Reflections on Tim versus Tim

I see that Bright Cold Matt and James Russell are both in despair about the blogosphere in the wake of the Tim versus Tim blog wars. Matt’s reaction is especially understandable, because it was a fairly innocuous post of his musing about Delta Goodrem and the nature of celebrity that kicked off the whole fiasco in the first place. Moreover, Matt copped a few low blows from some of Tim Blair’s Right Wing Death Beasts along the way. James Russell expressed my own feelings about the war more eloquently and succinctly than I could ever manage:

There’s nowt like bloggers and (sometimes more so) the people who comment therein for creating unedifying spectacles of themselves. The current stoush between Tims Blair and Dunlop is a classic example (won’t link to it cos it’ll only make you as sick as it makes me). It’s all about destruction of the other side and no attack is too cheap or stupid, and frankly it makes me wonder at times why I bother blogging myself.

James also characterised political bloggers as “cranks” and “circle-jerks”. At least that’s how he suggests outside readers are likely to view our little cybercommunities, and I can only concur. What interests me is why? Why the seemingly irresistable impulse towards extreme, aggressive “attack dog” behaviour against perceived ideological opponents? It’s an especially puzzling question given that the real practical and philosophical differences between “left” and right” in world politics (unless you happen to be a muslim fundamentalist or something) are probably smaller now than at any time over the last century or so.

Bright Cold Matt obliquely suggested that it might be a foreign infestation from US political discourse: self-conscious wedge politics tactics in the blogosphere, perhaps. Maybe there’s an element of truth in that. Certainly both Tims have large American audiences, and both have strong focuses on US political subject matter (which is no doubt why they’ve got large American audiences). However, I suspect the problem is more fundamental than that.

We humans are pack animals. We have an innate instinct to form ourselves into packs or tribes, and we can only define those groups by reference to those we exclude. Moreover, in cyberspace many of the sensory cues humans use to differentiate group members from interlopers are absent, so the behaviour adopted to signal in-ness and out-ness naturally tends to be more extreme, crude and overt, because it’s necessarily confined to the written word on the screen. Any decent sociologist or urban anthropologist would have a field day analysing the blogosphere, I reckon.

I identify strongly with Matt and James’ despair over blogging’s future and potential. I reached a similar dark night of the soul during the Iraq war debate, and also almost gave up blogging. Fortunately (I think on balance) I persevered, and ultimately reached my current state of mind. That is, although blogging seldom in practise comes anywhere near the sort of neo-Athenian civilised civic discourse I once hoped it might, there are enough intellectually challenging, mutually respectful dialogues, where everyone’s knowledge and understanding of an issue is deepened and enriched, to make it a worthwhile exercise. At its best, blogging achieves things that no other medium could ever approach.

Although humans are ruthless pack animals, we’re also insatiably curious, semi-intelligent creatures who yearn to learn more about each other and understand the mysteries of the universe we inhabit. That’s the countervailing force that impels us to behave in a civilised manner and reach out peaceably to others, even (and sometimes especially) others perceived as alien. These polar social forces are anything but unique to the blogosphere. Tribal behaviour is just as evident among (say) academics and mainstream journalists. It’s just cruder and more exposed in the blogosphere, because of the nature of the medium. However, tribal behaviour is more exaggerated in the blogosphere for the reasons I’ve suggested (and maybe others as well), and more difficult to mediate. The anarchic immediacy of the medium (especially the comment box facility) is one of the major strengths of blogging, but also its Achilles heel. How can bloggers referee comment box debate while simultaneously being prime protagonists, and without becoming authoritarian censors?

Whether blogging develops into a mature, useful, respected and mainstream communications medium, or degenerates into a series of isolated sad circle-jerks of cranks and zealots, will be determined largely by how successful we are in devising protocols, conventions, rules, mechanisms and understandings (whatever you want to call them) that maximise mutually respectful communication and minimise attack dog tribal behaviour without stifling robust, entertaining debate. Maybe we could use the comment box to this post to brainstorm some ideas in that regard.

