The Green Machine

There have been a few misconceptions around what our Green Machine is and does. Some people have gotten it mixed up with an alert system that we run for Green Party members who are interested in keeping abreast of current events involving the party, and attributed some form of bad sportsmanship on our behalf.

So, to clarify, there are two separate systems:

1. There is ‘The Green Machine‘ which lists ‘missions’ people can choose to do. People earn stars for doing those missions. There are no missions saying “comment on this particular topic on Reddit, Frogblog, stuff.co.nz etc”. There is a mission “become an online activist” which is basically asking people to sign up to system #2 (below).

Typical missions are “Green sticker your letterbox”, “Donate a tweet per day”, “Deliver leaflets”, etc. All the available missions can be viewed at the Green Machine site which is open to the public.

2. The second system is the ‘online activist’ alerts. It reads a few dozen RSS feeds, looking for key words. The list of key words is here.

The email alert contains the subject of the blog post/news article/whatever and the body of the blog post/article/etc and a link to the item. What they do with that information is entirely up to the recipient. There is no ‘this post is about such and such so here is a pre-written thing to paste in” in the email notification.

There isn’t anything different between the alerts and  sending an email or posting a link on your Facebook with a note saying “Hey you might be interested in this.”

There are no stars earned by responding by posting comments on blogs. The link in the notification email goes straight to the blog post. The Green Party has no way of tracking who or how people respond to the notification.

The stars that people earn by doing missions are essentially meaningless. They do not confer any special status in the real world and are just for fun.

We have made serious efforts to promote the Green Machine to our members and the public – there is a big button in the top right of every page on greens.org.nz which says ‘GREEN MACHINE’. This is not some big secret that has suddenly come to light. We are totally out in the open about this.

Comments posted by ‘online activists’ are their own and there is not an expectation that they will use multiple accounts to appear to be more than one person.

The intention was to encourage debate and give people access to a tool that helped them keep on top of what people were saying about things they were interesting. We think that it is crucial to democracy that people are informed and that debates — such as this one —happen in public.

16 thoughts on “The Green Machine

  1. @Misanthropic Curmudgeon 12:59 PM

    I thought Frog had explained that. There is no pre-prepared text or anything like that – just an email alert containing the subject and body body of a blog post. It is totally up to the recipient whether they respond, and if so, the content of their response.

    And the recipients of the alerts are all self-selecting. It is not really any different from people choosing to follow the Twitter accounts of bloggers who tweet their posts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6 (+2)

  2. Re Toads response to my question about astroturfing, “no”.

    If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, its a duck.

    No matter which way you cut this, it is a coordinated and managed programme to raise the profile and visibilty of a position, that gives the impression of a groundswell/growing/hitherto unheard voice. That is virtually a textbook case/definition of astrotrufing, and a faux-pas on par with Max Coyles use of his partner.

    Not a good look.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 15 (-9)

  3. MS should know. Taking over this site with the usual right wing songbook crap which we have all heard many times before.

    More appropriate if MS joined the nuts on Kiwibog.

    Instead of interrupting the grownups, who are looking for solutions.

    How much does NACT pay you, MS?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8 (-4)

  4. Kerry continues to:
    1) Abbreviate my nym incorrectly. MC, not MS. Many lefties on nz.general use Missy or Mis-C, by MS is just (willfull?) ignorance
    2) Take refuge in calling me rightwing, which is interesting considering the number of times I voted Green, my envornmental gredentials, and by beleif in equality for all.
    3) Accuse me (or almost any dissenter from Kerrys staid statistlogic) of being in the pay of various organisations. How many times must I say to you “nil” Kerry, before you will open your ears and eyes to a discourse beyond that of 1976?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6 (+1)

  5. How does this differ from astro-turfing?

    Astro-turfing is secretly setting up a fake front to surreptitiously put across the view of another organisation, like a fake environment group defending the oil industry. In other words, no resemblance at all to the Green Party very publicly setting up a means of enabling its own members and supporters to engage in on line political debate during an election campaign.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2 (+12)

  6. MS. Who said they wanted to go back to the 70’s. I am sure we have learn’t a lot since then.

    Your mindless support, for those who want us to return to the 1880’s, is getting very tedious.

