you may call me God

Hello, God here!

no What If hasn’t been hacked by some higher power and no I’m not drunk or anything, but it’s about time we set some things straight at what-if, because for all intents and purposes I am god here.

You may remember I started this blog to encourage debate about the design, architecture and ‘other’ aspects of what was to become Forsyth Barr Stadium.  This was fine and dandy & almost no one visited the site.  Then the STS imploded and I invited Elizabeth Kerr onto this site as a he said/she said two opposing views of the stadium development.

Things of course took off, and there was some robust debate.  However pretty bloody quickly I got sick of the emails threatening me with legal action over comments on this site.  These were followed by abusive phone calls – yes screaming down the phone to me is abuse, legal phone calls and finally legal documents, all because you bloody fools can’t help yourselves.

You come onto this site, making the most pathetic, outlandish and more often than not slanderous comments, and who’s the bloody mug that has to deal with it all – me!

What’s really bloody disappointing and ultimately annoying is, in among the tin-foil-hat-conspiracy-theory shite that is espoused in the comments section, are some gems of information that worthy of debate and ultimately good for the city.

I am sick and fucking tired of getting legal documents and emails, asking me to remove or edit comments on this site.  You will all appreciate I more or less give you all free reign to say whatever it is that you have on your chests.  

I can tell you now that although I disagree with roughly about 110% of the crap that you all say here, I let it go, because of the weight of the forum as a focus for robust debate on the built, economic and political environment of Dunedin.

But my patience rightly so is about to run out. I DO NOT need to come to ChCh to deal with a terminally ill cancer friend only to have to consider your fucking insulting and slanderous comments.

Let this be a notice to you all. I WILL NOT tolerate any more Slander, conspiracy theories, cheap personal insults bordering on slander, cheap nasty generalisations bordering on slander, or any stupidity that results in me getting calls or legal letters threatening me with legal action.  Quite simply I will close the site down.  I will archive it and hand it to the Hocken as a record of document around a time and place in Dunedin.

You are of course more than welcome to go to WordPress.com and sign up for a free wordpress blog and start your own site, calling people whatever names you care to, I could suggest some names for this site for you…

but I’d be at risk of breaking my own rules above.

 

FYI, things off limits from now on are:

personal attacks on members of the public (including elected officials) with even the slightest hit on slander or liable,

Any references to Climate Change or ‘Eco Nazi’s’. Those wishing to deny climate change are more than welcome to visit theworldisflatandiknowbest.wordpress.com,

Any so called ‘fact’s & figure’s that you simply decide to pull out of thin air.  There’s nothing I love more than being ridiculed by the accounting/business community when they ask why I allow voodoo maths & economics to stand as fact,

Academic freedom and the right of academics to do their work without slanderous and libellous attacks.  Countries that you and I wouldn’t care for one minute to live in have greater respect for Academic freedom than some of you folk on this site,

And at the risk of being a self righteous prick who contradicts all of my rules above, I couldn’t give a flying F…

This site used to be visited by thousands of people daily/weekly looking to get tasty morsels and robust debate.  It’s slowly eroded into a festering pit of ridicule and shame. 

This site is not ‘public’ property, and it is certainly NOT your playground to espouse any and all comments which time and time again put me in hot water!  Because I know for a fact, that hiding behind your pseudonyms, you are not the ones fielding phone calls from lawyers or replying to their emails – no that would be me – bloody muggins.

You have been warned and yes you may call me god.

Posted by Paul Le Comte

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39 Comments

Filed under Stadiums

39 responses to “you may call me God

  1. Paul – have you received a letter or something? Not sure what caused this post. Perhaps you should have got in touch. Sorry, I’m in Cardiology with a close family member on a breathing machine, I’m quite calm about it, been here last three days. You know how to contact me. Our view numbers as you know from Stats are very healthy and August particularly so (still growing as always, fact). I’m an atheist. Hope you’re OK. What a week.

  2. Ray

    I hope I have not said anything offending God, the real God I mean…

    • Let’s turn to news of the day and as the saying goes “Keep Calm”. Debate, ideas, personalities, always risque – particularly in the pre-election period. Managing to swallow my cornflakes.

      [we’ve talked our end – as you were, however please ALL (including me) take care on the defamatory >>> by avoidance! strong opinion is allowed]

  3. Russell Garbutt

    Whenever anyone is caring for loved ones the level of stress increases enormously. That said, some comments posted anonymously which may have been moderated could have crossed a line. This site remains one of the few places where truths are revealed – often under the threat of those with much to hide.

