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The Gosman (hypocrisy) ruling and other policy changes

Written By: - Date published: 9:09 am, September 17th, 2013 - 134 comments
Categories: admin, notices, The Standard - Tags:

the-standard-logo_with_dolphinThis may be shades of getting over-Apple’d as they mercilessly flay people on iTunes with their gargantuan pile of boilerplate each time they change a word (does anyone actually read that crap?). A good reason not to use the worthless and unworkable lump of bloatware.

However there are a couple of policy changes on this site that people should be aware of. In addition to the Gosman ruling, I realised that I’d probably get a better quality of implied threat from the occasional lawyers letter if we laid down some rules for them as well.

In the Rules section

This site doesn’t allow anonymous comments or posts. Everyone must have a pseudonym and we don’t allow people to change them whenever they feel like it. We collect IP numbers and email addresses and have an active moderation policy. Ultimately the trust is responsible for comments put on the site and we will act against anyone who puts us at what we perceive as a legal risk.

This does not mean that simple blanket threats from people and their lawyers upset about content will be acted upon. At a bare minimum complainants should email our contact addresses with a link to the comment or post in question and explain exactly why they think it should be changed or removed and the legal basis (if any) for doing so.

If we and/or our lawyers feel that the the comment or post oversteps a legal bound, violates good taste, invades the privacy of people outside the public domain, or goes beyond the scope of our site – then and only then will we do something about it.

As guidelines to consider. Publishing facts that are manifestly false is relevant to our decision, but clearly stated opinion is not. Hurt feelings or career damage are not particularly relevant. If you wish to claim copyright then you need to provide checkable details rather than merely asserting an unsubstantiated claim. The required freedom of expression for a democracy to function effectively is relevant as is the restraint required to continue exercising it in the future.

Most of the time the moderators will tend to be harsher on offending content than any court in NZ is likely to be.

In the section on Banning, in the list marked self-martyrdom offenses

  • The Gosman (hypocrisy) ruling. People using a pseudonym to comment who then claim that other people commenting/posting anonymously (or any words construed to mean that) will have their own comments treated as being anonymous. Since this site does not support anonymous comments, they will receive an immediate long ban.


updated: with corrections in italics

134 comments on “The Gosman (hypocrisy) ruling and other policy changes ”

  1. fender 2

    This is way more attention than Gosman deserves, but it’s an excellent addition that was entertaining to watch unfold. Never mind Gossamer, TDB might let you throw your crap about in their living room.

  2. weka 3

    I felt a bit sad at Gosman’s long ban the other day (no idea what came over me), but then I reflected on the number of regulars getting bans until after the next election, and how interesting next year is going to be on ts and how the quality of the debate will change without the steady naysaying/hatemongering/tr0lling.

    I don’t know if it’s coincidence, or if it’s the sea change from the last month, but I’ve been enjoying the debate here more lately. There have been a couple of examples that stand out where a rightwinger posts something and a series of Standardistas reply with clear, concise, logical (and sometimes passionate as well) refutals, without any of the abuse and tiresome “you’re a complete fuckwit/no you’re a complete fuckwit” posts.

    Here’s a case in point from today –

    Cunliffe declares war on National and the TPPA

    I loved the quality of the replies, where questions are asked to expose the flaws in the original comment, and the differences between fact and opinion are pointed out. Then people like Karol go and dig up actual evidence that refutes what the right winger has been saying, and so on. It’s the intelligent, thoughtful stuff that should make up good debate. It’s just beautiful, and I hope we get more of that here. (Labour isn’t the only place on a roll).

  3. geoff 4

    The Gosman (hypocrisy) ruling. People using a pseudonym to comment who claim that other people doing so to comment or post anonymously or any words construed to mean that will have their own comments treated as being anonymous. Since this site does not allow anonymous comments, they will receive an immediate long ban.

    Wtf? I do not understand that paragraph.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 4.1

      Yes, there appears to be a bit of an error. An “are” added might be needed. ( I added a couple of commas too, however am not excellent at applying them in the correct places.)

      Suggested correction:

      The Gosman (hypocrisy) ruling. People using a pseudonym to comment who claim that other people are doing so to comment or post anonymously, or any words construed to mean that, will have their own comments treated as being anonymous. Since this site does not allow anonymous comments, they will receive an immediate long ban.

  4. George D 5

    What does this mean for people who post under names like my own, semi-pseudonyms? It seems to be increasingly popular on the internet to protect yourself from a cursory Google search, while retaining an identity.

    (Not that I intend on getting banned. When I disagree with how the authors of this site manage their content, comments, and their regulation, I recuse myself.)

    • karol 5.1

      I think pseudonyms and semi pseudonyms are fine. Especially if used consistently. The problem is with people trying to comment without a specific identity (ie anonymously). The differentiation is between pseudonyms and being anonymous.

      Gos complained about people posting “anonymously” on TS. In fact, no-one is allowed to do that. People use their real names or pseudonyms or a mixture of both. Gosman was actually referring to people using pseudonyms – but, the hypocrite was commenting about that, while using a pseudonym.

