Tuesday, January 15, 2008

ZenTiger Welcome to Helengrad


I think it is extremely bad form when people publish name and address information of others. Russell Brown, left wing journalist recently "discovered" WhaleOil was hosting Andy Moore's web site "Don't Vote Labour". To prove the connection he published WhaleOil's real name and address. It was unnecessary, as I'll explain.

Furthermore, Russell's comment encouraged another on the thread - this person took the opportunity to denigrate Andy and published Andy's home address. The 'connection' between WhaleOil was implied as sinister because it (supposedly) hadn't been publicly disclosed. I'll say it again - bad form!

This harkens back to a recent post about how publishing an address, like when signing a petition, can make people uncomfortable. Especially when some nutter tries to steal the petition and get the addresses. Another case recently was a Police Officer looking up the address of a rape victim he had a connection with. Understandably, the victim has every right to feel that there was no good reason for this man to access this information.

Another despicable tactic is for a commenter to "take" the name of another and pose as them. I've also been threatened and abused when some-one misread the comment names and attributed the previous comment to me, rather than the actual idiot who said it (I was the next idiot to comment). Also, as an ex-member of Sir Humphrey's, I got used to wingnuts, nutters and Che Tibby accusing me of having the same opinions as my colleagues. I think I spoke for all of them when I said that we didn't speak for each other.

Now the connection between WhaleOil and Andy came about because Andy respected a request by his father not to publish their home address on his website. His father wanted to ensure some Labour nutter didn't lob a brick through the window and endanger the rest of the family. WhaleOil stepped in and offered Andy space on his web account so that Andy didn't have an easily discoverable name and address. The connection was no more suspicious than that. A simple charitable act.

Meanwhile Andy still has to deal with the Electoral Commission and a possible court case for not publishing his address on his non-commercial website. Such are the requirements under the Electoral Finance Act.

I finally come to the point of my post. I was chatting to Crusader Rabbit recently and I've promised to write a post on how to properly anonymise yourself on the internet. I'll include how to set up masked web sites. I'll get this post done over the next week (I hope).

The techniques I will put forward are beyond what I've personally bothered to do, but in an environment where your relationship to political people can affect your job prospects (the two recent high profile cases were where M. Setchell lost her job and Clare Curran got one uncontested); or where some nutter can decide to hunt you down and commit acts of violence (as has happened), and perhaps even to combat lefties that like to keep lists. Like that would ever happen in New Zealand?

Welcome to Helengrad!

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20 comment(s):

Lucyna Maria said...

I find that really sinister that Brown and co see nothing wrong with doing that. It's like a missing ethical memory chip.

Anonymous said...

I see it sinister that Wussel hasn't disclosed his relationship with Peter Davis.

ruth said...

Good on you Zen.

I had problems with someone blatantly using my name ansd calibrating their opinions close to mine a while back.

People who should know better on all sides of the political spectrum are publishing addresses and so forth. It's a sinister development.

Phil said...

Disgusting to reveal someone's personal details online. I'm surprised coz RB seems like a real decent chap, and he wrote a Listener column about the Kathy Sierra incident. The KS story revolted me so much I stopped blogging for a few months - amazing how nasty people can be.

I give people crap on my own blog if I feel I'm being provoked. But outing people's addresses? That definitely crosses the line. I know Whaleoil is as hard as nails and can look after himself, but what about his wife & kids? Endangering his family like that is beyond the pale.

And what happens if Whaleoil moves house and the new homeowners become the target of weirdos, by mistake?
Shameful!

dad4justice said...

Russell Brown is a real nasty piece of work and he is very well connected to Miss Klark and Peter Davis . Oh Mr Dark Horse Wussell what ya do when the truth comes biting real hard ? Enjoy the endless supply - of scratch your back money from the corrupt Liarbour regime .

Judgment is coming for the Paris Hilton theatrical blog owner !!

You are a low life Brown !!

Robinson said...

I'm sorry but this is a bit rich - Cameron was the blogger that published my real name and has been trying to track down where I work for months in order to further "out" me. I would also like to point out that all of Cameron's details that Russell published were already in the public domain. I would further suggest that if Cameron chooses to live by the sword he has nothing to complain about. It's a question of Cameron taking responsibility for his own behaviour.

Psycho Milt said...

Two wrongs make a right? He started it? Won't carry much weight on this blog...

Also, the fact that somebody could figure out my identity using publicly-available info doesn't make it OK for them to post it on their blog. If people wanted their identity publicised, they wouldn't bother with a pseudonym.

Robinson said...

Milt - At no point in my post did I endorse posting people's details. I just suggested it was a bit rich that people would be outraged on Cameron's behalf when no outrage has been expressed about Cameron's similar behaviour. There's a word for that and it starts with an "h".

ZenTiger said...

Hi Robinson. I did not write this on Cameron's behalf.

ANYONE who publishes private details is showing "bad form".

You infer the h word from silence. It would be more accurate to infer it from support.

I simply don't have the time and inclination to be on the look out for all wrong doings committed by the VRWC and then condemn them. Although you can infer that from this post if it makes you feel better.

This post was written for every blogger to read and consider. As I said on another thread (about the EFA actually): This should not about making a "level playing field", which seems to involve cutting things down, this is about raising the standards.

Psycho Milt said...

OK, that's clear now - thank you.

ZenTiger said...

Also Robinson, I think your use of the word "outrage" with my opinion regarding WhaleOil needs to be re-considered.

