The Larva Rodeo

IS THERE A THING OF which it is said,
‘See, this is new’?
It has already been,
in the ages before us.
The people of long ago are not remembered,
nor will there be any remembrance
of people yet to come
by those who come after them.

When you turn your PC on in the morning and browse through the usual sites of work and study avoidance—email, Google Reader, the front pages of the newspapers, twitter—you generally expect most things to be as they were when you closed the machine down the afternoon before.

The technology (if not the information) of the Web has always inhabited something of an eternal future, where every site and every service comes in packets to your machine whole and new: all promise and no regret, without history or scars, without obvious evidence of revisions, without any acknowledgement of the passage of time. “If it’s on the internet it’s forever” is a convenient cliché and a good warning against posting anything regrettable, but it’s a teleological fantasy. Information might be retained and archived, but the production of it, and the memory of it, has beginnings and endings. Even electronic media can’t escape the novelty-obsolescence cycle.

As of today, Larvatus Prodeo will cease publishing.


Larvatus Prodeo in its older livery, ca. May 2005.

Though through most of its life a group blog, Larvatus Prodeo was really Mark Bahnisch’s (and, to a lesser extent, Kim’s), personal platform. Its temper was social-democratic and its bias Brisbanian, and it faced change and time with heavy doses of Continental philosophy and a jaunty purple colour scheme. It’s been a place of good-natured fights, bad (and sometimes extremely bad) -natured fights, in jokes, banter and common commentary. I wrote a few fairly ordinary posts, wrote rather a lot of banally sarcastic comments. It got along on its community and the time and energy of a few hardworking (mostly female, as became its own boilersuited Presybterian injoke) administrators.

It’s not possible to look at the history of LP outside the context of the other Australian orthodox-political blogs of its era: especially but not limited to Club Troppo (and not just because Mark began writing blog post format there), John Quiggin, Back Pages (though it substantially predated LP, and is now in the un-hosted Memory Hole of the web), Tim Blair (before his blog became entirely a Murdoch creature), and most of all, Jason Soon’s Catallaxy Files. Oh, yeah, Catallaxy.

What particularly pleases me is that we at the Cat have managed to renew ourselves

It’s unsurprising to see triumphalism at LP’s mirror of the Right, but readers with a memory should feel somewhat saddened, and feel a sense of Catallaxy’s loss too. In their days, LP and Catallaxy—and the others—-represented an interesting and new conversation space which had long ceased to exist in the Australia outside the web: a place in which people of the Left and Right still talked to, thought aloud, and joked with each other. I don’t know of any place, real or virtual, where this happens in Australia anymore. If LP’s close represents a death of the era of poliblog conversation, then I’m reluctant to say that others may be zombie poliblogs dragging their feet across the earth. There has been something lost, lost completely.

A blog is just a platform for long-form writing and response: that’s all. LP was, and the other blogs were, something much more compelling.

What drew me first to Club Troppo, and then compulsively to the comments fields of LP, was this sense of a broader community of politically-minded interesting writing people. Where older internet forms, such as mailing lists, bulletin boards, forums and BBSes had similar patterns of banter, it was the blog culture of the early 2000s, with the gradual application and popularisation of early Wordpress and Moveable Type platforms to current affairs, that sparked something quite new in Australia. It blew the field open to anybody with a sharp enough tongue, or a nasty enough sense of humour, or good enough memory, to have quite a lot of fun in the comments fields. Blog posts, whether informed by news, or reading, or whimsy, or bloody-mindedness, sparked counter-posting on other blogs; entries in comments fields became part of a spaghetti-mess of counter-hyperlinks; comments threads became battlefields of back-and-forth, and vast new arenas of serendipitous stirring. As the internet got bigger, more people came along.

Before there was twitter, there was back-and-forth on whatever blog it was that you happened to be a regular at, clicking and re-clicking F5 to refresh your browser to draw up new stoush. It was a proto-social moment, using the medium of long-form written posts with comments fields for something for which it wasn’t very well designed. And it was a specific moment in time that is now passed.

I haven’t been a regular at LP for a significant time—the comments fields there, as at all blogs, are a different and frankly, not as valuable location for sociability. Perhaps twitter and facebook and other social media platforms can be the space for Left and Right to again share the same jokes; but I don’t think so: they don’t offer nearly the same scope for performance and audience. I am both sad and glad that Mark, Kim, and LP’s administrators have chosen to shut up shop. I am sadder at what’s been missing.

Last drinks, everybody. You don’t have to go home, but we can’t stay there.

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Naomi · 10 April 2012, 15:02 · #

Thanks Liam, you caught LP at its best. As a former boilersuited [Catholic] feminist contributor, back in the days of dialup, it was a great space to stamp and holler and spend time stoushing with people. One could hone one’s arguments and, joyously, find a community of like-minded souls who were every bit as obsessed with the minutiae of political life. It felt terribly cutting edge to be involved in working out how to dance across the line between the old idea of a weblog as a semi-private diary, and blog as a form of publication. The ways the personal melded with the political to form a community of ideas and people were fascinating and exhilarating.

