Dissent will not be tolerated

August 9th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

blogs at Red Alert:

The trolls who inhabit this site are on notice.

You have been tolerated for long enough. Your tactics are increasingly obvious. Real debate is encouraged on , but not trolling.

You will be banned without notice.

Banned for life without notice. Sounds a great way to get rid of dissenting voices. Will they rename Red Alert, Pravda?

I was going to put this post up a few days ago. Instead I ran a poll. As a litmus test. The results are pretty clear. Of the people who comment, most are put off by the tone of many commenters.

The poll was hilarious. There was no option to say that there was already too much censorship of the blog. The only options were to agree with Clare that something must be done or a couple of neutral options, in the best traditions of the Ministry of Truth.

Even then, only 26% of readers said they think the comments are dominated by trolling right-wingers. That means 74% do not. Yet that is taken as an endorsement to ban dissenting opinions – now known as trolling.

I have sympathy when it comes to genuine trolls. But I have a very transparent system for dealing with them.

In the last couple of weeks the intensity of trolling by anonymous commenters on Red Alert has increased.

I’d say that is directly related to the increasing stupidity of the posts. If you don’t want to be drowned in critical comments, then stop Trevor doing his texts from John Key and stop trying to link John Key to the Iraq War through a PR firm. Even your own supporters groan at such puerile stuff.

 

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68 Responses to “Dissent will not be tolerated”

  1. Chris2 (704 comments) says:

    I don’t follow Red Alert but do read the comments made about posters on Red Alert. There seem to be quite a few Labour MP’s spending their time writing and/or managing blogs.

    Out of utter curiosity, how prevalent is it for National MP’s to manage blogs?

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  2. tankyman (120 comments) says:

    I think all should just stop commenting there and leave it to the strange and wonderful SPUD and his ilk.

    Let the blog die. Stop linking to it from Kiwiblog, Whaleoil, Keeping stock etc, and simply use screen shots etc (so we can continue to laugh at Mallard).

    refer to it as commiealert so it does not get picked up by spiders etc.

    Let it (like the labour itself) die a slow and ever increasing irrelevant death.

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  3. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    Spud – the :D content-free :D one :D who :D goes :D to :D every :D post ?

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  4. dog_eat_dog (677 comments) says:

    I feel like asking Clare how this fits in with her campaign on open government.

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  5. lofty (1,295 comments) says:

    What a fu**n big fat yawn……..Who cares if you get tossed off their blog?
    Not me.
    I am done with them , agree wholeheartedly with tankyman, let it die.
    If was not for us it would shrivel up in obscurity anyway, and I have only ever commented there a couple of times. But if they want to keep the ball and go home..see ya, thanks for coming!

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  6. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    DPF’s demerits model and loose rein is probably the best you can hope for in a political blog, despite the degree of bile that inevitably results.

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  7. meh (164 comments) says:

    Never commented there, not going to start now. Seems to me if Trevor or Clare disagree with you = Troll. Hardly the level of mature debate I’d expect from people who aspire to lead our country.

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  8. rouppe (852 comments) says:

    I don’t believe they even understand what trolling is. The wikipedia link refers to a troll being “inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages … with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response”.

    However they treat anyone who disagrees with them as inflammatory, and when they are caught lying engage in an emotional response which is then, of course, the fault of the commenter…

    Mine is a case in point: Trevor blogged about how it was the Labour Party alone that won the hosting rights for RWC 2011. I pointed out it was the Labour Party, and Trevor in particular, who were in charge when the co-hosting rights in 2003 were lost, and that making threats to insert Heineken bottles in uncomfortable places of IRB chiefs wasn’t helpful.

    Response? Banned. I don’t believe what I did was trolling. I didn’t swear or abuse anyone, and simply told the truth. Nice…

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  9. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    meh said “if Trevor or Clare disagree with you = Troll”

    When Trevor and Clare disagree with each other, does that make them trolls too? ;)

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  10. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    Given that the Government disagrees with much of what Labour says, it must be a nightmare being Clare Curran. How does she cope sitting in Parliament day after day listening to people disagree with her?

