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What does The Standard mean for you?

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, June 20th, 2021 - 60 comments
Categories: The Standard - Tags:

The Standard provides a free forum for all for reading and commenting. I like to think it is quite a special and unique site in the NZ social media space that provides an unmatched opportunity for opinion and discussion of NZ politics, society, culture, and pretty much anything you can think of under the general posts such as Open Mike and Daily Review.

There is a bunch of regular commenters who we sometimes lovingly call Standardistas. Just a few active Authors provide the content that is the lifeblood of this site. Authors write on their own accord and about stuff that only they decide; there is no editorial or managerial input or control at any level. The site welcomes Guest Posts and cross posting. The site’s kaupapa is robust debate that is inclusive and the policy is designed to enable this and keep Authors and commenters safe from online attacks.

The Standard has no advertising, no funders as such and no other undue outside influences. What you see is what you get here, at least with regard to the Authors’ Posts.

It is impossible to gauge the impact of The Standard; impact is hard to measure at the best of times. However, I thought I might do an unscientific survey about what The Standard means for you.

For example, what do or would you like to get from The Standard and what effort do or would you put into it to make this happen? That is the sort of aspirational stuff I would like to hear about.

You may also want to comment on how The Standard has changed your thinking, e.g., whether it has helped or encouraged you to engage more (or less) with politics, be it at work, a club, a school, or the level of local, regional or even national level. I love to hear success stories and positive feedback.

It might mean more to you than you realise, care or dare to admit.

It is not my place to guess or second-guess what draws you to this site and motivates you to comment here, so let’s hear (it) from you! I especially invite silent readers to have their say!

Please do not take this as an invitation to criticise the management and moderation of the site or to have a go at other commenters, even without naming them. Thank you in advance.

60 comments on “What does The Standard mean for you? ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    I really enjoy the "heads-up" to unfolding events we sometimes get, as well as random "plucked-from-the-air" topics of interest, from commentators here. I've been fortunate in meeting, in the material world, some of the regular opinion-sharers on TS; every time a delight, and also being contacted, phone, letter and note slipped under the door, by others (also delightful).

  2. bwaghorn 2

    It's my university, hobby, venting area,1 of my news sources, fact checker and occasionally support network/psychologist.

    • Anne 2.1

      Well summed up in your usual down to earth style bwaghorn.

      Not too sure about the psychologist bit. There's the occasional comment here that riles me up so much I could probably do with a bit of psychologist input. 😉

      • Drowsy M. Kram 2.1.1

        Seconded ('thirded'?), expecially 'hobby' – long may The Standard reign.

        • Forget now

          Community is the word that comes to my mind.

          Though that said, I find I do visit the site less these days. Only partly because I find certain topics tiresome. More that it is too easy to fall into the feedback loop of; commenting to another's comments while tending a different comment that had been made earlier. Then suddenly it's midnight.

    • weka 2.2

      Bwaghorn, that’s probably the best comment I’ll see on social media this weekend.

    • Muttonbird 2.3

      Venting area for me. It's a place where I record a thought about a topic to which I can refer to later.

    • Craig Hall 2.4

      I think this comment sums up my enjoyment and use of TS perfectly.

    • SpaceMonkey 2.5

      This echoes my feelings of The Standard though I very rarely comment – others tend to provide commentaries that adequately reflect many of my thoughts/feelings written in ways far better than I could, and which also quench my desire to contribute meaningful blog items.

      One observation though… I used to pick up The Standard regularly through Feedly but it stopped working months ago. It may be as simple a fix as re-subscribing to it… I'll get around to it some time.

      Keep up the good work, this is one of the NZ blogs I value most.

  3. KSaysHi 3

    I like reading uncensored opinions. Good brain food and it gives me hope that this country will change for the better.

  4. Johnr 4

    The Standard is my go to for social discourse. Very like a group of like minded people standing around a table at the local discussing events of the day, and, as at the pub when some over indulge some dissenters add to the enjoyment.

    I have two American cousins they are at opposite ends of the political scale so I often send them topical news items to create a bit of mischief and mayhem, although lack of trump's antics have slowed the flow. I haven't been able to figure out how I can forward some of the opinion pieces and accompanying comments to them via my phone, which I would like to do.

    A big thankyou to all who contribute, as I live alone it makes me feel included

    • lprent 4.1

      I haven't been able to figure out how I can forward some of the opinion pieces and accompanying comments to them via my phone, which I would like to do.

