Will trousers stay up at Belt-less Whale Oil

Without much fanfare late yesterday at Whale Oil: Goodbye Pete

Pete has worked his last day at Whaleoil. It marks the end of five years of what has been a rollercoaster ride for all of us. A lot of what happened was not what Pete had signed up for.

Pete has forever changed Whaleoil for the better with his moderation plan. He assured Cam that the initial pushback would be worth the stress and he was 100% right. His expertise in moderating online forums transformed Whaleoil into a place where everyone felt safe to comment and where comments were as much of an attraction for intelligent content as the posts themselves.

Soon after joining Whale Oil Pete Belt led the commenter purges in 2015. While it cleaned up some aspects of the WO forums it also sanitised them, removing critical voices and protecting the post messages – some of which we now know were paid for. Some criticisms have returned, carefully, but it often looks sycophantic like The Standard or The Daily Blog, with dissent moderated out.

“Comments were as much of an attraction for intelligent content as the posts themselves.” Sadly that is mostly delusion. There are some good comments and occasional good posts (most rely on mainstream media content) Whale Oil is nothing like the ground breaking story breaking force it once was. It is now just another blog, albeit still larger than the others, but operating in a corner of New Zealand discussion now dominated by Facebook and to a lesser extent Twitter, and possibly overshadowed by quite non-blog performers like Reddit.

On a number of occasions, Pete stepped up and took up the slack. When Cam was in court for a week and a half he enabled Whaleoil to keep going when the going was really tough and when Cam needed the occasional weekend off to go hunting having Pete on staff made it possible.

Indications are that Belt held WO together through turbulent times, both financially and operationally. He will leave a big deficit in blog management.

Curiously SB (Spanish Bride) posted the announcement that Belt had left. Nothing from her husband in comments either. Perhaps some public thanks are yet to come from Cameron Slater.

Is SB taking over management of WO?

It will be interesting to see what happens there now. With content being nothing out of the ordinary now, apart from some now old hat colourful (or dirty) trashing of people and parties.

With the Belt gone, will the trousers stay up?

 

Hooton to appear for Slater

From Whale Oil’s daily report on the defamation trial between Colin Craig and Cameron Slater:

As for today: another day of Colin Craig questioning Cam Slater, although there is an expectation is won’t be all day.  Mr Craig will wind up his questions, and then there will be an opportunity for Brian Henry to ask a few, followed by the Court.

If the judge questions Slater that could be interesting. It will be quite different to being questioned by Craig.

Then Cam Slater’s witnesses will take the stand.  Matthew Hooton is scheduled to the first.

And Hooton could be interesting too, both in what Slater’s team want him to say, and in what Craig asks him.

As you might have gathered from Cam’s wife, while he’s on the stand, we can’t discuss the case with him in any way.

I can’t even describe what I think he’s doing well, or not doing well, in case he reads it on the blog.  Hopefully we can have a catch up after today.

This makes some of the commentary on Whale Oil somewhat surprising, in posts, in  what has been said by Pete Belt and Spanish bride in comments, and in comments under other pseudonyms that have been allowed.

There has been an obvious allowance for derogatory comments aimed at Craig, and supportive comments for Slater. Slater himself has commented occasionally but that seems to have stopped since he started giving evidence.

There has also been defence of and promotion of Whale Oil along similar lines to evidence being given by Slater.

The daily reports have been posted under ‘Whaleoil Staff’, which I presume is Pete Belt not wanting to be open about who is writing them (I can’t be sure due to the anonymity).

Whale Oil dirty and inconsistent

Missy posted:

Whaleoil have a post about the call from the HRC for the Govt to apologise about Child Abuse in State Care, supported by Jacinda Ardern. What caught my attention is the headline: Socialist Cindy, the childless champion of children

I am sorry, but her being childless should be irrelevant, I think that is just nasty to say that about her. There was a similar (sort of) situation here during the Conservative Party leadership election when it seemed one of the candidates kept prefacing every comment with ‘as a mother I….’, this was a direct dig at Theresa May who had no children, and the inference is that people with no children have no empathy – Cameron Slater is using the same tactic here. Pete tries to justify it, but in my view it is still shoddy on their part, and stigmatising Jacinda for not being a mother, and detracting from the point of the article – whether you agree or not with it.