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  11. alwyn (359 comments) says:

    I commented there a few times. However in a discussion on Wiki-leaks I remarked on the fact that the US Embassy had objected to Mallard’s remarks on Julian Robertson being a CIA front funnelling money to the National party. They apparently told Goff that the would publicly respond and deny it if Trevor continued in that vein. I commented on Red Alert that the leak explained why Trevor had never repeated the libel.
    This was deleted, I was called a liar and put into permanent moderation. I later upset the little quacker again and was banned for life. Since then I have only rarely looked at it as they appear to be reduced to only letting through comments that are fawning remarks about the Labour party.
    The Standard used to be much freer but they now seem to be hauling out the ban brush as well. I think I was banned there until after the election.
    The Dim-Post and Frogblog are much better. They are at least willing to allow comments that are opposed to their views to be posted without any real censorship. The worst that can happen on Frogblog is that you get enough dislikes that your comment may not show up. They are at least totally consistent though and it was quite funny when Russell Norman’s comments were being suppressed on his own blog.

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  12. lofty (1,295 comments) says:

    I would say ross, that she sits there most uncomfortably, biting her tongue continuosly, and perpetually insulted, as she along with the rest of them, believe in their God given right to be the governing party, and to be held to account by those filthy tory usurpers is just too too, much.

    Their mantra to get through every torturous day is “WE are the chosen ones, the people will see again”

    The proof is in the behaviour of Sepoluni last week, as if to say, in giving the finger to the speaker, “who the fu** do you think you are you tory twat”

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  13. Brian Smaller (3,915 comments) says:

    The frightening thing is that eventually Clare Curran WILL be in charge of a Minsitry when the sheeple vote Labour in again one day when their bribes sway enough of them.

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  14. Rich Prick (1,320 comments) says:

    Of course http://www.korea-dpr.com is an easier read. And is only marginally less tolerant of dissent.

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  15. first time caller (384 comments) says:

    Rodders – So with you on Spud.
    I find those yellow faces just so incredibly annoying. Interestingly they are usually only weekdays, so probably a groveling staff member.

    They add nothing to any debate, and waste everyone’s time.

    In fact the whole blog is of no benefit to anyone other than maybe the Labour MPs who want to make it look like they know how to use the internet, and that they do something!

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  16. kaykaybee (122 comments) says:

    I had given Clare credit for being more intelligent than to dress up blatant ‘confirmation bias’ as if she were the guardian of neutrality.

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  17. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    @ftc – Indeed. I’ve got nothing against smiley faces in moderation (I use them from time to time.)
    It is when they accompany endlessly sycophantic content that they become really annoying.

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  18. peterwn (2,933 comments) says:

    If left wing blogs wish to stuff themselves up, that is their business.

    One of the major strengths of Kiwiblog and Whaleoil blogs is the tolerance for genuine reasoned dissent. I originally thought that Whale would have been as heavy handed as Labour blogs, but he is pretty tolerant too.

    This is probably why Mational MP’s do not really bother with blogs, Kiwiblog and Whaleoil adequately ‘meet the market’ even though they do hit the odd National MP round the ears on occasions. National MP’s also have the mental fortitude to deal with dissenters. For example it did not take long for Maggie Barry to give it back with interest to Andrew Williams (the ex mayor) and she is not even a MP yet.

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  19. Scott Chris (5,675 comments) says:

    I think Curran is making a mistake. A platform for robust debate needs a full spectrum of players, from the cheerleaders to the trolls. Short of personal abuse, surely an opinion can be treated on its merits, and if it happens to be irrelevant and deliberately provocative, then ignore it.

    On the other hand, if Red Alert is purely a talking shop to promote Labour policy, then it should be labeled as such, without the pretense of claiming to be an open debate forum. Again, a mistake IMO, because a sterile debate has no appeal, and, like her party itself, will inevitably be shunned by all but the diehards.

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  20. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    first time caller :-) :-) :-) :-) well said.

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  21. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    At a guess the readers of the left wing blogosphere are mostly right wing laughing at their weirdness. Their entire daily comments content would be smaller than general debate on here. That is so very funny

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  22. Right of way is Way of Right (1,125 comments) says:

    E-filibustering?

