Online abuse

February 26th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

In the US Jimmy Kimmel has an excellent segment on his show where well known Americans read out incredibly nasty tweets that others have said about them. I thought it was quite a good way to shame some of the more awful abusers out there.

In the wake of the Charlotte Dawson suicide, TVNZ Breakfast did similar with various staff reading out incredibly horrible things that people have said about them.  I recommend people look at the video and consider if any of those making those comments would dare to do so to their face.

This has led to quite a few other media staff tweeting or facebooking some of the more vile things said about them. Some are almost comical (Kerre Woodham being called a communist lesbian) to some that are so nasty that you wonder about the mental stability of the person saying them. The worst was the young journalist who had someone comment on her blog:

“If you ever get pregnant, I hope your husband shoves a coat hanger up your vagina and aborts it”

She actually knows where the person who said it works. If it was me, I’d expose them to the world.

It’s very easy to get worked up about people in politics or the media. I can do it myself. But there is no excuse for saying such vile things. It says far more about the person who says it, than the target.

If some good comes from Charlotte’s very sad death, it might be that people pause for a few seconds and don’t say anything online about someone that they would not be prepared to say under their own name, to their face.

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117 Responses to “Online abuse”

  1. King Kong (26 comments) says:

    Fuck off Farrar you short legged gimp *joke*

    I have been campaigning for a return to traditional bullying for a while now. I think you see less mental anguish from a Chinese burn or a dead leg than you do from this modern online rubbish. Time to get back to our roots of physical abuse.

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  2. nickb (3,629 comments) says:

    DPF, can you make a list of the worst things you’ve been called? Clearly you can’t let this post go by without the DPF top 50.

    Given the history of MNIJ, billyborker, roger nome, greenfly, philu etc you must have quite a collection? :)

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  3. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    Rachel Smalley has written a column on this: Online abuse

    And I’ve followed up on that: Confronting online abuse

    As elsewhere online there’s quite a bit of abuse and attempts at bullying in Kiwiblog. Most people who find it unacceptable ignore it or leave, so the bullies think they can get away with it. If enough people speak up against crap the message will get through.

    I expect I’ll get the usual thumbs down for bringing this up. Bullies can be gutless.

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  4. David Farrar (1,812 comments) says:

    I used to collect the worst things said about me on left wing blogs and save them in a file called “Retirement Fund” as a defamation suit could have netted me millions :-)

    I gave up when I got to around 100 entries.

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  5. Longknives (4,051 comments) says:

    Interesting to see Jesse Mulligan there crying about being ‘bullied’.
    Anyone else remember his attack on Colin Craig? I distinctly remember Mulligan arguing ‘Freedom of Speech’ in that case..

    Double standards from lefty Journos? Surely not..

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  6. King Kong (26 comments) says:

    PG, When people tell you to “fuck off you whiny, vacuous cock master”, this is not bullying but truth mixed with frustration.

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  7. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    don’t say anything online about someone that they would not be prepared to say … to their face

    It’s remarkable how difficult it is for some people to find the discipline to do this. It’s as if they’re so frustrated with their inability to express themselves in their real life that the welcome relief of “anonymity” allows them to vent the pent up vitriol with casual disregard.

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  8. fernglas (37 comments) says:

    So does this mean you will only accept comments on this blog from people who use their real names? (note the irony that I am using a pseudonym) Some of what is said here is pretty offensive, whether it’s a post about real people or other commenters.

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  9. nickb (3,629 comments) says:

    I used to collect the worst things said about me on left wing blogs and save them in a file called “Retirement Fund” as a defamation suit could have netted me millions :-)

    I gave up when I got to around 100 entries.

    LOL

    One of my favourites was when you were accused of being responsible for “ripping babies out of their mothers arms as soon as they are born” or similar for commenting positively on National’s policy of getting single parents back to work earlier…think that was philu.

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  10. kowtow (6,734 comments) says:

    I saw that TVNZ stuff and while it was rude ,bad mannered etc the media themselves are complicit in the astounded rise of such a lack of common decency.

    We are bombarded with advertising for the latest gimmicky piece of crap from the big tech companies in well orchestrated and expensive campaigns .

    The media are constantly calling for feedback on facebook,twitter etc and when they get it they cry like babies.

    They are responsible for promoting and disseminating a huge proportion of the drop in standards in society in general ,promoting their own shallow lifestyles ,targetting the young,producing “edgy” so called entertainment,celebrity this ,that and the other,sexy blah blah ,personality cult ,attacking conservative and traditional values,drug and debt culture ,so called progressive policies,equality (what ever that is) etc

    Chickens coming home to roost.

    They need to examine themselves as much as the bad mannered crap people say about them on so called social media.

    Not to worry though ,parliament will pass another law ,which will be a waste of time and money,but at least they can feel good about themselves too.

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  11. Longknives (4,051 comments) says:

    “think that was philu”

    I miss Philu- His Cannabis-addled lunatic rantings always made me feel secure in my beliefs about dropkick beneficiaries..

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  12. Dean Papa (623 comments) says:

    Kiwis hate bullies. Yeah, right. Ask the staff at Countdown who have been abused by their fellow citizens. Ask Robyn Malcolm or Jennifer Ward-Lealand for their opinion on the gentle disposition of the great unwashed Kiwi. Ask Quade Cooper for his comments on the Kiwi sense of fair play. A lot of this hostility is fanned by the media, so it is a bit rich to see them now playing victim. Having said that, it was brave of Toni to read out that tweet. I can’t fathom why anyone would be so hostile to such a sweet person. Now Mike Hosking I could understand.

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  13. convicted radical (61 comments) says:

    Dana Johannsen has a similar article in NZH today too:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11209806

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  14. BeeJay (65 comments) says:

    My mother always used to tell us – “if you can’t say anything nice about a person, you shouldn’t say anything at all! What a pity we don’t follow the old ways! Maybe because there weren’t so many dickheads evident in our society. Our MP when I was a kid was a lovely old man, Ritchie Macdonald. Now we have total prats like the Green Australian wanker and his crew so is it any surprise that the twits who twitter want to vent their anger and dissatisfaction on a regular basis. I was absolutely blown away when I read the bit on the TVNZ website that DF refers to (staff reading about incredibly horrible things …….) calling the TVNZ staff “stars”! Oh dear, maybe that’s why twits want to twitter about them, if that’s what the TVNZ staff think they are!!