I agree that having a dig at someone for being childless is nasty. perhaps this is some of the ‘more dirty’ that Slater has been talking about doing this year.

As Missy says, Pete Belt tries to defend the indefensible.

Spambot42: How is Cindy being childless relevant to the content of the article and the entirely relevant point you made about it…?

Pete Belt: She is the shadow minister for children. If they appointed a chinese person as minister of maori affairs, that would be notable. So, so is a childless woman being a children’s advocate.

BayPomNZ: She has been a child at some point in time so perhaps your analogy isn’t quite correct. I agree with spambot42 that being childless is completely irrelevant to ifnshed do a good job or not.

Pete Belt: It remains a factual statement. It is up to the reader to decide if it is relevant. As a parent, knowing what I thought about parenting and children before I became a parent, and what I know now, I feel confident in saying that a childless person can no understand what it is like to to have children and how their needs, thoughts and lives are experienced.

It may be a factual statement but it’s both nasty and stupid.

It’s ridiculous to suggest that any spokesperson role in politics is only credible if the person has been a mother, been a general, been a policeman, been a child in a sole parent family, been a property investor, been a tax evader etc etc.

Truby King founded Plunket and did a lot to teach mothers domestic hygiene and childcare, but he had never been a mother. That doesn’t negate what he achieved in reducing infant mortality. He also improved nutrition at the Seacliff psychiatric hospital, but I’m not aware of him having been a mental patient.

The Whale Oil headline is a dirty dig at Ardern, typical of Slater’s approach to politics. Talking of which, Slater has never been an MP, by Belt’s standards that means Slater being a political advocate is something worthy of taunting and degrading.

This just highlights the fact that Whale Oil is largely a political activist blog, and having never been a real journalist his attempts to portray his blog as an alternate new media should be rubbished by Belt, if he was to be consistent.

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?

More dirty blogging at Whale Oil revealed

Another court case has revealed more mercenary dirty blogging at Whale Oil by Cameron Slater. This was mentioned in comments here recently from news reports. A court judgment on costs reveals more details.

Stuff reported: Ex-Kristin principal recoups costs from ex-wife who judge said tried to ‘destroy’ him

A former top principal has been awarded $145,811 in court costs after his ex-wife allegedly tried to ruin his reputation.

Former Kristin School head Peter Clague was last year hauled to the Auckland District Court to answer a charge of assault – to which Judge David McNaughton quickly put an end.

in July last year Judge McNaughton threw the charge out, saying a jury would have been unable to convict and that the case had been brought in bad faith.

Clague has since sought costs for the court exercise, with his lawyer arguing that aside from bringing the prosecution in bad faith, Denham had also failed to respond to court directives or provide disclosure.

She had also allegedly launched a “sustained vicious and untrue media campaign on the part of Carrick Graham and [WhaleOil blogger] Cameron Slater”. 

Carrick Graham featured significantly in Nicky Hager’s ‘Dirty Politics’, for example in the paragraph named ‘Cash For Comments’ :

Cameron Slater willingly published years of pro-tobacco company spin as his own writing, some written by Graham…He then used the payments he received from Graham…”

And from the chapter titled ‘Chaos and Mayhem Limited’:

It is likely that Graham used the Whale Oil blog for various other clients…

An example of this was  the executive principal of a North Auckland private school who was in a matrimonial dispute with his exp-wife in late 2012. She hired Carrick Graham ‘to whom she was referred by her lawyer’ and a concerted character assassination began on Whale Oil.

