Another little ripper

Have you ever noticed how, when you get a new car, you suddenly see that model everywhere (hasn’t happened to me for a while – you should see my car – but I still remember)? Well the same thing is happening to me since I decided to update and expand the Troppo blogroll. I just keep finding great new Australian political blogs. Here’s another one, a somewhat left-leaning effort called Red Interior (it refers to Swade’s car though, not his political views). He’s a Tasmanian and has been blogging away for 4 or 5 months without my knowing he existed. Here are Swade’s observations about Tim Blair (no harm in taking on the heavyweights upfront, I say):

Tim Blair is full of crap. I’ve had a link to him since I created this page. I put it up there out of respect for his place in blogging and in the interests of having both sides of the political spectrum represented. Stuff that. I’d still like both sides of the spectrum on display and I’ll still drop in on his site but this guy’s site is so full of crap it is no longer funny. At his core he’s just a stormtrooper, writing for a bunch of groupthink-infected rednecks. Link will be removed soon.

Have a read of Swade’s RWDB version of last week’s statement by 43 retired worthies as well. It’s a hoot.

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
2022 years ago

Unfortunately I do think Tim is one of those rare exceptions where his blog has gotten *less* nuanced and therefore less interesting after the put on his comments. It depends on whether you attract sycophants or critical readers.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Tim doesn’t attract critical readers because he actively discourages them. Or rather his fellow stormtrooper bloghost the appalling Andrea Harris does. I’ve seldom come across a more repulsive thug than her; she makes Tim himself look like a cuddly pussycat by comparison.

Jozef
2022 years ago

Blair’s writing has a place on the web, but he should start targeting some of his cheering fans rather than his thoughtful critics.

Muhammad Ali makes a telling point about the man behind the spleenville:

Gary
2022 years ago

Gee wiz What would you guys do with out Blair’s site to whinge about. And how would you react to the type of comments from nemesis,Merinda Divide if they were directed at you constantly. You and cs close comments and Andrea bans people for the same reason.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Gary, I’ve never closed a comment box, with the exception of one which was about a discussion of capital punishment for Saddam, and even that was after a long (24 hour) warning for last comments, after every position had been stated and re-stated at least several times. All my other close offs are purely comment-lapsed spam-defence related. I believe in max tolerance; but I’m by no means absolutely against close offs, if necessary. It’s a two-way street, bubba.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Gary

I’ve seen Andrea Harris attack and/or ban commenters for conduct that on any view was mild and entirely within the bounds of reasonable debate, especially on the aggressive standards that apply at Blair’s site. Aggressive attack dogs that Tim or Andrea agree with are applauded, and those they disagree with are rapidly excluded. It’s a Pavlovian school for death beasts, with participants conditioned always to make the desired response or be punished. That’s why, as Swade observed, they’re “groupthink-infected rednecks”.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

And on closing off comment boxes, I hadn’t ever done that until a couple of weeks ago. I may well do it occasionally in future, when I’m sure the discussion is at a point where hurtful, destructive comments have made further civil debate impossible. I’ve previously erred decisively on the side of free speech (to an extent that Chris Sheil disagreed with when he was blogging at Troppo), but I’ve more recently concluded that civility is a complementary value whose absence can actually destroy free speech if allowed to continue unchecked.

They’re difficult judgment calls, but that’s the spirit in which I make them. I want to discuss issues with people who have different viewpoints from me, I just want to make sure we all do so relatively civilly so the discussion can continue to explore those issues and not just degenerate into boring childish tit for tat personal abuse. Andrea Harris, on the other hand, appears to make exclusion decisions on the basis of whether a commenter agrees with her and Tim’s view of the world. Childish abuse is actively encouraged, as long as you’re abusing the right (or rather left) people.

Gary
2022 years ago

I said before Ken people do on the whole most respect your rules and the occasional breach is done in jest. If you had a couple trolls saying you and others are big poopy head fools constantly your tolerance would be tested. None of the ones that have been banned are innocent but as cs says when every position had been stated it pointless continuing. You can learn allot when people try to point score against each other especially when they attempt support there claims.

cs
Ok I got you mixed up with Tim.D or some one else but you do have attack dogs. If I made it a habit every day to express my utter contempt for your attitude and try to turn every comments box into a rant about the history wars a doubt your tolerance would last.

Its nothing to do with free speech blogs aren’t run by the government so swade can sook all he wants on his blog because people didn’t agree with him and Andrea doesn’t have to pay for there whingeing.

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

Gary – I don’t think anyone disputes Andrea’s right to run her site as she sees fit (although inquiring minds are curious why she pays for Tim’s webhosting when he is clearly better off than she is).

