Guest post: What now for the Standard?

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, November 28th, 2014 - 337 comments
Categories: The Standard - Tags:

A guest post by Ad where he advances some challenging thoughts on how the Standard could improve.

Does it strike you that one of NZ’s very few leftie institutions (either party or media) to come out of the 2014 election unscathed is The Standard itself? Let’s roll that little aniseed ball around our mouths for a moment.

Television may still wield the sharpest media chainsaw in this rainforest, but the medium that will rebalance our entire political ecology is the one best suited to hand-held devices. A modern truism, with consequences for The Standard.

The Standard is most powerful leftie instrument in New Zealand. No union now has as much power as The Standard (regrettably).
So it would make sense to make it a vital part of the Labour post-election review.

The Standard is to Labour what Whaleoil is to National. I’m sure reading that feels like getting your legs waxed.  Left and right and MSM can now see the power of blogs – what they have done and can do. This day was coming – it’s time.

Continuing as is, however, the Standard will become to politics what TransportBlog is to transport: preaching in a narrow conversational base from the converted to the converted. And therefore changing nothing. The Standard must march its banner out of home, or remain a media adolescent.

I want to put it right out there: The Standard can take the next step in New Zealand’s political order, and it should.

I did not start it, and am not an editor, so my comments are highly presumptive. But here’s my points for the Wittenburg Door:

1. Article authors should have expertise. Qualified authors will then be broken into the MSM with immediate quotability and echo. The Standard need not presume to contain debate within its amateur and largely anonymous ranks. Named authors will confront MSM dominance head on and become new media figures. Then let all commenters pour in.

2. The Labour Party and the Green Party should be jointly invited to make The Standard their default online dialogue from MPs to members and to the world. Kill their own sites. Become the dominant portal for the future coalition. The Standard brings activists together like no other media in either digital or analogue worlds. That latent political potential now needs converting, I think with both Open and Members-Only sections. Not saying it will be easy.

3. The Standard should broaden out its targets. Check out the Australian site Crikey. It tracks its own power against Murdoch on a monthly basis. It has earnt its own swagger by taking on causes, egos, and winning.

4. The Standard needs to be reformed as a company. It needs a Board and shareholders, an advertising base that gains corporate and NGO respect, and have ambition. Have its own weekly (hell daily) editorial committee that directs theme and positioning – like grownup media do. It should seek to at least become NZ Site Number 2.

Why attempt this at all?

Not for its own sake, but because The Standard is the most powerful non-party leftie force in New Zealand. Neither Labour nor the Greens nor the Unions nor any leftie NGO can now live without it.

Because we’ve been bitching and moaning about how stuffed the entire leftie movement is for months now, when part of the answer is staring us in the face.

Because if we leave it as is, the default policy and political content on everyone’s devices this time next year will be Television Goddam New Zealand and the NZ Goddam Herald. They have massive marketing programs to achieve this.

With continued redesign, The Standard should be the default app for all leftie cellphone users. With redesign of its author system, The Standard can break more stories than Whaleoil. With relevant clicbait, more videos, and more comedy, we can broaden beyond the political anoraks.
Let’s use this site to help get from We Lost to We Can Win, by doing and altering media our way.

I believe The Standard can and should be the primary media voice for installing and then critiquing the next leftie government. But The Standard needs to accept its own power.

It is time for The Standard to Put On The Ring.

Ad

337 comments on “Guest post: What now for the Standard?”

  1. Barfly 1

    Sounds good to me

  2. Lanthanide 2

    No union now has as much power as The Standard (regrettably).

    Doubtful, since unions actually have people on the ground who can take action. Spouting off words on the internet doesn’t actually make things happen in the real world.

    The Labour Party and the Green Party should be jointly invited to make The Standard their default online dialogue from MPs to members and to the world. Kill their own sites.

    Not going to happen, for the same reason that we don’t have many MPs from any parties commenting here, or media pundits. I’m sure lots of them are reading, but very seldom do they comment.

    The Standard needs to be reformed as a company…

    Sounds like you’re trying to turn TS into what The Daily Blog was supposed to be.

    With continued redesign, The Standard should be the default app for all leftie cellphone users.

    I’m not even sure what this is supposed to mean. “default app”? You’re going to compete with web browsers, facebook, twitter, instagram, tinder, etc?

    With relevant clicbait, more videos, and more comedy, we can broaden beyond the political anoraks.

    You’re assuming that anyone actually wants TS to do these things.

    • felix 2.1

      +1 Lanth, especially the last line.

      • weka 2.1.1

        +1, but I guess that’s the point of the guest post, to put the idea out there to see what support it has.

      • Coffee Connoisseur 2.1.2

        ffs look at the quality of the debate on the standard. Look at the quality of the debate on W/O. It is without a doubt far higher at the Standard yet the left is currently losing the battle for hearts and minds. In my view a big reason for this is that it is down to format and the ability to attract those hearts and minds.
        At this WO is winning. In my view its down to format.
        WO format is better at attracting voters who perhaps don’t have the same level of interest in politics as many regular commentators on either TS or WO. These voters still watch MSM news, they still like clickbait, funny videos etc etc. WO has this and uses it successfully to first attract punters, second keep them there, and third and most important start to shape their view of the political world. Done well enough this has ability to strongly influence a vote.

        • Colonial Rawshark 2.1.2.1

          The only reason WO has any traction is because the MSM keep replaying the dirty politics lines that Slater airs. Slater’s “format” has sweet fuck all to do with it, other than its simpler and better for promoting 2 dimensional propaganda lines.

        • greywarshark 2.1.2.2

          @ Coffee Connoisseur
          The people who go to WO wouldn’t like it here for the reason from One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest when Jack Nicholson snaps ‘ You want the truth, you Want the Truth. You couldn’t Handle the Truth.’ They like the farrago they get from WO. They just aren’t up to real Reality Shows.

          • mikesh 2.1.2.2.1

            I think that quote was from A Few Good Men, not Cuckoos Nest.

          • Coffee Connoisseur 2.1.2.2.2

            Perhaps but there are plenty on here who started out on WO before they found the Standard. Its not a bad thing they went there it certainly highlights the quality of the debate here vs there.

        • houtman abrolhos 2.1.2.3

          I would view The Standard more with the odd cat video, just sayin. But mainly like the debate.

          [lprent: Convince an author. They can pretty much do what they want. However I’d suggest that they turn off the comments on the post.

          How could you moderate a post on something like that? I suspect I’d start treating dribbling as bad behaviour. Pity your moderators….

          😈 ]

    • weka 2.2

      “With relevant clicbait, more videos, and more comedy, we can broaden beyond the political anoraks.”

      Lynn, or anyone, got the link handy to annual readership figures for ts?

      • lprent 2.2.1

        After I get home.

      • lprent 2.2.2

        The answer to that isn’t simple because the detail is important. Here is the google analytics looking at the numbers of identifiably different users. Google are probably the best at knowing who individuals are. But there is a lot of variations from people who are always on different systems (I use at least 8 systems in any given week) and/or who aren’t logged into google or who login as different people.

        So the rough annual figure is 467,947 different users

        But now look at the monthly and weekly and daily users for representative times of different levels of activity..

        Click image for a larger one.

        Weekly
        May 11-17th 12,451
        Aug 17-23rd 29,223
        Nov 14-20th 61,402

        Daily
        May 15th 3,159
        Aug 14th 8,367
        Sep 18th 22,313

      • lprent 2.2.3

        Engagement over last 12 months.

        The reason for this is how people operate on the site. A lot of people coming in for a glance from google. A lot of people here a lot.

        Frequency

        It does make a mockery of the idea that relatively few people actually read the site. But it also means that stats get interesting in the age of a google search engine.

        Remember that there are about 5-10x as many than are reported here coming in from various bots. These are just identifiable humans.

        • weka 2.2.3.1

          What’s the definition of a session? People like me who open pages and tend to leave them open for a long time eg all day, does the session count as one even though I am on and off the site over the day?

      • lprent 2.2.4

        What you do get is that this is largely from NZ and the diaspora + the wired countries (look at the % of new users to figure out which is which)

    • BobJ 2.3

      Was this a reference to union, a united group of people from the left or Unions as in the EPMU?

    • Ad 2.4

      Not assuming anything, except that this is no time for the left to presume that doing a website the same as it’s always been done will improve the left’s position.

      Stick with one proposed improvement and debate it.

    • Tracey 2.5

      I agree with alot of this. I read Ads post with interest and assume he is being deliberately provocative, giving the tree a shake to see what falls out.

      I am interest in reading Ads basis for the comment about TS power cos i see little evidence of that power.

      “..but because The Standard is the most powerful non-party leftie force in New Zealand…”

      So to this I ask, on what basis

      • Ad 2.5.1

        Firstly, our stats. We are big.

        Secondly, the many here used this site as a means to change the Labour constitution to be democratic in its selection of leader.

        Thirdly, the many here used this site to get David Cunliffe elected as Ledaer of the Labour Party.

        Finally, because it is read hawkishly by most parliamentary staff, all competing blog authors, and many msm journalists.

        We are undercooked in how we express our latent power – this is one of the points of the post.

        • Tracey 2.5.1.1

          Thanks for this answer

          Are you surmising when you write

          “.Secondly, the many here used this site as a means to change the Labour constitution to be democratic in its selection of leader.

          Thirdly, the many here used this site to get David Cunliffe elected as Ledaer of the Labour Party.. …”

          Or do you have some firm basis for that?

        • Colonial Rawshark 2.5.1.2

          Firstly, our stats. We are big.

          Yes. And getting bigger every year, by leaps and bounds at the moment. Which suggests that the Standard is already reaching out beyond those groups we would traditionally consider “political anoraks.”

          I would caution against having any closer or more integrated relationship with the established political parties.

          The job of the Standard is to force political parties to address the issues that we bring up as priorities, not the other way around.

      • Coffee Connoisseur 2.5.2

        the lack of anything else on the left that has the abiiity to engage the public on a daily basis and allows them to add their view point should they choose to.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.6

      With relevant clicbait, more videos, and more comedy, we can broaden beyond the political anoraks.

      You’re assuming that anyone actually wants TS to do these things.

      Part of the reason why I don’t watch the MSM news is the clicbait, the videos and comedy that have absolutely nothing to do with the news.

      • lprent 2.6.1

        Cliçbait… That is why I don’t watch TV

      • Coffee Connoisseur 2.6.2

        yes DTB but you are informed, very informed. The minds that need to be reached need to have a reason to come here and you need to attract them at a much earlier point than the standard does now. Those people still watch and still want to watch the MSM news. they still want the comedy and the videos.
        There is a battle for the hearts and minds the question is how big a part does the Standard want to play in this and if not the Standard then who? Because from where I sit there isn’t any other platform capable of doing what is required.
        Right now the left is losing the long term game.

  3. les 3

    ‘preaching in a narrow conversational base from the converted to the converted. And therefore changing nothing. The Standard must march its banner out of home, or remain a media adolescent.’……………reaching a wider audience is an admirable goal…the only comment that will matter is that of the owners of this site.

    • Ad 3.1

      Note that this post has circulated with the editors and owners for some time now, and yes your opinion matters.
      So find a specific point of improvement, and debate it.

  4. Te Reo Putake 4

    Top post, Ad!

    All of us who comment here, even the righties, have an investment in TS. One problem though is that the investment is emotional, not financial. To get on a similar level to WO, money is needed. To get to the professional level you suggest, there needs to be reasonable income.

    Another area TS lacks is a media voice. LP has done it on occasions, but we need someone who is prepared to regularly go on the Panel and similar places and be referenced as being from TS. That’s actually difficult to do, because TS is a broad church. One voice may not be enough! But we are used to hearing ‘public address’s David Slack’ or ‘Pundit’s Andrew Geddis’ or similar constructions. The next level really does need an msm presence.

    btw. One option is to stay as we are. If it ain’t broke …

    • RedLogix 4.1

      All of us who comment here, even the righties, have an investment in TS.

      Very true. I’ve made TS my little home on the net from within weeks of it’s founding. I may be the most durable pest around the place.

      One problem though is that the investment is emotional, not financial.

      Done my modest bit, although I keep feeling guilty it’s never enough. Besides LP has structured TS not to need too much cash to keep going in it’s present form. However if we ever had to pay for professional support it would quickly become a different story.

      And I for one think it quite unreasonable to ask LP to do more than he already is on an unpaid basis. I think it extraordinary what he has done for us already.

      However there are many objections to going professional. The obvious one is that external cash usually comes with strings. Or at the least a sense of obligation which unavoidably tends to throw it’s own cast over things.

      The other is that if the cash flow fails – there is the risk of a complete folding – rather than just reverting to the old community. It’s an inherently risky transition.

      Another consideration is to look at the controversy when Ariana Huffington took the Post from an essentially amateur collective operation – to something commercial under her control. Not pretty.

      I’m in favour of evolution rather than revolution. Our big strength is our community – albeit it is a little narrow at times. Too often I feel like it’s only a handful of the same people yakking to each other. Which is good in one sense that we’ve created narratives and backstories for each other. We don’t always have to rehash the background to each issue as you would if we had several thousand active commenters coming and going. Plus the people talking here – do have a commitment to making this space work.

      Plus a bigger TS would demand a larger moderation team – and that could be an issue coordinating them. At present there are only a few of us and we tend to take our cues from each other without anything else going on in the background. And without LP’s leadership in this respect – it would be a much harder task.

      So just growing TS for it’s own sake is not necessarily a good thing. On the other hand we do need a broader range of author expertise. I cannot tell you how many times I started to sketch out a post in my mind – and then drop it because I feel like I just don’t have the relevant subject expertise. It’s hard being a good author. Really.

      For the moment my thought is that we may well be best advised to take one or two small, achievable low-risk steps. The simplest might be to widen our range of syndication to other leftie blogs. Not always achievable – but it has to be the lowest hanging fruit in the room.

      • weka 4.1.1

        Do you mean publishing other leftwing posts, or getting ts published elsewhere?

        • RedLogix 4.1.1.1

          What I had in mind was the first of those two options. I’m thinking that there are a lot of smaller leftie blogs which in total have a reasonable output – but lack the critical mass to gain a regular readership. Most have a negligible comments. Bringing them under the TS umbrella has potential benefits both ways.

          It’s worked for The Fish (although it took a while to start gelling for me) – maybe we just need to try a few more.

          • weka 4.1.1.1.1

            How does syndication work currently? I was under the impression that it was up to one of the authors to put up whichever post they wanted to. Or are some blogs getting all their posts published here?

            I’d love to see more syndicated posts too, there’s so much good stuff out there. Moderation might need sorting though. Most times I’ve thought about guest posting, I’ve considered how much time and energy would go into the comments section and thought nah (which is kind of weird given how much time I spend here, but it’s different putting out a piece for criticism).

            • lprent 4.1.1.1.1.1

              We have agreements with a number of sites that we can use whatever material we want under certain conditions – usually making sure we link back to the original and under notices and features. What gets put up from those sites is purely up the the editors and above because they can put up posts under other identities (ie notices and features).

              There is a general level of moderation that goes on by editors across all posts and comments. Authors can moderate their own posts if they choose to. Guest posts cannot. But they can argue….

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1.2

              Most times I’ve thought about guest posting, I’ve considered how much time and energy would go into the comments section and thought nah

              It’s really not that bad. I find that I don’t spend a lot more time on The Standard if one of my guest posts is up than I normally would. I don’t answer every comment and I get to see things in different ways helping me to understand the issue better.

      • Te Reo Putake 4.1.2

        Cheers for those thoughts, RL. Expansion is always fraught. Many good businesses have collapsed trying to get bigger before they have the capacity to handle it. If I’m correct, both WO and KB have only recently moved to have dedicated mods and they are bigger and presumably attract much more income than TS does. In the case of WO, that income is dirty, for the most part, and I don’t think we’re going to go down that path.

        “It’s hard being a good author. Really.”

        Too right! I’ve laboured over my occasional guest posts, editing and refining them endlessly, trying to find the combination of fact, opinion, and wit that generates responses from the readers and sparks debate. And I’ve been well helped by the other authors along the way, LP in particular.

        I’m always happy to do more of those or contribute in other ways.

      • Tom Jackson 4.1.3

        Well, it has to be the sort of thing that people want to read. I think that sourcing more posts from other blogs (with their authors’ permission of course) is a good idea.

        Another thing that might be a good idea is to link to more relevant longform journalism. There’s a lot of good general stuff on political economy that comes up from time to time and the Standard tends to lack that (no idea whether or not that is by design). For some people it’s a bit dry, but in the end it is where the real action is.

        • karol 4.1.3.1

          I think there is a lot of discussion here on economics. But there is a limited amount of long form in depth analysis/posts on any topics.

          I think economics is given priority in our political discourse and system. However, while extremely important, I think economics should always serve social and environmental policy – for me the latter two are where the real action is.

          I would like to do more in depth and longer analysis on the media – possibly also on some aspects of social policy. I tend to cut down my posts to under 800 words if possible – 1,000 words at the most. This is because longer posts don’t seem to get much interest/comment.

          Many posts are conversation starters on topics/issue that are very current.

          • Tracey 4.1.3.1.1

            What karol wrote!

          • lprent 4.1.3.1.2

            That is the case. 800 words is about the upper limit to get more than 20 comments. Umm 15k posts. I bet a correlation will overcome the graphics…

            • karol 4.1.3.1.2.1

              Yes. I’ve noticed around 600 words is better for getting a lot of comments. But I often have difficulty keeping the word count that low – especially if it’s something I’ve researched a bit and want to include some of the evidence.

              Often posts I put together quite quickly, on something topical, gets way more comments than something I’ve spent more time on researching and writing.

              Edit: Thanks weepu. Wheew. Not a good typo.

          • Tom Jackson 4.1.3.1.3

            Political economy doesn’t really mean economics in the narrow sense any more.

    • Ad 4.2

      Cheers TRP. I am not presuming anything is broken, but if I didn’t think it needed improving, I wouldn’t have bothered.

      Your point about TS’s own media presence is very important. The most powerful media operators are those who comment in more than one media.

  5. Marty 5

    This made chills run down my spine. If the Standard is going to succeed by being more like Whaleoil, what on earth does that say? There is no doubt Whaleoil is loud, but it’s not the kind of loud we should aspire to. It was LP just a while ago that said TS was staying out of court, etc. There are other non-parallels, like Whaleoil is a cult, but TS is a collective of credible commentators. Please, please… don’t turn this into a circus just for clicks. Next you’ll want to shut down open debate and start coming down on the wrong kind of language. There has to be a better way to succeed than to copy that vile abortion that is all about “me me me me”.