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  15. Psycho Milt (1,989 comments) says:

    My mother always used to tell us – “if you can’t say anything nice about a person, you shouldn’t say anything at all! What a pity we don’t follow the old ways!

    Closely followed by

    …total prats like the Green Australian wanker and his crew…

    Priceless

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  16. lazza (296 comments) says:

    Tweets to TVNZ “Stars”.

    Intemperate yes, innaccurate, I think not (for 90% of them atany arate).

    “If the cap fits”.

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  17. EAD (324 comments) says:

    I hate using the left/right, red team vs. blue team paradigm as it detracts from the real divide of the governed vs. the governing but I put the blame almost entirley on the Left for the increase in vitirol and abuse in general society. Not only their denigration of religion in favour of the state as a source of morality, or their destructive welfare state but their use of words like “bigot”, “fascist”, “xenophobe”, “nazi”, and the worst of all “denier” to attack any legitimate argument forward by decent, well meaning people and shut down debate. It has turned civil discourse into a viscous slanging match alost always in one direction. When we see supposed “leaders” of the country speaking like this, what do you think the governed will do? It has go to the stage now where people are threatening to kill Tony Abbot.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/this_horrific_abuse_of_abbott_must_end_but_where_is_the_left_that_cried_ove/

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  18. OTGO (457 comments) says:

    “Sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you” At least that’s what my Mum used to say.

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  19. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    King Kong – the example you give and the up ticks to it are quite demonstrative. Although what’s said is a fairly piffly example the intent of your comment is very typical of what happens here (and at The Standard) where small groups try to harass off people they disagree with, don’t like, or think they are on some sort of political mission.

    This is a culture established by people who try and control what is said and who can say it.

    Interesting that this culture hasn’t become established at Whale Oil, I can discuss exactly the same things there as I do here and get very little of the attempts to harass (a notable exception yestedray).

    I’m sure everyone commenting here disagrees with some comments and probably dislike some commenters. Most of us can get frustrated. And most of us can respect DPF’s blog and reputation and don’t launch personal attacks – some one off, some more sustained.

    But only a small minority decide they have a right to bully. I’ll keep confronting that sort of behaviour where ever I participate.

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  20. King Kong (26 comments) says:

    PG, If, hypothetically, there was someone lacking any self awareness who carpet bombed every corner of social media with his prattling inanities, would it not be within your rights to encourage him to stop?

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  21. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    I would say you have as much right as anyone to participate but would encourage you to respect the rights of others as much as you claim your own.

    And I would remind you of something DPF said in his post:

    …it might be that people pause for a few seconds and don’t say anything online about someone that they would not be prepared to say under their own name, to their face.

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  22. EAD (324 comments) says:

    Zerohedge today

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  23. Peter (1,471 comments) says:

    “Stars”?

    Seriously, WTF?

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  24. ben (2,386 comments) says:

    They’re insults. This is not new. It’s part of the deal of reaching a wide audience: a tiny percent are unpleasant or crazy. It’s not personal. Folks going in to broadcasting must know this and at all times have the option to leave.

    The bigger danger here, by some distance, is the risk to the right to be offensive. I am not defending offensiveness, only the right to disagree, and a rule against offensiveness must inevitably be used to stifle genuine opinion.

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  25. Meatloaf (62 comments) says:

    About this online abuse, I know what works and what doesn’t work. When I was with 2 degrees for my mobile, I was told, you have to get 4 nasty texts in a row, that you haven’t responded to, before we’ll take action. Now that I’m with Vodafone, I can just put an immediate block on that person. So if someone who I’ve met, is expecting me to do all sorts of things for them, and they won’t take no for an answer, I don’t need to wait for 2 degrees to evaluate those texts, I can just block these people immediately, and that’s what works.

    Their’s clear cut bullying, and their’s cyberbullying. Clear cut bullying is using threats, and name calling. But their are far more subtle ways. People play with your head, to get you to do what they want, and if the answer is no, they start to belittle you or use threats, till you do what they want. A bully is a leech with muscles. Someone who wants something for nothing, and uses psychological tricks to do it. And when that doesn’t work, that’s when they use threats.

    With two degrees my opponent was with Telecom, and so 2 degrees said that 4 text rule only applies if your both with the same provider. Because you’ve responded within the last 48 hours, that 4 text rule is void. I talked to Telecom about it, they said no, its 24 hours. That your phone can’t have texted this person in 24 hours. And once that’s the case, if you’ve had 4 texts straight we’ll take action. So after going round and round in circles, I just changed to Vodafone, and as soon as its clear this person wants something for nothing that’s it. So what I’m saying, is if by internet you can block people’s emails that is good enough. You can do that. And I’m saying this cause I trusted 2 degrees, and Telecom, and I’m never going to trust them again.

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  26. EAD (324 comments) says:

    Don’t know what happened to that 10.59am post but Zerohedge today had a very good article about online abuse:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2014-02-25/why-trolls-start-flame-wars-swearing-and-name-calling-shut-down-ability-think

    Online abuse has the effect of polarising opinions and reducing peoples ability to think clearly by reducing the ability to focus on the actual topic and facts under discussion.

    It does offer some good advice at the end about how to counter the trolls, win over your audience and come across as humorous, light-hearted and smart … instead of heavy-handed or overly-intense.

    Sounds a lot like John Key vs. Kim Dotcom/Helen Clark/Wussell/John Campbell :)

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  27. Elaycee (4,089 comments) says:

    So let me try and understand this…..

    Apparently it’s OK for someone to create a Facebook page – all in the name of vanity. And they can describe themselves as a single (but looking) ‘moon landing conspiracy theorist and a member of the Gweens’ and then post photos that should be for private viewing only….