The first post appeared on 24 October 2012, marked ‘via the tip line’ and hinted about a complaint made by the ex-wife…Posts followed on 28 and 30 October, then 3, 4, 6 and 8 November.

When a student tried to stick up for the principal in the Whale Oil comments, Salter responded ‘Is he running one up you too?’

That last comment was on the November 4 post titled ‘You Read it Here First’. It appears that the other posts are also still on public display.

Details of the Court judgment (made on 1 March 2016, published 11 July 2016) are available at Jackman v Clague [2016] NZDC 3266. This includes these paragraphs.

[9] In addition, Mr Lloyd sought to emphasise what he described as a sustained vicious and untrue media campaign on the part of Carrick Graham and Cameron Slater culminating in articles in the UK press as the defendant arrived there in August 2014 to take up a new position. He emphasised the collateral damage to the Kristin school community and submitted there was a very strong need for deterrents of bad faith prosecutions of this sort.

I would add bad faith blogging to that.

Paragraph [33] quotes from an earlier decision:

“I also observe that at the same time the informant was saying she was unable to remunerate a legal adviser and therefore required “pro bono” assistance, she was quite prepared to pay substantial fees to Mr Graham for his assistance in her approaching the media. She has also apparently decided to continue with these proceedings despite no doubt having been warned of a very serious cost implication should the defendant be found not guilty.”

In TOP SCHOOL HIT BY POLICE INVESTIGATION, CTD Slater (or Graham?) wrote:

Whenever I expose an issue that others are trying to keep quiet, the tip line literally explodes with new information. As I have always said, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

I don’t think Slater has ever explained that ‘tip line’ might refer to tips paid to him for posting dirty attacks, but I don’t think he has denied being a mercenary blogger, doing paid for online hit jobs.

And Whale Oil is, or at least was, a dirty mercenary blog. Pete Belt appears to have been directly involved at least later in the campaign against Clague.

From BET HE WAS REGISTERED, NOW HE’S RUNNING AWAY, which led with “Escaping New Zealand and a history of domestic assault means the UK now get a wife beater” Belt wrote in comments (note the use of ‘we’):

Fair call. The beating reference was because we call these people “wife beaters”, but you are absolutely correct. He is reported as having grabbed her by the throat and thrown her onto the stairs. No reference to beating.

So I should have said “Maurice doesn’t strangle his wife and throws her onto the stairs either”, to be fair.

‘Corporate refugee’ in response:

Well we don’t know that he did that either, it was “reported” (alleged really) by the person that is trying to bring the prosecution against him. Hopefully the court might be able to find out if it happened or not.

Belt:

Oh, don’t be pedantic. Apart from the fact that we do know. Whaleoil has direct knowledge in this case.

Whaleoil has a direct witness that was there when it did take place. What are your credentials beyond having a contrary opinion.

‘Corporate refugee’ was allowed to make a number of comments (this thread was in May 2014, just before the Belt driven purges began at Whale Oil).

The importance obviously attached by Ms Jackman to ensuring that the story (i.e. that she has taken out a private prosecution) was made public before any name suppression could be obtained speaks volumes. It would appear that the main (sole?) objective of her actions is to create maximum negative publicity and damage to Mr Clague.

I suspect that she already realises that the outcome of the hearing is likely to be the same as the police investigation (inconclusive), but of course it does give her the opportunity to create a bit more humiliation. But only with a media mouthpiece.

If her motive were genuinely to seek some sort of personal justice for herself through the courts for what was a private incident, why would it be so important for her have as much publicity as possible about it in the media?

There’s a number of quite familiar aspects in all of this. As well as a number of what appear to be campaigns with commercial interests involving Slater and Graham, Whale Oil has been used in a number of attempts at character assassination. The campaign against Blomfield is one – that is still going through the Court, with incremental legal and financial losses mounting for Slater.

There are other well publicised defamation cases under way targeting Slater – Graham seems to have been able to escape direct legal attention so far.