  4. For me it’s not so much the family stress, I’m here for my parents rather than myself, it’s the stress of getting letters from lawyers, from ALL sides of the debate(s), into the wee small hrs…

    As you all know, Elizabeth & I allow a lot to go on here & as I said in the above post, yes there are a lot of gems that are gleaned out, but there are lines & one can eek these out without getting Whatif into legal hot water.

    Have fun kiddies & think before you type. The general rule of thumb is;

    if you wouldn’t repeat what you said in a pub/bows club/bridge club without any fear of a lawyer tapping you on the shoulder then fine. Winston Peters the old dog, knows the very fine line between being able to say stuff under parliamentary privilege & what he can’t repeat outside the house.

    This isn’t Parliament, and I or Elizabeth have no legal protection.

  5. JimmyJones

    Hello Paul: I acknowledge your role as God and I want to see this popular and valuable site continue. To make things easier for you I have these suggestions:
    – In response to complaints/legal threats, have a policy of removing offending comments promptly and without question. Commentors like me won’t like this, but it seems like a low-stress solution. This works well for sites offering illegal downloads of music etc. Complainers should know that one email will fix the problem
    – Have stricter moderation as a way to help us adjust to your rules and to keep us in line
    – Have a link to The Rules on each page

    Also, I think that the accounting/business community are being unhelpful if they complain to you instead of correcting errors and keeping discussions well-informed. Another option is to allow only registered commentors. This would let you ban individuals by user-name or ip address. In avoiding slander and libelous comments I am sure that you don’t want to ban all criticism. For me, and perhaps others, the dividing line between the two isn’t well defined. I expect that this will become clearer, in time.

    • JimmyJones, I strongly disagree with this: “- In response to complaints/legal threats, have a policy of removing offending comments promptly and without question.” It is not difficult to make legal threats, even when the lawyers – and even the clients – know full well that it would cost a fortune to proceed with action; the grounds are extremely flimsy so a win is low-probability; and the process could release further information that would put the client’s reputation in a much worse light than if they shut up i.e. didn’t draw extra attention to what was said about them. They are at risk, whatever the legal outcome, of the “no smoke without fire” backlash in the opinions of the public.

      These threats are frequently a bullying tactic issued with the intention of making the other party give in – the usual point of bullying in any situation from kindergarten up.

      Giving an automatic reward to bullies only results in more bullying, as more and more people learn you are an easy target – anyone can take your lunch money without question, without a struggle. I’m not suggesting that Paul should have to struggle – obviously he’s had more than enough of that already – but on the other hand by no-questions-asked accession to threats he would be inviting more, not less, trouble.

      The law is only part of the real-life story. Winning can == losing. Responsible lawyers point that out to their clients if they want to take things too far for prudence, when cheap’n’easy threats don’t work.

      Your top-notch suggestion, JJ, is “Have a link to The Rules on each page”.

      • I prefer to think of blog debate in all its colour and texture as cartooning – what can a cartoonist get away with that a ‘wordsmith’ cannot in the PC age ?

        Answer: A bit more.
        Through humour and satire and allusion/resemblance. Wordsmiths, note.

        [the devil here, lower case, I HATE RED TAPE AND RULES, upper case]

        We’re still breathing, ain’t we.
        Make yourselves laugh, tweak the wish to ‘punch’ and libel, then hit POST.

    • JimmyJones

      Hype O’Thermia: You make a reasonable point. Responding to complaints by removing comments without question is a dangerous policy because it can be abused. It is however a minimum effort, no-risk, no-stress method. It is not what I would like to see, and I would hope that the merits of complaints would be considered first. It is a matter of degree. With us enjoying very few deletions and edits, probably the balance could be shifted a little so that valid complainers can be satisfied and don’t need to make legal threats.

  6. Folks, allow me to make things perfectly clear. The legal threats I’ve had are all perfectly legitimate. You can not call people names or associate things to them that in any way libels or slanders them. I have never had one legal enquiry regarding numbers on this site.

    People are not hiding behind the threat of legal action on this site and only once or twice years ago did I remove anything as a result of legal action.

    Tbh I’m going to let yourselves hang yourselves, and will be more than happy to feed you to the legal lions – this site is an open forum of frank discussion but even then there are lines that can’t be crossed.

  7. Best post I’ve read for months. I used to read this site because it struck a chord and was intelligent alternative coverage of the Dunedin situation and hinted at events that I might not expect to see covered in the ODT. Now I’m not sure what it stands for. It seems if I am against the Stadium and large hotels, I must also be against Greater Dunedin, and climate change, but also against big business, and cycle lanes, but for historical buildings. I come looking for insight into how I might make voting choices and instead find stream-of-consciousness. I have yet to see any cogent analysis of what will change Dunedin’s situation and who is the right person to do it, just apparently who the wrong people are and some compelling reasons why they are so terrible (they like bikes etc). Dunedin needs intelligent analysis and criticism, and I hope to find it here.