    If I wanted to read that sort of garbage, I would go slumming in the sewer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4 (-2)

  7. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, its a duck. Quack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1 (+6)

  8. I’m not sure what MC is up to here. Not clear that he knows either. The Green party is a POLITICAL party. It is made up of people who think about the entire fabric of this country in a context of sustainability, who think about the long term.

    It is not a single issue Coffee Klatsch.

    BJ

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4 (+5)

  9. MC

    Astro-Turfing is about FAKE identities and FRAUDULENT movements. It is about people with hundreds of accounts providing the same message and flooding the net with the fake appearance of being a large groundswell of opinion. We write our own messages.

    One could wonder what message you are actually intending to give us. So far it seems to be “I’m a troll”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5 (+5)

  10. bjchip claims “Astro-Turfing is about FAKE identities and FRAUDULENT movements. It is about people with hundreds of accounts providing the same message and flooding the net with the fake appearance of being a large groundswell of opinion”, which has only a passing resemblenae to the definition of astroturfing at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing, which in a secondary refernce says astroturfing is “the impression of independent, popular support by means of an orchestrated and disguised public relations exercise….designed to give the impression of spontaneous support”

    Interesting, then, that The Greens had to send out an email yesterday asking people to stop ding just that, eh, saying, [begin quote]
    •Do not spam or flood any web site with many similar comments that are off topic. Post actual arguments or your opinion, not simply “vote for xyz!”
    •Do not abuse or defame other people.
    •Do not pretend to be someone you are not – be honest about your motivations and opinions.
    •Do not get into a never ending argument – state your opinion and when it is attacked respond once or twice to clarify any misunderstandings and then let it go. In reality your main audience is the lurkers who never post comments, not the person you are directly engaging with.
    [end quote]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8 (-4)

  11. bjchip suggests that I think The Greens are (or ought to be?) “a single issue Coffee Klatsch”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    As a polictical party, I expect The Greens to have policy on the environment, on energy, on transport, on revenue and so on: Policies founded on ideas associaited with the name of the party, namely green. Not red.

    There is no way on earth that a blind belief in (non-existant) poverty in NZ, and the only way to address this (non-existant) poverty is the unsustainable overtaxing of the populace is sustainable or green. Its Red.

    Agitating for efficient transport systems is green: cranking up taxes and compelling people onto one one mode of transport is not sustainable or green. Its Red.

    Banning lightbulbs and showers is not sustainable nor just nor green. Its Red. Likeise discriminating on the gorund of gender (hell, even Green Party Rules are sexist, in the assiging of co-leader roled according to gender)

    For example, a green energy policy would/chould be about promoting and encouraging efficient, low impact generation, distribution and the responible use of energy. Not banning things you dont like and the blind parroting that corporations are bad.

    For example a green transport policy would be about efficient (in terms of fuels and time and money) movement of goods and people in a given situation. Not a blind antipathy towards the motorcar and equally blind adoraton of the train.

    So, bjchip, you are wrong in suggesting I think The Greens are (or ought to be?) “a single issue Coffee Klatsch”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9 (-5)

  12. Interesting, then, that The Greens had to send out an email yesterday asking people to stop ding just that, eh, …

    Of course advice will be going out to people. What would you expect? That doesn’t mean people were originally instructed to do these things as you imply. If there’s a valid criticism it’s that it should have happened sooner, but thank goodness the party is responding to the criticism by giving some clear guidelines.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2 (+5)

  13. As a polictical party, I expect The Greens to have policy on the environment, on energy, on transport, on revenue and so on: Policies founded on ideas associaited with the name of the party, namely green. Not red.

