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Why do we* write Posts on The Standard?

Written By: - Date published: 1:23 pm, February 26th, 2022 - 28 comments
Categories: admin, notices, The Standard - Tags:

From time to time people query why a certain Post appears on this site. To me, asking this question is akin walking into a bar without knowing it is Open Mike Night and asking why everybody is laughing at something a wannabe comedian said because you also didn’t get the joke or didn’t think it was funny.

The kaupapa of this site is robust debate. You can read about this in the About section (https://thestandard.org.nz/about/) and also in the Policy section (https://thestandard.org.nz/policy/)

The various Authors of this site write on their own behalf. Nobody is paid to do so. Everything on this site is done by volunteers and some spend an awful lot of time and energy here to keep this site running as smoothly as possible.

The Authors are wedded to their Posts in various degrees. Some have rather strong views on the topic, will join in the debate and tend to actively moderate their Posts. Others not so much. What they all have in common is the comment section under their Posts. All Posts are invitations and encouragement to participate in healthy debate.

Posts on controversial and heated topics such as the Covid protest in Wellington or the situation in the Ukraine can evoke strong responses from the commentariat on this site. Especially when commenters don’t agree with the Author’s opinion or thesis or when they are surprised and confused by the contents and/or style of the Post.

When this happens commenters should not attack the Author for having written the Post in the first place or in a certain manner, but they should take the opportunity to start or join the debate.

I get particularly upset when commenters accuse an Author of being a paid shill or propagandist. Remember, this is a free forum run by volunteers who give their time freely for the greater good. I am likely to hand out an instant ban when I see someone accusing an Author here of being on a payroll to write a Post.

If you have no sense of humour then don’t visit a Comedy Club (or maybe you should). Similarly, if you have no interest in (the) debate or particular topic you should not join the debating team unless you want to come across as a heckler. Go read some of the other Posts on this free forum or join in Open Mike.

A good debater can switch teams and argue the opposite view well and convincingly enough. The key is listening and having an open but critical mind. Good literacy skills help but honesty and being genuine here are more important for robust debate in good faith. Agree to disagree, with mutual respect, if possible. As far as Moderation and banning go, we don’t ban on/for opinions, not even when controversial, but on/for behaviour and usually after plenty of warning (which can be quite time-consuming for Moderators who are also volunteers) – read the recent Post on Moderation (https://thestandard.org.nz/some-notes-on-moderation/)

Happy commenting and be grateful that you live in a place where you can do this freely! Never take these freedoms, rights & privileges for granted and never ever abuse them for your own selfish gain!

*This Post is entirely my own personal opinion and assumptions are all mine too.

28 comments on “Why do we* write Posts on The Standard? ”

  1. Siobhan 1

    "I get particularly upset when commenters accuse an Author of being a paid shill or propagandist."

    Well, I don't like to think of anyone here getting particularly upset…so if it helps soften the blow rest assured there are a number of contributors here who have accused some of us of being "paid shill(s) or propagandist(s)" ..and worse ..and on a quite regular basis..so they are clearly comfortable such insults…robust souls that they are…

    • Incognito 1.1

      I cannot vouch for the motivations or reasons of all commenters on this site, many of who are pseudonymous, but I can and do vouch for the integrity of the main Authors here although I don’t know any of them in a personal fashion – I wouldn’t be here otherwise. This is based on (mutual) trust and respect, which are earned and given and never taken for granted. It is no different from any other community of people.

      There’s a clear sharp line for attacking Authors and accusing them of being paid. It’s that simple. I wouldn’t want to upset any of those “robust souls” if they ‘inadvertently’ crossed that line wink

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    Well put Incognito.

    Might I suggest though that moderation be waived for those replying to Gosman…

    • Incognito 2.1

      Gosman is not an Author and he does not indulge in pathetic and absurd personal attacks. Love him or loathe him, he adds to the debate and is a welcome (!) noise voice that prevents the monotony of an echo chamber. I’m sure that most of us can handle this without too much effort. OTOH, his comments are free game for push back and I believe Gosman wouldn’t want it any other way devil

    • lprent 2.2

      Always remember that Gosman is the only person to have their own named rule in the policy.

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

      They are an equal opportunity vexer.

  3. weka 3

    Nice one Incognito.

  4. Muttonbird 4

    It's the inconsistency which upsets commenters. Authors and moderators are authority figures and have power over commenters, whether they often exercise that power or not.

    It would be great if the authority figures led by example when commenting.

    • Incognito 4.1

      Lprent is working on an AI algorithm for moderation that will remove any differences in moderation between the various Moderators (you missed my hints in italics in the OP – clearly too subtle for some). It will also remove inconsistencies caused by stress, running out of patience, tiredness, etcetera, by a single Moderator. What it will not change is a highly likely instant ban when you accuse an Author of being a paid shill for a third party. In the end, the site will be fully run by bots – one bot to rule them all – and we can all drink piss and talk shit somewhere else to get our daily emotional kicks instead of getting upset here by inconsistent Authors and Moderators with Emperor’s Syndrome.