    • lprent 5.2

      Basically all handles here are pseudonyms including people’s real names. Under normal circumstances we won’t bother to check if someone calls themselves lprent or Lynn Prentice or AncientGeek, even if any of those refer to a person’s real name.

      What we are concerned about is that AncientGeek is the same person in all of their comments. We don’t get concerned particularly if AncientGeek is the same person as lprent and Lynn Prentice unless they start replying to their other selves. We regard this as gaming the system for mana.

      If you have more than a couple of active pseudonyms then we may get irritated and ban all of them or insist that you pick only one if you misbehave with them. But it is a hard task to develop and sustain more than one viable handle because if they sound like a chorus of the same person then we regard that as astroturfing…

  5. Lanthanide 6

    “The Gosman (hypocrisy) ruling. People using a pseudonym to comment who claim that other people doing so to comment or post anonymously or any words construed to mean that will have their own comments treated as being anonymous. Since this site does not allow anonymous comments, they will receive an immediate long ban.”

    Just to clarify, if someone used a name that appeared to be their genuine real life name, they would be free to makes claims about other people posting anonymously and not be subject to a ban, because there is no hypocrisy involved?

    • weka 6.1

      How do you know if it is their RL name? How would ts admin/moderators know?

      • lprent 6.1.1

        We actually don’t care much. As far as we are concerned all names are just pseudonyms because there is literally no way to check that it is their real name. Not to mention the duplicate names like “Mike Smith” of which I have two in my facebook.

        About the only thing we will check is if the name is for someone well known in real life and we think that someone is trying for some identity theft, we will either disallow the handle or check that they are who they say they are. The choice is up to the moderators.

      • Murray Olsen 6.1.2

        I assume they wouldn’t know for sure, unless they put some real effort into verification. I also don’t think it matters. I use what might be my RL name because I’m in a situation where I don’t care about any consequences to myself of saying what I think. Not everyone is in a similar situation.

        Whatever name I use, I realise I post here at lprent’s pleasure. When he says something I don’t like, well it’s his blog and I’ll get over it. Anyway, I won’t miss Gosman and I can still vote his comments down at TDB.

    • lprent 6.2

      Yes. Of course that means they’d have to word it very carefully because they’d not want to fall foul of the self-martyrdom offense that says:-

      Abusing the sysop or post writers on their own site – including telling us how to run our site or what we should write. This is viewed as self-evident stupidity, and should be added as a category to the Darwin Awards.

      Pseudonyms are the policy on this site. Real names are not because generally we don’t check or generally guarantee that they are the person that the claim they are.

      There are a few times that we will check them out when people claim specialised knowledge on the basis of who they are. Sometimes we will check if someone is claiming to be a well known personality (ie implied special knowledge). And there have been the odd cases of people trying to hijack other people’s pseudonyms.

  6. captain hook 7

    The owners of this blog are entitled to do what ever they want with no comeback from anyone.
    The problem with gosman is that his smartphone is smarter than he is!

  7. andyS 8

    What exactly do you mean by “anonymous”?
    You track IP addresses, you can check for a valid email address, at least a well-formed one. But unless you email each and every commenter you can’t tell if this is an active email address.

    So you are saying that you need a valid email address to comment?
    Or you need a unique handle within this blog?

    It isn’t very clear, not to me, anyway

    • captain hook 8.1

      go back to school.
      do not pass go.
      do not collect $100.

    • weka 8.2

      andyS, I assume it means that ‘andyS’ has a specific meaning on ts. Moderators/admin can tell by checking the IP and email address for ‘andyS’, so that if someone else posts as andyS or David Cunliffe or Gosman, they can see if that person has posted before. They can also see if the IP/email address that someone uses while posting here as andyS is used under another pseudonym (eg as a sockpuppet).

      Having pseudonyms means that each commenter (and author) has a consistent handle. Anonymous means any given comment could have been written by anyone.

      ‘Anonymous’ is often seen on blogger.com blogs. It’s a pain in the arse and I have no idea why blogs like The Hand Mirror ask that people don’t use it instead of just disabling it. Anonymous commenters create confusion in long threads, because it becomes hard to tell who is talking in each comment, and who is being replied to.

      • andyS 8.2.1

        @weka, thanks, that is a good explanation.
        Maybe the wording should be that the blog “does not support anonymous comments, as Blogger does”, rather than “does not allow”.

        If the platform doesn’t support a feature, then you can’t do it. It is not a rule that has to be enforced by a moderator.

        • McFlock

          That implies that it was not a decision made by the administrators, though.

          The gravatar to the left of your name also ensures consistent identification by other users, and I believe is unique to your handle/email combo. So if we got into a rip-roaring argument and than another commenter used the handle “andyS” (until the mods made them change), I as another commenter would be able to tell them from you and vice versa.

          And of course the moderators here make a conscious decision to require unique handles- if a new commenter used “andyS” and it came to the mods’ attention, the new user would have to change their handle.