    • mickysavage 5.1

      Ad is saying what would a left wing whaleoil site look like? It is a valid discussion. The left use blogs for education and discussion and the right use them as weapons to win elections. Do we continue to accept this as the status quo?

      • weka 5.1.1

        Education and discussion are weapons to win elections.

        It’s very problematic framing ts as having the potential to be the left’s WO, because who would want to be that? And haven’t we been saying all this time that being like that is inherently wrong? We need better things to compare ourselves to.

  6. higherstandard 6

    And you call Whaleoil delusional ……………..

    [lprent: Where exactly did Ad call Whaleoil (a blog or even Cam Slater) delusional, or even use that word in a comment? I did a quick hunt without success. Banned 2 months unless you can come up with an instance. You either just attacked an author with a lie, or alternatively you just made a comment imbuing a machine with intelligence. Either get my irritation levels up. ]

  7. Pascals bookie 7

    Sorry, but this reads like a plan to engineer a shark that can fly with diamond armour and laser teeth. We’ll be invicible!

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      +1

    • Ad 7.3

      And how did Whaleoil start?

      Every technology needs to improve or it dies especially communicative technology.

      • Tracey 7.3.1

        What has whaleoil become good at though?

        • Ad 7.3.1.1

          – Making and breaking those in power – Ministers, Mayors, and Prime Ministers
          – Beating the MSM for influence

          Not saying I like him, his company, his ethics or etc etc

          But isn’t is tiresome to be weak, to merely rail against powers?
          That is where the anarchist position segues into a highly romantic one.

          I don’t believe that TS’s anarchist core need be sacrificed for efficacy in the real political word.

          • Tracey 7.3.1.1.1

            The thing is the reality of NZ politics today and historically, is conservative. Blogs like this will be in opposition, per se, more than “in power”. However the framing of it all as a “game” , you have to win the be in the game means that when the left has been in power, in the 80’s and 2000s it strongly resembles the right.

            Fundamentally it is that i see many here wishing to challenge. Its not about being matrys its about no point in “winning” if the vulnerable still get pilloried and economics favours the few.

            Of course cullen got knighted and was successful, the right knew he was doing mostly what they want to believe they would do…

            • Ad 7.3.1.1.1.1

              None of us have to accept default conservatism.
              Trust me I’m not going all “hopey-changey stuff” on you.

              I am deliberately over-egging the agency of The Standard in the post.

              But we can have more effect in the real world if we want TS to do so.
              I do.

              • Tracey

                No we dont, and here we get criticised for critquing that very conservatism, even in the left, such as the labour party. Shearer behaved as though we were home wreckers.

                By not accepting the conservatism, this site gets it from pagani, shearer, trotter as turncoats, etc etc.

                To that extent some TS authors and commenters are already not accepting the default

          • Colonial Rawshark 7.3.1.1.2

            But isn’t is tiresome to be weak, to merely rail against powers?
            That is where the anarchist position segues into a highly romantic one.

            Labour Party leadership candidates have to post here. Labour Party leaders write us off at their peril. Right wing media consultants and commentators as well as staffers from the MSM make it a point to check out what our comments are saying about particular issues of the day.

            How is that, weak?

            The Standard needs to participate in evolution, but IMO it is more about keeping The Standard travelling along its current trajectory (give or take) but creating additional operating arms associated with it eg a professional issues editorial page, a professional media critique function, a professional news and current affairs arm, a professional fund raising facility, an activist co-ordination platform etc.

            • Ad 7.3.1.1.2.1

              What in your view is the current trajectory of TS?

              If you came back in 2 years, what would you see that’s different?

              And for the normative variant, what would you want to see that’s different?

  8. just saying 8

    I’m not keen on the idea of the “professionalisation” and commercialisation of the Standard. I like the democratic nature of the conversations here. There may be “authors” and “commenters”, but it’s a superficial distinction – anyone can write a guest post if they want a bigger platform than that provided in the threads or in open mike.

    Beyond the site rules, author moderation rights, and LPrent’s omnipotence, if any voice is accorded greater respect or authority the most important reason is what is being said at the time in that discussion (and to a lesser extent, in the past) not because of some external status – educational, socio-economic, tap-dancing ability etc. I really like the fact that this forum allows us all some limited freedom to step out of all that bullshit and hear what others have to say without so much prejudgment. Also there is a freedom to try out ideas and mess up and learn. What you are proposing, Ad, sounds to me like the track that the main left-wing parties have purusued, to their detriment. No longer participatory or representative they have become glib and manipulative bastardisations of democracy.

    • Bill 8.1

      But, but, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to preen and pose in the shadow of a glib and glossy piece of manufactured packaging? Ah -the glow of reflected sheen! Bring it on! (Then please. Pass the sick bucket over here.)

    • Karen 8.2

      +100 Just Saying.

      The variable quality of the posts works for me – the comments threads will usually have someone linking to relevant articles for more information if this is not in the post itself. I generally just run my eye down the comments only reading the occasional post from anybody other that those from people I think have credibility, I like the way the Standard provides a forum for various political views.

      The idea of a board of directors, shareholders and advertising just scares me. IMO the message then starts to be controlled for all the wrong reasons.

    • weka 8.3

      +200 js. Spot on.

    • Olwyn 8.4

      I agree JS, and I also think that the free discussion very likely plays a large part in TS’s broader influence. After all Pundit, from what I can see, runs along lines similar to those suggested, but does not make the envisaged splash (to follow on PB’s shark metaphor). I would not be opposed to extending on what has already been done during leadership contests, by inviting articles from politicians or people with special expertise, but I would not like to see expertise become the criterion for authorship, and I would hate to see TS lose the appeal it now has.

    • Once was Tim 8.5

      “I’m not keen on the idea of the “professionalisation” and commercialisation of the Standard. ”
      Me either! Commercialisation, corporatisation, transactionalisation, limited liability companyisation, prioritised economy-think stupid! and the whole ‘cultural think’ that now pervades our society – brought about through our laid-back (read lazy, read whatever you like) acceptance of it all (possibly because it seemed novel/new at the time) ……. it’s probably the main reason we no longer have public SERVICE broadcasting, any sort of venue for ‘the voice of the people’. If you think about it …. TS as it stands provides such venue.
      I’d rather go for improvements to the voices of the left being more prominent – such that (say) a MSM lazy-‘journalist’s’ (the word journalist is used with reluctance) is able to reference the voice of the left more readily. (By that I mean clicking to a panel away where (say) BLiPS’s list of lies is immediately available, and/or any article/comments with leftist creds is immediately available to see where we stand.
      I actually trust the founders’ creds, and their proven track record and continued efforts to keep this site surviving.
      @ Ad – though I admire your contributions at times (usually), IF you want to professionalise, commercialise, bureaucratise, bullshit-ise, committee-ise, create a pecking order, please think of a way of achieving your desired outcome without buying into the crap (as in ‘cut the crap’) that has pervaded NZ Inc think for the past 30 years or more.

      • Once was Tim 8.5.1

        BTW @ Ad, can I be so fekkin impertinent to ask an approximation of your age? I’m picking 40 something-ish. If its younger – the midlife my bessfren oim dearn wuth the kuds is obviously yet to come. If it;s over – I’d be really fucking surprised.
        I only ask (akse) becuase in tadaze wurl – well I think you know the rest, but shitting push uphill ain’t the unsa

        • mickysavage 8.5.1.1

          I suggested to Ad that he should write a really provocative post on TS because we need to have a good discussion on things. Ad did this with bells on. He is a free independent thinker and also a committed progressive.

          He put the ideas out there for us to consider. Address the ideas …

          • weka 8.5.1.1.1

            Even though I disagree with Ad’s basic premises, it’s a good move to get this discussion happening. Thanks to all involved.

            • Once was Tim 8.5.1.1.1.1

              Yep! 2 u both (weka and Mickey). The reason I asked Ad’s age btw was simply that amongst my contemporaries, and for the past 30+ years, everything BUT EVERYTHING seems to have to be commoditised, transactionalised and seen in economic terms.

              PLEASE NO TS.
              Lets make a company……
              – then argue over who should be prominent/concerned/contributing on the board,
              – then worry about whether it is making or losing
              – then (out of the goodness of our hearts) suggest that contributors should somehow be remunerated
              – then worry about whether the best way is some sort of co-op, or non-profit Co
              – then distract ourselves over our raison d’etre’
              – then think about some sort of ‘cost centre’ approach in a bid to be fishint n fektiv
              (In other words ….. let us fall victim to all the crap, agendas, and economic imperatives that have fucked us up over quarter of a century, and which have now captured our kids – most/many of whom have never experienced anything other than u know what – NO…..PLEASE!)

              No …… please. Like I said tho’ Miguel, Usually I admire Ad’s contributions

              AND IF Lynne (Lyn?) – I think the former is struggling, then maybe we just donate.
              Btw – hopes ur wife is peachy keen under the cool of the Himalyas.
              Were it that my house would sell! – I’d be in Philibhit or Panipat right about now riding Royal Enfields and in awe of the Indian community spirit, their inherent (seemingly) concern for fellow man and their compassion, and their ability to be happy in the face of adversity.

              (Sorry if that sounds like wank – but when you line things up against a Nu Zull Key Hero-worship environment – it’s ekshully true)

              Christ! let’s hope the sheeple awaken soon – the signs are getting better tho’ huh!??

      • Colonial Rawshark 8.5.2

        The Standard is increasing its readership annually. By lots. That’s a mark of success, not a sign that the basic recipe needs changing.

        • Ad 8.5.2.1

          Definitely one mark of success.

          But there are more measures of success than readership.

          And I think there should be.

          • Colonial Rawshark 8.5.2.1.1

            The Standard is but one piece, one element of left wing infrastructure. Other pieces are needed. Broadcast media, news channels, financing tools, commercial worker co-ops and more. So the Standard is one very handy, very useful left wing tool, but it cannot be the whole tool box.

    • Tracey 8.6

      TBH the improvement i would like to see is an offsider for lprent. If he left, got ill, or went under a bus looking for those key has thrown there, what happens to TS?

      I thoroughly enjoy karols posts which move beyond the topic of the day or a pure “go” at a political figure.

      Am thrilled to see rOb back and worry he will burn himself out.

      Would like to see more variety of kickstart topics but that is down to authors and guests.

      There is alot to be said for giving ordinary foks a place to vent…

      Thanks for taking the time to poke the nest Ad

    • Murray Rawshark 8.7

      Yep, js. I like things the way they are more than the glossy third way vision. There is a certain anarchic pleasure in reading, posting, commiserating, and arguing here. You saved me posting, but I’ll plagiarise instead:

      Friends, comrades, Standardistas, lend me your ears;
      I come to bury Labour, not to praise them.
      The evil that Douglas did lives after him;
      No good will be interred with his bones;
      So let it be with Labour. The noble Hone
      Hath told you Labour lacked ambition:
      If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
      And grievously hath Labour answer’d it.
      Here, under leave of Davis and the rest, —
      For Davis is not an honourable man;
      So are they all, all dishonourable men, —
      Come I to speak in Labour’s funeral.
      It was my friend, faithful and just to me:
      But Douglas he was ambitious
      And Douglas is not an honorable man.

      Weak attempt, but thrice bitten, twice shy. I don’t want to build Labour. I want to help build a left alternative that will make some of the real changes needed. I can’t see how participating in a glossy site with experts advising would help with that. Maybe I’m as delusional as Slug Boy, but that’s why I’m here. It’s one part of the struggle, and one that I can do at the moment.

    • Coffee Connoisseur 8.8

      There may be “authors” and “commenters”, but it’s a superficial distinction – anyone can write a guest post if they want a bigger platform than that provided in the threads or in open mike.
      Like it or not the same is true on WO if you want to do a guest post you can. The quality is the difference. If I were to rate the quality of the guest post at the standard it would be 7.5 – 8. On WO perhaps 2.5 – 3. There is no comparison.
      On attracting punters that have a mild interest in politics or that don’t at all with a view to getting them interested. I’d speculate that on that front the standard would be a 2 and whaleoil a 7. If the person has no interest then lower the Standard to a 0.
      I spent 2 years on WO often as the dissenting voice before I checked out the Standard. The only reason I found out about it was they used to slag it off on WO so much. Thats not a good thing.
      Under the new rules they don’t do that anywhere near as much as they used to.

  9. lprent 9

    I’d point out that this post is just a guest post. It has been the subject of some backend comment and discussion between authors. We’re now throwing it out for commenter viewpoints. But think of it as a preliminary discussion paper from one angle…

  10. Bill 10

    The Standard is most powerful leftie instrument in New Zealand.

    No it’s not. And anyway, how utterly sad would it be if a website was the left’s most powerful instrument?

    The Standard is to Labour what Whaleoil is to National.

    No it’s not. Whaleoil is a conduit for ‘dirty politics’ emanating from the National Party Research Unit, industrial lobbyists etc. The Standard is a conduit for ordinary voices.

    1. Article authors should have expertise.

    Already have…or are you suggesting that authors should be professional writers and that ordinary voices excluded in preference of an elite?

    2. The Labour Party and the Green Party should be jointly invited to make The Standard their default online dialogue from MPs to members and to the world.

    Fuck off. Seriously. You witter on about exclusive or narrow readership and then suggest The Standard becomes an overt vehicle for political parties?!

    And in lieu of wasting more time responding to this tosh – what both Higherstandard and Pascal’s Bookie say at comments 6 and 7.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      No it’s not. Whaleoil is a conduit for ‘dirty politics’ emanating from the National Party Research Unit, industrial lobbyists etc. The Standard is a conduit for ordinary voices.

      I think Ad was only making that comparison in terms of relative significance. He’d be the last person to suggest any qualitative equivalence. Surely.

      You witter on about exclusive or narrow readership and then suggest The Standard becomes an overt vehicle for political parties?

      A brief glance at the existing Party blogs show that they typically have a very narrow view of what a blog is. And that lots of politicians have no real idea how to conduct themselves in a relatively unconstrained and open contest of ideas. In that respect it would be good to educate a few more of them.

      However it’s also true that the realities of modern gotcha politics means that most MP’s or senior Party people probably cannot say what they really want to most of the time.

      • Bill 10.1.1

        There’s nothing to stop any politician, activist or granny McTavish from participating here as either author, commenter or reader right now.

        A positive step has been taken insofar as Andrew Little, unlike previous leaders of the Labour Party, who allegedly never read blogs and had nothing but disdain and contempt for bloggers – he has acknowledged the worth of blogs and bloggers, and appears to be not at all averse to Labour politicians engaging in the wider communication opportunities that’re on offer.

        The Standard will grow. But the trick is getting the left visible in the real world as opposed to the on-line world.

        • weka 10.1.1.1

          “There’s nothing to stop any politician, activist or granny McTavish from participating here as either author, commenter or reader right now.”

          Many MPs would be extremely cautious about posting here because of the potential for getting slagged off and the consequences of that (personally and politically). That’s a barrier IMO. Whether that matters or not is another question.

          Agreed about Little, but then he was always likely to get a reasonable reception here.

          • Bill 10.1.1.1.1

            I wasn’t so much referring to Andrew Little participating here so much as that he acknowledges talking to blogs and bloggers and the legitimate role blogs play, unlike say, Shearer who came out with all that ‘drawn curtains’ bullshit.

            • weka 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes, I saw Little’s involvement here and how he did it as a consequence of acknowledgement of blogs and their role. It’s possible that people like Shearer don’t get it because they’ve always been given such a hard time ie there is a possible link between perceptions of the role of blogs and how individuals get treated by them.

              • Tracey

                Little also gave pretty direct, on topic answers in the q and a here, compared with the other contenders.

                WO is john key with no accountability. That is the point.

                • Ad

                  Imagine if LIttle only used TS to blog.

                  TS would immediately be a go-to source of leftie thinking, policy and leadership. Nothing like asking.

                  • Bill

                    Imagine if Andrew Little only used ‘the standard’ to blog, that ‘the standard’ became some sort of behemoth as a result, and that there were then some serious criticisms of him seeking to be aired.

                  • Pascals bookie

                    Having parties turn TS into their only on-line presence would be a disaster for both.

                    If the media want to find out what the parties think, they go the parties. The parties need a space online that they control, utterly. Like Bill hints at, imagine if TS had been the only place to go when the comment sections here were at war with Shearer?

                    How would that be reported? It’s tragic enough watching journos get what the Standard is wrong all the time. ‘Labour party blog’ etc, without justifying their cray ideas by making TS ‘the’ place to go to find out the facts about the left.

                    having a site that is the place to go to find the official word from a party, means everything on it becomes official. That’s not a tension between two modes of discourse existing on a site, or something, it’s a democratic essential.

                    So if a site was to become the place to find out what a party thinks, then they have to control it.

                    Imagine Gower, interviewing the Labour party leader and bringing up comments from the Standard, asking him to justify them.

                    And I’m not sure what be gained to balance those risks. If the idea is simply to get the parties to make this their default site in order to get more eyeballs on the site, ie, using the parties as clickbait to get people looking at other stuff, then what is that supposed to achieve/

                    What is it that you think should be done with those eyeballs?

                    • greywarshark

                      @ Pascalls bookie
                      I feel that the suggestions are thinking it would be a good idea to move TS into a position as being your political and current affairs site with more merit than the papers etc. and reliable. Being lively, not dull, but not catering for those who go in for celebrity coverage.
                      I don’t know just how it would be different than TDB etc.

                    • mickysavage

                      The problem is that TS gives everyone else an insight into Labour activist thinking. Matthew Hooton acknowledges this. No matter what we think he is a sophisticated observer of political activity and he realises that what happens on this site generally reflects how activists and members are thinking.

                      National do not control whaleoil.

                      But I disagree with Ad that this should be the default source of Labour or Green information. Presuming this is what he is suggesting.

                      Although MPs (Labour and Green) should pop over here from time to time and post proposals and answer questions.

                    • Pascals bookie

                      The problem is that TS gives everyone else an insight into Labour activist thinking.

                      No it doesn’t. It’s a place where a self selected group of people come to talk about shit and argue. Some of them are activists.

                      Matthew Hooton acknowledges this.

                      No, he *claims* this.

                      No matter what we think he is a sophisticated observer of political activity and he realises that what happens on this site generally reflects how activists and members are thinking.

