Last night, a bit late I know, I finally perused the June 2020 Third Party handbook put out by the Electoral Commission. This morning I activated my authorisation notice for the site.
You can see it at the bottom of any post and on the desktop site at the bottom of every index page. The mobile site has a infinite scroll so it is somewhat more difficult to see it there 😈
I have been doing this every election since 2008. I think that it is a good idea to make it absolutely clear that this is a site expressing the ‘editorial’ view of its volunteer authors. It also expresses the views and opinions of its commentators. None of these are advertisements or promotional materials according to the handbook.
But we also link to a wide range of other sites in our site posts and comments. Our automatic RSS right column linkage lists may link to promotional material or election advertisements. So I take that as providing a risk of inadvertently causing issues with the Electoral act and Broadcasting Acts.
Now just to be perfectly clear, this is done on a ongoing site production budget that is less than $150 per month. You can get to that value if you took the maximum possible financial values of the direct costs and assumed that I and my partner didn’t use most of those resources for our own use as well. The fibre connection that provides this site to the net also plays the Netflix to our TV.
The actual direct costs like the domain names, domain name servers, and content distribution networks specific to this site are funded by some voluntary small donations.
But most of the value is from volunteers. Mostly the generous unpaid time and effort of our volunteers. I just use hardware and systems to run open source software and find an outlet for my grumpy opinions about politics and the world.
But I think that putting the notice makes a clear statement. It also means that we can put up and link to campaign materials without violating any legal issues. Since we provide all material for this site for free, don’t restrict read access for our site at all, and have virtually no costs…
Well I am declaring that the price for adverts or promotional material on this site is a nominal $1 per instance for me to vet it which will be waived if the proponent has read the Third Party Handbook below.
Activists should consider what adverts or promotional material that they’d like me to put up in the right column on the site. It must be directly related to the election day for parliament or for the referendums.
I’m going to be the arbiter of the material as it must match the requirements of the Handbook and the objectives in our About. I am the person who’d have to explain it to the Electoral Commission or the Police or even the courts – and I’d have to do that in my ‘spare’ time – so I’m going to be picky. Applicants need to do their task and not provide me with garbage.
This site gets tens of thousands of page views by humans per day. Yesterday, according to google analytics, it was around 30 thousand page views from slightly less than 3500 readers. It keeps expanding coming into an election and the fans on my primary system keep getting louder. Most of the readers are very persistent – they read the site multiple times per day and they aren’t looking for click bait.
Send requests to one of the addresses in the Contact Us. And please don’t muck me around. It has to have a authorised or promoted by statement. I’m going to need to know that is correct. And it needs to conform to the Handbook.
Cheers and have a Merry Election.Third-Party-Handbook-June-2020
BTW: This handbook is now seriously well written. Way better than it used to be