Sunday Slabb: Before we take another step…..

Everyone that comments online should be on the same page or the power of the written word aka the force is not maximized. I’ve left a hint or two on these pages while Jason at American Zombie came right out and spilled everything in early June, 2010 via a post that should be on the must-read list for every aspiring politician.  The internet has brought secular change to  communication on the scale not seen since the printing press and those can harness the power of the medium can effect change.

The concept is found in economic theory and I am convinced it has application beyond the financial sector in Moral suasion, in the case of Slabbed the “pure” variety:

Moral suasion will be “an effective economic policy whenever the expected costs of noncompliance is made to exceed the cost of compliance”.[12]

There are 2 necessary conditions for this to happen.

  • First, citizens must support the Government’s policy,[13] thus entailing objective congruence between the promoter of moral suasion and the target whose behaviour should be changed. That support emanates from such factors that determine compliance as; potential illegal gain; severity and certainty of sanctions; individual’s moral development and their standards of personal morality; individual’s perceptions of how just and moral are rules being enforced; and social environmental influences.[14] …….
  • Second, the population of economic agent to be persuaded must be small.[16] Fewness entails the easy identification of economic agents to persuade, and increase the perceived likelihood that non-compliers will be identified and punished.[17]


Even when those two necessary conditions are not fully met, moral suasion, if only partially effective, can be a valid choice of policy instruments if the alternatives are doing nothing or taking actions with high opportunity or administrative costs.[18]

Although neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition, a low level of competition amongst suppliers in the economy contributes to increased effectiveness of moral suasion.

I’ve seen these concepts in action and not just on the finance boards.  Consider this lesson 1 of the Sop Advanced Internet Commenting Course.  😉

17 thoughts on “Sunday Slabb: Before we take another step…..”

  1. You go Man….
    I sepecially loved the American Zombie’s, Pirates’ Parlay, Item #4. So true, so true, so true! Come out, come out, wherever you are…..

  2. So do you think a similar perception of the power of commenting to effect change might have been what prompted the censors to pounce on the Roundtable thread? The uncomplimentary remarks about the selected panel could, I suppose, be seen as an unwelcome attempt to change nola.com’s behavior. :_)

    1. The answer to that is complicated and it is no regarding the uncomplimentary remarks on Ricky’s Roundtable. On a blog like Slabbed the power to moderate comments is vested in the person that wrote the post while sites like NOLA have a dedicated employee assigned to the task.

      I think the media in general is hip to the concept of moral suasion or else there would be no editorial boards. And the fact is shortcomings acknowledged the people Ricky sought out bring something to the table. I think somewhere in that lies the reason so many comments were sniped. Some of the snipes may well have been at the request of specific members of Ricky’s roundtable. To the extent Ricky hung those names out there to begin with means he had no interest in letting them be used as a limitless punching bag.

      Specific criticisms aside I think the new roundtable is fatally flawed precisely because it reflects a “top-down” approach that I specifically reject. Yes, Travers Mackels may be plugged into the Chris Roberts hotline but Chris’ janitor tells me everything, not just select information as is found on the hotline. Or less cryptically Matthews should appoint a couple of his more thoughtful commenters to his roundtable to balance things.

      To understand the difference is to understand the differences in motivations. NOLA and sites like it are a for profit business and the business model has to reflect that on their websites. Blogs are generally started specifically to effect change, mostly on local niche issues without a profit motive.

      1. I made some unflattering comments about Saints running back Mark Ingram yesterday and they were removed. It’s almost not even worth me commenting there anymore.

        1. Slabbed will take you and Muspench and let NOLA keep David and Tom. It is not a fair deal but it is the deal they evly want so I’ll happily accomaccept it.

          1. Well, ideally moral suasion would involve actual morals. :) It’s very little use to nola.com to throw so many good people overboard, refuse to sell the butchered carcass of the organization, and then pretend to listen to the community post mortem.

            In fact, the stupidity of the pretense is just annoying, which is what we weren’t allowed to say. I didn’t think we would be after I saw what they did to the comments on the PR posted by Amoss and Mathews this summer, but it was childishly amusing to test the limits.