I left it, and asked LP to remove my posts, after I experienced my own pratfall across that very same line and blundered into MSM consciousness, via another, very tiny blog. I did not expect any member of the LP collective to shield me from my own actions, but I was hurt that some thought it was appropriate to use my experience as fodder, without even asking me about it. Call it friendly fire, but it still hurt – happily there are very many other friendships that have endured since then and survive in other forums, like twitter, and <i>in real life</i>. Yours is one of them.

I published a few things later on the site, by which time it did feel MSM, and was slipping under the waves generated by sites like The Drum. Its time has gone, but I am so very glad that I was there in its heyday. Good work Mark and Kim.

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Alex White · 10 April 2012, 15:37 · #

Those were some good blog wars back in the day. Hasn’t been the same since 2007.

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Rob · 10 April 2012, 15:50 · #

In truth, I’m sad to see LP go. I think we can both remember some of the more notable stoushes, Liam. You were tight to say, as you did on occasion, that LP was best when it was in flirty mode. It long since lost that, and became doctrinaire and curiously unforgiving. Still, it deserves its place in the history of the ozblogos.

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Fyodor · 10 April 2012, 16:04 · #

Yairs, as a bereted smart-arse once noted, the nostalgia was better in Teh Olden Days.

Relentlessly reasonable to the last, Haiku. I can’t say I’m entirely surprised by the turn of events but I am a little disappointed that Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch piked out without much of a wake. Says it all, really.

Ernest Hemingway was once asked how he became bankrupt. His answer was, “gradually, then suddenly.” LP’s decline and fall seems to have progressed in much the same way.

I’m in agreement with you that the Catallaxy triumphalism is a poor reflection on the days when tribalism wasn’t such a pervasive blight, but I imagine the reaction would have been similar on the other side if the situations had been reversed.

Thanks for an objective, insightful and respectful eugoogly. Missy would be proud.

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Liam · 10 April 2012, 16:11 · #

Thank you, all.

Relentlessly reasonable to the last

Jesus, really? I should do something about that. [starts drinking]

LP was best when it was in flirty mode

Did I say that? I wonder if the best weren’t the moments of pure absurdity.

It felt terribly cutting edge to be involved in working out how to dance across the line between the old idea of a weblog as a semi-private diary, and blog as a form of publication.

N, I think you’re right and you’ve got it. It was a novel thing.

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Rob · 10 April 2012, 16:16 · #

“tight to say” should have been “right to say”. Needless to say….

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patrickg · 10 April 2012, 16:18 · #

“I don’t know of any place, real or virtual, where this happens in Australia anymore”

I couldn’t agree more. I remember back in what felt like very dark days in the middle of the Howard years, being absolutely electrified by Daily Flute, Back Pages et al, but especially by LP. The idea of a an inchoate force of Australians who not only gave a shit about politics but had the wherewithal to discuss it – shrewdly, lewdly, and often attitude-ly – being brought together by a collection of very intimate, almost familial websites was (for me, at least) a huge step in the evolution of web-based identities and political discourse in this country. People forget, I think, that Poll Bludger, predates Crikey, Blair’s website was progressive in at least one sense, etc etc etc.

These sites all set a match to established political discourse in Australia, and wrested it from the exclusive domain of Insiders and the increasingly turgid op-ed pages of the paper. It was democratising in a legitimately exciting, novel, way.

I suppose in some ways LP was what it was, because that’s what we needed. And we ceased needing it, or needed something else, as the rest of Australia gradually caught up and comment threads started resembling YouTube more than some kind of Agora-like melange of pithy one-liners and sharpened rhetorical arrows.

The idea of blogs as a rallying flag for a disparate group of believers now seems quaint, almost naive. They’ve become instead badges to sew to one’s intellectual jacket – and are the poorer for it, I think. Catalaxy themselves are reduced to increasing irrelevance – loath they are to see their trunkless legs of stone.

The exciting thing about LP was its super-relevance for a time, it superseded the discourses we had been encouraged to passively digest. It wasn’t alone in that, of course, but for a particular demographic (MINE!), it was the best at it.

In this respect, I feel like everything and nothing has replaced it. There are dozens of places I can go to get the information it provided, and nowhere (not even the site itself in latter times) I can get the sense of community.

Vale, LP. For one brief, shining moment, there was Camelot.

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JC · 10 April 2012, 16:18 · #

Liam

Where’s the triumphalism in the Catallaxy thread piece?

This?

“What particularly pleases me is that we at the Cat have managed to renew ourselves”

Are you kidding?

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Lefty E · 10 April 2012, 16:46 · #

Catallaxy? Ive srsly never even set foot there. Think I maybe logged on once via an auto-google of Lefty E. I guess that demonstrates the tribalism. “There’s Cats over the hill? Who knew?”