      I will attempt to remember it next weekend and see what I can do. The PC pages allow it by selecting the links at the front page, posts direct to twitter and facebook for posts, and from the link on a comment timestamp.

      I'll see how I can get at least that functionality for the mobile version.

      But as usual – depends on my workload.

      • Johnr 4.1.1

        Thanks for that Lprent. I surely recognize your workload, so remember it's a nice to have rather than a need to have


  5. Jenny how to get there 5

    The Standard is an echo chamber – Not! And IMHO, getting less so.

    This is a good thing.

  6. mickysavage 6

    I think it is a very good repository of New Zealand left wing political history. If you want to know why Shearer failed or what happened to Cunliffe or what dirty politics was all about you can find deep analysis. Not only by the writers but by the commentators as well. Often comments on my own posts will make me review my initial thoughts on a subject.

    • weka 6.1

      Same, it’s not an insignificant reason for why I write.

      this is a really good point about history. A more functional search on TS would be high on my wish list.

      • lprent 6.1.1

        The front-end search is pretty good (way better than the backend one). Taking the 3 queries MS said above, restricting it to relevance on posts you get…




        It runs on sphinxsearch, gets updated every 5 minutes, and is way better than the back end searches.

        It also runs the full range of the search operators for sphinx plus has a few unique fields like @author. I'd have to look them up, but they include datetime and an ability to exclude.

        It'd be possible to write a more expansive UI for it so people don't have to write search queries.

        • weka

          I think I got out of the habit and default to google advanced search by site. Will try again here. The Sphinx link looks handy.

          higher on my wish list is making mobile commenting more functional. I currently switch between the mobile and desktop versions a lot because the desktop has the Replies list but I can’t comment from that version.

          • lprent

            Commenting… That is a weird error that I haven't reproduced. Along with the one where I can't read the mobile site while on the vodafone LTE network because of their (I think) caching.

            But having the replies list (and the list of recent comments as well) on mobile will be easy to add. That is all my code and it is resident in the backend. Should just need to attach simple screen(s) and menu item(s). The links will all be set up exactly as they currently are. I'd have to test the back link.

            • Craig Hall

              I have a Vodafone mobile account which I use extensively when travelling, and I can use it OK to read here whether on phone itself (Samsung Note 9) or hotspotting other devices. The main issue I have found with my Samsung mobile phone and tablet is that if I set the browser (Chrome and Samsung Internet which I think is based on Chrome) to the desktop version of the Standard, I can't reply to anything – I have to switch to the mobile version.

              • lprent

                The main issue I have found with my Samsung mobile phone and tablet is that if I set the browser […] to the desktop version of the Standard, I can't reply to anything

                Ah, That explains why I haven't seen it. Ok I just reproduced it (good report) on a Samsung S10+. It appears to be just to do with the comment editor as far as I can tell. I can't click into the editing area.

                This doesn't show on my older Samsung Tab A 8" because I routinely run that in desktop mode at home.

                My issue has been slightly different I can't even see the mobile (or desktop) pages on direct LTE vodafone. I turn on a VPN to be able to see the site. Which is what I just did at work.

          • lprent

            I think I got out of the habit and default to google advanced search by site

            Ah – when the sphinx kept going down. I have a job watching that now and I have made the update for sphinxsearch manual (like the site plugins) so it doesn't cause issues with version upgrades.

  7. millsy 7

    I like to read more than contribute nowadays.

    I would like to see more guest posts by heavy hitters, maybe a YouTube channel?

  8. Anne 8

    I know it flies in the face of the philosophy behind the Standard site, but I would love to see the back of the anti-vaxxers, climate deniers, conspiracy theorists and fools in general.

    She says the above wearing her provocative hat and tongue firmly planted in cheek. devil

  9. Foreign waka 9

    The Standard is as far as I can see the only democratically exchange of opinions on the NZ landscape with participants that know the subject and provide insights from all angles. This in itself is invaluable. I like reading the comments, made to think, learn what others experience from all walks of life, the political history and anecdotes that go with that. Informative, entertaining, inspiring, infuriating and very much enjoyed 🙂

  10. Reality 10

    It's an outlet for people who agree/disagree on opinions/events/politics, who don't otherwise have a voice. Sometimes commenters are irritating, funny, wise, intelligent – just like the population in general. It's a chance to vent about the Mike Hoskings out there or to praise someone who is making a difference for the better.

    Micky Savage is one I really appreciate for clarity, balance, wisdom, fairness. Thank you.