          When you think about it, “anonymous” is just another handle, one that everyone can use. It’s the administrators/moderators who stop people changing handles constantly (especially astroturfers trying to use multiple handles), and who ensure that commenters’ handles are unique. I’ve never tried, but it’s not too difficult to make up a fake email address, and half the time google think I’m in auckland (I think based on my IP address). And there are ways to mask your real IP, anyway.

          [lprent: gravatar/identicon relates only to your email address.

          Masked IP’s usually get a much closer scrutiny of content by me. They stand out because they tend to come from a relatively small number of well-known (to sysops) local address ranges or they come from strange places offshore. If the content looks ok then I allow that user/IP range a keyhole. Otherwise they keep getting caught in traps.

          They help with man-in-the middle issues, but aren’t that useful if you’re wanting to be inconspicuous on a site that has between 95% of its human traffic coming from australasia and 90% from NZ ]

        • lprent

          The platform could support the feature with a simple click. I wrote a complete anonymizer some time ago in case we ever needed it. It mangles all of the email addresses and IP numbers in a non-reversible way. It allows comparison of uniqueness without carrying identifiable information unless you had the originating details.

          It is only really useful if we then force a high level of encryption of connections to prevent man-in-the-middle (ie GCSB) pickups of the details.

      • stargazer 8.2.2

        @ weka: we don’t disable anonymous comments because blogger doesn’t allow us to. unless something has changed recently. the only option we have is to turn moderation on or off, & if we turn it on, then we have to approve every single comment, which is a hassle. we’ve only had to do that twice or three times that i can remember, when the blog was under attack.

        • weka

          “we don’t disable anonymous comments because blogger doesn’t allow us to”

          How come? I’ve commented on blogger.com sites and Anonymous hasn’t been an option. A quick look on google shows how to disable Anonymous comments. Is there something specific about http://thehandmirror.blogspot.co.nz/ ? Is it the template being used?

    • lprent 8.3

      We don’t even care about email addresses. If people give us valid addresses then that is fine. If not then that is fine. But you aren’t thinking deeply enough. We just don’t care who people are in real life. But we protect ourselves against proliferation of identities…

      Anonymous would mean that we carry no details about the person making a comment.

      But we collect the handle, the email address that they used (which doesn’t need to be valid), the IP making a comment and the timestamp of the comment. Each new email address (valid or otherwise) is a shared secret between this site and the commenter. It is what gives you your hopefully unique identicon or your specific cross site gravator.

      Each new combination of handle and email address we receive gets automatically moderated on their first comment and has to be released by a moderator.

      We scrutinize these for people currently under a ban. I also look at new combos for where their IP is coming from, who else comments on that IP range, and the content of their comment. About a third of all ‘new’ people get tossed straight into the trash or spam for one reason or another.

      Generally we can track anyone back from their IP and a timestamp if we want/need to. Unless they run it through a masking proxy server. People doing that who we don’t know often find that it is hard to get past our automatic and manual defenses.

      The effect of all of these is that few commenters are truly anonymous on this site if I choose to track them. They are mostly guarded by our privacy rules against me.

      The other side is that pseudonyms are hard earned on this site. We don’t let people change them for the hell of it. The aggravation we give to people changing their pseudonyms and/or email addresses even accidently is palpable. Not to mention that losing your “name” means that you start from the bottom in getting credibility for your comments.

      People usually won’t really engage with “unknowns” for a while while they check them out. And moderators tend to treat “unknowns” with a deep suspicion. When I “notice” them in my moderating role they usually wind up with a warning to read the policy or a permanent ban that I wouldn’t give to people who have had a few dozen comments.

  8. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 9

    You might want to get someone who has English as a first language re-look at that ruling.

  9. Not Another Sheep 10

    Every fact is an opinion.
    Opinions are only a biased selection of facts; facts are constructed from biased opinions.

    It’s people’s perspective that defines each and which side of an argument they choose to ‘research’ to give validity or disqualify. Every piece of ‘fact’ can be objectively taken apart and thus once unproven, negated, shown to be a partial truth only or a total mistruth then that ‘fact’ becomes an historic opinion.

    Facts and opinions are only as true as the uttering person’s world view.

    E.g. Weka’s are a nuisance yet a Gosman encourages us to question and be open minded.


    P.S. Every pseudonym is used to remain anonymous.

    [lprent: So is every name. There is virtually nowhere on the net outside of the banking system (maybe) and the government sites using a verified id, where a “real name” being used *must* relate at all to a the person using it. If you are naive enough to believe anything else then you really are a fool. ]

    • Rogue Trooper 10.1

      that’s a bit harsh on weka, imho 🙂 although, a comment worth reading.Stone the Crows!

      • weka 10.1.1

        I’m still trying to make sense of that apostrophe. Looks like weka mischief to me. Or the crows getting their own back.

    • weka 10.2

      “Facts and opinions are only as true as the uttering person’s world view.”

      Go on then, tell me how the following is an opinion but not a fact.

