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Herald Sun

Feb 26, 2009

What's the point of comment moderation if racial vilification is approved?

Yesterday I wrote a piece for the Crikey email (available to subscribe

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Yesterday I wrote a piece for the Crikey email (available to subscribers only) that said…

Broadly speaking, bloggers on non-commercial sites (like Tim Blair in his pre-News Ltd. days and me in my non-Crikey hat) can let a lot of comments through that probably fall into the questionable category, while bloggers who work for large media organisations (like Andrew Bolt, Tim Blair in his current iteration, and me in my Crikey hat) have to be a lot more careful because of the higher legal risk involved for the parent organisations.

Unfortunately, managing this risk requires the curtailing of one of the key features that makes blogging so valuable and so much fun: the free-flowing conversation that is possible due to instant commenting. News Ltd. blogs have adopted a strict moderation model where every single comment has to be approved by a human before appearing on the site…

The News Ltd. newspapers’ websites have also enabled (moderated) comments on most of their published stories, allowing readers to have their say or have a conversation of sorts with other readers. I think that it’s an admirable attempt to embrace social media, but it carries the same risks for the company that I was talking about in my article about blog comments — hence the moderation.

However, you’ve gotta wonder what the point of moderation is if comments such as these ones noticed by Club Wah are routinely published by the Herald Sun. Those comments represent blatant racial vilification and the highest-circulation newspaper in the country doesn’t seem to care.

UPDATE: Reader Shabadoo points out similar comments getting published at Fairfax’s The Age website.

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18 comments

18 thoughts on “What’s the point of comment moderation if racial vilification is approved?

  1. peter de mambla

    I’d enquired before about how the laws against racial vilification work. I’ve since looked up the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 and and am posting sections that may be of relevance to the subject of this thread.

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/rarta2001265/

    Section 1(a)(b) of the Act states its purpose to be to “promote racial … tolerance by prohibiting certain conduct involving the vilification of persons on the ground of race …” and to “to provide a means of redress for the victims of racial … vilification.”

    Section 7(1) states that: “A person must not, on the ground of the race of another person or class of persons, engage in conduct that incites hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of, that other person or class of persons.” This behaviour, adds section (2)(a), “may be constituted by a single occasion or by a number of occasions over a period of time”.

    Section 9 states that the motive behind the contravention of section 7 is irrelevant.

    Section 15 states: “A person must not request, instruct, induce, encourage, authorise or assist another person to contravene a provision of this Part.”

    Section 27 (1)(a) states: “If a body corporate is guilty of an offence against this Part, each officer of the body corporate who knowingly directed, authorised or permitted the commission of the offence by the body corporate, is also guilty of an
    offence against this Part.”

    Section 27 (4)(a) states: “If a body corporate is guilty of an offence against this Part, each officer of the body corporate who knowingly directed, authorised or permitted the commission of the offence by the body corporate, is also guilty of an
    offence against this Part.”

    Section 19 states that complaints alleging contravention of the Act may be made to the Commission by persons or person acting on behalf of that person or a representative body that believes the matter of the alleged contravention of the Act to be against its interests of the interests of the welfare of those it represents.

    This Act, it seems to me, may provide information that is of some relevance to the subject of this thread.

  2. Shabadoo

    You know, if you mob could get over your stalky obsession with Andrew Bolt, you might notice the same thing happens over at Fairfax all the time. Take this for example, re: police advice that Indians should cut a lower profile to avoid crime in Melbourne:

    http://blogs.theage.com.au/yoursay/archives/2009/02/public_transpor_2.html?page=fullpage#comments

    Off the boat Indian males just don’t seem to get or understand what personal space is. Australian hetro males do not often get in others faces or push past other males in public. If they do it can and is often viewed as hostile.

    In India this is common place and does not result in violence.

    I work in the CBD and many young Indian men seem to be oblivious to the fact they are pushing boundries with Australian men.

    So it does not really surprise me that the Indians do not know why they are being targeted.

    They really need to understand/learn male Australian etiquette or basic western rules.

    1) Don’t push past other men and make body contact. This can be seen as hostile! Especially without a “Sorry mate”

    2) Do not stand too close to other men. Heterosexual men do not appreciate another mans face 1 inch away from theirs.

    Posted by: City guy on February 19, 2009 1:09 PM
    Indians educated ? Are you kidding me ? They all lie on their resumes and are useless in what they do. Unless they are cleaning toilets…even then they are bad, but no one cares.

    Posted by: Indian Nation on February 19, 2009 1:10 PM

    The main culprit of racism is our Govt. Successive Australian Govts. have thrown this crap policy of milti-culturalism down our throats and many australians have had enough. The country is literally overun with foreigners and many Australians including myself are tired of seeing our nation turn into a third world toilet. When will our PM and other Govt. minsters realise that our training instiutions should be training our kids and not foreigners. India should build more schools etc. so our infrastructure isn’t stretched. The more foregners let into this nation will result in more friction, crime and racism. Of course many Australians are racist just like many Indians, Chinese and Arabs. I believe that we are all racists in some way or another but only the truthful admit it. Every nation that has been infiltrated by multi-culturalism will collapse; a moral collapse, economic collapse, budget collapse and social collapse. Multi-culturalism is the worst policy to have entered the ideological battlefield of politics. Those left wing fools who believe they were creating a social utopia called multi-ulturalism should be hung in the town square as they have been a total disservice to the Aussies. Politically correct mentally is also destroying australia by not calling a ‘spade’ a ‘spade’. Aussies know that most of the criminal activity in Australia is carried out by asians, blacks and muslims – this is a fact but we are not alowed to mention ‘fact’ as it might appear racist, what crap! Limited immigration is fine but accepting 250,000 third worlders annually will tun us into the third world. Stop immigration, multi-culturalism and globalisation and watch the glory return to Australia.

    Posted by: Nicholas Folkes on February 20, 2009 10:04 PM