Webdiary - Independent, Ethical, Accountable and Transparent
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About Webdiary

What is Webdiary?

Margo Kingston founded Webdiary for the Sydney Morning Herald in July 2000, took it independent on August 22, 2005, and retired from it in December 2005. She related her view of the saga in a lecture to the South Australian Governor's Leadership Forum in February 2006. More detail is referenced in Webdiary History.

What was once 'an open conversation' between Margo and her readers became an open conversation between the readers, based on articles written by readers (and from time to time by Margo). It isn't really a blog, since there is no single editorial or authorial voice, and it's rare for two entries in a month to come from the same Webdiarist. The mission remains as set out by Margo in the Webdiary Charter:

The mission of the Webdiary is:

- to help meet the unmet demand of some Australians for conversations on our present and our future, and to spark original thought and genuine engagement with important issues which effect us all

- to link thinking Australians whoever they are and wherever they live.

- to insist that thinking Australians outside the political and economic establishment have the capacity to contribute to the national debate

- to provide an outlet for talented writers and thinkers not heard in mainstream media

- to participate in the development of a rapidly growing and increasingly important independent media harnessing the talents of citizen journalists working in collaboration with professional journalists.

Another thing that distinguishes Webdiary from a blog is the ongoing attempt to keep conversations and debates on the site relatively civil at the same time as censoring as little as possible. This ongoing balancing act is maintained by a team of volunteer editors who check each submitted comment before publication. The rules they work by are set out in the following statements:

  1. Webdiary Ethics
  2. Editorial Policy, and
  3. Comment Moderation.

All and any complaints about how we operate the site are treated and responded to seriously, and if anyone is still unsatisfied after the first-line response, then they can appeal to Margo as Webdiary's ombudsman to investigate their complaint. Added Aug 2008 at Margo's request: however, there will be no response to 1) repeated allegations that have already been investigated and ruled upon or 2) complaints from former Webdiarists who have been banned from Webdiary for harassing the editors.

You can Contact Us here.

Articles stay on the front page of the site as long as they are active - which currently means that they either were written within the last four weeks, or have had comments submitted within the last ten days. You can also access the site Archives by date of publication, or search for all current and past articles by author, or select and search content relevant to the issues (denoted by the 'Category' marking under each article):

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Legally correct, David

G'day David. I am sometimes considered a radical and have on occasion overstepped the mark with regard to the standards required by the Webdiary Charter - have you read it?

We must remember that this is a unique opportunity to have our thoughts and opinions aired in a legal but reasonably uninhibited manner.

You acknowledge that the staff are voluntary and under the circumstances, do a very fine job.

There are civilised limitations to any system of freedom - you must understand that and I am sure if you abide by the very reasonable attitude of this Charter you will enjoy the communication it can engender.

Cheers Ern G.


David Tank: "To date (two three days) I have not had so much as an automated acknowledgement of receipt."

The reason that you have not received an automated acknowledgement is that the site is not set up to generate such. You will now have received an email from the editors. In a case such as your article - appropriately self-described as "very controversial" - it is preferable that all members of the management team be involved in the decision whether or not to publish. Sometimes, given the various calls on our time, there may be a delay in reaching a decision. The decision was finalised today, and it was that we were not prepared to publish it.

Thank you again, however, for submitting it for consideration.

By the way, do you mean "censureship" or "censorship"?

The greatest comment generator of all

The following list is not intended to be exhaustive:

What if ...? Solving the Iran stand-off (Craig Rowley ) published 9 February 2007: 1629 comments

Cease fire!... (Craig Rowley) published 14 August 2006: 1370 comments

The irises and Patrick Fitzgerald (Kerryn Higgs) published 27 October 2005: 829 comments

Perverts in the shrubbery (Paul Walter) published 24 May 2008: 524 comments

Confronting Islam (Solomon Wakeling) published 9 November 2006: 454 comments

Is New Orleans the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq? (Stephen Smith) published 5 September 2005: 435 comments

“They hate us for our values” (Bob Wall) published 20 March 2006: 410 comments

Morality without a God (David Roffey) published 19 January 2007: 405 comments

US Economy: Rudderless and reeling from direct hits (Guest Contributor) published 19 September 2008: 373 comments

What’s changed about me? (Irfan Yusuf) published 3 January 2006: 325 comments

Exposing intelligent design (Phil Uebergang) published 6 September 2005: 308 comments

Interesting couple of posts

What an interesting couple of posts, I have hung around Webdiary for a number of years and thought it rather elitist in content and comment on many occasions, which gets very boring. I got accused of repeating myself by some of the elitists here, yet it's very hard do anything else when the subjects are the same, get the same tired ideological biased replies and feature the same old illusionary stances they always do with small semantic changes and empty bureaucratic, politically correct style babble. I've seen a number of sites collapse because of the fervent ideology and bias by those moderating and editing, the only ones who seem to survive are those who are open to difference and are prepared to debate it in subject, rather than just scoff and dismiss it because it doesn't fit their narrow ideological stance. Most Webdiary subjects are very boring presently and meaningless to the real world, any interesting threads, no one seems to get involved in. Maybe it's their programming which refuses to let them think freely and not dogmatically. If journalist students are submitting these threads, then it does appear journalism has sunk to meaningless semantic waffle. I don't read news papers any more, the grammar spelling and semantic make up is pathetic and on many occasions doesn't represent the truth of what is being reported, but a weird distortion. I hope Webdiary continues, but it does need an editorial and direction change. I think a good way to boost it is to open up the number of posts per day and moderate after posting, so the flow of discussion continues unbroken, unlike as it currently tends to do. By the time something you've posted is put up, it could be the next day or so and the reply may be only useful and relevant at the time and not out of sequence with the conversation. So why bother.

Scott: Alga, editorial resources are pretty thin but I know what you're saying.

What future for Webdiary?

This comment is rather long. I submitted it as a threadstarter two weeks ago but received no response from the Management Team. So now I am putting it on as a comment, in line with Webdiary’s policy of free speech and transparency.

It appears to me that Webdiary is now in a terminal decline; a fate I do not welcome. If a rescue is to be attempted, the decline must be understood. I believe this can best be done in the context of the evolution and fate of many community blogs.

