Fomenting happy mischief. Indeed!

Written By: - Date published: 4:41 pm, December 13th, 2009 - 52 comments
Categories: blogs - Tags:

David has a new innovation at the sewer. The old comment voting system has been enhanced to, amongst other things, hide comments when they receive enough votes against. I had some fun testing this last week under various logins that I set up some years ago and keep active. It looks like an innovate quantitative social testing tool. You can see how it is useful to an organisation like Curia with its close ties to the National party polling system.

How does it work? Well not as big bruv* expected when I was using my lprent login.

big_bruv_commentBy the time I saw that, my comment looked rather like this with a lower score.

lprent_comment

My response to big bruv also wound up being hidden. It said that I was interested in how the rating system was operating, and explained why he actually managed to get banned at The Standard in the past.

In fact all of my comments as lprent got hidden. While sarcastic in parts as is my usual style,  each comment contained some substantive valid points or was responding to comments directed at me. See them for yourself. 1, 2, 3, and 4.

This type of innovative hiding of comments based on anonymous voting is interesting as it removes all level of personal responsibility for what is effectively a ban. It significantly reduces the feedback that follow-up comments by other commentators or moderators would give. As such you’d have to question its value in operant changes in behaviour.

Explaining the new rating system, David described it thus (my italics).

Comments with lots of positive ratings get highlighted. I have set the threshold for now to 5. I may need to raise it. I don’t want too many highlighted just those which get lots of people saying this is great.

Comments with lots of negative ratings gets hidden you can still read them if you want by clicking on them, but it allows you to skip over them. Now I have set the threshold at 10 negative comments, as I don’t want lots of comments hidden. I will increase this if people are voting comments down just because they may not agree with a comment, as opposed to it being a comment of poor quality. There is a huge difference.

Well I’d agree in principle, however you haven’t succeeded. Hopefully I’ve assisted in providing calibration data for your system, it looks like a threshold probably needs to be above 75 negative comments before the sewer rats stop voting against the person rather than the comment. However that is a ridiculous level. As it stands it simply entrenches bullying as the dominant social behaviour in the sewer by the majority in-group in a way that I have only seen in Hollywood high school dramas.

If that was not your intent, then you should probably limit the number of votes per period after the comment is made. That would allow your commentators to assess a value per each vote If you set it to say 10 votes per login per 24 hours, then less excitable people would have to think before using their votes up early. The coding would be trivial. Of course that also put a value on having several aliases that they use. But at least there is a cost to logging in and out that will reduce idle block voting.

But there are other interesting aspects to this system. Prior to this I’d left several comments to get a feel for the tolerances of the local in-group. These were from various well-established alter-egos on Kiwiblog. The results were quite interesting as an example of pack behaviours.

  • If the commentator and comment was left-leaning, they were hidden albeit with lesser anti-scores.
  • If they were distinctly centre and conservative then they got very close to the trigger values.
  • If they were outrageously right wingnut statements then they got very positive scores.
  • I didn’t try obviously green, elderly, female, young or old style comments as I’d need to establish some of these identities.

You’d have to say that this system, while low maintenance in terms of moderating effort, is very good at stifling robust debate on kiwiblog to a relatively small cohort of possible opinion sets.

I’m not expert at Skinner and related techniques. But this type of technique in operant conditioning (using punishment without clear feedback) is often used to drive test subjects either psychotic or into a hopeless unthinking conformance. Fortunately the commentators are not confined, so do have a choice of moving to other sites that do allow some freedom of expression which have clearly defined behaviour standards. Public Address, The Standard, or even No Minister come to mind.

However it does provide an interesting way of looking a social behaviours for sociologists, politicians, political activists and others looking at the tolerances and reactions in group behaviour. Put up an idea as a comment in the sewer and see how it votes amongst the wingnuts. This would be an invaluable way of examining the social attitudes and sensitivities to a meme by this group. However I’d suggest not using a well-known pseudonym as personal dislike appears to dominate the effect.

However I’m surprised that lab-rat usage wasn’t highlighted in David Farrars description of the rating system. The benefits should have been immediately obvious to someone who runs a social polling company like Curia. I intend to spend some time to write code to strip this valuable quantitative data from the public pages. It’d be far easier for David to do from the database, especially as it tracks who makes each vote as you cannot rate a comment more than once for a given login.

