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Comment moderation

Moderation is a difficult balance. Some think we should do less of it, others more - at least in terms of letting through less smart-ass wisecracks at the expense of other commenters. Frankly, a quick look at any unmoderated site (example at (semi-)random here) tells you that if you instantly publish every comment you get, smart-ass wisecracks is what dominates. We've been having this debate on this site and its predecessors for nearly six years now - though more intensely since the move from e-mail to a comment management system in 2004, and we're still on the side that says we'd rather stop altogether than stop moderating comments.

In practice, I lean more towards James Govett's view that it is important to the quality and information-content of the debate that contributors feel safe from unreasonable attack, and that the balance of the site has (once again) moved too far away from this.

So, we will be tightening up. Given the need to keep workload down while operating with only part-time volunteer editors, one part of this will be a reduced tolerance for editing comments that need significant work before publication. In particular, any comment that contains anywhere within it any commentary - explicit or implied - on the intelligence or honesty of another Webdiarist, will simply not be published. Following specific complaints, comments that refer to other Webdiarists by nickname or any other name than that which they use themselves will also not be published. Notwithstanding our preference against removing published material, we will also remove anything that slips through that is reasonably complained about by the target of a comment. Complaints can be made either through a not-for-publication comment (write NFP in the comment title), or via the "Contact Us" page in the menu on the left of this screen.

A further point on moderation and workload: some of you write stream-of-consciousness stuff that needs a spell-check and extensive repunctuation to make it comprehensible to others: from here on, if it's too much work, we simply don't publish it.

Finally (for now), I think it also time to re-instate the old "no more than five comments per day from the same person" rule, that at least suggests to our more prolific posters that they think about whether what they are about to write is the most important contribution they want to make today ...

For more detail, see the Editorial Policy and How to Comment entries in the menu on the left.

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Food for thought - not a complaint

One could ask whether comments that contain such subjective words as dumb, infantile, immature, uneducated, and contain deliberate ridicule of belief, when addressed to a known religious person on the site, constitutes sneering, even criticism of that person. I have even seen it implied that believers are mentally ill. Further when such type remarks/words are used obliquely in a clear attempt to sting a person due to their religious belief why that would be let through, when such is not acceptable if referring to race, sexuality, ethnicity etc? (Your editorial policy, which I note includes religion in that clause.)

As probably one of the few believers on the site whenever I enter a discusssion on religion these are the tactics used by some when responding to me. Now as a pretty together sort of person and comfortable in my beliefs, it is not something I want to make an issue over, but you might like to consider whether such tactics would drive others from the site or turn them off it. I actually see those who need to do this as having some sort of personal problem themselves but many believers would take it personally, particularly those who come to belief through some crisis in their life, and who have a desperate need to believe irrespective as to whether that is seen by some as irrational. They can be very vulnerable people. For them to come to this site and have that sort of stuff directed at them if they entered the discussion, would not make it a safe site for them.

There is not a person in my wide circle who has ridiculed my beliefs even though I know some are not believers themselves. And I do not ridicule their atheism. That is the mark of tolerance in a civilised society. Is tolerance not one of our agreed values?

An objective discussion of religion and religious belief should be possible without oblique or implied criticism/questioning of a believer's intellect or sanity.

I am not sure that ridiculing a believer, even obliquely by means of ridiculing their beliefs, is not as bad as ridiculing a person on the basis of their race, sexuality etc which is why I guess it is included in your editorial guidelines.

I suspect most moderators by their own comments are not particularly religious folk, so maybe this is just something you never really thought much about.  

Food for thought as I said. Maybe Margo has an opinion.

Margo: Jenny, as I wrote last month, let's be nice to each other this year. For something completely different. Especially on this one, eh?

Sweet as honey

Margo: As sweet as honey I will be just for you.  Cheers and remember Good Friday coming up. Be in touch soon. Still looking for Honey Flow. But rescued the case summary I wrote for the former chief Justice of NSW from the grain silo if still interested. Strange the places some men store things!

 

 

 

Middle East forum on ABC - listener feedback

Here is some of the listener feedback regarding Virginia Triolli’s Middle East forum last Friday.

“Congratulations on your Middle East Forum. Seldom have I heard such a well balanced, informative session on Radio. If only we could all learn to listen to each other and foster understanding, the world would have to become a better place!” “The effort Virginia went to [to] maintain respectful dialogue between guests, and audience members, of widely differing viewpoints was obvious, and the work she did to forcefully, but respectfully, nip inflammatory rhetoric in the bud was masterful”.

To hear the forum go here.

What is clearly demonstrated is that debate does not require abuse and insult, and other forms of personal attack, to be robust. The problem with unrelenting personal attack is that it disrupts the exploration and spread of ideas. Roslyn, I disagree with you about ignoring personal attack. By ignoring it, it will not stop. If there is no response the personal attack will often escalate until the recipient is worn down or responds in a way they would have preferred not to. And Jenny, I agree with you about the futility of tit-for-tat. But that doesn’t mean not responding. Personal attack needs to be responded to. To expose it, explain the damage it causes and to argue for an end to it. Why is the exploration and spread of ideas important? We live in a democracy. Now, I don’t have a great deal of respect for democracy but it’s the best of a bunch of even worse alternatives. It is the tyranny of the majority. But if I’m going to be tyrannized I would prefer it to be by the collective citizenry than by gods, kings/queens, dictators or groups of elite.

So, I figure that if the collective citizenry is going to make decisions that majorly impact on my life, then the least I can expect, and demand, is that they are adequately informed. So, I make the case for an environment that is conducive to the exploration and spread of ideas.

Angela Ryan, “Hi James.I


Angela Ryan
, “Hi James.I understand your concern. You want to be treated with repect by persons replying or discussing what you have written even if they disagree?”

Hi Angela. No, not exactly. See next response.

AR, “You feel that name calling, words/terms paragraphs that insult or denigrate either you or you views are not respectful,no matter how humourous or witty, or how much clever cover there was for the real meaning. Is that an accurate summary?”.

Not quite. Wit, satire, parody etc. can, and should, be effectively used to make very important points. But its the endless name calling and other forms of intentional, gratuitous, personal attacks and provocations that I think are not helpful to the exploration and spread of ideas. In fact, I have little doubt that such behaviour is often a response to the fear that a particular idea will take hold or spread.

AR, “... I do think that was the original intention for all by Margo and Hamish.This encourages people to speak their true views without fear”.

This is an excellent point you make, Angela. And the question for the moderators is what kind of environment will make people feel safe to speak their true views without fear.

I happened to listen to Virginia Triolli’s morning program on the ABC last Friday. She devoted the entire 2.5 hrs. to a discussion of the current situation in the middle east. She moderated the discussion very well, kept the grandstanders and loud-mouths under control and protected her guests from abuse. One young-sounding girl started off by laughingly saying that she’ll probably get abused for her views. I can’t remember Virginia’s response exactly but it was something like, “Not on my program you won’t!”. And good on her. She invites guests onto her program and she takes responsibility for protecting them. I think this is something the moderators of webdiary should think more seriously about. They invite guests onto their forum and I think they should actively ensure that their guests are not the victims of abuse or unrelenting, gratuitous, personal attack.

AR, “Having been on the receiving end of some rather nasty personal attacks here,I can understand what James is on about”.

I’m sorry that happened to you. It’s kind of cowardly to insult people from the safety of behind one’s computer.

AR, “I think James ,that what made me immune...”..

Maybe it’s not so good that you have become immune. Remember, the world is what we make it. And public discourse can be what we expect it to be and what we demand it to be.

And if enough contributors to webdiary start demanding an end to abuse and unrelenting, gratuitous, personal attack then that’s exactly what we may get.

AR, “An attack by one whom I respect would be hard to take and something that would make me really take note and rethink the opinion I had”.

Then you’ll be allowing yourself to be swayed by a variant of the fallacious argument known as “The Appeal to Authority”. See here for other fallacious arguments.