    Yup – apparently that’s OK.

    But it’s not OK for someone to point out the obvious – they’re a desperate and deranged narcissist who is kinky to boot????

    Goodness…. :P

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  28. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    …and a rule against offensiveness must inevitably be used to stifle genuine opinion.

    And offensiveness, especially sustained offensiveness, is a weapon used to try and stifle and the opinions of others without allowing debate.

    Which is worse?

    It is done to both drown out arguments with diversionary abuse and to try and drive away people with opinions they want to exclude.

    As EAD says:

    Online abuse has the effect of polarising opinions and reducing peoples ability to think clearly and stop the ability to focus on the actual topic and facts under discussion.

    That’s the intent of some. For others abuse and bullying seems to be some sort of sport. And others seem to have political missions.

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  29. stephieboy (1,162 comments) says:

    I’ve had to put up with some pretty vile things said both here and elsewhere in social media.I detach and then ignore what is said and focus on the debate. People who feel they need to resort to abuse to make a point have lost the argument in my view.You see this among certain cultists ,religious, political and secular zealots like the Bainiacs who post here from time to time.

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  30. King Kong (26 comments) says:

    PG, If you stand in the streets of Harlem shouting “I hate blacks”, be prepared for some rather fruity language in response.

    Same applies when you come to right wing blogs espousing progressive dumb fuckery.

    Facts of life.

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  31. BeeJay (65 comments) says:

    If Mum was alive she’d understand!

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  32. Fletch (5,727 comments) says:

    What I notice is this: –

    The news media have made Charlotte Dawson’s death an excuse to launch into an anti-bullying campaign and (less so) about the effects of depression. What has been totally ignored is that Dawson says (in her own words, in her autobiography) that it was the abortion of her baby that led to her first major bout of depression. There is plenty of evidence that there are links between women who have abortions and negative effects on their mental and emotional wellbeing.

    If Dawson’s death can be an impetous to start discussions on bullying and depression, then why not the subject of the mental and emotional effects of abortion, which Dawson says in her own words are what sparked her first serious bout of depression?

    The media has ignored this because abortion is one of the liberal sacraments that they dare not be critical of.

    As Glen Peoples writes in a blog post –

    Abortion is deemed by many – including me – to be wrong because it unjustly takes a human life. That is ultimately why abortion is wrong. But when the victim of depression with such terrible consequences provides such a clear insight as to what was going on in her personal and mental life in this way, calling attention to abortion as a cause, it makes obvious sense for those who think that abortion is wrong to take Charlotte’s lead (and indeed the lead of some fairly credible research) and allow this concern to be heard.

    http://www.rightreason.org/2014/abortion-and-depression-an-open-letter-to-the-pretentiously-angry/

    Don’t expect that from our media though. They don’t dare to be critical of abortion. in fact, I wonder if this big push is a precursor to soften people up for the blocking of free speech in the guise of trying to stop cyber-bullying.
    Doesn’t Judith Collins have some kind of bill to that effect?

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  33. SHG (321 comments) says:

    When I see the words “cyber bullying” what I hear is “voluntarily spending time with idiots”.

    Charlotte Dawson was a victim of voluntarily spending time with idiots. I call on the government to do something to stop the problem of voluntarily spending time with idiots. Isn’t it time that we stopped ignoring voluntarily spending time with idiots?

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  34. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    People need to be more polite. People need to harden up. With a bit of both, we’d get to a happy medium. But actually, people need to spend less time focusing on what people should do, and a bit more time focusing on what they personally do. That’s where you can make a difference. Oh, and don’t feed the trolls.

    (Yes, I recognise the hypocrisy inherent in this comment)

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  35. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    King Kong – you’re trying to make excuses for crap behaviour. lprent and others on the left do the same.

    And you don’t own this blog, nor is it the sole domain of right wing bullies.

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  36. Ed Snack (1,540 comments) says:

    Actually I’d quite like to say to the faces of many if not most of the “media stars” what I think of them. Can’t be arsed making the time to do it though.

    I can see where this is heading though; it will remain perfectly normal and indeed desirable to call people deniers, racists, neanderthals, fundies, etc, etc, but legally actionable if used in reply. Never let a “good” tragedy go to waste and all that…

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  37. Nigel Kearney (747 comments) says:

    This is all hypothetical unless someone can come up with a clear and accepted way of separating what is abusive and not permitted from what is an exercise of free speech. Free speech is too important to just have some vague rule and then let the slippery slope do its work. Preventing abuse is nice to have but less important.

    All these people who have received abuse and are still alive and well and happy to use their experience to advance a political agenda are actually quite a strong argument against tougher regulation.

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  38. gump (1,232 comments) says:

    @EAD

    “I hate using the left/right, red team vs. blue team paradigm as it detracts from the real divide of the governed vs. the governing but I put the blame almost entirley on the Left for the increase in vitirol and abuse in general society. ”

    ————————-

    So how do commentators like Cameron Slater fit into this theory? He thrives on vitriol and abuse but can’t be described as left wing. So I’d politely suggest that the issue has nothing to do with left or right wing politics.

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  39. EAD (324 comments) says:

    That is true Pete. There is nothing worse than a non-stop circle jerk of like minded opinions(“left” or “right”) otherwise the place just becomes an echo chamber. Sure I like surrounding myself people who like freedom and liberty but I’m all ears for somebody to try convince me with a good argument that the government is not doing or spending enough. Or that every problem can only be solved with more foresight, funding, “expert” opinion and top-down control.

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  40. Ed Snack (1,540 comments) says:

    Gump, Slater is a reaction, perhaps the only significant one. Simply contrast how the leftist blogs are run and how their content compares. It fits with the contention that those on the notional right believe that they are correct and that their opponents are mistaken for a variety of reasons; whereas those on the notional left know that not only are they absolutely correct but their opponents are in fact “teh evil”, in the pay of some evil (probably jewish but that depends on the type of lefty) but faceless corporate who wants simply to crush the faces of the “poor” into the dirt, because THEY CAN ! Moral posturing has become the currency of legitimizing ones leftist credentials.