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  23. Auberon (816 comments) says:

    Is this what Clare means by ‘controlling the language’?

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  24. SHG (320 comments) says:

    This is the Labour equivalent of China banning the homeless from Beijing in the lead-up to the Olympics.

    Red Alert is being set up as an online Potemkin Village for the Labour election campaign.

    See, #OpenLabourNZ is all about free speech and open exchange of ideas, and anyone who disagrees will be permanently banned without notice and have their posts deleted.

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  25. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    And this is why kiwiblog is the most read blog – regardless of how you feel about some of the opinions within a very wide range – they tend to be allowed.

    Why I stopped reading The Standard for example – the moderators could only be described as ‘up themselves’. I posted on red alert adn my comment failed to show up, so that was my last visit there. If an argument is good it should be open to debate, not censored adn ignored..

    In the North of England there is a saying: ‘Give him a uniform and he thinks he’s Hitler.’ To describe jumped up bus-conductors and petty officials.

    Sums up the attitude at Red Alert/Standard perfectly.

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  26. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Banning/warning Pete George is probably a great indicator of how weird their moderation is.

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  27. Seán (396 comments) says:

    Rodders (11:13 am) – brilliant.

    DPF (post) – hear, hear!

    Actually I come across a bit like Spud myself, oh dear….how to make a smiley face…..

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  28. adze (1,695 comments) says:

    Clare Curran’s stocks continue to sink. Entitled, sanctimonious, petulant, and now controlling.

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  29. Auberon (816 comments) says:

    And adze, dresses like a pirate, let’s not forget that!

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  30. TripeWryter (715 comments) says:

    I’ve never commented on Prav, er, Red Alert. I’ve been in once or twice.

    I’m thinking of going more often. Clare Curran’s stern tones made me quiver and shiver with a delicious sense of pleasure. Reminded me of the nuns…

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  31. SHG (320 comments) says:

    Just got a warning at Red Alert for this:

    SHG says:
    August 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm
    @tracey: “To me, a troll is someone who posts a series of alleged facts, get’s called to support it but does not (their choice). Days or a couple of weeks later they post the same stuff, get called again to substantiate but don’t, and so it goes on. To me that is trolling.”

    Like each time Grant Robertson posts that NZ is one of the only developed countries in the world without a Capital Gains Tax?

    You are warned SHG. Personal attacks. Clare

    /facepalm

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  32. stacey (1 comment) says:

    “You can email one of the moderators if you want to contest the decision. But you must provide your identity to us which will be kept confidential.”

    LOL at Labour keeping your identity confidential. Maybe the whole thing is just to beef up their mailing lists?

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  33. Pete George (21,804 comments) says:

    I give credit to Labour for trying with Red Alert, at least they are blogging and making an attempt to connect with people. They haven’t figured out how to make it work properly yet, they are far too protective of themselves and their messages, and conflicted on what “moderation” means, but they are having a go.

    It’s a bit odd to see them so unwilling to mix it up with the plebs in an open forum when you see them claim that what goes on in parliament is “just the way we do it in New Zealand”.

    But, Greens aside, what Labour are doing is way ahead of what other parties. National are notable in their absence online. I don’t expect the PM and cabinet ministers to have time to blog all day but surely some of their backbenchers should be connecting with constiuents and passing on feedback to the inner party.

    It’s ironic that John Key is widely seen as a bloke of the folk but the Nat MPs won’t mix it with the plebs.

    Kiwiblog fills some function for National online interaction but it doesn’t connect MPs with ordinary people.

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  34. mikenmild (8,778 comments) says:

    Good point Pete. Maybe it’s still early days for our parties learning to use these tools. A party is likely to see risks in open-ended communication – a National blog would probably be a magnet for anyone with a gripe about the government. I think they should give it a go, but perhaps they are too conservative and risk-averse.

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  35. Brian Smaller (3,915 comments) says:

    Pete George – they are trying to connect with their mates. They may as well have used facebook and only ‘friended’ people they know who will be nice to them.

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  36. Pete George (21,804 comments) says:

    Brian – yes, they want to control the message and they like to get adulation from the party faithful, but if that’s really what they want they should be honest in their “About”.

