Development of the mobile theme

Written By: - Date published: 2:01 pm, April 4th, 2015 - 61 comments
Categories: admin, The Standard - Tags:

Last week, very reluctantly 1, I have coughed up the money for a development version of the mobile system used on The Standard. About a quarter of our readers primarily use mobiles to read the site these days. When you add tablets it gets closer to 40%.

Mobile usage by user March/April 2015

Users of the mobile system will have seen some significiant speed improvements since I installed the upgraded version on Friday evening a week ago.

Now our desktop interface can be used on tablets. But it is barely adequate on 7″ tablets (like the ones I use) and older lower resolution tablets in terms of writing comments. But for smaller screens the mobile interface is required, and the comment writing interface is essentially unusable because it doesn’t have any awareness of threaded replies.

I have no figures on it, but I’d envisage that the number of our commenters using mobiles or tables is a whole lot less than 40%. Simply because you can’t use the threaded replies in mobile mode.

I’ve looked at several alternatives, but they all tend to suffer from speed and simplicity issues. The theme we currently use is pretty fast and efficient. But it lacks a few features. Like:-

  1. Reply to a particular comment.
  2. Threading numbers.
  3. Moderation tools
  4. A way of flicking back to desktop (the infinite scroll is nice until you want to do that).

So right now I’m setting up the test environment  to hopefully finally2 fix this issue using the new tools. This probably involves creating a new theme using the scaffold mode based on our existing one.

So if you are interested in giving some ideas about simple features that I should build in. Now is your chance. Subject to vagaries of work, I hope to have this complete before Lyn gets back from Vietnam on the 13th.

 


 

  1. The cost was $US144 (~$NZ 190) for the next 400 odd days. Since our monthly server costs were just over $NZ250 last month3, this adds a significiant ongoing extra cost to the budget.  The ongoing cost is about $US100 per year.
  2. I have attempted the reply fix3 several times before. However it is a bit interesting around that bit of code. 
  3. Damn good thing that I don’t charge for my development time (and the authors and moderators don’t charge for their work).

61 comments on “Development of the mobile theme”

  1. Sacha 1

    Interesting. Have you ruled out replacing this theme with a single responsive one that also handles mobiles and tablets?

    • lprent 1.1

      There are several problems with themes that are meant to go and do everything from 360/480px wide to something like the 1920px wide.

      The first one is that you are usually excessively reliant on javascript and all of the vagaries of the various DOM models. Because I don’t have time to do a lot of maintenance on the site over years of use, I follow the wordpress standard and prefer not to rely on anything except things that are throughly standardised like HTML, CSS2.1, and minimal pretty boring javascript. As a strategy this has worked well, even so it accounts for about 70% of the maintenance work on the site as new browser engines come into play.

      If you don’t do it with lots of client side script, then you wind up with chaos in the backend with the caching. Just to give you an idea, this site fully uses about 2GB of memcache.

      The reason is that it is caching the enormous numbers of sweeps for information on the 16 thousand posts and 900 thousand individually addressed comments accessed by search engines and their spiders. If we don’t have that, the the background noise of the spiders uses all of the CPU when we get peaks of user activity. That we cache by type of browser is an additional overhead, but not that much of a problem. Starting to add in server side.

      The second one is that it is easier to run seperate themes as that means you can stop trying to make one size fits all, with all of the immense numbers of use-cases that involves, the testing, and the support work. Just to give you a really simple idea. What happens in a javascript based resizing theme with multiple columns when you reduce your browser size from 1920 wide to 360 wide? Or vice versa.

      Have a look at Boots Theory to see what I mean. If you looked at the code required to deal with the 15 or so major use cases in that resizing and the absolute dependence on how people have their browsers and machines setup.

      We typically get about 45k unique people reading this site in a month – that is more than Stephanies page views. I usually get just a few bug reports. If I had a variant of what Stephanie is using, we’d be getting them every day – especially on browser release days. I wouldn’t be able to moderate or do paid work.

