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The internet has for some become a dangerous place

How do we put this?

We have always prided ourselves on the site we have built, and those hundreds of commenters and authors that have become part of The AIMN family. As a family we have engaged with respect and maturity.

But lately … not so much.

Over the last six months there has been more of a tendency to attack rather than debate. The number of emails we receive from people – and there are dozens of them – that despair at the way they are treated on our site, forces us to act.

We are at fault for not doing something earlier.

We are extremely disappointed that people (mainly women) are leaving this site after years of contributing here. And why are these people leaving? Simple: they didn’t come here for denigration and abuse. But that’s what they have had to contend with. What’s worse is when these people reveal what is happening in their own lives and the difficulties they face (mainly with serious health issues). What fun (not!) it must be then to come to our site only to be denigrated, ridiculed, harassed etc. They simply don’t deserve it.

The internet has for some become a dangerous place. We don’t want to be such a place.

We are not trying to quell free-speech. As one of our commenters used to say: “Free-speech doesn’t give you the right to be an arsehole.” But we also have to weigh up the options: Do we give a dozen or so contributors the platform to debate in the manner they want, or do we shut down aggressive debate in order that a few hundred extra people would feel safe to contribute here? We have no choice but to run with the second option.

Surely we can all again debate with the respect and maturity that set this site apart.

We ask that you help us turn the trend around. We can do it.

Next time we won’t be asking.

On a different note, you would be aware that this site survives because of the wonderful support we receive from those making donations (including our own financial contribution), and from the income from Google ads. We couldn’t survive with just two of those income sources – we rely on all three.

We have a G-Rating with Google, and they regularly scan our site to ensure that we are complying with the conditions of that rating. The slightest little thing – such as aggression or a threat in the comments or the articles – sees us receive a Violation Report. One of those sets us off in a mad panic to remove or edit the offending material, and to respond to Google to review the violation again. The number of violations we can have before we lose Google ads is not unlimited.

We can’t afford to reach our limit.

If we may indulge ourselves allow us to conclude with the ‘disasters’ of not treating people with respect:

Michael related a story here the other day, of when he and a few of his footy mates – deciding to go up-market and drinking in the lounge of the Belair Hotel – found themselves in an argument with a well-dressed businessman after Whitlam was dismissed by Kerr. The gentleman – about 55ish – was pleased over the dismissal, but rather than debate the issue with him the boys fired off abuse after abuse (mainly words that shouldn’t be repeated here). It didn’t stop there: each encounter with him at the local invited abuse from the boys.

Twenty-five years later, on one ANZAC Day, one of the Adelaide stations included a story in the news about a young pilot who had been shot down over Germany in WW2. The now elderly war hero described his escape from Germany. It was a story to give you goose bumps.

Who was this war hero? It was the same man who Michael and his footy mates abused relentlessly back in the mid 70s. A hero who fought for Australia … was continually abused over something much less trivial than being shot down over Germany.

Michael cannot express the guilt he felt.

Oh how easy it is to make an idiot of one’s self.

But he didn’t know who he was talking to. A bit like us here, don’t you think?

Michael and Carol

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129 comments

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  1. Rosemary J36

    I had a post of mine removed from the site, following some insulting comments about it from a contributor, yet he continues to criticise everyone else without any sign he can accept that he is not always right.
    I do not know how you moderate the site, but – apart from having been mildly critical of that particular contributor – i did not feel my comments were even remotely as disturbing as many of his which are published.
    Perhaps you were protecting me from further abuse? If so – I thank you.
    The contributor in question may have acquired a great deal of knowledge in his life – which he is anxious to share with us all – but he might improve his efforts if he acquired more wisdom and self-control!

  2. Michael Taylor

    Hi Rosemary,

    The only people who can delete a comment are the author of the article or an admin of the site (of which there are a half a dozen). As I have been doing the moderating over the last week, I can only speculate that it was removed by the author.

    The opinion of Carol and I is that a comment should not be removed unless it is threatening or offensive. It should not be removed simply because someone disagrees with it. I cannot imagine you being threatening or offensive. Never.

    It’s been a bit of trial lately with only one or two moderators on hand, and as such, comments that should be removed have sneaked past us. I apologise if anything derogatory has been directed at you.

  3. Joseph Carli

    I can see that you are caught between a rock and that hard place…..or in the political parlance…tolerating the heat or getting out of the kitchen…

    What I find curious, is the emails you are getting from people who MUST be aware they are entering a “senate house” of contention…sure, abuse is not warranted…(except perhaps for …..but no, I won’t go there!)..but agressive attack has to be expected…after all, these days of social media and political contention right or wrong attract such things…and if your sensitivities are that finely tuned, then perhaps a more demure conversation is for oneself…

    One thing is certain, this election coming up is going to be one hell of a scrap between the major parties, minor parties and independants…and with so many Green posters on here and other centralists and some like yours T being far left…by jingo…I reckon there’s going to be a run on the sack-cloth and ashes in the coming weeks!

    Good luck, Michael and Carol sorting the wheat from the chaff…..

  4. Joseph Carli

    Michael, RosemaryJ36….it was not I who removed the post…as I stated in the comments…so I do not know what has happened to it…and for all concerned..I am happy to be proved wrong….BUT FIRST…prove me wrong…DON’T JUST SAY IT!

    Example #1..: ” but he might improve his efforts if he acquired more wisdom and self-control!”

    To which the automatic response from ANY civilised person must be …: “Says who?”

  5. RosemaryJ36

    I was not responsible for removing my own post. I would not know how!

  6. Michael Taylor

    aggressive attack has to be expected

    No, mature and respectful debate is expected.

    This site has survived two elections that way. No reason why we won’t see it get us through the next one. And without aggressive attack there’ll be a hell of a lot more people here to spread our message to.

    And aggressive attack will see us get more of those damn Violation Reports.

  7. Carol Taylor

    Joseph, you say that aggressive attacks are to be expected, but does this mean that they should be tolerated? I find the same argument used often against women (although I suspect that you are not referring to just that gender) and about the aggression that women should ‘expect’. The solution seems to be always the responsibility of the victim, to not walk from the train station after dark, to not argue with men, to leave if you don’t like it. I would hope that we here at the AIM can provide a safe place where robust debate can be entered into without the need for racial or sexist or aggressive name-calling.

  8. Michael Taylor

    Joseph, I didn’t accuse you of removing the comment. I said ‘speculate’.

  9. Kaye Lee

    ” agressive attack has to be expected”.

    See that’s the whole point Joe. It most definitely should NOT be expected. if one can’t express oneself without aggressive attack then one should refrain from commenting.

    That sort of comment reminds me of when Craig Kelly was complaining about women being snowflakes if they complained about bullying. He said they should be able to roll with the punches. How about not throwing punches in the first place.

  10. Joseph Carli

    There is a bizzarre segue going on here where my stated opinion of : ” . . . but agressive attack has to be expected…after all, these days of social media and political contention right or wrong attract such things…” has been suddenly moved into a “woman’s issue” contention….I would propose that “agressive attack” can be measured in several ways…: Active agressive…assertive agressive and passive agressive…..Let us not be deluded into accepting that just because the pussy cat has soft paws, it doesn’t have vicious claws!

    And yes, Michael..so you did..and since I was the author in question, I am informing all concerned that it CERTAINLY was not I who removed the post.