PS – One positive thing to emerge from this fiasco, at least for me, was that I discovered an excellent new blogger in Dan at Tubagooba. Yet another law student (at Monash), Dan is going to make a really fine lawyer one day. He carved the apprentice Right Wing Death Beasts at Gareth Parker’s blog into tiny pieces the other day in a discussion about the Stolen Generations, and he did it so stylishly, politely but forensically that most of them didn’t even realise how foolish he’d made them look. (Thinks to self for the umpteenth time: I must pull my finger out and update the blogroll).

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2021 years ago

To be honest I don’t think either Tim came out of this smelling like a rose – one of the parties should have nipped things in the bud by clarifying calmly their view of why the other’s interpretation was wrong rather than upping the volume. However Tim B’s chorus of idiots didn’t help matters much

Niall
2021 years ago

I concur with your impressions. Well thought out and well expressed. I, for one, am dubious about the benefit of retaining a comment facility, given the ‘attack dog’ behaviour which exists in the blogosphere. It certainly doesn’t add a great deal to the intellectual debate on any subject. Perhaps if all and sundry would learn to be more accepting of other opinions instead of crudely and overtly deriding the writer instead of attacking the opinion, the blogosphere might just move out of it’s self-imposed doldrums.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

Niall,

I’d be very sad if people decided to eliminate their comment boxes. Your comment that the facility “doesn’t add a great deal to the intellectual debate on any subject” may often be true, but by no means always. John Quiggin’s blog often hosts extremely interesting comment box discussions. This blog too IMO occasionally hits the spot in the comment box (although I wish it happened more often). Chris Sheil in a private email earlier today reminded me of a discussion a month or so ago about double dissolutions, where the interplay of bloggers and comment box participants teased out the nuances of the issue from a range of perspectives and intellectual disciplines, with a thoroughness and depth that could possibly never have been achieved in any other medium (certainly not so quickly).

I even think the debate over the last day or so on the Cattanach v Melchior decision is a pretty good example of blog commenting at its best.

For those reasons, I’d be very reluctant to can the comment box. I think the answer lies in developing some understandings and protocols. I think Jason also makes a good point. Both Tims bear some personal reponsibility for letting the situation get out of hand. In fact it actually goes further back than Matt’s Delta Goodrem post. The war actually had its genesis in an earlier spat between the two Tims over Adelaide magistrate Brian Deegan. Tim B (or perhaps more so his acolytes) sought to demonise Deegan as a rabid leftie cynically capitalising on his son’s death, and Tim D wrote a post titled “How low can you go?” suggesting that Tim B and his supporters were a bunch of heartless neocons devoid of compassion and kicking a bloke while he’s down.

Neither post was either useful or constructive IMO. Both were characterised by petty spite and vindictiveness. Moreover, Tim D’s piece (and even more so the contributions of some of his commenters) set up a situation where Tim B (however immaturely) was obviously spoiling for retribution. Matt’s post on Delta Goodrem, and Tim D’s posting of a short response, gave him just the opening he was looking for, where he could paint the “lefties” as heartless bastards with a compassion bypass. Tim B then poured even more petrol on the fire by raising the race issue i.e. suggesting that the “left’s” compassion was selective and conferred only on politically correct candidates.

Of course, if you’re the sort of person who really does seriously believe that either the “left” or “right” has a mortgage on compassion (or crass stupidity for that matter), or even that the terms “left” and “right” have some sensible meaning in this sort of context, then you should do some serious self-analysis.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

On reflection, I don’t think my own attempted dissection of the course of the war helps very much either (although I won’t delete it because I oppose doing that on principle).

What I’m hoping to elicit is some understanding and protocols for the future. One, for instance, might be that characterising opponents generically (e.g. the “left” has x characteristic) is likely merely to generate tribal responses, create division and shed no light whatever on any topic under discussion. It’s a bit like that “Law”, whose name I can’t presently recall, that says a person who throws a Hitler/Nazi analogy into any debate is (a) effectively ending that debate, and (b) signalling that they know they lost it.