    I’d like to encourage them to be bold, take risks and open themselves up to scrutiny, they are likely to gain much more from that (and hardly have anything more to lose). And if they can get that working successfully it might encourage more parties to connect more too.

    At the moment we have 21st century communications and parties entrenched in last millenium habits. Don’t expect them to modernise on their own, or easily.

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  37. SPC (4,639 comments) says:

    Understandable SHG, it’s common knowledge that the only countries in the OECD without a CGT are New Zealand, Turkey and Switzerland.

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  38. Pete George (21,804 comments) says:

    SPC – sort of. The IRD website says: “There is no capital gains tax” but it’s also clear some capital gains are taxable:

    http://www.ird.govt.nz/property/property-decision-tree/

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  39. Rex Widerstrom (5,124 comments) says:

    dog_eat_dog points out:

    I feel like asking Clare how this fits in with her campaign on open government.

    As someone who’s spent 15 years promoting greater communication between decision-makers and those they represent, this really pisses me off. Fair enough if you’re a tightly wound control freak who loathes the idea of the plebs having any say; certainly Helen Clark balked at the idea when I pointed out to her that e-voting also meant e-referenda, and dropped the idea of trialling it. Same with National.

    But to sell yourself as a proponent of open government while harbouring the desire to run the Ministry of Information… that’s the worst kind of hypocrisy.

    When I set up a bulletin board on the NZF website back in 1995 (predating any discussion forum on any other party’s site, AFAIK), I realised that the party’s controversial policies would lead to robust debate and probably more criticism than praise. But I moderated very lightly, and as a result the party won some respect for tolerating debate and standing by its principles. But then, to quote Computerworld:

    If the messages had been occasionally prickly when Widerstrom was present, they became positively toxic after his departure.

    In his absence–and facing some very hostile correspondents–someone who would identify himself (or herself) only as “NZ First” removed messages from the bulletin board “to save disk space”. While the cries of “censorship!” were still ringing, a correspondent reposted an entire thread on racism which had been deleted.

    Censorship is only going to worsen things… not only is the critcism going to resurface, but you also wear the justified opprobrium of netizens for stifling their voices.

    I would have said “any fool should know that” but it appears that one, at least, does not.

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  40. SPC (4,639 comments) says:

    If I were advising political parties on the net I would advise

    1. a party site

    a general information
    b policy positions
    c media releases

    2. A place spokepersons discuss them with party members and guest posters (the latter moderated with a bias to informed comment from those in the field for the edification of party members)

    3. A place where party members discuss and debate – connect on-line (including inter-action with MP’s)

    4. Have a loyalist led blog – post items from these other places for discussion and also talk about current events with the wider public.

    5. Spontaneous and tactical public inter-face on Facebook and Twitter etc by MP’s and members

    No one has got it quite right yet.

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  41. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    jennifer says:
    August 9, 2011 at 11:43 am
    Before the ‘righties’ get too sanctimonious, try maintaining a letfy presence on Kiwiblog or Whaleoil. Banned by lunchtime. Particularly if you catch them out. Trolling by their definition is taking issue with the Key government or any of their mates. You guys seems to take a much more evenhanded and rational approach. Personally, I would like Red Alert to be much more overtly political, and not dance around the subject so often. Although maybe risking more trolling, at least it would provoke more engagement the debate. Too many of these posts, in my view, are like high school essays, written to impress the teacher.

    The delusions are strong with this one.

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  42. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    Sounds like they’re going down the Idiot/Savant line – saying increasingly stupid things then labeling the resulting comments as trolling.

    My comments policy has always been that if I’m acting like an idiot, I want to be told!

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  43. Pete George (21,804 comments) says:

    Before the ‘righties’ get too sanctimonious, try maintaining a letfy presence on Kiwiblog or Whaleoil. Banned by lunchtime.

    Scrubone – yeah, I noticed that. Not at all from what I’ve seen here, but you never know, DPF may secretely delete heaps of other leftie comments before anyone sees them, he may fib about not continually monitoring every comment before it goes public, and he also may have some way of suppressing any complaints on other blogs about specifci incidences.

