About moderation, ideas and life

By Pete

The Cameron Slater that started blogging 9 years ago was sick, angry and lashing out. ?What he wrote was vile, upsetting and visceral. ?Yet there was a constant kernel of truth and a continuous provision of information and insights into the political process you could never get anywhere else. ?A small audience began to grow.

As was the thing, back in the day, allowing non-moderated comments to appear was part of the deal. ?It was a point of pride.

The theory was that smart readers would realise that the views of commenters were not those of the blog or its operator. ?And Cam personally felt (and still does, if we’re to be honest), that free speech is sacrosanct to the point where he would allow anything to be written.

The problem was that he assumed readers would not connect those comments to him, and instead judge?only the writer of such comments.

It’s no secret that since I’ve gotten involved, I’ve been busy mainstreaming Cameron Slater. ?Knocking the rough edges off. ?Making him sleep on things for another day before putting ‘pen to paper’. ?That certainly improved the general acceptability of the blog, and the audience grew. ?But we seemed to be hitting another barrier.

Turns out that when you leave shameful comments lying around on your blog, most readers see that as tacit approval of such comments. ?I pointed this out to Cam, and even though it was diametrically opposed to everything he believes in (free and open speech; let the reader be the judge), he understood that this was getting in the way of the blog reaching a wider audience.

Even though Cam had changed, his commenters had not. ?Many were not prepared to.

The results were that a small vocal crowd responded that we (mostly I) killed Whaleoil. ?And they were right. ?The visceral Whaleoil that started out no longer exists. ?And people who can’t accept that change are no longer welcome here. ?They all can start their own blog, or, as they do, infest the armpits of other blogs.

I accidentally strayed into the archives the other day and flinched at some of the stuff I read. ? The frustration was that the useful information was still there, but it was surrounded by bad language, debased ‘jokes’ and augmented by absolutely the lowest of the low comments.

It struck me that a lot of the “public opinion” about Cameron Slater so eagerly bandied about in and around left-wing circles and by certain media trolls hasn’t caught up with the changes that have happened. ?The meme that Cam Slater laughs at dead babies was energetically pushed by a NZ Herald journalist no less.

But in David Fisher’s case I can understand the anger. ?It is personal.

What I can’t understand is why so many people ‘on the left’ have this deep hatred for Slater when they have never even dealt with him directly. ?Essentially, they are angry with a composite image created by their?own attack blogs.

If Cameron Slater was even half of what they constantly repeat about him, I’m not sure I’d have anything to do with him either. ?But they continue to throw fuel on that fire. ?Somehow, in a country of 4.5 million people, Cameron Slater is “ground zero” for all the evil that is contained within our political system.

Is it any wonder that the (going to channel Cam here:) pinko readers have a mental image of the man that has started to make it completely acceptable in their minds to constantly talk about how he should be killed or perhaps kill himself?

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In this arms race for hearts and minds, we seem to have forgotten that politics is a contest of ideas. ?And when the public at large finds your ideas less interesting than ours (speaking generally), what you find then is that our side is in government, and our side run the blogs with the largest two audiences in the country.

Why is their response that this therefore needs to be dealt with, not by better ideas, but by destroying Cameron Slater?

And as we discovered at Whaleoil, leaving comments like that around is seen by observers of your blog as tacit approval.

I don’t get the naked hatred that makes people write stuff like that. ?We all have a life to live, tax to pay, and we get wet when we stand in the rain. ?A lot of us have families, we’re parents, we actually live a pretty decent life together in this jewel of a country.

Keep in mind that The Standard is a blog that has people like Greg Presland, close friend and senior advisor to David Cunliffe as one of its authors. ?Had history gone a little differently a few months ago, he would be Prime Minister David Cunliffe by now.

I like you to reflect on the fact that a blog that has associations with political parties to the point where it could have been riding side-saddle to the Prime Minister appears to have no problems with leaving death threats to people with different?ideas up for all to see.

The sad thing is, they really feel that way. ?They really, really want Cameron Slater to go away. ?They know he won’t – ergo – there is really only one answer…

And so, a number of them got together in a meeting to sort out a grand plan to put so much pressure on Cameron Slater’s life that he – it was expressed – would “do a Dawson”.

In the mean time, the man that has taken defamation action against Cameron Slater joined in with their team. ?Writing blog posts on the Standard (directly at first, indirectly later on) while maintaining he isn’t a public figure and wants to keep everything private. ?In it, he accused (later withdrawn) Cameron Slater of organising a gang hit on him.

The same insinuation?turned up in a spiteful, inaccurate and defaming Herald piece by David Fisher.

The same people, again?with?help of some people at the NZ Herald, started putting pressure on Cameron Slater’s support network.

More legal complaints were launched. ?Pressure to respond faster to legal requests followed, because they were trying to tie Cameron up in court for two reasons: ?drain his time away, and drain his money away.

At the same time, they started campaigning against any company that had as much as a passing association with Cameron Slater. ?Canon, 2Degrees and more caved.

And all of that is ignoring the ordered and paid for hacking. ?And all of that is ignoring the wide dissemination of that material. ?It ended up, allegedly, in the hands of people taking Cameron to court, in the hands of certain journos, and as we all know, Nicky Hager was contacted and perhaps actually contracted to write the book in time for the election.

To this day, not?one of Cameron’s emails or personal communications that can damage Labour, the Greens, Mana or the Internet party have surfaced.

To this day, not?one media organisation has looked into that.

Cameron Slater must be destroyed. ? They’ve stopped short of killing him directly.

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Over the weekend, there were two articles about some of this, and a call for help. ?If you missed them, and you feel like you want to be part of the group of?Kiwis that are on the right side of this battle, then please read them now.

 

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