I must confess Ive found LP less compelling since Mark left (which was a while back, really). Nothing at all against the other bloggers, but he and I go way back, and more importantly he just tended to write about stuff that interested me more. Just how it is. Brian was the big exception – loved his work.

I cant really blame them – they’ve stuck it out longer thn I would have.

But thats one less thing to log on to. Bored now!

I’d best go issue a four-gun salute over at BmL.

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harry · 10 April 2012, 17:12 · #

Well said, Liam.

I wholeheartedly agree with those above talking about community. Perhaps that was the start of the decline of the blogosphere – when something changed and it no longer felt like it was a community.

It was a different time, and we did things differently back then.
And, by god, it was fun.

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Rob · 10 April 2012, 18:10 · #

@ harry

Agree with that. It really was fun, despite the political differences. Or maybe because of them.

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Modia Minotaur · 10 April 2012, 18:20 · #

What happened, I wonder? Was it the decline of serious blogging in general and its replacement by the likes of its shallower offspring, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr?

Were we successfully co-opted by the MSM media and the likes of The Drum and Q&A?

Or, did we all just run out of things to say once Howard was voted out?

Someone needs to do a PhD on this.

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Anna Winter · 10 April 2012, 18:30 · #

In my view, the main problem was that LP got so large, and became such a symbol of “The Left” of the Australian blogosphere, that it became the place that right-leaning people came to bash lefties, and people on the left came to demand posts on their particular issue of the moment or to accuse others of not being sufficiently left wing.

In other words, we lost the ability to do what it was that made LP popular in the beginning, because too many people treated it as a symbol of something else (and no-one agreed on what it was a symbol of).

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Liam · 10 April 2012, 18:41 · #

or to accuse others of not being sufficiently left wing

…and then there was Euston…

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Anna Winter · 10 April 2012, 18:44 · #

Why do you hate women, Liam?

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JC · 10 April 2012, 18:52 · #

Anna

What have you done to your eye as it seems to have got bigger? Humungous in fact.

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Anna Winter · 10 April 2012, 18:54 · #

The blogs have just gotten smaller, JC.

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Mindy · 10 April 2012, 18:54 · #

Chicks with Guns, one of the best threads ever, although it did suck on dial-up.

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Rob · 10 April 2012, 18:55 · #

Where’d that (“Why do you hate women, Liam?”) come from, Anna?

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Liam · 10 April 2012, 18:58 · #

For you, Mindy.

Helen Mirren with a submachinegun

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Fyodor · 10 April 2012, 19:00 · #

“Why do you hate women, Liam?”

Three words, Miss Cruella:

Sophie
Fucking
Masson

Yeah, that’s right: I said it because it had to be said.

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Rob · 10 April 2012, 19:02 · #

Ah, Mindy! Didn’t we chat when we were both in Alice? And didn’t we surprisingly agree on some things? You wouldn’t recognise the place now. It’s all green.

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dave · 10 April 2012, 20:05 · #

“But thats one less thing to log on to. Bored now!” – Left E

Indeed!

Nicely written Liam, even if the subject is tinged with more than a little sadness.

No way will Facebook or twitter ever replicate the variety of a blog. Is this the fate that awaits us?

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Liam · 10 April 2012, 20:28 · #

Why do you hate women, Liam?

I simply believe in bourgeois capitalism providing for the damnés de la terre what a new century offers to internationalists—cheaper airfares.

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Anna Winter · 10 April 2012, 20:42 · #

Get out of that burqa and into a cheap flight, young lady.

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Nabakov · 10 April 2012, 20:53 · #

Well, I was just at LP for the sex and drugs. I could do without the posting.

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Rob · 10 April 2012, 21:23 · #

Glad you turned up for the wake, Nabs.

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Lefty R · 10 April 2012, 21:27 · #

Heh.

Here’s my 2 escudos worth, over at Fort Solor: http://bitemylatte.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/larvatus-prodeo-four-cannon-salute.html

LP came and went, and I still cant embed without obvious buttons.

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mick · 10 April 2012, 22:21 · #

Well said Liam!

I’m with Anna. LP kinda got too big and then it got weird, or stopped being weird (that was probable it).

When my siblings were getting quizzed about my involvement with LP at job interviews I kinda got spooked…

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Fyodor · 11 April 2012, 09:58 · #

OK, can we dissect the corpse now?

I disagree with the broad thrust of Anna’s comment here.

“In my view, the main problem was that LP got so large, and became such a symbol of “The Left” of the Australian blogosphere, that it became the place that right-leaning people came to bash lefties, and people on the left came to demand posts on their particular issue of the moment or to accuse others of not being sufficiently left wing.”

Yes, no, no, no, yes.