      Not Another Sheep made a comment on thestandard.co.nz on 17 September 2013 at 3:59 pm

      edit: oops, just seen the convo below…

    • QoT 10.3

      All “a Gosman” encourages me to do is ponder whether it’s worth the effort to respond – just so others can see Gosman is full of shit – or just ignore it.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.4

      Every fact is an opinion.

      Nope. The temperature outside is what it is and your opinion on it won’t change it. This applies to all of reality which is why National and other RWNJ parties need to lie, prevaricate and misdirect when reality proves them wrong.

      • weka 10.4.1

        oh dear, I think you just proved Sheep’s point.

        The temperature outside varies depending on how you measure it. If you use a thermometer, it will be one thing. If you ask three people to go outside and say how cold it is, it will be three different things (four, if they take the thermometer with them). In some situations, the thermometer is the best tool. In others it is the experience of people that matters.

        Noise levels are similar – remember how TV networks argued that adverts aren’t technically any louder than tv programmes, they just sound louder to humans 🙄

        • Colonial Viper

          DTB thinks that there is an objectively measurable and definable world out there which exists independently and irrespective of subjectivity, observer or perception.

          • Draco T Bastard

            That’s because there is. Believing anything else is delusional.

            • marty mars

              It is all assessed subjectively by that lump on top of our shoulders. A temperature is meaningless unless someone interacts with it.

              • Draco T Bastard

                A thermometer is objective. What you may do due to that temperature may be subjective but the temperature itself is objective.

        • McFlock

          A properly functional thermometer records the objective fact.
          Whether I think it is hot or cold is my opinion. Just because I think it is hot doesn’t mean the snow will melt.

          • Colonial Viper

            you’re another one.

          • weka

            “A properly functional thermometer records the objective fact.”

            Yes. But “it’s colder outside tonight than it was this morning” can be a fact or an opinion depending on how you measure it.

            “Just because I think it is hot doesn’t mean the snow will melt.”

            Also true. But what you think about the relative temperature will affect how you feel and how other people feel.

            Just because people’s experience of temperature is a less accurate measurement of hot/cold than a thermometer doesn’t mean it’s not a measurement.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Yes. But “it’s colder outside tonight than it was this morning” can be a fact or an opinion depending on how you measure it.

              No it can’t because you can’t measure it by opinion.

              Just because people’s experience of temperature is a less accurate measurement of hot/cold than a thermometer doesn’t mean it’s not a measurement.

              Yes, actually, it does.

              • weka

                “No it can’t because you can’t measure it by opinion.”

                How do you personally tell if it’s cold outside and you don’t have thermometer? If if the bath is too hot to get into? Are you seriously telling me that you don’t use your hand to measure the temperature?

                “Yes, actually, it does.”

                Why not? See my examples above.

                (I could have just said “no, actually, it doesn’t”, but see where that would go?)

                • McFlock

                  I for one have left the house and quickly wished I’d worn another layer, or had to remove a jacket.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Are you seriously telling me that you don’t use your hand to measure the temperature?

                  Precisely, I use my hand to determine if it’s too hot or too cold for me, personally, to use. What I don’t do is give a specific temperature.

                  Why not?

                  Because every opinion will be different and thus the “measurement” is useless.

                  • Zorr

                    What you are discussing here becomes very simple when you frame it correctly.

                    There is an objective method for measuring temperature – it is called a thermometer. The reason it can be used objectively is because there has been an agreement reached regarding the frame of reference.

                    There is also many subjective methods for measuring temperature – how many layers do I need to put on? Did my cat freeze in to an icicle last night? Is my skin blistering? How warm do I feel? These are all subjective because you are defining the frame of reference in a way that matters to you but is unlikely to be relevant to anyone else when they go to compare their experiences to yours.

                    There should be a variant of a Gish Gallop defined by when a right wing troll makes one stupid argument and then the rest of the people in the room with half a brain cell spend the rest of their time arguing with each other over their interpretation of the troll argument.

        • Draco T Bastard

          If you use a thermometer you’ll get the temperature. Asking three people will get their opinions and nothing else unless they use a thermometer in which case they’ll get the temperature.

          Noise levels are similar – remember how TV networks argued that adverts aren’t technically any louder than tv programmes, they just sound louder to humans

          Was reading about that. The TV networks recorded ads at the same level as TV programs but they used a different compression routine which cut out a lot more of the information. I believe someone finally actually measured it and, lo and behold, the ads were actually louder due, in large part, to the different compression routines. The same is true of compression routines for graphics as well which is why some pictures are highly pixelated and some aren’t.

          • weka

            “If you use a thermometer you’ll get the temperature. Asking three people will get their opinions and nothing else unless they use a thermometer in which case they’ll get the temperature.”

            So? I’m not disputing that*. I’m pointing out that temperature can be measured in different ways, some factually accurate, some subjective, therefore sometimes something can be a fact or opinion (“it’s cold outside”)

            *I do however disagree with the implication in your phrasing that a thermometer is inherently the more useful tool. A thermometer won’t tell me how many clothes to wear (ask anyone who feels the cold and has tried to use the metservice ‘layers of clothing’ measurement). It also won’t tell me when I’m getting too hot or too cold. My body and experience tell me that.

