The Standard and Labour authoritarism and censorship

Labour message control and manipulation of comments and commenters at The Standard took a new turn yesterday when ‘moderator’-in-chief lprent (Lynn Prentice) overrode how one of the blog authors dealt with a dig at them – deletion of some subsequent comments and warnings to desist – and banned commenter Morrissey for four weeks.

And later the ban was doubled – seemingly as an afterthought and due to the actions of someone else.

It started when commenter Morrissey posted a dig at the author (QOT) of a post on Wednesday evening –

QOT initially responded…

Tell you what, I’ll give Morrissey a little warning, but leave this one up there. And bookmark it for future reference.

But this evolved during the day to…

[QoT: I invite others to refrain from responding to Morrissey on this thread henceforth.]

…and then a final warning followed by a banning…

[QoT: Morrissey, your hurt feelings because I don’t like your hero’s contemptible actions do not make your comments relevant to this thread. This thread is not going to devolve into another circlejerk about Julian fucking Assange. Stick to the topic or fuck off. Final warning.]

[lprent: too slight – as in I can’t see ANY relevance. Looks like a deliberate hijack to me targeted off topic to attack one of my authors. Whilst QoT is having fun, I’m not. 4 week ban to discourage any repitition of this behaviour. ]

The banning is not unusual at The Standard (although lprent has been lately displaying increasing signs that his iron fingers run what is purportedly a ‘collective’ of authors).

Also in what is a trademark of Standard moderator ‘braveness’ after Morrissey was banned a number of his comments were deleted and replaced with attacks and attempts at ridicule – QOT knew she could do this without being challenged by someone she had banned.

She may have learned this from  the blog master lprent who often attacks people where he knows they can’t respond.

But wait, there’s more

But remarkably, when a friend of Morrisey posted a supporting comment, not only were they censored and banned for four weeks as well, but Morrisey’s ban was doubled – for something that may have had nothing to do with him.

And oddly this severed head was displayed at the entrance to yesterday’s (10th January) ‘Open Mic’ (the name of their supposed open forum is becoming a tad ironic).

Kiki 1
6 January 2013 at 10:10 pm

Morrissey: “I Shall Return”

[deleted]

As the French would say, quelle hypocrisie. Certainly, I am not without fault, but surely we should all be worried that someone as crude and vicious as QOT is able to set herself up as some kind of moral arbiter.

This message has been solicited and published by me as an act of support for my colleague and friend Morrissey.

[lprent: Oh piss off. The policy is clear on self-martyrdom offences

Abusing the sysop or post writers on their own site – including telling us how to run our site or what we should write. This is viewed as self-evident stupidity, and should be added as a category to the Darwin Awards.

Morrissey was acting like a complete arsehole. But he isn’t the only one who can do that.

Oh and see that other nice self-martyrdom offence….

Generally wasting a moderators time is just not a good idea. We’re there to deal with isolated problems. People persistently sucking up our voluntary time won’t like the results.

Since you’re such a friend then please explain to him that you just got a two month ban and collected him another another month. I’m uninterested in people acting like complete fuckwits and wasting my time.

Besides, after he e-mailed with some pathetic idea about what constitutes “defamation”, I had another look at the first comment he left for QoT on her post. Seeing it again just got me even more irritated with the pretentious dildo. ]

  •  karol 1.2

    As an aside: I’m just puzzled by the date on the above comment.

    •  bad12 1.2.1

      Ah it might be a warning to ALL, could have sworn when i looked this morning that the first 3 comments were from ‘Jenny’,

      Course if your in the ‘chair’ you probably get to move things about…

Yes, the first comments were originally from Jenny but the banning has been presumably moved from an earlier thread, and promoted to the top of yesterday’s general forum thread. It looks like the date has been tweaked to achieve this.

This does appear to be a warning that not only is criticism of blog authors severely frowned on, but showing any support of banned commenters is a banning offence – and people can be banned (in this case a ban was doubled) because of the actions of others.

The Standard collective appears to be becoming ruled by an increasingly authoritarian ‘leader’.

This has parallels in the Labour Party.

Labour and The Standard integrity

Labour’s Red Alert blog is best known for it’s suppression of unwanted comment. It has become a farce, with a handful of regular commenters rolling a few tumbleweeds. Many people (including Labour Party members) report being banned.