                      See above. TS is not representative of anything other than TS. Hooton says what he says mostly to troll, and because it suits his purpose.

      • weka 10.1.2

        “A brief glance at the existing Party blogs show that they typically have a very narrow view of what a blog is. And that lots of politicians have no real idea how to conduct themselves in a relatively unconstrained and open contest of ideas. In that respect it would be good to educate a few more of them.

        However it’s also true that the realities of modern gotcha politics means that most MP’s or senior Party people probably cannot say what they really want to most of the time.”

        Someone with the right contacts could talk to the GP about this. They used to run a blog-based community with varied debate and conversation. That changed a few years ago, don’t know why but assume they realised the limitations of allowing members and the public to have a free for all on their website.

        I’m guessing that there are GP MPs who understand how to blog but choose not to, because it’s such a minefield. I’d be interested to hear what GP bods have to say about the idea of increasing MP presence on blogs. They also have other people writing in addition to the MPs.

        (of course as Lynn points out, the GP bloggers have too often put up boring posts, so there’s that as well).

      • NZJester 10.1.3

        “Whaleoil is a conduit for ‘dirty politics’ emanating from the National Party Research Unit, industrial lobbyists etc.”
        That is all the sites secondary function.
        The primary function of the site is for a certain person to parade around like a peacock and feel like he is the King of New Zealand.

    • Macro 10.2

      “The Labour Party and the Green Party should be jointly invited to make The Standard their default online dialogue from MPs to members and to the world.”

      The Green Party already have a very effective vehicle and It works fine.

      as for the contention:
      “Does it strike you that one of NZ’s very few leftie institutions (either party or media) to come out of the 2014 election unscathed is The Standard itself? ”

      It seems to have escaped Ad that the Greens actually maintained their position despite a swing against the Left.

      I think the Standard as a vehicle for the expression of left opinion and ideas is doing just fine. There was some initiative for a more social interchange in the past and I still support that – being somewhat isolated in small town rural NZ. But that’s my choice.

    • Coffee Connoisseur 10.3

      and with that mentality the left will continue to fail.
      In the modern age with the level of distrust people have in politicians and the disengagement in the political system on the increase then yes the Standard is arguably the most powerful (as yet largely untapped tool of the left).

      But given you think it isn’t Bill I’d genuinely be interested to know what you think is?

    • Coffee Connoisseur 10.4

      and with that mentality the left will continue to fail.
      In the modern age with the level of distrust people have in politicians and the disengagement in the political system on the increase then yes the Standard is arguably the most powerful (as yet largely untapped tool of the left).

      But given you think it isn’t Bill I’d genuinely be interested to know what you think is?

  11. felix 11

    The only part of this that interests me much is the suggestion to develop the site’s mobile capabilities. Maybe it’s just that my phone sucks, but I find it really difficult to use the mobile version.

    Of course if that changed I wouldn’t get anything much done, so maybe I shouldn’t complain…

    p.s. to echo RL, “And I for one think it quite unreasonable to ask LP to do more than he already is on an unpaid basis. I think it extraordinary what he has done for us already.”

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      Maybe it’s just that my phone sucks, but I find it really difficult to use the mobile version.

      I don’t use the mobile version on my phone due to the lack of reply button. Other than that it works fine except for the PITA it is to browse the net on a 100mm screen.

      • felix 11.1.1

        Yeah the missing reply button is my main issue.

        • Tracey 11.1.1.1

          Me too

        • lprent 11.1.1.2

          It is on my list of fixes.

          It has several problems, most notably because they update the theme about once a month. That means I have to do it as a plugin so that it remains current, or I have a clone off a Standard theme and lose the updates (unless I merge it). I have tried both approaches so far for a total of 5 attempts. On each of the last three I have gotten to 95% functionality and then run out of time.

          The biggest hassle is just finding the time to fully debug it. It will be easier on the next run because I can test easier with a live local database.

          • Coffee Connoisseur 11.1.1.2.1

            LP any idea how much would be needed on a monthly basis funding wise to do the sort of things being discussed?

            • greywarshark 11.1.1.2.1.1

              Now that’s an interesting thought. If TS was a thorn in NACTs side, what a good thing if its supporters got into a position where they needed a lot more money than now to keep it running. Then the kind moneyed types could start to take it over and it would be like that chap in the ad for Gillette razors, ‘I liked them so much, I bought the company!’

              Expanding and requiring capital and a highish income would mean not being able to discriminate on advertising, and undermine the feisty stirring of bottom up, academics, political left, and professionals and the odd businessman who doesn’t have tunnel vision and narrow focus and thinks understanding and supporting the left is a good idea.

  12. Ovid 12

    Sites do evolve, but I feel that the Standard will only grow in relevance if there is more in the way of news. Most content here consists of opinion pieces. I’d love to see more interviews and Q+A sessions with politicians and left wing figures.

    • Lanthanide 12.1

      +1

    • Bill 12.2

      But it’s a site for opinion and analysis. And it’s that – a well formed, challenging or powerful opinion (or set of dovetailing opinions) – that can enter into, or shape any public discourse.

      As an example (a bad one) I was going to put up a piece absently mulling over the lack of kindergarten security details seeking ID from parents following the recent stabbing in Auckland, seeing as how that would have been consistent with action at WINZ post-Ashburton killings.

      Obviously I didn’t, but the point is that such comparative analysis simply wouldn’t be possible on a ‘news’ site.

      • Colonial Rawshark 12.2.1

        I see Ovid’s suggestion as being around The Standard having a role in not just repeating or reviewing news stories, but also in producing (breaking) newsworthy original content. It might be policy analysis, it might be an interview, it might be publishing a major leak.

        This production of news-worthy original content in a professional style would certainly lift The Standard to another level.

        Standardistas would continue to comment and critique as they always do, no change to that part of the successful recipe…

      • Coffee Connoisseur 12.2.2

        “But it’s a site for opinion and analysis. And it’s that – a well formed, challenging or powerful opinion (or set of dovetailing opinions) – that can enter into, or shape any public discourse.”

        Agreed and that is what makes the standard so powerful. But currently that power and its ability to shape the voting opinions of a wider audience remains untapped.
        My opinion having spent time on both WO and TS. is that given Bills statement above TS would wipe the floor with WO in shaping the minds of the voting public provided the right changes were made in such a way as to not lose or diminish the quality of the debate that takes place here.

  13. weka 13

    Ad, I think your vision is for a site entirely different to ts. Some of it sounds good. But the question for me is, given that your vision is so different from ts, why would you want to use ts as the starting point? As far as I can see it’s because you want to use ts’s success as a springboard to dismantle ts and replace it. Seem mercenary to me.

    I think ts is at a crucial point in its history. It’s obvious that there has been a shift in the past year or two in how parties/MPs, the MSM and thus the public perceive of and relate to the site. I think this attention will continue to grow without any radical changes (a few tweaks might be useful). I’d prefer to see ts and it influence keep growing organically, rather than taking the risk of imposing a power hungry vision on it and that failing (either falling over or becoming mainstream or becoming wanky).

    There is huge power and potential in the fact that ts is largely anarchic. It’s a unique culture in NZ and I’d hate to see that lost, which it would be even if Ad’s vision were to succeed.

    Having said that I am acutely aware of the vulnerability of ts’s reliance on Lynn, and would like to see more resilience built into the site (it might be more resilient than we can see on the front end of course, and there might be good reasons for not having this conversation in public).

    As for Ad’s vision, there is another possibility, which is to leave ts as it is, but set up a sister site that works towards what Ad is suggesting. The first challenge would of course be to get the volunteers to make it happen, and then the other support (financial etc) to keep it running. This can be done without putting ts at risk.

    • Chooky 13.1

      +100 weka…good points

    • Manuka AOR 13.2

      @ Weka: Best comment yet.

    • Te Reo Putake 13.3

      Nicely put, weka.

    • Ad 13.4

      This moment in history is why I wrote the post.

      I entirely concur that there are risks of wankiness by changing.
      But I am pointing out that there are greater risks in staying the same.

      We are amateurs in a professionalized field – we may well retail our amateur, wild, and non-instrumental character, but find that we are being quickly overtaken.

      It’s not just about the vulnerability of TS to Lyn.
      We have suffered another defeat, and TS can be a part of the revival if it chooses to, or remain simply a therapeutic couch for the political id.

      Personally I see other websites on the right breaking and making whole governments, and ask: should we accept that the right always has default supremacy, no matter what the media, no matter the era, no matter how much we want to change to the left?

      • weka 13.4.1

        Sorry, but I just don’t see the evidence for the failure of ts. Can you back that up with some stats?

        As others have said, there is nothing wrong per se in being voluntarily run/amateur. How are we being overtaken? By whom?

        “We have suffered another defeat, and TS can be a part of the revival if it chooses to, or remain simply a therapeutic couch for the political id.”

        Dude, ts is already part of the revival. I can see this. Others can too.

        “Personally I see other websites on the right breaking and making whole governments, and ask: should we accept that the right always has default supremacy, no matter what the media, no matter the era, no matter how much we want to change to the left?”

        This is the crux of why I would never support your suggestions for ts. You seem to have a macho warlike approach to politics. I’m more here for the change not the power. The right doesn’t always have supremacy, and when they do the solution isn’t to use their methods and tools to bring them down. That just turns us into a bunch of macho shithead like them.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good fight, and support warrior memes appropriately focussed. But I don’t believe that breaking the right is best starting point, esp where it means giving up leftwing cultures and ethos (yes, there is an irony there, historically with the left, but in NZ, now, the left is not a dominating, authoritarian force. We have other options).

        • Ad 13.4.1.1

          TS is certainly not failing. It is one of NZ’s most successful sites.
          Nor am I claiming it’s not part of any revival.
          I am saying TS should better use its latent influence to change political discourse.

          No, there are no “warlike” tendencies. But we’re in opposition for another years, and one side did win.

          We don’t have too keep going on a purely volunteer basis though. Professionalism is no necessary threat to the energy and character of TS.

          • karol 13.4.1.1.1

            Going “professional” would not be that easy – it’d be a very risky option. That is what The Daily Blog has been trying to do. I have seen comments that the authors were promised they would eventually be paid on DTB, but that has been hard to achieve. I think they have opted for encouraging people to donate.

            I think TS’s strength, compared with the likes of TDB, is it’s discussion (DTB has some good discussions too, but there is more emphasis on the posts and authors).

            Bradbury has worked in the media, and has a load of connections to draw on for DTB.

            • Tracey 13.4.1.1.1.1

              And bradbury got used on the nine to noon, then chucked off

            • Ad 13.4.1.1.1.2

              Many sites have discussion.
              Not all as good here.

              There are different steps along the professionalism path.

              As another commenter noted, you take one step, then another, and grow at the pace that is safe for your enterprise.

          • weka 13.4.1.1.2

            “No, there are no “warlike” tendencies.”

            How about “It is time for The Standard to Put On The Ring.”? Is that the one ring to rule them all and in the darkness bind them? See, I think you really are suggesting that we take power and use it in unethical ways. That undermines your other good suggestions, makes it harder to support them.

        • Tracey 13.4.1.2

          “… . You seem to have a macho warlike approach to politics. I’m more here for the change not the power. The right doesn’t always have supremacy, and when they do the solution isn’t to use their methods and tools to bring them down. That just turns us into a bunch of macho shithead like them.

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good fight, and support warrior memes appropriately focussed…”

          This with bells on. To me its about more than a change of government, it is about a change to the basis for our decision making and how we govern.

        • miravox 13.4.1.3

          Thanks weka – you’re speaking for me.

        • Coffee Connoisseur 13.4.1.4

          “The right doesn’t always have supremacy, and when they do the solution isn’t to use their methods and tools to bring them down. That just turns us into a bunch of macho shithead like them.”

          there is a very apt saying… that which you resist persists.
          You don’t have to be a bunch of macho shit heads but that doesn’t mean that you cant look at what is working in their model and take those parts you want/need to improve your own platform.

          The standard is a powerful blog for sure but it could be far more influential at a grass roots voter level than it is now. The question is whether you want that.
          I belive the opinions on here help shape policy but TS could be far more influential and reach far more voters with some small format changes.

          The question is what changes.
          In my view very little. Everything here now should remain as it is. That way the quality of the debate on political issues remains and is not lost.
          I believe that adding in some funny videos or thought provoking ones, daily trivia or quiz maybe even a sodoku would draw in many voters that otherwise might never set foot in the Standard.
          Once here they get some funny light hearted or thought provoking things that are not necessarily related to politics but interesting all the same. They also get interesting and relevant political debate. At some point they may start engaging and adding to that political debate. They may start learning why the policy of the left is the way that it is, what its goals are, how society might look differently in NZ. hopefully they will add to that debate. Then come election time they will be making a far more informed decision.

          You could start a sister site yes but you need everyone here to go there to get the quality that has been built here and it may never get there. But thats the risk. I’d rather crowd fund LP if he was up for it.

      • felix 13.4.2

        “Personally I see other websites on the right breaking and making whole governments, “

        Really?

        I see one that is basically run by the government, and another that is run by the government plus a bunch of creepy lobbyists.

        Which ones are you thinking of?

        • Ergo Robertina 13.4.2.1

          +1

        • mickysavage 13.4.2.2

          Good point and do we accept the imbalance and do nothing?

          After three elections of Epsom-Ohariu shenanigans I wonder if it is time to do the same.

          Although then we lose our soul …

          • felix 13.4.2.2.1

            Not sure what you mean by “accept the imbalance”. Can you elaborate?

            • mickysavage 13.4.2.2.1.1

              Yep obviously I wonder if the right’s victory at all costs approach is better than the left’s be principled approach.

              My particular comment was that in Epsom and Ohariu the right have organised for a supportive electoral seat candidate that augments National’s party vote to win. The left does not do the same.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                The political party Left hasn’t been particularly principled. It’s been tactically and electorally inept at times, and tried to sell that as being equivalent to being “principled.” But of course, it isn’t really.

        • Coffee Connoisseur 13.4.2.3

          You do and you are politically aware but the average punter is probably seeing this

          “websites on the right breaking and making whole governments, “

          I woulden’t have gone that far but I get the intent.

          Being able to influence Policy is one thing reaching voters with that policy is an entirely different thing and right now the R is winning that battle.

  14. Chooky 14

    +100 …great ideas for the future of the The Standard !..

    ( just 2 points…

    1) even although i do not read other party sites much…i dont think they should be required to “kill” them…it is important for every party on the Left to have a home base..and not be subsumed into eg the Labour Party domination

    2.).although the idea of professional posters and making the Standard more professional is a good one…i feel it gets its raw energy and feral interest from the wild cat and wild dog rabble contributors and debates …people may be amateurs but what they have to contribute is valuable and thought provoking… either factually and analytically or just an individual perspective from individual experience …ie “wisdom of crowds” (i always enjoyed reading “Letters to the Editor” as much as anything else in the newspapers…and often the first page i would turn to)

    …so I would not like to see the Standard turn “professional’…with ‘Open’ and ‘Members Only’ sections at the expense of the informal expert non member random contributor or the feral non expert flaxroots frequent contributors

    …there are many party ‘Non members’ who make very important contributions to societal debate eg i dont think Nicky Hager belongs to any political party …..likewise Xstacy had a valuable perspective from the other side of the tracks as a beneficiary …and i dont think he was a member of a political party

    ( elitist political hierarchies of ‘Member Only’ and ‘Open’ for the nonmembers…. would be a decided turnoff imo….a bit like party functionaries a cut above everybody else…this way political oligarchies and non democracy )

    • Ad 14.1

      Great points for debate there.

      I can fully see many like the untamed beastly forest that almost complete anonymity can afford. It’s as if the realm of the untamed internet is shrinking, every keystroke is harvested by one major engine or other. I get that there’s an anarchist impulse in there.

      But most of NZ’s powerful sites keep that feral nature, and yet exert their influence better. How?

      • Chooky 14.1.1

        @ Ad …i think weka’s idea of a “sister site” or ‘supplement’ is a good one…ie leave the Standard as is …..but add another ‘professional wing’ to it :

        1)…which carries professional contributions from experts in their fields , professional journalists and sources from elsewhere eg academia, overseas

        2)….this “sister site” professional wing or supplement would be specifically aimed at being a crossover to the msm

        (….actually i think the msm and politicians already take notice of the Standard ( despite protestations to the contrary)…and the arguments and debates that go on at the Standard I have heard repeated by msm commentators…but what goes on here at the moment is existential ie it is less formal in its aims and intentions to influence the msm…sort of a Paulo Freire grassroots praxis , a process of debate , dialogue, questioning …from which comes clarification and conclusions

        http://infed.org/mobi/paulo-freire-dialogue-praxis-and-education/

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Praxis_%28process%29

        http://www.freire.org/paulo-freire/concepts-used-by-paulo-freire )

        • karol 14.1.1.1

          One of the things TS authors have discussed is having a separate section on TS for longer, more in-depth articles – kind of like a magazine or journal section. It would probably have less posts than the daily, shorter, post section.

          It would also mean the authors (and guest authors), could focus more on their/our specific areas of interest and knowledge.

          Lynn says such a section would be easy to set up.

          • Karen 14.1.1.1.1

            I like this idea Karol.

            This could also appeal to some guest authors from academia – I’m thinking of people like Wayne Hope and Susan St John who occasionally post on the Daily Blog. This could fit in with Sue Bradford’s idea for a left wing think tank to rival those on the right.
            The main pages of the Standard would then continue as they are.

          • Chooky 14.1.1.1.2

            yes i like this idea too

          • Coffee Connoisseur 14.1.1.1.3

            Q. Karol how would you improve or what would you change if a goal of the standard was to be much more effective at attracting and engaging the average voter?

        • Ad 14.1.1.2

          That’s a natural extension. Excellent.

        • Ad 14.1.1.3

          Yes it’s a similar idea to the one I proposed in the post – and a really good one.
          Call it Higher Standard.

          • lprent 14.1.1.3.1

            Please don’t….. The name has been contaminated by a jerk.

          • Chooky 14.1.1.3.2

            re “Call it Higher Standard”…how about call it “House of Lords”? ( tongue in check).

          • miravox 14.1.1.3.3

            Higher standard – it’s that elitist thing that gets me. The Standard is really important because it isn’t elitist. People respect who they want to, not because there is some kind of superior contributor.

      • weka 14.1.2

        “But most of NZ’s powerful sites keep that feral nature, and yet exert their influence better. How?”

        Can you please give some examples?

        • Ad 14.1.2.1

          Kiwiblog.
          Whaleoil.