Webdiary was set up by Margo Kingston as a discussion site, utilising resources made available by the Sydney Morning Herald, where it was an extension of the opinion pages and Letters to the Editor. From the paper’s perspective, diversity, discussion and controversy were Webdiary’s lifeblood. However, over its history as an independent site, its contributors of threadstarters and comments have diminished in numbers and gravitated towards a uniformity of outlook on major issues. Inevitably, on any of these, there is a majority position and a minority one, with those taking the majority position on any one issue having a high correlation across the spectrum on each. In other words, knowing one commenter’s opinion on one topic gives you a high predictive power of that commenter’s position on them all. The division has been mainly over the following, with majority opinion indicated [thus]:

1. The Howard Government and all its works. [Against]
2. President George W Bush [Against]
3. The Iraq War. [Against]
4. Climate Change [For high priority response]
5. The War on Terror, Guantanamo, Halliburton etc bundle.  [Against]
6. Hicks, Haneef and terrorism trials [Support for Hicks; skepticism re AFP and outcomes of trials]
7. Asylum seekers. [For greater ease of admission]
8. The Financial Meltdown [Corporate world responsible]
9. Indigenous issues [Against  intervention]
10. Religion [Against]
11. Israel/Palestinian conflict [Against Israel]
12. Uranium mining and sales of uranium [Against]
13. Iranian government statements [Defensive]
14. ABC and media [Support outlets and ‘left-wing’ journalist opinion in line with the above]
15. Bill Henson’s art [For liberal approach to]

On the Web, there is considerable blog variety, and some excellent sites via which one blogger posts to the world, sometimes with and sometimes without reader commentary being invited. The best all-in bunfights are found at sites such as Comment is Free, which is run by The Guardian. They are typically maintained by newspapers, and as we have noted, Webdiary started as one of those, then went independent. Its greatest present challenge is to maintain a genuine controversy with maximum diversity of viewpoints, and to be a polyculture as opposed to a monoculture. In that it is failing, unlike many newspaper in-house blogs.

Webdiary’s raison d’etre is policy; that is political discussion. It decides nothing. It has a statement of ethics and guidelines for discussion, and editors whose proper role is to moderate the discussion and to prevent it from descending to exchange of personal abuse. But its current editorial staff are of like political mind on most of the issues listed, which commenters of differing opinion soon detect, through the editors’ own comments, their editorial footnotes, or through their own submitted threads or posts. Non-conforming editors are unlikely to last long, and the most persistent dissenters among the commentariat seem to be there only for the purpose of baiting the old guard, in other words, for ‘trolling’. It would be far better for the site if they went beyond mere comment, and put up some threadstarters of their own.

The site has no by-laws, charter or constitution, and its only assets are its participants and its archive. Though there is always much in contemporary politics to discuss, those participants have their own collective preference. Naturally, some threads generate more comment than others; and the most memorable have been the most controversial. The debate organized in 2005 by Phil Ubergang on ‘Intelligent Design’ was the greatest comment generator of all. More recently, we had the Henson issue, in which opinion divided as much according to the sex of commenters as their politics.
The purpose of life is life, and the purpose of Webdiary is comment. The ‘more the better’ is taken for granted. There is nothing wrong with that, but the challenge is to keep it all interesting to the readers. Unfortunately for Webdiary, the election of the Rudd government took away its main issue. Much previous discussion and comment was about bashing the Howard regime, particularly relating to the first seven policy items, including the Iraq War, climate change and asylum seekers/refugees. Only the last item in the above list (ie #15) has no relevance to ex-PM Howard. The same effect was seen on November 4, when George Bush was replaced by Barack Obama. That change will meet with approval from all but a very small handful of present Webdiary commenters.

The task of the editors in the post Howard era has become the finding of new material to put up as threadstarters for the same old crowd to comment on. As the latter are only human, the scope of the comments, if not their detail, has become decreasingly novel.  When editors themselves choose and/or contribute many of the threads, and then submit and approve their own comments, the site risks taking on the shape of any of the thousands of personal blogs out there, where disagreement tends to be resented. The danger is consequent perception of favouritism and bias on the part of individual editors. Some people have quit the site in the past two years over this.

It would seem prudent for editors not to involve themselves in approving comments on threads in which they have strong views themselves, but resources do not permit this. At the very least however it would be wise for them to refrain from personal comment and intervention between other Webdiarists who are in disagreement on such threads. There is a perception on the part of a number of commenters that the editorial role has moved beyond moderation and into censorship. Whatever its foundation, this is not a good development.

Gradually and for some of the above reasons, most commenters with differing viewpoints, and those who have sought to bring some diversity to the site have left. Attempts to bring and encourage diversity have failed, and the remaining old guard tirelessly bat the ball back to the two or three ideological dissenters or fall back on humour and chat room exchanges. It appears that the few less ideologically bound contributors value Webdiary mainly as a social connector. Indeed, lasting off site friendships have been made this way. A few old hands drop in from time to time to join in the chatroom experience, while others deplore it.

Clearly the site is no longer one where one would go to find in-depth and novel input, and the small group of remaining commenters shows restrained interest in either presenting or commenting on pieces that fall outside the framework of those listed.  The recent and potentially valuable exercise of publishing course pieces by journalism students has not to date resulted in any change in direction of the site, or in a broadening of its contributor base. While the students have put up some threads, they have not engaged in comment exchanges and the established commenters are not engaging with the students in any depth. They may do so in future if those students graduate and become seriously involved in online journalism. Without such broader involvement it is inevitable that narrowing content streams and range of voices in the Webdiary commentariat will make it an increasingly incestuous site. Never was that more apparent than it has been over the past year as the number of commenters has contracted and their breadth of opinion with it.

So for a glimpse into the site’s future, we might turn to another community blog, namely LastSuperpower. It has the following history and record:

topics [= Webdiary threadstarters]  362; 
replies [= Webdiary comments] 3,983;
views [visitors] 4,068,098.

It was opened for online business on 23 November 2004 by some former Monash Maoists, who were breaking away from the mainstream Marxist left over the Iraq War. It is now archived, and is at http://archive.lastsuperpower.net/members/+disc+members.htm

Its first piece was The Emperor’s New Clothes http://archive.lastsuperpower.net/members/+disc+members+737130529836.htm

Its new site is Strange Times  http://strangetimes.lastsuperpower.net/

Like Christianity and Islam, Marxism as a philosophy and guide to action has developed many variants. Though from the outset it was never one doctrine, there remains the old observation that ‘it’ is actually a religion. This idea has been greatly resented by those inside all of its many schools or orders, but cannot be dismissed lightly. Leninism was such a school, and Stalin founded another order based on it. Mao founded a Chinese order, but while in dispute with Stalin saw fit to adopt much of his authoritarian method. The Monash Maoists were inspired by Mao, and took his side in his dispute with Stalin’s successor, Khruschev.