      The reality is that for us, we will leave it up to users to decide with a default at each level. Have 3 themes – currenet mobile (enhanced for commenting), current desktop, and a wide screen variant >= 1680px that I still have to find time to code. Each will use the deskspace to their max advantage, and mostly for extra search for wider.

  2. philj 2

    Thanks for your efforts. I access TS on my Samsung S2 and the reply to comment function does work..

    • lprent 2.1

      Odd. Are you running the mobile theme?

      I think there is a reply to the post, but not a reply to particular comment last time I looked.

      • philj 2.1.1

        I am replying to your comment, and I access TS via email link. Hope that helps. Sometimes the submit button is reluctant to work.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.2

        I have my S2 set to use the standard desktop theme so that I have the reply to comments function. If I use the mobile theme I don’t get the reply to comments function.

  3. Weepus beard 3

    Get rid of the big blocks of red.

    • lprent 3.1

      On the background? THe ones that only show up while loading and in the title..?

      What colour would you prefer?

      Just to prove the point. I will change to Cosmic Latte – a kind of BEIGE….

      Come on….. I need constructive suggestions

      • Weepus beard 3.1.1

        Ok, I’m no expert, just a punter.

        I remember the current mobile and iPad versions having a lot of red around and the images appeared in B&W. Not saying it’s easy to design something like that but I ended up going to the full version of the site on both mobile and iPad.

        To be honest these “mobile friendly” versions of websites are never as comfortable design-wise as the main site for some reason. I guess it’s to do with the info that can be effectively used on the small screens, etc.

        Just do the same font, same wordpress template, same white background, same colour thumbnails, etc, and everyone will feel at home.

        • lprent 3.1.1.1

          Yeah, that I can do in general.

          Don’t know what kind of smartphone you have, but my HTC One Mini (picked because it fits in my jeans watch pocket) is impossible with the standard ~1000px wide theme.

          • weka 3.1.1.1.1

            can you put the red back at some point so we can compare?

            I’ve been using the desktop version for ages now because of the reply buttons. Can’t remember what the red looked like. Is it just at the top? ie the The Standard banner?

            The white on grey for the posts looks pretty good to me, which is a surprise.

            • lprent 3.1.1.1.1.1

              I looked at it before. The header was red, and it showed red whenever anything was repainting further down.

              You can see it at present as it goes from beige to grey.

  4. weka 4

    A recent comments thingy would be good.

  5. tracey 5

    Goodonya

  6. ropata 6

    Threaded comments from a mobile device are possible. Just use Opera Mini and go to the desktop site. I can do it from my old nokia with a 4″ screen

  7. Once was Tim 7

    First thoughts:
    Fuk ’em! You’ll only encourage them to ‘The Standard whilst driving’ when they can’t even walk in a straight line whilst ‘The Standarding’
    :p
    Be it on your head.

    Second thoughts:
    neo-yuppiedom; post-modern neo-telephonic instantanium

    Third thoughts:
    the inevitability you’ll come to regret (in terms of your being expected to maintain it and keep it all looking simply spiffing)

  8. nukefacts 8

    Sorry to say but the mobile version on iPad 4 is often unbearably slow to load – seems to hang/pause for 30s then becomes responsive again. On an iPhone 6 it’s marginally better but still quite slow.

    Keep up the great work btw!

    • lprent 8.1

      Ummm not much I can use to look at that right now. Lyn dragged her iPad to Vietnam with her.

      I will try with the iPod touch I have been working with for work.

  9. vaughan little 9

    i mostly use my phone to read the standard, but commenting is a bit of a problem on it cos of the thread issue. so even if there’s something i madly want to reply to i don’t, and then by the time i get back home i feel like the moment’s gone.

    but my major problem is that when i click on an article or link (or whatever the touchscreen version of clicking is), i always load what i want to read in a new tab, but the original tab loads that too. and i only have this problem on the standard. happens about 95% of the time and it’s an irritant cos my phone takes ages to load a page (i’m living in chinastan).

    anyway, thanks heaps to everyone who keeps this blog going. without it my opinion of nz would be quite a few shades darker.

