Whither The Standard?

Written By: - Date published: 5:44 pm, September 1st, 2010 - 82 comments
Categories: community democracy, The Standard - Tags:

The Standard has been running for three years. It’s carved out a solid niche for itself in the NZ blog space. We’ve had a recent theme upgrade and established a trust for the advertising income. Our hard working Sysadmin just introduced multi-site capability to enable offshoot blogs such as (for example) scitech.thestandard.org.nz.

Now what?

What next for The Standard? You’re our readers, so you must like something that we do. And you probably have some ideas on what we can do better. So tell us! What do we do well? What do we do badly? How can we do better? In the end — how best to use this base — how best to build a community and a voice for the left wing of NZ politics?

[Update: This was originally posted August 30 at 7:44pm. Inspired by Bill in comments (12) I have boosted it back up near the top again tonight (for the last time ) — r0b]

82 comments on “Whither The Standard?”

  1. More drinking liberally type events. The standard could organise some events or a film screening?

    Surely there is more to life that blogging… and online organising.

    Be good to have some film and book reviews? and NZ leftist History?

    The fabian society event links are good. What next???

  2. Rex Widerstrom 2

    A NZ version of Open Salon? (in addition to, not instead of). There’s many a commenter not quite prolific enough to think they deserve their own blog but whom I’d like to read more from, and not just restricted to the topics chosen by the main posters. (Bob’s exposition on movements vs coalitions, arising out of demand from other commenters to know more, is a perfect example of that this might encourage).

    And yes, the “submit a post” feature works for some, but in others it no doubt just encourages procrastination 😀

    And an “all posts by [name of author]” feature.

    • lprent 2.1

      There’s many a commenter not quite prolific enough to think they deserve their own blog but whom I’d like to read more from, and not just restricted to the topics chosen by the main posters.

      That is actually an option in the multi-site system that could be setup in a sub site. It could be set so any subscriber can write a post, and it wouldn’t be hard to set up something to restrict the number of posts that they could make within a given time period and/or that they require someone to press a button before they’re unleashed on the public. I seem to remember there is even options to restrict some people from writing anything.

      And an “all posts by [name of author]” feature.

      That is already there – just press on author ROB at the top of this post and you’ll see everything that he has ever written. It goes to /author/r0b. I’m the only funny one for that – mine is /author/admin but I seem to remember making .htaccess also do it as /author/lprent

      • Rex Widerstrom 2.1.1

        Doh! I’ve never clicked on a poster’s name 😳

        Oh yeah, that reminds me… a text editor for comments that has icons and formatting and such so I don’t have to look up the “embarrassed face” code 😛

        Might help those struggling to format links too?

        Just make sure it doesn’t have the BLINK tag… I’m not sure I could stand not only reading “socialists!!” six times in one Redbaiter comment, but also having them blinking at me 😀

        The “Open Salon” section as a sub site is a good idea. Build it and they will come.

  3. Descendant Of Smith 3

    One of the things I’ve enjoyed about this site is the source documents that are often linked to that explain the position someone takes.

    A source documents page, categorised in some way, would be quite useful. While the search function, or googling, allows finding many of these it doesn’t always find them, particularly as memory often forgets what the original thread was, but I often wonder what interesting stuff came out before I discovered the site.

    In some ways an educational overview possibly would be the result.

    Some guest posts by old school activists, trade unionists, etc would be quite useful that gives some background into the issues of their day and the history of particular issues.
    One would hope that neither of these things would however detract from the sites main purpose.

    • Rex Widerstrom 3.1

      A source documents page, categorised in some way, would be quite useful.

      Seconded. A website with it’s own bibliography!!

    • Armchair Critic 3.2

      Something similar to this would be a page of myths that have been exploded.
      Examples “we are borrowing $250 million a week” or “all beneficiaries are “bludgers”. There have been some excellent posts debunking these myths.
      Compiling the posts into a single useful reference would mean that every time some nut gets their newest lines from C/T the response could be a nicely hyperlinked “no, have a look here”.