I agree that LP created a huge problem when it broadened the “collective”, absorbing as it did so a variety of left-wing contributors who were, frankly, intolerant of dissenting opinions and imposed an oppressive moderation policy that was blatantly partisan in its application. It started with Evil Pundit getting banned and progressed from that seemingly innocuous precedent to its last days, where comment was by appointment only for the unforgiven of the right wing. That, alone, killed off the necessary intellectual friction between left- and right-wing commenters that had created the lively and dynamic atmosphere that Liam attests to above.

The reality is that LP ALWAYS had right-wing commenters and critics, right from its very creation. However, to his credit Mark B. was robust enough intellectually and psychologically to manage the cut & thrust of the left-right stoushing. His successors as moderators of the blog clearly were not, and chose to block the undesirables, resulting in the dreary circle-jerk of the Green Left Weekly crowd that LP became.

“In other words, we lost the ability to do what it was that made LP popular in the beginning, because too many people treated it as a symbol of something else (and no-one agreed on what it was a symbol of).”

No, LP lost its popularity because it forced out a lot of the commenters – and, just as importantly, the discussion and interaction AROUND their contributions – who made it popular.

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Liam · 11 April 2012, 10:25 · #

Yes, no, no, no, yes.

Size and time have much more to do with it than you give credit, F.

My own view as I was trying to express above is that the comments culture that existed at LP but also at Troppo Armadillo, Catallaxy, Back Pages etc. up until 2007 or so was a phenomenon of its time and the adoption of a new, rapidly evolving technology. It was a social forerunner to the kind of activity that now goes on in niche-blogs, but mostly on actual deliberately socially-designed social media. A comments field is designed to do exactly what happened at LP in the last three years or so (and what happens even more so at Catallaxy): to provide a space for people to leave comments—and when it’s used right, it’s just a series of tendentious letters-to-the-editor on ideés fixes which happen to be able to refer to one another. A lot of people do like that, though, and there are many, many more of them than there are of people like us who don’t. There’s been a loss of a phenomenon in absolute terms, not just at LP.

Much of what made LP and Catallaxy and the various Troppos interesting was the technology being used despite and beyond its limitations (cf. in particular the pseudonymity play started by Homer Paxton), which has disappeared in the Speak Your Braneification of the blogosphere.

But then I would say that, technological determinist that I am.

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Nabakov · 11 April 2012, 12:31 · #

Yes and yes.

The place did get infested with serious young insects and the blogosphere was, when done right commentswise, a precursor to today’s social media in terms of interacting beyond the letters to the editor model.

Also, I think we were just lucky around 2003-2009 in that how the kool kids who could play well together found eachother on the Troppo-Back Pages-LP cluster.

And yo M. Fyodor. Should be Indochine in late September. Will stop off in your neck of the woods on the way back.

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Nabakov · 11 April 2012, 12:42 · #

And speaking of kool kids, I do believe t’was I who came up with “Larva Rodeo”. Happy to stoush about it.

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Fyodor · 11 April 2012, 13:08 · #

“Also, I think we were just lucky around 2003-2009 in that how the kool kids who could play well together found eachother on the Troppo-Back Pages-LP cluster.”

True dat, and I’m very glad we did. It’s a damn shame the moment and the medium seem to have passed, with nothing to replace it.

“Should be Indochine in late September. Will stop off in your neck of the woods on the way back.”

Yes, do. Dib-dib, dob-dob, etc.

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Senexx · 11 April 2012, 13:21 · #

I was never a regular at LP.
I do not know if its closure is a lack of people willing to publish anymore but if it is not I would say the horrible site redesign a while back is what killed it.

I enjoyed LP when I read it but some of it was too obscure and some of it was too far to one side of the duopolist political paradigm for me.

My blog reading started at Troppo and Quiggin and though I do not post often, of the major blogs Troppo is the one that best represented my views from the start and largely do today too but not as much.

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Lefty E · 11 April 2012, 13:26 · #

Well, in their defence, I’d say the right-wing commentators got a fair more more tedious than say, Evil Pundit or Rob did in the heyday, or even CL actually – those three were at least having conversations, and interacting, as one might expect in a dialogue.

I mean really, what is one meant to do with someone who turns up to the party just to take a dump?

Since I supported the banning of a certain Mulberry-eating Bombyx Mori who shall remain nameless albeit with hints, I dont know that it was really anti-RWDB so much as anti-Troll.

That just my 3 escudos, 50 pesetas.

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Anna Winter · 11 April 2012, 13:53 · #

“I dont know that it was really anti-RWDB so much as anti-Troll.”

Yep. It’s true that the result of gradually getting rid of all the controversial voices created a less interesting blog than it used to be. But there’s a point at which you just get sick of the complaints and the abuse and the why won’t you publish me.

I’m sure I don’t need to name the person who once emailed me to say that I should either re-instate their commenting privileges or get a new email address, because they intended to filibuster it until I did.

I think it is also interesting to note that the bans weren’t some kind of lefty group-think either. Most of them were one LP poster who’d had enough. Evil Pundit was booted because one of ours made it clear it was him or her, and that was a no-brainer.