There were some excellent “verbalists” (as you say) on webdiary over the year or so that I was contributing (till towards the end of last year). Many have gone. Perhaps they were just tired of the mean-spirited atmosphere one not infrequently finds here.

Yet more of the same

If you ever have an idea, James Govett, please share it with us so it can be exposed to rational criticism; otherwise, shut up.

I can see no informational content in anything you have said on this thread other than you don't like some of the forms of contributions.   How your peferences are relevant is beyond me.

I do not know who or what you are but I make no bones about who I am, what I think or where I can be contacted in the real world.

A little light relief

I liked this page. It says so much really. James you might like to read this and see if it makes you laugh a little.

Richard, “ My grandmother


Richard,
“ My grandmother would've used a straw broom or a bucket of water on both of you two.. grown men and all ... Sigh”

I’m sorry Malcolm B. Duncan referred to your head as “dicky”, especially after you gave him a winking smiley, but what’s that got to do with me?

Malcolm B. Duncan, “As for elitism, I'm from the Leonie Kramer School - all for it -..."

From dictionary.com, Elitism: “ The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources”.

Do you believe you deserve favoured treatment? If so, based on which criteria?

On webdiary, what form would you like to see that favoured treatment toward you take?

You didn’t answer these questions earlier. Why don’t you tell us your answer to these questions?

Richard:  Gran ran a bar full of wharfies and meatworkers, who would stop squabbling when the broom came out.  How do we get you to to shake hands and "be friends" ?  

As for my "dicky head", well, when you have a name like mine you hear that joke every now and again, year after year after year... 

James,respect for individual concerns and general guidelines,

Hi James.I understand your concern. You want to be treated with repect by persons replying or discussing what you have written even if they disagree? You feel that name calling, words/terms paragraphs that insult or denigrate either you or you views are not respectful,no matter how humourous or witty, or how much clever cover there was for the real meaning. Is that an accurate summary?

You wish to be treated with respect as no doubt you are used to in your normal personal dealings day to day with friends and colleagues/business associates/work mates. I do think that was the original intention for all by Margo and Hamish.This encourages people to speak their true views without fear.

Having been on the receiving end of some rather nasty personal attacks here,I can understand what James is on about. When it first happened it astounded me , as not because I consider myself an elite,but because I had not been communicated with like that since the playground.  All I meet in person speak with mutual respect on difficult topics,or any topics for that matter.  And the wit and humour that flows is not at the expense of anothers feelings or standing.In personal communications the words used are associated with plenty of nonverbal communication that can make harmless witty that could be taken wrongly. 

Here in the written world there is no such softening or adjuvants to what was intended.:) I think James ,that what made me immune is the gentle support from others here who may not have agreed but appreciated anopinion/ view/information/ contribution/ speelingnightmare hmmm, and then reading elsewhere what the same persons who wrote such antipersonal words wrote elsewhere when less constrained and realised how very far morally they were from my universe.

There are quite a few closet racists on the internet to be wary of and to confront. I have not yet been on the wrong side of Malcolm's witty barbs but can understand how hurtful that may be,particularly as I greatly respect most of what he gives us about him as a person.An attack by one whom I respect would be hard to take and something that would make me really take note and rethink the opinion I had.

I think that maybe Malcolm may have to realise that,although uninteneded the personal criticisms may be hurtful,particularly as delivered with suck alactrity. Remember Black belt civilians are not allowed to use their fighting skills in nonregulated conflicts of opinion to physically harm a person.(or is that an urban myth?) so maybe Black belt verbalists should be a little more restrained against we the plebs.I am sure Malcolm is quite capable of great witticisms and humour without making it personal, especially when people have already requested such respect.I am equally sure the Black belt could be used to flay alive and we hav often seen restraint. So ,I would really consider what James is saying ABOUT HIM with the respect that is due,and hope James will understand that othes may be OK with the level of banter that usually gets through ,but if they are not,that should be noted and respected at the time. heck it would be a hard job to edit all, but seeing the open hate and racism on other sites ,I do hope the values are maintained.

The lows are very low that some ex webdiarists and the critics of WD can sink to.

Cheers

Time to ignore

Angela:   Well said, and Jenny  I have decided you are right about ignoring things.

Anything which contains an insult is best ignored because the writer has no desire to participate in mature debate and anything which involves name-calling of any kind, even that which may masquerade as humour is also best ignored.

Grave risks

Don't worry Roslyn.

We won't be ignoring you. History has had too much to say on the grave risks involved in pretending people like you will go away if ignored. 

 

Those who inspire

Angela: The lows are very low that some ex webdiarists and the critics of WD can sink to.

Yes indeed Angela which is why I do not bother to visit their sites. Who needs to pick over the garbage of those whose moral values would seem to be, as you say, far from one's own universe?

I can understand also where James Govett is coming from, but when it comes down to tit for tatting, then it is sometimes just best to walk away. Remember the tis-tisn't exchanges of childhood? Webdiarists are a bit like that at times, seem to need to have the last word no matter how long it takes. Sometimes I think it pays to just duck any slings and arrows, and let them fall harmlessly to the ground.

But all this to and froing about elitism by James and the good barrister, about meaning in life on other threads, and about love and war, got me thinking about people generally, and especially those in my life whom I had admired, and why I had admired them. And there are many. They are the people whose deeds I would aspire to emulate, no matter how far short I would inevitably fall. They are the ones who, by their own actions, inspire me now to try and change the things that I see need changing, no matter what the personal cost. They are the people who give you strength when adversity strikes, the ones who can help you find meaning in life.

There was my cousin Rawdon, 18 years my senior, who in 1942 with half his face blown away, wrestled a crippled Stirling bomber from Turin back to the English coast, knowing he did not have enough fuel to make it back to any airfield.  He must have been in indescribable pain for hours, yet he determined to get to the English coast, which he did, there to fly parallel just long enough to order his crew to bale out to safety.  Having done that he turned the plane out to sea, as he said he would never crash on land in case he killed a civilian. He died (as did two of his crew who baled out too late) and his deed was cited as being "unsurpassed in the annals of the RAF". He was posthumously awarded the VC.

Then there was an uncle who was gunned down by the Germans as he carried a wounded mate on the western front in 1918. Then there was the aunt, who cared for a mentally disabled child till the day she died. 

Courage and strength like this are the qualities in people that I admire most and if I were ever to be recognised for anything after I have gone, I would prefer it to be for that.

They are some of my dead heroes. There were others, like Flynn of the Inland, whose work inspired me as a child, and led me, at his wife's suggestion, to head for the Territory to work as a nurse.

Then there are the living and this week I attended a book launch, the biography of a truly remarkable Australian woman, Christine Townend. Meeting her and Peter Singer 30 years ago changed my life and led me to do things that I would never have thought I would be capable of. When she signed her book for me, she thanked me for the work I had done for our common cause! Hell, my contribution alongside her work in India was to me, paltry in the extreme.

But is that not the mark of a truly great person? One who can do so much as this woman did, sacrifice so much, yet recognise the contribution of another, no matter how small.

When I consider the deeds of these people, and the work many still do, it restores my faith in humanity. Something which if one took the writings seriously of those on other sites who sink so low as you say, could be very badly dented. But as the old saying goes, there are those in life who would take your strength from you, and those in life who would put it all back.

Rub shoulders I say with those who give you strength and inspiration. Do not bother with those who would weaken you, for whatever reason.  

When it comes to online debate, and someone plays it a bit rough for my personal comfort, I first try to see the light concealed under their bushel. But one needs to remember, that those who do conceal their light, may have a very good reason for doing so. Sometimes it pays therefore to just walk away, not for one's own sake, but for theirs.

Govett's Leap

Come, James Govett, come, come into the garden - Maud is here and night has fallen - come into the Love and War thread - try to say something intellectual: try. Have a go at enlightening the elite.  I'll stand you a middie (was yours the soy?).  Just take the jump.

Malcolm B. Duncan,


Malcolm B. Duncan
, “Oooooh, yes please. Rules and lots of them. Rules are so much easier to subvert than guidelines - do it for a living and I've never been averse to mixing work and pleasure (ask anyone I've cross-examined)”.