      • felix 3.2.1

        I like the sound of that. Also I seem to remember someone (BLiP?) was keeping a comprehensive list of the govts’ broken promises which could be another useful reference.

        • just saying 3.2.1.1

          Seconded.

          A catalogue of lies (with relevant evidential links) that we could all add to would be great. Eventually the media would have to take notice. Wouldn’t they…?

          • lprent 3.2.1.1.1

            Ummm that could be feasible either a subsite or a updateable page or for that matter a wiki sub system.

            I don’t think I’d like the whole thing to be open slather. More letting people (singular or plural) who put up their hand being able to have page(s) that they can edit on a site.

            One of the things that comes with recent versions is the ability to set different attributes for different logged in users. One of the plugins I was playing with on the weekend allowed for pages to only to be edited from users with particular attributes.

        • Armchair Critic 3.2.1.2

          Absolutely. BLiP’s list would be an excellent reference. Wasn’t it the subject of a guest post?

        • BLiP 3.2.1.3

          I’m keeping a list of National Ltd™’s actions against the environment and sorta got started on a list of reasons which have contributed to the Police losing the confidence of the public. An on-line page with other people updating as well would certainly keep me more committed.

      • B 3.2.2

        Great idea!!

    • lprent 3.3

      It is possible although it would be a bit fraught. Most of the documents are links and quite a lot of those links disappear over time as sites are changed.

      We could probably build one for documents stored on our site. They’d just increase the size of my backups..

      I’ll have a think about that one.

      • Rex Widerstrom 3.3.1

        I seem to recall seeing various tools (all PC based alas, but that’s coz they’re all I look at) which can be set to spider your own site and report broken links. That’d at least automate the checking. Whether you then wanted to spend your time Googling for the new URL is another matter… but someone might volunteer?

      • felix 3.3.2

        Googledocs?

  4. ropata 4

    The Standard has a lot of content these days. Look at sites like dailykos, slashdot, readwriteweb … their homepages always look fresh. They feature the current stuff well. slashdot has an excellent karma system for rating comments. Kos has a lot of cool diaries, something you could look at with the new multi site thingy. I like the way RWW use the top banner space. Sorry but your giant werewolf ad is really obnoxious and went straight to adblock.

    Make top quality/ highly active posts more “sticky” somehow. Look at your RSS content. Consider recycling some of your best material from the past. Why don’t my comments show up on Backtype?

    • lprent 4.1

      What is backtype?

    • just saying 4.2

      Would be disappointed to see a “karma” or popularity function on the standard. Apart from being a bit juvenile, I feel it has the potential to stilt the content of blogs and comments (a bit like politicians’ integrity can be compromised by constantly seeking feedback from focus groups).

      The desire to be liked is a powerful drive, I’d rather be blissfully ignorant, so if it is introduced, I’d prefer it to be optional.

      Btw Rex it was Bill not Bob re your earlier comment.

      • lprent 4.2.1

        I’m not interested in a karma system. Have a look at this post looking at it on Kiwiblog last year.

        As it stands it simply entrenches bullying as the dominant social behaviour in the sewer by the majority in-group in a way that I have only seen in Hollywood high school dramas.

        It is pretty much the same in other blogs I’ve looked at from most sides (have to admit though that r2d2 at hot-topic has some really convoluted arguments – frequently winding up arguing against his own arguments that he’d used earlier).. I’d prefer to just do the moderating work, warn and ban for behaviour.

      • Rex Widerstrom 4.2.2

        Ah yes, sorry Bill. Approaching age means I file fewer bits of information per topic. In that case it was something like this blog plus “B”. Wrong “B” 😕

  5. Start conducting interviews, with politicians, mainstream media political journos and associated pundits, asking the questions regularly asked and generated from here….the tuff, non compromising questions other outlets/persons wouldn’t have the balls to ask and start a youtube channel to promote them to the wider public…

    …make some choice t-shirts for people to wear out and about, at rallies, strikes, rugby games etc.
    also use them as prizes for best post, best caption, that sort of thing.