  10. Sable 10

    All web development appears to be going mobile. I have built a few mobile friendly web sites, its really not that hard.

    That said, I personally detest mobile phones and I’m no fan of tablets either. Noisy chattering monsters that eat up your day when you could be having a chat face to face over a coffee.

  11. JanMeyer 11

    All I know is the future is smart devices not bloody clunky pc’s or laptops. Keep up the good work and make it happen!

    • Bill 11.1

      This comes to mind 😉

      “My baby saw the future
      She doesn’t want to live there any more
      It’s lousy science fiction
      Gets on your skin and seeps into your bones.”

      (Byrne: ‘Dance on Vaseline’)

      Oh – and here it is should anyone actually read this comment and then think of having a listen

    • weka 11.2

      User experience is always going to be better on a bigger screen with a proper keyboard. Esp for those of us who write long comments 😉 Perhaps we will see a change in debate culture via tech, with those with the bigger machines influencing culture differently than the twitter brigade.

  12. infused 12

    Sorry, but your costs are a pittance. I run so many sites that I make no money off whatsoever, not sure why you are complaining about $100 a year. It’s cheap.

    Also, you should be looking to one theme that supports both. There are some very high end themes that do this at very little cost. http://themeforest.net/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&term=&view=list&sort=sales&date=&category=wordpress&price_min=&price_max=&sales=&rating_min=&platform=

    X Theme or Avada.

    • lprent 12.1

      Most purchased themes also tend to look beautiful. But they have a big problems for our users.

      Avada for instance in grid mode sucks client site CPU like crazy. I just used their demo on a single core constrained CPU XP VM with limited RAM and a slow network link to test it and it ran like a over sized brick. We have a lot of people reading this on pretty slow machines (hopefully not as limited as that).

      Others just waste space, especially in the front page space. We are primarily a news site The majority of our users don’t want to scroll down to read the days posts. X ethos being a good example of how to build a beautiful blog site that acts like requires several pages to see a days worth of post excerpts on a moderately narrow screen. It was a half brick on the slow system test as well.

      Our current desktop theme reads in pretty fast for reading on the slow test for front page and pages. It is slow because of the right column screen saver tabs. But doesn’t stop people from immediately scanning. The biggest pain is the damn synchronous statcounter, which slows things down a lot.

      Every multifunction theme I have looked at so far depends excessively on client side javascript. Almost of them are slow at the client side. They are suitable for reading sites, not places where people have the site running for hours in a tab wanting instant refreshes like the commenters do. Sure our current WPTouch mobile theme uses quite a lot of javascript, but that has some real tradeoffs between screen size and speed. There isn’t any reason to carry that through to desktops.

      I also found a few that largely did the same chores on the server side not dynamically on client side. But when I tested them on the variety of use-cases for different browsers and systems they cost a lot for caching and server side CPU.

      BTW: My job is in writing system level code, not focused on writing scripts or web sites. I don’t run any other websites apart from this one. I literally have no need for this tool except for this purpose on this site designing and maintaining a mobile theme (which means that the other 29 instances I’m paying for are rather redundant). The package costs a bit less than half of the monthly cost for the site for a year.

      I take care to keep the costs for this site down. Way way down. That is a whole lot simpler and less time wasting for me than depending on advertising. Not having it speeds the site up a lot for the readers. These days the site is now almost entirely funded by unsought voluntary donations.

      I just don’t want to lose money on maintaining the site. So I pennypinch when it comes to adding anything to it. Outside of the server costs, I buy a few tools. For instance the extensions to the RSS feeder, W3 Total Cache, the re-edit, etc and then I adapt them into the site. But they are all performing functions that would take too much time to do myself when there is a perfectly good tool to write them with. This WP Touch upgrade is the same.

  13. Anonymous 13

    Full article text in RSS feed please!

