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Is Aaron and Andy.com just a bitch fest?

Andy wonders if Aaron and Andy.com is just a place for people to come and be anonymously bitchy about each other, and questions if it’s all worth it.

Remember the Gay Elite scandal? That seemed to turn Wellington’s gay scene into a froth of debate and bitch fights, and I was even nearly assaulted with a glass bottle at Club Ivy over it. And it was that incident that led me to seriously ask: ‘Is our website doing more bad than good?’

We relaunched Aaron and Andy.com in May as a lifestyle website aimed at GLBT people in New Zealand, in an attempt to get away from the gossipy, bitchy box we had painted ourselves into with the old format. We added news, fashion, entertainment, features, photos, and of course we kept a section for ‘scandal’.

Ever since then our site has been getting more and more popular, with our hits growing about 30% every month — we must be doing something right!

But I’ve found lately that good people in the community are reluctant to be featured on our website for fear of being torn apart by anonymous posters who seem hell bent on tearing them down to the lowest lows. And that’s not cool.

We’ve also heard stories of people who are scared to talk to us or piss us off because they think we’ll feature them on the website as some sort of metaphorical public stoning. C’mon, we’re not like that!

Some levels of bitchiness and debate over a person we can tolerate. Case in point: Jevan Goulter. The guy attracts a truck-load of negative discussion, but he is also putting his hand up for public office. In a way we feel like that affords the community a right to talk about many aspects of the man, in reason, on our website.

And someone like Miss Drag Wellington or Mr Gay Wellington, as another example, who often attract a similar level of negative discussion on our website — to a degree we feel that’s also acceptable because they’ve put their hands up to take on a public role. Of course a lot of the messages are just way too bitchy and personal and we end up censoring (which we hate doing).

But say we write a story on a young gay man who is in the running to win a radio competition, or we feature a profile on a sportsperson — is it okay for people to come on our website and anonymously tear that person apart?

I think not. But then we also face the dilemma of not wanting to censor people who comment on our website. What can we do?

A poster called ‘gymbo’ made an interesting comment on the subject. “I enjoy this website, and the news it brings. I also enjoy reading and being able to make comments. Unfortunately it seems that lately it has become a bastion for anonymous people to attempt to use new technology to just hurt others under some guise of free speech.”

“If you have something constructive to say about the article, please do, we all want to read it,” he continues. “If you are using this site as some kinda town grafitti wall to hurt other people, please don’t.”

I like that reference to some sort of graffiti wall being used to hurt people, because I feel like that is where our website is going lately.

Maybe that’s what our audience wants? Back to Jevan: every time we do a story on him we attract thousands of extra hits, all seemingly to come and make bitchy comments, and/or read said bitchy comments. Our audience just laps it up like a thirsty cat with a bowl of milk.

That’s all very well, but should Aaron and I be the people to supply that negative fix for people that want it. I’d rather not.

I don’t want people to be scared of me, and worry about speaking around me because they think I’m gonna post something on Aaron and Andy.com. I don’t want people to see me as some sort of bitch who loves to facilitate the tearing down of members of our community.

Perhaps ironically, I’m probably the person who least cares about gossip. I don’t give a shit what others are doing, who’s fucking who, who did what to whom, and who thinks this year’s Mr Gay Wellington shouldn’t have won. But there seems to be a market for it.

So what should we do? Should we censor comments that are of an implicit bitchy nature? Should we require everyone registers before they comment? Should we require everyone leave their email address to comment, or at least use a name?

This is where I need your help. Let us know below if you think this website is good or bad. Do you think it’s just a bitch fest? Or do you think it’s worthwhile? We really welcome your ideas and comments!

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Comments

  1. I like your website! I think it’s very cool and definitely fits the niche market perfectly!

    After being featured for the NZAF competition, I was surprised to find so many people who thought they had the right comment negatively while keeping their anonymity.

    I think if you’re going to say something, you should have to stand by it.. Isn’t that how the real world works?

    If that means you have to register before commenting.. then cool, it may mean less comments, but if it’s those who are too gutless to put their real name up beside their unintelligent and bitchy comments.. I can’t see how that can be a downside!!!

    Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

    • Adam Beaumont says:

      But alot of people made comments about you Scotti and used their real names. I was one of them. I made a comment that when I met you twice you were rude to me both times and others that knew you said the same thing.

      So maybe its not people hiding behind a anonymous name, maybe its just people who thought you were rude?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 17

      • Well for starters I actually don’t know who you are, I don’t remember meeting you twice either (maybe you’d like to remind me??) Secondly who cares? I have much more important things in my life to worry about what people think about me rude or otherwise, and if I was rude, why let it bother you?