    Use advertising funds generated by blog hits and any other revenue generated to buy primetime telly ad’s advertising the site and or sponsor billboards or leaflet drops/mailouts.

  6. Jan 6

    Book reviews and I’d be really keen to participate in a popular policy development process that could go beyond the possibilities within a party – perhaps in relation to the select committees process. it would depend on a volunteer to solicit, marshall and organise ideas.

    Well Done

    • Rex Widerstrom 6.1

      I’d be really keen to participate in a popular policy development process that could go beyond the possibilities within a party

      So would I. But with due respect to the Standard, I think having that process take place under its banner would limit inclusiveness. There’s a lot of good ideas out there, even amongst some on the right. With one or two exceptions (I’m sure I don’t have to name names) I’ve picked up at least one “Eureka!” idea from even the far eight / fundie commenters I engage with on Kiwiblog, often more. The genuine ones I find are often trying to get to the same place I am on issues like penal reform, but are convinced a different route is better. But that’s enough to sustain a worthwhile policy debate.

      Those people I doubt would come here. Even moderates probably wouldn’t. That may not bother you, I don’t know, but it would me – I want to be exposed to the widest possible range of opinion and ideas provided the author isn’t a raving fruit loop with only one note in his or her repertoire.

      It just so happens that coincidentally I had cause to post one of my periodic “we must all get along” rants both here and there, on totally different topics, but trying to emphasise that some things (indeed many things) are more important than tribal political allegiances.

      And as with any blog, the big ideas that arise are lost in the next day’s topical discussion. A place to tease them out over time and maybe do something with them would be great. But I’d like it to start as what the Aussies would call a cleanskin… no association with a known partisan political blog.

      [Sorry, I seem to be monopolising this thread. I’ll shut up now. For a while 😉 ]

    • lprent 6.3

      books.thestandard.org.nz ?

      • r0b 6.3.1

        Broader than that? arts.thestandard ?

        • Rex Widerstrom 6.3.1.1

          Yikes. Beware dilution of purpose, I’d say. A tag for books (and encouraging more posts reviewing them) would surely achieve the same thing. But let’s leave it at books. There’s this thing called the Internet – I’m told it’s packed with good arts stuff already 😛

          Or where does it end? cookery.thestandard.org.nz?

          Though personally, I can’t wait for r0b’s exposition on interpretive dance (complete with embedded video) 😈

          • lprent 6.3.1.1.1

            Umm you’d have to look at the books tag. Since before I got the iPad (those dark days when I was restricted to the iPhone screen), I’ve used at least half of my reading time on verbiage prior to about 1965. Most of it is long out of print, free, pretty uneven, and a lot of fun to read for the sheer audacity of the writing.

            It is short stories from the pulp SF since it started early last century to about the 50 year copyright rules. Put out by Gutenberg. It is more fun to read than most of the stuff I’ve read for years. According to stanza I’ve read at least 600 in the last 18 months.

            Now that is a reading experience I’d like to write about. The era of writing that redbaiter still lives in

  7. marco 7

    I enjoy reading the site and find the discourse informative and interesting. I sit more in the centre of the political spectrum and would enjoy a weekly debate style post, where one of your contributors could debate a right winger on the issue of the week live, post for post, over over an hours time frame (this would negate the need for me to ever step foot on kiwiblog again).
    But anyway keep up the good work.

    • lprent 7.1

      The hassle with that is usually the time. People pretty well argue when they have the time. Those usually don’t coincide that often.

      • Bill 7.1.1

        Aye, but you could have a deliberate 2 person debate scenario set up centred on a specific topic.