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  41. stephieboy (1,162 comments) says:

    Fletch, we don’t know the full reasons behind Charlottes tragic suicide .Her Abortion though sad was but one in the chain of events including cyber bullying.I think Deborah Cone was close to it when she viewed Charlootte’s death in the context of the pressures put on in the celeb culture for aging women to look perpetually young.But again that’s but one of the important factors.Abortion possibly another but I think you appear to try and inculcate a lot of shame and guilt about this.
    As I said we will never likely know the full story.
    Let her RIP in God’s everlasting , loving and merciful arms.

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  42. gump (1,232 comments) says:

    @Ed Snack

    “It fits with the contention that those on the notional right believe that they are correct and that their opponents are mistaken for a variety of reasons; whereas those on the notional left know that not only are they absolutely correct but their opponents are in fact “teh evil”

    ———————-

    Redbaiter seems pretty convinced that he is ‘absolutely correct’ and that his opponents are ‘teh evil’.

    I’d suggest that the underlying issue is a lack of empathy, intelligence, and tact.

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  43. King Kong (26 comments) says:

    PG, Not excuses at all. You are the one who walks into the jungle smeared in JellyMeat then starts crying about it being “not fair” when something bites you.

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  44. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    All these people who have received abuse and are still alive …

    Oooh… ah, shhh, yeah, nah, not all of them are Nigel.

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  45. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    I don’t recall saying anything about not being fair. I don’t back away from confrontations, I stand my ground. I think that’s what pisses people off more than anything, they fail to achieve their aim and their behaviour reflects far more on themselves in the process.

    And I think I contribute positively to information and discussions here than the flailing and failing abusers. There’s a lot more views and interests here than a handful of frustrated frumpies.

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  46. Longknives (4,051 comments) says:

    The thought of Pete George smeared in Jellymeat is making me feel rather ill…

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  47. kowtow (6,734 comments) says:

    Braised beige badger and jellymeat might have some appeal to the less discerning diner.

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  48. wf (321 comments) says:

    Keyboard warriors.

    They hide behind their anonymity. I once started a thread on Trademe about the abusers, and it went gangbusters with people telling of the abuse they’d suffered. I went away for the weekend, and it was gone on Monday – voted off by said keyboard warriors, lol.

    ‘Nuf said.

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  49. jonno1 (76 comments) says:

    @Ed Snack 11.44am. I regularly read and occasionally comment on three blogs: Kiwiblog, Whale Oil, and TransportBlog. Two are mildly right-leaning, one is heavily left-leaning (but denies it if challenged). All produce interesting and well-researched posts. Whenever I comment I endeavour to be factual, or if I’m merely expressing an opinion I make that clear and invite correction.

    On only one of those blogs have I ever been abused, albeit fairly mildly (I’m not counting genuine disagreement as abuse). For example, on one occasion when I politely pointed out that the AGW meme has been discredited to the point that even the IPCC is quietly backing away from it, another commenter immediately requested that I be banned! In fairness to the moderators they ignored that request. On another occasion I was accused of using terms like pinko and greenie, which I have never done and never will as I consider them derogatory, and also of being a neoliberal (whatever that is, I have no idea). I can only assume that the writer was projecting his own perceptions onto me. As I said, pretty mild stuff, but interesting in terms of which end of the political spectrum is more inclined to resort to abuse when their beliefs are challenged.

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  50. Meatloaf (62 comments) says:

    To Nigel Kearney in regards to your question. Abuse is all about power. For instance, if someone is trying to set the day’s activities, and asks if I want to be involved, if I ask them a question they don’t want answered, they will sometimes flip out. The hope is that by belittling me, I will forget the question. For instance, if I say who will pay for travel, if they wanted me to pay for both their travel and my travel, and they can tell that it won’t be worth if for me, if I have to pay for travel, they might flip out. So this is why I don’t trust these people who are wanting to monitor everything.

    The simple reality is those who abuse want to control. So as soon as I see that this person has to have everything done their way, I don’t give them the opportunity to get abusive, as soon as they become unreasoanable and say they are unhappy, I just block communication with them. And if we happen to bump into each other in person, I can say well you were unhappy with me. I discovered this, when remembered how all those who became text bullies, also controlled the conversation in their texts, were manipulative and told lies, and misleading half truths.

    So that’s what abuse is. Free speech is when its really just your opinion about something, you’re not saying things to gain at someone else’s expense.

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  51. redeye (626 comments) says:

    Rowan Atkinson putting the hammer to the nail.

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  52. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    interesting in terms of which end of the political spectrum is more inclined to resort to abuse when their beliefs are challenged.

    jonno1 – they say similar things at The Standard but see the abuse as almost solely a right wing thing in politics.

    From my experiences it can be as bad across the spectrum. A difference between Kiwiblog and The Standard is here DPF believes in freedom of speech and at TS lprent leads the way in abuse and bullying and bans people regularly (he has just re-announced that the bannings will ramp up until the election.

    In the comment sections there is similar abuse in both blogs, often with the apparent intent of shutting down and shutting out some people. The difference is lprent protects the abuse and often sets the tone and example.

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  53. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    I don’t back away from confrontations, I stand my ground. I think that’s what pisses people off more than anything

    To be honest pete, I think what winds people up the most about you is your incessance. For example, this post is 51 comments long, 6 of them are yours, thats over 20%. I know PaulL has been posting as long as I have here and he’s at the grand total of 5,731 comments. You’ve been posting here a lot less in time but you’re at 21,310 comments. Being succinct is a virtue.

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  54. jonno1 (76 comments) says:

    @Pete George, yes you’re right, although having visited the Standard once I never wish to go there again! And of course there are occasional personal attacks on this blog, although I’ve not experienced that, fortunately. It could perhaps be called “robust debate” in the interests of free speech (which I support). Whale Oil is generally more light-hearted (in my opinion) than Kiwiblog, and the mods there are pretty quick to point out when a line has been crossed, without banning the commenter. That seems to work well.