        Ha don’t you also find it a bit ironic that instead of saying something to to my face, you just waited to post it up here? Does that actually make you any better than the anonymous posters just out to have a dig?

        Nonetheless my point was if you’re going to say something then fine.. just put your name to it! So even if I don’t remember you, at least you had the guts to stand by what you said!

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 6

  2. Bit late to be all sanctimonious girls

    We need gossip and bitchiness,it keeps people from thinkin their fukn heads r too big for their assholes 🙂

    But then you 2 can run a serious piece and yes people read it
    but what gets you the most traffic

    BEING BITCHES

    Its fun and its fabulous

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 9

  3. Watch Your Back .... I'll hurt you says:

    ban that sneaky son of a bitch Media Whore from this site, that what will make a significant improvment

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

    • AnotherMediaHoe says:

      Banning Jasminefan/WatchYourBack and every other crack-fuelled alt will work wonders.

      But seriously, start a forum. Just on the basis of user friendliness, bitchfest or no, this is impossible to follow.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

      • Watch Your Back .... I'll hurt you says:

        u fuk off ass features

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

        • Media Whore says:

          hahahahaaha, what a dummy . . . But, what I’d really like to know is, what did you do with the money your parents gave you for schooling? Oh that’s right, meth, roids and weed…..

          Keep or remove: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    • Media Whore says:

      Actually ban Watch You Back! You only hate me coz I step you out on all your shit and have better comebacks and more support than you…if it’s too hot for you in the kitchen how does “get the fuck out” sound….hahahaaha you loser.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

      • Watch Your Back .... I'll hurt you says:

        u ugly person, ugly in the inside

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

        • Media Whore says:

          Boo-hooo, if you don’t like the view … again …. “get the fuck out”… or just don’t bother replying…hahhahaa

          Keep or remove: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Get rid of the anonymous option and make everyone register and record the IP addresses for each post, so if any shit goes down it can be tracked!

    Tall poppy/small man syndrome is rife here!

    Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  5. I totally agree with commenters having to register…. Nothing wrong with being bitchy, provided you put your name to it. If commenters wont say certain comments cus there name’s are attatched to them then maybe those people don’t really have any opinions at all and they are just schoolyard bullies who havent grown up yet!

    As someone who has had her share of negative comments – i can actuaally say that I’d prefer to see a name to a comment, not to refute an opinion, but simply to resolve any issue…. if people such as myself, Mr gay or Jevan etc are so tragic or terrible then why not tell us your name so we are aware of your feelings….

    It’s all about helping the community my little gumsters!

    *braces for negative feedback…. NOW* :p

    Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

    • AnotherMediaHoe says:

      In Christchurch
      Concrete ruins what drag queens are made of
      There’s lipsyncing you can’t do.
      Now you’re in Christchurch
      These streets will make you feel ancient,
      Felcity Frocacinno will fight you.
      Lets here it for Christchurch, Christchurch, Christchurch.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

  6. If you have to hide behind a shield of anonymity to say something, then you probably shouldn’t be saying it – that or you need more courage, and a great helping of integrity.

    Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  7. ^ hottie.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  8. I really like this site , Gummy got me into it and now I check it alot to see all the news / fashion trends etc. It would be ashame to see this site go down because of vicious wannabee queens.

    I think people should be entitled to their opinions but they should have to have their name down as this is only fair so the people getting criticised and downed to others can back themselves up and also know who it is thats saying the shit so they can maybe talk it out and resolve the issue. (unless you dont name names)

    for example.
    There is a line between being bitchy and going way too far , and that is the line that a boy has crossed with me.

    I have already had my fair share.
    Iv lost my Dad to cancer , Nearly lost my mum to cancer , Lost my ex/very close friend, and to top it off iv had the same boy going around spreading vicious rumours that can ruin reputations and has also had me banned from the only gay club in chch.
    People like that send others over the edge to self destruction , not only mentally but physically and emotionally.

    Im just lucky I have alot of good friends (like Gummy) that have my back , and I know would never turn on me and will always stick by me and be there to help me when things are tough.

    But what about people who feel they have no one to turn to?
    The thing is you never know who is a ticking time bomb ,
    They say sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me…….thats aload of croc.
    What if some people cant handle the cruel things people have to say?
    And what if people feel like their is no escape?
    Words can be worse than actions , and rumours are like wildfires getting out of control.

    Lets keep mean girls as a movie and not a reality.
    Its not cool to destroy people ,
    And its people like this boy that need to be put back in their place and take a good look at themselves.
    Imagine spreading stuff about someone then they go top themselves ,
    let me ask you this , could you live with yourself?

    Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  9. So true danny, I loved reading that. It’s really big of you to write that and im so proud of you darling! These things need to be talked about more often, If they were, lives could be spared!