LastSuperpower was a party line on the Net; in both senses and literally. So it appears, is Strange Times, which has no time for the climate change alarmists (of whom incidentally I am one) and which sides with their opponents, the denialists.  As most denialists hail from the right of the political spectrum, and have been critical of a perceived leftist and anti-enterprise stance on the part of the Greens and their ilk toward the wealth-creation activities of the deserving rich, this involves an approving stance towards many on the right, eg the blogger Jennifer Morohasy. But that is not important. What is important is that, like the Church after the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, they have the line worked out, speak with one voice, and brook no internal dissent; which is testified to by the fact that there isn’t any.

At present Webdiary is in danger of becoming just such a monoculture, because it is not attractive to the minority viewpoint within its own context, and because of the decreasing breadth of that context.  Even within it, the danger is not that newcomers with a differing political, religious or social viewpoint will be disagreed with, or have their opinions attacked, but that they will be told by the old guard in a thousand subtle and otherwise ways that they are not welcome; unless of course they fall in with the mainstream of what is becoming a mutual agreement society. The greatest danger is that the typical newcomer will act on that information, and go elsewhere, leaving the site to atrophy, and those still populating it to sit around nodding their heads in agreement, with all issues settled. Except perhaps for some minor points on which whatever trifle needs resolution before the council is closed. Like the one at Nicaea long before it.

A sectarian site will resent intrusion of opinion that does not conform to the prevailing norm or ‘party line’. The boundary between moderation and censorship will become blurred, and diversity will not be valued for itself. The more difficult the moral issues over which that diversity forms, such as the Henson business, the greater the temptation will be on the part of some to cut the Gordian knot by switching to personal abuse of the (troublemaking).individuals seen to be to blame for it. When editors themselves fall into that trap, approving boundary-crossing comments of their own while simultaneously applying a different standard to the rest of the Webdiary community, over whom they retain editing and publishing privileges, the outcome is pretty inevitable. Contributors subject to this tend to vote with their feet.
Such a site can expect to repeat the history of LastSuperpower, which was launched with great enthusiasm only to fizzle out and be permanently archived about five years later.

I first became involved in Webdiary in 2003 with a piece submitted to Margo Kingston on the Iraq War, and have contributed numerous articles and comments since. I have considerable affection for the site, but my interest in it has waned in recent times. This piece points to some of the reasons for that, and offers only a general prescription for a cure. But though the site legally belongs to Margo, and is administered by the Manager and the editorial team, without the Webdiarists themselves and their good will towards it, it will become nothing.

Very informative

G'day Ian MacDougall, as I interpret it, you have very expertly laid out facts to support a theory.

Have patience with my take which we Scots and Irish/Scots are not noted for.

I have found Webdiary to be a welcome release from my tensions during the Howard era and beyond.

I believe that it has flourished and has expanded our knowledge during that time and it never fails to amaze me at the number of citizens and expatriates who voluntarily give up their time to be a part of it.

I believe your take on the future of Webdiary is a genuine concern with constructive criticism, which is obvioiusly always appreciated in this fair dinkum forum.

I have no idea how many of those currently contributing to Webdiary understand Latin, French or any other foreign language, but if it requires the majority (or minority) of the posters to accept a discourse between people of that ability, so be it.

Should that situation become a means to abuse in a different mode, then I am sure the management would soon put a stop to it.

I hope Webdiary continues ad infinitum, because the very concept of having the opportunity to open one's mind in such a free manner - I would never have believed possible.

What I do understand is that this application of free speech is bringing into play the variations of so many previously forbidden issues that hopefully all of us will have the chance to learn or, lose that valuable opportunity.

Cheers Ian (I can't speak Gaelic either).

Ern G.


Ian (and Jenny) are away for a while Ernest so don't feel agrieved by the lack of response.

Ditto your lack of Gaelic since it's highly unlikely your patrilineal forbears had any either; It is a proud (if ignoble) heritage you share.

The Grahams, (just one of the more powerful Norse tribes to settle the marches, ie the border countries of England and Scotland) were mainly based in Carlisle and to this day as far as I know, outnumber the Smiths in that city. Also featured in the telephone book are the Mahargs.

They were closely allied with the Armstrongs on the Scotish side of the border (Curse them with great cursing - Archbishop of Glasgow's malediction), and can be considered jointly to be one tribe since intermarrying was the norm.

It's extremely doubtful that many of those people considered themselves to be either Scotish or English and changed allegiances as profit dictated. An unlovely bunch and their luck ran out when James, King of Scotland, ascended the English throne. They were exiled from their town and any Graham discovered there was liable to be hanged, hence the spelling of the name backwards. There was a diaspora if you like and they went on to create mayhem in foreign parts, some to Northern Ireland much to the chagrin of the English overlords there. One of my forebears, Scott of Buccleuch, was instrumental in their misfortune; another turncoat who saw on which side his bread was buttered. He did however earn the grudging respect of E1, "With 10,000 such men I would shake any throne in Europe," after he raided Carlisle Castle with complicit Grahams to spring an Armstrong banged up there.

They gave us the word "blackmail" (black meale actually, meale being rent.)

Look up The Steel Bonnets if you're interested, an excellent read. I lost my copy years ago.

Interesting, Scott

I don't want to bore contributors, but the brief geneology of which I have been aware regarding the Grahams is that my ancestors were not of the "Graham's Dike", or of the Black Prince, or of the Dukes of Montrose.

It seems more acceptable to my genes that I was probably a part of the clan that was banished to Ireland for stealing sheep or cattle for food in a deeply oppressed society controlled by the English.

I believe that my immediate ancestors Mary and Robert were both in the fleet that came to Australia in 1849.

Thank you for your information, Scott. I have often wondered why I am so penny-pinching, yet a wild drinker - there is a message there.

Cheers Ern G.

Food for thought

Whilst I am in favour of moderation, particularly when it involves personal denigration and abuse, censorship of one’s opinion is quite another matter.

Ian: “This comment is rather long. I submitted it as a threadstarter two weeks ago but received no response from the Management Team. So now I am putting it on as a comment, in line with Webdiary’s policy of free speech and transparency”

I find it rather disappointing that Ian’s comment appears to have been rejected as a thread starter.

Ian raises some valid points , that need careful consideration and attention.