I said it "was unnecessary" for RB to publish WhaleOil's address.

I also used the term "bad form" in this connection.

Hardly "outrage". You have very good reason to read more into that part of the post as evidence of my "hypocrisy", but I would like you to reconsider your initial conclusions.

My outrage, such as it may be is more focussed on Andy's situation and the people required to publish a name and address to express a political opinion. This is not necessarily a good thing, and Andy's father gives us a real example to consider.

This is where the title of the post came from (and as an excuse to mention that Helengrad is now in the dictionary).

My outrage would be more reserved for the other things I mentioned in this post - identity fraud; threats to family; threats to the wrong people.

Regards, Zen.

Norbert said...

Its like those sex offenders Matt and Madeline Flannagan....they stopped to posting personal details and wonder why they are hated scum bags...

Robinson said...

Sorry Zen - I might have been exaggerating a bit when I used the term outrage. And perhaps I wrongly inferred hypocrisy from you silence. Tell you what bro, now you've been alerted to Cameron publishing my real name on his blog perhaps you could censure him for doing so. I'll make it really easy by giving you the comment:

http://whaleoil.co.nz/?q=node/5433#comment-10181

You'll notice he also manages to make a veiled threat of violence against me in the same comment - something I have certainly never seen Russell Brown do.

Remember mate, it starts with an "h"

Chuck said...

Roberson, there is a difference between posting another bloggers home address and their real name if they use pseudonym. There are legitimate reasons for using a pseudonym. However, if one hides behind a pseudonym to slander of excessively abuse someone they may deserve to have their real name made public.

It does not worry me being called a fuck wit or something similar. However, someone hiding behind a pseudonym to say myself and some one else were probably sodomising each other is cowardly and there could be a good argument for their real names being made public.

I note norberg called Matt and Madeline Flannagan sex offenders. If norberg cannot substantiate this allegation that they are sex offenders he or she should use their real name.

Robinson said...

Chuck - all I did was take the piss (I'm pretty good at it). But thankfully Cameron has outdone himself tonight by publishing a photo of John Minto's home and information from the records of his house sale along with a particularly diatribe against the man:

http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/?q=content/state-housing-1-john-minto

I'm pretty sure Minto has never posted on Cameron's blog or even said a bad word against him. Zen - care to comment on whether this is "bad form"?

MK said...

Folks need to be careful on the blogosphere, the anonymity it gives really brings the nutters out. Never assume that someone else will do the right thing on the net, even if they have a momentary lapse, once it's done, it's done.

ZenTiger said...

Robinson, there's no need for me to comment further on this matter. Just re-read my post.

Although comments here have added to my decision to expand on issues of anonymous commenting, and some of the more deceitful abuses of this right.

Stay tuned.

Robinson said...

Zen - that's an easy way to avoid critising one of your own. I had hoped that you would be more consistent in your principles than that.

Nonetheless I've re-read your post and noticed it's entitled Helengrad - may I ask when Cameron became an agent of the left?

ZenTiger said...

I had hoped that you would be more consistent in your principles than that.

You've raised an interesting point. One I unfortunately anticipated. Which is why I said "Although comments here have added to my decision to expand on issues of anonymous commenting..."

I say unfortunately, because this may strain our cordial relationship, which I appreciate.

You see, I've been silent on some of your actions too, but I see no value in pontificating like some moral paragon of virtue to satisfy the aims of the more rabid left and right wing commenters, who are not actually interested in ethics unless it undermines the opposition. Your persona of Robinsod is not without blame in this area.

Your simplistic "Sophie's Choice" where I'm supposed to shoot WhaleOil to prove I'm not a hypocrite to you is more a Robinsod tactic than Robinson speaking from the heart, I think. But I'm not sure you see that yet.

Explaining myself to your satisfaction (which I can do) may be more productive to the unseen audience looking for blood rather than focusing on the fact that many (?) of us on both sides of this debate are motivated by a desire to see a better society, not a worse one.

Anyway, I'll follow up as soon as time permits with another post, and we'll see if I'm making sense without the need to draw blood.

Nonetheless I've re-read your post and noticed it's entitled Helengrad - may I ask when Cameron became an agent of the left?

I thought I made it clear that this post wasn't about Cameron to me - it was just handy using Russell Brown in the opening line as a slightly pertinent example to bring in the readers and commenters.

It worked. But I was hoping they'd read the whole thing. Furthermore, to clarify about thew use of Helengrad, I said earlier:

This is where the title of the post came from (and as an excuse to mention that Helengrad is now in the dictionary).

The link at the end of the document is my reference to Helengrad making the dictionary.

The concept is that the EFA seeks to create 'transparency' but badly crafted legislation is a two edged sword. It can expose people that may not need to be exposed (remember Andy's father?) and just like a secret ballot, there may be times when anonymity should be respected.

Getting the balance wrong, and having an EFA that gives undue weight to the incumbent government (and I truly don't care to exploit this if National get in) can lead to the state of Helengrad we on the right joke about.

(And whilst the joke may be a little harsh, as are too many in politics, it means I do my best to find the funny side of such items such as "John Key's house".)

Cheers.

Pat said...

Gidday zen
Sorry not to keep in touch, but still praying for you and Lucy and your cobbers.
Been to too many funerals lately zen. Not as sad at our age as your stuff lad.
What will they say at your send off zen?
Grandad helped to make the hole world think that Helen is like the worst murderer ever then skited about it in a place using the Lords name.
Wake up son.
Yours in eternal succour
Pat

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