Because the bully system that the voting tends to assist, people whose comments get hidden will tend to not comment, leading to a purer test sample of the target audience. This will steadily increase the efficacy of the system to a polling company.

It must be a very happy mischief in creating your very own socially in-bred and  highly conformant lab group of wingnuts for testing.

* big bruv under that psuedonym was last banned for poor behaviour in April last year for tiresomely attacking this site rather than talking about anything with any substance. He has done a hundred or so comments since then with a few notes by moderators. Obviously the bans left a suitable, but not deterrent, impression to him expressing himself at odds. Just not repeating behaviours that were unacceptable – which is the intent of the moderation and bans.

updated: Spelling mistake in title.

52 comments on “Fomenting happy mischief. Indeed!”

  1. BLiP 1

    The echo chamber just got louder.

  2. Farrar is bad news, unless you fit into a very narrow range of thoughts and beliefs, you are wasting your time at Farrar, he has become a parody of himself,
    expect it to get worser and worser.
    The site seems old to me now, and basically drivel centre right politico think.
    Of course the equal and opposite but the same is true of the Standard.

  3. Tim Ellis 3

    Good to see that bullying behaviour by other commenters is of concern to you LP.

  4. Rex Widerstrom 4

    Then you have sites that are the exact opposite of Kiwiblog, wherein the level of debate is generally considerably higher and the posts far better researched and more original but one wingnut blog owner leaps so heavily upon the slightest transgression that it’s easier to stay away than be addressed in an arrogant and dismissive manner as though one were, say, a university student who’d dared ask for an extension due to a death in the family.

    I’ve yet to find the “perfect” blog site… PA rarely discusses the harder political topics so is a “must-read but rarely contribute” and The Standard, while coming close, seems a little too successful at deterring the intelligent righties (yes, Victoria, the intelligemt righty does exist!) and tends to be left mostly with those who run lines (though there are enough outstanding exceptions to make it still a very worthwhile medium).

    I too am a little concerned about David’s new system. “Karma” didn’t used to worry me because I ignored it, and simply read comments from people (including some you’d no doubt chracterise as “extreme righties”) who I knew usually had something to say which would likely interest me.

    Asidfe from the fact that the new colours which highlight “well loved” and “hot debate” comments make me nauseous, the ability to make a comment “disappear” by voting it down seems to be encouraging those of a “pack” mentality to attack it (perhaps uner different aliases?) until it vanishes.

    And it appears entirely motivated by the identity of the poster… philu being a good example. Mostly his “Waynes World” approach to life and commenting style drives me up the wall. But on some issues – drug treatment, for instance – I’m eager to hear what he has to say even if I have to scramble through a field of ellipses to read it because he has personal experience to offer and has clearly given a great deal of thought to the topic.

    His comments on that issue aren’t even what I’d call “left”… if anythiing they’d almost fit with those of the Libertarianz… but they’re inevitably attacked by the swarm mind and given low karma.

    Before, there was at least a chance the uniformed might glance at “non conforming” comments on their way to have their prejudices reinforced. Now they can be made to disappear then, as BLiP says, the echo chamber just got… echoier.

  5. lprent 5

    Rex: I have yet to find the perfect blog as well. Unfortunately I don’t have much time to find one either. Running a blog takes too much time.

    I wrote that last night, finished and posted at my parents, and I’m writing this while getting some quick food on way back. Have to pick up Lyn at the airport.

    Doing the look at kiwiblogs new system reduced my posts last week. This weekend ‘off’ reduces my output next week because I have a lot of work to finish before Xmas. Oh well the joys of being a part time blogger sysop.

    We just keep doing incremental improvementson this one and see how far we get

    • Rex Widerstrom 5.1

      I hope you don’t think I meant The Standard (and you) in the first par Lynn!

      You do an exceptional job keeping it all running, and the fact that those on the right capable of intelligent discourse don’t seem to come here much, while disappointing, is hardly your fault.

      The fact that you’re so tolerant of those who do run tedious talking points illustrates that if there was a better level of debate you’d be letting it through.

      Unless of course there is, and it’s all a conspiracy to make the right look bereft of any creative thought 😀 😉

      • lprent 5.1.1

        ….that those on the right capable of intelligent discourse….

        I found a lot when I was on the MBA. Quite a few when I’ve been working. Virtually none on the blogs.