    • Paul Prince, don’t just come here looking – raise some specifics, ask questions and see if / hope that you get answers. If not, don’t give up easily, ask for further details in support of “facts” if they don’t look factual, opinions if they don’t look well-founded. Make a difference here – please!

    • Yes, something for everyone Paul Prince, roll up have your say, come out of the timberwork.
      There is no ONE view, you finally got it. Bravo.

  8. BillyBob

    This blog has become the realm of the petty. Ongoing playing of the “man”, not the ball. Frequent references to the “unique physical characteristics” of the bloggers’ targets:- Farry’s age, Thompson’s moustache, Acklin’s haircut, Crombie’s girth, Jinty’s haircut. Schoolyard behaviour at its worst. Baseless insinuations and downright libel. No wonder Paul has had a gutsful.

  9. olivier lequeux

    I want to say Thank You! Satire has a place in all societies. Le Canard Enchaine is a marvel. Be controversial. All of you out there, contributors, have a brain; you will be all right.

  10. Rob Hamlin

    Big Biz appreciate the beauty of a situation where their target has to prove that something is true without legal powers of discovery that would be necessary to have any chance of doing so. The SFO even with these powers fail time and time again – so what chance has Joe Bloggs if he is accused of slandering the good names of (for example) those multi-millionaires who were managing his (ex) life savings in a finance company? Not a lot, that’s what.

    Big Biz America found the US system not to their liking, so they took to ‘importing’ convenient judgments from the UK in bulk. The UK like NZ is a jurisdiction that favours those with money and something to hide. You do not need to win to destroy somebody who may well only be speaking the self-evident truth – but you probably will if you want to anyway.

    Congress decided that such a practice represented a clear and present danger to free speech and other important things that depend upon it in the USA.

    So they put a stop to it.

    How wise they are sometimes.

    Unlike here – Paul is not the only one receiving threats etc.

    Goodbye.

  11. Anonymous

    As I understand the process; this is a blog hosted on WordPress.com infrastructure ex-NZ. There is no legal recourse against the blog owner, as they are not the person making the comments. The best thing to do with the lawyer’s letters is simply to ignore them.

    • Paul and I get the odd ‘letter’ but very infrequently and this site has been operating since early 2007 so that tells us something! Sometimes, like this week, one of our contributors gets a legal letter the content of which may request removal of a comment at What if? Dunedin that is considered defamatory – the contributor contacts us and we deal with it accordingly, exercising our judgement. As it turns out, Dunedin isn’t all that litigious although Dave Cull gave into Mains’ and Graham’s suit for defamation most unwisely so not to expose… was it, ORFU’s books (one day the whole story will be outed surrounding that).
      We know our rights as site administrators and the legal protocols. In addition, Anonymous makes a good point.
      What may have triggered things is council candidates or ‘friends’ not liking comments here about their pedigree or intentions, thus contacting the site owner. Stating displeasure is one thing, threatening Paul is quite another. However, expect October to sort this out.

      • Although Today pushed cause to be thoughtful, constructive even… for a Saturday the view numbers are tending higher than usual (Saturdays generally rate as Slackest day of week for activity here), invitably there has been a good amount of lurking —and some of the regular posters (brave, querulous, funny and erudite) have visited, without fail they give us heaps to read as confusion clears around the grey heather of Dunedin politics, business, finance and rorts, some of which has bearing at central government through tentacles of ministers, members of parliament, departments, public servants, white collars, and Swann-like good old boys (GOBs) – this is a very small country, operators and operatives are easy enough to map, link and document. Besides, I’ve seen way more slamming at Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis. Important to stand back and check the view – what’s real and what’s not.

  12. peter

    How about naming those who send letters or make calls and outline their concerns? That way we can heed legitimate concerns. Or not. It would become apparent if the legal threats were intimidation to silence the revelation of factual information.

    • Probably each case is sufficiently different to be treated as a one-off, so not to escalate matters unduly in public domain. And although I pulled five posts and associated comments a couple of days ago while I reviewed options, it is likely (owing to the precision of the legal letter received by the writer of ‘a’ comment) that 99% of the material will be restored to visibility when I’ve had time to process it.

      Peter, the incidences are so few and of course there exist fair reasons for confidentiality – however, any GOB is welcome to post comments here anytime to set matters “straight”, skulking doesn’t really solve anything – most who have suffered the ‘form of pixels’ here still smile and say hello in the street so hot air is indeed hot air, and that is politics. If young fairer-sex individuals trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the voting public at Dunedin with their extreme agendas (which are only partially costed out by DCC to date via the Draft Dunedin City Transport Strategy… and more) want to blacken my eyes they better do so and front~!!! Happy to take them on.

