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Whaleoil House Rules

As our readership continues to grow it is a good idea periodically to explain our house rules as well as the reasoning behind them. Mainstream media in New Zealand and overseas have been closing down their comment sections due to an inability to keep the discourse on topic and civil. A few years ago our Blog used to be referred to as a “cess pool ” because of the behaviour of some of our commenters. Now, the very blogs who used to mock our readers are the ones with ” cess pools ” of their own while we stand head and shoulders above the rest with the quality of our comments and the civility of our commenters.

Our readers do not just come to Whaleoil for our posts. A big draw card is other people’s comments which reveal an interesting range of ideas and knowledge. Whaleoil is also a safe place to express your opinion as you can do so secure in the knowledge that there will be no personal attacks or rudeness towards you from those who disagree with you.There is no ” Free Speech ” on the blog. If you want unfettered free speech you can go to one of the ” cess pool ” blogs. You will get to swear and be off topic and rude but what you will notice is that the comment sections there are not very pleasant places to be. You may also find that even though many blogs claim they have Free Speech, they still remove comments and ban commenters.

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Radio New Zealand and others to turn off comments on their sites

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When RNZ switched on comments last year, it was an experiment to see whether we could create a space where thoughtful and insightful comments would thrive.

And while the comments have been, for the most part, exactly that, there haven’t been many people involved in that conversation.

So essentially, RNZ have let these people down. Instead of protecting the people who are putting thoughtful and insightful comments online, they are now letting the mob win.  Read more »

From the moderation team

Some people want to be famous on Whaleoil.  We couldn’t really let these go, and had to stop her from doing more, but just so you know how much fun it is holding these people at bay, we like to give you a glimpse

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Who is Becci-Louise?   Read more »

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Houskeeping announcement: change in comment votes

Recent Updates to Voting

Downvotes are still counted but will no longer display the total number of votes. This action will still be denoted by the voting arrow turning red.

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What the point is of counting them, or showing a red down arrow is beyond me, but then Disqus is generally beyond me.

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They may take our lives but they will never take our freedom!

More and more of the Internet is being beaten down by trolls and destructive commenters.

Mix blatant bigotry with poor spelling. Add a dash of ALL CAPS. Top it off with a violent threat. And there you have it: A recipe for the worst of online comments, scourge of the Internet.

Blame anonymity, blame politicians, blame human nature. But a growing number of websites are reining in the Wild West of online commentary.

Companies including Google and the Huffington Post are trying everything from deploying moderators to forcing people to use their real names in order to restore civil discourse. Some sites, such as Popular Science, are banning comments altogether.

The efforts put sites in a delicate position. User comments add a lively, fresh feel to videos, stories and music. And, of course, the longer visitors stay to read the posts, and the more they come back, the more a site can charge for advertising.

What websites don’t want is the kind of off-putting nastiness that spewed forth under a recent CNN.com article about the Affordable Care Act.

“If it were up to me, you progressive libs destroying this country would be hanging from the gallows for treason. People are awakening though. If I were you, I’d be very afraid,” wrote someone using the name “JBlaze.”

We get our share here, including death threats, although most of those come via email.  But for however long we can, Whaleoil will let the community look after its own standards.   Read more »

Strangely much more entertaining

Best of Whale Army

Gazzaw commented on Greenpeace still engaging in politics:

Greenpeace should not only lose its charitable status it should become a banned organisation. Why should we allow an international organisation to attack the democratic processes in NZ regardless of who the government is? I’m getting increasingly fed up with hearing a whining American, Canadian or European accent every time an environmental ‘expert’ opens their gob in NZ. Go home and sort out your own fucked up countries.

blokeintakapuna commented on Andrew Little Gangnam Style:

Little’s hypocritical politicking is really quite sickening. When Labour need to use [Peter Jackson] as a “good” example – he’s NZ’s Hero – like we all thought anyway – but at the time of trying to secure the movies, PJ was public enemy #1 with the Actors unions and CTU / Labour… so I really think Little and his EPMU should just STFU.

Zephyr Cobalt commented on Scum Union Bullies:

“Union” is just another word for gang or mafia. They intimidate, use thuggery, steal, act as a protection racket, prostitute their workers, evade tax, and are cash and asset rich and never declare it. Not much different to the Hells Angels and Black Power.

Some changes to the blog

I have enabled the new Disqus system.

It has a number of new features including the ability to vote up and down on comments.

There may be some teething issues, but if you don’t tell me about them then i cant fix them.

Either let me know in the comments or via the tipline.

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On comments and commenting

Andrew Sullivan

Once again I am receiving emails from loyal readers who are sick of rubbish comments from trolls.

Andrew Sullivan, who doesn’t have comments, comments:

Dan O’Connor blasts what blog comment sections have become:

It is time, I think, for us to accept that disabling or deleting idiot comments is no more anti-democratic or elitist than refusing to engage with a person harrassing you on the street. Just because everyone is allowed to have their say, it does not follow that the bilge they say is worth listening to. I love the internet. I love social media. And the only way we will save them from themselves is by accepting that, more often than not, comments are rubbish.

Gawker is implementing a new comment system to deal with the problem. Recent Dish on a wildly successful comment section here. We’re sticking with posting the best and most informative of your emails. For the Dish, reader input plays a key role in airing debates and discovering facts from readers with deep knowledge of the subjects at hand. There is a way, in other words, to create a web space where readers add and don’t detract from the experience.

It’s called editing.

My own preference is to have a free reign with comments, but smack down outrageously racist, misogynistic or hateful comments. I have a firm belief that my “army’ will deal with any silliness. I don’t want a heavily moderated and sanitised comments section like Red Alert. I enjoy comments from Kosh now he is well trained, less so from Phil who seems untrainable and still posts tl;dr comments.

Personal unfounded attacks on me are dealt with swiftly and permanently with no recourse.

However I think that Dan O’Connor as quoted above does have a valid point.

Is it time for me to start doing this too, or do I need some volunteer moderators to deal with the more foolish of trolls?