        I’ve come to the conclusion that we get the dregs of the ‘right’ on the blogs. I guess the good ones are doing things.

        I think that the left seems to be able to multi-task better. Brain structure perhaps?

  6. infused 6

    I don’t see how it’s any different from you guys removing people/deleting posts. It’s rather good not having to read comments that some of your posters make over there.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      I’d assume that not having to read comments you don’t like does save you from having to think.

    • lprent 6.2

      We seldom actually ban these days – weeks go by without it happening.

      People generally know the standard of behaviour that will trigger the moderator to stir into action.

      We also seldom delete posts unless people are banned. They usually wind up with a [deleted] on comment sections when they do just go over the edge as a warning. Some of the newer authors are still figuring out exactly what to do, but they really only do it on their own posts.

      Notes get added reasonably frequently to keep people aware of the edges. Typically this mainly happens with newbies to the site these days – ie the ones that look at the site as being virgin territory to troll.

      Of course once people attract attention, it tends to stay on them for a while.

      It is a bit of pain when some people moderate without initialing who did it – but again that is usually new authors trying it for the first time. I don’t like it. You should always know the personality who is doing it. But that is more educating the moderators.

  7. felix 7

    All together now righties: “WE’RE ALL INDIVIDUALS”.

    The most predictable blog around just got a little duller.

  8. Interesting. I have posted comments on Mr Farrer’s blog before, always courteous and seeking to make a reasonable point, but I find that I have been hidden. It is his blog, but I don’t think that I will post there again as I clearly cannot reach the standards of his audience. I doubt if either of us will feel much loss in this outcome!

  9. vto 9

    I read it about four times a year

    • lprent 9.1

      It is about the same for me. But I often also read the posts and comment streams where there is a link to The Standard.

      I also read most of the blog links in the left column about 4 times per year when I deciding if the linked site has gone moribund and should be set to private.

  10. Andrei 10

    I have to agree Lynn burying comments is a stupid idea, as is playing the man instead of the ball a sad fact of life in blog comments. Both here and there.

    But are you admitting to sockpuppeting on Kiwiblog in this post?

    Is so shame on you

    • lprent 10.1

      Ummm I do that everywhere when I have time, and have done so for over 20 years around the nets. One of the more interesting things around is to exercise your brain in a different pattern than your normal frame of reference. I do it here under my main login. lprent as sysop/moderator is pretty distinctive compared to lprent arguing my own opinions.

      The key is to actually argue what you believe in whatever guise it is. In my case, I have 50 years of experience to draw on, so usually I just pull up past personalities. For instance the left is some of my current thinking outside of here (where my roles are bit constrained) and the centre-right is from when I was doing an MBA and arguing with my left/green girlfriend.

      The wingnut attitude of course comes straight out of my adolescence before I went in the army. In those days I was so sure that whatever I thought was always right. The army was pretty good at showing that usually wasn’t the case and could get your platoon members killed.

      Whereas I guess that the normal sock-puppet usage seems to be related to doing provocateur actions – something I don’t usually do except in posts.

    • lprent 10.2

      Incidentally, if you look up AncientGeek on this site, you will find one of my personalities expressing itself in 2007 and early 2008. I used it early on when I wasn’t doing much with the site because we hadn’t agreed to do moderation, and when I was holding lprent in reserve for whenever that had to happen.

      Lyn reckons that one is closer to reality than either of the lprent ones.

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    But this type of technique in operant conditioning (using punishment without clear feedback) is often used to drive test subjects either psychotic or into a hopeless unthinking conformance.

    So, RWNJ behaviour creates more RWNJs?

  12. Ruth 12

    The whole ‘karma’ system is ridiculous – it’s like star charts for pre-schoolers. Now there is a naughty chair, it seems!

  13. IrishBill 13

    To be fair to David frogblog has been running a similar system for some time and over there it does seem to keep the trolls down. I’d be very uncomfortable with any system like that here.

    • lprent 13.1

      Yeah – consider this post to be my report about why we shouldn’t have it after due investigation. I can’t think of an way to code something of that style that won’t run into the similar effects without getting into a epicycle on epicycle debugging accretion of rules.

      Looks like we’ll be stuck doing our idiosyncratic moderating for a while. And the commentators having to put up with it.

      • Bill 13.1.1

        WTF!