I for one, would not like to see the demise of Webdiary

Allegation of biased editing

Kathy, I agree about the issue of censhorship. Editing can be a difficult task but one does one's best. If accused of bias an editor should be allowed to clear up that matter on the site. I was denied that right.

During the three months I acted as an editor of Webdiary, a Webdiarist accused me of editorial bias against him. That was during the course of the debate on the recent Henson/Hanson thread. He also claimed my wife Jenny Hume had pressured me not to publish comments from him that might in any way be adversarial to her.

He was completely wrong on this. I took on the role of editor in response to messages that Richard Tonkin and Fiona Reynolds were finding it a slog, with editorial responsibility for the whole site falling mainly on them. I was never in it for the money (joke 1) or the glory (joke 2), but simply to put a shoulder to the wheel in order to keep what I regarded as a valuable and in many ways unique website going. I at all times exercised my own judgment in relation to each comment in terms of its compliance with Webdiary guidelines, all my decisions as an editor were open to review by the other editors, and any decisions I made could have been overruled by the rest of the team. At no stage had I ever consulted with my wife on any editorial decisions, nor did she express the slightest interest in knowing what I was approving or not approving. The only pressure she exerted on me was to relinquish the role of editor due to its interference with other priorities.

I found cause to mark four comments submitted by the Webdiarist concerned as DNP, meaning Do Not Publish. All of them in my view fell outside of the guidelines on grounds of abuse. Two of them were well outside. No other editor chose to overrule my decision and publish those comments. A fifth comment by the same Webdiarist I considered marginal and left for another editor to publish, but it remained in the Approval Queue, and for whatever reason, no other editor saw fit to approve it.

In order to counter the allegation that I had not been objective in my decisions in regard to the Webdiarist concerned, I submitted under my own name in my capacity as editor a comment on the relevant thread and included in their entirety all five of his unpublished comments together with an explanatory introduction. My intention was to allow the Webdiary community to decide the matter for themselves. I did not publish that comment myself, but left it to the other Webdiary editors. The Webdiary Manager determined that that comment with the included DNPed comments by the Webdiarist concerned should not be published.

I consider that in being prepared to submit that comment I was demonstrating that I was prepared for all my editorial decisions to be scrutinised by the entire Webdiary community in line with the claim of transparency in the Site’s banner.

Not publishing DNPs ...

Ian: "The Webdiary Manager determined that that comment with the included DNPed comments by the Webdiarist concerned should not be published."

This is the decision as I wrote it at the time:

On general principle, we should avoid publishing any material from DNP'd posts, however much we are tempted to use them to justify decisions. By all means copy them back to complainants to explain why they were DNP'd, but don't quote them in the public domain. All of our longtime correspondents on all sides have had their moments of intemperance which they would prefer not to see again. It is invidious (and a bastardised editorial form of ad hominem attack on them) to publish one person or side's transgressions. On that basis all of the latter part of Ian's 'response' is completely and forever unpublishable, though some of the argument in the first part could be published if rewritten.

I agree, David

G'day David, given the legal obligations that you must have to deal with, I am personally content with the final say being with your group of volunteers.

As small as that may seem, I believe that no one should negatively criticise the performance of this free forum.

It is at least to me a vent for my frustrations at the bias of the powers that be.

Small and even insignificant but, a pressure relief valve for an old sailor.


I avoid it when I can, Paul Walter; things going wrong are difficult enough, without my stirring up emotion to compound it.  I try to keep emotion out of disruptions.

The men in my life were strong enough to say:  "dear oh dear oh dear."...and that includes some now in their 20s, who perceive a man's strength to lie in his ability to control of himself.  Not a popular viewpoint these days.

I'm not as good as them. I told lies.  I say "bugger" these days, but, more usually "damn" or "blast".  Most usually nothing - I've learned to separate emotion from an incident, so expletives unnecessary.  Not that I think that those words are superior to "fuck" - as I said, habit .

I recall

.. certain recorded foul-mouthed conversations between Jeff Kennett and some other leading liberal luminary, do I not?   There was a stage where "fuck" was a sign of being both tough,  avant garde, and a rejector of bourgeoise values:  and this certainly crossed political boundaries. And still does. And was much embraced by the "upper" class, and the creative class, and still is.

I don't swear, partly because I'm not interested in what is fashionable, (as swearing definitely is).  And, because of the era that I grew up in.  No kudos:  habit.  My father was in WW1, (yes, 1), worked on ships, in logging camps, in the outback.  I never heard him say a word as harsh as "damn" or "darn". ...ok, he was educated. He said that, as they marched through France, they sang, "Corned beef and blooming lumps of fat" to the tune of "The Anvil Chorus".  Can this be true, or did he clean up "blooming" for his daughters?  I believe that it is true, in that I believe that he thought that he was fighting for civilisation.

My children came across almost no foul language until they went to prestigious private church schools.

You see?  To me, it's "foul"....a bit of a cliche, ok.

However, in some respects I disagree with Jenny Hume.  

Once, certainly when I was young, "fuck" was so obscene, so powerful, that its rare graffiti, around railway stations usually, was akin to an actual sexual assault. I cannot convey how powerful and offensive it was.

Simon and Garfunkel portrayed this shadowy ,deviant , disturbing attack  in their song "A Poem On the Underground Wall."

..."a single worded poem comprised of four letters

And his heart is laughing, screaming, pounding

The poem across the tracks rebounding

Shadowed by the exit light

His legs take their ascending flight

To seek the breast of darkness annd be suckled by the night".

Usage has drained "fuck's" power.  It's now just another word. It is no longer a deviant's tool.  I applaud this.

I respectfully submit

I respectfully submit that if Webdiary has a policy of not printing the F word expletive that it be applied in all its forms. It is a word that may well have wider acceptance in some circles of society today but by no means all, and it is still deemed by the courts to be an offensive word. It is a word that is traditionally associated with disrespect and commonly sprayed around by drunken hoons and other low life who use it to amplify their total lack of respect for any social norms or for other people.  Such then usually also accompany it with the up you finger salute. 

As Margo said, if you would not talk to each other over the dinner table like that, then don't do it here. Most of the people I know, in all professions, social circles, and generally would very rarely ever use the word. Why? I suggest because most people still believe it reduces standards in social discourse and is disrespectful to the person to or at whom it is being directed or is abusive, be it conveyed verbally or in writing.