    Or Jennifer is trolling on Red Alert (some definitions of trolling there are that it’s posting incorrect information) – and she’s getting away with it!

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  44. Stephen Stratford (45 comments) says:

    @Pete George 1:16
    “National are notable in their absence online. I don’t expect the PM and cabinet ministers to have time to blog all day but surely some of their backbenchers should be connecting with constiuents and passing on feedback to the inner party.”

    My MP is Louise Upston, National for Taupo, and she is very active on Facebook. Every day she says where she is, what she is doing, who she is meeting etc, and she always says when and where she is available to constituents. She sometimes posts clips of her in Parliament and asks for comments on issues of the day. Seems like good communication to me, though it’s invisible to outsiders. I wonder if other Nat MPs are doing this – seems more productive than the Red alert approach.

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  45. Pete George (21,804 comments) says:

    That sounds good Stephen. I wouldn’t call it more productive, I think Facebook is good for on the fly updates, for keeping in touch and comments, but things easily get lost in the clutter, especially on busy pages. Something more bloggy is much better for more detailed information, discussions and debates.

    I thought I should check – my MP Pete Hodgson is on Facebook but has no Wall and no ongoing updates.

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  46. RightNow (6,337 comments) says:

    Assuming Clare ever got into government I can just imagine her trying to ban opposition MP’s as ‘trolls’. Perhaps Clare learnt the art of moderation from Margaret Wilson.

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  47. Rich Prick (1,320 comments) says:

    One must not point out the Emperor has no clothes in Labour-land. Notwithstanding that, Clare does come all-over in a “school-mam-eske” finger-wagging kind of way though.

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  48. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    Before the ‘righties’ get too sanctimonious, try maintaining a letfy presence on Kiwiblog or Whaleoil. Banned by lunchtime. Particularly if you catch them out. Trolling by their definition is taking issue with the Key government or any of their mates. You guys seems to take a much more evenhanded and rational approach. Personally, I would like Red Alert to be much more overtly political, and not dance around the subject so often. Although maybe risking more trolling, at least it would provoke more engagement the debate. Too many of these posts, in my view, are like high school essays, written to impress the teacher.

    I’d like to think I’ve maintained a leftie presence on Kiwiblog for years without being banned. Never even been demerited.

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  49. adze (1,695 comments) says:

    Yep it’s pretty easy going here as far as moderation is concerned. You generally only get banned if you continually attack DPF personally, for actual trolling (ie. not simply robust debate, as per the Curran definition) or by making repeated nasty or defamatory statements. You’re more likely to get attacked by other commenters.

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  50. nasska (9,501 comments) says:

    adze

    You’re on to it….DPF’s light approach to moderation works well partly because obvious trolls get hammered hard enough by their peers to make their inflammatory comments a waste of time. Kiwiblog has definitely changed for the better in the past few months…someone the other day linked back to a GD of about a year back & it was nothing but abuse with little discussion.

    We don’t need agreement but civil debate is interesting & informative.

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  51. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    Before the ‘righties’ get too sanctimonious, try maintaining a letfy presence on Kiwiblog or Whaleoil. Banned by lunchtime. Particularly if you catch them out. Trolling by their definition is taking issue with the Key government or any of their mates.

    Actually, come to think of it Whale Oil should have been kicked off his own blog long ago by that criteria :)

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  52. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    How is it that a party with only 30% support is puzzled to find they’re not getting the agreement of 100% of commenters? Surely the intelligent thing for Labour to do is realise that for every person who agrees with them, they can expect two-and-a-bit other people don’t agree with them, and these are the people they need to LISTEN to, when they say exactly what’s wrong with Labour. But no, they will keep preaching to the choir, and keep telling themselves they represent “the people”, despite the fact that 70% of the people reject them.

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  53. Pete George (21,804 comments) says:

    PIA – I think it could be worse than that, I suspect that up to a half of those 30% are reluctant supporters who disagree a lot with what Labour are doing and how they’re doing it. It’s obvious from blogs like The Standard, Dim-Post and Red Alert that the unquestioning faithful are a shrinking minority even there.

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  54. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Probably right there, Pete. Jesus they are fucked.