        I comment in some out of order way (by what ever way you pile of fuckwits decide is out of order), then moderate or ban me.

        at least I have some idea of what I have to deal with in your dictatorial blogospage word and can self moderate fairly confidently.

        Moderated by an anonymous herd! No, no ,no! That’s lowest common denominator bullshit given the nature of the forum.

    • Gosman 13.2

      As Irishbill has pointed out frogblog has a virtually identical system.

      Why haven’t you made a comment about this pefore lprent, especially considering they had their system in place much earlier?

      Don’t you post under multiple user names on frogblog then? 😉

      • lprent 13.2.1

        There are relatively few links from frogblog to The Standard that draw my attention to it. I seldom read frogblog comments, and I read their posts every couple of weeks*. My experience has been that the comments section, while it has a lot of interesting stuff, is tied up with Blue Peter and a few others making particularly insipid repetitive statements ad infinitium. So I wasn’t aware of their system. But I’m sure that the same things apply apart from the possible interest of Curia.

        Most sites that I read, I read the posts but seldom the comments, because I simply don’t have time to read all of the material in the posts.

        Kiwiblog links here frequently, I frequently get e-mails pointing out kiwiblog comments or posts about this site, and they often show up on the comments here. That draws my attention to them. That is probably a function of how many people read both the larger blog sites.

        * for a comparision, my iPhone which I read sites on the way to and from work has
        The Standard
        NZ Herald
        Red Alert
        No Right Turn
        Scoop
        The Economist
        Hot Topic
        Kiwipolitico (so few posts now *sigh*, but long interesting ones)
        Bowalley Road (ditto)
        plus a couple of techie sites for areas I work in.
        plus the e-mail lists.

        Obviously I read The Standard during the day. The rest are pretty much confined to the 90 minutes commuting each day – unless I take a car – in which case they don’t get read.

        I seldom get to read more than half of the material on that per day apart from The Standard

  14. Adam Jarvis 14

    The system described seems very similar to that of youtube. Users can thumbs up or down a particular post, the highly thumbs down posts being hidden.

    The system works in some cases, while failing tremendously in others.

    In music videos for example, i’ve noticed the feature coming in handy. Censored posts generally contain something along the lines of:

    “Zomg! Fuk ths sht. u giys r all losers” etc.

    I find this in most in most youtube videos actually. Everything from vlogs about popular culture, through rare Jethro Tull recordings to professional starcraft replays.

    Then there are times when the feature fails. It fails in the exact way Iprent has described. Viewers of the video are split into two sides and whichever side gains the ascendancy censors the comments of the other side. I see this on political channels (through the entire spectrum this happens, from libertarian to socialist), religious channels (theist and atheist) and channels supporting various causes from abstinence to gay rights.

    Essentially, if the channel is at all controversial… the feature does nothing but hinder robust debate and, interestingly enough, encourage flaming (from the side in the ascendancy). All it achieves is to create a sort of group think. On other channels, it seems to serve to cut down on the moderators job in weeding trolls and other evil doers.

    • lprent 14.1

      Yeah, it is pretty damn partisan here a *lot* of the time.

      About 5% of my moderating time these days is tied down moderating people saying that other people should be moderated or change their behaviour (from all sides).

      felix, gitmo, and travellev are the most frequent requests 😈

      That is after making it pretty damn clear that the moderators are jealous ogres who don’t share their roles. Hell I’ve been moderated by the other moderators….

  15. I take the negative Karmas and the Hidden Comments as a badge of honour!

    It’s nice to be appreciated. 🙂

  16. yawn 16

    Got nothing else to do except moan, again iprent. How about you make up some stunning science about the warming of the globe.

    While we are talking about managing dissent why don’;t we talk about your totalitarian penchant for removing any comments or commentators you don’t like. You really are a hypocritical boring old prick.

    [lprent: Sounds like another satisfied customer. Why don’t you learn to type? Too hard?
    Like actually understanding science. ]

  17. yawn 17

    SOUNDS LIKE IPRENT HAS BEEN SPENDING A LOT OF TIME TROLLING THE SITE HE PURPORTS TO HATE SO MUCH.

    LIFE? GET ONE? HMMM. SOUNDS LIKE IT. I SUPPOSE SINCE HE IS NO LOINGER HELENS IT BITCH AND OFF LINE HACKER (CARE TO COMMENT ABOUT DON LYN?) HE HAS NOTHING TO FILL HIS AGING CHILDLESS LIFE WITH.