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  55. Ed Snack (1,540 comments) says:

    Gump, yes, well, redbaiter. To be honest I’m not sure where you’d place him on the spectrum but personality disorder comes closest to me. He’s a relatively rare example in general though, and does little more than match a fairly significant number of distinctly leftist trolls in abuse; fairly predictable abuse may I say. At least he’s an “equal opportunities” troller, I doubt there are many left on KB who haven’t at some stage been labelled as some kind of leftist tool by RB.

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  56. jonno1 (76 comments) says:

    @labrator. Is 76 comments in 2.5 years an acceptable level? :)

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  57. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    All this talk of the dividing line between abuse and free speech is a red herring. The simple fact is if forums like this one required commenters to use their real names (I am not an expert but I am sure verification of who is who in this bewildering electronic age can be done) then the “problem” falls away…People can still say what they like – thus preserving free speech – but they take the consequences of that speech, whether that be widespread opprobrium or banning from the site, as DPF has done here in a few cases.

    I have made the comparison with letters the the editor before, and I make it again: 30 years ago provincial newspapers were full of semi coherent rants from “Ratepayer” “Mother” and “Right thinker”. One by one papers stopped printing anonymous letters, and the letters pages improved hugely as a result

    In short, if forums like this allow comments only from people using their real names, 90% of the garbage – including personal insults – would simply stop. And the owner of the forum could take appropriate action re the 10% which continued.

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  58. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    @labrator: I don’t begrudge PG his voice. His comments don’t always align with my thinking, but they’re generally polite and reflect his true beliefs. I don’t understand why some on here seem to have made it their job to constantly attack him, it surely would be easier to just not read his comments if you don’t like them.

    I do see the behaviour that some engage in towards PG as a form of bullying, but I also figure he’s a big enough boy to stand up for himself (and I note that he comments here by choice). I could spend some time complaining about that bullying, but that’d just decrease the signal to noise ratio on this blog even further.

    I used to comment a lot more here than I do now, a portion of that is because I find the tone has dropped over time.

    Sure, there were always nutters like philu or redbaiter, and there were periods where they were completely disruptive (including the people who devoted their time to taunting or belittling them). But the general thrust of the conversation was somewhat polite and reasoned.

    In recent times I’ve found a greater proportion of the comments to be blindly one sided, actively inflammatory, and more focused on yelling at people than presenting some sort of reasoned argument. I see people like Psycho Milt, who used to at least seek to understand someone’s position before belittling it, moving to his default behaviour being to actively misunderstand and misrepresent the position of others. Perhaps it’s from him spending too much time at The Standard (where that’s the default operating model), perhaps it’s part of the general lowering of tone here. I don’t at the moment have the time to invest in that (and it’s a waste of time). That may change in the near future.

    I assume PG has time to spend on it, and good on him if he wants to do that. He has as much right to be here as anyone else.

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  59. Monique Angel (229 comments) says:

    Yeah. What’s your real name Pete George? Good pseudonym, almost sounds like a real name.

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  60. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    @PaulL Likewise, I don’t begrudge PG either and appreciate his polite contribution. Since he was postulating on what upsets others the most I thought I’d provide an alternate view he may not have considered.

    @jonno1 As the full and final arbiter of what is acceptable, the answer is no. Please increase or reduce your commenting accordingly!

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  61. jonno1 (76 comments) says:

    @PaulL. I agree that PG has the same rights as the rest of us. If I find a particular commenter irritating (I’m not implying that PG is) I simply scroll past. In respect of Redbaiter, his language is at times, err, intemperate. However, when you look past that to the kernel of what he espouses, it’s usually pretty hard to disagree with him. I certainly wouldn’t categorise him as a nutter, rather as someone who is passionate in his beliefs. There, I’ve said it, that may provoke some abuse!

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  62. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    labrator – yes, I agree that succint can be a virtue, and I often endeavour to be succint. But sometimes I choose otherwise as I see fit.

    If it wasn’t for the number of comments I’ve posted standing up for myself my count would be far far fewer. An as it is I pick my battles, more often than not I ignore stuff directed at me, including common things like deliberate repeat lies and false accusations.

    At The Standard I got swarms of attacks who then blamed me for disrupting threads and was sometimes banned for it – which was the aim (sometimes stated) of the resident trolls. Because DPF runs KB far different to lprent at TS the established trolls here try different tactics, but with the same intent.

    You’re free to point your finger at me but that ignores the obvious causes of much of the crap here. I don’t know if you don’t see that or you deliberately choose to just blame me.

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  63. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    In short, if forums like this allow comments only from people using their real names, 90% of the garbage – including personal insults – would simply stop

    I highly doubt that. There might be fewer offensive comments on blogs but I suspect there’d be an increase in such comments made directly to bloggers or “celebrities”. Picking up the phone, for example, doesn’t require the caller to give their name…

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  64. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    Without doubt, the penmanship of our own Redbaiter and Dad4justice will be in these videos somewhere… :-)

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  65. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    You’re free to point your finger at me but that ignores the obvious causes of much of the crap here. I don’t know if you don’t see that or you deliberately choose to just blame me.

    During yet another swarming attack the messenger was caught in the crossfire and despite being rushed to hospital was announced dead on arrival. Just another sad loss in the daily “battle” of online discussion forums.

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  66. Paulus (2,299 comments) says:

    Simple.

    Don’t have anything to do with Social Media (Twits, or Face) then you don’t have to say or look at it.

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  67. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    Ms Angel – it can be a fine line between being open about what goes down and “playing the victim”. Being open about the issue is important, to an extent.

    You can’t please all the anons all the time.

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  68. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    DG, I agree that making the using of your real identity compulsory would cut abuse by something like 90% but it would also probably cut the amount of good comment 90%. Some of the best contributors here are anonymous.

    It would help if people commenting anonymously did so as if they were saying it face to face (as DPF suggests) but the worst of the abusers ignore any appeal to decency.