The rules i am specifically referring to are those against personal insult/abuse towards other contributors on Webdiary.
Why do you want to personally insult/abuse others? What purpose does it serve a) to the argument at hand and b) to yourself personally?

Malcolm B. Duncan, “Well, that would make for lively debate wouldn't it? Possibly we could be polite by all agreeing to disagree and not post anything: Riveting”.

When the arguments have all been made and there is still disagreement, what else is left to do? Abuse/insult the others for disagreeing, in the hope they will be shamed/ humiliated/
intimidated/pressured into agreeing or leaving the forum? It’s a common enough technique in the public arena, as on webdiary, but I see no point or value in it.

Considering the grand mystery of it all it seems to me that what the elites know is equivalent to infinitely less than a piss in the atlantic. But there are very powerful psychological mechanisms in place that compel them to believe otherwise, and that manipulate and convince others into trusting them.

Richard:  My grandmother would've used a straw broom or a bucket of water on both of you two..  grown men and all ... sigh. 

Question for Moderator.

Moderators, David Roffey said, "Following specific complaints, comments that refer to other Webdiarists by nickname or any other name than that which they use themselves will also not be published".

Malcolm B. Duncan has twice referred to me as "The Govett Person". Why is this being allowed? It occurred on this thread at July 10, 2006 - 5:37pm and at July 5, 2006 - 1:22pm.

Richard:  My fault, I'm afraid, as I'd considered the expression borderline and let it through.  However now that you've raised your objection no doubt it won't be used again.   Apologies, James !
 

Dooops

You weren't supposed to publish the PS or the PPS - they were a joke intended for the editors.   On you own head, dicky though it may be, be it.

 

I just write the stuff.

Richard: Malcom I hit the wrong button, and immediately rectified the problem.. the PS would have been up for only ten seconds. I didn't think the postscripts were intended for publication, as you'll see by the PS I put on your original post.

If you'll excuse me now, I'm in the middle of V for Vendetta.
 

The Way We Lawyers Write

Another useful intellectual contribution to the debate from James Govett.   Substance over content as ever.

Now, Mr Moderator, the way it works is this:   I refer to something out of the ordinary like the Institute for Profoundly Mentally Disabled Nitpicking Turmagents and, to save space thereafter, abbreviate it by using initials in quotation marks "PMDNT".   It is also common in journalism.   Saves space you see just like "James Govett ("the Govett person")"  saves having to use a second capital thus reducing the risk of typos.

 Aardvarks.

Richard:  Aardvarks indeed.  It was on a similar train of thought that I  let the appellation through, as I am,  inadvertently, again now.   Under the guidelines I'm attempting to follow, the prescribed code of conduct for a commentor is to address others by their noms de plume.  Since James Govvett has contested the manner of addess and by deeming it offensive placed it outside the editorial guidelines, I believe, as C Parsons is so fond of saying, that the case is closed  ;)

PS Regarding PS and PPS.....

 

What a wonderful story

Thank you for sharing human moments with us, Malcolm. That was a nice counterpoint to the thrust and parry of the political journey.

David R, “don't see any

David R, “don't see any meaningful distinction [between rules and guidelines]...”

If you call them rules it demonstrates how much you value them. And people are more likely to adhere to rules than guidelines (isn’t that what you want?-otherwise why have either rules or guidelines). And if they do, this provides greater safety for your guests.

David R, “- the problems are always caused by the comments that skirt the edge of the rules/guidelines.......”.

I think the problems are caused by a very few contributors who, for reasons that elude me, want to continually incorporate personal insults into their contributions and are constantly testing the guidelines so that they can do so.

David R, “we hope for courtesy, but cannot enforce it and still keep robust debate.....”

What is robust debate anyway?

David R, “..let's face it, most of the criticism we get is for the comments we don't allow, not for the ones we do ...”.

So, how long does it take to cut and paste a standard response that...”your contribution was not published because of unprovoked, unrelenting discourtesy and personal insult”?

David R, “if we went to lengths of DNPing sarcasm, as you suggested elsewhere, I'm not sure we'd be publishing much at all ...”.

I have not at all suggested that sarcasm not be published. Please quote back to me where i have suggested that.

David R, “Following specific complaints, comments that refer to other Webdiarists by nickname or any other name than that which they use themselves will also not be published”.

So, why are you publishing comments referring to me as “the Govett person”?

Jenny Hume, “Well. Before


Jenny Hume
, “... I'd better let this thread get back to its point of putting us all to rights! Hard job, controlling this mob I would think. Cheers”.

Maybe not so hard. Where there’s a will etc. I wondered whether the ABC would be up to the challenge of providing a a popular, quality, intelligent forum in a friendly, safe environment for those who value the civil exploration of ideas. And though it doesn’t run an overall forum like this one, it runs and moderates many smaller, individual forums.

Looking at the mediawatch guestbook they have rules not guidelines and here are their conditions of use, part of which states, “While encouraging vigorous debate, we expect all participants to treat each other with respect and courtesy”, and “ Your contribution may be edited, removed or not published if the ABC considers it to be: of nuisance value, inappropriate, off topic or vexatious. For example the ABC reserves the right to reject contributions that have been widely canvassed in the forum. It also reserves the right to reject contributions from participants who seek to dominate the discussion”.

Some questions for the moderators (and anyone else interested):

1. Why don’t you change (at least some of) the guidelines into rules? What do you see as the disadvantages of doing so?

David R: don't see any meaningful distinction - the problems are always caused by the comments that skirt the edge of the rules/guidelines, and if it's stated as a firm rule and what is written does not technically quite breach it, there are the same arguments (if not even less useful ones).

2. Why don’t you expect, and ensure, that all participants treat each other with respect and courtesy? What do you see as the disadvantages of doing so?

David R: we hope for courtesy, but cannot enforce it and still keep robust debate - let's face it, most of the criticism we get is for the comments we don't allow, not for the ones we do ...

3. Why do you publish contributions that you consider to be vexatious or of nuisance value or from participants who seek to dominate the forum? What do you see as the disadvantages of not doing so?

David R: see all previous debates on moderation ad nauseam: our preference is to publish as much as possible: if we went to lengths of DNPing sarcasm, as you suggested elsewhere, I'm not sure we'd be publishing much at all ...

Rules rule OK?

Oooooh, yes please.   Rules and lots of them.   Rules are so much easier to subvert than guidelines - do it for a living and I've never been averse to mixing work and pleasure (ask anyone I've cross-examined).

Courtesy : acquiescence; indulgence; consent [Macquarie Dictionary 3rd Ed]

Well, that would make for lively debate wouldn't it?   Possibly we could be polite by all agreeing to disagree and not post anything: Riveting.

I must admit, I prefer the ME definition which includes the formal rules for trial by battle i.e. winning an argument by killing someone.

Interestingly, there is no ME equivalent for dickhead that I can find in the OED 2nd Ed. Maybe they were smarter at arguing in those days.

Still (self-)moderating?

At risk (what the hell – this thread is already way off topic – in certain respects, that is – in others, given that it has to do with people responding to people; and of breaching every editorial guideline (hey, does this mean that I get demobbed?)), I shall respond in approximately reverse date order, with apologies for not having responded earlier (please forgive me – a stint in the NT, plus trying to catch up with everything once back home).

Chris Shaw: What better guide to life – and Eng Lit – than PL Travers? Besides, I’m sure that Mary Poppins taught you a whole lot about how to be truly civilized.

Trevor Kerr: Thank you for the reference to Going binocular. Fascinating. However, I’m not convinced yet that giving up my status of permanent double vision (which, actually, does allow depth vision with considerable accuracy) unless I’m guaranteed something better. Meanwhile, here’s looking at you twice.

Angela Ryan: Thank you for your kind words (re wit and erudition). I just wish I had your passion and energy.

Jenny Hume, “James Govett:


Jenny Hume,
“James Govett: I think written debate will always have a lot of shortcomings and it would be hard to strike a balance on any site that would keep everyone happy, and at the same time keep debate alive, interesting and spirited”.