    • lprent 13.1

      Why? The comments are usually as important as the posts themselves in any political context. It became a choice of feeding everything (which was an issue as the comments came later) or just a teaser. I decided on the teaser.

      • Anonymous 13.1.1

        My RSS reader has an offline mode, I spend part of my day in areas with no Internet access, reading the full article offline helps me keep up to date

        • lprent 13.1.1.1

          There are several problems with RSS on a site like that. One is the way that it is collected and sent at the server side. The system that used to run here would be requested to grab the last 10-30 or so posts by RSS feeds. and peoples RSS readers were set to collect that in 5-15 minute intervals. After the site got popular, this meant that there would be 20+ of those per minute and climbing. Even worse were the people who collected all of the comments. Nett effect was that about 10% of our CPU was going into those, and about 25% of our bandwidth.

          So I shifted it to feedburner, which mean that that one source came in every few minutes to pick up on stuff because I was informing them of new comments and posts. Still expensive, but manageable if a number of people found it useful.

          But I put a tracker on it last year to see what was picking it up, and how many people were coming back to the site. It turned out that only about 4 or 5 people ever replied to comments over a month and that spambots adored the comments feed. I got tens of thousands of attempted spam comments in a month using the tracked links. It was their primary feed for posting crap to the site.

          Less than 20 people came in from posts. And that over 94% of the post RSS ‘readers’ were in fact automatic consolidators or spambots grabbing content because they were areas completely outside our 97% audience catchment area. In the last 30 days our incoming sessions (aka visits) for the site look like this

          NZ 88.5%
          Aussie 3.1%
          US 1.9%
          UK 1.0%
          Germany 0.7%
          India 0.4%
          Canada 0.4%
          Italy 0.3%
          South Korea 0.2%
          Malaysia 0.2%

          In other words, NZ, expats, ESOL and kiwis travelling. It wasn’t much different when I looked at it last year.

          The pattern for posts in feedburner was about 3.5% for NZ, and about 6% for all of those areas combined.

          In other words, RSS just opened the site to attacks, chewed CPU and bandwidth, and did nothing for more than a tiny fraction of our readers.

          Doing only a post excerpt means that feedburner now picks up when post has been made or the excerpt modified. It is enough for the feed columns on other sites, and details what is available to read. Magically it dropped the server load.

          Even more magically, as a few weeks that rate of increase on the dumb auto-blocked spam dropped from about four or five thousand per week to a small collection per day. It is still falling. All because I drastically limited links to RSS comments.

          But the bot load is still falling as the bots hit the lack of RSS. My bandwidth use is now about 30% compared to what I was seeing at the same time last year. I was using roughly the same other tools to discourage bots then… The NZ percentage of traffic is now about a quarter rather than the 10% it’d gotten down to. That means that the server costs are potentially lower.

          What you need is something different. It is a PDF dump of a post and its comments, with no links. Especially for reading. But as far as I can see I don’t have more than 20 people likely to need it. But you’d find that what would do it equally well is to just to use a site dumper (I am sure people will tell you the best ones) to store HTML on your disk.

          Don’t set it to run more than a limited pages per minute (I’d have to look it up) as a bot or human or you will hit a lockout designed to rate limit bots.

          BTW: For other readers, I allow google unlimited googlebot access because they do it neatly. Their bots are polite and obey the rules and have defined servers. On average the system blocks several hundred false googlebots a day. Everything else is rate limited.

          97% of searches on the site come from google according to sitemeter, wordpress stats, and google themselves.

          • Anonymous 13.1.1.1.1

            Obviously your intended usage pattern for the site doesn’t match my actual usage. I don’t tend to read the comments. I have higher priorities for my limited time. I try to read the articles to keep up to date with the politics of the country. I have this site and kiwiblog for a left/right balance. Currently it is easier for me to keep up to date with kiwiblog since the full article is in the rss feed.

