Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Moderator speaking

Hi Folks.

It has been a long time since we have taken the opportunity to speak to you in a post, but it is probably necessary to just go over a few things. ?You can always read the rules, of course. ?Links to the rules are posted twice a day in General Debate and Backchat (7am and 6pm). ?We really are proactive in keeping them in front of you at all times.

Since the ad-free membership, some people feel that ad-free should also include some degree of amnesty from commenting mistakes, lighter moderation or even no moderation for those who are paying for the ad-free access service.

It has been made clear a number of times that reading the blog ad-free continues to be delivered even if you can’t comment. ?We are not taking away your ad-free service if you have been on the wrong end of moderation.

The Moderators and Cam and Juana do understand that for some of you commenting is an integral part of the Whaleoil experience, and if you can’t comment, then you may not want to pay for the ad-free service. By all means, if that is the case, stop.

But PLEASE do not expect it to work the other way around where you overtly or covertly threaten to stop paying for ad-free unless your commenting rights are reinstated.

We anticipated that people would do that, and even before it was on offer we made a “management decision” that no matter what happened, a wedge could not be driven in between Cam/Juana and the moderators. ?If you upset the moderators, you upset the blog owners. ?There is no daylight between those when it comes to this issue.

In fact, even trying it on will cause Cam and Juana to tell you to pack your bags and not let the door hit you on the way out.

So that is now out in the open and clear, we can move on to the other topic I wanted to cover.


About this time three years ago, some months before the 2014 general election, we experienced a severe and continuous upswing in poor commenting behaviour. ?With the benefit of hindsight, a fair portion of that was an orchestrated plan to damage this blog.

We were being attacked on all fronts at once. ?Our advertisers were being contacted and threatened with consumer boycotts. ?Complaints to Google about content were continuous to undermine our Google advertising income. ?I was personally attacked for my moderation of the blog and Cam was pressured to get rid of me many times.

People would sign up with new accounts and lay into Cam, the blog, me, other commenters, Judith Collins, Simon Lusk and a number of our known friends and allies.

You may recall we even suffered a “DDOS” attack when Whaleoil was off-line for a number of days while we figured out how to cope with a sustained attack on our infrastructure.

We were being hit all the time, continuously, from every angle.

It made us very busy.

When Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics book came out, the media, politics in general and the attention of tens of thousands of people who had previously never visited us were drawn to the blog. ?And not all of them thought well of us.

Long story short, it was a madhouse.

We learned a lot during that period. ?We honed our systems, our tools and the way we deal with things. ?To be frank, moderation over the last year compared to that period would be to compare the crowd control of a Scout group versus the Wellington Sevens.

Like any high-pressure situation, some collateral damage was caused by people who simply got caught in what was essentially a commenting war zone. ? This was recognised and about 6 months after the election, Whaleoil erased?all its blocks and everyone got a fresh start. ?Even the real trolls.

However, since then we’ve not been under pressure, and if you have been banned for life, there is no amnesty on the way.

But since we have another election coming up, and since Whaleoil frequently ends up being part of one story or another, it may be that some knee jerk or organised resistance is heading our way again as part of the left’s plan to disrupt.

We also have Colin Craig and Cameron Slater slogging it out in the High Court during May, and depending on how that progresses, it will draw more attention to what we do here.

Moderators are confident this time that it won’t come to much. ?We have worked closely with Disqus over the last two years and we are one of only a dozen organisations around the world who were invited to the Disqus Publishers Council. ?This is where we have direct access to the company and can guide and suggest the development of the commenting platform.

I’m proud to say that some of the best improvements in moderation tools behind the scenes are due to the hard work of your moderators. ?Although all Disqus publishers will benefit, we are now in a position where we have experience, better tools and more moderators than three years ago.

Also, we’re expecting it.

Our political adversaries fear us. ?They tried their best to deliver that fatal blow. ?And I can assure you they didn’t leave anything in the tank. ?It was an “interesting” time. ?But as these things go, we have learned from it, we are stronger and we are better prepared.

The?best way to continue to help us as existing commenters is two-fold

  • Continue your awesome high-quality discussions
  • DO NOT RESPOND when you see something you feel is a deliberate attempt to upset, damage, anger or interfere with the blog’s smooth operation

Closer to the time I’ll run a reminder as well as a few tips on how to check if someone is likely to be yanking your chain or not. ?We basically will put our readers through Moderator Boot Camp!

As these things go, it ended up a lot longer than planned, so this needs to be the end of it. ?Thanks for your time.


– Pete and the Mods (60’s cover band)