  11. weka 11

    Good post Incognito💚

  12. Anker 12

    The Standard has meant a lot to me over the past 7years I have been visiting the site.

    initially it was a place to voice my despair and frustration about the John Key govt.

    I very often find out what’s going on here before I read about it elsewhere.

    at times it’s felt like a really good community where I can voice my views and hear others (very often like minded)……

    I enjoy the humour when it’s here, the slanging matches, not so much.

    thank to all who make the Standard happen, Iprent, Mickey Savage, weka incognito, Ad and anyone else I am leaving out

    • kejo 12.1

      Thanks Anker. That could almost be my post also. I use The Standard to help me thread a path through competing news media and opinion in order to form my own views about what is actually going on. Its a valuable resource to me. Regards, Keith

      [changed user name to the approved version]

    • Patricia Bremner 12.2

      Yes Anker I agree. I found this community when I was miserable waiting for a hip replacement, ( and commented about feelings of despair thinking JK and National would form the next Government.) Many came back with helpful hints of how to manage the physical difficulties of the hip and gave me mental support.

      I had gained hope after a Labour meeting in Rotorua had a good turn out for Andrew Little and his new Deputy leader Jacinda Ardern. The trust and respect between them was evident, and the reception from the crowd full of affirmation. It was uplifting, so I wrote saying not to give up, that polls were not always accurate.

      Micky picked it up and posted it. How welcome and included I felt.

      Many who come on here are genuine informed and caring. Some constantly stir, but variety is the spice of life and all posts make me think. I also enjoy discovering new vocabulary!!

      The moderation comments often point out bad habits we can fall into. Another exercise for the grey matter. Those who "Run" the site.. many many thanks. At 80 I have lost most of the people in my circle, so enjoy this forum very much. Keep the comments coming and the new concepts, they are most appreciated.

  13. Descendant Of Smith 13

    Found this site while doing family tree research as my family had connections to the original Standard and I was trying to find out more. One of the early articles I read talked about the loss of power (no pun intended) that the steam companies suffered when electricity arrived and there was this massive democratisation of electricity – which the steam companies adapted to and pushed for regulation.

    Was a good reminder that those in power are like rust – they never sleep and will find ways to wrest back economic power even if it takes some time (rentier landlords for instance and the near abolition of state and council housing).

    It also reminded me of the more tightly targeted and stunningly well done Jobs Newsletter that came out of Taranaki in the 90's.


    I do miss in my time here the loss of voices like Xtasy who clearly were suffering under various government regimes. How we get more voices from those who are both extraordinary and ordinary at the same time who are not advocates or politicians or something else other than just trying to live a good life and to be kind to others. That type of commentator has shrunk over the time I've been here.

    I always enjoyed Wayne Mapp's contribution as it gave a insight into the way the thinking was at the time and I enjoyed the challenging of his arguments and his often refusal to back down and accept that there is/was more than one way to skin a cat.

    The moderation is cool. Wouldn't change it much except to maybe shorten the person to person to and froing that can occur in some posts – it can get tedious but mods can't be on 24/7 and it should be more a matter of self control.

    I'd like to hear more voices outlining the past – what it was like, what responses were carried out. Clearly some like Anne have fascinating stories to tell but is restricted in what she can say but getting some of that historical understanding as to why we developed state housing, welfare systems and so on. What workplaces and homes used to be like. The generations that know this stuff won't be round much longer and it's a lest we forget situation. I was at a wedding a couple of years ago and ended up speaking to an 80 year old man who ran a boarding house in Wellington. The communist party held meetings there and at times ships were visiting sailors stayed at his boarding house. After each stay Muldoon sent the police around to interrogate him lest he corrupt these impressionable sailors. I have heard numerous stories from union workers about negotiations, met women who have left their jobs in the 80's to behaviours like being ground up against at the photocopier from behind who are still distressed about that today, listened to women – Sonja Davies once spoke about this – who put up with horrific abuse as there was no welfare system to fall back on. It would be nice to hear some of these things to remind why these fights are important. Put that human face back in here amongst all the theory.

    As I said Xtasy and his comments often made things a bit more real.

    And I love cool links to more knowledge – there a good deal of expertise on the site and it great when you get links for further reading. The insistence people back up assertions works really well as does the links to other feeds which often set you off on another educational journey.

  14. Ad 14

    On a good day we think. That's not otherwise common in the world.

    I find it useful here when professionals from their fields chip in facts into analysis – that also helps my thinking.