There were lots of RWDBs that I liked but who deliberately trolled other LPers and made their experience miserable. And even for my experiences, I was happy to have opposing voices, but I got tired of never being able to debate a particular aspect of a left wing idea without constantly going back to a really basic Left vs Right fight.

It’s always more complicated than free-for-all vs strict moderation. I think that’s where Mark’s point about being victims of our own success comes in. We got so big that there was no moderation policy that worked anymore, because everyone had a different idea of what LP was for, and even now, everyone felt as though they had some kind of entitlement over it, to the point where we have people expecting Mark to hand over his blog because how dare he shut it down.

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harry · 11 April 2012, 14:03 · #

Liam wrote: “that the comments culture that existed at LP but also at Troppo Armadillo, Catallaxy, Back Pages etc. up until 2007 or so was a phenomenon of its time”

..Yes, and, I would hasten to add, the work of usually only one person: which follows on from what Fyodor was talking about when LP “broadened the collective”.

When the blogs were young they were the work of one person who was also the moderator. Change that and you get a committee – with the all the inherent problems of a committee. The interaction changes, what the blog actual is changes. This is what happened to LP.

Mark stamped his idea of what a blog should be right from the start of LP, and it is this idea that made it possible for the left and right to argue (and joke, and flirt, and simply hang out). When did that friendly, often late-night, social side of LP drop off?

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Lefty E · 11 April 2012, 14:20 · #

“When did that friendly, often late-night, social side of LP drop off?”

Yeah. That happened. Cant recall exactly when. Maybe when FB colonised the lifeworld.

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Liam · 11 April 2012, 16:52 · #

In the Brothers Karamazov
Here’s what Dostoyevsky said:
“Know your enemies well enough
And you will pity them instead”.
Pity will soon turn to love
Is what Jesus Christ once said
They changed their minds the day they
Read the comments thread…

[original].

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Mercurius · 11 April 2012, 23:20 · #

Ahh, yes, the moderation killed the “vibe”.

I moderated LP for about 4 years, logging in each day to lovingly fish the turds out of the auto-mod filter.

I think I deleted about one comment every few months or so, and let everything else through to the keeper, including those which were personal invective directed at yours truly.

Sorry I didn’t allow more turds to flop into the punchbowl.

There’s no accounting for taste.

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Alex · 13 April 2012, 15:16 · #

During a time of major stupidity, Mark helped me out big time for which I’ll be forever grateful.
As for Evil pundit and CL; those guys were nasty trolls IMO. CL was clearly intellectually gifted, but chose to attack others on the lowest level. I remember once that he accused mark of supporting fire bombing innocent people – or something similar, and refused to back down. EP, was just a troll; and not even a clever one.

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Ian Milliss · 15 April 2012, 23:11 · #

There was some boring repetitive snarky right wing trolling right up to the end, despite what some people here seem to think about over moderation. Still, I’ll miss it.

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FDB · 15 April 2012, 23:56 · #

Well then let’s have a stoush!

I submit the following…

Why for no foodz on this blog submission?

FUCKING COMMIES WITH THE FOOD HATINGS!!!

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Ian Milliss · 16 April 2012, 00:35 · #

you forget to mention there would be more if we removed govt regulation, but it will be fixed when Abbott wins because Gillard lies, ya boo sucks to you pathetic lefties. Or something along those lines. And post it with slightly different wording several times.

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Liam · 16 April 2012, 10:59 · #

I submit the following…

Ideas, newsletter, subscribe etc. etc.

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Lefty E · 16 April 2012, 11:11 · #

Perhaps a post on tax-eating would fit the bill?

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Fyodor · 16 April 2012, 15:01 · #

“I moderated LP for about 4 years, logging in each day to lovingly fish the turds out of the auto-mod filter.

I think I deleted about one comment every few months or so, and let everything else through to the keeper, including those which were personal invective directed at yours truly.

Sorry I didn’t allow more turds to flop into the punchbowl.

There’s no accounting for taste.”

Poor Mercy, personfully carrying the unrelenting burden of protecting sensitive souls from Teh Turdfloppers.

What about protecting LP from sanctimonious dullards? Because that’s what remained after you and your ilk were done “moderating” the fun “turds” out of the punchbowl.

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Modia Minotaur · 16 April 2012, 17:18 · #

Perhaps we’re putting the cart before the horse here. Could it be that the mod policy became more restrictive because genuine, Fabian-style left/right debate is becoming so rare?

We used to see some genuine to-and-fro. What has gradually evolved in its place is pseudo-debate, a la the Dawkins vs Pell Q&A episode: two diametrically opposed ideologues barking their unshakeable philosophies at one another and mugging at their respective rent-a-crowds.

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Casey · 17 April 2012, 12:54 · #

I don’t think some of those bloggers were “fun”. It was their antics on the blog that drove some of the star bloggers away in the first place. I do recall with one in particular, there were threats of sexual violence were there not? I think that to have a situation where you do not ban someone who becomes abusive and threatening would be, in my view, irresponsible. I am all for life time bans when fuckwits threaten women.

