Participating (commenting) on Whaleoil today – EXTRA RULES

Even though any breach of the Electoral Act on Whaleoil today will probably be met with a caution at worst, we would like to run a decent show.  None of our articles will breach the rules.  But people that comment are also required to change what they would normally do to fall within the requirements of the Act.

Failure to adhere to the rules set out here today (until the polls close at 7 pm) will result in having your commenting access permanently withdrawn.  Even if you did it out of ignorance.

There are basically three sources we need to draw our rules from

– What we can do as a publisher of news  a.k.a.  restrictions on media

– What we can and can’t do as “social media” – meaning:  the comments

– General 3rd party rules on election day

Restrictions on media

All election advertising and other statements, by anybody including the media, which could influence voters cannot be published or broadcast on election day.

No political opinion polling of voters can be carried out on election day.

News stories posted on websites before election day can remain, as long as the website is not advertised on election day.


Social media on election day

Today (from midnight on 19 September until 7 pm on 20 September) there is a general prohibition of the publication of any statement that is likely to influence which candidate or party a person should, or should not, vote for.

To avoid complaints on election day the Electoral Commission recommends that the comment function on pages that have been used to post election-related material are temporarily deactivated so that other persons cannot post messages on election day before 7 pm.

For the purposes of Whaleoil, “social media” will cover our comments sections.  Comments will be closed for previous articles not already closed but published before the 20th.


3rd party conduct on election day

Your comments should not in any way indicate a preference or otherwise for any party, candidate or outcome.  Even being cute and saying you like “red sunsets” or “blue skies” will see you in trouble.  Do not upload images, photos or other material that can be directly or indirectly interpreted as supportive or negative of any party or candidate.

If you have an avatar that is in any way political, like a party logo, or obviously related to NZ politics in a partisan manner, then either change it or stay away until 7 pm.



Whaleoil is under constant scrutiny by those that want to trip us up or want to cause financial, legal or reputational harm.  Anyone who places Whaleoil in a position to be complained about will lose their access.  In simple terms, avoid talking about politics!   Whaleoil will be quite different on election day as we will also need to run articles that fall within the guidelines.

It will be extremely difficult not to trip up if you want to talk about New Zealand politics.  Simply do not comment on any political issue directly or obliquely, until 7 pm.   If you can’t restrain yourself, you’re in a lottery where you may ‘win’ a permanent ban.

Whaleoil will help you by posting articles that have nothing to do with New Zealand politics.


Final note:  I fully expect the usual trolls to sign up and leave offending comments in an attempt to get Whaleoil in trouble.  If you see such comments, simply flag them.  Do nothing else.  Do NOT respond.  (Do not feed the trolls).




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