Trolls, bullies and us


There are three types of people who intentionally cause other people hurt on the internet. First there are the trolls; those the IT purists will tell you emerged long before Twitter and online opinion sites. From what I’ve read (and I’m sure I’ll be corrected if I get it wrong), the troll’s main goal is to provoke anger or other […]

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Grog’s Rise of the Fifth Estate

It’s probably not cool to blog about a book that mentions you, but I’m going to do it anyway because the release of Greg Jericho’s book this week has been excitedly anticipated by sections of the political blogosphere and Twittersphere for what seems like forever. Yesterday, the book officially hit the bookshops, although dead-tree copies were hard to find. Diehards like me paid for the iTunes copy and surreptitiously read it at work that day. Firstly, I’d like to say that the book is mostly free of the graphs and tables that distinguish much of Greg’s* political writings. That was a relief to me, because while Greg’s prose might be the poor cousin to his economic analysis, I actually enjoy the former much more. That’s probably because I don’t speak economist and as a literature wonk too, Greg does have a lovely turn of phrase. The book was always going to be built around the story of Greg’s shameful and baseless outing by James Massola of The Australian; and it certainly tells that tale in confronting and gory detail. We can only be grateful that the story turned out to have a happy ending – the many other possible endings were not quite so sun-shiny. But in an act of publishing brilliance, Greg has also been able to capture a snapshot of Australian political discourse at a time when many of the moving parts are spinning wildly. I’d venture that […]

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Belling the Abbott cat


To bell the cat: To undertake a dangerous action in the service of a group. So that this does not become a pissing competition and miss the point altogether, this post is an attempt to capture all of the articles and posts that have challenged Tony Abbott’s merry dance with the truth. Posts from bloggers are marked in this colour. I’ve included those that I’ve […]

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Should online commenters register with a credit card?

I’ve lodged a comment today on Greg Jericho’s latest interesting piece at The Drum about privacy and freedom to comment. My reason for doing so is the confusion that seems to have arisen about whether online commenters should register with a credit card. I recall discussing this with both Greg and Jonathan Green at The Drum, so thought I would share my views on how/why it could be done. This is what I had to say: Another nice piece Grog. The irony of the Australian doing a feature on you yesterday was extreme to say the least. Only to be exceeded, in fact, by your graciousness and generosity in doing the interview IMHO. On the credit card point. I think that might have been something you and I once discussed. If so, I suggested that paying $1 by credit card to register to comment on an online news/opinion site would be more effective in proving that one is a “real” person than using one’s Facebook profile (which is a method used by some media organisations). Using emails addresses or Facebook profiles does not weed out anonymous or pseudonymous commenters (clearly), or the astroturfing that can be perpetrated by them. But paying $1 by credit card demonstrates you are actually who you say you are, because the issuing bank will have made sure of that before issuing it to you. Or you would hope so……

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