And I wouldn’t be surprised if there is more sunlight yet to shine on dirty blogging and associated abuse of legal processes involving Slater, Whale Oil, and others.

Slater protected from comments

It’s well know that there has been some fairly extensive moderation exercised at Whale Oil over the past two or three years.

While Cameron Slater is promoted as a someone prepared to speak out and tackle issues  vigorously, confrontationally, supposedly bravely, that sort of approach has not been allowed in comments.

How Whale Oil moderation works is further revealed in a conversation yesterday.

Macca:

Edit? What could I have possibly written in the above comment to require it to be signaled for approval?

Pete (Belt):

[MOD] You may have missed the “do not discuss moderation in public” rule. I guess you now know why. It drags everything sideways.

Spanishbride:

Our automatic system grabs comments with certain words so that a flesh and blood moderator can check it before it is released. Mine get held up all the time because I use my husband’s name. if I say his name the comment goes straight into moderation.

So all comments that mention Slater’s name automatically go straight to moderation awaiting approval.

Hookerphil:

And so it should, do you expect to publicly say or write something without your husbands approval. Are you not endeavouring to experience life as a Muslim female.

Interesting that that comment was allowed through.

It may have been an internal comment to try and make a point, Belt later appeared to try and explain “Humour is frequently lost in this medium, especially when it is accompanied by sarcasm or irony”.  Did he just approve the comment, or did he write it?

Slater responded to hookerphil:

I’m not a moderator…The monkey boy is in charge of that, ably assisted by the bogan pie eater.

Belt is Slater’s protecter. I was banned (about two years ago) when I posted an alternative argument to a Slater post, and it sounds like this was not uncommon.

Spanishbride:

You are joking right? His name is one of the many words on a long list because it may indicate that someone is abusing him rather than discussing the topic.

Slater, renowned for his abrasive name calling posts, sometimes described as abusive, is protected from anyone saying mean things about him.

An automated system is why our moderation is so good. The huge list of words means that anything potentially bad doesn’t get through until a moderator has checked it.

Many comments are filtered into moderation by ‘a huge list of words’. So commenters either have to take great care about what words are used or risk their comments being delayed or ‘disappeared’. That must affect the nature of discussions – which often sound sycophantic.

Most like mine are perfectly fine and are soon released. Remember we have been taken to court because of what our commenters have said on our blog.

Has Whale Oil been taken to court because of comments? I don’t recall seeing any examples of this. I’ve  seen Slater taken to court for some of his comments. And perhaps comments of people campaigning with him.

We have to err on the side of caution which includes what I say as a commenter.

Perhaps Whale Oil has to be more cautious due to past legal problems, but I don’t know why ‘a huge list of words’ has to be used to try filter out any problems.

That sounds like trying to monitor and control what is being discussed far more than protecting from legal threats.

Will Belt be contracting to run moderation at Freed? He has suggested offering hso moderation skills as a paid for service (unless that was humour, irony or sarcasm). Will any comments be allowed at Freed?

Teknonym “a label to aggregate the work”

The most used ‘author’ name at Whale Oil has changed from ‘Cameron Slater’ to ‘Teknonym’. It appears to be largely same old under a new label.

When Pete Belt posted FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT: CAM SLATER IS NO LONGER WITH WHALEOIL  he said:

It will be exactly the same and completely new. And yes, I realise that both can’t be true.

Whaleoil will continue to deliver stories with information that comes from the same network of people who have been the ‘invisible hand’ behind the blog for some time.

What seems to have changed is that stories that used to be posted under “Cameron Slater” are now being posted under “Teknonym”. The posts seem similar and whoever is writing is trying to emulate Slater’s style.

So who is Teknonym? Same old Whale Oil under a different name?

WeaselKiss

I must have missed it but do we know or was it said anywhere who Teknonym is?
He/she berry good!

  •  

    I duuno but I’m guessing it’s a name Pete gives to posts provided by readers etc.

