Good stuff, Stuff!


After Christchurch, there was an upsurge in a condition where the sensible side of people?s brains got overwhelmed by the emotional side. The symptoms are unpredictable acts of idiocy, which are unpleasant and, unfortunately, on the rise. Stuff had a major attack. Quote.

March 15’s malevolent terrorist attacks in Christchurch have prompted public discussion about the character of internet communities and the media’s role in handling hateful speech.?End of quote.


And here was I thinking the media were doing a fantastic job! I looked and looked but couldn?t find anything threatening, abusive or insulting in any Stuff articles. Nothing targeting minority groups, in fact nothing hostile, hurtful or contemptuous of someone else at all. Good job Stuff! Quote.

The accused’s abhorrent ideology was rehearsed in the darkest corners of the web, not on mainstream news sites, but it’s still timely for us to check the health of Stuff’s comments section.? End of quote.

Well, I?d like to make up my own mind about the accused?s ideology but an over-mushy brain banned the document so I?ll have to take your word that it?s abhorrent. The massacre certainly was. As I?ve never found the need to visit the dark corners of the web I?ll have to take your word on that too.

Always good to check the health of your comments section though. Here at Whaleoil our moderators do a very fine job ? no poaching though ? we?re fond of ours. Quote.

Readers comment more than 7000 times per day on Stuff. All comments are moderated and about a third never see the light of day because they breach our rules for comments. Of the comments that are posted, most are fair expression ? but it only takes a little toxin to poison an entire stream.? End of quote.

Yikes! A third of comments get the chop? That?s a lot. You do have a problem. What on earth are the offensive comments about? Oh wait, I guess you can?t answer that without breaching your own rules.

Can?t be too careful, I suppose. About toxins I mean. I am a little confused though. Toxins have to be absorbed or ingested, right? Like drinking poison or being bitten by a snake? Quite right, no one wants to be poisoned. Quote.

Too often, our comments section has allowed casual prejudice to seep in from the fringes.? End of quote.

No wonder you are worried. I see a poison pattern emerging, with casual prejudice seeping in (I?m assuming that?s a toxin too). quote.

We’ve introduced stricter terms and conditions for comments. They are now even more explicit about not tolerating personal attacks or prejudice. Commenters who repeatedly or flagrantly breach our rules will be banned.? End of quote. 

Understandably you only want nice comments. I note you reserve the right to ban comments that ?just generally aren?t very nice?. That should capture every possible toxin out there. Well done! Ban away!

I certainly hope your readers appreciate the lengths you have gone to on their behalf. But you can?t be doing everything for them, you know. Anyway, enough said, I?m sure you know what you?re doing. Quote.

In a new development, our comment rules now include a list of topics on which we will no longer open comments. It’s not an exhaustive list but it points to the single largest change we’re making: we’ll be much more selective about when we allow comments.? End of quote.


Let?s take a look at your list. Quote.

  • 1080
  • allegations of criminality or misconduct
  • animal cruelty
  • beneficiaries
  • Christchurch mosque shootings of March 2019
  • court cases
  • domestic violence
  • fluoride
  • funerals
  • immigrants or refugees
  • Israel and Palestine
  • Kashmir
  • missing people
  • race
  • sexual orientation
  • suicide
  • Treaty of Waitangi
  • transgender issues
  • vaccination
  • vulnerable childrenEnd of quote.

Hmmm. Initially, I was a little worried about removing the opportunity for dialogue on some pretty important issues on this list – until I remembered that you guys are doing all the thinking for us – so that we don?t have to. Thanks! Quote.