  11. Diannaart

    Rosemary had a comment deleted, I have had a comment I wrote deliberately altered, by someone old enough to know this is not robust debate it is spitefulness. Neither of us had written anything that could be described as “aggressive attack”, offensive, denigrating or harmful.

    A contributor can expect disagreement, difference of opinion, even challenging an author’s self perceived status. Responding to such by vitriol, encouraging others to engage in abuse – like ganging up on someone, deliberately changing what a commentator has written, or other immature behaviour is not acceptable.

    Online we only see a fraction of who we are, this sliver is a distortion of the reality of a person. The totality of our lives cannot be seen, just glimpses. Carol wrote, ”… these people reveal what is happening in their own lives and the difficulties they face (mainly with serious health issues”. This should not need pointing out. I have made mention of personal issues here online, which is not recommended. Such admissions give an antagonistic person ammunition to further bully a disliked person.

    Respectful, passionate and civil debate is possible and expected. I have been around social/political blogs long enough to know there is never any excuse to resort to name calling or personal abuse. I have had terrific discussions with people I disagreed with vehemently (not often enough). I also know, when I was made aware of it, if I had caused offence and I apologised.

    Saying sorry really helps, our First Nation people have “sorry business” which is, as I understand it, a broad phrase for all types of suffering, from illness, to death, to feeling harmed in some way. Sorry business provides a safe place to talk, or to simply be, without harassment.

  12. Michael Taylor

    Joe, I believe you. If you say it wasn’t you, then I accept that. One of the problems I have encountered with WordPress is that there are gremlins in the system.

    But on the the thrust of this post … it’s going to be run the way Carol and I have successfully run it for six years. There are two obvious reasons why:

    Firstly, we want people coming here again. They have left us in their droves the last six months, and it’s not because of the quality of our articles. I don’t think we’ve ever had so many great articles over a six month period than the one just gone. It’s been a fantastic effort by all our writers.

    And secondly, this site costs $1,250 a month to stay open. I reckon that gives us the right to say how it’s run.

  13. Michael Taylor

    But if I may ask, Joe, why are you arguing with us?

  14. Carol Taylor

    Kaye Lee, and indeed such comments as pussycats with claws are meant to imply a female. I guess that it was just an unfortunate turn of phrase such as referring to what you expect that brings reminders of other times that ‘what else do you expect’ has been used when referring to aggression.

  15. Joseph Carli

    Michael, Carol…I would say I was more defending myself…and I will leave it there…I can see where this is going and I will leave it open for others to state their position and feelings…I have had my say.

  16. New England Cocky

    You mean some contributors never have posts deleted? How strange ….. Oops!! silly me ….. I thought the editors and sitemasters had every right to delete “offensive posts”. If any of my posts have caused harm then that is regretted, but more likely any post was deleted by the editor …. which is within their editorial discretion.

    I support our many lady writers for their fabulous research skills and lucid writing talents.

    Then, playing Devil’s Advocate for a moment ….. an election is approaching that the incumbent Liarbral Notional$ misgovernment has every likelihood of losing and being tossed into the WPB of Australian political history. There may be an attempt by LNP activists to use Google to stifle criticism in the pre-election period.

  17. Kaye Lee

    Carol,

    Out of consideration for the intent of this article, I self-censored my post about claws.

  18. Michael Taylor

    Joe, to be honest, I never really expected anybody to object to what Carol, myself, and hundreds of other people want from this site.

    I can’t quite understand why you were “only defending yourself.” Wasn’t it you who came in first, arguing that we should expect “aggressive attack” and putting forward a case for it?

  19. Michael Taylor

    Dead right, NEC. I saw a screenshot of a post on a right-wing Facebook site asking its members to “infiltrate” as many lefty sites as they can.

  20. Mark Needham

    Sometimes, the best we can say is “Nought”

    Just saying,
    Mark Needham

  21. Kaye Lee

    I am more than happy to debate any right winger who cares to turn up. If they have a case to make I would love to hear it. And if they just want to call people names then they can linger in the limbo of moderation until they learn to communicate civilly.

  22. John

    When the internet first became big time some astute cultural commentators pointed out that it had the potential to be a positive vehicle for encouraging and even facilitating positive change, especially as everyone is now instantaneously interconnected.

    They also pointed out that it could, and most probably would be, taken over by divisive darker elements to the obvious detriment of any kind of positive future.
    Unfortunately such has been the case.

    Many bloggers and prominent people of a left-liberal-progressve disposition are now targeted by right-wing trolls.

  23. Kaye Lee

    Rosemary,

    I would like to add that I always appreciate your comments. I am one of the people who can remove comments but it wasn’t me. I never saw your comment (I looked and it wasn’t in trash) but one question was copied into a reply and it was a question I also wanted answered.

    I hope you will continue commenting here.

    Diannaart,

    I so agree about only seeing a fraction of the people we are chatting with. No-one knows what is going on behind them. Discussion is stimulating….bickering is wearing. Misunderstandings will happen. If we are able to talk about it genuinely, they usually get sorted out.

  24. Kronomex

    Enough of the internet, let’s talk about politics and religion.

    Couldn’t resist tha…ooh, look at the kitten playing with a toilet roll tube…er…ah…t.

  25. Joseph Carli

    Enough is enough..

    It didn’t take too many posts on this article to see where it was going…My original comment has been vivisected, twisted, quoted out of context and extrapolated via the strangest segue into an attack on women in general…one can get the slightest feel of the proverbial “nigger” surrounded by a lynch mob.

    But to be in the final case asked why I was attacking the site..: “ I can’t quite understand why you were “only defending yourself.” Wasn’t it you who came in first, arguing that we should expect “aggressive attack” and putting forward a case for it?”…..This selective twisting of the whole “argument” of my original on-topic discussion post has to take the cake…and could be placed on page as the perfect example of cognitive dissonance.

    And with the moderators in general…indeed..I would say even in a “love-in” familiarity with each other, I have no possible case that I could plead without in-situ prejudice…and now I cannot be bothered to..

    So I must say goodbye to those friends I have gained on this site…and rest assured, I leave not because I feel defeated..because as I have before stated..I could take on ALL my detractors here in word for word debate with “one hand tied behind my back”…

    No..I leave because I can see within the psyches of those detractors, that infectious essence we all have witnessed in pictures of crowd panic and fear…you disgrace yourselves and I will not allow myself to become infected by association with such low cowardice.

  26. Kronomex

    I was going to post “Probably coming soon from Joe, (blows whistle) and plays the “I’m the victim card.”” earlier but decided to wait and see what happens. He did not disappoint, in fact he excelled in tantrum throwing.

  27. Kaye Lee

    Joe,

    The really sad part is that when several people object to something you have said, instead of considering why they may feel that way, you are convinced it is some orchestrated personal attack against you. Regardless of what you may think, that has never been the case. A story teller like you needs to also be a listener. You shouldn’t dismiss other people’s feelings. You shouldn’t get personal or take disagreement so personally.

    ” I will not allow myself to become infected by association with such low cowardice.” Is that your cute little way of saying thanks to Carol and Michael for giving you a forum?

  28. Topenda

    Michael and Carol, I certainly don’t envy you being in this position, but I certainly do appreciate your efforts with this site. One of the things that attracted me to the site in the first place was the overall civilised tone of the debates. In recent times the increased level of unpleasantness and bad sportsmanship (debatesmanship?) has become somewhat off-putting, so I applaud your efforts to sort it out.

