tip off

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

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.

18
  • 1
    Jon Hunt
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    The first time I read the Herald Sun was in Melbourne a month or so ago, whilst waiting for my brother’s car to get fixed after it had heat stroke.

    In it was an article by a Mr Andrew Bolt regarding his disagreement with the choice of Australian of the year. It was an apalling article which I felt wouldn’t get someone through high school english such were the inconsistencies and so on. Yet obviously someone seems happy to pay him for writing such well argued opinions. I think that’s more worrying than what he actually writes.

    So I wrote something like this to the Herald Sun. I doubt it was published.

    How it can be the highest circulation paper I don’t know. Well I do. Presumably the readers are just plain stupid. There are no other explanations I can think of.

    Given what I read via Club Wah you have to wonder if the Herald Sun is actually breaking racial discrimination laws by facilitating the expression of racial prejudice. Are there any lawyers out there who may have a view on this?

  • 2
    Shabadoo
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    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

  • 3
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for that, Shabadoo. I’ve updated the post with a link to your comment.

  • 4
    silkworm
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Some guy wrote:

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

    Targeted with what? There is implication of violence here.

    In this sentence we see blame being laid on the whole Indian community for the actions of a few Indian men, so it’s clearly racist.

    {Defamatory statements removed. Let’s keep it a bit more civil, hey? — Scott}

  • 5
    Evil Bill
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    You can not defame an anonymous identity. Silkworm’s point about Shabadoo’s motivation seem entirely appropriate.

  • 6
    Shabadoo
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    And I never even got a chance to see what was written!

    Stay classy, people.

  • 7
    silkworm
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    It is you who need to stay classy, Shabadoo, thou licker of Bolt’s boots. If you are going to post the racist drivel of others, you need to do so disapprovingly, otherwise you begin to look like those you are quoting.

  • 8
    Shabadoo
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful encapsulation of lefty play-the-man politics, silkworm! You can’t bear to see it pointed out that your beloved Age can make the same mistake as the hated Hun, so rather than acknowledge the point like an adult (thank you Mr Bridges) you decide that I am somehow a Bolt bootlicker (who even mentioned Bolt? Not I, though he seems to occupy a rather large place in the fevered imaginations of many in these parts!) and a racist one at that. Under the circumstances, I think I’ll keep my own counsel as to what I “need to do”, mate.

  • 9
    Flashboy
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    It was quite clear that Shabadoo was quoting – badly, admittedly, but quoting, as a closer read or clicking through the link shows. Yes, the comments posted were rascist, that was the point being made. Can we pedal back on the hostility?

  • 10
    silkworm
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    My beloved Age? Oh please.

  • 11
    Jon Hunt
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t it interesting how racists blame being racist on the races?

  • 12
    RobJ
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    “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.”

    I stopped reading here, I know that Bolt is a bigoted hypocritical fool, so what if their are suspect articles at fairfax, what on earth does that have to do with anything?

    “beloved Age can make the same mistake as the hated Hun,”

    So? How on earth does that absolve Bolt of his fucked up dog whistling tactics? So the Age is crap! The Sun is appalling, it’s written for and read by idiots! Ben Cousins on the cover again today!

    “who even mentioned Bolt?”

    You did, in the quote at the top of my post. Are you deluded or just plain dishonest?

  • 13
    toiletboss
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    “So? How on earth does that absolve Bolt of his fucked up dog whistling tactics? So the Age is crap! The Sun is appalling, it’s written for and read by idiots! Ben Cousins on the cover again today!”

    Says it all really.

    Calculated to amuse short attention spans, both.

    Why does there have to be a black & white polarity shabadoo?
    I think both publications are unadulterated shit.

    Thinking that Bolt (& perceivably by extension the Hun) are misrepresentative twaddle doesn’t instantly slap me with a sticker saying that I kowtow to all things opposite (teh Left?), that’s just lazy mental gymnastics.

  • 14
    toiletboss
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    “What’s the point of comment moderation if racial vilification is approved?”

    It seems to make sense if it is an attempt to play to an audience.

  • 15
    peter de mambla
    Posted February 26, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    And how do the laws against racial vilification work? Does someone have to first make a complaint, or does the law simply swing to gear once an infraction is observed by those responsible for applying the law? For example, one doesn’t have to first complain to a police officer that there is a robbery going on for the police officer to be able to act. If the police officer sees this, then the officer already knows what to do, as the law is clear on the matter, and does not first need to be prompted by a complaint.

  • 16
    heavykevvie
    Posted February 27, 2009 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    you may want to have a look at the thread on the “hungry hippie”, one poster said that if maltby ever tried to take a sandwich off him he would “blah blah blah”. truly repulsive stuff. i questioned how this got past moderation.my comment never appeared. bolts blog appears to exist solely to encourage and comfort bigots. still no update or acknowledgement of the rebuttal posted on “ERIC BEECHERS SITE”,cowardly.

  • 17
    confessions
    Posted February 27, 2009 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    still no update or acknowledgement of the rebuttal posted on “ERIC BEECHERS SITE”,cowardly.

    if his past form is any indication it will never happen either. how many times has he had his interpretation of climate graphs shown to be incorrect by actual scientists? there was the balls up with his incorrect interpretation of African crime statistics, shown by possum as disingenuous and possibly playing to some kind of agenda. his pwning on national television by annabelle crabb when she challenged him to claim cooling on a temperature graph with a trend line headed skyward. all these instances remain unacknowledged on his blog unless he uses them as a poor-bugger-me whinge point – like with crabbe – to get the sheep riled up.

    in the blogsphere bloggers get fact-checked all the time, publishing dissenting views and recanting their errors. it seems it is a different story in the MSM. and i don’t think you’ll ever get responses from bolt on these matters, therefore it’s time to start asking the herald sun what values it expects of its contributors and columnists and how it will ensure these are adhere to. i don’t think it’s asking too much of the MSM to have opinion that is shown to be incorrect publicly acknowledged and corrected at the source.

  • 18
    peter de mambla
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    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.

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