Jenny, I have only argued that personal abuse and unrelenting insult, discourtesy and dishonest debating should be done away with. Unless i’m misreading you, are you suggesting that a forum can’t be alive, interesting and spirited without them?

JH, “While some threads do get off the track, that is not always a bad thing as new areas of discussion open up, as in any conversation between people”.

I was referring more specifically to threads getting side-tracked and deteriorating into endless days of exchanges of personal insult. However, there are certain subjects that seem to pop up just about anywhere e.g. asylum seekers, Howard/Bush bashing. And i suppose that might be OK if at least something new was said but its the same old rhetoric.

JH, “The personalities behind the writing can never truly be known but they will be as varied and complex as life itself. Some people you will feel comfortable engaging with, others not, as is true in life generally”.

Quite right. And in those circumstances, if a point needs to be made, i find it preferable to not engage with the person, just their argument.

JH, “But that is life. We all have our idiosyncracies, but that does not make us idiots”.

Just look around at this aching, broken world we live in. For all the rhetoric of the elites who run it wisdom constantly eludes them.

Richard, “Maybe another editor will try to make more sense of this than randomly whacking in some paragraph breaks. James, you could make life a little easier in other aspects than in semantics. No offence meant,but pleeeease ?”

Sorry Richard, i’m not following you. What offence? I don’t understand your specific concern/criticism.

David R, “The extent to


David R,
“The extent to which we've tightened up is essentially to simply not publish a post if contains anything abusive, rather than editing it .....”

David, this seems like a good idea and had it been implemented way back maybe Margo might still be around.

David R, “...this being, as it were, the nuclear option, I'm not inclined to apply it to expressions such as 'old chap', which isn't quite in the same category as 'dickhead' ... “

No, it’s not, but the unrelenting use of minor discourtesies can be successfully used to the same effect as abuse. To provoke the recipient into a personal tit-for-tat, thus often derailing the discussion at hand.  The internet equivalent of standing in front of someone you are talking to and poking him in the ribs every 5 minutes.

I think to focus only on what’s clearly abusive, remove that, and leave the rest is inadequate. If you look at the many threads that have gone off the rails in the last few weeks I think you will find there are many, many techniques, some subtle, some not so subtle, individuals use to try and steer a discussion (sometimes consciously, sometimes not) into chaos.

I think what needs to be asked is what is the major focus, because if it’s the civil, full exploration of the topic at hand, then I think more needs to be done than just not publishing posts containing abusive comment. 

At times, there will need to be constant intervention in a discussion, actively steering the discussion back on track when needed and ensuring that none of the guidelines (including those to do with honest debating-see Jenny Humes’ post) are being repeatedly violated.

Gareth Eastwood, “ James Govett, are you really incapable of defending yourself?”

Yes, I am. Only the moderators, who determine what gets published and what doesn’t, can defend one contributor from another’s insult/abuse. But if you mean am I incapable of retaliating, then no, I am not.

But that’s not why I’m here. I have no interest in retaliating and largely consider it a waste of time. Not to mention disruptive to the discussion and, as such, an insult to the many who clearly spend a good deal of time producing intelligent, well researched contributions.

GE, “Do you always rely on third party intervention for even the most minor perceived injustice?”

No, not always. But if the “minor perceived injustice” is part of a systematic attempt to provoke myself, or other contributors, and thus disrupt discussion, then yes.

GE, “Surely WD moderator time should not be tied up vetting every single post for any possible hint of offence or insult”.

See previous comment. I think it would be time well spent.

GE, “If we can’t call someone ‘old chap’, does this mean ‘mate’ should be banned as well? What about ‘buddy’, ‘dude’, ‘cobber’, ‘pal’ and so on?”.

If you are on good terms with another contributor and the reference to “buddy” or “chap” is understood by both to be good natured humour then it’s not a problem and is none of my business.

Otherwise, I think it is inappropriate to refer to someone by other than their name. And I think this should be one of the guidelines on webdiary ( I don’t seem to see it there) and one that the moderators should most rigorously enforce.

Jenny Hume, “James Govett: I for one, actually take you seriously.......”

Jenny, thanks for that. I clearly seem to take this issue more seriously than most and hopefully my responses to some of your comments might help to further explain why.

JH, “We do not want to be like those other sites............”

No, I think that would be such an insult to margo, to those who run webdiary and its many courteous, articulate and well-informed contributors.

JH, “WD is by far the best in terms of content and level of intellectual engagement.....”

Yes, it seems to be. But it could be so much better. I guess it can be anything the owners want it to be.

Most of the internet fora are poorly moderated (if at all) and are merely (and often worse than) the written/internet equivalent of commercial talkback, i.e. rubbish.

Webdiary has some very good content and has great potential but I find it ultimately unsatisfying because there has consistently been (at least since I started contributing back in early ‘05) inadequate control of those who like to try and intimidate, insult, provoke and dominate the forum, thus derailing the discussion.

JH, “While you may think I was joking, my U rules do in fact contain all of the basic rules as laid out in the guidelines and now enforced, with a few added just for fun, but generally most of them are serious if you read them closely!”.

No, I didn’t think you were joking. And you clearly adhere to them yourself. As do many, perhaps even most.

JH, “Can I suggest you just engage on the issues that interest you with others on the site, (as you may have a lot to say that is worthwhile for others to hear) and don't let Malcom B Duncan get to you!”.

I probably won’t be hanging around for 2 reasons, 1. Why would i want to remain in a situation where I will not be fully protected from unrelenting insult and contempt etc.? and 2. What I value most, the civil exploration and spread of ideas, can not occur (and clearly does not occur, see how many discussions are derailed) in the current atmosphere on webdiary.

JH, “But while I swipe back a bit, it does not really bother me what they all think. Nor do I see it as a reflection of my intellect, though the responses I got might suggest otherwise! I know how smart, or dumb I am”.

Of course, but unlike you, many get suckered into the psychological mind games, tit-for-tats and banging together of hairy chests and, after days (sometimes weeks) of this the ultimate victim is usually, and sadly, the subject at hand.

JH, “......The former has led some to say I sound fun. I am not fun in my view. That is a mask. My life has in fact been anything but fun, but I believe in.......etc., etc”

I really enjoyed those last few paragraphs Jenny. Thanks for that and I appreciate the valuable philosophy contained in them. And I don’t disagree with you.

But don’t forget that the world is what we make it. Webdiary can be whatever the owners want it to be and I am arguing for what it can be. I hope there will eventually be a popular, quality, intelligent forum in a friendly, safe environment for those who value the civil exploration of ideas. Webdiary is well positioned to become that forum. But maybe the ABC will get in first!

Richard: Maybe another editor will try to make more sense of this than randomly whacking in some paragraph breaks.   James, you could make life a little easier in other aspects than in  semantics.  No offence meant,but pleeeease ?

James G. Idiosyncratic us

James Govett: I think written debate will always have a lot of shortcomings and it would be hard to strike a balance on any site that would keep everyone happy, and at the same time keep debate alive, interesting and spirited.  While some threads do get off the track, that is not always a bad thing as new areas of discussion open up, as in any conversation between people.

The personalities behind the writing can never truly be known but they will be as varied and complex as life itself. Some people you will feel comfortable engaging with, others not, as is true in life generally.  But that is life. We all have our idiosyncracies, but that does not make us idiots.

Frankly, I would not try having a conversation with some of my best friends on some current issues! If I did it on line, I hate to think what might transpire but the site would probably catch fire. So sometimes it is best just to let it all be and change the subject.

Cheers anyway. As Carlyle said: Here dawneth a bright new day, wilt thou let it slip useless away. At least I think it was him. I am not good on my English lit. as a certain barrister here is all too aware. I have exposed my Achilles heel and I have no one to blame but myself!

Bleak House, Bleak City

Jenny, your attribution was accurate. The precise wording of the quotation, however, is:

So here hath been dawning
Another blue day:
Think, wilt thou let it
Slip useless away?