Ken’s point is simply that she chooses to exclude any regular commenter who is not in general agreement with what Tim says on his page.

That, it seems to me, is unarguable – as you know well.

No other Australian blogger has a similar policy … you, for example, would have been tossed from a good many if they did, including Chris’ blog and Tim Dunlop’s.

Gary
2022 years ago

“(although inquiring minds are curious why she pays for Tim’s webhosting when he is clearly better off than she is).”

Don’t see that’s anybody business just like its between me and the bloggers that I support.

“you, for example, would have been tossed from a good many if they did, including Chris’ blog and Tim Dunlop’s.”

I don’t make it my goal to harass them constantly that’s why. You did that’s why you got banned at Tim’s site.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Mork

The “better off” thing is possibly true as between my host Scott Wickstein and myself as well (although immediate financial liabilities that I won’t go into mean that it actually probably isn’t). As Gary said, it’s really no-one else’s business, and you certainly can’t draw any adverse inferences from it. I assume it’s just that a technologically-minded blogger (i.e. Andrea) is prepared to sponsor and provide technical support for another blogger whose writing she admires (Tim). There’s nothing at all wrong with that, in fact I think it’s admirable. Nor do I actually think it’s anyone else’s business as such how Tim chooses to run his blog. I didn’t intend this thread to develop in the way it has. I just posted Swade’s Blair slag because I thought it was mildly amusing, and then responded to a comment by Jason Soon, and it went on from there.

I guess the only general point I’d make is that I think Tim’s small-minded approach, to both banning dissenters from comment and listing those who differ from him ideologically in his blogroll, means he doesn’t merit quite as much respect as a blogging pioneer and mentor as he would otherwise get. It’s just wrapping up a response to Mike Jericho’s recent outrage that I would dare to qualify my description of Tim as only “arguably” the father of Australian political blogging.

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

Don’t see that’s anybody business just like its between me and the bloggers that I support.

‘Course it’s none of my business, but that doesn’t stop me being curious, or drawing my own conclusions about both parties.

I didn’t suggest that I’m entitled to an explanation. Only if I had would “it’s none of your business” be a pertinent response.

I don’t make it my goal to harass them constantly that’s why. You did that’s why you got banned at Tim’s site.

Crap. I was commenting on an average of a post every couple of days at each of the times I got tossed. Yes, most of my comments disagreed with something that Tim or one of his comment-box sycophants had said, but the same is true of your comments on this blog, or Chris’ or Tim’s. I’m just not in the habit of leaving the “right on, sister” type of remark.

The only times that I left multiple comments on a thread were when someone wanted to pick a fight, and even then I was always courteous and to the point unless and until someone decided to attack me personally.

And, funnily enough, that person almost always turned out to be you, Gary. You seemed to bob up with some purile remark with incredible regularity the very moment I left a comment. If anyone was doing any harrassing on Tim’s site, it was you.

Not that I minded. I can handle you blindfolded.

Jeremy
2022 years ago

That’s why I don’t link to TB. I do link to Mike Jericho, and Al Bundy, and a few other conservatives, despite disagreeing with most of what they say. But TB/AH do ban people simply for disagreeing, not just for “abuse”. As has been documented elsewhere.

And TB/AH can do that; it’s their blog. But I don’t RESPECT that behaviour, and I won’t endorse it by linking to it.

Gary
2022 years ago

Mork

I have left comments on cs’s and Tim.D’s at max six to eight times infrequently over the past year and a bit. That’s not the same thing as leaving sneering remarks every couple of days. Ken has chastised me rightfully is some cases for going over stepping his rules. If I was a serial pest he would say so.

You may not think it but you did seem to intentional pick a fight and that’s why I started to troll the troller throwing the same “purile remarks with incredible regularity” back at you and it got the desired affect you were trying to get out of Tim and Andrea.

Tim Lambert
2022 years ago

Jeremy, Mike Jericho doesn’t just ban people, he changes their comments into obscenities. Perhaps coincidentally, one of the people he did this to is Swade.

mark
2022 years ago

Gary/Mork, I have (with good reason) been avoiding Tim’s site for some time now, so I can’t say with any certainty that it’s the same as it was back when I actually tried to read it, but the odds are good. Not so much Tim but certainly Andrea seeks out and attacks not only those who disagree with Tim, but also those who (like Mork at the time) seemed to share the same views but were more moderate. After a while the only people interested in hanging around are those who either behave as poorly as Tim’s sycophants or who are willing to get into a fight for being too moderate every time they comment. Thus anyone who would disagree with Tim publicly will either be trolling, or will soon adopt a combative approach that, to the slavering pack, will seem like trolling. Hence the effect Gary noticed. It’s presumably not as pronounced as at little.green.footballs, where all but bigots and, yes, trolls fear to tread.