If someone posted a comment to me on any blogsite which was headed  Jenny, fuck off, then I would not bother posting on that site again. on the basis that it was a site where normal standards of civility and decency were clearly not valued.

The word, in all its form, either in full, or with those ridiculous asterisks which do nothing to disguise the intent of the writer,  is totally unnecessary and I am sure that those who want to express ire, frustration  or disgust or whatever other feeling or emotion they think the F word embodies for them, could, if they used their imagination and their rich English language, find a suitable alternative.

Objection has been raised to the use of frolic as a substitute. Well I think a post headed Jenny, frolic off  is far better than one headed  Jenny, fuck off. But neither are particularly edifying and if anything are simply abusive.   

Well that is what I think anyway. Now I am going to not, eff off, nor frolic off, but simply sign off for the day, and enjoy the gentle falling rain that I can hear on the old tin roof. No I revise that - the drumming of an army. the steady soaking rain.


Clearly, Jenny Hume, we move in very different circles. I do associate with people who use the word "fuck" from time to time – indeed, I use it myself – but both my associates and I are selective about when and where we use it.

I partly agree with you regarding its appearance on Webdiary. My policy over the nearly three years that I have been moderating has been (almost always) to delete it, but without substituting another word of my (but not the author's) choice. Nevertheless, I maintain that there are times when its use is appropriate. This may surprise you, but Margo has certainly used it on Webdiary from time to time.

As for the post headings, they are abusive. As moderator I would have amended them to read "Jenny" – or something intelligible and non-abusive from the post itself.

Or, more traditionally,

"Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

Things you find

Managed to catch up with Dr Reynolds (or as she is now known in SWMBO's household, Typhoid Fiona) this week as she passed through Sydney and caught up with SWMBO's sister for a little confab.

She left behind one of the most terrible lurgies I've ever had. It occurred to me that an appropriate description would be what I remembered as Boswell's entry in the London Journal, "the bitch has clapped me". Now, I don't have the clap, and I have no evidence she has either - it's just that she gave me the flu (pressure of work, getting old, not drinking enough and all that).

I was trying to track down the quote so I was leafing through the second-hand copy of the Journal I bought in 1976. In the back, it has two newspaper cuttings with reviews. One from an unidentified Sydney newspaper and one from the 28 Februrary 1951 edition of The Bulletin. In the latter, and I thought this might be worth remarking to Webdiarists and perhaps the students, was an advertisment to "Learn Freeelance Journalism at HOME" from Stott's Correspondence College. A websearch shows the place still exists. Maybe we should all enrol.


Indeed Malcolm, those were the days before tertiary education became a commodity, when productive years of young persons lives weren't wasted in unnecessay degree courses and left with huge debts.

BTW, the clap is only transmittable in one way.

For the record: a note on an editorial frolic

To my knowledge of the discourse within The Company of Webdiary, there is no rule against use of the four letter word that begins with 'f' and ends with 'u-c-k' and means, inter alia, sexual intercourse. It can of course be written as f***, f**k, f*ck, and less commonly as ***k, **ck and *uck, though this formality fools nobody except perhaps the user, and resorting to it is a bit like wiping your muddy boots off on the cuffs of your pants before entering someone's house. Or like saying Crikey, Jeez, Golly or Gosh when you don't want to give offence to a parson. Or perhaps, when you do.

However if the *f* word used at all, and in whatever written variant, its use tends to increase in frequency to the point where the site might as well be the crew's mess in the poxiest ship of the Navy. But as its commonest historical use by Webdiarists has been in an abusive context, it can usually be edited out on those grounds alone.

One reason is an unfortunate deficiency in the Anglo-Saxon culture from which the English language derives. This highly pleasurable act of love (well, should be) which begins each of our lives (well, most outside of IVF programs) is covered non-clinically by a word that is onomatopoeic with the sound a cow makes when it pulls its leg out of a bog. It is simply an ugly word, whose ugliness fits it well to be a term of abuse. The romance language equivalents are not much better (eg the French verb foutre which rhymes with the English word 'put' as in your place).

Onomatopoeia is a Greek word, as is erotas, the Greek equivalent of f*ck. I read somewhere once that there is an even better Greek equivalent, aphrodisia, but I was disappointed to learn when I checked this morning with a native speaker of Modern Greek that it's not so. Never mind; erotas still wins by a country mile over f*** and the rest of that ill-starred stable. Give me Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, rather than Lady Chatterley's Lover and the rest of DH Lawrence any day.

Which is why, in an idle moment of practising the editorial art of (if not battle for) standards preservation, I altered a commenter's f*ck  by placing the letters r-o-l-i in place of the *. I was a bit mischievous, I admit, but that converted it into the far more friendly, jocular and gay (ie in that word's own original meaning) word frolick. For the record, before every use since I have fought my editorial fingers all the way down to the keyboard. But my fingers have always beaten my conscience, leaving it stricken. Well, for a millisecond or so anyway.

Conclusion: in my case, the sprightly muse of merry mischief will always beat neo-Victorian sensibility.

Some Webdiarists appear to have adopted this word now as their own. Time will tell, as it always does. Whose comment it was and on what thread now escapes me, but in my wild erotic fancy I sincerely, fervently and desperately hope that future linguistic historans will track back through the Webdiary archives to find the precise point at which the English language was infected with a friendly virus that proceeded to spread like a golden staph through the entire English-speaking world, leaving no f*ck unturned. And in the face of which, Big Pharma, Norton, McAfee, Micro$oft and Google, for all their resources, were totally powerless. (For the record also, I have recently got hold of a DVD copy of that Danny Kaye classic, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I identify with Mitty the riverboat gambler, Mitty the RAF fighter ace, Mitty the master surgeon and Mitty the western gunslinger very readily indeed. But not with Mitty the pulp-fiction proofreader.)

If that happens, then when my time eventually comes to shuffle off this mortal alfoil, I will be leaving this world in a better state than I found it. ;-)

Also please note: frolic is a different word again, and not to be confused with frolick.


Thanks for classifications, Ian. Now I know that next time Eliot or Alan or Paul irritate me, I should just tell them to get eratos-ed', the silly eratos-sers!

Which reminds me to thank Jenny Hume for so painstakingly defining just a frolic(k) Webdiary is.

But as to Fiona, the evidence speaks for itself...

Sorry Jenny: wrong

While legal minds differ, "fuck" is generally coming to be considered as not offensive.  Remind me some time to tell you the "Do you tell yourself to fuck off often Constable?" Story.  We were acquitted.