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Fyodor · 17 April 2012, 13:15 · #

“It was their antics on the blog that drove some of the star bloggers away in the first place. I do recall with one in particular, there were threats of sexual violence were there not?”

Clearly my memory could be wrong on this, but I don’t think so, Case*.

Can you recall the instances of who drove whom away with what threats of sexual violence?

*Graeme M. Bird exception applied, obviously.

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Liam · 17 April 2012, 16:45 · #

F, I think you’re wrong to focus on moderation per se as a cause of anything, as if the presence of people like EP or GMB had anything to do with the increase of tedious semi-literates with monomania. There’s probably a supply and demand curve diagram I could draw if I could be bothered but I can’t. Anyway let’s all agree that a perfectly free market environment is an economist’s delusion and that basic regulation and consistent law is always necessary etc. etc.

I’m not saying the Glory Years 2002-2007 or so we’re romanticising here were particularly safe or welcoming and it’s not like the blogosphere was ever a hippy commune of mutual understanding and love but—some commenters do need to be given the big GTFO.

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Casey · 17 April 2012, 17:26 · #

Oh well, you may be right Fyodor. I probably have the wrong blog. Nevertheless, I don’t understand how banning really shady characters wrecked the blog. They didn’t add to it. I was reading the blog, but not commenting back in those early days and my memory of the commenters I think you are referring to is that they were trolls or just plain nasty. Some of them were funny, but there comes a time …

There were however people in the mid to latter period who made you want to bash your head with a brick from the sheer narcissism and monotony. Personally, they should have been moderated for making people unwittingly die from reading their comments.

I died a hundred times, as Amy said.

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Casey · 17 April 2012, 17:35 · #

Personally, also, the poetry.

They should have put a warning up like they do on the ABC.

You know, trigger warnings.

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Fyodor · 17 April 2012, 18:14 · #

“…some commenters do need to be given the big GTFO.”

Again with the relentless reasonableness, Haiku! We’re settling into a solid stoush here and you have to go and see both sides. Pshaw.

I can think of only one commenter that needed to be banned from LP, and that was GMB, and that only because his sprays were so voluminous and repetitive that they prevented a thread from functioning at all except as a free-fire zone. Like a monkey in a minefield, in a controlled environment the guy’s fucking hilarious.

As we both know EP was banned because he pushed Bruce’s buttons and she lost her cool. Granted, EP was often trollish, but he was also great fun. De bustedarse non est etc.

“Nevertheless, I don’t understand how banning really shady characters wrecked the blog. They didn’t add to it. I was reading the blog, but not commenting back in those early days and my memory of the commenters I think you are referring to is that they were trolls or just plain nasty.”

What, like in a bad way?

I think, like many, you’re missing the forest for the trees. Look at what happened once the antagonists were weeded out, exempli gratia…

“There were however people in the mid to latter period who made you want to bash your head with a brick from the sheer narcissism and monotony. Personally, they should have been moderated for making people unwittingly die from reading their comments.”

Quite. In a hunting park properly stocked with predators such sheeple would have been culled regularly and thus prevented from breeding increasingly witless progeny.

“They should have put a warning up like they do on the ABC.

You know, trigger warnings.”

At LP, it’d be a lipsniger warning.

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Casey · 17 April 2012, 18:37 · #

“Quite. In a hunting park properly stocked with predators such sheeple would have been culled regularly and thus prevented from breeding increasingly witless progeny.”

Oh. So stark. Such different world views. This survival of the fittest schtick doesn’t work for my liberal sensibilities. There must be some way we can do ‘culling’ nicely? Surely. Which is why my plan is better. If the Godessess chose to smite em, like, eradicate em off the face of the blog – what can you do? It’s not like you killed em is it? It was a goddess thing.

Nope. More divine intervention was needed, not less, and a little more Greek capricious in intent rather than, well, New Testament love is the answer. If you ask me. But then I am a witch. What do I know about the new religion? You are incorrect in your critique of Merc and co. He was in the end, too humane, too genial. Yes, if I have to criticise the mods, they were, frankly, far too lovely.

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Fyodor · 17 April 2012, 18:58 · #

“There must be some way we can do ‘culling’ nicely?”

Yairs, “Cullen”, in that sparkly emo way. That would fit with the loverly pink unicorn vibe that prevailed in LP’s senescence.

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Casey · 17 April 2012, 19:08 · #

You wanted the moderation policy of Catallaxy did you?

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Fyodor · 17 April 2012, 19:37 · #

Pretty much. Functionally, there was no difference between the moderation policies of LP and Catallaxy until Marky Mark brought in Teh Collective in late 2005, as I implied above.

I doubt you read much of Catallaxy pre-2005, so you might be surprised to learn it was a reasonably civilised joint back then, as opposed to the Jackson on George of Ozblogistan, as a smart-arse on Teh Webs once quipped.