          • Tracey 14.1.2.1.1

            Ethics, honesty and integrity are not important to you?

            • mickysavage 14.1.2.1.1.1

              Ad is talking about power, not ethics …

            • Coffee Connoisseur 14.1.2.1.1.2

              You dont have to drop ethics Tracey in fact keeping them but adding some of the fluff that draws the average person to WO or Kiwiblog is likely to result in TS being able to do it better than WO or KB

          • weka 14.1.2.1.2

            I suspect you will find that most people here will disagree that WO and KB exert their influence better. Someone upthread (Bill?) has already analysed this, and why many of us don’t want to go down that track.

            As for the feral nature, if you can’t see the difference between what people do here and what people do there, then with all due respect I think your views on how ts should change are redundant. Or, if you don’t understand the difference, stop and listen to the people here who see the difference as critical, before this proceeds further.

            The purpose and intent of WO and KB is quite different than here. I suspect that you want ts to have a left leaning purpose and intent similar to WO/KB, but I don’t think you will get much support for that. If WOKB want power at any cost, the standardistas and many on the left want change that goes hand in hand with ethical behaviour. To my mind, you sit somewhere in the middle and probably are more willing than most to compromise on the ethics.

            In this sense you are right when you compare WOKB with ts in your post. They are the right/left versions in relationship to the parties. But the key things is that the right are good with DP and the left aren’t. There are also boundaries the left appear unwiling to cross (eg the antipathy towards KDC’s money and power) that the right wouldn’t even think twice about. These are all important differences.

            • Ad 14.1.2.1.2.1

              I comment about the virtues of apparent “feral-ness” below.
              But in reality TS’s degree of moderation and force of discipline make it one of the calmest and most dignified discursive realms in the blogosphere.

              I am quite comfortable that some won’t want any change at all.

      • Tracey 14.1.3

        Genunine question, what is in your head when you write “exert their influence better”?

        • Ad 14.1.3.1

          Ideally, break right wing governments, Ministers, and Mayors, and help appoint leftie ones.

          • s y d 14.1.3.1.1

            I think it is because they have an identifiable front person who is seen as being that blog. That makes it easy to get comment from them as ‘so and so from blog x’ for the MSM.
            TS is a diffuse, opaque thing in comparison. I can only recall LP being on the radio once.
            So in a way I agree about getting a voice into a wider audience but I can’t see a reason to re-boot the whole set up. Just need some faces and talking heads.

  15. emergency mike 15

    Personally the reason I like TS is because it’s none of the things that this post wants it to be.

    Ad seems to want to be the leftie counter to WO, but the only reason WO has been so frustratingly effective at influencing the MSM is because it has been fed info for political purposes from the beehive.

    I understand the sentiment of wanting to do something more pro-active to fight the appalling, lowbrow and apparently unthinking MSM that repeats RW spin so readily, and the idea that TS already has sufficient readership base to transform it into something that might truly be effective in the left’s cause. But it might be that TS’s readership and commenters are here because of what TS is now. I feel like Ad is talking about some other website.

    I like the purity of the unaligned debate and discussion here. RW who bring some coherent argument to the table are welcome. Sadly all we usually get are boring tr0ll distraktor fools. I recall someone put forth a RW view with a reasoned argument one time last year. It was a weird feeling.

    • lprent 15.1

      I recall someone put forth a RW view with a reasoned argument one time last year. It was a weird feeling.

      I could do that easily. I swing back and forth over the boundaries without any particular ideological compass apart from “if it works”. Generally, if you notice, I concentrate on individuals rather than ideology.

      The problem I find with the right at present in NZ isn’t so much of what they do, rather it is that they appear to have no real reason for doing it. It looks like acts of pure faith and almost all of them wind up as being crap for our society. I came to the conclusion long ago that the political right are being manipulated by the rich individuals doing things in their own interests.

      • greywarshark 15.1.1

        My dad a ‘hard-working’ businessman who was a self-starter, and ended up selling a very good business and retiring comfortably. He thinks Key’s the chap, will overcome problems and knows what he is doing. Or he did think that. Despite the fact that Key has been a sharp trader, made his money dealing with symbolic stuff like finance first and foremost, while my dad built physical infrastructure

      • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.2

        … they appear to have no real reason for doing it.

        This.

        They’ve learned the script, and that’s about it.

      • Coffee Connoisseur 15.1.3

        yes that might have been my one I think I was posting under Polish Pride at the time if that helps in finding it.

  16. greywarshark 16

    2. I suggested pre-election to the Greens they should have an open mike. They seem to be limited to comments to posts but it doesn’t allow as wide a scope, or a much opportunity to judge the viability of others’ wisdom and become part of a network of commenters, agreeing, disagreeing, adding and correcting each other. And ending up with good ideas that have been sharpened by thoughtful analysis.

    I think it would be helpful to have a well-run but not overly monitored site for the whole left as suggested.

    • Macro 16.1

      There is ample opportunity for Green party members to engage in very meaningful debate on the whole spectrum of public issues already available on their website. Not only that, because it is limited to members and one must log in to participate, discussion is not diverted, as can be the case, on open blogs, by trolls. There are open forums already available where Green MPs regularly post on topics of the day.
      I enjoy The Standard because I grew up in a home where the original newspaper was the only one, and have a family history of Labour. I’m pleased to see an awakening of the social conscience in Labour ranks again after 30 years of dancing with neo-liberalism. The vestiges of that disastrous dalliance, are still there, and there is a long way to go. I hope with commenting here to encourage more vigour in the return to true socialism. But for me now, the future lies firmly in a sustainable, equitable, and socially just world, as espoused in Green policy

    • Ad 16.2

      God that would be utterly fantastic.

      I really like the cooperative nature of the Greens’ discursive ethics.

      But I’ve also noticed the growing diversity of leftie voices on blogs growing fast.
      I think that can be encouraged also.

      But you just can’t beat the success of The Standard.
      It has and remains massively influential.

      But there’s nothing like proposing improvement.

  17. The lost sheep 17

    TS is miles ahead of any other political blog in terms of the excellent format, constant updating of articles, and freedom of comment and expression IMO.
    If blogs are to become genuinely significant, TS has given itself as good a chance as any of being influential.

    But as far as achieving the status of a truly encompassing social forum, I reckon TS has the same issue as almost every other blog.
    Discussion tends to be monopolised by a relatively small inner clique, who tend towards an assumption of ownership, and some of whom actively seek to protect their territory against new comers.

    I see happening here the same syndrome as I’ve seen on other blogs. Newbies come in and offer an opinion, get a rude kicking for their troubles, and so bugger off again. You need to have tough skin to stick around.
    Largely because of this syndrome, most blogs therefore seem to gravitate towards a hard core of about 20 contributors who are into everything and everyone, and then maybe 50 or so who will comment regularly but do so with careful limits on their engagement.
    And the constant arriving and leaving of newbies.

    The truly influential blog will be the one that moves past this traditional tribal band situation, and builds a wide scale and diverse community.
    But how do you achieve that without actively suppressing the dominant voices? Tough one that.

    • Tracey 17.1

      Blogs are like real life. Some people dont want to get into the discussion but love listening.

      I accidentally posted my email once, and within an hour had five emails, all from peolle who had never posted, thanking me for taking the time to post here.

      My posts vary with my moods, just like real life.

      I get what you say about newbies. Sadly DT only serves to confirm that a number of newbies here at any time will actually be carrick graham, slater et al in disguise (given they even disguise themselves on WO). I arrived here with questions. I answered honestly. I think people work out who is genuine and who is not.

      Despite what you have written about me today, i am not “extreme left”, i was critical of left governments and left leaders.

      Karol has a particular interest in media, environment and social issues. I am interested in the notions of honesty, integrity and ethics, which I apply even handedly to all politicians. CV and I have disagreed on this many times.

      The right on right blogs pretty much agree with all the right does… I find on this blog both sides get criticised more often. Thats my observation anyway.

    • Ad 17.2

      Right question at the end.
      How about engage with some of the suggestions I made.

      • Lanthanide 17.2.1

        Not sure why you’re so desperate for people to specifically discuss your suggestions – which actually a lot of people (including myself) have already said have significant problems.

        The lost sheep therefore may not have anything to add on your suggestions other than what has already said, but given the topic of discussion has come up with their own angle on it. It’s all discussion on topic, so it’s all good.

        Personally I think The lost sheep has hit on something very salient and thought-provoking, and I’d hate to see it lost or shouted down because they weren’t addressing the “right” things in their comment.

      • weka 17.2.2

        “How about engage with some of the suggestions I made.”

        I think many people are not accepting your basic premises, nor the philosophy behind them.

        I think there are some good suggestions there for another site, and will try and comment on them later, but at the moment it feels like commenting on the bits about ts itself and why its so important as it is are the priority.

    • greywarshark 17.3

      the lost sheep
      Just because someone blogs, doesn’t mean they have anything worthwhile to say. People with RW tendencies, who want to argue for the status quo and talk down or sneer at the lefties here, aren’t adding anything to the discussion except irritation and are soon told so.

      There are different methods for newbies and RW trying to put a lid on discussion and opinions here, one is to be affronted every time someone swears, or mocks a ‘noble’ personage. (The moderator provides controls against abuse. And I have picked on the use of certain swearwords as being insensitive and complained about them myself. And I have explained my reasoning also.) Some critics talk about lack of good manners as if it is a book club, or a tea party for ‘nice’ people. Some have the idea that every trite nit-picker and self-opinionated, complacent blogger who doesn’t like their cage being rattled deserves an apology.

      The site is for people with ideas, new ones, improved ones, old ones being lost, old ones being re-examined. Ideas may have to push through layers of sludge, sort of like new seedlings displacing earth, and it takes raw energy. So if newbies fall out because they have no interesting idea that excites them enough to expose it to the wind of contention and they leave, well they are no loss.

      • The lost sheep 17.3.1

        Fair enough point of view Greywarshark, but that does seem to me to be a recipe that excludes people who may have genuine deep opinions, but don’t necessarily enjoy getting kicked around as part of a civilized debate.

        Ad is talking about a reaching a much wider audience, and I believe you will need debate to be more even handed and inclusive if that was to be achieved.

        • greywarshark 17.3.1.1

          @ the lost sheep
          But it could be that the way that TS is run now, and the fact that it doesn’t get watered down by the deep opinions of the anti-Treaty people, or the anti-gay,feminist people, or the anti abortionists, or the pro-war, or the… could be the reason for its vigour and freshness.

          When you say ‘genuine deep opinions’ what about naming a few that come to mind. The problem in NZ is there are people who haven’t done much intellectually since their thirties, their reading has been instruction booklets, local newspapers, magazines displaying celebrities with white teeth with or without babies, or AA Directions.
          They may have to go back to school and do some certificate courses on more than how to operate a computer.

          The best thing for them if they want to contribute is for them to first look at the links that are put up here. Once you read some firmly packed factual stuff, with a background timeline or such then ideas that we can go forward with will come. Deep opinions on how things ought to be and who is wrong and we did it better years ago, and fretful questions of why aren’t things – people behaving – better are what I fear you are thinking of.

      • Ad 17.3.2

        One thing I really enjoy about TS is the strength of the moderation.

        I would never ever want to lose that.

    • MrSmith 17.4

      “The truly influential blog will be the one that moves past this traditional tribal band situation, and builds a wide scale and diverse community.”

      True:
      So some of the people around here may need to hold their tongues more often, and let people speak even if they have trouble spelling their own name, maybe the tribe should be jumped on for attacking the weak!

      Even though the tribe mostly mean well they still can be very intimidating, remember this isn’t another bloody free-market competition, if you truly want to engage the people the left all clam to represent maybe we need to try and let them speak without fear of being laughed at.

      • weka 17.4.1

        I completely agree with this, and I think the question is whether ts should be that place (or try to be that place), or should it happen somewhere else?

      • greywarshark 17.4.2

        Mr Smith
        I question that many TS laugh at people because they can’t spell or whatever. I’ve criticised a commenter who was talking about one of our posters and after some months still couldn’t spell his name right. It was lazy and rude. And we are doing a lot of reading and people have to try and write in a readable and understandable style.

        I think you miss the point. If someone is getting laughed at, it may be they are blatantly trying to scupper the thread they are on. Or they are just RW trolls with nothing to contribute that is even organic. It’s not a matter of quantity, there is plenty of empty-minded prose circulating and places to post their knee-jerk reactions and shouts of triumph when their ‘side’ or preferred person wins a point.

        It is not be a free-market competition, but it isn’t a public primary school either. If the site is going to maintain political maturity then those writing here need to have some form to their ideas. There are plenty of sites, looking down at the bloglist, people could practice there and then come here. Go to WO and KB, they are reality blogs where people pose and stir, after them one may never bother about TS at all and be with their peers there.

        • MrSmith 17.4.2.1

          I miss the point!

          Sorry but you lost me with a whole pile of assumptions, I was just following up on the lost sheep’s great idea which was,

          “The truly influential blog will be the one that moves past this traditional tribal band situation, and builds a wide scale and diverse community.”

          and away from an echo chamber.

      • The lost sheep 17.4.3

        yes.
        I would like to hear your voice more often. (Mr Smith. Heck, this late night posting is so difficult!)

    • Coffee Connoisseur 17.5

      +1

  18. Ross 18

    Great comments Ad. The most pressing suggestion: The Standard has to change. At the moment it is an echo chamber for losers. I’m sorry if I sound like a troll. That is not my intention. But since first discovering this site and being fired by it’s potential I feel like I am being sucked into a morass where victims live, wailing plaintively. All conversation is about JK and what a bad person he is. This is understandable because that is what all the articles have been about. That’s why it’s an echo chamber. Someone writes, JK is a bastard. Commentators write in with, I agree. There is nothing here for the main stream media. Why the hell would they bother quoting that?

    Suggestion 1, “Article authors should have expertise. Qualified authors will then be broken into the MSM with immediate quotability and echo…” Problem being, how do you get article authors with expertise? Can they be invited to contribute? Then how is the decision made: who and about what? Ad, I’d love to hear if you have any ideas for this.

    My own, spontaneous thought is a suggestion box. We all have qualified people who inspire and motivate us. Can there be some forum for suggestions of articles from whoever on whatever topic. Maybe comments or likes can help to determine invitations for articles. As a starter, I’d like to hear from Lindsay Head on the recent Waitangi decisions. I have no idea, but maybe qualified people would respond well to a request that says, our readers would love to hear your thoughts on …

    2. “The Labour Party and the Green Party should be jointly invited to make The Standard their default online dialogue from MPs to members and to the world”
    Sure. Invite them to do it now. Back it up by comparing site numbers with the ST. I don’t know what they are but I doubt they rise above the long tail. At the very least, get that conversation going. There’s our first qualified commentators right there?

    3. Do 1. and 2. and you get 3.

    4. I dunno. Companies are psychopathic entities that have zero interest in you or I. I think we should be exploring other ways to coordinate ourselves. Personally I would like to see discussion on Anonymous and other recent movements for democracy. What we need now is something new. The old is as bankrupt of morals and bereft of ideas as it’s possible to be. That is probably why the young are not involving themselves in politics. They need to be, but they are only going to do it on their terms. That would be my number 4. and then your number 4. might rise out of that.

    • Ad 18.1

      I’m not so cocky to presume that TS MUSTchange.
      And seriously I want John Key gone like most who comment here.

      I’m not even convinced TS has huge problems – on the contrary it’s about how to build on its remarkable success.

      Yes Point 4 is quite a step. There would be a real risk in losing some of the sense of collective ownership that many regular commenters feel about TS – as you can see from some of the debate above. Its cliche, but you have to take people with you.

      • Tracey 18.1.1

        Your suggestions seem to preclude anonymity. “expertise” attributed to authors will identify them. You, for example, are under pseudonym.

        • Ad 18.1.1.1

          certainly I am advocating that posters should preferably be experts in their field, who can then be quoted.

          So yes, under my scenario, I would have to use my name. That is my point.

          • Coffee Connoisseur 18.1.1.1.1

            I disagree. Anonymoty is good. let the merits of the argument stand on their own two feet. Using actual names just gives the estblishment someone to target should they become too influential.
            Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.

    • Tracey 18.2

      Do you know the expertise of the current authors? Perhaps it needs to be more obvious? At the end of every post they make… Removes the anonymity though. Given some of slater and his colleagues behaviour i can understand why some want to stay in the shadows and given their employers may not like their nay saying…

      • Ad 18.2.1

        Yes, but some are able to stand up in public, and be experts, and in providing their opinion lead into the msm news.

        Even moreso if we asked particular academics and activists to blog here.

    • Murray Rawshark 18.3

      If you were sorry for sounding like a trill, you’d go with a less abusive tone. “morass where victims live, wailing plaintively.” You sound like what you are.

  19. b waghorn 19

    If the standard could get bite sized bit s of there views into the face book world that’s were subconscious change could happen.

    • Ad 19.1

      … or into any world beyond its own.
      Yep Facebook would be a great start.

    • Tracey 19.2

      You mean TS would break news stories?

      • b waghorn 19.2.1

        Could do or just package up proven facts about a current issue, it would have to be not to in your face .
        there is a site called ‘choice and truth’ that I like I only open what grabs me and scroll past the rest.

  20. aaron 20

    I don’t like the idea of trying to become the dominant blog on the left – it’s not how blogs work. It’s indicative of the divisions on the left that I feel like I shouldn’t admit that I read both The Daily Blog and The Standard but the reality is blogs work much better in conjunction with each other and with ideas and discussions building between the different blogs.

    I used to run a blog, it was on a completely different subject but it became a part of a an informal circle of blogs and it was an awesome thing to be part of. Of course we all had a blog roll and there was a spirit of generosity amongst us.

    What I see amongst leftwing political blogs frankly is a lack of generosity. The Daily Blog has no links out. This blog has links to other blogs but it keeps you securely on this site in a little pop up window, which is somehow worse.

    I know there is attitude between the two big blogs on the left by the fact that this post mentions how TS is the biggest thing out there but fails to mention that the TDB even exists.

    All the different blog sites have different flavors and from a readers point of view that’s a good thing. You guys should be cooperating and constantly referring to each other because its TDB that bought me to TS – and I believe a whole new potential audience into the left wing blogosphere because of it’s TDB’s different style.

    Like I said you guys should be cooperating – it might provide a model of cooperation that the currently warring parties on the left could follow. I’m not holding my breath though to be honest.