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  69. muggins (2,904 comments) says:

    David Garrett says that if forums like this only allow comments from people using their real names then 90% of the garbage/personal insults would stop.
    I reckon he is not too far off the mark. Only problem is that if posters commenting on forums like this had to use their real names then probably only about 10% of those commenting now would continue to do so.
    Of course no-one has to read kiwiblog. No-one has to belong to Facebook. No-one has to look at blogs where the blogger [who knows their name] abuses them.
    How many people look at kiwiblog, I wonder. Or Whale oil for that matter. I reckon I could go down our street and knock on every door and ask the person answering the door the questions “Have you ever looked at kiwiblog? Have you ever looked at Whale oil’s blog.? and very few would say that they have.

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  70. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    @jonno1: I always found it somewhat amusing when Red used to attack me for being a left wing apologist. Those of my friends who are somewhat politically active generally believe that I’m slightly to the right of Genghis Khan in my political beliefs, so I was always tempted to collect Red’s comments in a single list to show them that I was actually a respectable centrist.

    I have in recent times on KB seen many more people that I’d describe as conservative, as opposed to the earlier crowd, who tended to be a bit more liberal (both socially and economically liberal). I’m wondering whether blogs and the internet in general have just reached further into the population, so where it used to be a self-selecting group who were on here, there are now a wider cross section of the population.

    It does amuse me that some of those conservatives seem to believe you can’t be right wing unless you also believe in guns for all, oppose abortion, and think that gay marriage is the work of the devil.

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  71. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    Sure, there were always nutters like philu or redbaiter, and there were periods where they were completely disruptive (including the people who devoted their time to taunting or belittling them).

    Guilty as charged.

    But I regret little of my contribution towards the hounding of Phool and Red dick from this site.

    The former, little but paranoid delusional drivel; the latter, little but bile of a particularly nasty kind.

    Can you honestly say that the tone on Kiwiblog is now worse for being without the two gentlemen you named?

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  72. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    @RRM: their absence makes me happy. But they’ve been replaced with other trolls and wasters. It’s part of the internet. And the mess that it made for the 6 months it went on was not an improvement over just ignoring their ranting.

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  73. Fletch (5,727 comments) says:

    Inherent in the panoply of protections afforded by the First Amendment is the right to speak anonymously in diverse contexts. This right arises from a long tradition of American advocates speaking anonymously through pseudonyms, such as James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, who authored the Federalist Papers but signed them only as “Publius.”

    The U.S. Supreme Court has stated that “an author’s decision to remain anonymous . . . is an aspect of the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.” This is because “the interest in having anonymous works enter the marketplace of ideas unquestionably outweighs any public interest in requiring disclosure as a condition of entry.” The Supreme Court has also held that there is “no basis for qualifying the level of First Amendment scrutiny that should be applied to . . . [the Internet] medium.” Accordingly, “[i]t is clear that speech over the internet is entitled to First Amendment protection” and that “[t]his protection extends to anonymous internet speech.”

    One question is whether the right to anonymity is absolute, or if there are circumstances where the right must give way to other more paramount interests, such as obtaining information to facilitate a plaintiff’s pursuit of a civil lawsuit.

    http://itlaw.wikia.com/wiki/Anonymous_speech

    Sure, I think that some people may cowardly hide behind anonymous speech, but I also think that anonymous speech gives people a forum to say what they want to say without fear of retribution or retaliation by a government or other entity. The Electronic Freedom Foundation has an article on it as well –

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/10/online-anonymity-not-only-trolls-and-political-dissidents

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  74. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    Some thoughtful comments there…As someone above has said you dont need to be on twitter or facebook – or here – indeed I am not on the first two or any similar site, but only because I see the whole thing as fucking inane, not because of “bullying”…when I first came here I got a fair measure of attack and yes, some of it did cut quite deeply…but I was always just able to walk away…the reality is some are not so able to do that… Charlotte Dawson is the “victim du jour”, but vulerable teenagers are of huge concern to me…

    When the local guy out here shot himself I had a convo with the young guy who found him…I was astounded to learn that no less than 15 FIFTEEN of his former peers at Westlake Boys High (a large Auckland High School) had sucided, many of those suicides connected in some way or other with “social media”….and as the father of two young kids, the older of whom has become very image conscious, that scares the shit out of me…

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  75. Fletch (5,727 comments) says:

    I must say that I am glad that I went to school in the 1980s before the age of the internet. Kids video each other on their phones bullying or being bullied and then whack it up on bebo or facebook for everyone to see and there isn’t any escape from it. Perhaps there should be an age restriction – I know you have to be at least 13 to sign up for Facebook officially (which I guess is high school age). Maybe it should be older, I don’t know.

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  76. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    Fletch: yes, I understand the age limit for facebook is 14…that hasnt stopped my daughter aged 12 1/2 signing on…I believe it is simply a matter of ticking the “yes” box in answer to a question about whether you are old enough…Take her cellphone/tablet away? Impossible when you are not the custodial parent…

    PG: I disagree that some of the best commenters on here are anonymous (RRM might actually be one such )…about 5% of us use our real names, and I suggest that all of our comments are the better for it…Please tell me some anonymous ones who you think add real value here…

    RRM: I also do not regret attacking the moronic drug addled Philu… or silly Russell Redbaiter…but my comments were always made in my own name…You are a very moderate commenter here…maybe it’s time for you also to take a deep breath and come out of the pseudonym closet??

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  77. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    no less than 15 FIFTEEN of his former peers at Westlake Boys High … had sucided

    I find it incredibly frustrating the devotion, and sheer cash, that we throw at lowering the road toll yet we’re not even allowed to mention the word “suicide” in the paper for fear of inciting people to kill themselves. The worst part is it’s generally the young people who are dieing. You can discount Facebook, twitter, snapchat, whatsapp and the plethora of other ways young people communicate and say “just don’t go on it” but you miss the very point of the struggles that young people go through. Being a social outcast at school is exceptionally difficult so the peer pressure to be on these online social circles is huge. Kids haven’t got any less nasty than when you were at school however technology has now enabled the ability for them to target you when you’re at home, alone, when your parents think you’re safely studying in your room. We need better strategies to deal with this and if we started the conversation, you’d probably find the kids themselves would have the answer before most of us could work out where the ‘like’ button is.