Ken, it’s important that one recognises when they are (or aren’t) making a distinction between political ‘blogging and just plain ‘blogging: this is something that isn’t often done by politbloggers such as yourself. Tim Blair is not the “father of Australian ‘blogging”, arguably or not. ‘blogging as a whole doesn’t have fathers or mothers (no, not even Kottke), there’s mostly just small groups with people trading tips & suchlike. But even if one were to argue that there is such a beast, Blair misses out by some margin (three years or so, I believe).

Was he “the father” (or a father at least) of the political ‘blogging movement? Perhaps. His influence over right-wing ‘bloggers is something about which someone like Gary or Scott would be better qualified to speculate.

Now my question is, has he been a great influence, or a great corruptor?

Gary
2022 years ago

Mark

What iv been trying to say is if Ken,cs and Tim.D had comments like this directed at them every day I wouldn’t blame them for getting irritated.

“Hey Bloghead, plse plse stay in the Ewe Ess of Eh, after all that’s where you can do the most good. You belong there, close to your masters, better able to run their errands. Australia needs patriots, not errand boys.
My IP is 82.49.196.201. So come and get me. Give it all you got. Crush my dissent, you bunch of mindless wise-cracking sheep.

Posted by: Miranda Divide”

Some might have been treated unfairly but some of the blame for the goes to the likes of Miranda,nemesis,mork and Jeremy for setting a precedent.

Gary
2022 years ago

Sorry Mark my last sentence was jumbled try this.

Some might have been treated unfairly but some of the blame must go to the likes of Miranda,nemesis,mork and Jeremy for setting a precedent.

jen
jen
2022 years ago

I’m bored and can’t email right now – so – I’m reading this last batch of comments and thinking physical violence is a good thing. I’m wondering what kind of weapons bloggers should develop to lay each other out physically and so finish up with the unoriginal nitpickingness that wordsonly seem to generate on these long threads. Defence techniques and counterattack that involve physical pain. Now there’s a challenge.

Ohparishso, it’s a new car is it?
– fuck punctuation.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

to clarify my original comment was meant to incite a discussion on the effects of comments on a blog’s quality, not to draw aspersions about Tim’s relationship with Andrea and all that.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Jason

Yes, I think that’s a valid point to consider. But I can’t offhand think of any other blog about which you can clearly say that implementing commenting caused a deterioration in the quality of blogging. I agree you CAN say that in TB’s case. He’s noticeably less tolerant, more simplistic and less nuanced in many of his posts, most probably because he’s playing to an immediate adoring audience. I certainly didn’t notice the implementation of commenting at Catallaxy causing any such effect. Moreover, I can’t instantly think of any other blog that originally didn’t have a commenting facility but now does, to enable us to further test your hypothesis. It may simply be that TB is a born ham who just loves playing to an audience. And I don’t suppose there’s anything wrong with that if you know that’s the sort of blog you’re visiting. If you don’t, it doesn’t take you long to discover it, and you’ll only stay if you like that sort of thing. And although I don’t, lots of people obviously do because he’s got a much bigger readership than Troppo. So I’m not sure we can take your query much further anyway, Jason. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting observation.

mark
2022 years ago

IIRC (it was a long time ago…) my original ‘blog (guess the name!) didn’t have comments, although the first iteration of “infiniteBabble” did. I don’t think sticking comments in has either improved or reduced my quality of writing, although I’ve never had enough of an audience (let alone an adoring one) to say for sure.

Niall
2022 years ago

Interesting commentary from Mr Gravett. I wonder if he recalls some of the choicer droppings he deposited on my site in his more righteous moments.