          • marty mars

            “If you use a thermometer you’ll get the temperature.”

            Fahrenheit, Celsius or Kelvin?

            These systems are constructs to try and understand/measure the phenomena of ‘temperature’ and its effects, they are not absolutes and the temperature x is meaningless unless it is contextualized. For instance saying that the temperature is treesnail means nothing unless you have a brain which knows the scale that treesnail falls in – thus providing context for the measurement treesnail.

            The other point i’d make is that temperature is hard to pin down too – a bit like trying to measure the coastline – depends upon your unit, although granted, a thermometer is already graded to accepted units.

  10. Blue 11

    “Every fact is an opinion “. Horseshit. Gravity keeps you on the ground. Is that an “opinion”? I await your alternative view.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Will gravity always keep you on the ground?

      Did gravity always exist at the strength it does right now?

      Was there a time or place or circumstance where gravity did not exist?

      What if a technology or method was discovered to oppose or negate gravity? eg. anti-grav or levitation?

      • McFlock 11.1.1

        a) as long as there is a “you”, and barring the intervention of other forces like planes or spacecraft, multi-storey buildings, or if you are attached to differential-density vessels, pretty much yes.

        b) no, see below

        c) yes, for example a very narrow window at the beginning of the universe

        d) Does nothing to negate the point of the argument. Gravity is an objective fact. Aliens firing a levitation ray at me would not mean that it does not exist. They would also be an objective fact. You can’t pretend one fact does not exist simply by inventing another fact. The scenario was our observer, standing on the ground, would be held to the ground by one of the basic forces in the universe. All you’re saying is that this is true unless you change the scenario to include a levitation ray.

        • weka

          I think the point is that Blue’s statement is only factual in a specific context (eg “Gravity keeps you on the ground” is only true where the physical rules of gravity apply. It’s not a fact in other situations).

          • McFlock

            But the point is that in the bare-bones situation described by blue, it is objectively true.

            You can change the scenario by adding other objective facts, but that doesn’t mean objective facts don’t exist. It just means that the greater number of objective facts you have, the more accurate your model’s predictions will be.

            • weka

              Blue didn’t specify the situation, that’s what makes the statement an opinion or a fact.

              • McFlock

                Do you really think that if you have the wrong thought or just believe it hard enough you will fall off the planet?

                • weka

                  No, I don’t. Don’t be stupid McFlock. Although if you can’t follow my argument and put up a counter, then maybe you don’t have a choice in the matter.

                  • McFlock

                    Your argument seems to be that if we find some aspect of the scenario that Blue didn’t describe, and then inject new objective facts into those gaps in order to create a different scenario where gravity won’t keep you on the ground.

                    But in every real instance of Blue’s situation (where someone is in contact with the ground), they are objectively on the ground and gravity objectively keeps them there. If there is some real scenario where they are not objectively kept on the ground due to gravity, then there is some other objective fact that has not been accounted for. To say being on the ground is subjective, or that gravity is subjective, is just nuts.

                    • weka

                      Shit, I forgot what it is like to argue with literalists.

                      I was thinking of people in space, inside spacecraft, where there is no gravity. A rare enough occurence true, but not in the realms of alien anti-gravity rays.

                      (btw, I took Blue’s comment at face value and agreed with it. It was only when Draco used an example that was clearly able to be argued as fact or opinion that the conversation went this way. And I got involved in this sub-thread because technically, Blue’s comment could be seen as opinion, depending on context, if one wanted to be pedantic and argue a point).

                    • McFlock

                      there’s no “ground” in space, either.

                      But there is still a minute gravitational pull from the mass of the spacecraft hull.

                    • weka

                      Like I said, I forgot I was arguing with a literalist.

                    • McFlock

                      I suppose it’s sort of the crux of the philosophical problem, really.

                      Maybe figuratively there is no objective reality. But literally (and, more importantly, practically) there is.

                    • weka

                      See I would say that practically is where there is much grey area, and that’s where the metaphorical, figurative and relative are so useful (eg my example above about temperature and going out side or running a bath).

                      Literal excells when you want to know the best temperature to pasteurise something (although Marty addresses that too).

                      To be fair, by the time we got this far down the thread it’s a pretty abstract argument.

                    • McFlock

                      not to mention one that’s been going on for a couple of thousand years with no clear resolution 🙂

                    • Rogue Trooper

                      evocatively not 😉

        • Colonial Viper

          d) Does nothing to negate the point of the argument. Gravity is an objective fact. Aliens firing a levitation ray at me would not mean that it does not exist.

          How can gravity be an “objective fact” when many of the “facts” to do with gravity are completely and objectively unknown?

          • McFlock

            So we know nothing until we know everything all at once?

            We make observations, build models, test facts, adjust models to incorporate the new facts (aka “experimental results”), oh shit we’ve moved past epistemology and moved into science. Yay!