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  78. PaulL (5,776 comments) says:

    @labrator: I always worry that not talking about depression and suicide leads more kids to think they’re alone, they’re the only ones who have ever felt like this etc etc. On top of the usual teenager belief that their generation invented everything (did you know that sex was only just invented last year?), I think it leaves some kids feeling like they have no other way out.

    In some ways normalising it, and talking about it as a sickness for which you can get treatment, I think could reduce the dreadful toll. But it’s hard to know, and I’m by no means a specialist in the area.

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  79. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    DG – there are some notable anonymous contributors here, several from the legal profession come to mind. In fact most who comment here are fine most of the time. There’s a few who make it look like a lot of abuse.

    There’s a difference between having a ding dong argument with someone – that’s common, but most see it as a one off argument and may just as easily agree on something different the next day. You and I have done that.

    The real problem is those who resort to extreme personal abuse, the serial abusers, the neverending nigglers, the deliberate liars and attempted character assassinators. They are not here to debate, they are here to berate. They try to shout down and shut out people they take a dislike to or decide are political opponents that need to be destroyed.

    The only reason I stayed commenting at The Standard as long as I did was to not let them beat me into submission.

    They’re a small minority, but they cause a disproportionate amount of the problem. They’re the sort of people who would be banned from bars or clubs as recidivist trouble makers, and not invited to family events because they always antagonise. So they take out their anger and frustrations online.

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  80. labrator (1,691 comments) says:

    @PaulL likewise, I’m no specialist in the area but I still think we’re doing it all wrong. I agree that hiding it does more harm. I would’ve thought that the LGBT community would’ve been able to provide huge insights here as they were very much a suppressed part of society for so long until recently. To my mind children are generally looking for acceptance and to be part of something. If they weren’t then peer pressure wouldn’t work. So there are two parts to the problem as I see it. 1) How do we make young people feel more like they belong ( and here is where the normalisation you talk of would fit in) and 2) How do we teach children to find joy in things outside of validation by others? I find the irony that young skate boarders are so often targeted by “the establishment” yet these young people are often the most stable, unwavering and self-fulfilled that you could want to meet outside of the outward-bounds can’t stop achieving type. I’m also not sure that the paradigm that ‘depression is a sickness’ is the correct one.

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  81. kowtow (6,734 comments) says:

    Redbaiter was bloody marvellous.

    Most of you progressives ,who masquarade as conservative or “right wingers” just didn’t like Red showing you up for what you are.

    Much of the ire directed at him is because he was telling an uncomfortable truth.

    Yes he could be abrasive ,but looking at it from the culture wars point of view ,the stakes are too high .And cultural marxism has made far too many inroads.

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  82. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    labrator @ 2.44: Very well said. The road toll is now less than half the number of suicides annually…and it appears it can be just as random as road crashes in who it targets.

    Depression is most definitely an illness…and just as we have cut deaths from heart disease and stroke by targeting the causes and treating the symptoms – such as high blood pressure – we can do the very same with better awareness of depression, its causes and treatment. Sir John Kirwan very deservedly received a Knighthood for doing just that.

    Kowtow: Really? Do you agree with Red’s labeling of me as a “commie prog”?? The Greens would be splitting their sides with laughter…

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  83. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    Reddie was 95% dingbat. He sometimes made some good points but they were almost always overwhelmed by his over the top cut and pastes.

    He was full of contradictions and ironies, but if you pointed any out that’s when he reached for the and his abuse generator and fired barbs – about as venomous as barbie.

    “Commie prog” was just his idea of modernising his barbies.

    But he ended up being quite harmless, I think he enjoyed being the KB jester for a while but then must have got bored with it.

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  84. kowtow (6,734 comments) says:

    DG

    Context?

    I don’t necessarily agree with absolutely everything he said about everyone and a lot of the interactions between him and yourself were pretty vitriolic.

    You have to admit it ,he carried the banner.For that I admire him ,and he gave as good as he got,to and from a shit load of posters here.

    On topic ,there’s a shitload of anti Catholic ,anti Christian bile here too and a lot of posters are free and easy with their bigotry in that direction……..

    I suppose if you ‘re going to post on the internet you need a thick skin.

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  85. kowtow (6,734 comments) says:

    Petey

    Red “ended up being quite harmless”……..like the Beige Badger?

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  86. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    You have to admit it ,he carried the banner.

    But what banner exactly? He was full of contradictions. A sort of authoritarian patriarchal liberal conservative anarchist.

    Even when he touched on something that sounded sensible if anyone asked him to expand or clarify he would launch into an attack and call you whatever his label of the day was.

    He did moderate over time, I remember him calling for revolution where all the current politicians and journalists would end up hanging from lampposts.

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  87. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    kowey – yes, quite harmless, so why does anyone care what I say and try and shut me up?

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  88. Nostalgia-NZ (4,698 comments) says:

    I don’t want to argue about it, but I don’t believe the ex Westlake boy’s claim about 15 suicides of present or past pupils he knew committing suicide.

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  89. kowtow (6,734 comments) says:

    Who’s trying to shut you up,Pete?

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  90. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    Well on the subject of deaths caused you are the last one to comment…funnily enough some of Red’s saner moments were often to warn me off mixing it with you…but you know the score B……come out here and set foot on my property at your peril…but based on past evidence you’d only ever try it from the gate…and that’s quite some distance from the house…especially with your weapon of choice

    Pete: Who tries to shut you up? You get some good natured – and sometimes not so good natured – ribbing, especially when you start expounding on our supposed “rape culture” but I have never seen anyone try to shut you down

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  91. Pete George (21,830 comments) says:

    DG – it actually happened at The Standard and Dim-Post. And there’s a few numpties who have tried and still try here, in vain. They cycle through their bags of tricks, some touched on in this thread. I’m writing a book about it. War and Peace is concise and light reading in comparison.

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  92. Psycho Milt (1,989 comments) says:

    I’m writing a book about it. War and Peace is concise and light reading in comparison.