    Cheers 🙂

  29. Matters Not

    Re:

    original comment has been vivisected, twisted, quoted out of context and extrapolated

    Yep, people often give meanings to words/phrases/sentences/paragraphs and the like that conflict with the writers’ intention. Now if one could only control that meaning making aspect … then Jo Stalin would be pleased.

    Perhaps, the deep message is – be careful what you wish for?

  30. Michael Taylor

    Ah, MN, was just thinking of you (and a few of the other blogging oldies).

    You’d probably recall the shit that Carol and I had to put up with in the early days of the Cafe. It was bullying and harassment like no other. The stress and depression it caused was beyond bearable. We’re not going there again. You’re one of the few who would understand.

    As such, this place is staying out of the gutter.

  31. Mark Needham

    Jo, as you sow, so shall you reap.
    Now, bake some bread,
    Mark Needham

  32. Michael Taylor

    Mark, we bought ourselves a bread maker and baked our first loaf yesterday. Delicious. 😀

  33. Michael Taylor

    Here’s a laugh … was in our trash folder:

    Nothing has changed,this is an anti Labor publication

    Perhaps he missed my post of a week or so ago: Why I vote Labor. 🙄

    Sad that a post about civility brings out weird accusations.

  34. George Theodoridis

    Not always the case, Mark. At times people -at times without any malice at all- come and piss on one’s seed thus killing it, or worse, deforming its growth.
    I’ve seen a lot of that sort of thing happening around the paddocks.

  35. Sheepdip

    Great article in The Australian today “Howard knows modern women” by Janet Albrechtsen.Just Kidding.

  36. Deidre

    Perhaps it’s time for us to concentrate on debunking LNP lies and “fake news” in the lead up to the election. Murdoch’s media machine will be bombarding us with extreme right propaganda. As Murdoch owns most of the print media across Australia, we will need to be fact checking every article. He might not have as much influence as previously, but many voters still read the Advertiser etc.

  37. Ken

    Good on you Michael and Carol for writing piece (peace!)

  38. Miriam English

    Whoa, Joe. Those weren’t remarks sneakily aimed at you. People were generally discussing things. Michael was honestly asking why you would defend aggression. He wasn’t poking at you.

    Joe, can you see how other people might feel upset by much more direct and obvious aggression? You became incensed at mild, frankly innocent questions. Surely you can see that more aggressive stuff can make people upset.

  39. Barry Thompson.

    I think Joseph is a good listener and an astute observer of human nature. Were he not, he could not write such entertaining stories.
    All the other banter aside, I will miss his work and wish him all the best.

  40. Miriam English

    Carol and Michael, does the Google review weigh individual words? For example I was about to post elsewhere a comment in which I was talking about religious philosophers “making shit up”. Should I be more careful with my language, lest I trigger Google’s review program? Or does it use less easily defined speech mannerisms, such as accusatory statements and angry emphatic suggestions that someone become intimate with a pineapple, for example? (Not that I’d make such suggestions — just trying to illustrate without endangering the site.)

    This is interesting… humanity might end up modifying its speech patterns to conform with the expectations of artificial intelligences. Hmmm there’s a good story idea lurking in there.

  41. Mark Needham

    Miriam, “conform with the expectations of artificial intelligences” it is happening by us all. I am sure that my intelligence, thought and ideals are my own. But I wonder how true that is? I always question my fallibility, and peeved at others surety.
    Surely,
    Mark Needham

  42. Vikingduk

    Thanks Carol and Michael for providing such an excellent forum. Besides providing so many excellent articles I have appreciated the freedom to express my opinions using language that perhaps isn’t appreciated by some? By many? Nevertheless, if it makes life simple for both of youI will attempt to moderate myself.

    Do you have time for a silly pirate joke.

    Pirate captain onboard ship docked at wharf, he is quite a bit deaf, standing alone on deck. About to dock is another pirate captain who sees the lonely captain. He yells “where’s your buccaneers” to which our hard of hearing captain replies “on me f*cking head”.

    Well I did say it was silly and I really will try restraint. Cheers one and all. May we all prosper.

  43. Keitha Granville

    Those who resort to any form of attack and abuse have nothing valuable to say – even if they had , the moment objectionable comments are made their pov is lost.

    Thanks Michael for keeping the site free from BS artists, they can stand on a box in the street and yell to their hearts content.
    A focus by all of your wonderful contributors on counteracting the lies and misinformation of the trolls will keep you all veyr busy for some time.

  44. Ross in Gippsland

    I like this site for the well written pieces and the fact you don’t normally cop abuse for any comment you may like to post.
    I may be a cantankerous old fart but if an article is good enough to take the time to post a comment then at the very least that comment should be your thinking or in some cases non-thinking on the piece in question.
    A comment should never be an attack on the author of another comment. Getting worked up will only give you ulcers and besides you will have forgotten about it five minutes later.
    Just don’t read the comments if they upset you, stick to reading the articles.
    You may agree or disagree with a comment but please don’t start having a commenting conversation that goes’ on and on and on.
    Just let it go life is too short to get worked up over some silly comment you don’t agree with.

  45. Michael Taylor

    Hi Miriam,

    “Making shit up” is fine. It’s the angry emphatic suggestions that trigger the violations. We received a violation once because someone said “we need to bash sense into these politicians”, which we know is good old Aussie jargon. Someone in Google Land took it literally. I suppose Google are only doing this for their advertisers. Imagine someone going into a business, walking up to the owner and saying; “You had an ad on The AIMN, on the same page where someone told a commenter to go eff himself with a jackhammer and when you’ve finished that you can eff yourself and your kids and your dog as well.” Hmm.

    As far as accusatory statements go, it is our decision to ban/delete them. We don’t want to see any of our commenters sued – in which case Carol and I could also be sued as we are the publishers – because they’d made a false claim against someone. One particular author – who is no longer with us – would make claims against a politician which were incorrect. He would say that such and such was a criminal so and so, but unless that person had been charged for that crime in a court of law, then that falls into the basket of defamatory statements. Carol’s legal background has been invaluable in that regards.

  46. Michael Taylor

    Speaking of offensive …

    I am sick to death of being phoned by scammers. So sick to death, in fact, that the last caller copped it from me.

    I yelled into the phone for him to go eff himself. And when he’d finished, to eff himself again. And when he finished that to eff himself once more. And not to stop there: eff himself again and then to effing eff himself. Actually, not to stop effing himself.

    He hung up on me.

    What a rude bastard.

  47. Michael Taylor

    Mr Duk, I heard a different version:

    A young kid was on his front lawn sitting in one of those old fruit crates [shows you how long ago I heard it] when a bloke who was walking along the footpath stopped and asked “What are you doing, little fella?”

    “I’m playing pirates, mister.”

    “Really. Where are your buccaneers.”

    “They’re on me bucking head.”

  48. Michael Taylor

    And for the most exciting thing you’ll hear this decade: the word “bacon” comes from the word “buccaneers.”

  49. Vikingduk

    Mr. duk!?? Heavens to Betsy, why so formal? I’m just a little duk waddling through life, a kwak here a kwak there. Often known as that smartarse with the amazing ability to inflict foot in mouth disease to myself.

  50. Michael Taylor

    It was just me being lazy. I didn’t feel like arguing with the iPad’s auto-correct when typing your name.

  51. Kaye Lee

    I went to a pirate party once and was castigated for not dressing up. I pointed to my earrings which were $1 coins. I was a “buck-an-ear” I explained.

