too, especially considering the blockades and measures against it. I was disappointed by this Stuff announcement that has so much about those celebrating Fidel’s passing, when millions will be mourning.

Fans of socialism have turned a blind eye to some appalling un-democratic, authoritarian and brutal leaders.

Farrar comments:

I’m saddened by the fact an MP who has never had to live under an authoritarian dictatorship praises it so much and can’t understand who the hundreds of thousands who actually lived under it despised it.

Castro imprisoned gays, killed political opponents, tortured prisoners, censored the Internet, banned trade unions, made strikes illegal etc etc. But because he was an enemey of the US, Browning thinks he was a great guy.

Browning is attracting huge negative feedback on his Facebook page for his tears of sadness at the death of an authoritarian dictator.

Even on the left there has been a very mixed reaction to Castro’s death.

The Standard: Fidel Castro has died

Cuba is a unique place with some weaknesses and problems but with other features that are outstanding.

RIP Fidel Castro.

That was under the authorship of ‘Notices and Features’ so someone chose not to put their own name to it. There was some support and also harsh criticism of Castro’s legacy.

Martyn Bradbury: Rest in Revolution Fidel Castro

2016 has been a shit year, and it continues to find ways to keep killing off all my heroes, this time 2016 has managed to wrestle life from the Godfather of the Revolution, Fidel Castro…

…and the World lost an idea that common people could join together and fight the forces of Capitalism with weapons if need be.

A revolutionary hero just turned up at the pearly gates demanding a meeting with the workers – Rest in Revolution Fidel.

That must be the workers Castro didn’t torture or murder. It’s odd that Bradbury should suggest castro has arrived at the ‘pearly gates’ when thought that religious beliefs were backward and viewed the Roman Catholic church as ” a reactionary, pro-capitalist institution” (however Castro ended up organising a visit to Cuba by the Pope in 1998).

Is a Castro type revolution what Bradbury keeps trying to talk up for New Zealand?

Comments at The Daily Blog were also a mix of praise and condemnation.

 

 

 

Blog moderation and hypocrisy

There’s been a bit of a spat on Twitter about lack of moderation at Kiwiblog, with a number of people joining criticism of David Farrar’s hands off approach to moderation.

It’s well known that Kiwiblog comments can at times get very abusive. I’ve commented there a lot in the past and often confronted the worse of the abuse, and have been abused and lied about there quite a lot, sometimes in reactions to confronting them. Several times I reported abuse to DPF, and on one occasion  I had him remove defamatory comments, which he did as soon as I contacted him.

I have also been subjected to a lot of abuse and mob attacks at The Standard, and have been banned from there several times for confronting some of that.

So I was a bit bemused when Stephanie Rodgers joined in put me up alongside Farrar in the Twitter spat.

SRTwitterModeration.jpg

There’s a bunch of irony and hypocrisy in that.

King Kong is a regular abusive figure on NZ blogs. Yet you never see them on mine, because – radical – I moderate them.

Yes she does ‘moderate’. But one person’s moderation can be another person’s message control or even censorship.

Bloggers like DPF and Pete George want to pretend it’s hard to moderate out abuse, and it simply isn’t.

Rodgers has made that up about me. It can be easy to moderate out abuse.

What is difficult is getting the balance right between enabling and allowing free speech and free discussion but minimising abuse and personal attacks.

It can be particularly difficult to keep their own views and disagreements separate from moderation.

Likening my moderation to DPF’s  shows quite a degree of ignorance.

DPF’s moderation is very hands off. He relies on people reporting abuse to him, and rarely engages in comments threads. With the number of comments at Kiwiblog it would be a huge job to vet each one.

I am actively involved in moderation here as much as time allows. I actively discourage abuse and act on it whenever I see fit. It isn’t required often, apart from the occasional burst from individuals, because the regulars here understand my aims and support and help achieving a reasonable balance between robust comment and debate but avoiding personal attacks.

It’s imperfect, and it is hard, nigh on impossible, to please all of the commenters all of the time. But it moderation is a continual effort for improving the commenting environment.

You just have to give a damn about not publishing pointles personal attacks – instead of actively encouraging them.

This looks like blind hypocrisy from Rodgers. As has been noted here in the weekend there was a typical mob attack on me at The Standard in the weekend, starting here.

That not only involved abuse, it was an obvious attempt to discredit, shut down, shout down and get me banned by someone some of the numpties there – a number of familiar names.

And Rodgers joined in. That’s a form of active encouragement.

For people like Rodgers moderation seems to be a tool to shut down comment they disagree with and shut out people they don’t like, but to allow attacks when it suits their prejudices and agendas.

it helps not to nurture a commenter base made entirely of deplorables.

But then who would comment on DPF’s obvious flamebait?

Rodgers seems to be blind to the culture of the commentariat she is a part of at The Standard, where flamebait and deplorable abuse are allowed by moderators like her.