            My ‘RSS Reader’ probably doesn’t even appear to be in NZ as it is a web based service that loads the feed and provides that feed to my devices, or web browser. It does have the ability to try and scrape the story, but it requires an active internet connection for this. I believe it still does this through their servers though. So again, I don’t tend to appear as if I am in New Zealand. Neither would the other people using services like this.

            I may be one of the only few that use the site like this, but every vote counts right? and informed voters are better too…

            • weka 13.1.1.1.1.1

              I’ve been in that situation too. Not with ts, but other sites where I’ve had limited internet access and wanted my rss reader to grab the whole post for me to read later.

              I’ve yet to find a decent site dumper (I’m on a mac). They’re all too geeky or don’t give me enough control over what I am wanting to do. Not sure how it would work on ts. Setting it to grab the front page plus all internal links one deep?

            • lprent 13.1.1.1.1.2

              That is why I looked to see how many people came from RSS to the posts. 20 per month out of 45k unique readers really is a micro-minority. But running a site isn’t free, it costs

              David Farrar can afford to cater to the few. He is the pollster for National and seems to use his site as a message testing site for them. He also gets some kind of sweet server deal from friends, probably friends of National, that means his server costs are nothing to minimal. Effectively he is subsidised directly or indirectly by National. We don’t have any similar affiliations.

              But we have to pay our way as a true volunteer site. Since we’re now running the sites operational costs at about $250 per month and a lot of volunteer time. That means we cut anything that costs a lot compared to the people we reach. The problem is that those few RSS readers cost the site a hell of a lot. Nothing else does

              We provide the excerpts with all of the tags and categories. If something interests you and you don’t comment, then read after the event

              • Anonymous

                In exact dollar terms how much more would it cost per month to include the full article text in the RSS feed?

                • lprent

                  I don’t know exactly because I don’t know what effects just that change has on the server and data loads compared to dropping RSS comments (I changed them at the same time and it takes months to see effects). To change it is a flick of switch.

                  The real cost is if I have to step up to more computers to handle peak election loads, which is what I was doing from August (?) 2013 to July 2014. The step then was from $350 per month to $700 per month on AWS as I shifted from having two servers doing the main load to having four.

                  Now I am on one server with a malfunctioning offshore backup server (that i still have to fix). It is an 8 core system with 32GB RAM running SSDs. It peaks at 25% and averages 8% during the day during the intense interest on the buy-election, whereas during the election (similar levels) with comments RSS on it peaked at 80% and averaged 25%.

                  Since I have to listen to it running with fans on high when it gets about 30% for any length of time, I’m sensitive that way as well 🙂

                  But if you really want a feed, find out the IP’s of your scraper and I’ll let them pick a full post feed (I’m a programmer and can make such exceptions easily)

                  • b waghorn

                    Hi I was scrolling O/M and it gave me the option to alter or delete one of Paul’s comments thought you might want to know.

                    • lprent

                      Ouch. That has to be a caching issue. The question is where.

                      Mobile or desktop and were you using your own link or at an organization (they often do their own bad webpage caching).

                      Anyone else seen something similar.

                    • felix

                      Could you make that feature apply to Puckish Rogue’s comments?

                  • b waghorn

                    I was on a tablet at home, set to desk top.
                    I had to resist the urge to change his comment into a full acceptance of the official 9/11 line.

                  • Anonymous

                    Thank you so much. That is an amazing response. I’ve been given the following ranges as valid for their cloud provider, Digital Ocean, where their VMs run.

                    45.55.0.0 – 45.55.255.255
                    46.101.0.0 – 46.101.255.255
                    80.240.128.0 – 80.240.143.255
                    104.131.0.0 – 104.131.255.255
                    104.236.0.0 – 104.236.255.255
                    107.170.0.0 – 107.170.255.255
                    128.199.0.0 – 128.199.255.255
                    162.243.0.0 – 162.243.255.255
                    178.62.0.0 – 178.62.255.255
                    185.14.184.0 – 185.14.187.255
                    188.166.0.0 – 188.166.255.255
                    192.241.128.0 – 192.241.255.255
                    192.34.56.0 – 192.34.63.255
                    192.81.208.0 – 192.81.223.255
                    198.199.64.0 – 198.199.127.255
                    198.211.96.0 – 198.211.127.255
                    208.68.36.0 – 208.68.39.255

                    • lprent

                      Ok. It will probably not be until next weekend, unless I don’t come home from work coded out. I wanted to have a closer look at the RSS code anyway, but it is basically a matter of doing a .htaccess rule.