Personally, I reckon Catallaxy would have done far better under Jason Soon if he’d put a leash on GMB, as Davidson subsequently did, but Jase has always been a little too idealistic to be pragmatic on such issues.

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Liam · 17 April 2012, 19:44 · #

While you two’ve been discursin’, John Quiggin’s pulled up stumps as well and makes a good point about the large media organisations taking on the blogging format—and with them IMO encouraging the let’s say Column 8 style writers into new spaces with evident consequences.

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Casey · 17 April 2012, 20:06 · #

Fyodor, so, what you are suggesting is that Catallaxy went Lord of the Flies because Jason Soon did not moderate enough?

Well, yeah and precisely, even. Funny that.

That’s bad news about Quiggin, Liam. It’s looking a all a bit dire. Specially given we are on the brink of the dark time, federally.

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Fyodor · 17 April 2012, 20:40 · #

“Fyodor, so, what you are suggesting is that Catallaxy went Lord of the Flies because Jason Soon did not moderate enough?”

There’s always room for Avian Exceptionalism in my philosophy, Case, as I’ve noted several times above.

“Specially given we are on the brink of the dark time, federally.”

Heh. Naturally, I’m more sanquine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeyOnNple4M

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Lefty E · 17 April 2012, 23:41 · #

Heh. Who said blogging was dead. Good times!

I say we take this to the committee:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzbhbetwYFU&feature=fvwrel

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FDB · 18 April 2012, 21:59 · #

Casey – you were probably thinking of an incident at Catallaxy where Bird threatened to rape my mother.

Even that didn’t get him banned, though for a week or two his every post was replaced with an all-caps demand that he apologise.

Argument in good faith, and more importantly good humour, is a difficult thing to find nowadays. LP has often had one, but rarely both for a long while.

Anyhoo, moaning about yesterday is no substitute for dance tonight.

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David Irving (no relation) · 18 April 2012, 23:32 · #

Thanks for that, FDB. They don’t make boy bands like they used to!

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Lefty E · 19 April 2012, 00:29 · #

Shit, I missed that one FDB. That’s frankly disturbing – and Im no easily shocked in Ozblogistan.

Me, I still google “Lefty E the Lying Fascist” from time to time, a la recherhe de tempers perdu.

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FDB · 19 April 2012, 00:58 · #

“That’s frankly disturbing”

The Bird anecdote or the link?

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Casey · 19 April 2012, 08:13 · #

No FDB, it was another blog. Seems to be a commonish mode of retaliation. Although, just thinking out loud now, mothers are, in a patriarchal society, kind of transcendent to some degree in that the same rules don’t apply to them as to other female roles. Motherhood confers some kind of value that needs to be protected. You don’t threaten mothers, really. In the media, for instance, there is always another narrative attached to violence towards “mothers”. They are kind of sacrosanct, or untouchable. The threat towards your mother is therefore doubly indicative of his insanity, for it transgresses some fairly solid cultural thresholds.

As all this draws to a close, I have become very interested in online behaviour. Particularly the behaviour and positions of those online identities that get made up out of thin air, and by this I mean those characters who cross genders and take up marginal positions, for instance. I find the politics of that very interesting. I am always wondering why positions of marginality need to be fetishised in this way and consumed.

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Casey · 19 April 2012, 08:18 · #

“crosses” those thresholds I mean. In other news the Tupac hologram is going on tour and I for one, will be going to see it.

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Liam · 19 April 2012, 08:41 · #

Casey, you momma’s so transcendent, she tried to rap with Tupac and he saw straight through her.

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Casey · 19 April 2012, 09:07 · #

Liam, that’s fine. Just as long as you don’t give out any more hair colour advice, we will all be happy.

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Fyodor · 19 April 2012, 13:25 · #

Totes awsum, Hefty Bee.

I feel compelled to raise you a Blow Monkeys:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwc1OhJZn3o&feature=related

Rockin’ live performance [precautionist FTW, as I’m sure you’d agree, @ 0:31], and à propos in many ways to this melangeolia of temps perdu:

I just got your message, baby,
So sad to see you fade away.
What in the world is this feeling,
Catch a breath and leave me reeling?

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FDB · 19 April 2012, 21:24 · #

Sure Fyodor, that’s comfuckingpletely fantacular, and sure, they give the drummer some, but before you drive off laughing in the night, consider this.

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Fyodor · 19 April 2012, 22:47 · #

Oh, fuck you very much. What a find.

Only pop music can save us now:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujAtsS15EU4

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FDB · 19 April 2012, 23:30 · #

Shut up and put some clothes on Sideshow.

Proper, decent English clothes.

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Liam · 20 April 2012, 11:15 · #

It’s time, I think, given the melancholistalgia, that we all had a good singalong.