        And the 2 advocates for differing positions could easily come from within the broad spectrum of the left. Problem with involving a ‘right’ discourse is that there is usually a serious lack of substance or intelligence in ‘right’ positions. So sod the straw man that would eventuate from trying that one…get the robust debate from the various positions occupied by the left.

        And have ‘open’ time allowed for measured responses.

        Simple.

        And educational for observers.

  8. QoT 8

    LOVE the bibliography idea, and how about a 101-style area for things like Marty G’s excellent “economics arguments for economically-illiterate people” posts? (Speaking as one of the likely audience).

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      Economics for Everyone
      Tells you about the theory that most economists use today and why it doesn’t work. Which generally comes down to relies on a bunch of unrealistic assumptions about people and the economy none of which apply in reality and one of which is that people know what’s best for themselves. Look for it in your library although I haven’t found a public library that has it yet.

  9. ZB 9

    The Standard is about politics and society. We are a society of laws, issues
    revolve around certain laws. The Standard should engage a lawyer, law
    students, to provide the snipped of the legislated laws that are
    relevent to the debate. Initial links to the current law, regulation.
    A lot of time and expense goes into correctly laying down the law
    in the parliamentary ledger.
    This could be expanded to aid small business, who need to know
    general issues that are effected by current public issues, like work
    place safety just off the top of my head.

    A story page, a narrative flows down the page, from say what
    law incorporates a company, down to work place hazards,
    examples of public issues, like drunk off duty pilots. And
    stats to work place accidents. SO when a story of a collapsing
    crane occurs, a link to a discussion page can go up on the
    story page.

  10. luva 10

    An Us and Them Section.

    Identify a problem. Let’s say unemployment. Then critically compare what they(the right) are doing to address the problem and compare that with what us (the left) would do and how that would fx the problem.

    There is a hell of a lot of criticsm of the government. That is fine but I struggle to see the counter side of that criticism on here at times.

  11. rich 11

    I \’ d like to come to a site where there\’ s
    discussion from a left perspective .
    If I wanted to know what Tories think, I \’ d read
    a newspaper. Or Kiwibleurgh
    Howabout either a personal killfile (like xrn used
    to have ) or an opt – in comment system that
    requires commenters to be vaguely left wing .

    • lprent 11.1

      I like having argumentative centrists and tories around. Stops the place becoming an incestuous pit like sewer usually is. It also means that assumptions and presumptions get challenged and that is as important for left thinking as it is for every other part of knowledge.

      That is why we tend to moderate on behavior rather than content even if it does have the usual vagaries of individual moderators

  12. Bill 12

    Something that this post is a good example of is that there are times when posts ought not to drop away to obscurity just because time has passed. I know that posts can be made ‘sticky’, but that still leaves perceived relevance and overall visibility to be determined by time.

    Is there a way to hive off certain types of post for ‘slow’ contemplative blogging as opposed to the high speed ‘fast food’ snort it and gone blogging that seems to be the norm?

    Put anther way, is there a way to have post demotion set by factors other than time passing? The occurrence of definite event might determine relevance and visibility instead, or contributors to a thread agreeing that they have exhausted whatever the topic was.

    I know there are probably ways that I can somehow get notification of responses on threads where I’ve commented, but like Lex ( Hi Lex, Bob here) and probably many other readers or contributors I, due to ignorance, only utilise a tiny percentage of the available functionality of the site. Which brings me to my next suggestion. A comprehensive instructional please.

    And on that point, to my last point. Zcommunications have attempted or are attempting to become a left hub in the states. They appear to have a number of novel features on their site that I couldn’t even begin to describe. But they have an instuctional video that would probably be worth checking out for the sake of ideas and/or inspiration.

    • just saying 12.1

      I know what you mean about the “slow, contemplative posts”. Many’s the time I’ve reflected on a blog of interest to me for a couple of days, only to find it ‘dead’ on my return. I then tend to be loathe to breathe new life into it because I assume (rightly or wrongly) that no-one else is still interested.

