When freedom of speech is not?

Quite simply when you are the owners of the Stop the Stadium blog site. Supposedly a site that was set up to engage the public and promote the ideas of the StS.

“To ensure that the views of the members of the Society are communicated effectively through all means at the Society’s disposal to the wider community”

From what I have experienced then, effective communication of the StS aim’s must include silencing dissenting opinion.

So here was the ruling from Anne Elliot the Admin of the site

The ‘time out’ meted out to one participant on this site is because of his excessive comments that have stifled informed debate. More than 200 postings by one person or about that person’s views, is a few too many. Nothing whatsoever to do with ‘having a different view.’ If that was the case, it would be quite serious. But it’s not

This was backed up by

“Anne as the webmaster has the right to ban those she judges are not playing by the rules”

But what rules would these be. There are no rules stated on their web site dictating how many posts someone is allowed to make.

In response to someone questioning the banning, again from Anne

“There are over 200 comments from Paul or revolving around Paul [a heavy sigh]. Some commentators have Paul-fatigue. He has had a fair go and has run out of fresh arguments. Hence, room has been created for a week for other points of view to be heard.”

OK, so lets have a look at this ‘Paul-fatigue’.

In the 12 days since the ban, there have been 50 comments to the site (16 about me again and that banning over the next day) around 16 posts. That equates to 3 comments per post – hardly rushing in to all give their opinion (considering they now have over 1200 members). But looking at the numbers further, 24 of those 50 comments were on the 2 days immediately after the ban, with 16 of the 24 being about the ban. {these figures are as accurate as I can determine, forgive me if there are one or two missing}.

So that’s effectively 36 comments about the stadium, over 12 days and 16 posts = just over 2 comments per post or a little over 3 comments a day.

Glad to see that my absence didn’t “stifle[d] informed debate”, considering the ‘informed ‘debate considered the possibilities of alternative materials for the structure;

“A stadium made of straw, maybe? Till the big bad wolf called debt blows it all down.”

If I was ‘stifling debate’, how is it that of the 16 post over the next 12 days, 8 had no comments what so ever?

If “room has been created for a week for other points of view to be heard” over the subsequent 12 days, room was taken, because it was hardly bursting at the seams with activity.

Quite simply the ban wasn’t about a Pro Stadium person preventing ‘informed debate’, it was all about censorship, denial of free speech, suppression of opinion – whatever you want to call it. I have been an active blogger for a number of years now and it’s easy to find out the rules for banning etc from some of the biggest and more established blogs in New Zealand. At Kiwiblog, commentators get demerits for all manner of things including abusive language etc, with 100 demerits resulting in a ban at the discretion of the own David Farrar. {Incidentally, this is the first time I have ever been banned from a site, let alone a caution about content etc}

Anne Elliot and the other members of the StS quite simply did not accept that there was someone out there willing to stand up and fight for the Pro Stadium cause, questioning their rationale and lets face it their rubbish.

It was censorship pure and simple, and that’s from a group of people demanding openness of the city council.

Read this thread from the site, it’s bloody funny. See democracy in action and see how free speech is cut down because members of a society can’t handle robust debate. Link Here

BTW, this is the last I will talk of this, from this week on I wish to get back to the original intention of this site, to promote the stadium and all of the fun things that will be going on in it. With one of the greatest stadiums in world sport (and a hell of a lot more ‘mana’ than Carisbrook) about to be demolished this coming week, it’s a good time to get back to stadium development in general and as little of the political rubbish as possible.

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