  15. Herodotus 15

    To give an alternative view of KB and to read what exercises those who comment from both sites, and to quickly read what is not being said, what deflections and what is being tolerated by the 2 sites and their contribitors. 🤫

  16. In a veritable ocean of right wing BS, the Standard is my quiet backwater of leftish views and opinions – which I visit at least twice a day.

    Thanks to lprent and all the authors and moderators for making this haven possible. Much appreciated.

  17. Stuart Munro 17

    It's complicated. It is a source of news and community, and it can be an area in which crudely formed ideas are refined. It is a healthy respite from the ill-informed commentary that dominates public media, and it may at times be a point of contact between the political left, and left citizenry. As an amateur futurist it constantly reminds me how slow and fragile progress is, and how far we have to go.

  18. I love being able to read longer posts than some blogs have where it is all smart alec stuff and name calling.

    Being able to explore issues and hear from extraordinary people makes this a great place to visit and learn.

    No probs with the moderation.


    • Anne 18.1

      I love being able to read longer posts than some blogs have where it is all smart alec stuff and name calling.

      That is because TS authors and commenters are thinking people and generally far more intelligent than their counterparts on say – Kiwiblog.

  19. McFlock 19

    Two things, mainly.

    Authors and some commenters who put up overlooked pieces of news, with a "this is going on, this is the backstory, this is why it's important" sort of coverage. Open mike often has comments along those lines. It really adds to my overall picture of the world, and sometimes even comes in useful for work.

    The other thing is the debate, especially between people who disagree but can still form a coherent and ordered argument. Even if I won't ever agree with them on an issue, or I think they're arguing in bad faith (couple of tories come to mind), their arguments can still be interesting and useful.

    In general, the format is excellent for when I'm waiting for machines to go "bing" at work. I can scan for interesting debates, overlook comments by known fools and obssessives if I'm on a time crunch, and don't need to pop in the earplugs.

  20. greywarshark 20

    TS is important because there are few blog sites in NZ where people can comment easily, and Open Mike allows people to put up most things that interest them. Other sites may just allow responses to someone's post. I have to come here to meet the people who care and use their brains to think around the problems that sometimes drive me to tears. I find discussions here about it, and differing views, and it is very stimulating because where would one go for such informed and valid exchanges. It heartens me to read what’s being thought which I wouldn’t find anywhere else.

    It is a site where people try to think through the issues, where the knowledge that Climate Change is happening has pierced the full metal jackets that many wear over their brain, not tinfoil hats, much stronger. Then also people here are able to confront the things that are wrong in the country. This is a place for telling the difficulties that some are having in 'the land of milk and honey'.

    The lack of housing is acknowledged, and the desperate way that the economy is being run with NZs being outbid for houses, and the security shelter and community they need from them, and then not even being able to find rentals and being forced to live in hovels. We have fallen so far in this country and here people look directly at the problem and see it. And because it is such a good site for thinkers of integrity, people put their minds to how it can be improved, what new policies are needed.

    The site keeps an eye on what is happening in our politics and elsewhere and what information sites are reliable, and which are a bunch of sick candy-floss. And there is an effort to face up to the deficits of our various governments and we try and note good things happening and encourage more. knowing that we have a short time before important deadlines for climate change policies occur. People running this site know we have to try to keep our political vehicle patched and maintained with our No. 8 wire approach, it is the best we have and we can't afford the time to have another revolution, with its unintended negative consequences.

    The Standard soldiers on, almost literally, the mods try to keep everyone lucid each in their own inimitable personal way. TS will keep an eye on improvements to the country's policies and their implementation, looking future-wise, and where the money is being spent and keep looking under the carpet where awful things will be swept unless alert people speak up. Thoughtful commenters talk about what the country needs and how to get it, install it and ensure it is regulated and inspected and used properly. We don't just concentrate on personal wants and complaints.

    TS shines a light over the other media, drawing in their important announcements and items and showing how they fit into what is otherwise a confusing jigsaw. The country needs TS and the dedicated commenters and supporters; so many people are just personally comfortable and do little things that are community-minded but don't want to face the broad picture. TS keeps reminding each other and the responsible community of how things really are, and where we have to go, and know that some need to be leaders of the community which gets distracted by trivia and would otherwise prefer to put difficult matters off as SEP.

  21. ianmac 21

    TS is an important source of information for we older readers, who find the plethora of words charging around to be confusing. Let there be light.