Another understanding might be to keep in mind that there comes a point in a discussion where further hammering away at each other is pointless. Just about every nuance of the issue has been extracted, and you’re never going to convince your opponent of the unchallengeable truth of your argument, so you’re best off agreeing to differ and ending that particular debate. It’s a point that strikes me as especially relevant to the recurrent skirmishes between Norman and CS over Keith Windschuttle and Aboriginal history.

Yet another understanding might be to begin seeing blogging and commenting as open-ended dialogue/discourse (which it manifestly is), rather than a “debate” as such. In a debate there must be a winning and losing side. In an open-ended discussion that isn’t the case. We’re seeking mutual increase in our understanding over time, and we realise that there are shades of grey and seldom a single universally applicable truth (without descending into the depths of post-modern relativism). We should know that there’s really no such thing as a winner or loser in a medium like this, although the entire medium may lose of we behave as if there was.

All that said, you’d be naive not to accept that we’re inevitably competitive creatures with healthy egos and strong opinions, otherwise we probably wouldn’t be blogging in the first place. That makes it a bit more difficult to promote amiable, open-ended dialogue, but I refuse to accept that it’s impossible to achieve.

Dan
Dan
2021 years ago

Ken –

Thanks for your kind words. Incidentally, I’m at LaTrobe, not Monash, but the confusion is understandable (my academic history being something of an epic).

I’ve been thinking over the commenting issue, too (not that I’ve had to deal with it seriously at this point on my own blog, but it’s likely the time will come). The problem is how to keep posts on topic and respectful without being seen to compromise anyone’s freedom of speech. Freedom of expression includes freedom to be abusive, but I think there must be a way to improve the signal:noise ratio in comment boxes without actual censorship.

I think the first thing is to ensure that your own blog posts are thoughtful and respectful. It seems to me that most of the flame wars are precipitated by posts that are themselves a cheap attack of one kind or another. If a potential flamer sees a post that is honest and open, I think he/she will be less inclined to respond with vindictiveness. I wouldn’t be surprised, actually, if the Tims and others like them deliberately provoke such flame wars in order to gratify themselves with a high comment count. Their blogs are their business, and I have no problem with that, but if that’s the course they take they shouldn’t delude themselves that they are contributing something particularly valuable to public discussion. (There’s a parallel with the likes of Today Tonight or ACA: fine as long as they’re not confused with news or current affairs).

My second idea is to create a moderation system, but one that doesn’t rely on censorship per se. Rather than remove comments that don’t measure up to standards of engagement, they could be moved to some sort of “sin bin”, where they would be still visible, but where they wouldn’t be a distraction for those who are looking to debate the issues. The sin bin could come with its own commenting in case anyone felt their comment had been unjustly removed. That way, the workings of the moderator’s policy would be transparent and accountable. No flamer could complain of being silenced, and it would return some coherence to discussions. You never know, it might even encourage some reactionaries to produce some support for their arguments and contribute something worthwhile. I haven’t really thought through the implementation, but it seems to me that an extra Movable Type blog (or other platform equivalent) would probably do the job. It would be easy enough to have a sin bin post for each main blog post, just paste in the offending comments. If a comment had to be sin binned, it should be replaced with an explanatory note and a link to the sin bin. Of course, if anyone was good enough at scripting, they could implement a much more elegant solution, but for a programming know-nothing like me, I think my idea could work. I’d only bother if my first idea didn’t work, though.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2021 years ago

I think a little perspective is necessary. 90% of blogging doesn’t go anywhere near the sort of set-piece tribal posturing and insult exchange that the other Tim – Flannery – et al, could no doubt readily identify as a not uncommon anthropological and sociological phenomenon. I’d argue that what makes the Delta Goodrem Thread (DGT) so remarkable and worthy of comment in fact, is it’s very exceptionalism.

It rapidly ceased to have anything to do with Matt’s original post. This was amply demonstrated when Matt, thoroughly bewildered by the purposes to which his clearly innocuous observation had been put, attempted to initiate a reasoned exchange about the rationales of himself and others. No-one went there – which is the answer, perhaps, to Jason’s ‘nipping in the bud’ injunction. By that stage Matt and his post were quite irrelevant. The bud had bloomed if you will. It simply became an opportunity for self-perceived tribes to line up behind their respective event leaders, to vent and spearchuck. I’m not sure therefore that we need to get too depressed about it. In one sense, it might even have provided a useful and arguably, occasionally necessary, safety valve.