    • weka 20.1

      Running blog parties would be one way to get past the tensions. Blogs can volunteer to host each month, put up a topic, advertise widely and then any left wing blog can submit a post. Might get more guest posters stepping up too (eg ts could publish on behalf). Blog parties (might need a different name) would be a very easy way to get the think tank idea up and running.

      I don’t see tensions between ts and TDB so much as ts and places like Public Address (or more specifically, Russell Brown). Some of the other left wing bloggers seem to think this place is full of crazies, and I find that genuinely puzzling, but I suspect it’s partly to do with them not spending time here (as opposed to drive bys), partly to do with the culture (too much swearing and rudeness), and partly to do with people like Josie Pagani feeding the meme regularly. Someone said a while back that the antipathy from Russell Brown was because he got slammed here for a while. I think it’s a real shame there isn’t more cross-pollinating, but maybe it’s up to some of the standardistas to go comment elsewhere more often, make an effort to connect.

      From what I can tell Lynn is very generous with linking out and putting new blogs in the feed as they come to his attention. Not sure what the deal is with the popup (I always open in a new tab which takes me to the actual blog), but agree it is annoying as hell and a barrier.

      • weka 20.1.1

        First blog party could be in Jan (published on something like the 20th) with the theme of “2015, what’s up for the left this year”? Might be better to be more specific, not sure (will ask some people who’ve run them before).

      • lprent 20.1.2

        …the antipathy from Russell Brown was because he got slammed here for a while.

        I checked it out at one stage. Some commenters disagreed with his stance on the Hobbit union/employment bill/act.

        • weka 20.1.2.1

          I’m guessing it wasn’t that they disgreed, but how they did it that was the problem?

          Not sure what the solution is to the gulf between the polite lefties and the ill-mannered ones. I was raised middle class Anglican so I get why the polite ones struggle with the swearing and rudeness and can’t see past it to the substance. I also find the freedom to not be constrained by politeness means different, important conversations happen (often more fun too).

          I suspect that ultimately the sweary crowd has to tone itself down if it wants to talk to the polite ones, not because the polite ones are right but because the sweary ones have more adaptability.

      • Ad 20.1.3

        That “blog party” idea is close to what I was thinking of when I talked about editorial themes for the week or for the day.

        What you are proposing goes further and demands greater cooperation across leftie blogs and activist writers. I could then foresee Gordon Campbell, martin Bradbury, Lyn Prentice and others actually seeking to initiate the MSM agenda, not just react to it.

        NZHerald and Campbell Live follow consistent themes – and let people know they are doing it.

        I think that’s a great idea – but starting with TS itself would be a great start before branching out further.

        • weka 20.1.3.1

          Do you mean a blog party of just TS authors? Not sure about that, as it puts an onus on the authors here to submit to make the party successful. I’m hesitant to put those expectations on them. Besides they already cooperate and often blog on similar topics. The point of the party idea was to create connections across blogs.

          Any reason to not start with a wider left wing blog party? I don’t think it demands a great deal of cooperation within the blogosphere. A bit of work at the start to set the scene, and the workload is shared by a different blog each month.

          I was envisioning something organic (ts provides the initial framework, contributions are open to all left wing bloggers, see what happens), but am guessing you are thinking something more structured (getting commitments from known name bloggers).

    • karol 20.2

      The post above is written by one person and not all Standardistas. Many of us read various left wing blogs daily. Some are re-posted here quite regularly eg NRT and Polity.

      Lynn who has put most of the blog links on the right, likes to support other blogs. If you read the list of the Daily Blog authors, you will see Lynn (Prentice) is listed there.

    • lprent 20.3

      This blog has links to other blogs but it keeps you securely on this site in a little pop up window, which is somehow worse.

      There are two modes. The second mode is to open in a new tab/window.

      1. Right click the link and Open in new tab or Window.
      2. Shift click to open in new tab
      3. Ctrl click to open in new window

      The popup mode is there for the people who just want to have a quick read of the blog post referenced. It runs the full page (including any page view counters) within a frame.

      If you have ever lost a partially written long comment on this site because you jumped to another site to get a quote, you’d know why it was set up that way. Doing a direct simple click in a *tabbed* browser is a terrible way to operate.

      Just use your browser intelligently.

      I know there is attitude between the two big blogs on the left by the fact that this post mentions how TS is the biggest thing out there but fails to mention that the TDB even exists.

      Apart from a whole ruddy tab full of the 50 odd posts TDB put up? The one marked clearly as “Daily Blog”. The reason they have a tab of their own is because they were swamping the other 85 smaller blogs in our feed. Their posts disappeared from view every morning as TDB did a dump of posts, and wound up as being about half of the total posts in the feed, effectively pushing smaller blog’s posts off our page.

      There are reasons for doing things a particular way on this site. Usually it is a matter of balancing differing objectives.

      I left TDB on the front of the feed until they got well and truly on their feet and built an audience. I dropped them to a tab so I could keep increasing the number of other smaller blogs that gained visibility from our audience.

      You don’t need to invent a conspiracy to explain our operational practices. A few minutes though would have made the strategy obvious if you assume that I want to build up as many other leftist blogs of differing opinions as possible.

      About the only left blog that I am aware of that I haven’t put up on the feed is whoar. That is because philu pushes a lot of posts causing swamping issues. I don’t have either the space to add a new tab easily, and I consider his posts to be of dubious value. Instead I am more tolerant of him link-whoring on OpenMike than I would be for others.

      • aaron 20.3.1

        OK, I have to take some of that back, I suspect it’s one of Bomber’s belligerent moments that have given me the impression of competition between the blogs more than anything I have seen here.

        However I would still like to reinforce the idea that the point of the internet is that you have a collection of blogs that link to each other rather than one central leftish-HQ that dominates everything else. I think those days are gone.

        I also have to admit to not having noticed the Daily Blog tab here! After two months of reading the site every day that’s a bit embarassing but I wonder what it says about how the eye is drawn to various points of interests.

        When I look at TDB I sometimes think it’s a bit of a dog’s breakfast (and I don’t’ like the logo) but at the same time it’s very successful at drawing my eye to all the right places. TS on the other hand looks nicer and is more consistent colour-wise but I reckon a bit of colour differentiation might be a good idea – hopefully without looking like a Warehouse circular though.

        I have mixed feelings about promoting the authors the way TDB does, on the one hand it makes it less of a confusing bur when you’re finding your way around but on the other the low key approach of TS is probably part of why the comments sections are so well populated.

      • phillip ure 20.3.2

        @ lprent..

        “..I consider his posts to be of dubious value…”

        ..some of the ‘dubious’ sources i use:

        guardian..

        ..independent..

        ..huffington post..

        ..alternet..

        ..salon..

        information clearing house..

        ..mother jones..

        ,utne reader..

        ..the standard..

        ..etc..etc..

        ..not so much ‘dubious’…as of the highest-quality..

        …really..

  21. David H 21

    One of the things I like about TS is the simplicity of the layout. A front page with no frills, just the information you need, with a few Ad’s, (I even turn off my Ad blocker when in here) and even less clutter.

  22. Pat O'Dea 22

    “I want to put it right out there: The Standard can take the next step in New Zealand’s political order, and it should.”
    Ad

    A special thanks to Ad for their out of the box thinking.

    So many great ideas. (Not all I agree with, or think could be achieved in one hit, but some could and should be seriously considered)

    Ad demonstrably has the best interests of this site at heart.

    The very first step that I think that should be taken, is to promote Ad to full authorship status.

    Cheers

    Pat O’Dea

  23. Pat O'Dea 23

    One thing that should not change is Open Mike

    • Ad 23.1

      Fully agree.

      • Pat O'Dea 23.1.1

        So what do you think, Ad?

        Would you like to become an author here?

        If you do, I think you should apply.

        You seem to have a fresh perspective, and you obviously have the best interests of the TS at heart. I can think of no reasons why you should be rejected.

        P.S. In the meantime thanks for the guest post

        • Ad 23.1.1.1

          Cheers Pat.

          Would be great to hear some of your international precedents on how to recover from defeat. Formed into a post.

    • JanMeyer 23.2

      Other than changing it’s name to Open Mic 🙂

  24. Chooky 24

    +100…”One of the things I like about TS is the simplicity of the layout” ( best I have seen for simplicity, appeal and usability)

    …and I also like the range of opinions from Left to Right …the t…ls are also good value for a jousting and a tussle …sort of like you can test your arguments on them…and even better show them up

    …and some of the arguments and disputes can be quite robust even nasty…which are interesting to witness and a bit disconcerting when you find yourself in the thick of it and under attack….kind of a medieval jousting session…but you get better with practice

    ….the other thing is you can change your mind when presented with new facts or better arguments…so it is great personalised education if you want to participate ..or even just watch from the sidelines and make the occasional comment to cheer on one of the protagonists

  25. adam 25

    I’m not convinced politicians can write on here with the best interests of the people in mind. I’m not convinced that many politicians on the left, are just not the same corporate elects as the Tory scum. I’m not convinced that the social democrats could organise a piss up in a brewery.

    So sorry Ad, I’m not convinced by much of your arguments. I thought the standard had done exceptionally well, to get here – this by the brain trust, who have driven it forward so far.

    Just in case, you all don’t feel the love and appreciation -the brains trust that is – look at the passion, and drive of the commenters made each and every day.

    I also feel the very fact that politicians and wonks are roundly criticized on this site, is one of it’s strengths – changing that, would be a massive mistake.

    • @ adam..

      “..I’m not convinced politicians can write on here with the best interests of the people in mind. I’m not convinced that many politicians on the left, are just not the same corporate elects as the Tory scum. I’m not convinced that the social democrats could organise a piss up in a brewery. .”

      ..aye! to all that..

      ..and i wd add the cautionary tale of frogblog..vis a vis throwing open the portals and laying out the welcome mat for mp’s..

      ..frogblog showed they are like head-lice..can take over quickly..

      ..and are damnably hard to get rid off..

      ,,in the early days of frogblog the green mp’s avoided it like key should ignore slater..

      ..and commenters there..(including myself)..moaned about that lack of accountability/dialogue on their part..

      ..but it’s really a case of careful what you wish for..as frogblog turned into just another outlet for mp’s press-releases..with still no/little dialogue/accountability from those mp’s..

      ..so..bespoke/tailored pieces from mp’s cd be ok…as long as they were given access with the condition they answer questions about what they have posted..from the readership..

      ..and not just do seagull dumps..dropping..and then just flying off/away..

      ..unquestioned..

      ..i feel a policy like that wd scare off many/most of them..

      ..and that wd not necessarily be a bad thing..

    • Ad 25.2

      Politicians come on this site reasonably often – particularly when they need something from us.

      A real problem for TS is lack of people prepared to write and post regularly.
      Too often it has been sustained by the few – and the breadth and representativeness of its voices suffers as a result.

      That brains trust needs our collective help.
      More people need to step up – and in my view they need to be qualified to do so.

      • The lost sheep 25.2.1

        “A real problem for TS is lack of people prepared to write and post regularly.
        Too often it has been sustained by the few – and the breadth and representativeness of its voices suffers as a result.”

        Mmm.
        As someone who has been visiting this blog a relatively short time AD, and reading the thread above over the last couple of days, I reckon there is a basic conflict between your desire to encompass a wider grouping and have more influence, and the current editorial focus and ‘community’ participation in this blog.

        Currently TS seems to me to cover an extremely narrow range of topics, and participation is dominated by a very small group who are passionate about that limited sphere and find it sustains their interest.
        In the thread above there are many comments acknowledging this current ethos and community, and actively supporting it’s retention. Which is a fine thing in itself, and if that’s what the blog wants to be, then more power to you all.

        But that narrow focus and participation will certainly be contributing to the lack of ‘breadth and representativeness’ you identify as a real problem.
        No offense meant to anyone in particular, but unless your world view does align very closely to that particular narrow view, the editorial content and comments do seem highly repetitive. Frankly, you are not going to sustain a wide audience if the bulk of conversation consists of the same voices offering the same opinions on the same topics.

        So to be blunt. If you want TS to be a small tightly focused ‘community’ of interest, then don’t change anything. You’re already there.
        But if you want to encompass a broader church, then you need to expand the editorial topic matter and create some room in the conversation for a wider range of voices.
        I suspect the locals prefer the status quo.

        • just saying 25.2.1.1

          As someone who has been visiting this blog a relatively short time….
          First impressions can be interesting, but what you are saying is that your advice to us is based on reading a few “editions”.

          So when you say:
          Currently TS seems to me to cover an extremely narrow range of topics…
          about a blog that only has a couple of posts a day, along with a variable number of topics discussed on ‘Open-Mike’ based on who is around and what interests those people on that particular day…. well….
          Your critique may have some validity, but I think you overestimate what you think you know about what is a relatively complex community that has developed over a few years now.

        • weka 25.2.1.2

          If one believes that the content should be broader, this needs to be understood in the context of how the site is run. Either you do something like I suggest below, or you are expecting existing authors to do work that they either don’t have the time or inclination to do already.

          ts is run by volunteers. There is an underlying guiding philisophy regarding support for the labour movement and broader left but afaik there are no editorial limits or control beyond that (other than style and comprehension and not being too wacky). Authors are free to write what they want to write about. The quickest and easiest way to increase the range of writers and thus topics is to find more people willing to write on what you think should be written on, or to guest post yourself, or to recommend post published elsewhere.

          From what I’ve seen, ts will publish most things that fit with the broader philosophy so long as they are well written. I suspect that the main reason for turning down guest posts is where they’re either not well written or too much work has to be done by an editor.

          I think there is quite a bit of work in putting up guest posts or found posts. For found posts this means emailing the author to get permission, probably explaining how moderation works here if they aren’t that familiar with the site, writing an intro, formatting the post and publishing. All that takes time.

          “I suspect the locals prefer the status quo.”

          Myself, I’d like to see more on environmental, feminist and disability issues, but because I understand how the site works I don’t have an expectation that the existings authors will do things to meet my needs. In other words, I think that if we want different content then we need to do something about it, not expect it to be done for us.

        • Ad 25.2.1.3

          I get the strong impression that the debate we have been having over the weekend has been heard well by the site authors.

          As for more diverse topic ranges, one of my personal favorite sites is Salon.com. It does interesting things like long-form interviews, film and book reviews, and named and highly respected authors who have Capitol Hill profiles in their own right. I prefer Salon to the headline-grabbing Huffington Post – which boosts its profiles with links to all sorts of B-Grade Hollywood tosh.

          I am not entirely convinced the TS community is as inbred as you are inferring. There are as ever Usual Suspects, but plenty came out of the woodwork for this debate, which was way cool.

          I agree with the theme of your points completely.

  26. locus 26

    opening the front door and knowing you’re home…. this is the standard.

    a place for socially minded generally decent people who want to challenge the increasingly pervasive neoliberal bigoted divisive views of the right

    by all means replace the sofa if it’s broken but please don’t forget what makes it a home

    • greywarshark 26.1

      I get confused from too many ideas at a time. And they have flown in and mounted up here with good thinking to catch onto. So I started from the bottom summarising and noting. Then I went to the top and started working down – haven’t gone fully through in the middle but must go and get something done. But I think this is such a useful discussion of major importance so worth some time.

      But on the other hand I get the feeling that Ad is taking us to the top of the mountain and offering us bountiful stuff, and we don’t want to be trapped by large views and ambitions. Theycould overtake our honesty, our freshness, our strength of purpose, our visions, our appeal to seekers of factual information and thoughtful discussion. our accessability for people with something valuable to us all to say, and our willingness to see that we don’t get loaded with negatives or scraps of ideas that the authors don’t understand how to self-critique.

      Words to live by –
      phil Ure 25.1
      ..so..bespoke/tailored pieces from mp’s cd be ok…as long as they were given access with the condition they answer questions about what they have posted..from the readership..
      ..and not just do seagull dumps..dropping..and then just flying off/away..
      ..unquestioned..

      locus 26
      opening the front door and knowing you’re home…. this is the standard.
      a place for socially minded generally decent people who want to challenge the increasingly pervasive neoliberal bigoted divisive views of the right

      adam 25
      Just in case, you all don’t feel the love and appreciation -the brains trust that is – look at the passion, and drive of the commenters made each and every day.
      I also feel the very fact that politicians and wonks are roundly criticized on this site, is one of it’s strengths – changing that, would be a massive mistake.

      Chooky 24
      …and I also like the range of opinions from Left to Right …the t…ls are also good value for a jousting and a tussle …sort of like you can test your arguments on them…and even better show them up
      …and some of the arguments and disputes can be quite robust even nasty…which are interesting to witness and a bit disconcerting when you find yourself in the thick of it and under attack….kind of a medieval jousting session…but you get better with practice
      ….the other thing is you can change your mind when presented with new facts or better arguments…so it is great personalised education if you want to participate ..or even just watch from the sidelines and make the occasional comment to cheer on one of the protagonists

      Pat O’Dea 22
      Emphasises Open Mike’s great value.

      weka 20.1 and 20.1 2 1
      On language approach, swearing and quality and breadth of discussion.

      aaron 20
      I don’t like the idea of trying to become the dominant blog on the left – it’s not how blogs work. It’s indicative of the divisions on the left that I feel like I shouldn’t admit that I read both The Daily Blog and The Standard but the reality is blogs work much better in conjunction with each other and with ideas and discussions building between the different blogs.

      bwaghorn 19
      If the standard could get bite sized bit s of there views into the face book world that’s were subconscious change could happen.

      Tracey 18.2
      Do you know the expertise of the current authors? Perhaps it needs to be more obvious? At the end of every post they make… Removes the anonymity though. Given some of slater and his colleagues behaviour i can understand why some want to stay in the shadows and given their employers may not like their nay saying…

      Ad 18.2.1
      Yes, but some are able to stand up in public, and be experts, and in providing their opinion lead into the msm news.
      Even moreso if we asked particular academics and activists to blog here.

      Ross 18 Starts off with – as below. And in his long comment makes interesting points and challenges.
      Great comments Ad. The most pressing suggestion: The Standard has to change. At the moment it is an echo chamber for losers.

      Mr Smith 17.4 9.58 am On ideas about presentation, challenges, swearing etc, being important which I replied to, but without useful conclusion.
      True:
      So some of the people around here may need to hold their tongues more often, and let people speak even if they have trouble spelling their own name, maybe the tribe should be jumped on for attacking the weak! …
      Even though the tribe mostly mean well they still can be very intimidating, remember this isn’t another bloody free-market competition, if you truly want to engage the people the left all clam to represent maybe we need to try and let them speak without fear of being laughed at.