  52. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, after that joke Carol and I came very close to banning you. 😜

  53. Vikingduk

    Yep, these iPads, got to watch the little devils. I have, so far, shown this new iPad the error of its ways. If I’m ever invited to pirate party, I’ll borrow your costume, Kaye Lee. What a ripper.

  54. Kaye Lee

    See….some people appreciate my humour. Granted, not many.

  55. Miriam English

    Sounds like Google is using an AI to check sites. How very cool.

    I L♡VE these jokes. 😀

    Here’s one that tickled me:

    A guy walks into a bar with a banana in his ear and the bartender says ‘Excuse me, sir, you have a banana in your ear.’

    ‘What?’ says the guy, ‘I can’t hear you. I have a banana in my ear.’

  56. Kronomex

    Sheepdip, I read that article as well and it raised a smile when he mentioned meeting Queen Victoria and spending half an hour grovelling at her feet…um, I meant talking, to her about how wonderful it was to be part of the Great British Empire.

  57. Kronomex

    Michael, I had a run in with a “Hello, I am calling you from Windows Security about your computer uploading hundreds of viruses to the internet.” not too long ago.
    Oh goody, I thought evilly, just what I needed, a bit of a distraction. Let’s just say I strung him out for almost half an hour before the penny dropped at his end.

    I quote verbatim:
    “You are having a lend of me aren’t you sir?”
    “Yes, and took you a long time to work it out.”
    “You f#cking prick!” he yelled into the phone and hung up.
    My sides were aching as I told my friends son what had happened. And to cap it off two minutes into the conversation the phone in my room rang so I went and answered it and…
    “YOU F#CKING F#CKER!” screamed a certain voice and the phone was slammed down.
    Needless to say I was almost breathless from laughing as I passed what was said. We have never received another call from “Windows Security” from that day on.

  58. Miriam English

    Ummm… Kaye, please excuse my lewd imagination, but I can’t shake this image in my mind of you showing up at a party wearing only those earrings. Sorry. I’ll crawl back into my cave. :/

  59. Shaun Newman

    It is at times like these that I am happy that I am a regular reader and not a regular contributor because I like to read everything an author presents to AIM and in particular I enjoy reading Joe, Kaye and Michael. I do believe that if I did comment more often that I may be in conflict with some other commenters so I will continue to keep my thoughts to myself and hope this site survives the coming federal election. It may have survived 2 elections but this coming NSW and federal elections I feel will be a watershed and opinions will be flying thick and fast.

    I will apologize in advance if my comments are offside in the coming months, but whether I comment against a man or woman to me is irrelevant in the high tension of the most important federal election in many years tempers will fray though I will strive to keep my comments civil in light of this article.

    All the best to the contributors.

  60. Vikingduk

    C’mon, there must be more silly jokes waiting for their moment in the sun. After all you got to have a go to get a go. Course we can’t forget the importance of this article. Don’t want to lose AIMN to the google AI. Don’t know what I’ve done to this iPad, frequently suggesting vikingduk is the word I want.

    Must be a bloody conspiracy.

  61. Kronomex

    Here’s one, which I’ll explain when anyone asks about why it worded that way –

    If Hihong went to Hong Kong and played ping pong with Tinglong and he died, what would they put on his coffin?

  62. Diannaart

    Kronomex

    A lid.

  63. Paul Davis

    OK this isn’t a joke and it is off topic but…..

    While the regular kitten stranglers are vacationing, the summer Dark Sky offering is Gleeso’s News Talk from 6 to 8 AEST. The blurb describes this program as featuring the best journalists and editors from News Corp mastheads, providing unprecedented coverage of the big stories etc etc, hosted by Peter Gleeson. Regular guest commentators include Hanson and Newman while the “best journalists” are mostly unknowns from various Murdoch papers… you don’t get Sheridan, Sloan, Divine, though to be fair this is off season.

    Two or three times a week, sans library books or crosswords, i take the Gleeso Challenge. My record was 19 minutes including ad breaks. Usually i get irritated by the silliness, the right wing bias, the lies and so forth, because i guess at heart i am what Paul Murray would describe as a left wing bleeding heart latte sipping tree hugging f’wit.

    Last night i watched the entire Pauline Hanson segment. OK this woman is a human being, a mother, well thought of by many people, lots vote for her, i felt i should listen to what she had to say, so i blocked out my irritation with her inarticulate illogical narrative, the grating voice and just watched this poor person make an absolute fool of herself in public yet again. Solar panels are killing us, we need a senate inquiry. Gleeso was very polite, did not interupt her, no questions, no challenges, thanks for coming….

    Twenty years ago i went with my then wife to Canterbury RSL to see Lesley Gore (60s singer.. judys turn to cry etc). Was a great show and in the audience were several Australian performers from that era and … Pauline Hanson. Lots of dancing and pleasantry etc … Judy Stone was lovely…. Ms Hanson was friendly, chatty, danced with lots of people, gave my ex her autograph omg..

    So what is my point. Not sure, but while many of our politicians appear to be vile, toxic and dangerous they are actually human beings, although i am sure that one senator is a cyborg and an ex attorney general is an alien reptile.

  64. Kronomex

    Diannaart, you are actually one of the small amount of people who got it right.

    🙂

    It’s the rhythm and cadence of the first part of the joke that people concentrate on to the extent that they don’t focus on working out the gist of the gag.

  65. Trish Corry

    65 comments and only one person has expressed any concern/loss that an author (Joe Carli) felt he was treated so badly by the commentariat, over a long period of time, along with very poor moderation to stop that treatment; that he has now quit the site and will no longer publish here.

    But instead, I have seen mocking, gaslighting and goading towards him in these comments which essentially it appears broke the camel’s back – because it happens every time he posts, so he quit.

    If no one can see this, the moderators need to take a step back, remove themselves from the long-standing friendship circle on the site and have an objective look.

    Because I follow his articles I know he has expressed angst at comments towards him time and time again. I witnessed that he found this distressing or uncomfortable because he spoke up about this often, only to be told it was his fault time and time again, when he spoke up.

    When anyone is constantly picked on like Joe was, every time they published, anyone would come to the comments of their article with their back up. It’s not a unique disposition of Joes. I speak to him on the phone a little and he is one of the nicest people you could ever come across and a wealth of knowledge for history.

    Seeing an article like this after the months of commentary Joe has had, Why are people surprised he had his back up in this commentary, by being taken out of context yet again?

    I argue after following the commentary on his articles, this article it is largely aimed at Joe. If I was Joe, I certainly would think that.

    I really enjoy Joe’s writing. I felt he brought a uniqueness to AIMN and there is no other blogger with his style in the blogosphere. Some people read articles to appreciate a persons writing style. I don’t agree with Everything Catherine McGregor writes, but I read it because she writes beautifully. I read Joe’s articles because he writes beautifully and his stories make me feel quite happy.

    If people don’t like an Author, why bother commenting about how much you dislike the author when it’s the same people every time? It brings nothing but upset and should be moderated out in my opinion.

    Perhaps, it just would have been better if AIMN would have privately told Joe he wasn’t welcome. Or use social media for a private group chat to talk some things out. Or have moderation which is not just about swearing, but degrading commentary towards the author, or people bouncing off each other saying demeaning things about the author and putting the author down while he is reading it, which is always ignored or he was blamed for defending himself!. Who should put up with that?