I think it’s important to aspire to the sort of discourse you ideate Ken, but the reality of course is that it’s always going to be a mixed offering of the best and worst in human interaction – but mainly, the bit in between.

I didn’t take part – not from any great sense of it being irresponsible to do so – more from the sense that I didn’t feel tribal enough to go there. Like everyone else I have a view on celebrity and illness but it was pointless contributing on that basis, as I indicated earlier. It was theatre. I didn’t see a part for me.

Chris Shiel’s wry and timely question about whether ‘Nazi’ had made it’s inevitable debut in the thread’s lexicon of insults prompted me to examine the Road to Surfdom exchange with an eye to recording the insult glossary. There were a good many but it was clearly a sub-Nazi exchange, as I demonstrated.

I think lamentation should be similarly constrained. Sub-Greek chorus, certainly.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2021 years ago

As you say, Geoff, it was theatre. Unlike other commenters I found it entertaining, something like “World Championship Wrestling” but a bit more fair dinkum.

There’s probably not much point in being in despair about the blogosphere. It’s a newish medium of communication just starting out in life. You may as well be in despair of “books” because some of them are pulp fiction, or scurrilous propaganda, or have any number of other defects. Class will out and the better ones will attract the more informed readers and commenters.

I’d hate to see the demise of comment boxes. I agree with Ken that they often provide dimensions and immediacy to debates that’s impossible to replicate in other media. If you’re put off by the Tim v Tim stuff, the classic solution is the same as for bad TV. Switch off.

As for the heated debate between Norman and Chris Shiel recently, I did enjoy the duelling, confrontational aspect of it. Both far exceed my abilities in writing and in knowledge and I enjoy seeing a contest between people whose abilities I admire, while barracking perhaps for one of them because his views are closer to those of my tribe.

Dan has come up with an interesting idea of managing comments boxes with his “sin bin” idea. The beauty of the blogosphere is being able to implement those ideas yourself (technology permitting). Give it a go, Dan, and see how it works.

Incidentally, Dan, I like the referencing to links in your comments, but the way you are doing it requires the reader to copy and paste, which is inhibiting. I used to do it your way until Ken and Chris gave me the good oil on creating hyperlinks in comment boxes.

Niall
2021 years ago

I think Ken has an very valid point in that each and every post that begets discussion via a comment facility on the pros and cons of a subject, should remain at that level. Debate, per se, obviously has little if anything to add. Intelligent discourse is just as good a medium of getting a point across, to the point where the ‘agree to disagree’ principle simply exerts itself through natural progression. At the end of the day, name-callers, and I admit to being one of those, to my shame, tacitly admit defeat in any intelligent discussion by doing so. Perhaps something all can take to heart before launching into rhetorical replies with vehement intent.

Dan
Dan
2021 years ago

Ron –

Yeah, I know it’s annoying. I only do it that way to save me the trouble of finding out whether the blog I’m commenting on allows html in comments. By posting the whole URL, I save myself the indignity of having the html stripped out and a hyperlink turned into a non-hyperlink. Bloggers (including me) should make the situation clear in their comment templates, but many (including me) don’t.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2021 years ago

Dan, if the blog (like this one) has a preview button, you can check your HTML effort before posting.

Richard
Richard
2021 years ago

“He carved the apprentice Right Wing Death Beasts”

Just wanted to point out that this comment seems to fly in face of what you had said only ONE paragraph before.

“Whether blogging develops into a mature, useful, respected and mainstream communications medium, or degenerates into a series of isolated sad circle-jerks of cranks and zealots, will be determined largely by how successful we are in devising protocols, conventions, rules, mechanisms and understandings”

Hopefully, when/if blogging does became a “mature, useful, respected and mainstream communications medium” the childishness and pettiness of name calling that even the most talented writers seem to lapse into will also be a thing of the past.