      The bugger of it is, that it’s often the slow burners that I find most valuable. They often require more thought because they are complex and cover a number of ideas, or novel angles and information. Having said that I’m damned if I can see how the slow posts could be accommodated without the front page getting overcrowded.

      Maybe we should post something like “anyone else still thinking about this one?” to see if others are interested in keeping a particular post alive in the comments section. Unfortunately, if you don’t catch the comments section in time….

      Dunno

      • Bill 12.1.1

        So would such posts tend to come under a ‘theory’ tag or a more inclusive ‘slow burn’ tag? I mean, I don’t know, but I experience the same as you on coming back to a, presumably dead thread.

        • lprent 12.1.1.1

          What about something like giving a limited vote to logged in users (to reduce the inevitable gaming) of a few votes per week for posts to put them on a separate page where the categories currently live (and which get very little click through).

          Highest vote stays on top, diminishing by the recent frequency (say a week or two) of comment. There are usually 30 posts per page. Drop the post off when they hit the bottom of the page.

          It’d be interesting to try to see how it works.

          • Rex Widerstrom 12.1.1.1.1

            Just wildly brainstorming, probably pointlessly as I know the site is constrained by WordPress’s capabilities…

            What about a sort of on-site bookmark store? Probably registered users only so as to easily identify the ‘owner’ and minimise the load. Kind of the digital equivalent of tearing out a newspaper article you want to keep temporarily but will eventually disposed of?

            (Yes I know you could do it with bookmarks/favorites but people tend not to, and I’m talking about something that pops up as soon as you return, reminding you that you wanted to revisit a particular post, rather than being hidden away and forgotten in your favorites folder).

            Then posts could also be ranked by the number of “on site bookmarks” they received, indicating ongoing interest. Perhaps make them expire automatically after 30 days so the database didn’t get too huge as lazy sods like me didn’t delete them. If we want a permanent record, that’s what favorites are for.

            I’ve seen something similar written in AJAX (on a secure corporate site so I can’t give you a URL alas), but I’m not sure if it could co-exist on the server alongside WordPress…

    • lprent 12.2

      What is quite feasible to do is to have a page of posts by category or tag. For instance at the top of the page under the banners there are the category listings like /category/environment/

      I’ll have a think about sharing posts between different sub sites. I have this feeling that it shouldn’t be too difficult to do.

  13. Eddie 13

    I can answer this one. One of the major issues we have is that while the website is designed to look like a news and current affairs site rather than a stock standard WordPress blog, it’s still running off the back of the WordPress engine.

    Given a budget of zero Francis had little option but to try to shoehorn the new design over the existing engine. He’s done an amazing job but the site in its current format will always be limited by the restrictions of WordPress, which includes only being able to make one post ‘sticky’ at a time.

    It’s definitely something we’ve thought about though. Eventually (if we got enough advertising revenue or donations) we could look at upgrading to a whole new format, but that takes money we just don’t have at the moment.

    • Bill 13.1

      On the money front, why not explore the idea of having ‘sustainers’ rather than, or as well as the presumably somewhat haphazard flow of donations?

  14. SHG 14

    Editorially I’d like to see fewer attack pieces on people the Standard authors don’t agree with. Entire articles devoted to bashing Cameron Slater, or ranting about David Farrar, for example. It’s a turnoff.

    • B 14.1

      Yes do we really want to read about these ignorant fools? Their own blogs are sufficient to completely discredit themselves.

    • r0b 14.2

      I happen to agree in the case of Slater, who is both irrelevant and unwell.

      DPF however is relevant and needs to be squarely confronted on some of the garbage he posts. I for one will not be stopping that!

      • SHG 14.2.1

        My beef isn’t with posts that critique third parties’ political positions. My complaint is about articles that are nothing but personal attacks on people that the authors don’t like.