      Colonial Rawshark 17.3.. 11.03 pm
      +1 Tight moderation encourages better and deeper political and personal expression…it’s vital.

      the lost sheep 17 Brings up interesting questions. (It seems to me that it is presented as being the wisdom of the masses and the merely curious as against the elitist gatekeepers of a narrow set of entrenched and partisan commenters.)
      TS is miles ahead of any other political blog in terms of the excellent format, constant updating of articles, and freedom of comment and expression IMO.
      If blogs are to become genuinely significant, TS has given itself as good a chance as any of being influential.
      But as far as achieving the status of a truly encompassing social forum, I reckon TS has the same issue as almost every other blog.
      Discussion tends to be monopolised by a relatively small inner clique, who tend towards an assumption of ownership, and some of whom actively seek to protect their territory against new comers.>/i>

      8-17 gap here……

      Tracey 7.3 11 and Colonial Rawshark 7.3.11 2
      Tracey
      Fundamentally it is that i see many here wishing to challenge. Its not about being matrys its about no point in “winning” if the vulnerable still get pilloried and economics favours the few.

      CR But isn’t is tiresome to be weak, to merely rail against powers?
      That is where the anarchist position segues into a highly romantic one.

      Labour Party leadership candidates have to post here. Labour Party leaders write us off at their peril. Right wing media consultants and commentators as well as staffers from the MSM make it a point to check out what our comments are saying about particular issues of the day.

      How is that, weak?
      The Standard needs to participate in evolution, but IMO it is more about keeping The Standard travelling along its current trajectory (give or take) but creating additional operating arms associated with it eg a professional issues editorial page, a professional media critique function, a professional news and current affairs arm, a professional fund raising facility, an activist co-ordination platform etc.

      Ad 7.3.1 1 and Tracey on strength of TS
      – Making and breaking those in power – Ministers, Mayors, and Prime Ministers
      – Beating the MSM for influence
      Not saying I like him [WO] his company, his ethics or etc etc

      But isn’t is tiresome to be weak, to merely rail against powers?
      That is where the anarchist position segues into a highly romantic one.
      I don’t believe that TS’s anarchist core need be sacrificed for efficacy in the real political

      Tom Jackson 4.1.3 and Karol 4 1 3 1
      Long form journalism would be good addition – perhaps in parts. Ideal length.
      Longer serious pieces – Political economy, the media itself, social and
      environmental policy.

      DTB 4.1 3.58 and TRP 1.43
      Authoring –
      Lprent 2.19 pm 4.1…
      Other blogs – methods
      Weka 4 1 1 and RL 4 1 1…
      Coalescing with other left wing blogs.
      Syndication.

      RedLogix 4.1. – Good points – considers Finance, present reliance solely on LP’s shoulders.
      Evolution rather than revolution preferred.
      So just growing TS for it’s own sake is not necessarily a good thing. On the other hand we do need a broader range of author expertise. I cannot tell you how many times I started to sketch out a post in my mind – and then drop it because I feel like I just don’t have the relevant subject expertise. It’s hard being a good author. Really.

      For the moment my thought is that we may well be best advised to take one or two small, achievable low-risk steps. The simplest might be to widen our range of syndication to other leftie blogs. Not always achievable – but it has to be the lowest hanging fruit in the room.

      TRP 4 TS needs media spokesperson/connection.

      les 3 (Overweening pride, arrogance, individualism and dictatorship?)
      ‘preaching in a narrow conversational base from the converted to the converted. And therefore changing nothing. The Standard must march its banner out of home, or remain a media adolescent.’……………reaching a wider audience is an admirable goal…the only comment that will matter is that of the owners of this site.

      Colonial Rawshark 2.5.1.2 10.38
      Firstly, our stats. We are big.
      Yes. And getting bigger every year, by leaps and bounds at the moment. Which suggests that the Standard is already reaching out beyond those groups we would traditionally consider “political anoraks.”
      I would caution against having any closer or more integrated relationship with the established political parties.
      The job of the Standard is to force political parties to address the issues that we bring up as priorities, not the other way around.

      Ad’s premise.
      Ad 2.5.1Firstly, our stats. We are big.
      Secondly, the many here used this site as a means to change the Labour constitution to be democratic in its selection of leader.
      Thirdly, the many here used this site to get David Cunliffe elected as Ledaer of the Labour Party.
      Finally, because it is read hawkishly by most parliamentary staff, all competing blog authors, and many msm journalists.
      We are undercooked in how we express our latent power – this is one of the points of the post.

      Lanthanides thoughtful scepticism. at 2
      No union now has as much power as The Standard (regrettably).
      Doubtful, since unions actually have people on the ground who can take action. Spouting off words on the internet doesn’t actually make things happen in the real world.

      The Labour Party and the Green Party should be jointly invited to make The Standard their default online dialogue from MPs to members and to the world. Kill their own sites.
      Not going to happen, for the same reason that we don’t have many MPs from any parties commenting here, or media pundits. I’m sure lots of them are reading, but very seldom do they comment.

      The Standard needs to be reformed as a company…
      Sounds like you’re trying to turn TS into what The Daily Blog was supposed to be.

      With continued redesign, The Standard should be the default app for all leftie cellphone users.
      I’m not even sure what this is supposed to mean. “default app”? You’re going to compete with web browsers, facebook, twitter, instagram, tinder, etc?
      With relevant clicbait, more videos, and more comedy, we can broaden beyond the political anoraks.

      You’re assuming that anyone actually wants TS to do these things.

      Ideas – Facebook, break news stories,
      lprent 20.3

  27. Unicus 27

    This ” discussion” among your cosy retinue of regulars is exactly the go nowhere verbiage blogs produce – time to move on Standard . APN Fairfax and the rest of the foreigners have long since abandoned progressive and liberal readership in this captive little market . The opportunity is limitless for the Standard to re-configure itself into a Huff-Post – Crikey style news platform –

    No more navel gazing – lets see some action

    • locus 27.1

      quite a few ‘regulars’ who might wonder whether this is just verbiage, or whether you actually have some good reasons to support your opinion?

    • karol 27.2

      But, the bottom line is, that needs adequate funding.

      • Ad 27.2.1

        which should never be an excuse for growing something good.

        Strategy first, resource second.

        • karol 27.2.1.1

          Ah. Well. yes. But people have talked about wanting TS to be more of a left media outlet several times…. and basically, no matter what strategies people suggest, the sticking point is not having access to the amount of funding needed.

          there are limits that can be done without a lot of resources. Otherwise it’s all dreams and fantasies.

          TS works well on limited resources. It meets the main strategy of being an independent left wing forum. And the major strength of TS is its discussion forum, plus a range of authors.

          • Ad 27.2.1.1.1

            Time to form other strengths.

            As for funding, perhaps its time to ask the right people.
            They are out there. And they like us.

      • greywarshark 27.2.2

        @ karol
        If TS needs more funding it should say so. Like Wikipedia does with a wee explanation window that comes up and invites you to give a tiny bit – $3 from everyone participating now would give them enough to operate for the next year sort of thing. It is not a paywall keeping people out, it is not an arm twist making you feel that you should be giving big sums, it is a reminder that good things need feeding. Make TS your pet, the dog that barks for you, with you, and also yodels at the moon?

    • Ad 27.3

      Interesting that this post has encouraged a fresh voice.
      Come back more often.
      I think you can see my points.

    • Colonial Rawshark 27.4

      This ” discussion” among your cosy retinue of regulars is exactly the go nowhere verbiage blogs produce – time to move on Standard

      This is the change for change sake argument. It’s not really an argument at all because, to me at least, it hasn’t been thought through.

      1) Readership of The Standard is growing strongly year by year. That puts the lie to the phrase “cosy retinue of regulars.” Yes, only a relative few choose to comment while most “lurk” – but the fact is that a lot of people come back to The Standard multiple times.

      2) “Go nowhere verbiage” – do you have a problem with democratic discussion which people pay attention to? The discussion on The Standard is read and considered in newsrooms around the country, it is read and considered in Labour Party and Green circles, the PM’s office regularly read and record material from The Standard.

      The opportunity is limitless for the Standard to re-configure itself into a Huff-Post – Crikey style news platform –

      No more navel gazing – lets see some action

      This is where your argument really falls down. Yes there are gaps and opportunities in the media landscape. But in just a few lines with very few reasons given, you argue that we should just stop arguing and ‘just do it’. You haven’t detailed many obvious options: eg why it has to be The Standard which reconfigures? Why not start something new which fills the media gap you have identified?

      • weka 27.4.1

        Very good CV.

        One of the things that’s become apparent to me recently is that in order to understand what ts is, what it’s doing well and why it fails in some areas, you actually have to spend time here. Possibly participating too (not sure what it’s like just reading).

        Like many good and useful things, some of the really awesome aspects of ts aren’t immediately visible.

        • Colonial Rawshark 27.4.1.1

          That’s right – it’s like taking a community which has been built year by year and relationships/understandings strengthened over time, and then saying: oh let’s change it all about and make it more commercial, so it will appeal to all these other people who don’t care about this community. Feels good to be treated like a monetizable asset, right?

          Also it’s worth considering how the HuffPost ended up: as a huge money making deal for Arianna Huffington (oh how the capitalist/top 5% set loved her when she visited NZ) while all the people who had contributed to and built the site got screwed by her. She resisted giving her major writers even a pittance of what they deserved from the deal.

          http://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/apr/01/huffington-post-bloggers-aol-millions

      • Coffee Connoisseur 27.4.2

        I dont see it as a media gap problem. I see it as a fixing the direction we are headed in problem and thats being nice it is really a fixing the world problem.

        Why the Standard?
        1. Quality of debate and ideas. Setting up something new will never be able to ensure the quality of debate and ideas.
        2. there isn’t anyone else once you take into account point 1.

        Personally I don’t think it needs to be a media platform. The format it has obviously works and in my view shouldn’t change. I can’t state this fact strongly enough.
        I do think some fluff – read maybe a few (5ish) short light hearted video clips, a quiz, perhaps a sodoku, TED talks, heart warming stories/vids each day after lunch to generate interest and reach and connect with more voters which is the Lefts biggest problem.

        As an observation I see ability to connect with voters as being WOs biggest strength and a weakness on the left that the Standard could easily do with the sort of additions mentioned above.
        WOs biggest weakness is Quality of debate and that isn’t an easy fix, in fact it is near impossible.

        I don’t want to turn TS into Whaleoil far from it. I do see the potential for this to be the start of a far better and more direct democracy which is something many on here talk about.

        A lot of this is down to Lynn and if this was pallatable then given how busy he is already others (me included) would need to be prepared to step up in order to make it happen. It could even be trialled in the background to see how viable it would be.

        • Colonial Rawshark 27.4.2.1

          As an observation I see ability to connect with voters as being WOs biggest strength and a weakness on the left that the Standard could easily do with the sort of additions mentioned above.

          You see, it’s the political connection with non-voters that I am probably most interested in. My feeling is that you have to be active and visible in their neighbourhoods and workplaces for that to be achieved.

          • coffee connoisseur 27.4.2.1.1

            I consider myself a non voter – having said that I did vote this time but it was a single issue vote, Too reach me you do need to be out there in the community I agree and not just at election time but it needs to be coupled with a forum that helps shape a persons political view.
            Example: My local mayor is Ron Mark, He is out there in our community and does look after it. Our river which is used recreationally by many had been used by a local contractor (assume he had permission or consent) with a digger to excavate some riverstones, shingle etc. It was left in a right state. I spoke to Ron about it outside our local supermarket. two weeks later it was cleaned up. That alone was enough to give him my vote because he can get things done. But as a non voter it wasn’t enough to get me to the polling booth in the first instance.
            You on the other hand are a different kettle of fish, I have confidence from my time here that you get the bigger picture on almost everything that is important to me. That fact is enough for me as a non voter to get me to vote.
            Grant Robertson – nice guy but I don’t have the confidence that he or any of the others (you being the exception) get the bigger picture and as such it isn’t going to get me there. I have spoken to Grant about this stuff and it was like a deer stuck in the headlights. At the end all I got was we’re the party for the workers’ we’re the party for the workers. Perhaps it was my delivery but from my view point he just didn’t get it.
            Thats a very long winded way of saying I agree that you do need to be out there in the community but I do think you need both. In fact you did probably play a part in getting me to the polling booth this time around. I might have voted on a single issue and it wasn’t for Labour but my vote would have helped Labour and Knowing that you understood the issues was probably what got me into the booth. Had I not engaged you on here I probably still wouldn’t have bothered. So on that front well done.
            Consider I had been telling people all year there was no point in voting. All it took for me was knowing that you get it.

            I think that a lot of non voters are of the following mindsets:
            The politicians are going to do whatever they want anyway and nothing I do or don’t do is going to make a damn bit of difference.
            There are issues I want solved but none of the idiots have a clue how to solve them so why bother.
            Iastly, the I simply dont care crowd.

            So yes I think you need both and if you do you will have a winning combination.

            Sorry was referring to CV Colonial Viper as the one who got me to vote. Assumed you were he with this post.

            • Colonial Rawshark 27.4.2.1.1.1

              Glad I could provide some impetus for your trip to the polling booth this year. Look forward to chatting with you more. (Yes I am CV…)

        • Ad 27.4.2.2

          Your point about whether TS as dominant leftie site has any responsibility beyond what it’s doing to connect with voters is a big question.

          • greywarshark 27.4.2.2.1

            Why should TS have a ‘responsibility’, to connect with a particular group. Labour Party people have a responsibility to do more work about conveying their thoughts and policies to people in general and focus on some. And a responsibility also to know and understand what is going on in their areas and their personal difficulties and wishes. TS can decide its own approach surely, not have a responsibility burden thrust on it?

        • weka 27.4.2.3

          I do see the potential for this to be the start of a far better and more direct democracy which is something many on here talk about.

          I do too, and I’ve sporadically commented that we could be using the community for more action orientated endeavours. Other people have put forward other ideas. But the reality is that very few people here have the time or inclination to do this. Most people are already active in their own lives in various ways, and I suspect many of us come here not just for the politics but because it meets a personal need. In other words, I see the voluntary aspect at or near full capacity.

          Personally I don’t think it needs to be a media platform. The format it has obviously works and in my view shouldn’t change. I can’t state this fact strongly enough.

          I do think some fluff – read maybe a few (5ish) short light hearted video clips, a quiz, perhaps a sodoku, TED talks, heart warming stories/vids each day after lunch to generate interest and reach and connect with more voters which is the Lefts biggest problem.

          My suggestion is that you trial this. Put together a few guests posts along the lines you are suggesting, submit them, ask Lynn or whoever to give you the viewer stats which you can compare to the comment stats. Then report back and let us know what happened.

          (myself I’ve be interested in the TED talks kind of thing)

        • greywarshark 27.4.2.4

          I like the idea of a quiz. It should be on things that pertain to NZ. And it would be quite good if it had three or four options or even none/all of the above. Not too taxing but making peeps think and with answers upside down at the bottom plus List of sources for the say 10 questions.

          Such as – One business, one farming – dairy, one farming other animals, meaning of FTE, number hours regarded as full-time, What is women’s favourite pasttime, men’s, what is kawakawa leaf used for, how do dock leaves get used in treatment, what was Peter Jackson’s first film). Varied and challenging and educational no matter what’s one score was.

          I think also that the thread should have next week’s questions where commenters could put one up with the two sources for later inclusion.
          The thread would say that limited discussion will be entered into on the subject of answers and correctness. We’d all have our consciousnesses raised.

  28. greywarshark 28

    Coffee Connoisseur
    I am intrigued by you. I don’t remember seeing you around before and now you are here at the same time as Ad has brought up his idea for opening up TS to a wider audience. You seem to be going through the main contenders checking them out and offering advice in a wise way as if objective and experienced. Would you like to summarise your thoughts and motivations?

    • Coffee Connoisseur 28.1

      I was a systems analysts for 20 years. The world needs to change Grey. The changes that are required aren’t going to come from the right. The changes aren’t going to happen if the left don’t get a lot better at engaging with the voting public. They are also not going to happen by sticking to a redistribution of wealth model.

      There’s no point (No point is a little harsh more of a missed opportunity and missed opportunity doesn’t really capture the importance of it in the bigger scheme of things) in the Standard having the quality of debate and ideas that it generates if those messages never reach the voter. This isn’t the Standards fault, its not what it was set up to do but that said it does have an opportunity to and in my view is best placed to fill that gap and to reach voters.

      The distrust of politicians, the MSM and the Corporate Elite has never been higher. There has never been a better time to make the changes that are required.

      Their is a much bigger conversation that needs to be had ie. continuing with a system based on resource management or moving to a system designed around meeting peoples needs and wants, why we should do that and why it is possible to do that now but wasn’t before.

      This requires a significant shift in peoples thinking. It also requires getting people to understand why Capitalism is now failing, how it fails and why it will never deliver the outcomes we want as a society. We need to get people to understand that poverty and war don’t have to exist but always will under the current system.

      People need to be able to see a very different future from the one we are currently facing and how we get from where to a system designed around meeting peoples needs and wants and how that can be achieved using far less resources than we do now.
      If the left better understood what the average right wing voter really wants (bear with me on this one) at a basic fundamental level and how those desired outcomes are actually better delivered under a different system and additionally can show how those desired outcomes will never be achieved under Capitalism then this is an incredibly powerful message that is near impossible for the Right to destroy or dismiss. This then becomes very dangerous for the Right as it destroys the entire premise for Right wing policy. At that point you can start down the path of serious system change. The Left likewise will always struggle to get their desired outcomes under Capitalism too. The lefts desired outcomes are much easier to achieve under this same system, Thus making the conept of it very powerful indeed.
      It needs to be communicated how under a different system, we could look to maximise unemployment and have the system designed to actively find ways to free people from having to work. How by doing so we could have a 3 day working week with the ability to reduce this over time.

      How under Capitalism The profit motive and planned obsolescence are causing to burn through resources and an increasing rate as it is about making the production process as cheap as possible and that things are not designed to las so that when they break you have to go and buy another one. Yet everything is driven by the profit motive. We need people to understand how by employing better design we can build things to last using far less resources.
      We need to look at better ways of using resources and providing access to them by right when they are needed.

      We need to change the system to work for people rather than the other way around. That this isn’t a pipe dream or some utopian vision, afterall people would still need to work . It is technologically possible right now today.