    Is anyone surprised he quit? Did anyone even care? No!

    I have felt absolutely sick reading all of this. Especially, an Author who contributes quite a lot, he quits, obviously upset, no one cares, and the thread is reduced to jokes. Let’s ignore a regular author quits and have some joke time, absolutely did my head in, so I posted this comment.

    All the intense debate on Joes articles about his dislike for the middle class and arguments followed and people took great offence because they didn’t understand what he meant. I did 100% understand and commented once to explain what he meant.

    If anyone wants to understand the divide between the working class and the middle class as Joe tried his best to express; just read the lack of empathy and humility towards Joe in this thread and you might “get it”

    I will be still reading Joes articles and I have encouraged him today after reading this to keep writing on his own blog. I hope readers who do enjoy Joes writing will subscribe or follow his blog on WordPress and Twitter.

    What a depressing and sad read this was. What a loss of interesting reading for this site.

  66. paul walter

    Really, Trish Corry. That is the most amusing set of comments you have posted and there have been many.

    Will the time EVER come when you offer up something constructive or helpful for our readership?

  67. Kaye Lee

    Everyone else was appreciative of the spirit of the post and agreed to try to clean up their own act – one of the great values of this site.

    If someone considers that an unreasonable request then that is their call. I would also say that it is sometimes wise not to make a fuss when someone storms off because it may prevent them from coming back if they so choose. No need to paint them into a corner.

  68. Michael Taylor

    Trish, this post wasn’t about Joe. It was directed to everyone who comments on The AIMN. And everyone accepted the wishes of Carol and I, except Joe.

    And what a nerve you have to question that.

  69. Michael Taylor

    No, Kaye. Apparently it’s our fault. 😳

  70. Kronomex

    “Perhaps, it just would have been better if AIMN would have privately told Joe he wasn’t welcome. ” I think you will find that Michael and Carol have on a number occasions done exactly that all to no avail. He was contrite but his old habits soon re-established themselves to the point of being obnoxious and arrogant and having a very very thin skin.

    It was not, in most cases, the articles that he wrote that got peoples backs up it was how he carried on when comments were posted that he obviously did not like and so he would push and push certain commentors until they felt they had no choice but to sink to his level. Then he would troop out the “victim card”, throw a tantrum or two then run away only to return a day or so later and start the whole cycle over again.

    “All the intense debate on Joes articles about his dislike for the middle class and arguments followed and people took great offence because they didn’t understand what he meant.” What did he expect, that we would agree 100% with him? Jesus, if he couldn’t stand, and most certainly did not quite a number times, contrary views then he should have gone to a site, blog, or whatever, that was filled with people of a similar ilk and posted there.

    Good for you if you are going to continue reading his articles elsewhere. Just don’t be an apologist for him, he should sink or swim on his own and stand up for himself rather than throw hissy fits and storm off into sunset of his own creation.

    And now…

  71. Rossleigh

    Quite simply, I write for people who like what I write.
    I also acknowledge that not everyone will like it and sometimes they’ll be critical. At such times, I try to remind myself that I’m writing for those who like what I write, but it can be hard if one feels like one is misunderstood or being misrepresented.
    Generally, I have tried to seek to understand why people don’t agree with me or feel that I’m being flippant or lacking empathy or any one of the thousand criticisms I have had over the years.
    If I can’t do that, I feel that it’s better not to comment. There’s no point in attacking those who disagree with you in the hope of bringing them round to your way of thinking.

    On the other hand, sometimes it is fun to poke the bear.

    The thing I ALWAYS remember is that if one pokes the bear, and one is bitten, one shouldn’t complain about the nature of bears.

  72. Rossleigh

    Hopefully, nobody disagrees with that!

  73. Kaye Lee

    You used to say don’t feed the seagulls. Sage advice which I must do better at remembering.

  74. George Theodoridis

    Trish, I’m only very new here and have no historical perspective on any of the authors or the commenters. I have read many articles and found them a great read. I thought this could be a place to which I could contribute a syllable or two, so I did.
    I read Joe’s articles here and on his blog, wrote to him and chatted about writing and political views and such like.
    I found him a marvellous human being with a gorgeous story to tell about immigrants and aussies and their confluence, political and cultural.
    Delicious stories, typical of his background and mine.
    Obviously, these weren’t stories that a large chunk of the readership and membership here liked. Perhaps the confluence he writes about is still not happening and the situations in Oz, is, as this blog depicts it: Nice words but, sorry, oil and water don’t mix. Very sad! Depressingly so and many just don’t know how deep those emotions run. Because he describes them to a T.
    And geez, do I hate this formulaic phrase: “let’s all be polite and respectful to one another” when said by those who think it appropriate for them to tell immigrants and working class they stink.

    I’ve seen this untold times since the blogosphere began years ago. Blogs begin with “let’s respect one another” and end up as echo chambers, each hearing his/her own voice from the mouths of others.
    No diversity of views, a ganging up against the victim and a tempest of insults and twisting of whatever s/he said.
    How does one respect such treatment? How could anyone accept it?

    Please guys -not all of but enough of you- don’t just latch onto a word in an article, rip it out of its context, twist it, mangle it, deform it and then insult the author for either not responding to your insults or won’t listen to your pointing out that they got it wrong?

    I read and am still reading the comments against Joe and find that the aussie love for putting the boot into someone when he’s been attacked is alive and… kicking!

    I still love the articles and yesterday’s article and comments by Miriam English was extremely interesting and a valuable contribution to the debate on religion. I shall keep reading her words.

    Carol’s article however and all the adulatory comments that followed was a painful experience.
    I certainly do not want -and probably will not- to see its like ever again.
    With all due respect, far more respect than some people have shown to Joe, I’ll pass on to you Socrates’ two aphorisms: “An unexamined life is not worth living” and “know thyself!”

    I know, I know, to a number of you, quoting from the philosophers is a pompous thing to do. Nevertheless, the suggestions and quintessential to a reasonable life, with a reasonable head and a reasonable heart.
    Try it!

  75. Kronomex

    Shouldn’t that be, “Always wear a raincoat when feeding seagulls.”?

    George, quote all you like it gives me reason to chase down articles about the philosopher you mention.

    Did you philososphy was not created by the greeks? It was a sage and wise man from Ireland named Phil O’Sophy.

  76. paul walter

    Joe can be good, or abrasive, or both or neither. Bright, good lad who can look after himself but occasionally is a little blustery.

    Thing is there is a bounty of serious current affairs subjects to comment upon: tokenism in politics, debauched preselection processes for the Reluctant Election, corrupt media and press consent manufacture techniques employed by paid hacks and sophists, the ruin of the Darling, BREXIT, GBR, Trump’s nonsenses, on and on.

    Why not add something informative to those postings instead of compulsively embarking upon ad hominem type stuff?

  77. Michael Taylor

    Let’s be clear: nobody wanted Joe to leave. Even people who he got into fights with would also remark at his wonderful posts.

    I repeat: nobody wanted him to leave. But we did want him to be less aggressive to people who debated him. This made it difficult to achieve positive discourse. We didn’t think it was a lot to ask.

  78. Kronomex

    Gr! It should have read, but time ran out before I could hit save, “Did youknow that philososphy was not created by the Greeks? It was a sage and wise man from Ireland named Phil O’Sophy who travelled far and wide impressing all he met and the Greeks named a new branch of thought in his honour not long after he died.”
    I’m also selling blocks of flats in Tasmania, only driven once on Sundays by little old ladies.