Just a comment on your p.s.
I think Dan did indeed write stylishly and politely, but carving people up strikes me as a slightly wishful exaggeration.
He was arguing from a point of view that *some* children were in fact “stolen” in a discussion about the myth of a *generation* of children being stolen. I would certainly agree that it was an impressive and stylish display of changing the focus of the debate to his own stronger ground, but the final comment from “Matt” put it firmly back in context, that Dan was arguing a point that basically no-one (not even Andrew Bolt) disagree’s with, that there were indeed *some* children stolen, but that the myth of the stolen “generation” was just that, a myth.
(This was, after all, the original theme of the thread)

Paul Watson
Paul Watson
2021 years ago

“Why the seemingly irresistable impulse towards extreme, aggressive “attack dog” behaviour against perceived ideological opponents?”

Because a lot of bloggers require the existence of (at least one) anti-muse to get them all het up (to write), and/or on the straight and narrow (to keep on writing). Personally, I get around the inherent limitations of this approach by hating at least 95% of the human race

cs
cs
2021 years ago

Now that Richard is moving this thread toward the flame, let me get a comment in before the thing goes up. It seems to me that the sin-bin idea or some such is worth a go. Once a thread has flamed out, both parties – if not their camp followers – soon regret the direction. Some form of third party circuit-breaking would therefore have implicit support from the protagonists, and hence does seem like it could theoretically work. Of course, in the intensity of these things, no doubt the referee would cop a good bucket from both protagonists from now and again, and I’m not sure how the practicalities would work, but I would be interested to see if any of the tech-heads could figure a mechanism out. Innovations flow weekly into blogosphere … why not this one?

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2021 years ago

I can only concur with Jason and your comments.

I think the genesis of this problem is the US where bombasticity (?) is more important than knowledge.
I am also struck that few bloggers wish to apologise.

I am afraid that TimB has veered off and will never be a contender. TimD looks to have more potential for his side of politics.

It is strange thas Kan said that either here or in the US where there is very little between the major parties supporters are so ‘passionate’.

Just keep the quality up on your site Ken and we will all be happy.

Ken Miles
2021 years ago

I’ve always thought that comments work better when a blog isn’t particular partisan. When a blog is identified by many as not being a place where sensible discussion takes place, but rather only good for partisan point scoring, it will drive away any serious debate.

As for whether this behavior will change in the future, I honesty don’t think so. There will be blogs where people of all viewpoints can have an interesting conversation, and blogs where they can’t.

cs
cs
2021 years ago

No doubt you’re right Ken, but where does this leave political blogging, where the line between being partisan and operating on different assumptions for the purposes of critique is often not readily recognised? I think we should seek a way to save political blogging, not bury it.

Ken Miles
2021 years ago

I think that it depends on the individual owner of the blog. There are some blogs which are very political but because the owner can remain objective and interesting, people of all political views can have a good time. However, if the owner only engages in point scoring then they will end up with a blog which reflects that. Perhaps I should change the word “partisan” to “unobjective” in my first comment.

In a sense, you can judge a blog by it’s comments (however, I would also add that this will fall apart as a particular blog gets more popular).

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2021 years ago

“…in the US where there is very little between the major parties supporters are so ‘passionate'”

The left/right divide is not the same as the (lesser) divide between major parties. Even within the ALP for example some of the ideological debating is a good deal more poisonous than between commenters in blogs.

Interesting to note that both Norman Hanscombe and Chris Sheil have deep associations with the Labour Party, Norman being a Life Member no less if this site is to be believed. I assume Chris’ association with the Evatt Foundation means he’s also a member of the ALP.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2021 years ago

Oops, I mean “Labor” not “Labour” just to satisfy the pedants among you!

cs
cs
2021 years ago

Ron, you make a common but mistaken assumption. There is no direct association between the Evatt Foundation and the ALP. It is in this respect that the Evatt Foundation differs structurally from the Menzies Foundation, which is formally a part of the Liberal Party (and in receipt of an ongoing annual public grant). The Evatt Foundation was also in receipt of a grant for some years, but even this was contestable, and not strictly awarded on a political basis. The direct conterpart to the Menzies Foundation is not Evatt, but the Chifley Foundation, which receives public funding on the same basis as Menzies.