    Go you danny, for saying what you needed without naming names and dragging people through the mud, your obviously the bigger person!

    “You had my heart, we’ll never be worlds apart” 😀

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

  10. I am in agreement in regards to, if you make a comment then back it up, name yourself, none of this anonymous bull…
    Someone posted a comment after me in regards to lying about the safety of my bar after the earth quake… I am not worried, for if thats what they want to believe then thats fine… But as Danny has pointed out above, not every one has a thick skin and can deal with criticism…
    Some comments left are very discussing and disturbing…
    Comments about peoples state of health or life.. It is these people that need to grow a pair and back up their comments by adding a name to it…
    But then also how can you be sure that they are who they are saying they are for real…
    Lets be honest fake profiles on communication sites are there all the time!…
    I think removing the option to comment is probably the best way to go…
    Arron and Andy . com is an information site, not a site where people can throw their opinions forcibly into others faces…

    Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

    • The problem is, there are some genuinely good comments out there – posted by some genuine people. It’s unfair to penalize those people for the sake of some trolls who wish to create drama. Surely there’s a better solution?

      Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  11. Hey Ricyy Sumpter aka Miss Mole

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  12. Everyones shit stinks. We are all imperfect.

    Props to those who achieve and do good!

    Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  13. I am not Miss Mole… Anonymous… Obviously no name… I am Ricky Sumpter… You can look me up on facebook if you feel you need confirmation that i am not miss mole… lol

    Some people are idiots… I guess you guys will get them no matter what…

    Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  14. As someone who also attracts a fair bit of gossip (bring it on I say – I bite back as good as I get!) it would be nice to have people have to register on your site guys. I love the place, but I think long term a lot of the community will get over the site if all you get are bullying/negativity… Theres some cool articles you guys could do on gay candiates standing for the elections this year (Tony in Chch, Simon in Auck), and I fear they’d not be so keen on the idea if all they’re going to get is abuse!.

    I know wordpress features I.P address blocking and stuff? Maybe operate a rule like kiwiblog.co.nz does – that if you have 3 warnings for personally attacking someone then your kicked off the site. In saying that, if someone really wants to find their way on here its easy enough to set up another, and another, and another gmail/yahoo/hotmail account 🙁

    My two cents 🙂

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    • I’m pro-IP Address ban… That should weedle out some of the more irritating comments. It’d really be a shame if A&A had to moderate every single comment. I thought most people on here were meant to be mature adults? What happened to acting like them?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

      • Watch Your Back .... I'll hurt you says:

        yeh ban that dizzy bitch media whore

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

        • Media Whore says:

          Oh dear, you poor dummy… can’t take the heat?? Want me banned so you can have free reign to abuse everyone with your unfounded, uneducated, illiterate and crass dribble… forget it dum dum… I’m not going anywhere… so start practicing your witty comebacks now, coz there’s lots more fun to be had….hahahaaha

          Keep or remove: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  15. it wouldnt work, i get a rotating i.p address so it changes everytime i switch it off

    Keep or remove: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

    • Watch Your Back .... I'll hurt you says:

      same, cause i have wireless, and people with dial up are in the same boat.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

    • Media Whore says:

      Yep but if we had to register, and register a user name to a valid email address, then there would be no need for IP addresses. The email address could be valididated to prove it is not a fake…just a thought…. By the way “watch your back” you’re on the dole, how the hell can you afford wireless…umm…well I suppose, not spending any money on clothes, skincare and basic hygiene does have some benefits. You go girl!!

      Keep or remove: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  16. I actually like Media Whore, and think “Watch Your Back …. I’ll hurt you” should be careful on what he/she says.

    We are all entitled to an opinion. Some are just more honest then others.

    It would be nice to see a “sign up” name rather then anonymous though.

    XX Fliss

    Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  17. a similar area i saw rubbish comments on was nzp discussions,there people did not follow the topic and took over discussions for their own perpose,this is really no different.if you had control….edit right on posts then crap would not appear .a name can be anything online…madeup etc. so annoymous or not makes no difference.there needs to be an editor…or someone to approve or deny posts thats all luvs and keep it going arron xxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Keep or remove: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • JasmineFan says:

      dumb, thats just called censorship, thats what the nazis did to newspapers

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

      • The nazis did a lot worse than burn newspapers. Just sayin’.

        Keep or remove: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

        • JasmineFan says:

          no shit? I went to school and have watched history channel u dimwit…. but thats how it started, by censoring views contradictory to their own

          Keep or remove: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

          • Good to know you went to school and are a subscriber to one of Sky’s excellent channels. However, your original comment lacked breadth and showed a lack of understanding.

            Keep or remove: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

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