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  55. slightlyrighty (2,448 comments) says:

    Is it just me or is it no coincidence that Labour and many on the left refuse to listen to those who might dissent, and then wonder why the electorate is not listening to them?

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  56. Hollyfield (67 comments) says:

    Since Clare is opposed to personal attacks in comments, I wonder whether she will moderate this comment on Red Alert written by Phil Twyford: “And Jeff if that is all you’ve got it is not much of a contribution.” Great way to win friends and influence voters.

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  57. Viking2 (10,709 comments) says:

    I posted this a few days ago but here it is again.
    We are talking about the use of party websites to explain and convey a platform. Well here is a real example of how useless both the Nats and Labour are about policy. Neither have any as compared to Act, Greens, Maori and United Future.
    One is left wondering what we are voting for if we chose them?
    Maybe its convenient because they can’t be held accountable for their “policy”.
    Most of us would say that’s been the case for a longtime.

    Housing Policy Comparison direct from Party Websites.

    http://www.interest.co.nz/news/54340/election-2011-party-policies-housing

    Maybe this explains Nationals Heatley and Williamson taking almost 3 years to do SFA in the housing sector other than reinforce the rules left behind by their brothers of the cloth the Labour Party.

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  58. Griff (6,263 comments) says:

    Nationalsozialistische New Zealand Arbeiterpartei problems stem from the years of the Clarkenfuhrer creating a whole generation of sycophants. It will take at least six years before they bring forward a new generation. The lack of debate on their blogs is a reflection of this legacy. Its way to scary for them to accept anything bit the rule of the Clarkenfuhrer and poor Clare things she can take this mantel and is practicing on her blog misguided soul

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  59. trout (865 comments) says:

    I understand that Red Alert was set up to be a vehicle for Labour MP’s to voice opinions. Nice in theory but what has transpired is Labour MP’s mouthing off making unsubstantiated allegations, or just plain mud slinging. Fine if you have a captive sycophantic audience but the Net is by nature polygenetic (probably the wrong word but used in fond memory of Pete and Dud), a mixture of opinions and people who can rebut with authority. And the MP’s don’t like it – they are so used to standing on a platform in front of the faithful and spouting b/s. So if Clare has problems with the blog I suggest she reverts to newsletters amongst a captive mailing list. She will then be able to ape Annette King and declare that everyone she speaks to agrees with Labour policy and that the national polls are an aberration.

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  60. burt (7,085 comments) says:

    trout

    I think that pretty much nails it.

    Any facts or information that contradicts the party line never makes the light of day on red alert.

    I look at it two ways;

    1) The best you can hope for is that at least someone might be reading it.
    2) Why give them feedback? Their blog is testing public reaction to issues they need to spin in the MSN. Let them F-Up in the MSN because it’s a way bigger audience there.

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  61. Frederick (39 comments) says:

    I would take anything Jennifer (mentioned earlier) with a grain of salt. She apparently lives in the US and has a pathalogical hatred of the National party and a abiding love of the labour party. I remember a testy exchange involving me, Trevor Mallard (he blogged on the topic) and Colin Espinner who used to have a political blog on Stuff and praised Lockwood Smith as the best speaker in decades. If I may indulge this was some of the edited highlights.

    jennifer #5 02:43 pm Jun 25 2009
    Lockwood Smith is the most politically partisan Speaker I can remember. He needs to decide whether he is Speaker or a Minister, in my view, as he is behaving as both

    colin espiner #37 11:03 am Jun 26 2009
    Jennifer, English was pulled up by Smith and told to withdraw the comment about not believing anything the member says. And as for “crying wolf”, that doesn’t mean lying per se. It means causing unnecessary alarm. Quite different things. If you think Smith is the most partisan Speaker you can remember, you have a very short memory Jennifer!

    Trevor Mallard #72 05:59 pm Jun 28 2009
    Colin. The Speaker is anything but evenhanded. Just because he is developing a tighter line on addressing questions – albeit not evenly doesn’t balance out the long patronising lectures he gives to Labour members, his insulting and often incorrect asides from the Chair about Labour members, especially Annette and Jacinda or the way that he ignores the vast majority of offences by Ministers and his total unwillingness to require the Prime Minister to have regard to the rules of the House.