        Articles like this

        Oh, Cameron. Oh dear

        and this

        David Farrar – A known hypocrite and a bit of an idiot (in my opinion).

        are rubbish. It’s even worse when the articles are written in the second person “You are an idiot and you are dumb and you smell bad”, as if the person being talked about is actually reading the article. Jesus, grow up and take it to email.

        And using the front page of the Standard to poke fun at a mentally ill person for being unemployed, boy that took some guts. Good to see such progressive spirit.

        • lprent 14.2.1.1

          David Farrar – A known hypocrite and a bit of an idiot (in my opinion).

          The DPF piece was a direct response to DPF saying on his front page that in effect pseudonymous attacks on his favorite politicians were cowardly and would never be done if the person were using their real name. Totally incorrect and a clear case of dissembling.

          That was a pile of bullshit by someone who did know better. DPF hasn’t been around the nets as long as I have, but he has been around for a while. It was said purely for straight political reasons to divert attention away from whatever politician that DPF was brown nosing at the time, and was being lapped up by the gits in the sewer and repeated.

          It was worthy of responding to in person and in kind (except somewhat stronger) by someone who did have their identity visible on the net. My post displayed exactly how far you can go, well within the legal limits, in expressing an opinion (however damaging) of someone else. – in this case DPF himself That graphically displayed that the line he was spinning was fraudulent. It would have been damn near impossible for him as a nearly private citizen to take any legal action on what I said. There are far wider latitudes in having a go at politicians – which is what he was saying wouldn’t happen if everyone used their real names..

          Basically if DPF hadn’t acted like a complete pratt in his bullshit pontificating I wouldn’t have bothered to write that post. However if his thesis was not responded to then he would have carried on developing that bullshit meme across the right blogs. I notice that DPF hasn’t been repeated that behavior (or at least haven’t had it brought to my attention).

          I guess that you never bothered to actually read or figure out why the post was written… Makes it a poor example for your thesis. Most of the posts of this type (and there are a lot more that you haven’t referred to) are direct responses to such idiotic attacks. Personally I prefer to dispense with the niceties of of the hypocritical shrouds of politeness that DPF uses and just go for a through verbal ball kicking approach. It is a damn sight more honest and I usually get the desired result faster.

          As for Cameron – the post you referred to is pretty much in the same order as one of his posts attacking others. He is self-aware of his own problems and should probably spend more time trying to correct those issues than he does in attacking others. I don’t see any reason to stop a guest post from responding in the same way especially since one of the people he frequently likes to attack is me. I really don’t have a lot of time or respect for the layabout.

          Anyway, I don’t like getting attacked (or the site being attacked) for any reason without taking retribution. It just means that small minded bullies will keep doing it. Personally I rather enjoy tearing someone apart who has given me due cause.

          Of course if the idiots didn’t take stupid positions, bullshit, or attempt to attack us then there wouldn’t be a reason to have a go at them. But I suspect that is a bit hard for them (and apparently you) to understand.

          • SHG 14.2.1.1.1

            Oh, I can see that you “enjoy tearing someone apart”, so in that sense I understand it. But R0B asked for feedback and I’m giving it. The personal attacks serve no purpose and just bring the tone of the site down IMO. By addressing these rants personally at some target yet posting them here where only Standard visitors will see them, they just come across as “Here’s what I would have said if I had the courage to actually contact the person with whom I’m pissed off. But I don’t. So I’ll post it here and we can all laugh and slap each other on the back about what a burn $victim would be feeling in the hypothetical world where we actually sent this critique to him.” It just looks petty.

            • lprent 14.2.1.1.1.1

              By addressing these rants personally at some target yet posting them here where only Standard visitors will see them…

              Wrong. Usually the target does see them. Someone who reads both sites tells them in comments or e-mail – happens to me almost every time. Moreover, there is almost invariably a page view spike on posts like that as the partisan camps jump over to have a look. So the audience is wider than the frequent readers of our site. Frequently you’ll find discussion on other blogs with links over (which shows up on the link-through).