  13. That’s a big YES!!! to Peter.

    Elizabeth, I think for clarity the Dunedin Transport Strategy should be discussed under two headings – the Draft D T S and the Daft D T S.

    {Distinction noted. -Eds}

  14. Peter

    I would like to remind those who would like to sue for defamation, or complain about nasty comments, that the shoe fits easily on the other foot. Bev, as president of STS, was subject to real nastiness on blog sites and viciousness from two particular city councillors.
    I remember there was a suggestion on a blog site to run her over at the protest march and flip her over a car bonnet as well as a reference to a ‘grassy knoll'(a la JFK). One idiot from Mosgiel rang and threatened to put a rope around her neck.(We had Caller ID! Still can be traced even if it comes up as Private.) Fortunately, it wasn’t a constant problem, but the times these events – and more minor ones – occurred, it was enough to feel real discomfort.
    Nevertheless, it can be a fine line when criticising people…..though some deserve some form of ridicule when they say or do something really stupid or offensive.

  15. wirehunt

    I won’t hide behind jack. Stephen Dickson phone 021 858 075. Any fuck got a problem, call and something will happen. Councillors and their comrades are all fucking lying arseholes but we all know that.

    • Stephen, your comment is fully cathartic.
      I note Cr Kate Wilson has stepped up to create yet another council committee (not a standing committee, thank god) – to deal to FERAL CATS. I’m really glad she has grasped the big picture for Dunedin this way. Who needs roads, water, or waste and sewage disposal… or debt reduction plans.

      ### ODT Online Mon, 9 Sep 2013
      Committee to address issue of feral cats
      By Debbie Porteous
      Dunedin city councillor Kate Wilson has set up a ”cat committee” to examine the issue of feral cats in the city.
      The committee’s aim was to determine what the issues with feral cats were in Dunedin, the extent of the problem and potential options for dealing with it, Cr Wilson said.
      Read more

      Do the cats or the committee deserve extermination more, can’t decide.

  16. Peter

    Gareth Morgan raised the issue controversially a few months back and it again highlighted the impact that feral cats can have on native bird life. I would like to see some local plan in dealing with the issue and am more than happy for the council to get various people together to deal with it.

    I am not sure why councils don’t register cats like they do for dogs. This may help disencentivise people keeping a household of too many cats that inevitably go astray… like cats do. You can’t enforce people to keep their cats inside as this would be unworkable.

  17. SPCA has a “no kill” policy. People have to “dispose of” unwanted cats themselves.
    If they have been feeding the cat it is deemed to be THEIR cat, even if feeding it till they can catch/trap it.
    They have to re-home (difficult) or kill (personally or by vet, $$) their own unwanted cat.
    This is an unrealistic expectation. When people won’t make the effort, pay the cost, to dump their trash according to the rules, what behaviour can be realistically expected?
    They could take their pet to the SPCA in the fond expectation that it would be looked after then re-homed when they couldn’t look after it themselves. Cats not uncommonly live up to 18 years. Who can predict, these days, that in 18 years they will :
    still live in a place where a cat is allowed?
    not have to more overseas for work?
    be able to afford to feed themselves, their children?
    be able to afford medical care for the above, let alone vet bills?
    they won’t have a child or take up with a partner who suffers from allergy to cat fur?

    Doing the “kind” thing in a time of great sorrow that they can no longer keep their cat – is it any wonder that putting a beloved healthy animal to death seems worse than taking it to the countryside, near farms, where “it will be able to live well and look after itself”?

    I don’t say they’re right, I say they’re often the decentest kindest people dealing with a hard, hard problem in the way that seems best, to them, at the time.

  18. wirehunt

    Simple solution. Tell people to keep their cats indoors at night. Any cat found outside at night is then deemed to be a stray so is ‘disposed’ of.
    This is a service I could provide, hell, I’ll even do it cheap….

  19. Peter

    Yes, I have lost a lot of respect for the SPCA over their ‘no kill’ policy. Putting an unwanted or sick animal down can be done very humanely. We had to do this with our much loved, old dog a couple of months ago. I stayed while she quietly slipped away.
    What is the problem with feral cats which are less than lovely in nature and have become a pest species?

  20. The difficulty is that when a cat is seen in town or immediate surroundings it’s probably someone’s.
    A further problem is that feral cats have formed a part of a whole system. Remove part and there’s the risk that some other part of the system will come out of balance creating a worse problem, e.g. loss of seeds for regenerating plants; loss of habitat for birds; eggs taken from nests; plagues of mice and rats that breed even faster than cats……….
    There were “obvious” solutions in the past – ferrets to control rabbits, for instance.

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