    • mac1 21.1

      We've been doing this for a decade, ianmac. I had a wee trip down the memory lane of ‘Replies-older entries’ back to 2011. Ourselves and a contributor named weka back then.

      TS goes back further than the oldest entry I had access to. I remember an individual named 'ancient geek' who didn't feature (under that name) in this decade.

      I often wonder what happened to some of those strong voices of the past on The Standard. At least some of them closed up their keyboards voluntarily……

      • lprent 21.1.1

        "ancient geek" was in fact me. When I got the site up and running I used my usual "lprent" as the super-admin.

        But I needed a handle to test different permission levels. So I'd comment as "ancient geek" mainly to test commenting systems. The only way to test the whole conversation system was to comment.

        I'd do the admin tasks, notices, and the initial moderation as "lprent". People arguing with "ancient geek" got a free ride from the "lprent" moderator.

        Later on, when I got around to writing non-admin posts, I started to use "lprent" for everything. "ancient geek" stopped commenting except for cryptic test messages when I needed to check user permissions.

        • Forget now

          lprent, it seems to me that there are not too many new contributors to the site: Do you have analytics on that? It more seems the same commenters coming and going (sometimes evolving pseudonyms on the way) over the decade. Would there even be anyone under 30 reading this?

          Maybe the lack of video embedding which was mentioned upthread is deterring younger audiences. I quite like the; wall of texts and links, no-frills presentation, myself – but can see it might not be for everybody. Still, your time is limited, and thanks already for the effort you put into keeping the site going.

          • Tiger Mountain

            Does anyone have up to date research on the old “poster/lurker ratio” that used to be talked about a decade ago in terms of 10:1? The link below makes the assertion that rather than a fixed ratio, posting and not posting is more of a spectrum.

            Another group, Science Direct concluded that…
            • Lurkers are invisible, silent learners on the peripherals of the networks.
            • Transactional distance can be in multiple forms.
            • Lurkers prefer vicarious interaction.
            • Combination of internal and external factors can lead learners to lurk.

            Another from early 2000s found…
            in a 3 month study of 147,000 messages in 109 discussion lists. Among the results: “Average lurker: poster ratio: 55% lurking ratio (LR) in health groups: 45% LR in software groups: 82%”

            Really after a number of years on TS my view is people wax and wane in their enthusiasm for posting for reasons that can only be guessed at.

  22. Tiger Mountain 22

    Well, The Standard certainly has demonstrated longevity, and as greywarshark says, ease of contribution, thanks to Mr Lprent’s skill and dedication. How much fun and engagement do you want really for such a reasonable price of admission as at TS?

    I joined initially for the cut and thrust discussion on NZ Parliamentary politics, it was hard going during the Key years for many. Latterly more general and even philosophical matters have surfaced from some posters. I prefer my and others comments to be brief–long treatises to unknown readers quite likely enter ‘pearls before swine’ territory.

    Not all online denizens are cynical or insincere, as Patricia Bremner and various others remarks above demonstrate. So I would have to say that TS is a civilised place–the price perhaps for that is the centrist tilt of the overall political balance–real politik–rather than “foot to the floor politik”.

    Anyway keep on trucking The Standard.

  23. Sarge 23

    Keeps me from falling into an echo chamber. I hardly ever agree, but it expands my personal "overton window" immensely.

  24. Savvy Satori 24

    I enjoy reading through opinions and getting left-takes on news pieces that disappear from mainstream news sources all too quickly. A nice wee community too.

  25. GreenBus 25

    News worth noting pops up here. Top line authors, OP is excellent and many wise commenters. I learn from you all. Thanks.

  26. Michael Delceg 26

    You might find it useful to compare this site to No Right Turn and The Daily Blog to compare strengths and weaknesses in content. I look at all three, but would welcome other suggestions of similar ilk.

  27. RedBaronCV 27

    Chance test ideas and expand on them. Pushes them out into the wider community. Gives the wider community a larger voice than they would have under traditional models. Never forget the temperature of the community is often taken by decision makers viewing social media.

  28. Hey, this is the village market square, pub, club wherever people gather to discuss , comment etc, etc, It is refreshingly civil. The leftish leaning can lead to blind spots on threads. Mind you, there is at least one commenter who is ram rod vertical that urges us to be abstemious in our thinking. Like driving a car, it is useful to know where the centre line is.

  29. Regular lurker, occasional poster.

    The Standard represents a cross section of "left wing" thought, and reading it gives me hope that all is not lost in our still capitalist dominated world.

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