              I think that you’ve missed the point of why we post them – they are there to affect the behavior of the target. They also provide a reference point for people who are trying to find out information about a site that has just attacked them. We get an awful lot of search traffic here for whaleoil, gotcha, kiwiblog, farrar, etc.

              I think that Whaleoil is consistently in our top 20 or 30 search terms because we’ve kept documenting his absurdities. In the past few years I’ve had a number of e-mails from people telling me that they were glad to find out how much of clown he is (and that they could safely ignore him).

              Incidentally this latter point what tends to amuse me with some of the right blogs consistently mis-spelling our site name – you get the impression that they don’t fully understand search engines and their uses.

              • Bill

                Know how the boring and decidedly fucked up authoritarian left is rife with character assassination….?

                • lprent

                  Yep… Been subject to it a few times. I barely notice it because it is largely people squabbling and not doing much. I only really respect people doing something constructive – even when I disagree with them (which is usually the case). I pretty much ignore the left organizations – their processes just waste my time.

                  My involvement around the left has consistently been about one thing, I just build systems that work. I build them to help people I think are worth supporting. And I build them to push the largely technophobic in the political left into using the systems because otherwise they’ll die in the dust of history.

                  But I’d also have to say that I have far more investment in the net than I have in the left. Most of my targeting has been based around violating that rather than the direct politics.

                  • Bill

                    The comment wasn’t directed at you Lynn.

                    The authoritarian factions of the left spend their time and energies scratching one another’s eyes out…the Trots and the Leninists and all the other various ‘reformed’ Stalinist’s claim that their dead icon represents the true path while the others and their dead icons are veritable devils blinding everyone to the ‘true way’ and so ought to be choppethed up and stompethed down in no uncertain fashion.

                    That is, until they all come together to pour scorn and opprobrium on the unifying object of their fear and hatred; any person who is not on their knees before their extended and dysfunctional pantheon of dead dictators and almost dictators and who is critical or dismissive of the legacy they represent.

                    Any banging on a person because of who they are rather than because of their ideas, if that is what is happening, would fall into the same energy sapping and dull category.

                    That’s all.

                    • lprent

                      Agreed. I just get irritated by ideological stupidity. Generally I ignore it in much the same way that I ignore the god-botherers (and I suspect both come from exactly the same human behavioral source). I tend to have a go at people based on what they do or have done.

                      I know rather a lot of people with pretty strong ideas on various things from the right to left, technophile to technophobe, faithful to cynic, etc etc. What I always look at is how the person acts. What they say is sometimes interesting – but a hell of a lot less interesting than how they act.

  15. The Standard by it’s very nature is a very Kiwi blog and the subjects are all more or less limited to New Zealand. There is nothing wrong with that it’s just that a lot can be learned from seeing the bigger picture.

    For example why is it that a a company like South Canterbury Finance is collapsing and why is it that the NZ populace is being held to ransom for a cool $ 1.5 billion. Although this is perceived to be a local matter this is happening around the world and the investors are always the same.

    If New Zealanders had known this bigger picture about banking and financial irresponsibility would they have voted for a man who made his money in the same business? Would they have allowed these companies to flourish?

    What I’m saying is we are not an Island even if we are physically.

    So my suggestion would be why not take a local subject (Privatisation of prisons, finance companies collapsing, the erosion of rights) for say a week or so and investigate how many events mirror these events abroad?

    It would be a great way to involve commentators, bring in links to other blogs and who knows we all might learns something.

    • lprent 15.1

      The Standard by it’s very nature is a very Kiwi blog

      It sure is. From memory over 98% of its readership is from NZ IP’s and the majority of the overseas readers are members of the kiwi overseas mafia.

  16. BLiP 16

    Can the new super-duper server handle some message/image board type functions like the direct embedding of pics/vids by users?