      We need to get people to understand that money has now reached the point where it has become a barrier to achieving the things we want to achieve as a society rather than enabling us. This is despite the knowledge, resources and ability to do the things we need to do (Aucklnad Transport is but one example). We need to look at removing money from the equation over time.
      We need people to understand That the L v R adversarial political system by its very design can simply never give us the outcomes that we want/need to have. How we can move toward greater democracy not less and move to a better more equitable society and in doing so enabling people to have access to far more than they do now, whilst using less resources to achieve this outcome.

      We need to show people a better future than the one we are being faced with at present. We need to show them what that world could look like.
      Haing said all that we need to get them to understand that we understand the system that we have now and that we understand that we have to continue to deliver the outcomes that society needs while we transition to something much much better.

      My biggest problem is that I am not the best communicator when it comes to this stuff. It all starts with going back to the purpose of the system that we have and determining if the premise for it still holds true. In short it doesn’t because the problems and justifications (things such as resource scarcity) aren’t there to anywhere near the same degree that they used to be at the inception of and implementation of Capitalism.

      At that point questions such as.. who should the system (eg. Capitalism not political) be for? and What should its purpose be? should be asked. It is only then can the system that we should have for everyone. This should be done using a structured Systems Analysis approach as this is used to determine the structure of any system based on the stated requirements. It is also not subject to vested interests.

      This work has been done conceptually. There are a couple of points that would be in contention but society could and should decide which way to go once we get to that point.

      I worry that this system sounds dictatorial in the way I have tried to write the response to you here. It isn’t, in fact it is quite the opposite and is structured to enable people to have their needs and wants met whatever they may be (within reason, some things will still be illegal – enriched uranium?). At the end of the day it all comes back to enabling people to be happy. When you have suffered from severe depression and come out the other side it really crystalizes just how important that point is.

      Its hard to put something of this magnitude into a single blog post and it probably raises more questions than answers at this point. But I hope that gives some insight as to why I am here.

      • Ad 28.1.1

        Definitely does say why you are here.
        It’s good.
        As Colonial implies, though, often a high quality of argument is needed.

        Your will for a fully alternative system is one I and many here share.

      • Colonial Rawshark 28.1.2

        Thanks CC.

        The elucidation *and implementation* of alternative socio-economic systems (even just alternative sub-systems as a stepping stone), is absolutely crucial for the survival of a decent and just society over the coming 2-3 decades.

        As to your point about money: money used to be a social unit of account. That is, if you gained $100 through work, you had done that much good in society that day. That link is now thoroughly broken – those who make the most money now are those who destroy value out of the wider society and concentrate it into the hands of a tiny proportion. As you noted, we have allowed the system to become something which is accelerating its own exhaustion and downfall, and the results are likely to be very unpleasant unless we do something about it fast.

        Also note how Greens and Labour convey very few coherent messages about truly alternative systems. “Middle NZ” (the top 20%) have too much invested in the current system for mainstream politics to do much more than tinker around the edges and engage in the game of ‘pretend and extend.’ This is of course what governments all over the world are doing as it is the path of least electoral resistance, and the oligarchic elite can remain secure in their own positions.

      • greywarshark 28.1.3

        Wow Coffee C.
        I find that coffee heightens the mind. You have Been Thinking. Thanks for your long thoughtful reply. (Which I am still working through.)

      • MrSmith 28.1.4

        Very good Coffee Connoisseur.

        I guess you have watched the Zeitgeist movies? http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/

        Which I feel could be a great place to start educating the masses or at-lest have them start to question the current system.

        • coffee connoisseur 28.1.4.1

          Yes was first introduced to those movies some years ago and essentially corroborated what I had read a few years prior in a book called The Last Waltz of the Tyrants.
          Then about four years ago I was off work for severe depression to keep my mind off things I decided to apply structured systems analysis to the system (Capitalism as opposed to political) that we have. I took a ‘green fields’ approach, I didn’t actually expect to get anywhere. I expected to hit a number of road blocks and simply be forced to give up. But that didn’t happen. The answers actualy came pretty quickly. When I started I didn’t have any particular system in mind I just wanted the analysis to take its course.
          The result pretty much confirmed RBE but I disagree with Mr Frescoe on taking people out of the decision making process altogether. That said I can see why he came to that conclusion.
          I then applied the same requirements to Capitalism and it failed miserably.

          • MrSmith 28.1.4.1.1

            Firstly sorry to hear about the depression CC I have my black days as well and hanging around here may not be the best medicine, altho mostly they are well meaning folk trying to reinforce their own beliefs/confirmation bias, which I am as guilty of as any, Ad’s post is about ideas and change, these can be quiet frightening which reminds me of a saying

            “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
            Which I’m not sure I agree with, so let me re-word it

            Some talk about things, others talk about others and their things, but the free thinkers talk about ideas! (and ways to sell the others things) sorry joking.

            I will see it I can find that book to read.

  29. The lost sheep 29

    “Also note how Greens and Labour convey very few coherent messages about truly alternative systems.”

    That will be because they don’t have a credible alternative to offer?

    “Middle NZ” (the top 20%) have too much invested in the current system for mainstream politics to do much more than tinker around the edges and engage in the game of ‘pretend and extend.’ This is of course what governments all over the world are doing as it is the path of least electoral resistance, and the oligarchic elite can remain secure in their own positions.”

    By my reckoning at least 60% of NZ’ers voted for parties unequivocally committed to Capitalist economics?
    Hard to say how many of the other 40% would support a complete change of system (as opposed to reforming the current), but judging by the number who voted for a party committed to total change… I would suggest it is a small %.
    Same applies through out the Western World.
    It is not a minority upholding the current system, it is a large majority.

    So Coffee is right. The Left need to do a lot of work in order to get to the point where they offer the voters a credible reason for voters to abandon their current ‘investment’.

    Would be great to see a guest post furthering that discussion.

    Be a welcome break from JK, MSM, Conspiracy.

    • Colonial Rawshark 29.1

      By my reckoning at least 60% of NZ’ers voted for parties unequivocally committed to Capitalist economics?

      True. In the Five Eyes countries those are the choices that western populations are typically given; unlike Italy, Greek or France we have no truly democratic socialist political parties that we can vote for.

      I’m realistic – I don’t think that a “complete change of system” is possible in anything less than a multi-decade timeframe. My fear is that physical realities (fossil fuel depletion, climate change etc) are going to force that change on us in a very uncontrolled and hard to manage way, because we have not seriously tried to get ahead of the curve.

      The World Bank says that a minimum 1.5 deg C global warming by mid century is now locked in. The floods and famine that we are going to see between now and then will cause economies to fail and governments to fall. It won’t be nice.

      • greywarshark 29.1.1

        @ Colonial Rawshark
        ++100

      • weka 29.1.2

        “My fear is that physical realities (fossil fuel depletion, climate change etc) are going to force that change on us in a very uncontrolled and hard to manage way, because we have not seriously tried to get ahead of the curve.”

        Fear or opportunity? If we can get a L/GP govt established for 2 – 3 terms, this will free up a lot of energy and resources needed to be preparing for the coming crises. Part of that preparation needs to be developing strategies for dealing with and making the most of the various tipping points likely to happen. Those are the places to intervene to see big change go in the way we want it.

        I really don’t see a left wing govt as leading the way in the short or probably even medium term, because in order to gain power to effect change they have to be voted in by people who aren’t conscious enough about the coming crises. Better to support the people within L/GP who do get it, to stay in there and be ready for when they can speak more openly. At this point in time just getting good people in there and keeping them there seems like doing a lot.

        This of course doesn’t mean that those outside, including ts, can’t be speaking the truth or working in more radical ways. But we have to find ways to bring the mainstream with us.

        • Colonial Rawshark 29.1.2.1

          I suspect that the answers will lie more in us working with our local communities rather than with waiting for Wellington to figure it out and act.

          Having said that and making a big assumption that LAB/GR win in 2017 I think they will probably inherit a bad and unstable economy post GFC 2 etc. We have to convince the new Govt that there are ways ahead from that other than austerity and more market driven mechanisms.

          The kind of low carbon infrastructure that we desperately need to get in place (rail, passive energy housing, relocalisation of key industries, etc) will take 10-20 years worth of fast work and seeing how slowly Christchurch has been rebuilt I must say confidence is not high.

          I really don’t see a left wing govt as leading the way in the short or probably even medium term, because in order to gain power to effect change they have to be voted in by people who aren’t conscious enough about the coming crises.

          I think this is the political reality. Unfortunately I think the world only has about 15 years worth of relatively accessible and cheap oil left, and thereafter getting the energy required for major projects is going to become very difficult very quickly.

          • weka 29.1.2.1.1

            Agreed about Wellington.

            I’m comfortable with a bigger downward drop (eg if we don’t get to replace major infrastructure in a planned way, there is another level before that of destitution and chaos). I’m not too concerned about housing, we actually have plenty of buildings in NZ but need to get better at retrofitting and adjusting our ideas about house size per family. Localising food seems the crucial one to me, as well as keeping communities resilient to rapid/hard change (all that psychological and relationship upskilling. Chch will have much to teach us).

            Probably the biggest challenge is retaining democracy, and improving on it while things are changing and people are scared. I get what Bill and others are saying in terms of theory, but I think we have to find ways of shifting the population from where we are now to something that is achievable within a short time frame (eg the 15 years you talk about re oil). This would be one of the things that we’re not addressing here at all really, how are we going to build bridges with conservatives when teh shtf? (or preferably before).

            • Ad 29.1.2.1.1.1

              At the risk of sounding like the Life of Brian character declaiming about anarcho-syndicalism, would a post-collapse order still require nation-wide democracy? Would more localized systems of representation suffice?

              • weka

                Depends on how it plays out and far the collapse goes. I tend to take the view that we, in the here and now, can’t see what will be needed beyond a certain point because the number of probable tipping points. This is ok, because people will figure it out as they go along so long as we do the work now to work with what we’ve got and point it in the right direction.

                So, yes, localising governance as much as possible is a good idea. I don’t mean dismantling national government, and I don’t mean abandoning it. But strengthening local government and engagement locally. This could be in the form of getting assurances from both L and the GP that they will roll back the recent local government reforms and resinstate/allow community as a priority. A big push from the left to get people taking notice of local body elections including regional councils would be great (want to solve the dairying problem? change who gets into regional councils).

                But even all that is still just holding the line. In addition we need to support the grass roots organisations that are preparing or that already have different forms of organising. All communities have these. Think everything from iwi/hapu/marae to transition towns to local Green Party groups, probably some Labour ones even 😉 Many subcultures including creative cooperatives from the alt art scene to the new tech scene. Community gardens, community housing, ride sharing, ecosystem restoration, everywhere that people are organising and acting. It’d be good to see some inroads on connections between the more alternative groups and conventional organisations that use good old fashioned committees.

                (I’ve not put politcal activists in there, because I’m out of the loop on what is happening on the ground, and because political activism seems most stuck currently on how to organise. I’d see the biggest work here is bridge building and reestablishing respect despite disagreement).

                So much good work is being done already and all of it will get us in a better position to handle change outside of the known and have a chance at influencing the tipping points so that we move in good directions instead of bad or overly chaotic ones.

          • Ad 29.1.2.1.2

            I would love to see more posts on TS about local initiatives that prepare for an expensive-oil world.

        • greywarshark 29.1.2.2

          If there could be an educator that goes to secondary schools early in the year before set exams have to take precedence, then perhaps activities done say think tanks could be set up as a project and scenarios worked through – on environment etc.

          Civics would help in encouraging people to only travel along their own ‘railway’ line.

          Political groups amongst mixed adults and teenagers meeting over coffee having a debate each meeting night that all could join in – get rid of this passive stuff being jawed at all the time. A short talk and then tons of discussion and some sort of decision reached on what the most troublesome things were, and what were the initiatives and then bring that forward next meeting. Small projects planned to advance awareness and get the ideas out.

          There has been a lot of advertising and local encouragement to compete in the Gigatown project, with people being egged on to do the various activities that raised votes for their area. If we could get cities competing to get emissions down – to reduce waste, Iess clothes bought and thrown out, less toys likewise.
          (Someone reminded me of a story of a well-known handbag firm throwing out new stuff rather than put it for sale or release it into the market where it would undercut their prices. They had new stock coming and threw out the old.)

          • Ad 29.1.2.2.1

            A post TS should probably do a month before every central and local election: a
            A diagram of:

            -how voting works

            -what happens when your vote is counted

            – how Parties win from votes

            – how coalitions form from votes

            – the role of the Governor General (in central elections)

            – the formation of Cabinet, and what Cabinet responsibility entails

            – the first Speech from the Throne and its purpose

            ie TS can be a civics class – I think it would hoover up msm links.

            • weka 29.1.2.2.1.1

              I’d love to see some succinct, easily accessible explanations of how local body elections work, including STV for those that have them.

            • greywarshark 29.1.2.2.1.2

              @ Ad
              I would like to see the idea of how democracy works, its advantages and responsibilities taught from early primary school. The children could be asked what story they want read. The names written on the board, and then they could vote with a show of hands, good counting practice too.

              The concepts of civics need to start early. NZ education has muffed it since free education started here with the Education Act 1877. Now it seems we have to go back to the coffee house tradition and meeting places where people can talk about reform ideas referred to in the quotes from the past in Wikipedia that I have put below.

              I thought I’d look at the background to our education system.
              Wikipedia – The ideas for education in New Zealand developed from mass education. Mass education was not part of the ideas of the enlightenment.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education_in_New_Zealand

              (The Enlightenment period began in the 1600’s. By the end of the 18th century, the Enlightenment was followed by the opposing theories founded in Romanticism which could have had great effect on NZ formation and colonisation. I was never taught about these great movements of thought at school. To know about them explains a lot of our European history.)
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Enlightenment
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanticism#Romantic_nationalism

              and The Enlightenment
              During the Enlightenment period, there were changes in the public cultural institutions, such as libraries and museums. The system of public libraries was a product of the Enlightenment. The public libraries were funded by the state and were accessible to everyone for free….
              Intellectual exchange
              During the 18th century, the increase in social gathering places such as coffeehouses, clubs, academies and Masonic Lodges provided alternative places where people could read, learn and exchange ideas. In England, coffeehouses became public spaces where political, philosophical and scientific ideas were being discussed. The first coffeehouse in Britain was established in Oxford in 1650…

              Reading clubs and coffeehouses allowed many urban artisans and businessmen to discuss the latest reform ideas.” [20] Even though the coffeehouses were generally accessible to everyone, most of the coffeehouses did not allow women to participate. Clubs, academies, and Lodges, although not entirely open to the public, established venues of intellectual exchange that functioned as de facto institutions of education.

              Then Noam Chomsky makes some salient points that can explain why we are so ignorant after our century of mass education. Here he is, quoting Adam Smith’s writings in context, instead of winkled out to be displayed falsely so they appear to praise what he actually disdains.
              http://www.chomsky.info/books/warfare02.htm

              From ‘Education is Ignorance’ by Noam Chomsky
              Excerpted from Class Warfare, (discussing Adam Smith’s writing)

              He’s pre-capitalist, a figure of the Enlightenment. What we would call capitalism he despised. People read snippets of Adam Smith, the few phrases they teach in school.
              Everybody reads the first paragraph of The Wealth of Nations where he talks about how wonderful the division of labor is.
              But not many people get to the point hundreds of pages later, where he says that division of labor will destroy human beings and turn people into creatures as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human being to be.

              And therefore in any civilized society the government is going to have to take some measures to prevent division of labor from proceeding to its limits.

              • Ad

                I’m not proposing to change the entire education system, just one blogsite.

                There are plenty of points at which public discourse has been hollowed out from its peak just after World War 1. It’s not the end of the world, just the end of one kind of social democratic facilitation.

                And there were plenty proposing a decade or so ago that the internet would be a democratising utopia. Didn’t happen and won’t.

                But those that are doing discourse well – such as TS – can’t be over-freighted with a kind of default moral responsibility to educate the whole of New Zealand about political process either.

                But – and this is one of my points – we should not be afraid of improving the situation.

                Sometimes just setting out how the system works – without too much ideological icing – is the task to be done.

                • greywarshark

                  @ Ad
                  I think that’s my point. The TS is good and we can do a lot. I don’t see that we can politically educate though we can sharpen and there are links and reading and videos that are informative.

                  But we are interested in progress – we come from the Left which is prepared to look at change. It is quite possible that Labour could introduce some new ideas into education besides the present factory type of schooling for some and the science based for higher abilities. And while I was looking at one thing it is possible to get some background and understanding on it quite easily when there it is on the web.

                  And I am not asking for your imprimatur on everything I put up. It is largely to encourage ideas responses, thought. It sometimes pays to be digressive, things turn up that are worth considering.
                  As in the caption – Question Everything – Why?

      • The lost sheep 29.1.3

        “unlike Italy, Greek or France we have no truly democratic socialist political parties that we can vote for.”

        More than a little irony in that comment CR, given the economic disasters caused by overtly socialist policies in Italy and Greece!

        But the fact there is no truly socialist mainstream party in NZ tells us something very clearly. There is not enough support for it to exist.

        • Colonial Rawshark 29.1.3.1

          More than a little irony in that comment CR, given the economic disasters caused by overtly socialist policies in Italy and Greece!

          Clearly, you don’t understand the economic issues in Italy or Greece, which stem from their loss of currency sovereignty on joining the Eurozone.

          But the fact there is no truly socialist mainstream party in NZ tells us something very clearly. There is not enough support for it to exist.

          You’re sorta jumping the gun there, mate. Seems like you’re rushing to your own preferred conclusions.

          • The lost sheep 29.1.3.1.1

            “Seems like you’re rushing to your own preferred conclusions.”

            Italy and Greece went broke on bloated bureaucracies and subsides, and there is no mainstream True Socialist Party in NZ.

            I’m sorry, but they are cold hard facts, not conclusions.

            But maybe we can pick this theme up on a more relevant thread?

            • tricledrown 29.1.3.1.1.1

              Sheep shager Greece went broke because it borrowed many times more than it could afford to pay.
              Goldman Sachs was caught bribing rating agencies politician both Left and right.
              But for a whistle blower in the form of Goldman Sachs European manager we may never have found out of the massive fraud Goldman Sachs had set up.

            • Colonial Rawshark 29.1.3.1.1.2

              Italy and Greece went broke on bloated bureaucracies and subsides

              Utterly untrue and I am fascinated that you are repeating this bankster/neoliberal propaganda.