            • Colonial Viper

              Science yeah, ok. Most serious problems our country experiences is not solvable by science. But appreciate the shout out for it.

              • McFlock

                Well, I’m off to bed shortly. Try not to accidentally fall off the planet overnight.

                Most serious problems our country experiences is not solvable by science.

                How’s your polio been lately? Acting up at all?

  11. Tracey 12

    Can you identify the fact in the following statement

    “Weka’s are a nuisance yet a Gosman encourages us to question and be open minded.”

    My perspective doesnt magically change ANY of that statement to a fact. The only thing my perspective might do is mistakenly believe it is a fact.

    • Not Another Sheep 12.1

      There is gravity everywhere even microgravity. The force of gravity is proportional to the mass of the planet. Hence if I was a native Plutonian ie. my world view; then your fact stated “Gravity keeps you on the ground.” could then be deemed “horseshit”.

      • Tracey 12.1.1

        are you or is anyone a native Plutonian?

      • McFlock 12.1.2

        So basically the argument that “fact is merely opinion” is based on exploiting the very semantic imprecision in the communicative shorthand we must use in order to make our comments as concise as they are accurate?

        Blue’s comment would more accurately (though again not perfectly accurately) be phrased as “every point mass in the universe attracts every other point mass with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them”.

        However, while that phrasing might be more strictly correct, it does seem to lose some of the apparently intended metamessage, which seems to be along the lines of (and I apologise, Blue, if I am insufficiently precise in this explication) “if you stand on the ground, on earth, and jump up, then barring any intervention by another force, you will return to the ground. If you think that this is simply an ‘opinion’, rather than a fact, you’re an idiot”.

        Indeed, if you genuinely believed it to be merely an opinion (to take from Tim Minchin), why have you never walked out of your house to the mailbox via a second-floor window? Are you merely lucky to have existed in bungalows all your life?

        • QoT

          I believe Terry Pratchett put it best:

          I am sorry. It is hard to convey five-dimensional ideas in a language evolved to scream defiance at the monkeys in the next tree.

          • Rogue Trooper

            Try considering (a little mental arithmetic occurs) what is behind the world-view of three to four hundred regular commentors.

            (erases hard-to-see workings) Lots, anyway.

      • Blue 12.1.3

        Desperation and grasping does not prove that facts are only opinions. Just that you’re so desperate to justify your horseshit you have to go as far as Pluto. My advice – engage your brain before spewing your ……”facts”.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.1.4

        Hence if I was a native Plutonian ie. my world view; then your fact stated “Gravity keeps you on the ground.” could then be deemed “horseshit”.

        The stupidity, it hurts.

        Gravity will keep you on the ground on Pluto as well.

        • Psycho Milt

          Ah, he has you, sir! If you are on Pluto (well, if your your asphyxiated and deep-frozen corpse is on Pluto, I guess), gravity will not keep you on the ground on Earth! Therefore science is bollocks and objective fact doesn’t exist – or something. It’s hard to tell what their point is.

    • Not Another Sheep 12.2

      You’ve got the point then! “Facts and opinions are only as true as the uttering person’s world view.” You’ve illustrated nicely . It was never stated that the quote you selectively chose was a “fact” at all.

      Open mindedness could possibly lead persons to question each and every one of their “perspectives” in case they too are based on selective or skewed information. All perspectives are only a skewed snapshot of one moment of time and place. As the minutes tick over… there is always a new truth be one a ‘lefty’ or a ‘righty’.

      Thus Gosman’s presence on The Standard, facts and opinions from another’s perspective, means he was not a nuisance to be banned because he questioned or caused others to question, but that Gosman’s input could have been viewed as an asset to challenge readers to look further. It’s all “perspective”.

      • Tracey 12.2.1

        you wrote

        “Facts and opinions are only as true as the uttering person’s world view.

        E.g. Weka’s are a nuisance yet a Gosman encourages us to question and be open minded.”

        The example pertains to the statement which precedes it, so where is the fact in the example?

        Weka’s are a nuisance = fact or opinion? Fact because to me they are annoying? No, still an opinion. Weka’s are a bird. Not an opinion, perspective is irrelevant.

      • Huginn 12.2.2

        You’re thinking of Wayne, whose presence on TS really does brings fact and uncomfortable opinions from a far off perspective. Wayne challenges and invites challenge and he manages to do so in a way that raises the standard of debate (except when he’s jet-lagged and he gets a bit scruffy, but then you just have to wait a while for him to sort himself out).

        When Wayne pitches in, he is often asked to think about putting up a post – that attests to his standing as a valued contributor to The Standard, and of course also to The Standard for making this possible.

        Gosman is a troll. His toxicity is degrading; his cynycism erodes value. His bitter, thoughtless comments contributed nothing to the debate. It was talkback radio.

        Gosman is a liability and I’m glad he’s been banned.