    • Avatar

      Very perceptive. Yes, it’s not one individual. It is simply a label to aggregate the work while Cam is away. Careful observers will note that the “Whaleoil machine” without Cam simply continues to exist.

  • So various sources that used to supply and post under ‘Cameron Slater’ now supply and post under ‘Teknonym’?

    It was a questionable way to do things under ‘Cameron Slater’ but it’s quite an odd way to do things under ‘Teknonym’.

    Posts could have been written by any number of anonymous people. Or they could all be written by Pete Belt. Or whatever.

    An ironic post under Teknonym on Monday: WHICH POLLSTERS CAN YOU TRUST, AND WHICH ARE BOUGHT AND PAID FOR?

    Obvious questions will be which bloggers can you trust and which are bought and paid for? In Dirty Politics Nicky Hager exposed pay per posts at Whale Oil, under ‘Cameron Slater’.I don’t think that was ever really  denied by Slater.

    Suspicions remained, especially when posts related to apparent product endorsements and hit jobs (including political products).

    We know that Colmar Brunton are one of the most variable and have a clear bias towards Labour, for example.

    Who might ‘we’ be? “The same network of people who have been the ‘invisible hand’ behind the blog for some time”?

    They are either poorly informed or are deliberately discrediting Colmar Brunton. There is little movement in the latest One News Colmar Brunton poll and trends don’t look out of the ordinary – see One News Poll – June 2016.

    Whenever the Fraser House spy tells me that Labour are polling in the low to mid-thirties, and then paid-for polls come out, you can reliably subtract 4-6 points, every time.

    From anyone that would sound like vague unsubstantiated nonsense.

    From…

    • an anonymous person or persons,
    • who apparently share a pseudonym with a number of others (unless “it’s not one individual” means it’s a group of people working together, as in “we”),
    • citing an anonymous,claimed source,
    • citing private polls that are only leaked and never supported by anything authentic or with any substance,
    • on a blog with a reputation for posting false and misleading information,
    • a blog with a reputation for dirty politics,
    • a blog that still promotes itself on Twitter and Facebook with “THEY SAY DIRTY POLITICS LIKE IT IS A BAD THING”,

    …one could be forgiven for taking any posts by ‘Teknonym’ with a grain of political salt.

    So far it appears that Whale Oil is exactly the same with a completely new “label to aggregate the work”.

    It appears that Whale Oil  is continuing  “to deliver stories with information that comes from the same network of people who have been the ‘invisible hand’ behind the blog for some time”.

    UPDATE: a rather bizarre ramble by Pete belt this morning: FROM THE DRIVERS SEAT: WHALEOIL, KEY AND SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST

    Hello chaps and chapesses. This is your Captain speaking. With the recent changes at WO I expected to have some trouble. On day one, someone signed up and started to troll. On day two, we have a reader-led revolt because for some reason this blog may not criticise people readers feel don’t deserve it. Pack mentality set in and people who weren’t even in the conversation piled in and made things worse.

    Surprise surprise, trouble under the new regime.

    I’ve said this for years: Whaleoil is a sizeable community. Cam Slater may be our public face to it, he provides an edge or the cream on top, but the essential bits that make up this blog will continue even when Cam Slater isn’t there.

    It continued when he was an editor at Truth. It’s continued even when he was spending most of his time on court related matters. And it will continue even though Cam is off “having a break away”. A change is as good as a holiday, after all

    Has Slater actually been sidelined?

    And it sounds like more commenters who have differing opinions to Belt are also being sidelined.

    Whaleoil should have enough to appeal to our readers most days, even when there is something that’s not your kind of thing. Make a choice – stay or go. But if you’re going to go, please don’t embarrass yourself by chucking your toys. It makes work for the moderators, and an hour later, nobody even remembers you were even there.

    He is pissing on the remaining faithful. Slater may have restrained him before, bit now it seems to be open slather, plus lectures.