I agree with you regarding the idiosyncracies of Webdiarists. There are some people (and some topics) with whom or which I choose not to engage, mostly because of time constraints, but sometimes because I’m just not interested. There is, after all, no rule that one must read everything. And while courtesy is in my view essential, wit – and even the odd dash of frivolity – should never be banned. Otherwise Webdiary would become bland and boring, and wither. Of course, one person’s wit (or frivolity) is another person’s inanity (or insult). If so, one averts one’s gaze, which, let me tell you, can make moderating a challenge (eyes wide shut?).

Being born and bred in Canberra (though now living in another Bleak City), I have fond memories of Goulburn. From my extreme youth in the late 50s / early 60s, when it took five or six hours to drive between Canberra and Sydney, I can remember a restaurant with an upstairs room on the (I think) western side of a park, where we would have dinner (usually roast lamb) on the way home. But to see it as I did a couple of years ago was deeply depressing. Don’t you think it’s about time Australia got serious about recycling water? After all, they manage to recycle to a huge extent in much of Europe.

Finally, Jenny, I have one set of ancestors who hailed from Alloway, and another lot from Glasgow – so somewhere way back we might even be related (yes, yes, Malcolm Duncan, another bloody Lowlander…).

Fiona and James: The Day is Done

Fiona: Thanks for correcting the Carlyle quote. My mother was always reciting this stuff to me, as learnt from her mother so as it gets passed down no doubt it loses a bit in the telling. Blue day, not bright day. Must remember that. But I did not let it slip useless away. The paddocks are starting to look like Scottish fields of hay stooks with all my burr cutting. If I did not have to spend half my time relocating the sleeping blue tongues I might make further headway. And as for the emu esconched in a big patch. Well that will have to wait. But smart boy eh? No fox will venture in there, but are those chicks in for a nasty intro to the world.

Webdiarists. Yes. Interesting mix of people on the site. There are a lot of very important issues to talk about, but I do get some good laughs at times. There must be some rather damaged keyboards around!

No James. Wit and humour does not have to be nasty and abusive. I believe in courtesy at all times. Sometimes I do not know whether I am being got at personally or not, so I generally err on the side of believing that I am not. I could be wrong but it defuses the issue if I do not respond as if the former were true. Yes. It can be a bit tiresome that certain issues creep into a lot of threads. But that is the nature of the beast. There are a lot of other threads of interest.

Recycling water Fiona. Yes, that has to come and Goulburn is headed that way. There is some public resistance but when all the playing fields are closed it is ridiculous not to recycle and save.  Mothers are having to take kids on long trips out of town so they can get to play sport. Hard on the mums and the kids.

Related? You never know do you. I am currently writing a family history on my mother's side - she was half Dane, half Scot. The Scottish side was strong in the Covernanting movement. Surname was Welsh. Jane Welsh Carlyle was one of her mob, as was my g g uncle Rev David Welsh who as Moderator, led the walkout of 400 Ministers in 1842 to form the Free Church of Scotland.  So there is a good Presbyterian heritage there!  I share back around 1010 a certain Abbot of Dunkeld on the Hume side. Father of King Duncan!

Now I wonder where our friend Malcom B D comes from.  As for those Macdougalls. Well now, they are good Highland stock. The one here sings the old Scottish songs - and his voice is sheer magic! That I should be so lucky. 

The Restaurant in Goulburn. Don't know it. But the Paragon is still going strong. BTW Bleak city. Is that Melbourne? Get down there regularly. Got a 103 old Scottish 1st cousin there !!!! And no. I have quite a way to go myself so don't jump to conclusions!  Sorry folks. Got this thread off on a tangent. Scottish takeover it seems. Will mend my ways from here on. Cheers.

Corrigenda

It was nothing, Jenny. Just remember that I'm a pedantic elitist, who likes to strut, if not flaunt, her stuff…

As for the restaurant, my parents can only remember a hamburger joint (their words) and a Chinese restaurant – although I suspect that that might be from earlier times, when Canberra lacked such amenities and they were wont to drive the 60 miles to Goulburn in order to satisfy their craving for chow mien or whatever. But I swear that I remember eating roast lamb in a room that looked out onto budding branches in a park. Does the Paragon fit that possibility?

I seldom jump to conclusions about anything or any age. However, if you would like to catch up on your next visit to Melbourne (yes, my Bleak City, though not a moniker that I’d usually choose, since I rather like the place) do get in touch. David R hereby has my permission to give you my email, should you wish.

Danes? Another common theme. Yet another group of ancestors has the somewhat unusual surname Noden. And lucky you having a (tame) melodious highlander.

This thread is now completely off-track, but someone, no doubt, will come to our (or strictly, my) rescue.

Cheers.

Fireside Inn?

Hi Fiona;

the Fireside Inn may be the place you're thinking of.  Overlooking Belmore Park in the centre of town, it definitely meets all your specifications. I think my godmother (Eileen Roche as then was) had something to do with it.  It was definitely the premiere eating spot in Goulburn in the 60's.

If you and Jenny are interested in a bit more on the Goulburn/Scotland axis, I wrote a bit of a tale about some serendipity that lead to my brother and I wearing kilts at my wedding (for Jenny -  to a Swansea girl called Fiona).  So as not to bore the rest of the readers of this thread any more than we have already, you can read more here; Why Kilts?

 
Richard: is it time we started the Webdiary Scots Contingent?  My mum's side of the family are Ross and Roslyn looks like one of the rellies- naturally when we arrived at the family farm everyone was watching  Sons And Daughters, but never mind.
 


Dressy?

I notice you opted for black tie.   Oh well, I had to dress my best man - a bloody Erskine and the only thing he seemed to know was that the pleats went at the back.   I have six kilts but, sadly, after 24 years the Montrose jacket doesn't fit any more.

Oh dear, I will have upset James Govett ("the Govett person") by infecting the thread with personal detail again.

Naughty Malcolm. 

A reminder Malcolm of things lost and gained

Malcolm B Duncan: Well never mind. Keep it as a reminder of what used to be. The moths got into mine but I keep it as a reminder of all that hopping on one foot it took to get the thing in the first place.

The last person I tried to dress in a kilt for a wedding was age four, The bridegroom had been in the church for nearly an hour, the bride was in tears, and one small page boy was screaming blue murder, stark naked, protesting that he was not going to wear a skirt.

Never again will I ask a four year old to don a blasted kilt.   

Cheers. Sorry about the cold cuppa. Another time when we make it south again. BTW: Big rains expected by weekend up here!

Andrew; I must add

Andrew: Have just read your link. What a great story and will wait with interest any new discoveries. What a beautiful place the "seat" is. Can you email me a contact for future reference  You could send it to me via this e-mail as I would love to hear more from you but WD is not really the place. Cheers.

Why kilts indeed Andrew, and BTW Richard

Andrew and Richard: It is just as well Daniel Smythe has taken leave of us recently as he would declare, I am sure, that this really is a takeover. Not the right, not the left, just those damned high and lowlanders. But as an old Scot once said to my father: A Scot will do anything for Scotland except bluidy live in it.  Sorry Andrew. Every generalisation has its exceptions!

Thanks for the link and will access tonight with interest. Kilt. I reckon the best national costume of all and my dream as a kid was to have the full rigout like those kids dancing. But 10 quid. was a lot of money in those days. So mother said yes, but only if and after I had learnt to do all the dances! Kids these days get everything on demand. So off to learn the Fling, Sword and Sean Truibhus (forget how the latter is spelt) and sure enough, the full rigout duly earnt. Great joy that day!

Fireside Inn. Could be Fiona. But is rather up market even now, definitely not a burger joint. And Eileen Roche Andrew! Well first job at age 17 for me was in Kenmore Mental Hospital - real shock to a girl just out of school I can tell you - straight jackets and all that still in vogue - and Eileen was working there too. Knew her well and she used to sing in the Gilbert and Sullivan productions while I was a dancer in the dance squad. Ah memories. Is she still alive?

You and Roslyn Ross Richard. Now that is a turn up for the books. Where is she anyway? Off gallivanting in places dangerous no doubt. She really will get herself done in if she is not careful. Have some problems with the philosophy of don't shoot, even when being shot at.