    We get this argument from time to time, that because our name suggests a single dimension, we should therefore shackle ourselves to it. This is ridiculous and I personally don’t care that some can’t see how environmental issues link to social issues, or don’t understand that most people who care enough about one to become involved, also care about the other. There are very good reasons that the large majority of Green parties in the world are multi-dimensional. In NZ, there have been a few attempts to create a single issue green party. They always fail because most political activists who do the work of party building just don’t believe that’s all there is to it. Or they end up as fake environmental factions in bigger parties, like the Blue Greens are in National. Or putting it the other way around, why are the Blue Greens fake? It is because real environmental progress is incompatible with what National really wants to achieve.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2 (+7)

  14. Astroturfing is a form of advocacy in support of a political, organizational, or corporate agenda, designed to give the appearance of a “grassroots” movement. The goal of such campaigns is to disguise the efforts of a political and/or commercial entity as an independent public reaction to some political entity

    That’s what Wiki says…

    It has always been about fraud mate, and we don’t have hundreds of identities, and we aren’t pretending to be interested for cash. We ARE a grass-roots movement. It’s not “astro-turfing” because we are real people.

    “Organizing isn’t cheating. Doing everything in your power to get your people to show up is basic politics.”

    …and of course, the initial part of that sentence you are taking an excerpt from, is

    “The term “astroturfing” is also used to describe public relations activities aimed at “

    …which puts a rather different complexion on what Wiki was saying – as we’re not a public relations company, we are in fact a grass-roots movement.

    So again, you are off on some tangent… trying to make out that we are NOT something that we actually are this time, as we are a political organization and we are nothing if not a grass-roots organization.

    Just wrong on your part. Not wrong for us to do. One could be forgiven for thinking you were simply being disingenuous.

    ____________________

    There is no way on earth that a blind belief in (non-existant) poverty in NZ,

    So you are asserting that everyone in NZ has an income above the poverty line? Interesting. Explain the basis for your assertion.

    I am breaking this “sentence” of yours up because it wanted a comma.

    the only way to address this (non-existant) poverty is the unsustainable overtaxing of the populace

    Well the poverty exists. I don’t think you have a hope of backing up that assertion so lets look at the second part ask about the “unsustainable” taxation. Top marginal rate in a place like Sweden is around 56% IIRC. Last I saw, Sweden was doing just fine. Better in fact, than the USA or the UK or here, where the effort to neutralize some of the advantages of wealth have been abandoned. Here I am paying 33% and someone who makes ten times as much as I do pays more like 28% … or less because of the advantages of wealth in structuring investments.

    Real world doesn’t match your preconceptions at this level.

    Policies founded on ideas associaited with the name of the party, namely green. Not red.

    You claim our policies are “red”. Identify which of our policies has that as its base? Explain how our policies are “communistic”, which has a specific meaning last I checked. Last I checked we were still about letting the market do its work – where that was appropriate .

    Banning lightbulbs and showers is not sustainable nor just nor green. Its Red.

    Except we didn’t ban lightbulbs or showers. That’s simply false. Do you actual know anything about us at all?

    For example, a green energy policy would/chould be about promoting and encouraging efficient, low impact generation, distribution and the responible use of energy. Not banning things you dont like and the blind parroting that corporations are bad.

    Our real policies are very much that way, and your complete lack of understanding of them is apparent by your blind parroting of the lies promoted by the right wing in NZ. Too much garbage.

    So, bjchip, you are wrong in suggesting I think The Greens are (or ought to be?) “a single issue Coffee Klatsch”.

    Apparently you DO NOT think that… you simply don’t actually have a clue what our policies actually are.

    BJ

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 (+3)

  15. Not that anyone’s asking my personal opinion, but “astroturfing” is in the eye of the beholder. It’s about intent, not definition. The way I read it, the mission of the Green Machine is to organize people and amplify voices that might otherwise never be heard.

    Just my two cents.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

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