Last month several commenters at The Standard said they would cease commenting due to pressure from Clare Curran to stop criticisng David Shearer.

This created a flurry of indignation at attempts at Labour censorship at The Standard. And there have been accusations that while the Labour membership voted at their recent conference for more democratic processes in the party it appears tha David Shearer and his caucus supporters are asserting more authority from the top.

It’s quite ironic that in parallel more heavy handed banning, censorship and ‘behaviour modification’ plus much more obvious displays of draconian leadership are apparent at The Standard.

Not just the leader and the sysop

This mode of message control and messenger targeting runs deeper than party leader and blog sysop.

Some participants a The Standard often join in the ‘moderation’. Weka pointed out early in the banning thread:

Also of note is that you’ve forgotten that it’s against ts rules to attack authors esp in their own threads.

In the same thread the accusations of misogny aimed at Morrissey expanded:

Populuxe1 3.4

Antisemitic, misogynistic, what next?

 felixviper 3.4.1

I’d wager he’s not all that keen on gay dudes either, but it’s just a hunch.

Populuxe1 3.4.1.1

I sensed as much – see you all in the death camp, guys.

 Morrissey 3.4.1.1.1

Another swing and a miss. You’re not clever enough to do this, my friend. You just look desperate.

I admit my nasty little message to QOT was unacceptable, but you are going way out on a limb. You know, I’m sure, that there’s a special place in Hell for Malicious Liars.

felixviper

Nah, I don’t think I’m far off the mark. The various strains of bigotry tend to be found in close proximity to one another.

It is also against the rules at The Standard to flame and provoke, but some regular trolls there have a free licence to harrass with virtual impunity. Malicious liars? ‘Felix’ has a longstanding habit of unsubstantiated accusations to try and manoevre people he chooses to eliminate from discussions into bans.

And this continues on another thread…

felixviper 9.1
11 January 2013 at 12:51 am

Oh look, another creepy stalker turning up just to leave off-topic sexist abuse for QoT.

It’s like this morning all over again.

Another day, another victim in the sights.

Labouring under free speech

Parties can allow or (try to) suppress free speech and discussion as much as they like. Their party, their rules.

Or as seems to be the case, their leader, their dictation of who can speak about what.

Blogs can censor and ban as much as they like, and they can encourage or attack a diversity of comments as much as they like.

Or as seems to be the case, his blog, his dictation of who can speak about what.

The Standard and Red Alert are widely seen as the online forums associated with the Labour Party. Red Alert is run by Labour MPs, The Standard is run by Labour Party members, and Labour has directly interfered with commenting there.

Both blogs seem to be mirroring Labour leadership in authoritarian behaviour enforcement, censorship and message control.

Something sinister going on within Labour

There’s also something more sinister going on at The Standard. From Just how wrong can you get it?

QOT

Step 2: Assume you can really identify who a person is on the internet, especially on sites you have no control over.

I’d dearly love to see the logistical planning involved. Sourcing the naughty comments, doxing the commenters’ handles, comparing to the membership list … but let’s be honest, the whole point of any policy change would clearly be to punish members whose identities are already well-documented (and who have been saying things said senior MP doesn’t like.)

IrishBill

There’s already a bit of that kind of thing going on. It’s why I won’t comment on Red Alert.

Colonial Viper

I have personally witnessed some of the backstory to this post. And it is a damn nasty and personal business behind the scenes. If anything, IB has sugarcoated the facts of the situation with his restraint (that’s not a criticism btw).

And in Open Mic:

Colonial Viper

Yes kind Lefty souls, I’m bugging out too, returning at some future date (hopefully not too far away). IB has highlighted some reasons why, and the stuff he is talking about isn’t kidding around. The miserable and ill-conceived pressure they are putting on Cunliffe and his supporters in caucus, well they are now turning that on to ordinary party members as well. Organisations which find themselves in this state, well what more do I need to say.

(Link to comment and responses)

Colonial Viper has probably been the most regular and prolific commenter at TS.

And maybe not coincidentally:

millsy

This will be my last post on the Standard (and probably any other blog) for a while at least – not too sure when Ill be able to post again, but it wont be until well into the New Year at least (perhaps when everthing has settled down).

That’s quite worrying (if you support the concept of free speech and open and transparent politics). The Standard does it’s own message and messenger control, but if it’s how it looks it is many degrees worse.