     

    Proud of dirty politics

    Despite being exposed and discredited and vilified by Nicky Hager’s ‘Dirty Politics’ nearly two years ago Cameron Slater is wearing it as some sort of badge of honour – or dishonour.

    It was announced during the week that Slater was leaving Whale Oil, at least temporarily (“a month, perhaps two – depending”).

    Pete Belt, who is taking over sole charge of Whale Oil, posted “From today that changes for a while. No doubt this will come as a shock to many, but Cam’s no longer here after the weekend.”

    So things changed on Thursday but don’t take effect until after the weekend.

    It is unclear whether Slater will actually return or not. This may be a way of gradually removing him from Whale Oil, or it may just be a break as claimed, for a vague length of time.

    It will be interesting to see exactly what changes, as Slater’s name has been inextricably interwoven with the Whale Oil brand, and both have been inextricably interwoven with Dirty Politics and playing politics dirty – and  promoting dirty politics as if it is a good thing.

    One thing I can assure you of: even though we won’t have Cam’s usual menu of topics and catch phrases every day, Whaleoil will continue to deliver stories with information that comes from the same network of people who have been the ‘invisible hand’ behind the blog for some time.

    Most of the Slater ‘authored’ posts for some time have been cut and pastes from mainstream media with a bit of added comment. Is that the “same network” that will continue to “deliver stories”?

    And will Whale Oil continue with it’s dirty brand of politics?

    The Whale Oil Twitter profile still prominently features Slater and Dirty Politics.

    WhaleOilTwitter

    The same graphic is on the Whale Oil Facebook page.

    Will this change after the weekend?

    Belt sent a letter to MPs that appears to be trying to sell significant change:

    I’ve worked with Whaleoil for the last five years and have been primarily responsible for transforming it from a cringe-worthy shock-jock blog into a well-moderated web site.

    On Whaleoil rude language and baseless and gratuitous attacks are no longer acceptable.

    Dirty politics is synonymous with cringe-worthy shock-jock blogging.

    How much will change at Whale Oil?

    How much re-branding will be done?

    Will Slater ever have the same prominence at Whale Oil again? Even if he returns it will be to a different environment under even more Belt control..

    Or is Slater’s break another step in easing him away from the brand?

    Some of this won’t be known for a month or two. Perhaps.

    But whether things remain largely the same but without Slater’s name on posts, or whether there is significant rebranding, will give some indications about where Whale Oil may be headed.

    Belt’s letter to MPs

    Bryce Edwards has tweeted that Pete Belt, managing editor and now in the big chair left vacant by Cameron Slater, has written to some MPs

    10h10 hours ago

    New editor of Whaleoil, Pete Belt, has written to some MPs, as reported by , explaining his role and transformation of the blog.

    Some of what was in the letter:

    I’ve worked with Whaleoil for the last five years and have been primarily responsible for transforming it from a cringe-worthy shock-jock blog into a well-moderated web site.

    On Whaleoil rude language and baseless and gratuitous attacks are no longer acceptable.

    Belt doesn’t differentiate between WO posts – dominated by Slater – or comments, so it’s not clear whether ‘shock-jock’ and ‘cringe-worthy’ are limited to the comments threads or  also cover Slater’s contributions.

    Whale Oil is far better known for what Slater posts than what is in the comments, and has built it’s reputation – both good and bad – on Slater’s manner and behaviour.

    One can only guess why Belt wrote to MPs.  Perhaps he wants to encourage political tipsters from within parties and within Parliament to feed Whale Oil with stories, as happened to an extent until Dirty Politics made Slater and Whale Oil  toxic no-go zones.

    Belt is largely  unknown and virtually anonymous. It won’t be easy for him to build credibility amongst political circles.

    Whale Oil is a shadow of what it was. There’s sometimes a bit of interesting stuff on but since  Dirty Politics scared off sourcesthe purges of unwanted people and opinions Whale Oil has become dominated by sock puppets and sycophants and without Slater will struggle to be heard outside it’s own bubble.

    What now for Whale Oil?