  12. Not Another Sheep 13

    So McFlock ( son of Flock) quotes directly from Wikipedia , part of “Newton’s law of universal gravitation”. Newton’s work in deriving his theories was from his perspective analysing his ‘earth-bound’ observations. Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687). A truth for Newton’s time and place? Newton had hence elbowed Hooke’s work ( Hooke’s perspective, “System of the World” Royal Society on 21 March 1666) and historic other learned ‘theorists’ aside (e.gs Descartes, Bullialdus, Borelli, Galilei), to form what was then accepted as a “truth”; or if you like what has long been held as “facts”.

    However as the minutes ticked over…. further perspectives added to or dismissed those ‘facts’ of the great, early mathematicians. Cavendish, Clairaut, …. and quote “ Newton’s law has since been superseded by Einstein’s theory of general relativity.” ( 1916). And the following quote too has been selectively left out by McFlock in the same article that he took phrases from; “Attempts by physicists to identify the relationship between the gravitational force and other known fundamental forces are not yet resolved..”

    Thank you McFlock for your perspective, it challenged me to contemplate further and revise my view.

    In my opinion then Tracey, you stating that “perspective is irrelevant” would mean that nothing including your thinking would ever be advanced; that you then Tracey have singularly solved the “Theory of Everything.” ( try Jaki.S. 1966).
    Inferred in dismissing other’s perspectives as irrelevant, or for example, banning alternative voices (views, perspectives, opinions..) until after the next election, would in my opinion be counter-productive to the purpose of The Standard.

    • McFlock 13.1

      Newton’s Laws perfectly sufficiently explain why you have not yet fallen into the void of space. They are superseded when that level of accuracy is insufficient to explain all observed phenomena.

      This does not mean that it is mere opinion that, barring some additional force at play, you will not fall into space tomorrow when gravity stops working. It is a fact. If you suddenly do find yourself bumping your head on the moon, kindly inform us and I will admit my error.

      • Not Another Sheep 13.1.1

        Read the rest of the article you selectively quoted from. Theories have moved on from Newton’s Laws or his would then have been the “ToE” and for one you or I would not be posting here.

        NB. Voids in space are still under speculation as to there existence too. Cheers McFlock for the stimulating thoughts

        • McFlock

          Science advances.

          That doesn’t mean that gravity no longer holds your feet on the ground.

          I mean, a parallel to your suggestion that gravity is merely an opinion is Bishop Berkeley, who argued that material objects are only ideas in our minds. Apparently he went to visit his friend Jonathan Swift one day, and Swift refused to open the door and let him in, on the grounds that there was no door that existed. Berkeley was apparently unimpressed.

          It’s all very well asking what we truly know, and therefore whether there can be any objective facts we can hold on to, but if you throw away practical reason because all knowledge is illusion then there’s really not a hell of a lot you’re good for. Descartes speculated upon the possibility that all his experiences were illusions created by an evil demon, but he still invented coordinate geometry. (heh – first draft I wrote “coordinated geometry”, which sounds like a notation for describing gymnastics choreography 🙂 )

          • Rogue Trooper

            Berkeley was one of the first to take my fancy ; had this Learn to.. overview ; can still recollect (or, reconstruct 😉 ) reading on the rail-car to ‘the big smoke’ to do my trade training in Petone as a teenager. Who’d a thunk it (ok, I’m smiling at my own humours).
            anyway, Berkeley was a long way from the top of the mountain!

            • McFlock

              If Swift had caught me in the wrong mood, I would have headbutted the door until he opened it, and then said the blood and bruising was a figment of his imagination. But I can be bloody-minded sometimes 🙂

              • Colonial Viper

                The vast proportion of the “door” is completely empty space. Science said so.

                • McFlock

                  Yeah. The weak and strong nuclear forces and electromagnetism are a bitch, though.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Huh? All those fundamental forces are irrelevant in this scenario. The door is almost all empty space. As is your head. (nb not an insult, just a statement of fact…)

                    • McFlock

                      lol not everyone is so generous 🙂

                      No, they are not irrelevant. They differentiate the door from sawdust.
                      They also stop me turning into a ball of gas and some associated atomic dust.

                      Using your example, the discrete object “me” and the discrete object “door” cannot pass through each other at walking speed. But we do know that empty space is most of the volume of each of us. There is some force, or combination of forces, that does not allow me to walk through a door. I’ll call it “solidity”. It’s an objective fact (which we can test, with me and with other people, or by throwing chickens at a door, because scientists are evil). Further experiments identify three major forces at play to create the phenomenon of “solidity”.

                      But it is still objectively factual to say that the door’s solidity prevents me walking through it.

                      Same with gravity. Others might find more useful descriptions in the curvature of spacetime, but it’s still a damned fact that gravity stops me falling off the planet.

        • Murray Olsen

          NAS is a great example of why failing first year philosophy is not sufficient grounding to discuss physics.

  13. Rogue Trooper 14

    not a two-tooth then.

  14. RedBaronCV 15

    Am I one of the few who find the appearance of a troll on a thread interesting from “the discerning a pattern point of view”?
    Not the content of their post but the topics or individual comments that suddenly provoke them?
    Are they giving away by default, the information as to what their sensitive or weak points are?
    Better than a focus group perhaps?