    So please don’t put words in my mouth on my blog or whatever.

    colin espiner #82 12:08 pm Jun 29 2009
    Hi Trevor, I’m not sure what words I’ve put in your mouth? If you’re referring to my last comment, does this mean you do agree with Jennifer? I’m sorry, but having sat through the last four parliaments and three Speakers I just cannot agree with you. Maybe it looks different from the other side of the fence – ie in opposition, but I would challenge you to find a single commentator or non-partisan who would agree with you about Smith. Even the Labour posters on here think Smith is doing an excellent job.
    There’s an interesting post on DPF’s blog at the moment, where he argues that the reason some Labour MPs are not happy with Smith is because he’s making Margaret Wilson and Jonathan Hunt look bad. I thought he was being churlish, but now I’m wondering if he’s right.

    Sorry to go off subject but that sums up Jennifer for you and nostalgically not much change in Mallard. Nice rebuttal from Colin Espinner – a loss to political journalism I would suggest.

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  62. Pete George (21,804 comments) says:

    Frederick, interesting, that made me think of an unaddressed problem. Obviously the posts and responses from MPs are important, but beyond that, the biggest danger for party blogs is not the obvious “trolls”/disrupters and certainly not the genuine dissenters – the fawning, excluding, dissing, devout colour blind supporters do as much or more to give a party a bad look on their blogs than anything.

    I’ve been attacked and I’ve been told to piss off from The Standard often (like the old days here!), and moderation there often strongly supports that “anti any outsider” behaviour. It happens to others too. Same for Red Alert. This baffles me, we’re the sort of voters that Labour have lost over the years, surely we are important to them if they want to regain support.

    The party orientated blogs seem to think and endless stream of negative over the top “cry wolf” sycophantic posts will win them support, allowing and supporting the flaming of anyone who is critical. And they wonder why they keep failing to get support beyond the committed faithful.

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  63. Hollyfield (67 comments) says:

    @Frederick. Regarding Jennifer, she left this intelligent comment on Keeping Stock a few weeks ago:

    Jennifer said…
    GD just says. “Wibble wibble wibble,” with his underpants on his head, “I have wees coming out of me.”

    July 19, 2011 11:44 AM

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  64. Nookin (2,887 comments) says:

    Pete
    The labour party is extremely sensitive to any sort of criticism and the policy of promoting sycophantic posts appears to be a strategy to counter the criticism. We saw an example of this following the announcement of CGT with various MPs twittering (tweeting? twatting?) about the (fictional) support that the announcement generated.

    They are withdrawing from reality and wrapping themselves up in their own cottonwool ball of self-delusion. They should be out there learning from the criticism. They learned nothing from the last election results and have completely wasted three years of rebuild opportunity.

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  65. Nookin (2,887 comments) says:

    Hollyfield
    With intellectual giants like that contributing to the Labour cause, they should go far. Preferably in outer space.

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  66. Pete George (21,804 comments) says:

    Nookin, I agree, there’s little sign they have learnt anything yet. There are occasional glimmers of understanding, like:

    Taking the voters seriously

    As a second-time candidate, I am all too keenly aware that people’s view of politics is pretty dismal. I hate that about the job: it is occasionally and by turns embarrassing, frustrating and demoralising.

    I’m not in politics to carry that on, but to change it.

    A good way to start turning the system around is for individual MPs and candidates to take voters seriously. To listen to their concerns, their issues, openly and honestly: and to respond with empathy and concern, and with a determination to get things right in addressing the issues people have.

    But Jordan Carter looks a long shot to make it into parliament, he’s 40 on the Labour list and is unlikely to make the cut. And his advice is unlikely to be taken seriously by those who do manage to survive the likely Labour rout.

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  67. Steve (4,318 comments) says:

    Clare had a meltdown yet? Can’t be far away especially with the Duck acting the goat today

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  68. wat dabney (3,439 comments) says:

    Labour is basically copying the Greens, although being a little more open about it. The Greens secretly censor posts about climate science on their fake blog, only allowing complete misinformation to be posted. So they give the impression of debate, whilst actually keeping out all the facts.

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