      But in all seriousness, you demand a very (?) high and consistent standard of Authors and Moderators here. We’re all volunteers volunteering (in) our free time and we rose through the ranks, so to speak, from being lurkers/readers, to commenters, to authors, and then to being moderators, as it happened for me. As you know, not all can maintain this for too long, e.g. the expectations & demands, the pressures & criticisms (as well as insults & accusations), and the high quality of comments/posts/moderations.

      HTH and happy commenting angel

      • Muttonbird 4.1.1

        Nah, you and weka did well just now on the Convoy protest thread. Appreciated by all regular members, I'm sure.

        So, thank you for that.

  5. Ad 5

    I prefer as little moderation as possible to my posts.

    People who threaten can generally fuck off, so it's useful for Mods to step in.

    But otherwise it should be boots and all.

    A more interesting question ought to be: why are there so few who bother to write posts?

    • lprent 5.1

      Part of it is simply time. I don't have time most of the time to write many posts or to even comment. I work a lot of hours and I like to read books or anything when I am not.

      The other part of it is that it takes time to find authors, to get them writing, how to use the tools, and to learn to put up with some of the comments.

      Same problem.

      Generally authors come on because one of us knows them and is willing to put in the effort. Or to put up their posts for them. Occasionally it will be a commenter that we reach out to.

    • McFlock 5.2

      Churning out a 500-1000 word post (this post is a little over 500 words) with a clear structure about a topic is a learned skill.

      Many comments (well, from me, anyway) are reactive, responding to another comment or answering a question. The form dictates itself, there is some effort in getting relevant facts (such as a word count or reference), but by and large the constraints make the path easy.

      Structuring a vague idea into a complex piece with beginning, middle, and end is a learned task. Then there's deciding what evidence is necessary and relevant, and editing out distractions and digressions.

      It ain't for everyone. This comment is only 115 words.

      • Incognito 5.2.1

        My occassional Posts are usually (too) long, but it’s not the length per se that makes it harder. For some Posts and do a lot of background reading and research, which I really enjoy because it encourages me to read new stuff which can push me out of my ‘intellectual’ comfort zone. This particular Post was relatively short and easy – writing Posts can be very rewarding and satisfying smiley

        Commenting and moderating, OTOH, can be very time-consuming and a positive outcome is by no means guaranteed, i.e. it often feels like an exercise in futility sad

      • weka 5.2.2

        I find writing long posts way easier than writing short ones. Editing for length is a high skill.

        • McFlock


          I went from longer assignments at uni to cleaning up a first year paper the following year. Coming from school, 1,200 words was insanely difficult because it was so long.

          Doing that level again several years later, my introduction was 1,500 words long. Cutting it down to 300 words felt like I was flailing around with a machete. Nailed it marks-wise, but it felt dirty lol

          • Shanreagh

            Yes longer more exploratory writing is a joy. Reading longer more exploratory writing is a joy as well.

            This reinforces my love for the Opening Posts and the longer and referenced posts from commenters. I love to know the 'why' around a person's thoughts rather than a straight agree or disagree.

            I have only seen one example where an author overly moderated the comments to their own Opening Post and it was not pretty. It was the exception though.

          • weka

            machete is right. I should put some time aside and get this right, it must be a learned skill.

          • Incognito

            Tell me about it! Page limits, word limits, character limits (e.g. for titles), fonts & font sizes, line spacing, margins, reference styles, etcetera, in addition to prescribed topics and keywords (aka the lecturer’s pet buzz words). One thing they teach you at uni is to follow instructions and use templates, which is very handy in later life.

            After writing something you’ll have to chop back words, sentences, paragraphs, and sometimes whole sections, which you have conceived and given birth to, intellectually speaking. I don’t want to offend the humourless amongst us but at times it does feel like amputating parts of yourself or letting go of your babies, intellectually speaking, of course. A good write-up is a personal investment and it becomes a part-expression of yourself. Depending on the writing – some topics are closer to my heart than others …

        • Jenny how to get there

          As Oscar Wilde once said, I am writing you a long letter because I didn't have time to write you a short one.

  6. gsays 6

    A heart felt chur from me.

    I appreciate the efforts, time and energy put in by y'all.

    I do miss a couple of authors that had a more challenging/radical/dissenting voice. At times I feel oysters were flinching at the number and ferocity of pearls that were clutched in response to their opinions. devil

    • weka 6.1

      haha, now there's a challenge laid down. Cheers.

    • Incognito 6.2


      Authors have their reasons for appearing and disappearing here and since no pay-cheque depends on it, they don’t have to justify this to us smiley

      I hope some will come back and/or some fresh blood will enter the circulation soon.

  7. peter sim 7

    C'mon just ignore the persistent bores (usually off topic). Then it is a breeze.

  8. mickysavage 8

    Well said. I just wish the allegations of being paid shills were correct. We would all be rich, rich, rich …

    • Incognito 8.1

      I’m available to the highest bidder and it starts at $500 a post of 800 words. Do I see $600??

      • Shanreagh 8.1.1

        Rattled my money box……10c and I'm saving that to go shares with my sister on our mythical rural block.wink

        If I had lots of money I would give all the authors an honorarium, not per article but at the end of a year or on Waitangi Day or on a public holiday that is special to them

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