  79. Kaye Lee

    A lot of people enjoyed Joe’s stories. But if you then tried to discuss issues brought up by his anecdotes, things quickly declined into misguided attempts at personal abuse. It shouldn’t be that way. But let’s not pretend Joe has been a victim here.

    As you admit George, you are new here. There is certainly a more progressive leaning common to most who visit but calling it an echo chamber is selling short the valuable discussions that go on and information that is shared.

    I cannot see why asking people to be respectful would lead to statements like “And geez, do I hate this formulaic phrase: “let’s all be polite and respectful to one another” when said by those who think it appropriate for them to tell immigrants and working class they stink.”

    No-one here ever does that. It’s a ridiculous assertion.

  80. Michael Taylor

    Anyway, Carol and I said what we wanted to say. Perhaps it would be prudent to close comments and move on.

  81. Michael Taylor

    And I must say that we appreciate the support we have received.

  82. George Theodoridis

    Sorry, Kaye but you’ve just done what I was hoping you wouldn’t do. I said neither of these things. I dod not say hat this is an echo chamber” and… what a pity that you did not read to yourself that next sentence you’ve quoted.

    But I’ll remind myself that I am new here.

  83. Kaye Lee

    I read your comment George. Was I supposed to take it personally?

  84. Kaye Lee

    Sorry Michael. I will stop.

  85. Michael Taylor

    It’s all good, Kaye. You’re OK.

  86. Miriam English

    Can I make a brief comment?

    I’ve chatted with Joe via email and we’ve exchanged stories and music. After he fled AIMN I emailed him trying to point out to him that he was wrong to think the comments were barbs aimed at him, but I had little success.

    I worry for his health. I don’t blame anybody here. I think something else is going on with him and hope he’s able to fix it then return.

    What puzzled me time and time again was the way he insisted that he was perfectly justified in being angry, and even rude, to others, yet if he thought he perceived the mildest disagreement from anyone, then he felt grievously harmed. Joe, if you’re reading this, please recognise the truth of that, and please realise nobody actually means you harm. I know you don’t believe it, but it’s true.

  87. Geoff Andrews

    Well! THAT went well, didn’t it? (As a self-fulfilling prophesy, that is.)

    Plato and a platypus walk into a bar.
    The barman says, “Is this some kind of joke?”

  88. Michael Taylor

    Without missing a beat, Geoff.

  89. DrakeN

    Costume parties can be strange things:

    One character turned up wearing nothing more than a chamber pot on his head. When asked what he thought that he was supposed to be he replied: “The Emperor of Poland.”

  90. corvus boreus

    The people upon whose generous hospitality I sometimes impose have expressed a wish that all who visit their house be a bit more mindful of their manners.
    Hardly seems an unreasonably onerous request.

  91. Diannaart

    There are many people here I’d like to meet because I find them very interesting compassionate and intelligent. There are also a very small number of commentators I would like to meet face to face and discover if they would say the same things to my face, the things they have had no compunction writing.

  92. Michael Taylor

    There are many people here I’d like to meet because I find them very interesting compassionate and intelligent.

    That’s a very nice thing to say about me, Dianna. 😀

  93. helviryni

    I’m with Rossleigh, George and Trish here….

    I feel that that some people here were ‘anti-Joe’ from his first post onwards…..

    !’m avoiding trouble makers and don’t engage with them…..

    Sorry for boring people with my constant calls for civility,

  94. corvus boreus

    Helvityni,
    Do you think it right that, for example, Kaye lee is called a ‘ passive aggressive sociopath’, or that those who express appreciation of her work be roundly condemned as ‘sycophantic lickspittles’.
    Civility is a two way street.

  95. Kaye Lee

    I have never been anti-Joe helvityni. I have merely asked him to refrain from personal attacks on me (and others). I have explained that I am overly sensitive to the objectification of women in apology for my reactions only to be told I am not a “real woman”. I have repeatedly said that many people enjoy his stories, asking him to continue to write but to avoid personal attacks in the comments section and to not take disagreement personally. His reaction to questions about the topics on which he writes has been very defensive and, at times, degenerates into quite nasty personal attacks which I am apparently expected to accept as part of the normal rough and tumble of the internet. Well I disagree.

    I bear no animosity towards Joe (or anyone else) and have tried repeatedly to repair a deteriorating relationship, only to be very firmly and in no uncertain terms, dismissed. My intentions have been misunderstood or maligned – I think there are some who have anticipated angst as soon as they see my name. Pretending Joe has not been abusive is dishonest.

    This article was a reminder to ALL of us that our bickering is detrimental to the site.

  96. Michael Taylor

    Carol and I have a duty to ensure that people who comment here can do so ‘safely’.

    It’s a bit like OH&S, in a way.

  97. Diannaart

    There was only one story Joe wrote with which I had problems. Having the temerity to point why I found this particular story somewhat misogynistic, resulted in abuse, insults which occurred no matter what I said or even didn’t say. On one thread I hadn’t even posted a comment but that did not spare me from his sarcasm.

    That said, I am not anti-Joe. I feel sorry for him. He really believes he is the champion of truth, wisdom and protective of a golden past which never really existed. This is a shame because Joe could spin an engaging tale, although his inflexible views meant courteous discussion was doomed.

    And, that said, this thread is not about Joe. Joe made it about himself.

    This thread is about bullying, abuse, holding grudges, stalking and all such means we associate with trolls, but which are used by people who do know better, who are aware of acceptance of difference, but continue to denigrate very carefully. They do not abuse all the time, in fact most of their comments are reasonable, but then something is deemed unacceptable by the secret troll, the gloves come off and they start to snipe, demean.

    I am grateful to Carol and Michael. Keeping this ship afloat is fraught. We are here to discuss issues which impact us all, a request for respectful discourse is not onerous nor impossible.

    Most of us claim to be on the progressive side of politics. If we bicker among ourselves we are losing ground to an implacable ideology held by people who do not give a toss about any of us.

  98. Mark Needham

    Joeseph Carli, aggressive. What are you talking about?

    Shyly.,
    Mark Needham
    Me thinks there is a bit of “Joe Carli” in us all. Hopefully some of the good bits also. Always a pity to see “shite happening”. Ah well.

  99. Kaye Lee

    I have an uncomfortable feeling that some people think I was responsible for complaining about Joe. That is not the case.

    He came up incidentally in an email from Michael about another matter and this was my response.

    “Joe doesn’t trouble me personally in any way. I know people enjoy his writing. He sure has a knack for painting a picture with words. But he is overly sensitive and resentful for some reason. I wish I could get to know him better to understand why but that ain’t gonna happen it seems despite my best efforts to try to bridge the gap.”

    Perhaps in time we can try again

  100. Michael Taylor

    Well said, Dianna. You didn’t just hit the nail on the head – you absolutely smashed it.