Offensive language has to be assessed in its context.  Words are just words but even quite innocent words like "I want to do you slowly" can take on an offensive character depending on the circumstances.

Let copulation thrive say I and your favourite poet.

As you like it - or don't

Malcolm, while legal minds might differ it seems that when it comes to the crunch, the use of the word is still sufficient to get one a conviction for offensive language. I cannot recall the case but it was about three months ago - reported in the SMH, for what that is worth. No doubt the context was relevant but if a lesser word had been used, would the conviction have been made?

I take your point however about context. Learnt a bit about that in a defamation case.

As for the poet, the one comprehensible thing he wrote was Macbeth, but did you see how they've massacred that of late? The seven year olds thought it was fun, but I wonder if it will make the real thing any easier for them to read in the future. Somehow I doubt it but it is worth a try I guess. Mind you, I think they would get more fun out of old Henry Lawson's stories/poems or from Steele Rudd, E O Shlunke, C J Dennis and all the Bully ilk. Then again, maybe not. Kids these days are so far removed from the bush and its culture, its social history and idiom that they would probably be just as confused and bored. I had to put a glossary into the last book I did just to explain the 1930/40s bush terminology.

Fiona, I guess we do - move in very different circles. I first heard the F word used widely when I first met Ian and ran into left wing radicals and radical feminists. I never had much in common with either set, and Ian in fact, while at the other end of the political spectrum to me, never did use the word. So he stood out amongst them. Eventually I put a notice on the mantelpiece advising that the word was not acceptable in our house and they desisted. The next time I encountered it to any degree was in fact here on Webdiary and I guess that the site hosts more of the old left guard than any other while Ian and I have moved into more conservative circles. And yes, I am aware that both Margo and Hamish have used it on this site. That does not diminish them in my eyes, but nor does it impress me.

We have all seen those other sites where it is freely allowed and it is not surprising that there abuse is paramount also, so most intelligent people would be turned off there pretty quickly. But I would not want to impose my views on Webdiary commenters. It really matters little one way or another to me. I guess what it boils down to is: Does the WD community and in particular the thread contributors, want their message/contributions to reach as wide an audience as possible and if so, then why turn people off the site by submitting/publishing comments headed or laced with expletives, be they badly disguised or printed in full?

For what it's worth............


Let me see now, Jenny. The first people I met who used the word, er, liberally in their conversation were two young foresters at the ANU. Both stalwarts of the (then) Country Party. (What was that about young members of that party ....?)

The foulest-mouthed woman of my acquaintance (and a contemporary of mine) was not a radical feminist – au contraire, if you get my drift. She was the offspring of a devout, church-going, blue-ribbon Liberal family, and had received twelve years of schooling at one of the finest Christian ladies' colleges in the country.

Not, mind you, that I'd want to draw any conclusions about people's political leanings from their use or misuse of language.

Foresters and feminists

Well the forester I went out with was a complete gentleman Fiona, though the fact that he was Chinese might have had something to do with it.

As for the unladylike lady from the ladies college, well as a psychologist you would know about reverse identification. Something my step daughter accomplished thankfully under my influence. The radical feminists of her early childhood and their culture, including the F word were totally rejected.

Oh I think you could draw quite a few conclusions about political leanings, certainly of the older generation from their use or non use of certain words.  And for that matter whether they have religious beliefs or not.

I don't think you will hear the F word in the Anglican cathedral of Goulburn, nor from the ladies and gentlemen in the Pressy church I attend and I doubt very much one would find the young lady you refer to attending church.

In my view, bad language can both define and defile, in many instances.

But I grant you, not all.  

A matter of definition?

Jenny Hume: "In my view, bad language can both define and defile, in many instances."

No doubt, although my comment concerning inferences to be drawn from a person's use of bad language was explicitly restricted to their political leanings.

Given your assertion that you never encountered the F word until you were introduced to radical left wing, and radical feminist, circles, in combination with those words of yours that I have just quoted, it seems that we use rather different criteria for the basis of our inferences.

Please miss?

Fiona dear teacher, I think you will find I never said I never heard the F word till I encountered the radical left wing and radical feminist circles -  I said never widely which is a teeny bit different, is it not?  So your given conclusion is not fully sustained - C minus for teacher today.  

Oh I heard the F word from a very early age alright, from a small cocky whose house we kids had to walk past on the one mile trek to the bus stop in the place of my early childhood. His language would cause a few around here to plug their ears. Our mother forbad us to ever go near his place for that reason but he yelled so loud at his cows it was hard not to hear him most days.  His language was foul, and he was a foul man as well. Very very cruel to his animals too and his wife had left him - surprise surprise.

Of course people in all walks of life use the word, always have. But I still maintain that certain people and groups seem to think it adds something credible to their views or gains them added respect, such as most of the radical feminisits I encountered; or the low life. It in fact does quite the opposite. It defines them, and not in positive ways in my view. 

The radical feminists never seemed to stop for one moment to think whether it actually diminished their cause and themselves in the eyes of others. I would not think I could ever have influenced anyone to my animal rights cause by pepppering my language to others with the F word to express my disgust at what people did to animals. Quite the contrary, one loses credibiltiy if one just assumes that other people cannot be offended by bad language.

No Paul Walter, I am no Anne of Green Gables, and I think I have broken my own rules on the odd occasion around here, though directing same not at any person, rather over the issue.  I can swear like the best of them, but if I do it is not to or at others, it is refexive or is at the situation as a whole.  Yes, when kicked in the ribs by a 1 tonne cow I swore at her, but the F word was not one that I chose to use. 

I do not agree with F Kendall totally. Usage has not made the word less offensive to most people and those TV programs such as Wildside where it was thrown around by the cops in every sentence was a real turnoff. If that is the best the script writers can do - well I suppose it saves them thinking creatively. The same with Underbelly. I guess there though it was reflective of the sort of low life that uses it with gusto in every sentence. 

Now before you all go off in a huff, that is not to say everyone who uses it is low life, quite the contrary. If it did I would have to shed some very good friends. I am not such a prude that I condemn out of hand everyone who swears in my presence. For a start that would be a tad hypocritical. Ask the Scot.  

But I do agree with F Kendall on all this. It is in fact quite unnecessary to use bad language and is a self control thing.