Gary
2022 years ago

Yes do remember the one and only comment at your site Niall and unlike you I’m aware allot of my comments are inflammatory in your case it retaliatory as well.

jen
jen
2022 years ago

you go boys
nastier and nastier
and no smack in the head to make it right

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Jen

Actually Mike Jericho threatened to punch someone out the other day right here on this blog. Shame you missed it. Can’t really work out how he’d actually do it in cyberspace, but I think his theory was that he’d hunt them down next time there was a “blogbash” get-together in Sydney, and ask them to step outside. It could be entertaining, but I don’t know that I’d pay an airfare from Darwin to see it, especially since he might beat the crap out of me for good measure just for being a patronising arsehole (which I am, but in a very civil way). I’d be forced to deflect the blame onto you, for traumatising me deeply by taking the piss out of my stuttering and funny walk. Actually, come to think of it, it really is all your fault, you sarcastic bitch.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

Mike Jericho comes across as a jerk. He works for NSW State Rail. Correction – he used to, at a time when they would employ a monkey with a monkey wrench … oops, guess I won’t be attending any Sydney blogger bashes in future without some face armour…

PB
PB
2022 years ago

I’ve had some of the best fun I’ve ever had with my clothes on over at Tim Blair’s comments, but maybe I’m easily entertained (or just tolerant).
Couldn’t be any sour grapes in any of this, due to his traffic and the fact that he can live of the income of his blog?
(And I was one of the first to link Swade- I don’t mind anyone if they’re not a ‘tard).

Anthony
Anthony
2022 years ago

“I’ve had some of the best fun I’ve ever had with my clothes on over at Tim Blair’s comments, but maybe I’m easily entertained (or just tolerant).”

You just need to get out more!

jen
jen
2022 years ago

link talks about how blog abuse can damage the spirit – yes I agree – crestfallen me – at being largely ignored until emerging spiritually stronger with plenty of bullshit backup.
The future blogger will have the capacity to inflict physical pain – may be it could begin with shocks – you know those ones in psych101 where you test capacity to inflict pain a la nazi orders
– go to 10 –
– aaaaaaeeeee! – fuck.
dead.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Jen

Yes, I thought you point was more than apposite given the unremittingly abusive flavour of this thread. In a “meatspace” discussion like this, someone would have been thumped long ago, and it probably wouldn’t have developed like this anyway. People are much more restrained and inhibited when talking face-to-face.

More generally, I wonder why commenters do mostly ignore your comments instead of engaging with the substantive points you’re making (which are often much more interesting than the interminable arguments they punctuate)? Nervousness because they’re aware of our relationship? Surely not. Maybe they’re put off by your playing around with a stream of consciousness style and a scatterbrain persona, and so completely overlook the thought content? One must conform to the stylistic conventions of the genre or be ignored? But the genre is too new; it doesn’t have any rigid stylistic conventions, and if it does they deserve to be challenged.

Maybe others might give their observations on this, because I really like the concept of throwing molotov cocktails into turgid discussions. It’s just that with this audience they always turn into damp squibs.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

yah, mun, we dont wanna diss your woman:-)

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Very funny Jason. But come on, it’s a serious point and I’m genuinely puzzled. Mind you, I guess only a couple of commenters took up your point about the possible degrading effect of commenting facilities on the quality of a blogger’s posts. You can’t predict or guide what points readers will want to discuss. But you can make sociological/political/psychological observations of the phenomenon, and sometimes it’s interesting to do so. I still think the style/genre point is worth discussing. Do people find it harder to engage with arguments expressed in an unusual, deliberately disjointed but provocative style?

I actually aspire to have Troppo exhibit a variety of different styles and approaches to political writing (itself broadly defined). That’s why I’m rather hoping Wendy comes back soon, Geoff gets a bit more time to blog, and Wayne recovers from the shock and trauma of his part-time return to the ranks of office workers. And I see Jen as an integral part of that mix too, because she brings a less blokey, geeky sensibility and an edgy provocativeness that I really like (quite apart from the personal relationship).

Maybe it’s simply that any blogger needs to post fairly frequently over a period of time to build up their own special audience. Readers who like my style and approach might not like Jen’s (although I think it’s more that they don’t quite know what to make of it). That’s certainly what happened with Chris Sheil when he blogged at Troppo, he built an audience all his own, who preferred his style and subjects to mine or Geoff’s.

jen
jen
2022 years ago

wha thaynkyou sir fo defendin ma onnah!

yes – jen what a helpless bit of twattery you are –

in print

I’m so sensible shoes in person – you lot incite anarchy and it might be the election looming but it hasn’t stopped yet – usually I have a comment box fest -am ignored and do other stuff within a day – not this time – it’ll stop soon – i don’t have time – year 12 11 and 2dance showsarebreathing down my neck and all I want to do is think about a post – ahh well…….

mark
2022 years ago

It *is* the posting style. When I agree with jen, I have nothing further to say to her. When I disagree, I get a headache :-)

Anthony
Anthony
2022 years ago

To be honest I can’t tell if jen is saying something or not.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Don’t be mean to Jen today. It’s her birthday.

Anthony
Anthony
2022 years ago

I don’t mean it in a bad way :-)
Happy birthday Jen!