From the driver’s seat: Whaleoil, Key and survival of the fittest

by Pete

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 had 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.

The aim of the hacker, Hager and the left was to take Cam Slater down. The assumption: without him, there would be no Whaleoil. That hasn’t been true for a long time. If people really think that one person can produce all that content with only Anzac morning off all year, then you are in desperate need of a reality check.

I’ve said this for years that 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.  

The hack was educational for us too. It made us review everything we did. Right now, we simply operate under the assumption we will be hacked again. Since we are unable to keep people like Rawshark out (just like you can’t keep anyone from breaking into your home if they really want to get in) we simply no longer keep any valuables “at home”. There is nothing left to steal.

Ever since the hack I have personally deleted all communications, working files and notes older than eight weeks at the start of each month. On the rare occasions when a specific document or email needs to be retained, it is strongly encrypted and placed somewhere that hackers can’t get at, no matter what they try. This is the inevitable outcome of the arms race that this hacker cat-and-mouse game forced us to deal with. All messaging between ‘staff’ is encrypted and unlogged.

Similarly, we realised that Cam was too central to the existence of Whaleoil and that had to change. Right now, Cam can be distracted for months on end and Whaleoil will continue 95% as it has before, just not with Cam’s voice. Cam has spent weeks in court. He’s gone hunting. And, somehow, everything just continues. It’s not magic; it’s well planned.

This is what we have done to protect ourselves, and you, against future attacks.

As I’ve said before we were naive to think “they” would never break the law to deal with Whaleoil. But now we have gone to the point where we assume that they simply will do it again. We have prepared for every scenario.

All this is a long way of saying that people who think Cam’s temporary absence presents some point where we can be attacked or once again brought to our knees, well, you’ll have to be more than a commenter with a bug up your hoo-haa to make any impact other than to lose your own access.

We will continue to do what we’ve always done, and that’s do our own thing. You get to choose if you support it or not. But anyone who wants to have a ‘personal moment’ in public, thinking this will damage anything… trust me, as soon as you’re being a pain, we’re just as happy to be rid of you as you are to be rid of us.

I do realise that it can be disappointing and frustrating when Whaleoil and your own needs part ways. And I understand you may want to say something to perhaps stop it from happening. This blog has a lot of readers. At any one time, we will lose some because of a certain position, but that position will also gain us some. Most people will take it in their stride, however, and ride out certain phases. Personally, even though I supported marriage equality, I had a guts full of it after a month. Ditto with the flag debate. But Whaleoil responds to what is going on “out there”, and sometimes things happen that aren’t that interesting (I love Brexit, I can’t be bothered with Aussie politics, for example).

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 here.

Which brings me to the elephant in the room: Whaleoil and John Key. John Key is just a man. He’s praised when he does well. And we praised him for his magnificent hard work during the last recess when he went to China and elsewhere. But John Key isn’t infallible. And Whaleoil will also offer its opinion when Key stuffs up. We didn’t go at him over the soap-in-prison debacle. This blog isn’t whipping Key at every opportunity. But it will whip Key, or anyone else, if it has an honest opinion that he’s performing poorly.

For some of you the situation isn’t as nuanced. You basically have come to the point that whatever National (or Key) do is fine by you as long as they remain in government. You may imagine Whaleoil to have some influence and feel Whaleoil’s criticism threatens the status quo. You take the position that Whaleoil must not do anything that might assist Labour to become a government, and that includes not speaking negatively of John Key or National as a whole.

If that’s your expectation, then you are in for a rough ride. The cycle of politics and politicians is such that they come and go. They are a rooster one day; a feather duster the next. As things start to become less perfect on the right side of politics, perhaps Whaleoil is just too scary for you. That’s OK you know. I get that. But Whaleoil isn’t going to change. It has always said what was on its mind, without any fear of the consequences.

For you to expect anything else now is a forlorn hope.

So strap in. The next general election will be around before you know it, and Whaleoil will once again be the best place on the internet. But, if you can’t cope with Key being criticised then have a break, by all means. Cam is!


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