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Fyodor · 20 April 2012, 12:11 · #

Weeel, FDB, if you’re talking sartorial splendour, look no further than these lads strolling through London:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30JwQ9XzKjg

Haiku Hoges, I don’t wanna go on with you like that, unless it features Clapton’s guitar duelling with Reg on keyboards (3:20+). In which case, um…as you were:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HI6ubtws8RM

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Liam · 20 April 2012, 12:46 · #

F, going on like that? I ain’t going out like that either.

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j_p_z · 5 May 2012, 23:04 · #

Wuh-wuh-waaaaait a minute… d’ye mean to tell me that Cliff Richard counts to yez as “proper, decent English clothes”?!?

No disrespect intended, ol’ Cliff is perfectly righteous in my account books, but… English? What with all the Elvis stylings, and the Sun Studios bits, and the Chuck Berry/Bo Diddley moves, and the surf guitar? I mean, do Englishmen even know what “surf” is? (I understand that you chaps do, what with the reefs and the sharks and so forth.)

One of the great lucky accidents of the British Invasion was that the Beatles had Liverpool accents, which to American ears sounds quasi-Irish (and for good reason), and therefore plucky underdog-style. If they had had upperclass-twit accents, the whole thing would’ve been dead in the water. If the Rolling Stones had landed first, then forget the whole Sixties. Actually that might have been a good thing. Bring me my time machine!*

Anyway, enuf of that. So, is this site the new LP refugee centre? Don’t worry, I won’t be haunting. Just make sure Fran Barlow doesn’t find it, or else you’ll have yourselves a sort of Walking Dead/CDC scenario. For pete’s sake, M-to-the-E-to-the-R-to-the-C has already breached security; y’all may all be infected already.

Good luck!

  • — for alternate history nerds: the career of Simon and Garfunkel was literally rescued, literally pulled out of the fire, by Tom Wilson, the Black jazz record producer who took an early interest in rock n roll, who single-handedly signed the young Frank Zappa, produced early Bob Dylan and the Velvet Underground, and remixed the acoustic track of “Sounds of Silence” with an added backbeat, thereby creating a hit single and reviving their career, (and also unintentionally helping to ruin a generation, but we have what we have), or else Paul Simon might have ended up as a barista in Melbourne somewhere.

Somebody oughta write a book about that cat. Just sayin’.

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Liam · 6 May 2012, 11:34 · #

So, is this site the new LP refugee centre?

Less a refugee centre than an offshore processing site. Welcome to your new haunt indefinite procedural detention!

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j_p_z · 6 May 2012, 20:16 · #

Let me try that again. (btw, great design, L., but the user interface is a tad confusing!)

“indefinite” and “procedural” don’t, by their nature, go together.

But again, I’m sure you knew that.

Just pointing it out, for the kids playing along at home!

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Liam · 6 May 2012, 20:31 · #

Vous êtes trop gentil, JPZ. And I’m sorry about the steampunk interface: I’m a man of slender internet means.

“indefinite” and “procedural” don’t, by their nature, go together

Mais, bienvenue dans Australie!

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j_p_z · 6 May 2012, 20:53 · #

“vous etes trop gentil”

Ah c’mon, nous sommes en famille, on se tutoyer.

C’est plus facile.

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Fyodor · 7 May 2012, 11:40 · #

NORM!

ZENGER!

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j_p_z · 8 May 2012, 07:19 · #

“chicks with guns”

Oh yes, the Chicks With Guns thread was indeed memorable. But let’s not forget the LP Ultimate War Movie thread, I thought that was really a bit of a strain on the bladder. John Cusack as the Self-Hating Master Assassin Falling In Love At First Sight With Keira Knightley? I mean really, her name is actually Knightley?

Tell me that isn’t seventy years worth of piss.

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thewetmale · 13 May 2012, 21:24 · #

Liam’s puttin’ the band back together. Awesome.

Far be it from me to crash a stoush but if I may – as an undergraduate living at home, 2007 was when I started getting into reading blogs in and around the pronto lavatory. Although I never commented much, I did, and still occasionally do, enjoy wandering through the archives of places like LP, Troppo, and the Cat. I can’t help but think that I have some of the people in this thread to thank for that, so thank you.

And to add 2c to the more srs aspects of the thread, personally I’ve found a pretty comfy couch in the world of twitter and I think a big part of that is the way moderation is essentially left to individuals to maintain on their own terms. Primarily via the ability to only follow those that you want to follow and to likewise block individual to individual. It allows those that want a hive mind to cultivate a hive mind but also for those that like a bit of banter to find a happy medium as well.

So yes, in conclusion, anarchy is the most logical organisational principal for society. QED.

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harry · 21 May 2012, 14:24 · #

HAH! The smh article about Missy Higgins

“Her brother, David Higgins, says, “She never got to wake up in a strange house with carpet in her mouth like the rest of us.”“

…So, I guess she wasn’t after all that discussion on LP?

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/out-of-the-dark-20120521-1yztw.html#ixzz1vTVVdZLG
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