  101. LOVO

    As a long time reader (first dayer 😉) I have always thought this place could be likened to an upmarket cafe 😎 😛
    I love coming/reading here….it’s so diverse, topical and interesting.
    Oh the arguments I’ve won from info I’ve garnered here 🍻.
    The comments section is as important to me as the article(s) themselves. It’s a hugely informative… and thought provoking, in the diversity of comments/thoughts that are presented. A wonderful crossroads of aussie thunk’n.
    The arguments that take place can be such wonderful theatre in a droll Peyton Placeish kinda way. But can degenerate into a race for the worst-est ad hominum farce prize,…which to can be entertaining and gruelling…all at the same time 😯 ..but even then their seems to be a level of respect
    All in all I think that the “level” of commentary here is reasonably respectfully undertaken…even during the biffo’s and FU’s. Sometimes the very, very robust conversationalist here could be construed as to be crossing some real or imagined line and then receive equally robust reasons, from other conversationalists, on ‘how far’ and why….and on and on it goes …till a total state of terseness is obtained…………and down the dotted track…..aways…..a whole differing topic sees the ‘combatants’ in agreement, ..well sorta. Sometimes ‘the fight’ was just a way station on the way to understanding or tolerance or respect or opinions of the ‘other’.
    But, ultimately, we are but lucky guests here and must abide by the rules. No matter how tolerant and understanding they are, no matter how far the owners bend over backwards to give people a fair crack, a fair say, even when they disagree with the comments made.
    All I can say is if you get in trouble from the Mods at this place… then you would have had to had pushed that ‘line’ along way out.
    Tolerance and respect is not to much to expect

  102. Miriam English

    Diannaart said it well:

    “…this thread is not about Joe. Joe made it about himself.”

    and

    “We are here to discuss issues which impact us all, a request for respectful discourse is not onerous nor impossible.”

  103. Michael Taylor

    Hi LOVO. That was a wonderful comment, old mate. Yes, you have been around a long time and your comments have always been enjoyable, both here at and the Cafe.

    I’ve noticed that the last couple of days we’ve had the Cafe feel, and I like that. If one is not interested in the discussion at one table, they move to the next table. There’s been hardly any one topic getting bogged down.

    Now … having praised you … we will no doubt be enemies again when the footy season starts. 😡

  104. LOVO

    Why wait til then…. 😈

  105. Michael Taylor

    I was thinking that very thing. 😀

  106. George Theodoridis

    Miriam (quoting Dianaart): “We are here to discuss issues which impact us all, a request for respectful discourse is not onerous nor impossible.”

    It most certainly IS both, onerous and impossible if made by someone who is intolerably disrespectful and resorts to directing a flood of insults at you.

    It is highly disappointing. Distressingly so to see here the -what I thought it to be- tactic commonly used in other less circumspect blogs where the word “man” is used as a computer button for them to press, after which emerge the default insult of misogyny; and then the topic discussed in the article is side tracked, obliterated and dismembered to the point where only aspersions are cast -often in tsunami lots.
    Personally, I don’t care about insults. I had them thrown at with bilious regularity since day one of arrival in Oz. Very much used to them. But I can’t get used to idiocy and to blatant, phosphorescently so, hypocrisy and distortion of my words. I have no time responding to the idiocy and the deforming of what I say. The world is a big place and life is too short to waste it on such things.
    On other fora I wouldn’t have bothered with this post. But here, well here, this place I thought was a place cleaner than the rest and quite able to see beyond the bullshit of “all men are bastards towards all women.” That “all men are pompous, condescending and everything nasty towards women.”

    Copped this a few times and saw it directed at Joe also.
    Miriam’s thinking that “there’s something going on there…” a not so nuanced dog whistle that the reason Joe is the way he is, is because he’s nuts or something…” is like saying, no worries, folks, it’s not us. We didn’t tell him to go away. There’s something wrong with him. The notion that we’ve made it impossible for him to stay just didn’t get a chance.

    Brings phlegm to my throat.

    And check out the last post on my Hinch.

    Reminds me of the days when the words that are these days not uttered loudly were so uttered back then: S/he’s a wog, so he can’t be any good; or the ones that the aborigines heard every minute of the day: S/he’s black so s/he’ll go walkabout.

    It is enormously disappointing! So very, very bloody disappointing!

    Don’t just talk about robust discussion. Have it! Robust argument and discussion is what keeps the brain and the heart ticking. Keep it up. But discuss the topic, argue the issue, engage in its questions.

    My sentence “this place will be turned into an echo chamber” ended being “this place IS an echo chamber.” The same with another phrase “let’s all be polite and respectful to one another” when said by those who think it appropriate for them to tell immigrants and working class they stink”. No, that’s right, not in those words, as it was done with, “no one told Joe to leave.”

    But nevermind!

  107. Diannaart

    George

    Please provide evidence where you have been disrespected and flooded with insults. Michael would want to know.

    Also where has anyone stated?, “all men are bastards towards all women.” because that is a generalisation against 50% of the population and does not make any sense at all.

    Also please remember disagreement or a difference of opinion is not disrespect, nor insult.

  108. helvityni

    Totally agree with you, George…

  109. George Theodoridis

    Thanks Helvi.
    None so blind as those who have their eyes locked shut!

  110. Shaun Newman

    In my humble opinion helviryni has the right attitude, our consciousness is raised at the moment knowing that there will be an election soon in NSW to be followed by a federal election that we all feel passionately about and the blood pressure is pumping so please good people don’t begin attacking each other, save your emotional energy for the tories, SlowMo and his mates are on the run with the rats beginning to desert the sinking ship let’s put the boot in while they are down, consolidate and kick!

    Let cool heads prevail please.

  111. Kaye Lee

    “I have no time responding to the idiocy and the deforming of what I say.”

    Yet your whole post is about deforming what others say.

    No-one has said all men are bastards towards all women or anything remotely like it just as no-one has said anything remotely like working class people and immigrants stink. No-one has even said anything that could broadly be interpreted that way.

    You say a request for respectful discourse is both “onerous and impossible if made by someone who is intolerably disrespectful and resorts to directing a flood of insults at you.” The request was made by Michael and Carol.

    helvityni, you really confuse me. You call for civillity yet endorse belligerence. Guess it depends whose name heads the comment.

  112. George Theodoridis

    Kaye.
    You of all people surprise me! Shock me in fact with your abtuseness. It’s not confected is it?
    No, those words were not used but the meaning was piercing.

  113. Kaye Lee

    Give me one example of anyone expressing any sentiment remotely like what you have suggested. I have NEVER seen it and I read just about everything here. Do you think that perhaps you have misunderstood some comments?

  114. George Theodoridis

    Obtuseness not abtuseness of course. A child is climbing all over my head!
    Life is just not long enough mate.

  115. Kaye Lee

    Enjoy the grandkids. That is much more important than this but I do think there have been misunderstandings.

  116. Miriam English

    George, it surprises me that you think I was attacking Joe. I thought I was pretty clear that I’m worried Joe seems to be having difficulties and that I hoped he’ll able to fix them and return.

    He would let his anger fly at people and would insist that his targets had to toughen up (especially if they were women) for the “normal” rough and tumble of things, yet if anybody mildly questioned any of his statements he would have a meltdown, thinking they were out to get him.

    I’m very close to two people who have had similar strange overreactions to things. One had a breakdown and recovered to be a normal, well person again. The other has had her paranoia facilitated and fed by her friends and I fear greatly for her.

    I’m genuinely worried about Joe. His reactions have recently not been normal — the flaring anger, and the oversensitivity to trivial and unrelated things. I honestly hope he gets better.

  117. Trish Corry

    I spent years publishing on this site, to experience the same demoralising, targeted, ridicule, personal dissection as if I wasn’t there (who I really am, what I really thought, if I was “unbalanced”) only to be told when I complained or defended myself how it was all in my head. I even wrote an article once of all the slurs towards me in commentary and some from here and apparently that was all in my head too. I could write a thesis on my experience here as a writer.