Now dear Editor of the day: I have a problem with the Workchoice on Fire link. Every time I access it is goes into broadscreen and I have to scroll madly left and right endlessly to read the text. That is the only thread that does that so is it a problem your end, or is my computer going ballistic at the very mention of AWAs?

David R: it's because of the size of some of the photos, and depending on how your browser deals with those that have been reduced before publication: if I get an idle moment I might Photoshop into smaller versions, but don't hold your breath ...

David Roffey. Don't forget Fiona's email address for me, and mine for her will you when time permits.  As we have agreed above. Many thanks and cheers.

Scotland forever Andrew.  Hume motto. True to the End, but no, couldn't live there. Over and out. Will meet again on your site.

Aaah Goulburn, the land that time forgot...

Jenny: Pleased to hear from another Goulburnian - my ancestors (the McKerrell's) moved there from Campbelltown in Scotland sometime in the early 1800's, with my family finally breaking the bond for the bright lights of Canberra in 1975.  I'd always thought that if Australia was a living organism then Goulburn is a perfect representation of the waste clearing end of the digestive system.

I've closed the circle by moving to Scotland and after making a visit to Campbelltown I understand why they thought Goulburn would be a fine place to settle.  Scots are proud as can be of their stoic resistance to crap weather and Campbelltoonians have the crappiest weather of all.  Anyone who has ever been to Goulburn can imagine the attraction for a dour Scot!

Cheers from Bleak City, traitor you!

Andrew: I'd always thought that if Australia was a living organism then Goulburn is a perfect representation of the waste clearing end of the digestive system.

Oh dear. I am not sure Goulburnians would be too flattered with that!

So you moved back to the olde countrye did you? Traitor! But I must confess I understand. Our mob quit 200 years ago, but I still get all nostalgic when I hear the pipes a' coming. Have been home several times to walk the hills of the Tweed. Yes, the countryside around Goulburn does have some similarities, when it rains that is.

Still have family over there chasing sheep around the hills in the Tweedsmuir area. But the Lanarkshire coal fields where great granny came from are another thing altogether! No wonder consumption took so many of them out back then. The Humes of course, long lorded it over the Border area, killing the English every time they stuck their necks over the border. They were a rather snooty. Probably still are, but they did a good job running an early warning system.  But Cromwell paid them back by wrecking their pad, claiming that he had removed a thorn from England's side forever. Nasty customer he was.

Dear old Goulburn. Did you push a bike to school against those winter head winds? No gloves. Ah we were hardy souls were we not? True Scots. The railway station. Ye Gods it is bleak.

But the town is going ahead, despite being nigh out of water, Old Pejar is dry and they have built a pipeline to a hole in the creek further down. But having spent the 3M or so, the Health Dept now won't pass the water. Forgive the pun.

PS: Google up Garroorigang. Visit our old place and get a bit homesick, traitor you!     Cheers from Bleak City.

Remembrance of things past

My most vivid memories are of the Goulburn public pool at 6.30 AM on  freezing, windy, wet September mornings. Alas, my parents thought that swimming was a worthy sporting pursuit and my sisters and I potential Olympic champions.  Many were the days standing on the end of the pool in my speedos, tears in eyes and my fingers a fetching shade of blue. The water was a good 10 degrees warmer than the outside air, but I really, really, really didn't want to get in and wet. I was never good enough to justify the pain, but  did hold the under 12 breastroke record for 18 years, so gained some notoriety at St Pats.  However, it just felt like a prolonged case of child cruelty at the time.

I followed a 6 foot Welsh redhead back to Edinburgh (we've since married and the first Scottish born member of our family for near on 200 years is due on 1 August) and had never given a moment's thought to my Scottish background until after I arrived, but there's definitely something about the place that stirs the ancestral memories.

Had a look at Garroorigang - lordy, what a spread.  I'll pay a visit next time I'm back in the old (new) country. 

Fiona and Andrew: Thank you

Fiona: Yes. Let us Scots/Danes get together. What is life about but meeting new people. I like that most about WD. Pedant eh? That's fine. There's a pedant Scot here too, former school teacher with just one pupil now: Me!  We will be in Melbourne about mid September then again in late November. So David R. Email exchange, mine too. Many thanks. Then we won't prevail on you further!

There was the Blue Moon restaurant, hamburger joint opposite the park. Now gone. No  Paragon would not fit. The Chinese joint is still there.

Andrew: Ye Gods. Swimming in Goulburn in September! Now that was stoic.  It was always the windiest and often the coldest month. But these days it is less so, as we rarely get the sort of winters we had back then, and it only rains on about 8 days a year if that.  Welsh as in surname or from Wales? Good luck for the coming event.

Old Garroorigang. Yes it is a nice place but a millstone as you can imagine. Everyone wants to see it preserved, but no one willing to fork out much. Bit like WD  St Pats. Brother went there too, but like all those private schools it fell on hard times. Amalgamated with the remnants of St Josephs and OLMC now.

Yes, if ever you are back in the new country give us a call and come and see the old place. Only two Humes in the phone book there, both us. Best to call first to catch us. 

Well. Before the Moderators get fed up with the Scots and send us all back there I'd better let this thread get back to its point of putting us all to rights! Hard job, controlling this mob I would think. Cheers.

Methinks just a modest IQ

Malcolm B Duncan: Slag you, old chap? Never! Though some ores do reduce to produce some precious stuff you know. Slag as in its other meaning? I'm too much of a lady. Old chap OK? Not really. More a man's expression, really. So let it just be Malcolm.

Now. My point to James Govett was really, if he felt put down or whatever, it would be better to just move on. He seems to have got himself a bit worked up over you, and his sense of being offended by you seems to have rather set in. Now that's a term you never hear these days, do you? But anyway, he'll survive, and the rules as I say have got us all pretty trussed up, so all feelings well protected now!

But I find it silly for anyone to get worked up about such things as elitism. If one's own self image and esteem are healthy, what matter what other people are, or might think they are, or what they might think you are, or are not. Who cares really?

As for IQ, idiots and morons. of course IQ tests have validity. I know that. But back in our juvenile days we did treat them as a bit of a joke, so I doubt they measured very accurately as a result. And I would think testing has come on quite a bit since the 50s. I would not have a clue what my IQ was back then (and I am sure it is declining now!) but I do not think I was anything out of the ordinary. Hard to say as my childhood was so stuffed up and we were so poor I was more concerned about bigger issues than that damned English poet they tried to ram down my neck. I was just happy if I could matriculate and I did.

But Uni was out of the question. At 24, I finally borrowed the dough from the bank for first year, and then worked like hell to get a National Undergrad scholarship for the remaining three years. I achieved very highly in the end, but I suspect more from hard work than any underlying above average intellect. I had friends who were very bright, but never worked and they just scraped through.

Academic achievement is one thing. I studied several languages but never used them much. What I found most useful in life was the skill of being able to research available information, no matter how technical or complex, gets one's mind around it, and then argue a case. That skill I started developing from around 14, and it was developed out of sheer necessity as there was never the money to pay experts. Eg. When the RTA wanted to put the Hume Highway through our property without proper compensation; or arguing with the economists in the Rural Reconstruction Board over debt reconstruction proposals; or writing an 18 page summary for a former Chief Justice of a complex legal case involving a deceased estate. I guess I was the family trouble shooter for thirty years, and I never failed to get the outcome I sought. Yet I think I am probably only average IQ. So IQ is not everything in my view.

As you say motivation is important. But so also is the emotional balance/health of the person/child. I read extensively some years ago about the suicide rates amongst gifted children and it is quite high. The kid in our family with the IQ 160 is very finely balanced and that is a real worry.

I would be interested to know the level of IQ in artistically gifted people such as musicians. I must do a bit of research on this sometime.