    Yesterday it was revealed that Cameron Slater was no longer at Whale Oil. Or would be leaving after the weekend. And he would be away for “a month, perhaps two – depending”.

    So what now for Whale Oil. Pete Belt has been editor and manager and moderator for two or three years.

    He seems to be taking over completely and has plans to fill the rather large gap left by an absent Slater. In From the Driver’s Seat: Cam Slater is no longer with Whaleoil he explains.

    What will become of Whaleoil?

    It will be exactly the same and completely new. And yes, I realise that both can’t be true. But let me explain.

    I will still continue my role as a “managing editor” of Whaleoil; the same role I’ve performed for a number of years. So the day-to-day features, and fluff that bracket the important content, will continue.

    To fill the gap that Cam’s absence leaves, I have arranged for a number of people to step up. Where these people have previously been sources for Cam, they are now going to have a try at writing.

    I’m also talking to a person from the left of politics with the aim to challenge your world view a little more.

    I hope that I can also encourage some of our irregular contributors to step up their contributions. If I can get seven of you to write one column a week, that would be excellent. These reader-provided columns have been very successful in the past.

    Not mentioned in Belt’s post but in comments it was asked “Will SB still be continuing her columns?”. Slater responded “Yes”.

    In response to a comment “Looking forward to “PeteOil” in the next few weeks!” Spanish Bride also made one comment – “More like MonkeyOil. Just a tune up please Pete”.

    Whaleoil hasn’t asked for volunteers for a number of years now, but as I move into Cam’s seat, the opportunity for people to take over some of the regular features to lighten my load will appear. More about that later.

    It will be interesting to see if Slater wants his seat back at some time in the future. He may find that a break from Whale Oil is good for him.

    And will Belt want to vacate the seat? He insists “no, this isn’t a WhExit – Whaleoil is here to stay, and Cam will be back”.

    So what now?

    I am going to try some different things. I told him that I may kick some sacred cows. If someone writes a pro-gun control column, then I don’t see why we can’t publish that.

    I also plan to cover some things that Cam has not had an interest in. And I’m going to give some other topics a rest.

    I believe we’ve all become a little too comfortable with the well laid out views and, with Cam busy elsewhere, we get a chance to take some other ideas for a spin. The ones that work, we’ll keep. The ones that don’t, we’ll chalk up to experience.

    One thing I can assure you of: even though we won’t have Cam’s usual menu of topics and catch phrases every day, Whaleoil will continue to deliver stories with information that comes from the same network of people who have been the ‘invisible hand’ behind the blog for some time.

    I will miss Cam more than you because, clearly, my job just got a lot more involved. But, as I told him, “It isn’t all about you,” and, just because he’s been the one writing the stories, the content frequently arrived … somehow. This information will now come through with a different voice. At least for a while.

    It sounds like some significant changes for a temporary rearrangement. It doesn’t sound like keeping Slater’s seat warm for a month or two.

    If Slater does return, what then? Back to the past? Or would Slater slot in with the new Whale Oil?

    Like you, I have no idea where that will end up, but I suspect it will be a lot of fun. And, like anything new, it will probably take them a few days or weeks to find their feet. I’ll help them along, but you can assist by not expecting these people to be as good on Day One as Cam is after 11 years.

    It will be interesting to see how this goes. Despite declining from the heights of two years ago there has obviously been a market for the Whale oil product.

    There has been an active commenting community.

    Has the main attraction has been Whale Oil, or Cameron Slater?

    Will interest in Whale Oil also take a Sabbatical?

    If Freed indeed cranks up in the next month or two will that precipitate and exodus and suck the life out of Whale Oil?

    Belt has taken on some big challenges at Whale Oil, one of the biggest ones being how to work with and alongside Slater.

    Belt has acknowledged in the past the importance of Slater to the Whale Oil brand and culture.

    This may be Belt’s biggest challenge yet – how to keep things going at Whale Oil without Slater.