    There is nothing I can say here that hasn’t been said online or in private. It’s all been said. And nothing changed when I complained and nothing changed when I stopped publishing here. Yet, there are those like Paul Walter who lay in wait to take a stab, when I make a comment. That’s overlooked and it’s toxic.

    Diannart did stop by my blog to stir trouble and to “see if I was nasty on my own blog” when I stopped publishing on here. That was delightful. Not. It was toxic and creepy.

    My experience of treatment here by a particular group of people saw me quit blogging for 18 months and I’ve just started writing again. It is not worth reading baseless allegations and slurs every time I posted when it takes sometimes days to research. I’d be happy with no comments to be honest. If what I have said here is taken lightly, then nothing will change.

    Maybe just hire some professional moderators. Reach out to journalism students who want experience. That’s my suggestion. This is a valuable site. Not everyone like me or Joe fits in, but something serious needs to be done from an objective viewpoint about some of the commentary here if you want to attract more authors and commenters. The same central group rule the roost so to speak and have done for years. I don’t get it on my blog. I don’t see it on sites like IA.

    But no. It was never “my fault” and it’s not “Joe’s fault.” People have a right to defend themselves. People have a right to write about views that go against the grain of popular commentary. That was one of my biggest problems. But I can’t change that. As Joe would say – too Working class.

    Regardless, my unpleasant time here ended up doing me good and I now feel i write better and I have a who cares attitude to nasty comments. Not every writer is at that stage and commenters should be mindful to stick to the topic and not personal assessments of the Authors. It’s demoralising, stigmatising and just plain toxic when it happens all the time, particularly when it’s a group.

    People can take it or leave it. I don’t think what I have said will change anything because I tried for years to speak up and nothing changed, except the people who stuck up for me either were banned or left and I was told once again it was “all in my head” So what’s the point?

    People like Miriam will still play public psychogist and be absolutely blind to how targeted negative, personal comments on every single article result in negative affect. It fits in the constructs of bullying and mobbing. I know. I’ve lived it and come out the other side. So I can speak up about my experience without the emotion.

    It’s comments like Miriam’s that need to be moderated out. Not just ones with the F word.

  118. helvityni

    No I don’t support belligerence directed to anyone… But I understand that Joe was terribly upset with all abuse by this person; I asked him to do what I do, and to STAY AWAY…

    Like George I’m surprised that you don’t know who this person is….

  119. Trish Corry

    I know. But I also know that accusation will get shot down big time. As I said, objective moderators needed for this to be serious.

    Over and out. I won’t be here much now Joe isn’t posting. George if you have your own blog, please post below so I can follow you.

  120. Shaun Newman

    Who is this disruptive person who deliberately and personally targets authors on this site like Joe? I want to know, will anyone name this person? We can’t afford to have this cancer contaminate this great site great authors like Trish, Kaye Joe and Michael to name just a few must be allowed to produce these top quality articles. The articles are quality advertising for a change of government federally and all authors must be supported vigorously especially in the coming weeks, if people can’t say anything good about an article, please say nothing at all.

  121. George Theodoridis

    Kay I don’t suppose Helvi is trying to warn you of those who’ve been belligerent to joe and me?
    No, I didn’t think that has crossed your mind.

  122. George Theodoridis

    Thank you very much Trish.
    My blog is more of a site where I have posted my translations of all the Ancient Greek tragedies and comedies.
    Comments and requests are made through my email addy there.
    I can’t add the link here somehow but if you either google my name or the title of any Ancient Greek plays, Wikipedia has a link to it at the bottom under “translators.”

    Would love to receive your email Trish.
    A general email addy of mine is solowords@yahoo.com
    Rather than bore the bejezus out of everyone, those who wish to continue the conversation can write to me there.
    Over and out.

  123. Diannaart

    ”Diannart did stop by my blog to stir trouble and to “see if I was nasty on my own blog” when I stopped publishing on here. That was delightful. Not. It was toxic and creepy.

    Excellent article, TC – tried to get to the Melbourne March, but was most definitely there in heart and soul.

    I agree with you that Australia needs a government that governs for people – rich or poor, employed or unemployed, abled or disabled, young or old… as you say:

    Many see Governments as “Left” or “Right” I see Governments as “Pro-Community” or “Anti-Community” I think that to have a Grass-Roots movement march this weekend with so much success, in a country where there is a lot of political apathy, says a lot about the Abbott Government being Anti-Community.

    We have just elected a political party that sees itself as a corporation – corporations are for maximising profit, they are not about ensuring the welfare of all its constituents. If there was any doubt remaining Abbott eliminated that idea at his electoral speech:

    “Australia is open for business”.

    POSTED BY DIANNAART | MARCH 17, 2014, 12:24 PM

    https://polyfeministix.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/the-fair-go-psyche-my-take-on-marchinmarch/

    Shall I post links to those articles of yours I have liked?

    Maybe not, because I mostly comment here at AIMN, on No Place for Sheep, numerous Facebook pages, Twitter, the Guardian, the New Daily. Yeah creepy as …

    About as creepy as me raising the exact same issues regarding Derryn Hinch with Jennifer Wilson both on AIMN and on her blog.

  124. john Lord

    The admin of a political blog must be very difficult. Often there are to few hands to cope with the work required. We should all do well to remember that in spite of doing our best we often, none the less fail our best intentions and things can be missunderstood, enen missrepresented. The thing is though that we should remember our common purpose and do our best to sort through the issues the best way we can. If ever you need more words to add to the common purpose let me know.

  125. Paul Davis

    It is with trepidation that i add a comment to this thread but thought it might be the closest to topic….

    The best book i have read this year (lol), and i highly recommend it for the subject matter, the writing style, the humour and plain simple non jargon language:

    “Technically Wrong” – sexist apps, biased algorithms and other threats of toxic tech.
    Written by Sara Wachter-Boettcher published 2017.

    A reviewer said ‘one of the deepest most thoughtful views on exactly how todays tech is effecting us … an essential guide for people who care about ensuring todays tech is humane and ethical’.

    Miriam has probably already read it. Cheers 🙄

  126. Miriam English

    Paul, thanks for the pointer. Sounds interesting. Nope, I haven’t read it.

    She gave a talk nearly 1 hour long in November 2017 about the book’s topic:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG5zU0DdM_4
    The description on the YouTube page is:

    “A revealing look at how tech industry bias and blind spots get baked into digital products—and harm us all.

    Many of the services we rely on are full of oversights, biases, and downright ethical nightmares: Chatbots that harass women. Signup forms that fail anyone who’s not straight. Social media sites that send peppy messages about dead relatives. Algorithms that put more black people behind bars.

    Sara Wachter-Boettcher takes an unflinching look at the values, processes, and assumptions that lead to these and other problems. Technically Wrong demystifies the tech industry, leaving those of us on the other side of the screen better prepared to make informed choices about the services we use—and demand more from the companies behind them.”

    I do have another book by her, but haven’t read it yet: “Content Everywhere – Strategy and Structure for Future-Ready Content”. Its blurb is:

    “Care about content? Better copy isn’t enough. As devices and channels multiply — and as users expect to easily relate, share, and shift information — we need content that can go more places, more easily. This book will help you stop creating fixed, single-purpose content and start making it more future-ready, flexible, and reusable.”

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