I feel that those who do use the F word in particular actually feel the need to do so - and that is their issue, not the listeners, and they should realise that in inflicting it on others for whatever reason, they are making assumptions about the other person. We censor those who make racist comments to another on the basis it might offend. Bad language is no different for the underlying assumptions its use to the other person can convey. It is the same as the atheists who deliberately blaspheme when trying to get at believers and I have seen a bit of that around here in my time. Not likely to convert, that is for sure. But this cookie recognises it for what it is, so it is a bit hard to crack the shell here.

OK, that reminds me, it's church time, so have a good day.  

joe six-pack

Sarah would never use those naughty words!!

Jenny, you are such an Anne of  Green Gables. Not even a dammit , if the cow kicks over a bucket during milking?

F Kendall, what are the nastiest words you use, when you are annoyed?

Fiona: Have you ever read (as opposed to watching the anodyne versions of) Anne of Green Gables, Paul? She was no mealy-mouthed woman by my reading of her. Definitely au contraire - a feisty red-head with more than enough spirit to subdue most of the men around her. Interestingly, her creator was also a stolen person.

A heart is not a plaything

Fiona, I am a stolen person, too.

Stolen because you stole my heart.

Espied on the wall of a woman's dunny in a park, blundered into by accident some years ago:

A heart is not a plaything;
A heart in not a toy.
If you want it broken
Give it to a boy.

Fiona: Paul Walter, that is one of the sweetest things that I've ever been privileged to receive on Webdiary. Thank you - although I will have to enter one caveat: I didn't steal your heart; you gave it to me. Believe me, I cherish it.

VVna caveat

Yes, it is an organ of a differernt kidney, although am not venting spleen on this, although could show more spine on this, must admit.

Actually thought, " I left my heart in San Francisco", but it turns out, at least  on the basis of tonight  that, "home is where the  heart is"

Richard:  Admiration always, for a man who knows how to play his organ.  Paul, I'd kill to cross paths.

all quiet on the...

Won't be today for a while, Richard.

Off to grand final, "Carna midey duggs!".

Cat out of the bag and amongst the pigeons

By and large I am in agreement with Ian and share his concerns. Like him, I became involved with Webdiary in the lead up to the Iraq war. I have had three “thread starters” published and numerous blogs. Only twice have I had my blogs barred for publication; the first because of questionable language, (used in parody which could have been easily overcome by the judicious use of editorial asterisks) and the second which on the face of it, was innocuous enough but potentially embarrassing; expressed deep concern at the damage being done to Webdiary as a result of a stoush that developed between Richard Tonkin, Jenny Hume, Paul Walter and ultimately Ian MacDougall resulting in his demise as a moderator. It was handled poorly and as I wrote in my unpublished post, resulted in the (hopefully not,) permanent absence of at least three long term and valuable contributors, (excluding myself).

I saw fault on all sides but most particularly on the part of the moderators who let initial posts go through on the “Henson v Hanson Land” post that were clearly off topic and more deservingly belonging on another thread that I thought was thankfully dead.

It is impossible to conduct a debate without an agreed premise and in this case there was no shared reality.

With regard to the journo student exercise, from the outset I thought it to be entirely inappropriate. I thought Webdiary was being used and was a drain on its limited editorial resources. Subsequent, (post “Masters”) thread starters have confirmed my opinion; the students don’t even talk amongst themselves and don’t seem to understand the distinction between essays and articles or the undefined principals that govern blog sites.

Sorry kids (I know you're not and please excuse the patronisation of an ageing man but there is a world of difference between academia and the blogosphere), at some point you will leave academia, (unless you all intend to pursue careers as lecturers in Journalism but would you be truly qualified?) and will be required to report.

Maybe you will become the lifeblood of Webdiary; as good a forum as any and in need of a fresh approach. Most of us here are in our sixties with a lifetime of experience but necessarily lacking the perspective of youth. It’s up to you. Be prepared to learn and instruct; we are still learning at our age. Ignore the jibes of Malcom B Duncan, a curmudgeon who simply hates the sight of journos (even fledglings; uncooked, that is) but take note, he can teach you how to think.

Years ago I had a vision of Webdiary that I conveyed to Margo: a “church of the mind” whereby information flowed freely on a range of subjects, conveying information on ground breaking discoveries in all sciences and philosophies, a collective consciousness that animals enjoy that we have lost but can regain by this medium. Then I was ever a starry eyed optimist, simultaneously cynical and hopeful. Who knows?

For the conspiracy theorists, this time you’re right.

Naming things...

...or children.

Paul Walter, I still haven't recovered from the names that Ms (sorry, Mrs) Palin has inflicted on her brood.

I mean, for whatever's sake - give a daughter a name like Bristol ("nice pair of Bristols there") - and what the heck? Something about reaping as you sow comes to mind.

But then, maybe they don't sow in Alaska.

Follow the Piper down the Track to the Willow, then head north past the Trig point...

Makes Bylinda look almost normal.

The full bottle on you know what

Malcolm: "While legal minds differ, "fuck" is generally coming to be considered as not offensive."

Tell that to a certain party as BBQ time comes round again.

This is as good as saying "While legal minds differ, "fuck" is generally remaining in consideration as offensive."

What's the state of the legal bottle: half full or half empty?

The RAN has no poxy ships.

Ian, have you ever been in a crew's mess on any navy ship?

Sailors are no better or worse at using the F word than any other blokes in an all male situation. I speak from experience but lately I have noticed that females have been trying to outdo the males and the younger generation seem to have lost all thought of polite conversation. A pity I think.

By the way, the Navy doesn't have poxy ships - just poxy sailors.

Senior Service

No John, the phrase I used was the poxiest ship in the Navy, merely implying that all Navy ships are not equally non-poxy, and that some, if only ever so slightly, are more poxy than others.

Then again, perhaps I should have said the Merchant Navy, just to keep the RAN on side. (It's still called the RAN isn't it?)


Anybody get the impression that the students have an assignment due soon.

Well done.  Remember the Duncan maxim: "That which may become unnecessary to do tomorrow need not be done today." 

I agree

...that a lot of impugning of character, where the person rather than their argument is attacked, has crept in lately.

Richard:  That being the case, a gentle reminder forWebdiarists to play the ball, not the player.

The one your forgot, Jenny

Webdiary is also a place — or becoming a place — where people without much distinction can present themselves to the world as marvellous, while dismissing others of similarly little distinction as "dills".

A place too where little coteries of like-minded nonentities can gather together in little cliques to protect each other from well-deserved ridicule. And when they get desperate, conspire to exclude those who refuse to join them in their attempts to dumb the site down to their level.