In terms of both funding and political associations, the Evatt Foundation is genuinely independent … and this is one of the important reasons why I am happy to be involved with it … along with the fact that labour history is my main speciality.

Now this is not to say that Evatt doesn’t have a general political orientation. The Foundation does, and it is toward being relevant to the ‘labour movement’ at large, which is the basis upon which it was originally established and which in turn establishes a social-democratic outlook that tends to attract many ALP types, along with trade unionists, Greens and ‘progressive liberals’ and all other manner of folks who can be found on what might be short-handed as the ‘broad left of centre’. But there is no automatic or necessary association with the ALP.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2021 years ago

Thanks for the clarification, Chris.

matt
2021 years ago

I identify strongly with Matt and James’ despair over blogging’s future and potential. I reached a similar dark night of the soul during the Iraq war debate, and also almost gave up blogging.

Ken, I was mindful of that post at that time when I was writing my piece. I went looking for it, but I think it got lost in the “cyberfuddle” wash. You said then what I was writing about now.

As regards Dan’s ideas on comment moderation – I’m a bit of a libertarian in this regard. I think people should be free to be as ignorant and offensive as they like, and to be adjudged on their merits. Sticks and stones stuff …

Why the seemingly irresistable impulse towards extreme, aggressive “attack dog” behaviour against perceived ideological opponents?

I think a big part of the explanation is the relative anonymity and detachment offered by the Internet. People wouldn’t say these things to another person’s face, for example. Or at least, they’d say them differently. Invective is almost entirely costless in this environment, unless perhaps if two bloggers actually know each other in the real world.

cs
cs
2021 years ago

Which gets back to my point Matt … do we have a way where we can raise the transactions costs so-to-speak of senseless and counter-productive invective? Figuring a way to heighten reputation effects by, say, beciomeing known for accumulating frequent visits to a sin-bin is perhaps the beginning of such a thing.

James Russell
James Russell
2021 years ago

Actually “cranks” and “circle-jerks” were Matt’s words, not mine. That said, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with them in many cases. As Matt also said in my own comments, the wedge politics and partisanship you see in Oz blogs represent for him just another version of the cultural cringe, which I think is an interesting point.

I don’t think bloggers are going to stop playing the man/woman and start playing the ball exclusively any time soon. Ad hominems are too easy and I’ve no doubt been guilty of them myself. Still, I don’t see that closing comments boxes will help the situation. If no bloggers offered comments, all the people who only ever comment will get their own blogs and carry on much as they were doing. I certainly don’t intend to get rid of mine now that I have them, but then again I don’t usually attract this sort of shitfight.

Anyway, Ron’s right, despair is useless, so I’m past it. Abandoning both Tims to their fate on this one. I have my own strange little furrow to plough in the blogosphere, and there’s not much point letting this stop me.

mark
2021 years ago

Seems to me, Richard, you’re new here. That’s not a Bad Thing: we were all new at some point. But most of us do something to help us work out, for example, “why on Earth does a noted centreist Aussie ‘blogger refer to members of the right-wing punditry, along with certain commenting morons[0], such an inflammatory title as Right Wing Death Beasts?” Gwan, read some archives. Don’t worry, it’s not so far back in history.

Australian ‘bloggers tend, on the whole, to be more polite than their American counterparts. I don’t quite know why, because on the whole there are greater differences between us (from a political standpoint) than between most two American ‘bloggers (there is no real American far-left, for example: ‘blogging Democratic supporters are being called loony lefties, fer cryin’ out loud).

I assume it’s because there’s far fewer of us. If we want an Australian perspective, it’s simply not possible — unless you want to stick to three or four ‘blogs total — to remain within your own political theoretical backwater. Let’s face it, we all read and comment on — and write at — the same ‘blogs, and although we don’t really know each other *that* well, we know each other a damn sight better than the average political ‘bloggers. I know I’m far less inclined to scream and throw things at Ron Mead, despite his position on what I’d consider the far-right and mine on what he presumably considers the far-left, because I feel I know him a lot better than, say, that bastard The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.