            Very much agreed on the top-down, but I’d prefer it if nola.com heard from people whose viewpoint is relatively unknown. They know what the commenters think, they know what the usual suspects on the panel think (which is why those panelists were chosen), but the way Mitch Landrieu runs the city, there’s an ever-increasing group of politically marginalized viewpoints that could bring something fresh to the site.

            The first group I’d like to see writing a set of Sunday op-eds would be the four people who evaporated from the police chief search committee when they questioned the process– THAT would be a story, in the light of everything the committee wasn’t allowed to find out about Serpas (fireserpas.wordpress.com/). :_)

            That’s just an example– there must be any number of people who are never heard from at all but have something interesting to say.

            P.S. Thank you very much for the offer of safe haven. Isn’t Christenson something? He has a disconcerting habit of making very good sense when you least expect it, which is another reason I like him.

            1. I think we should all consider the distinct possibility that NOLA has previously bargained away their ability to tell this story in total.

          2. You mean this bit? “as New Orleans sanitation director, Brown oversaw the closure of the Old Gentilly landfill. The motion said Old Gentilly is an issue in the suit, and that Brown may have personal knowledge of facts regarding the old landfill… Heebe and River Birch were among those opposing the Old Gentilly reopening after the storm.

            So did Brown, at the time an attorney in private practice” (nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2012/12/judge_nannette_jolivette_brown.html).

            I agree the story dragged itself up on nola.com’s examining table in skeletal condition, then died quietly before it could say anything. There’s a world of “ands” waiting backstage with lines to deliver. I went ahead & asked Manuel Torres if we would hear more on that segment of history, just in case. :_) [12/19/2012 9:29 AM]

            1. In the immortal words of Sal……..The truth is beginning to emerge. 😉

              There is more in that Concrete Busters lawsuit Muspench.

              Vital background can be found in this post. Worth noting is the fact that post is specifically one of the ones Leary and Perret have taken great exception to in Nova Scotia via their latest SLAPP suit against Slabbed.

              In that recently filed SLAPP suit Leary and Perret term Concrete Buster lawyer Randy Smith a co conspirator of mine in the latest grand homophobic conspiracy theory Leary and Perret have hatched in Canada.

              I do not know what Smith has on Broussard’s Canadian based American Expat SLAPP attack dogs and that fact is key. That said to their reaction to these latest developments sure makes it appear those two SLAPP happy nut jobs are indeed acting at the behest of Fred Heebe.

              Like Sal said the truth will emerge here. It is just a question of time.

          3. Yes, I see you are growing remarkably fond of quoting Sal. :_) If I understand what the Concrete Busters suit said about Nova Scotia Enterprises, it was formed to funnel bribes/kickbacks to Broussard? For JP, that is surprisingly sophisticated. I see I erred in taking no interest in the place, as I began to discover when I started following the commenting scandal, and now I realized I’ve missed a lot of entertainment.

            “Grand homophobic conspiracy,” eh? Ha! My personal favorite quote to date has to be Sheri Leigh White’s “upsetting and terrifying content.” That woman definitely has your number, Doug; she knows your type, all right. :)

            1. This is all like Gump’s box of chocolate to me. Metaphorically speaking, the lid is coming off that box (albeit in slow mo) as I write this.

              Would be it too far out to suggest Mr Heebe would try to get rid of the media outlets he can’t control? Concrete Busters suggests not.

              Regarding Nova Scotia Enterprises, it is the Feds that said it was a bribery conduit. There is a second class B owner that got a freebie stake so Broussard was not the only guy bribed.

              Somewhere in my July/August post archives you’ll find one dealing with Broussard’s involvement with First Bank and Trust as a director. When you look at the level of society Broussard ran with the possibilities contained in the redacted names of NSE’s ownership agreement is mildly described as explosive.

              I have served preservation notices on Automattic and other content providers. My SPEECH Act case has been decided but it is not over. As such my lawyer has me barred from comment on anything post-decision. Where the case has been is a different matter though and I hope to do that topic justice.

              To the extent there are several interested parties keeping up with the SPEECH Act via PACER I’d highly encourage all to continue to monitor the docket.

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