    If only it was safe to assume that was a joke…

    I see people like Psycho Milt, who used to at least seek to understand someone’s position before belittling it, moving to his default behaviour being to actively misunderstand and misrepresent the position of others.

    PaulL: I tend to look on participation in Kiwiblog comments threads as an exuberant form of entertainment, a kind of mud-wrestling with circus freaks. That shouldn’t and I hope doesn’t apply to my responses to your comments, but there’s something about a lot of the commenters here that prompts much taking of the piss.

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  93. moocow (1 comment) says:

    Hopefully the good that comes out of it is that more money is pointed in the direction of sucide prevention programmes.

    I have a saying: I am responsible for what I say, you are responsible for how you take it. The point is no matter what someone says about me, I cant ignore it and move on, or act on it.

    Twitter can be turned off, facebook can be ignored. However, this is harder to do for someone with depression and other issues.

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  94. goldnkiwi (649 comments) says:

    There’s that piece of shit on my shoe again, amazing how many ‘wanna be’ holders of law degrees there are out there and in here, expounding on matters as if they are an authority. Cross reference to other thread lol.

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  95. Monique Angel (229 comments) says:

    Pete, Yeahnah, I almost posted a comment before about how it was bad taste for TVNZ to play victim and itemise the nasty wasty social media comments made to journalists.
    Smalley and the others need to grow some tits and not give the subject air but it’s probably too irresistible playing the Victim card as a chaser story to Dawson’s death. By now the MSM have convinced themselves that that the twitter trolls killed Dawson.
    There is a difference between saying; X, “You’re such a Tosser and you should go **** yourself you daft **** and saying; “I’m going to come after you etc et al.
    A death threat is a death threat whether aimed at an individual or group ( hate speech).
    Posting anything in between is the product of time wasting cunts with too much time away from the conveyor belt. The issuers of such proclamations should get a life. The Nasty comments stand for themselves and don’t need to be given oxygen; generally don’t by right thinking individuals.
    I deleted my original comment on this thread that prolly only you saw PG. I deleted it partly out of sadness for Charlotte, though she strung her own rope there were other un-aired factors,
    First and last comment I ever delete on a blog forum though sometimes I delete tweets after getting pissed, lippy and irrelevant. And sometimes I hide my Facebook posts from my timeline as they bore me senseless. By and large I wouldn’t say anything that I wouldn’t stand by.

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  96. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    Monique: there’s on easy way to ensure you stand by everything you post…

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  97. Monique Angel (229 comments) says:

    Check for typos? Less cussing?

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  98. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    LOL…am I assuming wrongly that “Monique Angel” is a pseud??

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  99. Nostalgia-NZ (4,698 comments) says:

    There go the 15 suicides out the door, sounded convincing, sort of.

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  100. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    I say this under my own name and stand by every word….YOU dont deserve to be alive…If I get demerits for that, so be it

    The difference between you, Charlotte Dawson, and teenage suicides? Two corpses…

    And I am still in the same location big boy…

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  101. Nostalgia-NZ (4,698 comments) says:

    Yawn.

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  102. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    Yeah…I bet the relatives of your victims dont “yawn” every year on a certain anniversary…Shows what a c..t you are that you should shrug your shoulders at their anquish…I imagine every year Margaret’s mother thinks about what might have been …kids, grandkids…but you just fucking Yawn…

    Better call Judith and that other dingbat to come into bat for you…gutless prick (Yes I am abusing you online….the reason? See previous para.) but by God I’d say the same damn thing to your face…I hope still even if you were tooled up…

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  103. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    You tooled up these days Big Boy? You wont have a firearms licence but that wouldnt stop someone with your…contacts…

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  104. Nostalgia-NZ (4,698 comments) says:

    Typical reaction from someone caught out bull crapping, again.

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  105. Johnboy (13,439 comments) says:

    You should be safe even if he is David. At his age and condition his hands would shake and his specs fog up before he could get a telling shot away! :)

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  106. Johnboy (13,439 comments) says:

    What’s happened to Judith by the way? I miss her interesting,unbiased opinion on matters of no importance to me at all! :)

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  107. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    Interesting though eh? My expressions of empathy and sympathy for one of this victims’ families gets the response “typical reaction of someone bullcrapping again”…and the cunt is supposed to be reformed…

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  108. Nostalgia-NZ (4,698 comments) says:

    So that’s cleared up then, there weren’t 15.

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  109. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    You should sue me Big Boy! End up with another set of court costs you will never pay…What was your last attempt? Alleged breach of your f..ing privacy??

    You are a massive POS Big Boy (and all of my statements pass DPF’s two tests: 1) Prepared to say it under my own name; and 2) to your face…if you were ever unwise enough to come out here…)

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  110. Johnboy (13,439 comments) says:

    I thought cunt’s were useful David. :)

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  111. Nostalgia-NZ (4,698 comments) says:

    Well, you 2 aren’t – you run out of ticker.

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  112. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    My ticker’s working just fine Brian…come out and try your luck…

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  113. Nostalgia-NZ (4,698 comments) says:

    So the 15 is bull shit, who would have guessed.

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  114. kowtow (6,734 comments) says:

    Too funny for words……

    …….a post about online abuse ,turns into online abuse.

    You guys need to step back and have a look at yourselves!

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  115. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    kowtow: Not funny or ironic at all if you read DPF’s original post, and mine of 9.30…I am using my own name and saying things I would have no trouble telling the POS to his face…if he was ever brave enough to come close enough… but he favours attacks from the other side of the road…

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  116. freemark (324 comments) says:

    What is Brian’s last name DG?

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  117. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    freemark: I cant say that…it will upset DPF, who for reasons which escape me is intimidated by the prick… in fact he must be busy or he would have deleted my comments and given me 20 demerits…Somehow protection of the privacy and sensitive feelings of a two time killer is more important than a free and frank exchange on said person….

    If you read carefully you will probably work out who the prick skulking behind his pseud is…We have more two time killers in NZ than most people realise, but not that many…

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