    • Rogue Trooper 15.1

      and Yes. 🙂

      • RedBaronCV 15.1.1

        Must ask -have trolls been heavily moderated over the leadership contest posts or was there some other reason for their absence?

        • Rogue Trooper

          strategy, on their part; never forget the ‘watchers’

        • lprent

          The site traffic has started gearing up for spring (and next years election). We’re now running at 40% higher traffic than three months ago in mid-winter. So I’ve started increasing ban times and escalations. After previous elections I find that it pays to start a more vigorous policy a year out so we don’t get so bogged down later when we have other things to do. At present we have the following in moderation.

          3 people due for release over the next month.
          5 people due for release after the next election.
          4 or 5 people on permanent bans.

          We’ve been letting through most of the new commenters who manage to not look like either idiot or a really dumb troll. So no, this is pretty normal moderating levels after any significiant rise in traffic.

          As the numbers of comments rise in spring you tend to get a lot more people commenting both new and old. You’ll see the trolls rising percentage wise the winter after next years election.

          • Chooky

            @Lprent ….I like ” idiots” and “really dumb troll[s}”….they are FUN and they make me feel good!…(also I think once I was a troll…or at least the machine said I was a troll….but I said I was a chooky)

  15. tricledrown 16

    gosman just keeps repeating the same lies hoping they become the truth.
    Hey has been caught out so many times its not funny anymore!
    If He offered something new relevant and truthful Hey wouldn’t be banned.

  16. Not Another Sheep 17

    The Standard.

    Poster #1: ( insert any name but Gosman) “this is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”

    Poster #2: -Yep, I agree

    Poster #3: -Yep, I agree

    Poster #4: -Yep, I agree

    Poster #5: -Yep, I agree

    Poster #6: -Yep, I agree

    Poster #7: -Yep, I agree

    Poster#8 – Hang on there, we’ve just discovered that there are both winners and losers under both a ‘left’ or ‘right’ government. Goodness,there’s even poor right leaning people who are suffering too and want to have a view!

    So new ruling; Under a left-leaning government we’ll have no right leaning views; in fact under a left- leaning government all those who disagree shall be ousted out of the house and denied democratic participation ( because they tell lies you know and we never do!)…. and we’ll all live happily ever after having cups of tea and a chat together ( with ear muffs on) because outside the house all is well with the world and everyone else is happy too…tralalalatralalalalala

    Same scenario as the current government ??

    [ Poster#8…You’re gone!]

    [lprent: None of the moderators would ban on that. In fact I wouldn’t even notice it because it doesn’t attack the site. It is just rather hackneyed wishy washy mythologies because it doesn’t neither mentions a causation nor a rationale and doesn’t link to anything substantive. Personally I’d pretty much tag the style as indicating a wooly headed dickhead and I’d keep an subsequent eye on the amount of gore as commenters dissected the sap making such a comment – regardless of their political persausion. ]

  17. RedBaronCV 18

    Trouble with banning them is that it interferes with the T baiting game. How many posts does it take to make them quit voluntarily is good sport

    [lprent: I’m uninterested to watching the merely mediocre getting dissected. They have to have passion, persistence or intelligence. All of these are interesting to deal with. They also must interact with other commenters. Showing the basic cunning/courtesy of actually reading the policy tends to help because some of the almost genetically embedded strategies tend to be a bit suicidal. A lot of our moderating is pretty automatic (like attacking an author personally or complaining about the way the site is run).

    Still once the rejects head to the whaleoil or the sewer, the remainder usually give people some good arguments/sport. ]

  18. xtasy 19

    lprent – I have no problem with this. It is fair from my point of view.

    By the way, has dear old Dr Bratt been getting his lawyer(s) onto TS yet?

    It seems that at least some persons have been “offended” in the past, going by the explanations you have given.

    But as I do all necessary to make my points based on facts or reliable information found via internet and elsewhere, and on factual comments by living persons, I trust I will have little to fear, nor should TS. Apart from that I have opinions and will continue to have opinions. I have also not forgotten one warning from not so long ago. We will make all efforts to keep it “tidy” and within acceptable bounds.

    “Nothing to fear, nothing to hide” (I am NOT John Banks!).

    Thanks X

    • lprent 19.1

      It has been such a small set that it took 5 years to get a big enough sample to write a catchall for the policy. Been meaning to do it for the last year. We get 2 or 3 actual complaints per year, most of which I agree with and correct (when they finally give me the links). A few are just people and lawyers who don’t appear to know the law (or don’t expect us to do so) and expect us to take material down because they are upset about it.

      You can see me stomping on people when they try to state something as fact when it is clearly opinion. And most people have gotten the message that linking to facts even if it is just wikipedia is a hell of a lot safer than merely asserting them.

  19. Tiger Mountain 20

    Having at first read, then admittedly bored, skimmed, over hundreds of his posts there are few persons worthier imo than Gosman to have their moniker associated with a ruling intended to further accurate discussion on this very popular blog site.

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