              Please note you are now discussing this topic with people who actually understand the financial and oligarchic dynamics. Don’t treat us like idiots, please. It reflects poorly on you.

              Those two countries were targets of an “economic hitman” campaign. Their entry into the Eurozone stripped them of currency sovereignty, and their ruling elite sold out the rest of their countrymen for the benefit of the 1%.

              • The lost sheep

                “Please note you are now discussing this topic with people who actually understand the financial and oligarchic dynamics. Don’t treat us like idiots, please. It reflects poorly on you.”

                In other words I’m an idiot.

                So please do enlighten me on your credentials for understanding what I do not?

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  And now you’ve attempted to reverse my comment into the opposite of what I said – which is to not treat us Standardistas as idiots.

                  The rhetorical ploy of reversal you have used here is not very subtle. Like I said above, please don’t treat us like idiots – my comments to you are substantive in nature I am not treating you like an idiot.

                  My comment that your approach reflects poorly upon you has nothing to do with you being an “idiot.” It has everything to do with you not putting your points forward sincerely. Big difference.

                  So please do enlighten me on your credentials for understanding what I do not?

                  I could hold a Nobel Prize in Economics and my “credentials” still wouldn’t mean anything to you. It’s perspective, not credentials, which counts – and in Italy and Greece the perspective is all to do with an elite multi-millionaire class who are screwing over their ordinary citizens, selling out their countries to the international bankster cartel.

                  • The lost sheep

                    Mate. If my views are only fit for idiots then I must be an idiot!

                    But perhaps just enough of a spark to know that ‘perspective’ and ‘knowledge’ are completely different things….
                    Knowledge is widely agreed, but perspective can be what ever you want it to be.

                    So if my perspective of the Greek / Italian economic situations are nonsense, what material would you refer me to back up your knowledge / perspective?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Mate. If my views are only fit for idiots then I must be an idiot!

                      I didn’t make any such comment. Why are you trying to put words into my mouth? I *did* however make a comment on your lack of sincerity, and now I will make a comment on how disingenous you are being, and how you are continue treating your readers (us) as idiots.

                      So if my perspective of the Greek / Italian economic situations are nonsense, what material would you refer me to back up your knowledge / perspective?

                      You’re not seeking knowledge.

        • tricledrown 29.1.3.2

          Lost Sheep Shager so who were Sakozy and Berlusconi batting for!

          • The lost sheep 29.1.3.2.1

            Whoa!
            Mention sheep and someone has to bring up shagging them!
            You crack me up.
            And some people say the Left has no sense of humour.

  30. greywarshark 30

    @ the lost sheep
    JK, MSM, conspiracy. Things don’t get out and aired unless you keep hammering on about them. Explained by the cliche about making points register in a speech – first you tell the peeps what you are on about, then you tell them in full, then you cap it all off in a summary of what you have told them and how it demonstrates your point. There is always a tendency to underestimate the effort to get breakthrough about egregious behaviours – can’t take reveals as organic and to be taken as bound-to-happen-in-time.

    But it’s true that it should be watched now, but doesn’t need to be on high-rotation like a pop record.

  31. Unicus 31

    Blog bollocks –

    I rest my case

  32. Yossarian 32

    Good Comments & Ideas.
    Just as long as TS doesnt turn into anything like PG’s Non Blog.
    PG would love to have this sort of problem, on his Ego Site. Thank goodness it will never happen.
    The Wheel is good and working, lets not re invent it too much.

  33. MrSmith 33

    Great post Ad

    Nothing like a cat amongst the pigeons or having those feeling comfortable here, being made to feel a little uncomfortable.

    A couple of thoughts/ideas. Maybe the standard could invite academics or experts in there fields to write a post for the Standard, with a limit to the number of words, under the guarantee and assurance of anonymity.
    Posts for readers to discuss without the Author having the right of reply, if they so choose of-course, ( Authors may decide to let their words lie how they fell, because defending one’s words can be tiresome and time consuming).

    Also Lynn clearly needs some recompense/reward for the efforts here and so do the Authors, whether they except it is up to them, I hear the screams of disgust as I write this, but at present you just can’t survive without a quid in your pocket. I also listened to Lynn on the radio recently, (and you did very well by the way), this is a dynamic, having a spokesperson, that could help wash away the suspicions that pseudonyms create for the Standard.

    And lastly I have been impressed with the increase in moderation regarding trolling and belligerent behavior etc (I confess myself to being belligerent/drunk and attempting ‘sarcasm’ (the cheapest form of wit) amongst others kinds at times , Hats off to you Lynn and the group, you can be very proud of what you and your friends have achieved.

    • The lost sheep 33.1

      “I confess myself to being belligerent/drunk and attempting ‘sarcasm’ (the cheapest form of wit) amongst others kinds at times”

      That happens here too?

      On Whale oil I believe it is compulsory.

    • Ad 33.2

      Cheers was great fun, as has been the engaging afterwards.

      Yes I have been wondering about broader invitations to academics myself. The format and authorship is a close secondary. Depends how deep ones sources are at least. We can develop that I think to something workable.

      I would not dare presume upon what Lyn wants – he is the originator and host of this gig and I have been quite presumptive enough within the deliberately provocative post.

      Agree re moderation. Many commenters above believe it its TS’s anarchy that is its most virtuous cultural trait – in fact the degree of moderation enables a simulacra of anarchy because minor outrages cease and speed of discursive exchange ensues. Speed and empathy name the misnamed energy here as anarchic. That speed and empathic nature of the discussants here that forge the distinction between conversation (that lost analogue art), and argument.

      The culture of TS puts the question: must we always argue?

  34. Varity 34

    i understand this was a provocative post to generate ‘discussion’ … shame you had to point that out more than once. lack of reading comprehension is a pet peeve of mine and i expected better from some of the regulars on this site though they did get it eventually.

    on the same token i’m a bit of a dumbarse when it comes to politics or more specifically … policies. i’m interested enough to have read this whole thread this morning and form opinions but fail on the finer details. i guess we all have our strengths and weakness’s.

    but i agree, now is a good time for TS to press forward. I wanted to use the word “momentum” but i’ve been reading this blog on and off for a few years now and it doesn’t have momentum at this time and point and i’m not sure if it ever did.

    what it does have though is a great platform and a good base. i understand why some want the status quo to remain but i have to question their motives. it’s mainly the regulars who are against any radical change and i get they don’t want their comfortable internet home invaded. really i do get that.

    as a non-regular i wouldn’t like to see any radical changes either but expanding the readership could only be a good thing for labour in my opinion. here’s where and why i think “lost sheep” had a good point. you guys ARE tough on n00bs.

    they only have to say one thing wrong and they get grilled. if they don’t measure up while they’re desperately trying to defend themselves or save face they’re either ridiculed out of here or banned. some of you try to claim they’re offended by swearing – that’s a huge, stinking pile of horseshit! people get offended when you resort to calling them names and THAT is unacceptable in any society. who could blame them for moving on under those circumstances? do i have to make a link to examples? no i don’t – just scroll up to see what some dude called the “lost sheep” poster on this very thread.

    my point is, and i know i’ve made it harshly, we’re not going to get our message across to the labour non-voters if you won’t even let them in!

    • Ad 34.1

      Good supportive points there.

      Your view on being more inviting and perhaps a little less testing of new participants is a really strong message. The trick will be maintaining the quality of the discourse as a whole.

    • Colonial Rawshark 34.2

      i understand why some want the status quo to remain but i have to question their motives. it’s mainly the regulars who are against any radical change and i get they don’t want their comfortable internet home invaded. really i do get that.

      as a non-regular i wouldn’t like to see any radical changes either but expanding the readership could only be a good thing for labour in my opinion…

      You talk as though The Standard has reached some comfy status quo plateau when in reality its readership IS expanding. The site statistics show that It has been expanding year on year; visits to this site through the elections this year was much greater than the elections in 2011.

      Re: the treatment of n00bs – yes good point there, but neither will The Standard ever be a place where fools are well tolerated. Unlike many other places on the interwebs, people who want to comment here do need to be ready to engage in serious, thoughtful discussion

      • weka 34.2.1

        it’s always good to familiarise oneself with the territory and culture before commenting. Many of the newbies that fall foul of overreactions here do so by not really getting what the place is about. Before I get involved in new places on the webs I usually take time to watch what is going on. Reading the FAQ, About and Policy links would help too.

        Having said that I do agree there is an issue with newbies getting put off. Whether there is anything that can be done about that I don’t know.

        who could blame them for moving on under those circumstances? do i have to make a link to examples? no i don’t – just scroll up to see what some dude called the “lost sheep” poster on this very thread.

        Actually I think it would be very useful if you linked to some examples, otherwise the sheepshagger one can just be written off as some random rudenss. I’d also like to be clear about which ones you think are a problem I reckon 5 separate examples, because then we can look to see if there is a pattern, and to what extent it’s people falling foul of lynn’s moderation vs the smart arse ethos from some etc.

        • Colonial Rawshark 34.2.1.1

          online discussion forums are generally very “robust”, anyways. And sometimes when scorn is poured upon a newbie in the comments, it’s because they’ve been identified as a right wing spinner running lines straight off WO. “I’ve always been a Labour voter but…”

          • weka 34.2.1.1.1

            True, but it’s the genuine ones that get caught up in that that interest me. That’s why I’d like sheep to give some examples of what they’ve seen.

      • lprent 34.2.2

        It looks like the base level will be between 400 and 450k page views per month after this election (431k this month on a 5 weekend month). Excluding oddity events like the leadership in 2013 (peaked at 447k), we were running at about 275-330k for much of the last election cycle. It moved up to mid 300’s in 2013.

        Steadily moving is about right, with punctuation of new levels post election.

        The same trend shows in everything from users (aka unique visitors) to visits to comments to time spent onsite.

      • Varity 34.2.3

        *Re: the treatment of n00bs – yes good point there, but neither will The Standard ever be a place where fools are well tolerated. Unlike many other places on the interwebs, people who want to comment here do need to be ready to engage in serious, thoughtful discussion*

        that rules out 90% of our grass-root supporters. so it comes down to this … what do you want more, thoughtful discussion or votes?

        • weka 34.2.3.1

          there are no votes on ts.

          • Colonial Rawshark 34.2.3.1.1

            I agree that TS is not here to be a broad populist/popularity seeking site.

            Put another way: if all TS ever achieved was connecting to a readership base of 10,000 activists, community, local government and Wellington leaders, we would change the nation.

        • Draco T Bastard 34.2.3.2

          that rules out 90% of our grass-root supporters. so it comes down to this

          No it doesn’t. IMO, grass-roots supporters are the people most impassioned about change and will give as good as they take and, most importantly, learn along the way.

          The ones most likely to be put off are the ones that are comfortable in their ignorance and don’t want that ignorance broken. But, then, if they’re here in the first place it’s probable that that shell of ignorance is breaking already and so they’ll probably be back.

      • les 34.2.4

        always depends on how these ‘fools’ are defined.The grand pooh bah says its at his discretion which oscillates depending on a number of influences apparantly ,some based on logic and some on emotion.

  35. Varity 35

    the other thing i was wondering is – does it have to cost?

    i check out whaleoil periodically to see how the other half lives. i never noticed till it was pointed out in this thread that they have a fancier site with videos and graphics and all that shite. my point there is – if that’s costing them real money then it’s money down the drain because you have to look for it to notice it so it’s not what attracts punters. (it’s also not that fancy.)

    i think good content will beat out all the bells and whistles any day.

    somebody above mentioned facebook. i looked but couldn’t find any TS presence on facebook. maybe i missed it. if not, wouldn’t having a facebook presence be the cheapest (read: free) way to direct traffic here?

    • weka 35.1

      It think ts already gets quite a bit of traffic from FB (not sure how, but there are those FB linky things on every post).

      If you trawl back through lprent’s posts you will see a number where he’s published site stats and talked about who sees ts and how. It’s worth doing if you want to know more about how the site works (see the 3 comments at the top of this page too).

      AFAIK WO gets income from all the stupid videos etc, because he gets lots of overseas hits that bump his advertising revenue. Slater apparently also gets paid by PR firms working for NACT or industry concerns to write and publish articles the want. There really is very little over there that is worth comparing to. Probably nothing actually, unless you want to write a “how not to…” for the left.

      • Varity 35.1.1

        i learned of this site through trademe. i said some thing or other on there years ago and they all accused me of being a standardista … so i had to check out what a standardista was.

      • Varity 35.1.2

        i think you will find, lprent is seeking your approval for some kind of movement here weka.

        shoot me for saying it … that’s what i think. 🙂

        • weka 35.1.2.1

          I’m unlikely to shoot you as I have no idea what you just meant.

          • Coffee Connoisseur 35.1.2.1.1

            Weka – you should seriously consider putting your name down for Andrew Littles Future of work working group.

  36. Varity 36

    i come from facebook and now i’m going back. i’ll probably see you all in another years time. 🙂

    take care!

  37. Ecosse_Maidy 37

    Well done to the guest author Ad…by the looks of all the replies to this article..I suggest you become a permanent author..with over 300 comments posted.
    To amalgamate with other Labour leaning sites like the Daily Blog might expand the list of both professional and unpaid authors and IT expertise and to give Lprent a break from time to time..God Knows we all get to him!!!!
    I get the feeling that everything hinges on Lprent and his IT knowledge and so that would stop an overly reliant site that could easily fall over without him.With a larger site we could have the usual threads yet also as has been suggested and in depth section,,,,,,,,and a green corner.
    Alliances are nothing to be afraid of and will only make us stronger.
    I really enjoyed the Q&A prior the elections and would love to see more of that on the standard..not sure if the coffers extend to paying them but well worth it to read and see the answers they post.Would it pay financially if people were able to make a donation and the area to do so was more prominent on the sight to cover such costs?
    The daily quiz is a great idea to diffuse the tempers that can often show in here…..the prize could be that you never get banned for a whole month!!!!and the First competition can be the new name for the site!!!(my vote is for The Daily Red Standard or the Daily Left Standard)
    Again well done to Ad for this very thought provoking article…..and let’s hope for some progressive changes

    • Anne 37.1

      Would it pay financially if people were able to make a donation and the area to do so was more prominent on the sight to cover such costs?

      There are some of us left (not many I know) who don’t conduct out finances online. The reason can be many and varied, but it would so help if lprent or someone could set up an easily accessible bank account number and/or address for those of us in this situation. Thanks.

  38. I’m a bit late to this but my 2 cents worth.

    I like The Standard because it isn’t affiliated to any political party.

    I like The Standard because it isn’t like wo or kb.

    I like The Standard because authors use pseudonyms and some real names.

    I remember my angst when the format of The Standard changed last time and it ended up much better and more widely read.

    I’ll trust those that run it to do what they think is best and I’ll make my decisions regarding engagement from there but I hardly read any other ‘left’ blogs now except for The Standard.

    I ran my own ‘left’ blog for years and I found at some point it got too hard – kia kaha the team here and all you are doing – to me it’s not broke and doesn’t need fixed, it is already influential and that will continue to increase and improve naturally.

  39. MrSmith 39

    One last thought. It would be great if we could hear from some Historians on the Standard, as we all know history has a habit of repeating it’s self and we never seem to learn from it.

    • Ecosse_Maidy 39.1

      That idea is a winner….There are some very informed people out there,,we get to see them on the telly and hear them on the radio from time to time.But, an invite from some of the academics from Auckland University,Wellington any University or NGO for that matter, to come on here with an article or two or a question time on a particular topic they are expert in would be great.The topics would be wide..it could be about polling and how that works,political history..economics..endless topics and discussions.
      Academics tend to have so much information.We need these well versed people to have an outlet like the standard to find out what they know.Chances are they would love to write an article or have a Q and A session.But unless we ask them we wont know.
      These people could assist the cause of the left by encouraging people who are interested in politics and want to know more.
      Perhaps they could be paid in some why to cover their expenses from any donations that people make via the site?
      It could be people like political scientists,historians,people in the justice system etc.Where they see the country going in 20 years time?The effect of our government and its policies.
      These are people who live the topic and are expert in their fields…and to invite them here would be great.And I suspect those people would love the opportunity.

      Its not what you know in this life that’s important..its finding out what you don’t know.

  40. greywarshark 40

    Some rather surprising things have come up in the comments.
    There is a tendency to praise the site and then diss the people who come on it regularly.
    But though the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts, the people who come here regularly have made the site what it is. And the idea that we are comfortable and are not nice to everybody new. Well they did it first (what’s that new term I’ve forgotten).

    For myself I’m looking for interesting, useful thoughts that will add to or change my thinking. People who can type therefore they are and those with RW status-quo ideas get annoyed when they persist when it is obvious that we are looking for change that will be of value.

  41. greywarshark 41

    Ad looking back at your past comments on 17 November you were commenting about Waitakere people. Looking at us objectively and comparing to them, do you see The Standardistas as very much the same, and successful at the good things we try to do?

    My (late) vote


    How do we differ?

    In what way could we keep the essence of how we have been that has gone from strength to strength and enabled us to establish a forum for discussion where we analysed and worked out a rational scenario for Labour and the left. I read what was put up and it seemed informed, intelligent, and I think we were onto the best option at each stage of the political maneouvres, with data to back it up.

    I thought it was a great effort from the left. But like any enterprise, there can be strength and viability at one stage, but reaching for another may weaken the fabric, and over-reaching may change it dramatically, important aspects may be lost. If something becomes imbued with the idea of democratic approaches, everyone having a go, the sharp point that is the BS splitter may be lost in the swirl of opinion and contention between the participants. So there must be expectations and bottom lines and always some who feel that they aren’t appreciated, ie that the site should exist for them, rather than them using the site to add something of worth.

    I enjoy a certain amount of freshness, cheek and dissonance as an amusing break which contrasts with the standards of the norm which produce the required quality outcome. That’s how I feel about the Portsmouth Sinfonia. Hallelujah (A Happening
    at Albert Hall with a cast of hundreds.)

    And for those with the strength – The William Tell Overture

    • Ad 41.1

      Oh don’t mind me I was having a melancholic indulgence about Waitakere activists.

      I think we differ because TS people are broader in scope and sensibilities. Also, I think most prefer to make their points rather than point towards something many could work towards together. Argument as entertainment – which I sure ain’t knocking as it’s goodamn rare done well and sure beats television.

      We are going to see the right kind of evolution of TS, at the right time, with the right people – principally because I trust the whole collective to essentially self-moderate such change.

      Appreciate the links.

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