                      But, could you remind me on Friday (I’m not a diary kind of person). Email me on lprent at primary.geek.nz

  14. weka 14

    For a while now I’ve not been able to paste into the standard’s comment box on my iphone 5c (8.1.3). I thought it was the iphone after an update, but I’ve just tried another couple of forums and it worked fine. When I try and paste into ts, the ‘paste’ floating button appears briefly but then disappears again.

  15. weka 15

    In drop down menu, the archives page doesn’t have the archives on it.

    • lprent 15.1

      Ah good point. I put it in, but it doesn’t have a page that the mobile theme picks up.

      If you have a look at the desktop archives you can see that they are heavily modified.

      Updated: Just removed Archive as it doesn’t work. Looks like the changes to WordPress a few years ago killed it..

  16. weka 16

    A jump to top or bottom of page button would be useful for this long threads.

    • lprent 16.1

      If I get the number threading being able to add and search the number?

      Popped to mind earlier for the desktop.

      • weka 16.1.1

        On my laptop I can use command +arrow to get up or down. I think there is a way to do that on the phone but I can’t remember and it’s not obvious. It’s only really a problem on the long threads.

        • lprent 16.1.1.1

          We do get a few of those, and routinely these days, and the sub comments may go on forever. Usually no keyboards on smartphones or tablets unless someone is still using a blackberry.

          Maybe a navigation jumper on comments to junk to the next at the same level… Musing..

          • weka 16.1.1.1.1

            I think the main time I use it is when I’ve am far down the comments thread and I want to jump back up to the recent comments list. That’s on the desktop version obviously. If you’re going to put the recent comments in the drop down menu, and that’s accessible without having to be at the top of the page, that’d work.

            edit, I’ve just seen the back to top of page link at the bottom of the page, doh! Was that always there? I guess it’s those long threads where I’m in the middle or a long way down. But scrolling to the bottom and clicking that button is probably easier than what I do now which is usually just open a new page.

  17. lprent 17

    Following on from my discussion about RSS further up. I had a peek at locations in NZ in analytics

    This probably has some inaccuracies from GeoIP, especially for Auckland and Wellington head offices for ISPs. It is from 88.5% of the sessions because a number of sessions are dropped due to known inaccuracies.

    Auckland 46.1%
    Wellington 17.24%
    Christchurch 10.3%
    Dunedin 4.8%
    Hamilton 3.8%
    Palmerston North 3.7%
    Tauranga 2.7%
    Whangarei 1.5%
    Lower Hutt 1.4%
    Napier 1.2%

    New users are roughly inline with those figures as well – but 1.9% in Whangarei and 49.3% in Auckland, probably due to the buy election.

  18. Ian Grant 18

    Thanks for your ongoing improvements – much appreciated as I only read the TS on iPhone – much improved over the last few years

  19. Gruntie 19

    Infused – beggars can’t be choosers

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    The Operation Burnham inquiry continued to question senior NZDF staff today, and their shoddy coverup over their knowledge of civilian casualties continue to fall apart. If you recall, first, we were asked to believe that it was all a series of "mistakes and errors": a senior officer with multiple degrees ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • If we are to avoid making the earth uninhabitable, we need to rapidly decarbonise our civilisation, and cut emissions to zero as quickly as possible. This seems like an impossible task, but its not. Pushing hard on a few technologies and trends will let us halve emissions in a decade:Greenhouse ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    2 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    3 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    4 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    4 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    5 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    5 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    6 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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