Tim Blair’s a freak incident (sorry Timmy), because he makes a living being childish. Nice work if you can get it, but we can’t expect him to live up to the same standard of discourse we pretend to be able to punch in every day. ‘Course, I don’t know what Tim Dunlop’s excuse is. For that matter, I don’t know what my excuse is. Oh, well.

[0] As opposed to intelligent commentors. I doubt anyone here, or indeed all but a very few Australian ploggers, could be referred to as a RWDB.

Dan
Dan
2021 years ago

Richard –

“Dan was arguing a point that basically no-one (not even Andrew Bolt) disagree’s with, that there were indeed *some* children stolen, but that the myth of the stolen “generation” was just that, a myth.
(This was, after all, the original theme of the thread)”

I think if you read both Bolt’s article and Gareth’s original post again, you’ll see that each described a position more extreme than the one you’ve described (which, incidentally, misrepresents my position as well).

If you want to discuss this further, my own post on the suject is here.

Richard
Richard
2021 years ago

You really have to wonder whether the whole “comments” part of blogs may have been a mistake. I can see what people mean by it becoming “tribal”, the hilarious thing is watching both sides trying to make out that its only the other side that is doing it (becoming tribal that is).
I can’t see any reason not to believe that the comments sections are only going to get worse…much, much worse.
Blogs(with comments)appear to be heading the way of usenet groups such as aus.politics and that would be a real shame.
Maybe its time for webblogs to work out whether they are going to be discussion groups or opinion pages.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2021 years ago

“Maybe its time for webblogs to work out whether they are going to be discussion groups or opinion pages.”

Well many bloggers already have no comment box and others (like Ken) believe it enhances his enjoyment of his blog.

Weblogs are just an inanimate medium. Their use is anarchic, thank heavens, and their multiple operators will resist any sort of organisation based on what some bloc of other people think they should be. As I said above, class will out and the better ones will thrive. Each blogger will work out how best to manage his or her comment box.

An interesting sidelight was Robert Carr’s recent “banning” of Norman Hanscombe, aka “Cassandra”. Many commenters protested, but he also had a lot of support from both far left (his own tribe) and from libertarians (eg 24601) who supported him on the matter of principle (his right of ownership), a rare coming together of left and right. I deplored his action, not because I disagreed with 24601 (on the contrary) but because I think it showed Robert in an extremely poor light.

Rob Schaap
2021 years ago

Erm, didn’t Tim Dunlop merely suggest a word to express the concept with which Bright Cold Matt was struggling? Why does TD need an excuse at all, Mark?

mark
2021 years ago

Not at first — no more than Matt did. I’m speaking of the ensuing squabble.

‘Course, now I’m going to have to re-read the thread to make sure I didn’t just put my foot in my mouth.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2021 years ago

My reservations about Tim D’s role in the whole affair mostly stemmed from the earlier Brian Deegan post, including some comment box contributions. It was unnecessarily (and designedly) inflammatory, and it was that which set the scene for Tim B’s subsequent retaliatory strike. As far as I could see, the entire Delta Goodrem thread/s viewed in isolation was orchestrated by Tim B, and you couldn’t really fault Tim D’s contribution to those threads themselves (although I certainly wouldn’t say the same for some of his supporters – they were just as toxic as the Right Wing Death Beasts IMO).

mark
2021 years ago

Okay, re-reading, I just put my foot in my mouth. However, with Ken’s comment above I can stand tall and proclaim I Wuz Right, even if I didn’t actually know about the Deegan post. Ain’t rhetoric grand?

(Sorry, Tim, if you’re reading this)

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2021 years ago

Moi – far-right?? How could you say sooch a thing, Mark!

cs
cs
2021 years ago

So Norman has a colourful record in blogosphere! I mention that without any comment whatsoever.

mark
2021 years ago

(Ken, do you allow plugs? If not, delete this…)

Chris, I’ve documented it (amongst other things) in typically biased and unscientific fashion on My New ‘Blog, see:
http://blog.donotuselifts.net/index.php?itemid=17

trackback
2021 years ago

Alarms and Excursions

From time to time in my writings here and other places, I’m given cause to wonder why I ever bother…