We love to love you online haters

JANINE BENNETTS
WEB AND SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR
Last updated 11:07 24/07/2012

Reading the comments section on dompost.co.nz stories isn't an experience for the fainthearted. The anonymity of the digital world makes many people let loose with their opinions and boy, they don't hold back. Our readers have some strong views on issues in our region. Many also have very strong views about us and they're not afraid to let us know.

Haters, trolls, whatever you want to call them, some commenters have made a small career from pointing out other people's failings online and we're not exempt from the hating. Our comment section, our Twitter feed and our Facebook page all get daily remarks calling us out on everything from minute typos to our choices for the front page.

But even though online haters drive us crazy, they keep us on our toes, and for that, we secretly love them. There's no excuse for mistakes in what we publish, but in the rush of getting things up online or to print, slip-ups can happen. When typos and errors do get through our checks and balances, it's pretty handy to have thousands of eyes on us making sure our standards are high and letting us know when we've dropped the ball.

Our haters also challenge us over what we cover and why. Last month we published a story Big Wellington quake would kill hundreds, cost $2b and comments were pretty scathing, not just on our website but also on Facebook and Twitter, where we also posted the story.

We had 32 comments on Facebook after we posted asking if the data made people want to leave the capital. Many were along the lines of "Wtf just freak everyone out good one", "No, it stops me from buying newspapers" and "You definitely know how to accentuate the negative. Why don't you lead the way...pack your bags and get out of Welly or out of the country? Good riddance!"

There was plenty of that sentiment on our website as well.

"Gosh, is it June already. It must be time for the Dompost to do its annual 'let's scare the locals with another earthquake disaster' headline. Puh-leeze!"

While initially it was a bit of a jolt to get that kind of reaction, it did encourage us to think about how we present that type of information, and we considered that when we were publishing another earthquake study in July, which predicted that the capital would be cut off for up to four months in a major earthquake.

In our view, this type of information is very much in the public interest to share, and we never considered not publishing it, despite how it might be perceived as scary,  but the reaction did make us think about how we packaged it, where we published it and when.

I held off on putting it on Facebook until our fans had had the chance to have their morning coffee.

If you've got an opinion on what we publish, let us know. Leave a comment below, or get in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter.

- © Fairfax NZ News

15 comments
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mike smith   #1   12:49 pm Jul 24 2012

Haters? Surely the word is critics?

Scott   #2   05:15 pm Jul 24 2012

Please..don't feed the trolls.

Alan B'Stad   #3   04:56 am Jul 25 2012

When commentators are 'exercised', they begin to hate each other, mostly questioning their mental health. Although this is good copy, it can be surprising the defamatory comments that get through. Still, critics, who needs them?

paulie   #4   09:31 am Jul 25 2012

Is this some kind of attempt to portray the Dom as democratically responsive to the wants, needs and desires expressed by the public in cyber space, or is it just an attempt to pretend responsiveness in order not to get peoples' backs up further than you already have?

Alex   #5   08:30 pm Aug 03 2012

Come on, its so easy to hate the Dominion. Just about everyone I talk to laments the passing of what once was a good paper. I liken it to being more like a women's magazine these days - full of bitchy front page & internal stories.

tinnyliz   #6   09:01 am Aug 06 2012

Yes I blogged last week about that awful article about the dismal woman living in a car outside her daughter's house while waiting for a rental that she could afford. I was appalled, not at the woman's predicament - there must be thousands of people in NZ in her situation and there but for the grace of God go I who is not - but the fact that the newspaper actually published such a useless story. Why? Was it to drum up sympathy for the woman and maybe even get the do-gooders to send her money, or was it actually taking the mickey out of her? It was a real trendy Lefty article which only made me groan to myself and think oh no here we go again.

cj   #7   10:35 am Aug 11 2012

I love the comments section. My favorite hobby before and after work is to wind people up. Always amazes me how many people you reel in, hook line and sinker. hahaha Love it. Thanks Dom Post.

Sniffles   #8   09:22 am Aug 12 2012

I love blogging but I must confess I often can't be bothered reading the whole article the blog is about. If I'm short of time I'll scroll through the blogs to skim the contents and if the subject is obviousy contentious then I'll go back, read the article and jump in boots and all.

jane   #9   02:32 pm Aug 19 2012

Your earthquake story annoyed. Yes I know, it's challenging coming up with front page stuff on a no news day. Seriously though, t'would help if we had some positive stuff about Wellington. It's challenging enough living in a city whoes work force is being decimated to the extent that it has serious financial effect throughout our communities and businesses. We know we live in earthquake country so running a front page story on this is akin to shoving that down our throats. Perhaps, if you truly want to publish responsible stuff, run a public notice occassionally outlining what to do, where to go etc. in such an event. That would be responsible now wounldn't it and it would take the "emotional panic" out of the equation.

What is really annoying about you lot though is the blatant right-wing political bent your newspaper displays. Balance guys, show a little class and give us balance. Give poor old Shearer a break - say something nice about him, maybe even a nice picture occassionally, so he gets a POSITIVE PUBLIC PROFILE.

Ichiro   #10   02:52 pm Aug 22 2012

As you might gather from these comments, some of us are simply calling for journalistic integrity. As Jane #9 says, all we want for Wellington is a Real Newspaper, not the propaganda rag run by Tracy Watkins et al. One more puff piece on Key or National and we'll all collectively vomit. Yes, show a little class and a little balance for a change.

As a bit of constructive criticism, why not differentiate your news articles from your editorials, and consider running the latter solely in the Comments section rather than littered throughout the paper, as real newspapers do? Or consider labelling op-ed pieces as such? After all, advertising must be labelled, why not editorials?

I'm certain you'd like to portray yourselves as thoughtful and objective journalists with high standards, and I'm likewise certain there are some on the staff who are. But collectively, and particularly in terms of political or financial/economic coverage, the DomPost exposes its bias on every page. A shame, it's such a small town paper for New Zealand's capital city.


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