It wasn't always thus. Only time will tell where it will end up.

Webdiary is what it is

What is Webdiary and what should it be?  Well it seems it will be whatever it will be and what we who bother to write for it, are allowed by the editors to make it. For me:

It is a place where serious issues are discussed - politely and not so politely. 

It is a place where people tell stories, of their life and the lives of others, boring some, but uplifting and amusing others.

It is a place where poets long dead, or still alive, can get a free plug.

It is a place for fun, and a place of to express sorrow.

It is a place for music and musicians, a place for cooks of fluffy morags and a place for those cannot boil an egg.

It is a place for sharing ideas, philosophies and political views.

It is a place where history is relived, revised or interpreted to suit the writer's purpose.

It is a place for the bright and the not so bright, the educated and the not so educated, the old and the not so old, to come together and share - whatever. 

It is a place for wowsers and self-appointed drunks.

It is a place for cockies and a place for the faces in the street..

It is a place to try and expose the truth and the lies.

It is in fact just a living place in cyber space and it is a place where no one has to come or if they do and don't like what they see, are not compelled to stay.  

Well, that's what I think anyway.

Balance and fact

Bloggers have discovered that proffering conspiracy theories is a very good way of looking wise to the ways of the world while being utterly ignorant.

Some of the comments exhibited plain paranoia. There's plenty of that on the blogs; paranoia about certain journalists, certain newspapers, paranoia about certain pollsters, paranoia about Catholics taking over civil society, paranoia about (yes) Zionists and paranoia about US government conspiracies.

The remainder of the 64 comments were general denunciations of the blogger's pet hate, the mainstream media, otherwise known as the dreaded MSM.

The sheer fact it's mainstream, though, means it must offer two crucial elements missing from the world of the blogs. They are balance and fact.

Christian Kerr in the Australian.

Are you sick of only hearing about Federal politics from political journalists. Would you rather get an insight from a government insider. Well, you've come to the right place. Hillary Bray is one of two sexes: male or female. He/she has definitely worked for the Howard government and may still do - we're not saying. This is his/her first column for Crikey.

Money talks if you want balance and fact: Christian Kerr or Hillary Bray says we should read the Australian. Yes, that right - the dreaded MSM. Christian Kerr, a former liberal staffer and journalist for Crikey, says the mainstream media is balanced and factual just because it is mainstream. Come on Christian, this must be the joke of the year.

I think I will stick to Webdiary. I know for a fact if I show any bias or an incorrect fact someone will put me straight quick smart. We have auto correct Alan Curran, Paul Morrella, Eliot Ramsey. Thanks fellas for keeping us honest.

The mainstream media has no monopoly on balance or fact.

The year of the political blogger has arrived

Getting convention credentials for her blog, a news site for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, was the easy part. As air fare, lodging and incidentals began piling up, paying for the trip to Denver became the bigger obstacle.

For Ms. Spaulding, 45, who works full time as an IT manager at Duke University Press in Durham, N.C., blogging is her passion, an unpaid hobby she pursues at nights and on weekends. So she called on her 5,500 daily readers to help raise funds: “Send the Blend to Denver” reads the ChipIn widget on her blog’s home page that tracks donations from readers; so far they have pledged more than $5,000 to transport Ms. Spaulding and three other bloggers to the convention.

As Webdiary continues to grow, funding will always be an issue. It is encouraging to see bloggers developing fund raising ideas elsewhere. Move over Packer and Murdoch - the era of political blogging is here.

Hello & welcome

I’m at a loss. Is first, or personal name Liying, or Zhang, or?   

Liying sounds right, but I don’t think I ever understood the Chinese name procedure, though people spent no end of effort in trying to teach me.   

Whatever, let me an occasional contributor to Webdiary, wish you welcome.  A new person, new view of the world, knowledge of an area we don’t know, or certainly do not know well.     

I am sure that those who want can learn much from your contributions
You wrote:
    ‘There are historical, political and cultural reasons which could hardly be explained in few words and understood by people from western background. But things are changing. China is opening to the world, economically and politically. There are still a lot of problems in most aspects of the society, among which population is the biggest and root one. What Chinese people need from the rest of the world is tolerance. What China need most from itself is time and time again.’
    There are still a lot of problems in most aspects of the society..     What Chinese people need from the rest of the world is tolerance. What China need most from itself is time and time again.’   

Written like this, it applies equally to Australia and the US, both, though  there are a good many who would deny the fact.   

You will find some who see China a threat, or potential threat.  Others who are interested how China is managing and see China as no more than another country struggling to muddle its way through, as is everybody else.        

Again welcome!  I hope we see you here often.

How to post a new entry?

Hi, Richard, how to post a new entry rather than a comment under other entries? Sorry for this stupid question from entry-level me. :) 

Ian M (ed): Liying, I have asked Richard to respond to your request. I look forward to seeing your new entry, which I assume is what we here would call a 'thread-starter'.

David R: but for future reference of others, the process for submitting a new entry can be found by clicking on the "Write for Webdiary" link at the right of the page ... 

Hu Jintao's smile

On August 1, one week before the Olympic Games, China President Hu Jintao accepted a joint interview by more than 20 international media. The following day, most of those media commented that Mr Hu smiled from time to time and showed “generous self-confidence”.  They described that he was wearing a black suit and white shirt with red tie, with a pair of gold-wire-edged glasses.

I was interested by these comments which seem impossible to be written by Chinese domestic media.  In China, Political leaders are always reported in an over-formal and over-serious way.  But in fact, they seem to be closer to people when they are figured as a human being rather than a mysterious figure.

As a typical Chinese (though I once have been a journalist for several years), I have a blurring impression about the highest leaders of the Chinese government when it refers to their personal life and their personalities. How many children do they have? What are their spouses’ names? Where do they live? Do they have pets? Their hobbies? and etc.   

It was the second time that President Hu Jintao accepted this kind of joint interviews as far as I could figure out. There are historical, political and cultural reasons which could hardly be explained in few words and understood by people from western background. But things are changing. China is opening to the world, economically and politically. There are still a lot of problems in most aspects of the society, among which population is the biggest and root one. What Chinese people need from the rest of the world is tolerance. What China need most from itself is time and time again.

Richard:  Xiexie Liying Zhang.  Welcome to Webdiary.   Where are you writing from?

Richard: Thanks.

Oh, Richard, Thanks. I am sorry I haven't been familiar with webdiary. Ahah, I shall move my post to the right postition:)  

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