Yes. have met and had to work with many people in my life who would no doubt, if measured, be found to have quite low IQs, though these days so many kids cook their brains with dope, who knows what their true mental capacities really are? Farmhands we had over the years, sent to us by the dole office, were totally useless in most cases. One persevered with them, but they did the most stupid things, and rarely lasted more than a few weeks. But workers out here, dumb or otherwise are just not to be found any more. That is one of the reasons so many are selling out and the greatest drift of rural population to urban areas is from the NSW and Victorian sheep wheat belts and that process is accelerating. The Government, I suspect, does not care.

Moron and idiot. Yes. That defined people of low intellect, usually those born with intellectual dysfunction/disability, and they are generally unemployable other than in shelter workshops. But as you know the terms are loosely used, and context is everything. We all know they can and do offend when inappropriately used.

Anyway, another day gone, too dog tired tonight to swat a fly, let alone you, and no dinner on. But I've done more than my bit for the environment today. Upgraded the lodgings of at least three goannas. I told them it's all about location location. No need to slum it under a gall burr plant.

Water on the agenda? About time. But see the kerfuffle in Qld?

I think the NSW State Government should look closely at those big turkey nest dams the cotton growers have built and irrigation licences generally. The river systems are far too stressed to sustain the current level of extraction IMHO.

Another issue I am very concerned about and I might put up for discussion here sometime relates to the NSW Office of the Protective Commissioner. My advice to anyone thinking of putting a relative's financial affairs under the management of that Office is: Don't. But that is for another day.

Cheers Malcolm B D. At a stretch MBD could also be Malcolm: Bachelor of Divinity.

What the wind winnows

Later ma'am but I have to be in fantasyland tomorrow.   Will be passing by your area - give us a call - we might share a cup of cold tea over the week-end.   I'll bring the water.

Richard: Is a case of a temporal pair o'  docs?

Long distance call

Malcolm B Duncan: A hot cuppa sometime and to exchange some thoughts would be interesting.  But will have to pass this weekend as we're up here near Coonamble slaving away. God knows why. So another time maybe. You in the phone book?

To put you in the picture, we spend at least 6 months of the year up here, around 2 weeks each month and we vote in Gwyder. Other 6 months, back to faeryland where the problems of the world are well out of sight.

Goulburn is the old family pad where I go in between to help out, though my brother, (now retired after 39 years overseas serving Sir Alex's boy) has thankfully taken over. But I stay interested and Goulburn is still a big part of my life so I go there a lot. Big old home, lot of history, but needs a bucket to maintain. Too much for this gel's pocket.

If you drive past Goulburn on the Bypass heading south, as you cross the Mulwaree flood plain, you will see on the southern end some big sound barriers which protect the old place. Love the irony? Build the Hume on top of the Humes. Big fight over that at the time.

You would not be surprised at the bureaucratic stuff ups over those flood plain bridges. The old MRB would have blown it big time if we had not stood up to them over their design and location.

Protective Office. Some real issues there.  Wouldn't mind hearing your views on that subject sometime.

No need to bring the water! We buy it in in drums. Not game to try the bore yet. Smells of H2S.  

Cheers Malcolm.

THIS MACHINE FIGHTS FASCISTS

Jenny Hume, the young lady, laid out the old one about “cry and you cry alone.” But there was a wise woman last century who often rhymed: “if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride; and if turnips were watches, I’d wear one by my side.” It had the burnt, crackly salt-mutton, busted meter flavour about it of Queensland’s Famine refugee pioneer Micks and their many hardships, but it was good for Bib and Bub Menzies’ fifties, too.

She also reckoned, in another, choppier, sassier meter: “Love many, trust few, always paddle ya own canoe.” That one probably came straight out of Cloudland Ballroom, circa 1946, and most definitely has the tang of the Curtin-Chifley era Yanks about it. They rhymed verything, and did it with Swing.

The Yanks were very popular in those days, when they had freshly fought against fascism and won. Their subs were in the Kangaroo Point reach, upstream from the Story Bridge, just near Water Transport and Small Ships Coy, and just by South Brisbane’s Jim Crow pubs. Mustangs and other fighter aircraft were in the skies. Occasionally they playfully zipped under and over the big bridges, even the highly dangerous, low and jungled Indooroopilly, then downstream to the William Jolly (Grey Street), and then the Victoria with its toastracks scuttling over to Queen Street at North Quay. Finally the pilots might roll like the game little rats they were, and do the big steel bugger linking the Pineapple in Main Street to the Royal George and the Empire in The Valley.

Australians, too, were allowed to fight fascism in those days. And they were even allowed to organise, and go on strike if a lumpy boss was too crook. It’s all different now, in Big Brother’s sludgy decade spanning the poisonous turn of the century. We are all fascists now. But don’t cry about it. It only encourages the swarms of money hungry turd-headed little bludger rodents to redouble their efforts. Just keep paddling that canoe, and pull that turnip out of the fob from time to time.

Jack Woodforde is a Kazakh irregular cavalryman, a full colonel in the KGB andf ighting the neoConga line of fascist militarism on many windswept fronts, and using the mandatory Daikyo-Koizumi occupation currency to assist with field ablutions behind many a burning Bushi-Bushi. The latter act should be considered one of terrorism by those “acting in the best interest of the Australian People,” ie, “the neoConga line of fascist, etc."

 

Those Were The Days My Friend, We Thought They Would Never ...

Ah yes. Memories. Memories.

Remember this bloke? And this one?

But back in those days the "left" actually fought against fascism.

Nowadays, they can't even claim to have the better songs.
 

Botched Links Fixed (Hopefully) Plus Interest

Here are those links, plus an extra one to mollify the critics in the peanut gallery.

Memories.

Memories. *

this

bloke

one

and songs works

*Funny thing though. I could have sworn Woody's original version included these verses:

As I was walkin'
I saw a sign there
And that sign said no trespassin'
But on the other side
It didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!

In the squares of the city
In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office
I see my people
And some are grumblin'
And some are wonderin'
If this Land's still made for you and me.

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking
That freedom highway
Nobody living can make me turn back
This Land was made for you and me.

 

Very peculiar. These must have been accidentally omitted. I wonder how that could have happened?

Last attempt

Last attempt at link at Memories. *

Bush was Right?

Ah Geoff, as usual YOUR LINKS DON'T WORK.

It seems only your links to crypto-racist sites seem to work. If you reckon Bush Was Right is a "better song", then I wonder too about your taste in music... or propaganda... or your judgement, full-stop.

Your credibility is at a low ebb, mate!

Crypto-Strawman Humour

So is your sense of irony, Mate.

And if my links don't work at least I'll make an attempt to correct them when I get a chance.

David R: each of the dud links has key parts of the URL replaced by /.../ for some reason - probably truncated by a browser because they were very long ...

Is 'mate' ok?

James Govett, are you really incapable of defending yourself? Do you always rely on third party intervention for even the most minor perceived injustice? Surely WD moderator time should not be tied up vetting every single post for any possible hint of offence or insult. If we can’t call someone ‘old chap’, does this mean ‘mate’ should be banned as well? What about ‘buddy’, ‘dude’, ‘cobber’, ‘pal’ and so on?

Time for Feedback


Malcolm B. Duncan
, “ Sorry, James Govett, old chap.......”.

Well, this insult/sarcasm is about as tedious and pedestrian as the rest but you have come a long way from the days of idiots and dickheads.

Moderators, perhaps it’s time for some feedback from you as to what we can expect in future. Will discourtesies like “old chap” be entertained? Will you be publishing endless offerings of smart-arse comments/replies?

Personally, I (and I suspect others) would not wish to participate in a forum where I am subjected to an endless stream of insult and sarcasm. The guidelines are, I think, probably clear enough but I’d like to know your intentions as to how rigorously you will ensure they are adhered to.

David R: The extent to which we've tightened up is essentially to simply not publish a post if contains anything abusive, rather than editing it ... this being, as it were, the nuclear option, I'm not inclined to apply it to expressions such as 'old chap', which isn't quite in the same category as 'dickhead' ... I'm also disinclined to make firm rulings on what is and isn't OK, because that way lies casuistry: we may not always be able to describe it, but we know it when we see it ...