    [lprent: Also has problems with the capslock, hasn’t read my comments about how often I look at kiwiblog, has an overrated idea of my capabilities (I suspect an inside job myself from what I know about the security at parliament), and doesn’t know my family but seems to feel qualified to comment on it.

    Keep commenting. You can be a pet so I can use you as an example of the worst type of unthinking moronic illiterate that helps to drag down the sewer and makes it unreadable. Sure you can vote, but it is hard to see how you can hold down a job. The system obviously failed you with the functional illiteracy you’ve displayed.

    Adding you to the auto-moderate. ]

  18. felix 18

    I don’t mean to be a spelling dick but there’s no “r” in “fomenting”.

    I’ve always thought David should’ve used “fermenting” anyway due to the unpleasant smell his site generates, but perhaps this new bully system signifies a move into distillation.

  19. oowdidums 19

    someones a little greek.

  20. sean14 20

    Your obsession with Farrar is a bit weird. If his blog is such rubbish let him keep going with it until it blows up in his face.

    I hate to think what your reaction was to learning that he’d made The Listener’s power list!

    • lprent 20.1

      I was looking at the rating system he’d introduced to decide if it was worthwhile using here.

      I pointed out the inherent flaws and did some speculation about possible uses of such a system.

      From memory that is the second or third post I’ve written about KB this year out of hundreds.

      How is it obsessional to observer the other major political blog to see if there are any ideas worth transferring? Are you more than a little paranoid?

      • Gosman 20.1.1

        It was pretty clear from previous comments you have made on this subject you had already come out against this system. Why you felt the need to create an entire blog post about it wasn’t exactly clear. Unless there was another reason to do so, perhaps because you decided the topic provided you ammunition to attack a rival blog?

        The tone of abuse evident in your comments against Kiwiblog, (i.e. use of the terms The Sewer, Sewer Rats, and Socially in-bred), would be highly indicative that you are just using this rather innocuous issue as an attack excuse rather than any serious interest in discussing if this system would have any benefits. This is further reinforced by the fact that you failed to pick up that it has been in use by other NZ Political blogs prior to now.

        If you really wanted to critique this system in a fair and balanced manner you should have included the other blogs as well.

        • lprent 20.1.1.1

          I’d spent time on looking at the system at Kiwiblog. I wasn’t impressed. So I said why, with some additional commentary about why such a system might be created.

          Also, in the case of kiwiblog, what goes around, comes around. I wasn’t exactly impressed with the opinions offered by kiwiblog, david, or the commentators over the last few years about this site.

          Besides the image of lab-rats running around the sewer being tapped for memes by National is kind of compelling. Of course being a lab-rat probably isn’t that appealing to you. But why should I care if it offends you?

  21. Chris C 21

    For what it’s worth, I treat all ratings systems with contempt, and just tend to vote for whichever side is losing. I like supporting the underdog, which is why I like Phoenix.

  22. randal 22

    looks like fatboy has his very own version of openness, honesty and democracy.
    drive tested in germany and the ussr in the 40’s.

    • Rex Widerstrom 22.1

      Would you be so kind, randal, as to offer a quick pen portrait of each of the posters at the Standard?

      It’s just that I’d like to be able to use epithets like “four eyes”, “fat arse”, “baldy” etc when critiquing their arguments.

  23. randal 23

    I dont know them and I dont know you.
    okay with you rex?
    however I do know fbf under another of his aliases on another site and his nastiness and mean spiritidness is legion.
    so if the cap fits wear it.

  24. randal 24

    and ususally rex people who have allowed their girth to expand beyond the point where it is noticeable is usually because of a psychological disposition to acquire personal power in the easiest manner possible.
    and to pretend that people are somehow internally objectively independent of their political philosophy is a conceit of those whose position is safe for the moment.
    merry xmas.

    [lprent: And that is hitting the bounds]

  25. randal 25

    okay.
    I give up.
    I promise to stop being innovative, thinking outside the square and most of all I promise to stop vibrating.

    [lprent: Not pointing out people are fat when it has no bearing on your point would be sufficient. That goes to being a gratuitous insult unless you can wind it in to your point. ]

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    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 ...
    3 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
    2 weeks 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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