    • SHG 16.1

      Given the potential for abuse, I’m not sure that’s a particularly good idea.

    • lprent 16.2

      It could (and the old system could as well). However there are an awful lot of gotchas in allowing image uploads.

      Ignoring all of the code nasties that can be done with image formats (like jpeg), it’d really complicate an already expensive backup of the code and uploads. The backup of images (which are already largely compressed) is many times larger than the compressed database of all of the text in the system.

      Adding links to other ‘safe’ sites like youtube would be feasible, but we’d have to be cautious of displaying prelim screens. They cost a lot for people on slow bandwidth and were one of the main reasons I was really happy to shift to the new front page. Video place holder images were very expensive.

      • BLiP 16.2.1

        Fair nuff – just brain storming really.

        What about setting up a Wiki where the various lists, references, etc could be loaded up? More work for the mods and admin, I suppose? Still, would make for a great index. There is just so much information and material available at The Standard, be a shame to see it dwindle away and the repetitive re-creation of the wheel as happens from time to time.

  17. prosaic 17

    I agree with someone above–I’m never impressed by or interested in posts making idiots look even more idiotic (except when it’s our politicians–that stuff IS funny). I see you have your own good reasons for these kind of attacking posts and maybe they are good for the site overall but they turn me off, too–as does swearing and abuse. Sometimes I feel disappointed in the Standard (with all due respect) for not rising above that petty childish stuff (that’s just me though). I come here for the side of the story the Herald doesn’t run (or isn’t aware of), not for point-scoring against righty bloggers.

    Also, while authors like marty and eddie are very knowledgable about stuff (like economics and so on) and their posts very informative, sometimes some of the posts are so clearly one-sided/biased that I feel like I’m reading the Herald (but the other side of the spectrum). I like to read stuff that offers an argument, considers objections or other points of view, takes into account pros and cons and is just more balanced–that takes a genuine questioning tone, rather than a lecturing, dogmatic tone. Such articles are actually much more informative and persuasive than a one-sided rant. It’s just too easy to dismiss (for the people you might hope to persuade–those, say, on the right) points of view that don’t take into consideration the other side of the story.

    I also would like room/time for ongoing and deeper debates, rather than comment threads petering out after a day or two.

    Thanks

  18. Sanctuary 18

    How about using the TheStandard community to build something like http://www.theyrule.net/?

  19. swimmer 19

    I think you guys are great and all I can say is keep up the good work 🙂

  20. WOOF 20

    I like it when you dig up the dirt and find some juicy morsels to share with the pack 🙂

  21. ak 21

    Might be just me, but the volume and quantity has improved so much it’s hard to keep up at times! The “sticky post” bizzo is a good idea for busy bods – maybe keep ’em up while the comments keep coming and/or the story develops……hard to say, case-by-case judgement call I spose.

    Leaven the load a wee bit perhaps – don’t forget that humour’s a very potent tool -eg that priceless clip of Bushisms, one gem is worth a thousand votes. Cartoons – maybe a comp aimed at design and art schools – prizes even? Lamest political joke? Bring back the caption competition!

    That said, you’re going great guns, keep up the good work.

  22. Draco T Bastard 22

    Don’t suppose you’ve got a template for exporting from an Open Office Document have you? The contribute post page is absolutely horrible for formatting a post and I’m sure that the default format used for exporting to HTML from Open Office will conflict with the format used on the blog.

    • lprent 22.1

      I haven’t looked, but there should be something we can do.

      As you say, the problem with HTML from the office systems is that they produce useless HTML. I suspect that the converters will have the same issues.

      However, there is a version of tinymce that is used in the editor that the authors use. It is a pain to carry through because it is embedded deeply inside of the admin code. I’ll find a weekend and have another crack at it.

  23. Draco T Bastard 23

    A comment from NZFP made me wonder: Would it be possible to have an area for political party press releases on this site?

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