James. Don't let him get to you

James Govett: I for one, actually take you seriously and do believe the tightening up of the editing rules has been for the better. We do not want to be like those other sites, or go down in history (if we do go down) as having been like them. WD is by far the best in terms of content and level of intellectual engagement, despite the odd cry of Foul!   While you may think I was joking, my U rules do in fact contain all of the basic rules as laid out in the guidelines and now enforced, with a few added just for fun, but generally most of them are serious if you read them closely!

Can I suggest you just engage on the issues that interest you with others on the site, (as you may have a lot to say that is worthwhile for others to hear) and don't let Malcom B Duncan get to you! No need to engage with him at all if you don't want to. I am sure I could have a good set to with him if I put my mind to it, and a few others besides him for that matter, as my views on a lot of things differ considerably from most on this forum. Take the issue of religion for instance on that Clerical Claptrap thread. I am considered (as a professed Christian) deluded, believing in faeries not only by Malcom but by most engaging with me on that thread. But while I swipe back a bit, it does not really bother me what they all think. Nor do I see it as a reflection of my intellect, though the responses I got might suggest otherwise!  I know how smart, or dumb I am.

I am at that stage of life where I do not feel I have to prove anything to anyone anymore and It is a good place to get to. That enables one to withstand the odd arrow, and see more clearly where others might be coming from, why they might exhibit a need to prove that they are this or that or something else again. And I would not single out Malcolm in that regard, though I do detect a button or two there that one could press if one chose to!  All of us have got buttons of some kind or another no matter how much we like to believe otherwise. They are like sunspots. We get them from exposure to the full range of life's rays/experiences, some of which can be very negative and leave us with spots inside us that are too sore to touch, and we react rapidly if others even get near them, sometimes in inappropriate ways. The old attack being the best form of defence principle is practised more than we realise..

Written communication on forums like this can mask the true personality of a person, and I am sure some masks are quite deliberate. You would probably find Malcom is quite a different person to what some of his comments might suggest by their tone.. But he is pretty consistent I'll give him that. I post a mix of light hearted comments and more serious ones.The former has led some to say I sound fun. I am not fun in my view. That is a mask. My life has in fact been anything but fun, but I believe in the old saying, laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.

So I would just say, take Malcom as he comes. Don't read too much into his comments. He might be quite lovable really and it seems to me he takes as much as he gives at times if you look at a couple of threads.. He might be like my recently departed little Maltese who showed his obssessive love for me by biting my hand off every time I crossed him, but would not let me out of his sight for one minute. His bite masked his true, lovable self, though most failed to see it! 

 If what you believe is important to you on any issue, and others take a bit of a swipe at you, implying openly or obliquely or patronisingly that you need your head read, does it really matter all that much. I think I am quite the subject of ridicule over on another site for what I have written on WD. I read once episode, but simply did not bother to go back as I simply could not care less. One can chose to react, or just ignore it. So if Malcom has got to you, just ignore him and get on with debating with others on the important issues on other threads. I have suggested the one word response Noted has a lot going for it.

BTW. I don't think references to IQ and elitism should be taken seriously either. We can be dumb on some things, suggesting an IQ of 10, or we can be the opposite on others. And who wants a high IQ anyway. There's a kid in our family around 160, but for sheer stupidity he takes the cake prize. The vocational guidance lady told me in my teen years my IQ best suited me for a career in air hostessing. Well for a start I did not have the looks, and I hate flying, so I became a scholar of languages instead. IQ tests were treated as a joke by most of us. More important I believe is one's emotional well being and capacity to cope with the stresses of life in whatever sphere you chose to operate. 

Elitism? Who needs money so survive. A PhD in Debt Management is all one needs. Social status? Names. Remember Lloyds Names? I'll be they wished their names were Smith or Jones now?  Line up with Brad and Angela? Nah. But give me a good cellist. They and their like are elite. But we are all unique and can be quite good at what we do in our various chosen paths of life. Who wants to stand out in the crowd anyway. Those who do, probably need to. Only in that way can they have a good self image, self esteem and sense of worth, and that can be quite sad.

The editors have got us all pretty trussed up now. Maybe a few strands will fall loose occasionally. Just snip them off in your mind if you find yourself caught up in them. And don't let us do away with humour. We are told that laughter is a necessity for good health though I have some problem with those laugh workshops.

Now for reputation and feelings damage and a good laugh, go and read the comment by my other half (Ian MacDougall on Clerical Claptrap thread) when I accidentally posted under his name. It effectively painted him as a transvestite living in a Muslim girls hostel. And it sat there for a whole day for all the world to read. What made it worse was that one WDist in his response took it as read! Just as well he had a sense of humour or it may have let to divorce.

Cheers   James.

PS Peter W old chap:: Forget young JH. This lady has more than a few grey hairs.

Let's slag the old MBD

Aardvarks Jenny Hume.

IQ happens to be a very good predicter of academic success at HSC level and was very useful for predicting trainability in the armed forces.    It is a very useful tool but does not compensate for high motivation for example.

I'm perfectly happy being in the top 3% of the population thanks and I don't care which measure you use: IQ or the fact that I beat the person who got the last place in Medicine in my year at school.    Doesn't make me a better human being than others just a damned sight smarter than a hell of a lot of people (the qualities that make me cuddly are different again).   I even know and respect people who are smarter than I but there's more than enough humility to go around so I don't see that I need to contribute in that area.

Ever met someone with an IQ of 100?    I have - in the flesh.    By definition they're average - bloody frightening.    I might add, as an amusing aside, that it was not until 1980 that I realised my initials stand for "minimal brain damage" - thank goodness the bastards at school didn't know that one.

As to the classic definitions of idiot and moron, they still have scientific validity no matter how politically incorrect they may be.  I'll take years of experience and training over Wikpedia or what some WD editor might think any day. Idiots are very difficult to do anything with and my comment to the Govett person was serious: as a matter of policy, what would he do with them?   Particularly in a job market where most of the things that used to provide them with gainful employment have vanished.  That goes for morons as well - the banks and the public service used to soak them up in droves.

Further, I dont care whether people like me, I just like discussing ideas and having the odd win like the reversal of the road closures associated with the Cross-city Tunnel (not solely but certainly partially due to me and a pile of other dedicated activists.)

For your benefit, Jenny Hume, I think water might just be next on the agenda.

Aardvarks.

WD moderation ruling request

G'day WD moderators.

Firstly, thanks for your efforts.

Secondly, can I have a few definitive rulings, please?

1. Highlighting. I like to emphasize selected words, to direct attention to what I consider to be key aspects.

So, which if any of these are allowed, and can a consistent ruling be made? I ask because it is tiresome to build in highlighting mark-ups, only to have them eliminated, as happened more than once recently. Doubles the work (mine *and* yours), decreases incentive - and info gets lost.

Sample: 'text'.

Possible highlights:

*text*
text
text
text
text

2. Links:

There's a difference between links, as in this:
"Quoted text"
[no-where]

In the [latter] case, one can more easily *see* where the link comes from (i.e. 'no-where'), as distinct from the anonymous 'this'.

3. The 'blockquote' construct. A bit tiresome; I've been using 'simple' italics. Do you wish to comment, or make a ruling?

-=*=-

I respect your right to edit as you please, but I disagree (strongly!) with destroying information or wasting effort. Consistency would be nice.

Thanks in advance.

David R: we tend to only use <em> for highlighting - which mostly translates to italic, but underlining is also OK, and <strong> for names - which mostly translates to bold. Indenting paras as quotes automatically gets them italicised in the WD stylesheet. If you have a look at "How to Comment", there are some other guides there.

On a more specifc point, we generally don't bother to remove most style marks of the sort you quote, with the following extremely important (and common) exception: if you generated your text in Word - particularly the most recent versions - and copied it into the comment box, it may well have been filled up with complex HTML that overrides all the WD style sheet - eg "<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt -63pt; text-indent: 135pt; FONT-FAMILY: "TimesNewRoman"">" - if it has, sometimes the only straightforward way to start the edit is to press the handy eraser button at the right to remove all the formatting, then start again ...

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