Greens send warning to members

After several weeks of headlines for all the wrong reasons about their astro-turfing activities the Greens have finally sent out a warning, or rules of engagement email to their supporters. Previously these emails have been sent by Max Coyle, I wonder why this one wasn’t?

From: Rimu Atkinson [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Subject: [Alert]: Rules and guidelines for usage of the Online Activists system

New announcement in the Online activists group:


Hi everyone

We need to be very clear about our expectations around how you use the alerts you receive through the Online activists system, so please take a minute to review those expectations below. I doubt it will come as a surprise to many of you as they are based on pretty fundamental green values.

If you have any questions, please reply to this email.

Absolute bottom lines

  • Do not spam or flood any web site with many similar comments that are off topic. Post actual arguments or your opinion, not simply “vote for xyz!”
  • Do not abuse or defame other people.
  • Do not pretend to be someone you are not – be honest about your motivations and opinions.
  • Do not get into a never ending argument – state your opinion and when it is attacked respond once or twice to clarify any misunderstandings and then let it go. In reality your main audience is the lurkers who never post comments, not the person you are directly engaging with.

General guidelines

These guidelines draw their inspiration from the 4 principles of the Green Charter, the founding document of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Ecological wisdom

  • When you participate in an online community, do so in a way that leaves the community in a better state than when you arrived.
  • Don’t disrupt discussion with trolling, irrelevant points or immature behaviour.
  • Seek to clarify and shed light rather than confuse or cause rifts.

Social responsibility

  • Everyone has a right to have their voice heard and to participate fully, including people who you think are wrong.
  • Respect the norms and etiquette of the online community you are in – these are often quite different from place to place.

Appropriate decision making

  • You are responsible for your behaviour, even if someone else makes you angry.
  • Do not pretend that because you are in an online world that it is somehow less real and so you are free to treat people differently to how you would in person.


  • When people feel denigrated or excluded they are less likely to speak up in future. When people leave the conversation then we all lose. Do not attempt to shut down debate.
  • Do not knowingly use logical fallacies or manipulative rhetoric in order to ‘win’ a discussion.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.