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Jack Yan: the Persuader blog
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Asylum management 101 

Earlier this week, I wrote of John McGrath’s Facebook group as part of his to become Mayor of . I don’t know if it’s the first in Wellington, but as a challenger, it makes a lot of sense. If I were running, I’d have one, too.
   But what if you were the incumbent? may be a ‘walled garden,’ as Dennis Howlett so aptly put it yesterday, but it does encourage dialogue among members. That dialogue may well include negative attacks on the incumbent: anyone already in the position, with a record for better or worse, will receive these. And as we’ve covered in this blog before, the nutters outnumber the smart ones, inside and outside the asylum. The Greater Internet F***wad Theory adds to that on the and in spaces in general.
   You need a mixture between both. Places where comments can be approved and vetted by campaign staff, so that you look good. Places like (where I note Gavin Newsom has a page) and .
   And therein lies the problem. is such an -based game. should, in theory, be a good thing all round. It’s what I advocate continually, because one has to stand up to one’s critics. Even in politics.
   But people believe any kind of , and if it were to be found online, it can get propagated, even when it is totally left field. Anyone with any sort of a profile has found that: assumptions, gossip-mongering and outright libel fascinate the nutters. Even Sfist has continued its gossip on my friend Jennifer Siebel, saying that she had broken up with Gavin earlier this month, only to be proved totally wrong days later by a blogger who had the courtesy to ask her. And that was propagated.
   Even a denial is not believed, because the type of people who have the sort of mental problem that forces them to make negative remarks have a complex. They need to be heard. They need the feeling that they are bettering someone who is, well, obviously better than they are. (What they write would violate Socrates’ test for gossip, which I read on Mandi Kaye’s blog yesterday, and one which would be pretty good to follow.)
   So there must be an intermediate way to manage them on , which I believe are very important to modern politics and for .
   The most immediate answer is, probably, to censor those that are potentially harmful while addressing them. I think it’s not a bad idea to answer one’s critics cleverly and truthfully, but not publish the original comment. It shows an acknowledgement of the issue (if it is valid), nipping further gossip in the bud, while creating as much transparency as possible in the real world where, sadly, ideals do not always operate.
   If ever we manage to become more civilized, then I say open the forum up to everyone. Or, if we become more sensitive to figuring out which are the nutters with an axe to grind, then let them have their say, too. I am not sure if we are there yet, and thank goodness our campaigns are not as cut-throat as presidential politics in the United States.
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Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.

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